I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Libertarian Party Senate Candidate for the state of Georgia, Shane Hazel. Mr. Hazel is co-host of The Rebellion Podcast with Banks Wise, which aims to articulate the ideas of personal and economic liberty in an exciting way while also educating listeners on the importance of American History.
Shumate: What was it that made you decide you wanted to frun for Senate in 2020 as a Libertarian?
Hazel: I actually decided I didn’t want to run (laughs) and wasn’t going to run. Man, I’ve got a full-time career, full-time family, a part-time podcast that takes up a good chunk of time, and I just moved out to the middle of nowhere where I’m renting a house while I build a new house all at the same time. So, to throw this on top of everything, man, is not something I wanted to do. I got nominated by the party. You know it’s one of those things, I think I said it in my acceptance speech, I’ll accept it with a humble heart and an anxious conscience and spirit, but the fact that they picked me – they couldn’t have picked a busier guy I think. I hope that inspires people to say, “Hey, if he’s willing to do it,” if I am willing to do it, which I am – I am going to need a ton of help to get this thing moving and growing.
One man can only do a little bit. He can have a vision, he can communicate, but it’s going to take an army of people to spread that. You know the liberty movement is bootstrap, man. We are a lot like my old brothers and sisters out there in the Marine Corps. They’re poor and they’ve got to do more with less than most people can even fathom. I think that’s the kind of campaign we are going to be used to and the kind we are going to run, but it was definitely not my idea.
Shumate: Kind of like the Marines on Guadalcanal, aye? Kicking ass with outdated WWI equipment.
Hazel: Yeah, exactly. (Laughs)
Shumate: The last time you ran for office, you ran as a Republican. What made you decide to run under the LP banner this time around?
Hazel: I think I was naive last time, and I needed to see it for myself. People said there’s no way on earth that the Republican Party will ever accept a guy who runs on a liberty ticket. That isn’t going to take the votes for big corporations and the donors and things like that, who will sit there and preach it’s either the constitution or there’s no government, fire and brimstone basically. So, I saw it for myself, as a combat vet who’s a Marine, and everything that the “Republicans” out there say that they hold dear, and they’re good on paper, but when it comes to government they’re god-awful.
They make compromise, they live in fear, and it’s basically, it’s that guy or the Democrat, and you’re like, well, when I look at that guy or the Democrat I don’t see a difference. Here’s the deal, it doesn’t matter if it was Democrats or the Republicans over the last 20 years we got more war, more debt, more spending and we have less liberty and freedom across the board, and it didn’t matter what combination it was, it was always the same deal so, I am done. I am going to do something else. So, where there may be a lack of leadership and may be a lack people who can articulate the liberty message that’s where people who are leaders. If you understand the basic principles, life, liberty and property, peace, liberty and free-markets, that’s it! Super simple!
Shumate: Do you think the failure of the two-party system will give you an edge with the voters running as a Libertarian?
Hazel: Yeah, and I’ll tell you, man, I am optimistic about taking that message to people out there who feel like that parties have abandoned common sense in terms of the Democrats ramping up drug enforcement in their own communities and throwing more people behind bars for victimless crimes, and the Republicians deploying our brothers and sisters for 20 years. Guys, at what point is enough, enough? Are you just going to ride these guys until you destroy the entire institution of military and service? Because let’s face it, they don’t know what they’re getting into when they get into it. We can communicate the messages better than the Republicans and the Democrats to both of those people. I think we are going to have a hell of an effect on this election because people are just tired of that crap, and they’re ready for something and somebody who can have the fight and make sure that both parties aren’t compromising on those core principles.
Shumate: So, tell our readers what your battle plan is to win this Senate race in Georgia?
Hazel: Winning is not the goal. That’s the problem; you have to manage expectations. In these gigantic races where Senate seats start at two-plus, three-plus maybe four or five million dollars, the liberty crowd isn’t going to have special interests beating down their door to donate that kind of money to win those races. So, what do I want to do? I want to get out there and raise awareness that these two parties and the people who will fearmonger and browbeat people, their time has come and gone, and it’s slipping. We are going to show that in this race, hopefully in the double digits, at least.
