31 Comments

  1. avatar Saleriver
    December 13, 2016 @ 5:25 pm

    Well this was strange, Hunter. I feel like you were adamant on being on the opposite sides with the guest, while he thought you were more or less in agreement. Also for the first time I sensed a kind of arrogance in your voice, as if mixed mental artists are 100% right and anyone who doesn’t acknowledge that immediately, is wrong, and that goes against the very principles of MMA. I got the feeling that Peter is flexible on his opinions and he even said it many times when he agreed with you, but you kept pushing him to the opposite side like you wanted to be mental adversaries. Personally, I agree with a lot of what he says and I really like the way he thinks (and this is the first time I’m listening to him). And finally, I don’t think a guest deserves such a send off, it was pretty harsh in my opinion. I know you meant well but that came across as if you were kind of pissed off at him and he didn’t deserve that, just because he didn’t read some books that you read and found groundbreaking. I hope you have Peter Schiff back again on the podcast, he sounds like a really smart guy.
    Cheers

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 16, 2017 @ 11:23 pm

      Hey, Saleriver! What might not have been obvious was that I warned Peter’s assistant upfront that because we were doing Mixed Mental Arts that we would be holding guests accountable to the broad light of the evidence. Peter then didn’t read one thing I sent him. And so, I let him do his spiel in the beginning and then I had to make an on-the-spot decision. Bad ideas like Peters persist because people aren’t willing to push back. What is the point of having Mixed Mental Arts if we aren’t willing to use them to challenge people’s thinking. Could this have been done better? Undoubtedly. But the basic idea of intellectual accountability is the core of what Mixed Mental Arts makes possible. The Founding Fathers and Adam Smith had a broad intellectual matrix. That’s how they could separate the wheat from the chaff. And so, we need to do exactly that. Unsurprisingly, much of this comes down to Peter’s father who refused to pay his taxes and died in federal prison. Did that experience shape his opinions? Almost certainly and understandably so. But we shouldn’t pretend that the experiences of our parents don’t shape our political persuasions or that you can come up with good policy without confronting those feeeeeeelings.

      Reply
  2. avatar Casey
    December 13, 2016 @ 7:13 pm

    Hey Hunter,

    You’re an intelligent guy and I appreciate your efforts to get underneath the typical left-right identity debated were so often swamped in.

    I’d like to challenge your definition of “anarcho-capitalism” from this dialogue. You stated, somewhat condescendingly, that ancap’s are for “no rules.”

    You would do well to take a deeper dive into actually understanding the ancap perspective a little better.

    First, the “anarcho” in the equation does not mean “no rules” it means “no rulers.” Specifically this is a challenge to the universally uncontested notion that there is moral legitimacy in the government monopoly on the initiation of force, a legitimacy we would never extend to any individual.

    Central to anarcho-capitalist theory is the notion of the non-aggression principle, which states that the ‘initiation’ of force, by any individual, organization or entity, is neither moral nor rational.

    If you want to challenge the Ancap perspective, this would be a good place to start.

    Also primary, is the idea that property is the extension of our individual being via our labor, and is thus to be protected. You mentioned in this show that government does this with varying degrees of success around the world, and any ancap would agree.

    The question here becomes, “can you think of another way this might happen that does not require the initiation of force?”

    There is certainly much debate and theorizing on this topic, but ideas like Dispute Resolution Organizations and voluntary private security are among the more prominent.

    Reducing Libertarian though to Adam Smith is simply weak. Libertarian thought has progressed significantly in the 240+ years since Wealth of Nations. If you would actually like to understand the nuance, you’ll need to take in Hayak, Mises, and Rothbard (maybe in that order 😉

    From there, we can look towards Anarcho-Capitalism as an orienting moral and rational generalization, something to consider and work towards.

    You started to make the point that evidence suggest that ancap hasn’t worked. I’d be open to hearing more of that, but one lens to look through is this: 99.9% of our day to day lives consist of voluntary interactions. This is the normal mode of human interaction. It is only when we must pay taxes, get drafted, or sit in prison for arbitrary law violations, do we come up against the machine of the State.

    Point is, there is evidence if you choose to see it.

    The other point is, ancap may very well be the natural evolution of governance. Historically we have seen a gradual decentralization of power, from kings, to The Republic, to democracy. Is it not possible that this power decentralization might continue, down to each and every individual.

    This is the dream of the ancap, grounded in reason and morality.

    I don’t need you to agree, but I would like you to argue the merits on a fair playing field.

