Shortcuts & Delusions: MSNBC, Tomi, and Social C


MSNBC has been on a bit of a tear recently, enjoying historically high ratings (high for MSNBC, at least; it’s not comparable to the series finale of M*A*S*H or anything). Anywhat, the network has been steadily gaining viewers ever since Donald Trump pussy-grabbed his way into the White House, and Rachel Maddow has been enjoying a serious ratings surge ever since her Trump 2005 tax return report flopped. Funny thing about the media: sometimes the best way to gain a larger audience is to disappoint your core audience. It reminds me of The Producers when Leo Bloom tells Max Bialystock a producer could make more money with a flop than a hit.

Maddow is now currently neck and neck with her conservative time-slot rival, Tucker Carlson, who anchors Megyn Kelly’s former time-slot. The irony here is Maddow’s TV career essentially began as a guest panelist on Carlson’s MSNBC show called…wait for it…Tucker, which is both a noun and a verb.

I can think of plenty of cable news talking heads more cloying and strident than Maddow; just because she and I do not share a common ideology does not mean I can’t or don’t appreciate the way she conducts her news/opinion show. In other words, she’s not insufferable to watch like Greta Van Susteren, Sean Hannity, Lawrence O’Donnell or Chris Hayes.

The problem with Maddow is her broadcasting career can’t, and will not, live up to her true talents and aspirations. Maddow holds a DPhil in politics from Oxford, an undergrad degree in public policy from Stanford, and is a goddamn Rhodes Scholar. What is she doing hosting a 9pm cable news show?

Most likely, she’s in it for the money, praise, and fame, as well she should be. We all want pats on the back and a nice paycheck. But I get the sense that when the ratings came in for that Trump tax broadcast, as well as subsequent ratings, she had to smile and nod and touch the arm of the E.P. to show her appreciation for her newfound popularity, but deep down she was thinking, “Jesus Hula-Hooping Christ, I can’t get out now. I’m in it for the long-haul.”

When Rachel Maddow started her broadcasting career while working on her doctorate, it was to put food on the table and a roof over her head, but now she’s stuck. She’ll renew her contract with MSNBC because they’ll throw a bag of money at her. She’s worth the money they’ll offer, but she should value herself more as a brain than as just a mouth.

Tomi Lahren has reportedly been allegedly suspended for possible comments she supposedly made during her guest appearance on “The View.” Those comments were, “Blah blah blabbedy blah I’m for limited government, so stay out of my guns, and you can stay out of my body as well blah.” My sources inform me that afterwards, Glen Beck threw holy water in Tomi’s face, but the sanctified liquid did not achieve its desired effect of reverting Tomi from pro-choice to pro-life. Instead, it only made Tomi sexier.

Where I feel bad for Maddow (Can I call you “Rachel?”), I don’t feel bad for Tomi. Tomi has either been fired from The Blaze, or Beck won’t renew her contract; either way, she now has options. She’s probably squirreled away some money, and can take a year or two to work on a book, refine her ideology and presentation thereof, and reinvent herself to continue her career (unlike Maddow, whose continued employment will only lead to the continued stagnation of her mind, body and soul). I’m jealous of Tomi, for reasons other than her luscious blonde locks and ability to walk in heels without turning her ankles.

She’s already been a guest on FOX News shows; in a few years she’ll probably have her own show, or better yet, will be a regular guest upon the spectrum of that channel’s programming, and not be saddled with carrying her own time-slot.

In fact, if Tomi wants to be pushed to the front of the line of hot FOX News broads, she’d get a law degree, get married, have kids and return to work as she’s nearing middle age (I’ve done the research).

I find it deplorable that comments Tomi made on another TV show wherein she described her personal conservative ideology is what lead to her becoming persona non grata at The Blaze, whereas Maddow’s career has been advanced by her craven, and critically derided, attempt at ratings. A woman who speaks honestly of her conservatism is let go by her employer, while another woman who made a spectacle of herself (but who is by all accounts smart enough to have known she should have avoided this ridiculousness) is reaping a larger audience. Who won here? Certainly not opinion journalism.