We have a pretty big voice down here in terms of the liberty community and the podcast. I think there’s a lot of Republicans and a lot of Democrats who will bail on these guys if given the clear and conscious message that this is the way we should be living our lives, where we aren’t hurting other people or taking their stuff, or having the government point guns at people to exact our morality or the way we want the social structure to look. I think people are going to get behind that in a really big way. It’s going to send a hell of a message to the establishment here!
They’re going to have to do a couple of things. One, it’s going to be a wake-up call. Two, they are going to have to start making concessions to try to pull people back to their parties so they can “beat” the other party again. Those people who linger between the LP and the Republicans, or the LP and the Democrats – those votes after the general and if there’s a run off, those candidates are going to have to reconsider their message to those people because those people may sit it out. That’s what I am going for.
It’s not win or lose. It’s how many people can we get to shrug off this idea of being scared, pitiful subjects of a crown in DC. vs. how many people can we get to stand up and say, to hell with the consequences? I don’t give a damn anymore; I’m going to at least vote my conscience and my principles! That’s the Americans I want to see turn out, and I think we can inspire them to do it.
Shumate: Man, you sound more fiery than the flame of the Statue of Liberty’s torch! I love it.
Hazel: (Laughter) I appreciate it, man.
Shumate: You’re a Marine Combat veteran, do you mind telling me a bit about your service?
Hazel: I was in a very special group I was in 1st Force Reconnaissance Company, and they were the premiere special operations group in the Marine Corps during that time frame. I joined right after 9/11, and I got over there within a half a year and started going through schools, and started being schooled so I could be deployed to a warzone. 2001 came around, and we deployed for the initial invasion. Then my platoon turned around and went back for a one-year deployment after just having a six-month deployment. We got into some amazing… just god-awful fights.
The Battle of Najaf, we were stationed at this place called FOB Duke that was Northwest of Najaf, which is the second holiest city in all of the Islamic culture. That’s where I had my eyes kind of opened. We fought through the catacombs, a lot of Marines were injured; some were killed. They surrounded this place called the Imam Ali Shrine. We cornered this guy who’s still around in Iran today, a Shiite cleric named Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi militia. America was about ready to blow these guys off the map when D.C and this guy named the Grand Ayatollah Sistani came into town and brokered a peace deal, and all those Marines who watched their brothers fight, some die and others injured had to watch the Mahdi militia walk out of there not to be seen again until months later.
In that time period, I was doing overwatch and protection for, an executive type protection for..I think at the time it was Motwani, going out and taking out what we believed were high-value targets, taking out bombmakers doing hostage rescue and things to that degree. In late October, after we worked with the U.S. Army Special Operations guys for a while, our platoon got called up to Fallujah. This was Fallujah II in November of 2004, probably the biggest house to house city battle in the Marine Corps history, even bigger, I guess than Whey City in Vietnam. Kind of a legend there, we did all the reconnaissance there and we were some of the first guys into the city for that god-awful battle. Things I don’t anybody to ever see. The unbelievable might of the military and what they can do. It opens your eyes, so after Najaf, I had my eyes open. I was like, “What the hell are we doing over here if we aren’t trying to beat and kill the enemy?”
That’s where I had my eyes open to there’s a problem and lead me down a path of self-education. What you find there are some of the greatest most prolific writers in American History, the founders, the Federalists, the Anti-Federalists, John Locke, and Bastiat; people who really studied what governments were at the time. The Marine Corps is what opened my eyes to the fact that there was a serious problem with our federal government and I needed answers.
Shumate: Would you say that your time in the Marine Corps made you a Libertarian?
Hazel: I’d say it at least made me not a neo-con anymore. At that point, I didn’t know what to think. I say it a lot, you’re on a spectrum, and once you start moving toward anarchy vs. tyranny instead of right vs. left, Republican vs. Democrat. When you figure out that you’re on a different spectrum and you’re moving toward anarchy as fast as you can and the more you read the more you that you don’t need other adults making decisions for you, it happens quick man! Then to master it that’s where you get empowered. Once you find the truth and it takes ahold of you, you can’t unsee it. It’s outward-looking – it’s going out and having very pointed conversations, but doing it through the Socratic method where you’re asking questions until they can’t answer your questions, then maybe you can teach them something in a polite way. It’s kind of come full circle for me.
