Jan Helfeld is a minarchist libertarian troll on Youtube who tries to make media figures and politicians look stupid with a package of tough questions he’s put together to lead the interviewee to contradict himself; Helfeld’s had some viral successes on Youtube. His goal is to bring us back to the allegedly libertarian values of the founding fathers. In an interview with George Will, he asserted that he believes he can objectively prove his philosophy to anybody using logical methodology, but when I asked him once if he’d ever tried to interview the most celebrated left philosophers and/or major critics of libertarianism (e.g. Michael Walzer, John Rawls/Mike Huben, Iain Mckay), he (kindly) responded in the negative. Apparently he prefers interviewing the famous to the philosophical.
He seems to have lost his touch a bit though, and although his followers swear he’s never “lost” and anybody who thinks he did is delusional, I think he has. (For example, I think David Corn did quite well in rebutting the libertarian ideas here). Yesterday, Helfeld released a new video of him interviewing Sam Donaldson, where Helfeld as usual sneers that Congress “forcing” the “redistribution of wealth” on the public is an illegitimate function of government. Donaldson basically shows how it’s actually Helfeld whose ideas are antithetical to our democratic system. I was struck by how…well, classic, his argument was. He harkened back to the precedents set up by the constitution, thus destroying the premise that folks like Jan are the True Defenders of The Ideals of the Founding Fathers (TM) and I think FDL readers will find the discussion of interest as well. Enjoy!