Of The Great Tomi Lahren Unraveling of 2017, Tomi herself tweeted, “Listen, I am  not glorifying abortion. I don’t personally advocate for it. I just don’t think it’s the government’s place to dictate,” and Reason’s Elizabeth Nolan Brown wrote:

And even if one does believe that abortion is an immoral practice, it doesn’t necessarily follow that one must wish it banned completely. There are plenty of pro-life Americans who believe a blanket ban on abortion is not the best way to end the practice, given how black markets work. They instead strive to end abortion through changing hearts and minds, advocating better pregnancy-prevention methods, working to expand adoption options, and things like that.

Which of course brings me to social conservatism (I know, I know, not my best transition ever). A few weeks ago, Being Libertarian’s Editor-in-Chief Martin van Staden, the Colonel Potter to my Hawkeye Pierce, wrote “Social Conservatism and Libertarianism Are Not Mergeable – So Stop Trying.” Before he published his article, Martin asked for my input, and it was then that I decided I wanted to write a response, but I don’t want to write an insufferably long paragraph-by-paragraph critique of Martin’s article. If you’re looking for that, read Jared Howe’s “Conservatism and Libertarianism: Mutually Exclusive or Inherently Inseparable?”

Essentially, van Staden’s thesis is social conservatism is the merging of traditionalism, much of which is derived via religion (though you can arrive at the same conclusions via a secular avenue), with state authoritarianism, and he’s not wrong. However, the root of social conservatism is not politics. Rather, it is a form of selfism, or selfishness, a behavior defined by self-discipline, self-reliance, self-respect, and self-denial. Social conservatism essentially seeks to impose private pro-family, civil, and religious values into the public sphere. That many practitioners of traditionalism seek to impose it onto their neighbors is unfortunate, though I believe most who wish to enforce social conservatism due so because they genuinely believe it is a way to live that leads to economic prosperity and happiness and fulfillment.

Should the state advocate traditionalism in furtherance of maintaining a stable society that can more easily self-perpetuate? I readily admit that I would prefer this, but before you rush to the comments section to denounce me, keep in mind there is a difference between state coercion and politicians advocating and leading by example. If we’re going to have a state, it should be one that at the very least advocates for traditional family values from which stability, self-reliance and basic morality emanate, doctrines that espouse the essentialism of not violating yourself nor your neighbor’s rights to life, liberty, property and safety, attempting to keep yourself free from substance addiction, and following the basic pattern of graduating high school, then going to college/getting a job, then getting married, and then having children. Anarchists argue that we do not require a State; we minarchists argue we require an incredibly limited role of the State. In any event, if we individuals wish to pursue market-based solutions, then we are much better off with social conservatism than to be socially liberal. It is well-documented that individuals who hail from stable, two parent households stand a much better chance of survival and success within the private sector.

If libertarians want to live free of government paternalism, with no welfare and entitlement state, its citizens need parents who raise them with traditional family values so they stand a better chance of being self-reliant.

And that’s the way it is, as far as you know.

These images are brought to you by Being Libertarian’s very own Dave Van Englehoven & Terry Sparkman, who both appear in this music video.

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Dillon Eliassen is a former Managing Editor of Being Libertarian. Dillon works in the sales department of a privately owned small company. He holds a BA in Journalism & Creative Writing from Lyndon State College, and needs only to complete his thesis for his Master’s of English from Montclair State University (something which his accomplished and beautiful wife, Alice, is continually pestering him about). He is the author of The Apathetic, available at He is a self-described Thoreauvian Minarchist.


  1. For such a well educated and obviously very smart person hard to figure why she says and does so many stupid things. Article is probably right, it’s for the horrible money she so desperately hates.

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