Shumate: You are known for your The Rebellion Podcast you co-host with Banks Wise. Given that you are running for office, will you still be doing the show or will Banks be solo for a while?
Hazel: More than ever man, more than ever. The Rebellion will drive on ,I think it will be my way of reaching more and more people. I am a mountain man, I live in the sticks man. I am not going to be able to drive all over the state and be everywhere at once; with all the loads of content we have created, it’d be a silly place not to talk about the campaign. As somebody who is running for Senate, what a great thing to hear. How many other senate canidates or even senators for that matter do you hear talk unfiltered for three hours teaching history, teaching what the Federalist vs Anti-Federalists said, teaching the great what the great liberty minds and economic minds said, the Austrains vs the Keynesians..There’s about one other guy that we both know and he’s run for President and Senate. There’s not that many of us.
Shumate: Yes, our friend Austin Petersen. There really aren’t that many and you are among them, my friend. You certaintly inspire me.
Hazel: Ah, man! (Laughter) That makes me smile, man!
Shumate: It seems that anytime we look at the LP, a lot of people complain about the amount of internal fighting. Do you have any thoughts on this?
Hazel: Attending that Libertarian Party Convention, it’s the first time in a room where I think every individual who’s dialed into principle understands and can see right away, kind of like kryptonite, who’s faking the funk and who’s not. It’s not that we hate you, it’s not that we wish you ill, it’s that we know you don’t understand and you will capitulate and flip flop if you don’t understand the principles and that’s not ok. It’s one of those things that makes me very happy to be part of the LP and amongst it’s very loving and humorus members. They are absolutely the salt of the earth and amazing people.
Shumate: What do you believe are the key things that make Libertarians better candidates than the two major parties?
Hazel: First and foremost, they understand charity, and what I mean is Democrats get it wrong when they want to make sure people are taken care of, but the way they’re doing it is at the point of a gun. That’s not charity, forced charity there’s no merit in it, no extra credit there’s nothing. The Republicians are the same way. They want to help businesses along, the way they help businesses accounts for more spending in this country than just welfare to the individual, so they do it wrong. The other thing that the Republicans get wrong which the Libertarians are far superior on, is economics. They understand Austrian economics, they understand savings creates jobs, which creates industry, which creates better economic growth and that’s what lifts people out of the muck and the mire to heights that we can’t even fathom yet. To be able to see that and articulate those things is an absolute blessing. These guys know at the end of the day that if you’re pointing guns at people to extract wealth, property, or life from people, your ideas suck! It’s that simple of a metric. Are you pointing guns at people to do what you want to do? The answer for the Libertarians is always no. If you want to give to the military give to the military, if you want to pay more in taxes, if you want to give food to the homeless, fine. If people want to do something with their body, we don’t care as long as they aren’t hurting anybody else.
Shumate: Yeah, I thought people were supposed to learn that in pre-school. What’s so hard about don’t hurt other people and don’t take their stuff. I mean come on, a five-year-old can understand that!
Hazel: (Laughter) Amen, Amen!
Shumate: With all the bad press that the Libertarian Party gets, tell me who are some of the people in the LP who give you hope?
Hazel: I am extremely energized by what the Libertarian Mises Caucus is doing. Michael Heise is the founder of this organization, and he has brought together the likes of people like Tom Woods, Dave Smith, Scott Horton, myself…I mean, this guy has awakened people who were previously not part of any party. We are kind of like a bag of cats. You can’t herd cats, but here’s the deal..I’ve said it before times must be getting pretty nuts right now if people in this liberty world of ours are massing with new energy that hasn’t been seen since Ron Paul. The Ron Paulers are coming back in because of these kinds of people and they’re bringing their audiences and crowds with them. My hat is off to Michael Heise. He has done a phenomenal job getting people involved and doing it through principle. The LP kind of fell flat on its face because Bill Weld was lobbying for Raytheon, and you can’t have someone who is lobbying for Raytheon as part of the ticket. Gary (Johnson) his first time around in 2012 was ok, but the second time around, he lost his damn mind. It’s not that Gary is a bad guy or anything; it’s just he wasn’t the guy for 2016 and turned a lot of people off.
