Newsletter Exclusive: How did John Stossel become a libertarian?

For the past couple of weeks, we’ve published some great interviews with Sean Hannity, Kathie Lee Gifford, Brad Meltzer, and others in the newsletter.

In this week’s newsletter, you can read our next interview in the “Off The Record” series, this time with Fox Business host John Stossel.

In the interview, Stossel discusses his transformation from a liberal to a libertarian, as well as how he started an on air career while having a stutter.

Below is a highlight from the interview:

At Princeton, they explained the ideas behind liberalism – though they didn’t say it that way – were the only reasonable ones: The state planned people’s lives. We had experts now that could teach poor people not to be poor, and food stamps would help lift them out of poverty. I just believed all that. I believed it for a long time.

In Portland, I quickly saw how the War on Poverty had unintended consequences. But I was a consumer reporter, so that was mostly what I was covering. I was getting rewarded for bashing business. I won 19 Emmy Awards criticizing business, and there was plenty to criticize, lots of cheaters. But I noticed when I got to ABC that there were fewer national scams to expose. While there were lots of local cheaters in New York and Portland, they didn’t get very big nationally. The businesses that went national were the ones that served their customers pretty well.

Get the full interview today in the Glenn Beck Newsletter:

  • Chad Grills

    Looking forward to seeing this interview. These stories of personal transformation, and waking up are crucial for freedom.

  • Liberty For All

    It used to be, when a liberal WAS a libertarian…as they both referenced liberty.

    These transitions in “believe”, caused and made self evident by their own physical evidence by simple observation, also gets you thinking, that there’s something more going on than “belief”, which is to say, that economic results are not dependent on how hard one believes in something, no matter how well intentioned.

    This gets you thinkin’ even further then, and you might come to the realization that the arguments for one side or the other, are not equal arguments. It’s not really an argument for hearts and minds. It’s really an argument for reality, which makes one side more than a belief…it makes it “true”…or at least “more true”, than the other side, which is only justified by belief and emotion, followed by physical action, followed by cause and effect, and followed by its associated economic decline.

    Which gets you thinkin’ again, there’s more going on than believe; there’s a science to the universe, and working against it, regardless of beliefs or good intentions, produces decline, and working with it, produces perfection and abundance — and there’s a reason.

    The whole premise of the left and right being equal arguments, is a lie. A delicate but profound fact we never bring forward….luckily for the left, because if all there is is belief, it makes all arguments essentially equal.

    • John Scott

      A belief is not something you can prove. Its a mental conclusion that you gain from others and from other forms like the Bible as an example. Others may challenge that belief and sometimes they convince you to change your belief.
      My comment above I believe holds true. If you believe something yourself then stick with that. Don’t just follow others because they believe. That can be anything from religion, to politics to what cloths to wear. Not always is there a right path and wrong path. But there is paths that take us in wrong directions.

      • Liberty For All

        Hi John,

        In the context you are describing believe above; that belief is solely a mental conclusion without evidence, and of only opinion and feelings, I would very much agree; that’s exactly what belief is.

        But there are beliefs that you can prove and make self evident by physical demonstration, over and over, at which point they are not beliefs anymore; they are examples of what’s “true”, because they made self evident, and hold true from every angle and in every instance; today as well as tomorrow.

        For instance, if we consider the negative economic results above that John Stossel has keenly observed, we find it’s not a result of just believing harder in one of many belief systems. The “unintended consequences” mentioned above, are a self evident physical result, caused by specific physical action. It’s not because they didn’t believe hard enough in the action they take.

        On other hand, individuals with the ability to freely seek to improve their own lives and the lives around them, without coercion, do not produce such negative results.

        Point being, it’s not an accident. It happens, and happens every time, in every instance, because there is something larger at work than “belief”. There is an economic science at hand. Physical action of one type or another, produces either physical decline or physical abundance.

        The words belief and truth are used almost interchangeably today without much thought, but there is economic “truth” in the science of freedom and liberty, and it’s out there for all to physically witness and made self evident at every moment, and in every instance.

        Freedom and liberty, is far more than a “belief”. It is an expression of natural law, and of what needs to be, because of cause and effect, which is why physical abundance follows…and why the United States has shown to be the most fruitful example of human organization in the history of mankind.

        It’s not because of a belief. It’s economic science.

        • John Scott

          I firmly agree. I think people change their beliefs because they find something that makes them change those beliefs. John Stossel as some would say saw the light and realized things are not what he once believed. I think we all have those what was I thinking moments. As I point out I am fine with a Liberal who actually believes the position liberals take. Same as I do conservatives. I compare belief to something like UFO’s. Some people just believe even if they have never seen a UFO. Others, won’t ever believe even if one landed near them. Some have to see to believe. Its very much like that with politics. We still see people voting for one party or the other just because that’s what you do. Its like buying a Ford or a Chevy. Your dad bought it so you will too. I give credit to some young people who look to validate their beliefs and question others to do so too. The question I have today, is that our Country has always had liberals and conservatives who managed to keep this Country strong. What happened?