    As an epilogue, keep doing these interviews my friend. The world benefits from your intellect and explorations 🙂

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 5:21 am

      Hey Casey! The main thing I’d offer you is that AnCap regards the government’s monopoly on legitimate violence as a bug when it is the feature. The whole point of a monopoly is that it eliminates competition and we don’t want competition through violence. While Libertarian thought may have moved on in the last couple hundred years, human nature has not. We remain very much the same creatures that Adam Smith and the Founding Fathers wrote about. If you read Federalist 51, you’ll see the key problem. If men were angels, we wouldn’t need governments. But since governments are people by men, well now you’ve got a new problem. That’s why the Founding Fathers established checks and balances. AnCap seeks to solve the problem of unchecked government by removing government as a check. Look at the removal of dictators like Saddam and Gaddafi and you can see what Hobbes meant when he wrote about the war of all against all.

      Reply
  3. avatar Stuart Doyle
    December 13, 2016 @ 7:20 pm

    Hey Hunter,
    If you go back and check all of the literature you love about how to change minds, I don’t think you’ll see rhetoric like ‘cargo cult’ anywhere in there. You’re not as objective here as you think you are.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 5:23 am

      Doubtless I’m not objective. It seems like I’m less objective than you think I think I am. In case it wasn’t clear I think EVERYTHING is a Cargo Cult. I am in a Cargo Cult and always have been. The question is how closely the beliefs of your Cargo Cult fit reality.

      Reply
  4. avatar Stuart Doyle
    December 13, 2016 @ 8:31 pm

    Hunter,
    I agree with you. There should probably be some element of power whose interests are misaligned with would-be exploiters. But I think you’re overly certain, just like Schiff is overly certain. You berate his certainty as if you’re not making claims of your own with equal certainty.

    Of course you see your claims as perfectly supported by reason and facts (like he sees his), but your arguments are flawed like his are. For example, you make a lot out of the fact that Schiff “never bothered to try and understand why the FDA or any other government bureaucracy was founded.” Have you considered that it doesn’t matter specifically why it was founded? The fact that it was founded to solve problem X is one thing. Whether or not it solved problem X, exacerbated problem Y, created problem Z, and how problems X, Y, and Z should be balanced today are fundamentally different questions. Those questions are not illuminated by knowing the name ‘Eben Byers.’

    I say “knowing the name,” because that’s what your argument comes down to. Schiff knows what the FDA is supposed to do, and that’s still what it’s supposed to do whether you know the story of radium or not. Eben Byers is not statistically significant, and even if he was, that wouldn’t tell us anything about the counterfactuals of X, Y, and Z.

    So when you say, “Removing one source of accountability when you don’t even understand why it was put in in the first place is dumb.” I say, not necessarily. When you say “Peter overestimates his own intelligence,” I say you’re looking in the mirror. Sometimes knowing all of the Kahneman, Traversky, and Haidt just adds one more layer of complexity to the ways our ‘system 2’ can rationalize the beliefs that our ‘system 1’ led us to believe.

    Remember, this is coming from a guy who sees a baby in the bathwater, just like you do.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 5:52 am

      Eben Byers is not statistically significant but telling the story of Eben Byers is not intended to be statistically significant. There’s the problem of forming our beliefs and then there’s the problem of diffusing them. That comes down to storytelling. This is what Voltaire did. He took the problem of religious intolerance and made it about one man because that was trackable and a way into the conversation. McClure’s and Ida Tarbell did the same turning the problem of trusts into a simple, singular story of Rockefeller and Standard Oil. As far as my own intelligence, I know how limited it is and know enough biochemistry to know how complicated pharmaceuticals and double blind trials are. It’s an area where I’m acutely aware of my own ignorance. So, when Peter blithely invisible hand waves the problem away I think he’s massively overestimating his ability to evaluate new drugs. Moreover, private labs? Where were they in the US before the FDA? Where are they in China where silicone-injected shrimp is sold? Where are they in Africa with plastic rice being sold? And based on what happened in 2008 with the rating agencies colluding with Wall Street what makes us think a private lab wouldn’t behave the same way? The question here for you is what is the most realistic model of reality available. As of this writing, I think it’s evolution. And in an evolutionary system parasitic behavior emerges. If you see a baby in the bathwater like I do, then shouldn’t we defend that baby from the guy who wants to throw it out?

      Reply
  5. avatar Randy Wright
    December 14, 2016 @ 10:51 am

    Sad to hear how disinterested he was in learning anything new. He has already formed his opinions and that was that! Really enjoyed (and learned) listening to you Hunter. Mr Schiff, not so much.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 5:55 am

      Thanks, Randy! It was a hugely valuable experience to realize just how much many people have never examined how their parents have shaped their thinking on politics and economics. Peter taught me a lot even if it was through what happened when he was really challenged. His brain froze!

      Reply
  6. avatar J G
    December 14, 2016 @ 8:53 pm

    Holy frijole! We finally got an honest-to-god pro-free marketer on the show! Here’s to diversity of IDEAS!

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 5:55 am

      Here here! Here’s to diversity of ideas!

