Podcaster Jason Stapleton recently took his loyal listeners to task in an unhinged rant released on his group’s Facebook page this past weekend. In his screed, Stapleton issued a simple ultimatum for the individuals in his group: bow to the state or face his wrath.
“Some of you are nothing but agitators,” Stapleton proclaimed. “Arrogant, adult children who have nothing of value to add to this group or the liberty movement… Take caution in your posts and comments because any of the benefit of the doubt you might have received prior to today is gone.”
Anyone who deals with libertarians on a regular basis on social media or elsewhere can understand Stapleton’s frustrations. If this rant were merely a release valve after a stressful day, that would be one thing. Unfortunately, Stapleton’s rant is little more than a thinly-veiled cover for an aggressive policy of censorship against differing viewpoints.
In spite of Stapleton mentioning that he had respect for libertarian anarchists such as Tom Woods and Bob Murphy in his rant, Stapleton’s actual behavior displays a much different attitude than his talking points. Case in point, he banned a supporter from his group for having the audacity to ask an honest question of Lord Stapleton:
Attempting to justify going “Full Jackboot” on his listeners, Stapleton even resorted to Orwellian double-speak. “[This group is] a place for people to discuss and ideas, share stories and meet people of like mind,” Stapleton wrote. “It’s not a philosophical group and it sure isn’t a political activism group.”
It is hard to understand how someone could comply with this request since discussion or ideas aren’t welcomed if they are philosophical in nature or can promote the cause of liberty through the political process. The new confusing dichotomy of the Stapleton program and his group seems to be either submit or get the boot.
Here are some other comments made by Stapleton that display the depths in which he sunk in the midst of his pedantic meltdown:
In the pretext to this bizarre flame out, many former Jason Stapleton Show supporters were already in the process of an exodus from the Facebook group. According to them, it had become an increasingly hostile atmosphere toward libertarians in recent months. Stapleton preached unity, tolerance, and respect, but was never able to live up to his lofty rhetoric.
Former Administrators Speak Out
Sarah Copeland, Kim Schjang, and Cam Harless were once administrators in Jason Stapleton’s Facebook group. After discovering Stapleton’s podcast, they were excited to see what they thought was an articulate, unifying voice in the liberty movement.
Schjang had an especially close relationship with Stapleton because it was his show that turned her from a hardcore leftist social justice warrior to an anarcho-capitalist libertarian. A member of the LGBTQ community, Schjang was even inspired to run for Nevada State Senator in the Libertarian Party this year.
“The show was informative [in its early days], but the Facebook group was actually the key to growth because ideas were challenged by people at different points of their liberty journey. One day, I found out Jason had made me an administrator, which was an honor to me,” Schjang said.
The situation did not stay hunky dory for long. As Schjang developed intellectually as a libertarian, she came to embrace anarcho-capitalism. These radical ideas were promoted in large part by the great Ron Paul, who in spite of being a libertarian minarchist, certainly associated with many anarchists and sought out their console on economic matters very regularly.
“My policy personally as an administrator was, whether they are anarcho-capitalist or minarchist, you treat everyone with respect. I didn’t care what your philosophy was,” Schjang said. “You got the same treatment from me. I don’t treat anarcho-capitalists better than minarchists. The problem was, this was not Jason’s mode of operation.”
Schjang claims that her anarcho-capitalist views eventually resulted in her being shunned by Stapleton and his loyalists. Although Harless and Copeland are minarchist libertarians themselves, they echo Schjang’s concerns about Stapleton’s tone-deaf, arrogant, and hypocritical behavior.
“He’s reacting because there are a few out there who didn’t line up to lick his boots. He has to have control and I don’t believe for a second that he believes in the principles of liberty,” Harless said.
Stapleton’s podcast may be growing in stature and he can be a thoughtful advocate for the cause of liberty at certain times, but this brazen autocratic streak that is apparent in his actions certainly raises some red flags about his true motives and where he intends to lead his flock.
“The man who had brought me to libertarianism, I had come to realize, was only concerned about his own brand of libertarianism,” Schjang said. “He didn’t actually care about my journey as far as it made the pages of his one-time magazine look good.”
In a response to the change in tone from Stapleton, these three former administrators have collaborated on a podcast and a Facebook group of their own. Dubbed “Make Liberty Great Again,” they recently recorded their first episode, and will happily provide greener pastures to all of those individuals purged from Stapleton’s Facebook group.
“Stapleton had a rudimentary idea of what liberty means and decided to start a show that he could make money off of by emulating Rush Limbaugh. As it turns out, anyone who spent time reading or thinking about liberty outgrew him pretty quickly,” Harless said.
Liberty activists would be wise to continue their intellectual growth and progression, regardless of the monetary agenda of any self-serving interest out there.