Readers of Playboy may be surprised to find that buried within a recent interview with one of Hollywood's biggest stars is a fairly deep explication of his libertarian beliefs.
In a lengthy discussion with Vince Vaughn, star of blockbuster films from "Swingers" to "Wedding Crashers," the author opened up about his views on topics ranging from federal versus local government, to affirmative action and the non-aggression principle.
Below are the pertinent excerpts:
[sharequote align="center"]"If you look at America today, there’s a real want to use force for the issues people believe in."[/sharequote]
On the superiority of local over federal government
"I like the way it was until 1913 [when the 16th Amendment was ratified, legalizing a federal income tax], when locally you had sales taxes and property taxes. That seems ethical to me, because I can move to a different neighborhood or area if I like the services they provide. To this day, your police department and your fire department are paid for with local taxes, and that makes sense, because you might use those. But the federal government looking into your books to decide what to take from you, that feels wrong.
Trusting the federal government to know what we need and to run things well feels like a bad idea. You see that in the foreign policy of force, where the United States decides to go into another country to make things turn out a certain way. It doesn’t work. It causes more problems. Just look at any of these undeclared wars. You’re suggesting at gunpoint that you’ll decide how things will go. The results haven’t gone well. I’ve been over to Afghanistan and Iraq. I’ve been with the USO. I’ve gone over with movies and done stuff. I care a lot about all the kids and families in those situations. It can’t be easy. But I don’t agree with a foreign policy that says you can send troops places without declaring a war and without having a plan to win the war. I would think you would look at Vietnam and suggest it wasn’t the best-laid plan.
I feel the same way domestically. If you look at America today, there’s a real want to use force for the issues people believe in. You want whatever you believe in to become law. You’re going to make this drug legal and that one illegal. I don’t think that’s the government’s job to decide. I think it’s up to the individual. We’re all different...We don’t all share the same consistent behavior, and the individual should be innocent until proven guilty. They should be allowed to decide what’s in their interest, what makes sense for them, unless they commit fraud or physical force or take someone’s property."
On the rule of law
"If someone commits fraud against you or does something to you, you take them to court. Then there’s either a penalty or jail time, depending on what it is. No one’s suggesting that you don’t have law. Everyone’s freer and safer if there are laws in place. If you have no law, you can’t leave your house, because you have to protect your stuff."
On the Second Amendment
"I believe in the right to defend yourself if need be. Hopefully you’re never in that situation, but I think you’re fairly naive to believe there will never be a cause for self-defense. But again, I believe it’s up to the individual. I don’t believe rights come in groups. You shouldn’t get more or fewer rights because of what you believe in or what nationality you were born into."
[sharequote align="center"]"Do you believe that using race as a factor in evaluating a person is a good way to operate?"[/sharequote]
On affirmative action
"Do you believe that using race as a factor in evaluating a person is a good way to operate?
...[E]valuating someone based on race...is racism. Rights don’t come to you because you’re a man or a woman or African American or European or Jewish. And I certainly don’t think the federal government should be in the business of deciding things or handing out money based on factors like these. It’s the same with same-sex marriage. Who cares what people feel about each other? Let people decide for themselves who they can marry. It’s not the government’s job. It’s between you and your partner and your church or synagogue or whatever you believe in.
I think history has proven without a doubt that the proper role of government is to protect individuals’ rights and liberties. That has always been the most prosperous, freest society for people to live in. And when government gets too involved, society turns into a place that gets very, very ugly."
On cronyism and politics
[sharequote align="center"]"You have to understand that America today is not capitalistic."[/sharequote]
"[L]et’s say I did [run for office]. I’m going to have a lot of people with a lot of money becoming my friends, aren’t I? Because I can write laws to benefit you. Let’s say you’re a major corporation, and I’m the politician and I can write laws. I can say which race gets a benefit and which doesn’t. That could get me some votes. Or I write laws that help your business and limit other businesses from being able to compete with you because they can’t survive all the new programs I’m putting in place. What is it they can’t afford? The health care act? Okay, I’ll vote for that and they can never reach you. But you have to vote for me.
You have to understand that America today is not capitalistic. The problem is corporatism. The government has too much authority, and it’s dangerous. It stifles productivity and freedom and prosperity and peace. I find most people nowadays are more complacent or accepting that the government can successfully do everything for us. It can’t. It can’t!"
On his passion for big political issues
"How can you not be? The Patriot Act? Let’s get rid of it. Undeclared wars, doing away with personal liberties—let’s understand how that has worked out historically to see that it has led to some horrible things. Once our personal liberties are gone, when an American citizen can be pulled out of his house and detained for six months without a trial, where is our country? Once those rights are gone, how do you get them back? Once the government is allowed to listen to you, how do you get that privacy back?"
Read the whole thing here.