      Reply
  7. avatar Al
    December 15, 2016 @ 9:12 am

    Great job by Hunter, keeping it together while he was repeatedly interrupted from trying to finish a solemn thought. Unfortunately, it seemed that Peter wasn’t actually listening to anything that Hunter had to say and in a way, Peter became the poster child for some of the mental mistakes that people make. At a certain point, I was almost compelled to turn off the podcast because of the incessant ranting (grandstanding) that Peter was doing. I appreciated the earlier discussion around the housing bubbles (old and current), but the dialogue really broke down after that and I would have to blame Peter. I would hope that he isn’t always like this, as he seems to be quite intelligent.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 5:58 am

      It was a fascinating experience but incredibly clumsy. Peter has his part but so do I. Ultimately, it takes two to tango. There are better ways to interview that challenge people while bringing them to a place of confronting their own cherished notions and reflecting on them in a new way. Thanks for listening even if it wasn’t great listening.

      Reply
  8. avatar Art Keller
    December 17, 2016 @ 2:04 pm

    Hunter, amazing the degree to which Mr. Schiff walked right by your repeated invitations to examine his own underlying emotional assumptions and refused to engage and do some real thinking.

    The idea that the market is always right is completely divorced from reality, in fact he wouldn’t have made so much money in his “Big Short” if the market functioned as efficiently as assumes it does.

    He personally told room-fulls of people on multiple occasions accurate information about how the market was mis-pricing risk and thus creating an opportunity for a short, yet MacroEcon 101 claims that if information is freely available it will be p,riced into the markets. Yet that didn’t happen, because when he tried to enlighten people in the financial industry. none of the fellow high priests of free markets would believe him; they did not WANT to believe him for a variety of reasons. Despite witnessing this massive failure of markets first-hand, somehow in Schiff’s narrative, the only system liabilities we have are government regulation, and those liabilities would magically disappear if regulations did, too.

    Within his own competency Schiff is clearly very good at what he does, but he’s manifestly just as blind to the implications of culture and psychology as Marx was. Marx understood that rich people will permanently rig the system in their favor given half a chance, and market players moves to do exactly that were a huge part of the mortgage crisis from which Schiff made a bundle.

    Ironic that the idyllic end-state sought by both unregulated free market capitalism and communism is supposed to be a perfect society in which government has naturally withered and died, because apparently someday people won’t need referees to maintain a level playing field…both are completely naive readings of human nature and culture and that’s why they are each massively dangerous to human health and prosperity in their own way.

    Schiff and free market libertarians understand that government regulations can get out of control, and left unchecked, the end result is mass starvation and work camps in societies where the government tries to force everyone to be equal. Schiff doesn’t seem to get that he’s just as reckless in the free market direction as Marx was in the command economy direction. He said that America was successful for a long time because of small government, but neglects to mention the repeated depressions and banking panics in 1800s and early 1900s that took place every generation of US history like clockwork, because banks and currency were unregulated. Panics Canada never had, despite being just across the border and able to participate in the same market, because Canadian banks WERE regulated.

    Fascinating show as always, Herr Maats

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 6:00 am

      Hey, Art! This is a fantastic comment. Really, really great. Beautifully said.

      Reply
  9. avatar Lionel James
    December 18, 2016 @ 6:25 pm

    That commentary at the end of the podcast was really disappointing, and disrespectful to Peter Schiff. I’m definitely more on Hunter’s side of the argument, and it was really good to see them honestly can’t challenging each other’s ideas. That’s why hearing Hunter trashing Peter after the conversation had ended, it was really unworthy of the conversation – making comments without Peter being able to defend himself. Love the podcast, especially Hunter, but that ‘last word’s wasn’t cool in my opinion.

    Reply
  10. avatar Todd Crane
    December 21, 2016 @ 8:47 pm

    It’s fine and dandy that there is this web space to follow up on the show with Peter Schiff, but the fact remains that Hunter was noticeably unprepared for the far libertarian, gold buggery of Schiff and it showed throughout the podcast. Schiff offered nothing but run-of-the-mill libertarian tripe during the conversation and Hunter never offered a counter, some would say reality-based, perspective and just let Schiff go off for minutes at a time. Not only did Hunter not engage Schiff in any credible back and forth, he actually agreed with Schiff when he spouted demonstrably false ideas such as the mistaken notion that a college degree is worthless. Those with a bachelor’s degree have earning prospects that are 70% higher than those without. Yes, college costs too much, but college degrees pay off somewhere around 5:1 in lifetime earnings compared to their cost and that ratio goes even higher for those with graduate degrees. I get that Hunter wants to talk about the importance of culture and everyone’s bubbles, but anyone who has spent more than 5 minutes with a libertarian know that they take it as an axiomatic truth that markets are the sole solution, uber alles, to all things. For a libertarian, you can take your cute little concerns about culture, social science, bubbles, and behavior economics and shove it where the sun don’t shine because markets will do ALL the work. That Hunter was so unprepared for this perspective in the real time of the podcast was a serious set back for the mixed mental arts project.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 1:05 pm

      Todd! It’s fascinating to see the diverse reactions to these podcast. Some people felt I was too hard on Peter Schiff. You felt I was too soft. C’est la vie. In the end, the Mixed Mental Arts project was at this stage in its infancy. This first engagement was super sloppy. In the end though, Mixed Mental Arts isn’t about me or Bryan. It’s about an approach and like Mixed Martial Arts it will be evolved by many different people. I’d invite you to step into the ring. You can easily set up your own podcast and show me how a libertarian takedown is done.