          • Bert31

            Liberty’s point is…two people can see your hypothetical UFO. One person accepts the fact the it is indeed UNIDENTIFIED and does not attempt to explain what he’s seeing until some sort of evidence is presented to them. Person number 2 sees the UFO, has no idea what it is, and attempts to explain what the object is (in their opinion) when keeping their mouth shut was the smarter thing to do. Person number 2 is your modern day liberal.

    • Brutus

      I’d like to say no offense, but it will offend. This comment and some that follow seem like a lot of psychobabble to me – way too philosophical. This is much more simplistic. John Stossel had real world experiences that changed his political ideology – not a big deal. It happens all the time. I think you will find that many young, liberal-minded individuals change their opinions when faced with real world situations. There aren’t likely to be any moments of clarity in the interview – just a normal progression of thought for most, excluding hardcore liberals of course. I like Stossel and Beck, but don’t expect “aha” moments in the interview. Still getting back to my initial comment, these comments are hard to read – boring at best. Let’s present the positive story of being conservative or libertarian.

      • Liberty For All

        Brutus, my comments are meant for people who ask “why” such positive events happen. If you wish to only celebrate freedom and liberties successes, that is your propagative. My point is these successes of prosperity are not an accident. The laws of physics are at play. It has nothing to do with belief, which it seems is the only argument for justification one side or the other has. No offense taken.

  • John Scott

    Always liked John no matter what political affiliation he was. Has a lot of common sense to him. He is a person who at least thinks about his beliefs then blindly following the crowd. As one pastor told me once. Its not enough to believe in something because others do. You have to believe it yourself.

  • Glenn Coughlin

    Why did Stossel change?
    Obviously, like many other soulless talking heads on the right, he saw he could make more money if he left his morals at home.

    • Liberty For All

      You cannot get more moral, then letting an individual seek his own destiny, and that includes allowing individuals to choose to seek together through mutual cooperation. Coercion on the other had, in all instances, and regardless of so called good intentions, always leads to moral corruption and economic decline as we are experiencing now, and through every period of time when coercion ruled.

    • Mark Reha

      Morals, really?? So it is “morally” OK to take my tax $$$$ and give it to some one that dropped out of school, has TEN children from TEN different/unknown “fathers”, who is “morally deficient” and NEVER been a PRODUCTIVE ( by the real definition ) part of society? Those are FEELINGS, not morals!!!

    • Anonymous

      So obviously you have a hard time reading what is written and making a analysis of if??
      I’ll make it REAL easy for you, I’ll try to type slow because I can’t use a crayon here…
      He says he grew up as a liberal, but saw that all he was taught was wrong, it didn’t work…
      At this point, MOST PEOPLE with a brain would determine, that if what you have been taught all your life doesn’t work (even thought they say it does), maybe there is something else that might…
      This actually IS the most moral decision one can make.
      To stay where he was would be the most immoral choice.

  • Fresh Mountain Air

    Citizens: Reject the illusions, delusions, and primitive superstitions of today’s liberals and progressives:

  • Lee-Ann M Kenerson

    John Stossel : There are pro’s and con’s with his views and frankly I wish the man would just declare his views in black and white , way to many gray area’s. We could take a bit of every political party to suit our own needs. This nation is way beyond that point. John has common sense and I certainly applaud that. If we look around and honestly take stock of what is happening all around it is pure chaos on all fronts and frankly there is not one political leader in office right now that I trust. Not one is willing to stick to the path of our constitution that has served us well . they will quote bits and pieces but eventually when all is said and done as a group in session nothing , nothing gets done . That is the rub! Leader’s that I felt were the real deal have done just the opposite. We are in deep trouble .

  • Ron Simonson

    Was it Churchill who said “if your not a liberal when you’re 20 your heartless, if you not a conservative by the time you are 40 your brainless!”

  • Ognol Longo

    This is funny.. Beck is NOT a Libertarian.. hes a fraud!

    • Liberty For All

      You see, the cool thing about libertarianism, it doesn’t matter what Glenn is or isn’t. It has no effect on me. He has no intention of coercing me or others by force. Unlike personality worship of the left, and the force and coercion by the personality in charge. Big difference.

  • Alex Cunningham

    If we just go by what we believe than everyone will differ and no one will ever get along. I don’t care how far Humanity evolves. There are simply things than Man will never know. Once they figure out one thing it will open doors to more things. so we will never reach understanding of everything. I believe there is a God that makes laws and standards and that they are there for a reason. If we all follow them then we are all on the same page and society works the best. Example one being the US in prior years before we became more secular. I am not for forcing anyone to believe anything, I am just simply bringing up the example of when things worked better and why.

  • Ms. Newton

    Where parents have many choices to advance their children’s interests, inheritance is a superior moral choice to options such as nepotism.

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