      Reply
  11. avatar Blake Olson
    January 13, 2017 @ 9:13 pm

    I think the reason you and Peter Schiff weren’t agreeing is that while yes, it is understandable that people should take responsibility for educating themselves. Just saying that people shouldn’t bitch about government intervention isn’t a good enough answer. What I got out of that response is that you don’t agree that libertarians should bitch about government, that they should just do better at educating themselves and leave the government alone. But then what are our taxpayer dollars going to? You say not to point the finger at government and that people should better themselves, then can we have our tax payer dollars back that we are giving them for nothing? The reason we (libertarians) bitch is because we’re being extorted of our hard earned money and with little to basically no kick back or turn around. Just saying that government isn’t the problem, “it’s us” is nonsense if we can’t keep our money. If we weren’t taxed for education and wasn’t taxed for healthcare then yes, You can point the finger at us for not bettering our situation, but when governments take control and says “we got this” then yes we have a reason to bitch. We as libertarians want to limit government and get rid of the areas not doing their part. Why pay someone for nothing? You wouldn’t do it in any other transaction in your life, so why do so for government? Just my thoughts on the subject, I think we all want the same in the end. But the people stealing from us are not being held accountable. Sorry if my grammar/literature is off. Rushed comment.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 1:20 pm

      If they’re not being held accountable, then it’s in large part because we haven’t built sufficient consensus and a large enough constituency to hold them accountable. Which brings it back to being on us.

      Reply
  12. avatar Ryan McLaughlin
    January 14, 2017 @ 8:45 pm

    I really don’t understand your position here. You support capitalism and freedom, and yet you don’t support libertarianism and also recently in your podcast with Joe Rogan bring up ‘Narco capitalism’ which is the like the ISIS of libertarianism.

    Also you refuse during this podcast with Peter to agree on how government get’s in the way, slows things down, rather than let the free market decide was works.

    Also couldn’t you argue that your a fundamentalist in terms of seeing every problem in the world as a cultural problem, just like your trying to see Peter or any libertarian with government.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 1:23 pm

      My position is that there need to be checks on all human power. Peter like many libertarians naively thinks that industry needs no checks. While companies may compete, they have shared interests just like the major political parties. There seems to be no reason to allow products that we know will kill people onto the market.

      Reply
  13. avatar Panda man
    January 16, 2017 @ 12:07 pm

    I felt like Peter wasn’t even really paying attention to Hunter’s arguments or points and just dismissed them.

    It was kind of tough to listen to as he also constantly interrupted.

    Reply
    • avatar ops
      January 17, 2017 @ 9:02 am

      Governments has broken down nations, not cultures, China would have been the leaders today if they wasn’t stopped by government, they even have an amazing culture.

      It is true that many nations also has broken down from lack of resources, which is the peoples own management fault. I don’t know, and nobody knows if they would have learned to manage the land correct hadn’t there been a government there to slow down the evolution and in general twist the society in incalculable way but it could be very possible.

      Reply
      • avatar Hunter Maats
        March 18, 2017 @ 1:26 pm

        We do know what societies without functional, stable and effective governments look like. They’re called anarchies. Not nice places to live.

        Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 1:24 pm

      I feel the same way. Pretty sure I broke his brain there at the end.

      Reply
  14. avatar AE Lang
    January 16, 2017 @ 5:37 pm

    …you need to read widely, indeed. Which you clearly & very evidently haven’t, certainly not on Austrian Econ. Which is what Peter Schiff adovcates. And yes, Schiff knows his sh*t. All due respect, but that was a rather dumb rant.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 1:25 pm

      Do I need to read widely in Marxist-Leninism to know that communism doesn’t work in the real world?

      Reply
  15. avatar Scott
    January 17, 2017 @ 7:26 pm

    Interesting podcast, although at times painful. They agreed on the cause of our economic problems but couldn’t agree if they should talk about the cause or the cause of the cause.

    Reply
    • avatar Hunter Maats
      March 18, 2017 @ 1:47 pm

      I tried to engage Peter Schiff in a conversation about the #jobocalypse. He thought I was being a Luddite. Wasn’t. But definitely a sloppy convo and painful for all concerned.

      Reply

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