This time around, you have people like Jacob Hornberger running for the Presidential Nominee; you’ve got Adam Kokesh, who, after sitting down and talking with him, is an extraordinarily articulate and bright spokesman for this liberty movement. I am excited about Tom Woods coming in, Dave Smith coming in and… Jesus!.. Scott Horton. I don’t know if you know Scott Horton… that guy, what a living legend! To have him on the side and to know what he knows and be able just to leave most people speechless.
I don’t know that I am excited about one person. I am excited that this thing is growing multiple heads and those are staring at the main problem. I’ve said we need to end the wars; we need to end the Fed and end the empire. Those three things will help bring America and the rest of humanity to another level. Living in peace is something that this world sorely needs. This world needs to be quiet and needs to reflect for a long time because if you look at the past couple centuries, and we are just getting started in this one, we are killing way too many people. 200 million by governments in the last century, and we’re probally somewhere over 3 million in this century and we are only in the 20s. That’s crazy to me.
Shumate: That’s something that really angers me about these politicians with their endless wars. I come from a military family with my dad who served in the Marine Corps, an uncle who served in the Army, and a younger brother who is currently serving in the Army. It enrages me that my family could die for their greed.
Hazel: Well, they’re not going and that’s the problem right? They’re not going and they’re not willing to sacrifice themselves and that’s a game for keeps! Which kid are you going to pick to go die? I want to know, which kid are you going to send off? If people had to make that choice, I think it’d be a lot more real to them and they wouldn’t be so flippant. I’ve got buddies who have done over fifteen deployments. That nuts! That’s too much to ask of any man, woman, or their families. The people who are saying, lets do this, you know they’re not serious because they don’t understand this is not a sustainable path for a country or a people.
Shumate: I find it to be very hypocritical of Republicans, in particular, who claim to be pro-life, and yet so many are pro-regime change war and the death penalty? I think to myself that’s impossible to be ideologically consistent.
Hazel: I’ll tell you that’s probably one of the last things I had my mind changed on, was the death penalty by Miss Hannah Cox, who is an extraordinary mind on the subject. But yeah, if you want to parade the military around the world and have people killed and start wars… let me tell you something – sanctions and wars and military actions – all if it is an act of war. Let’s put the shoe on the other foot, if somebody did that to us, we would treat it as an act of war.
Secondly, the fact that we are going to send our men and women because they have signed up out of the goodness of their hearts because they’ve been indoctrinated by the government to think America does no wrong and we are star spangled awesome at everything and of course we wouldn’t go around the world and kill people.. the fact is we do. We do it all the time. War affects the poor, it affects the innocent, it affects kids, it affects wives, it affects young men who want no part of that kind of thing all the time. The longer we stay there and the longer we do the things we do without mission.. and that’s the thing there’s no defined end state. There’s nothing, it’s just continue to send money and blood over there and to hell with the consequences is what the military industrial complex thinks. America is not with that.
If you look who has been elected in terms of the Executive Branch, Clinton ran on peace, Bush ran on peace, at least the first time, Obama ran on peace, and Trump also ran on peace. I think for the most part a lot of people want peace. Thank God that we didn’t escalate things after the Al Assad bombing, which could’ve gone kinetic very quickly. The bottom line is if you’re claiming you’re pro-life, you have to be anti-war and anti-death penalty.
Shumate: If you had to choose a favorite Founding Father who would it be?
Hazel: I love Patrick Henry! One of Patrick Henry’s speeches, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”, it resounds with me. It strikes chords with me and I think about it a lot. If you look at what Patrick Henry said, the Navy and the troops, the marshall array, I think is what he called it, is meant for us it can be meant for no other. The standing army of police and bureaucratic federal organizations that are out there, like the Department of Education, DEA, and the ATF and all these organizations that shouldn’t exist in the first place that have things like SWAT teams and guns pointed at people. You talk about the standing armies…Are they meant to win back our affection?
That’s what Patrick Henry talked about; these cannot be meant for no other, they are meant for us! He said, trust it not my friends this guile smile, that you’ll be ensnared and he wasn’t wrong. The whole American experiment we have grown from the smallest government that was ever conceived into the largest empire that the world has ever known. Patrick Henry saw that, he railed against it, and his life, his fortune, and his sacred honor was put to the test, and he stood in defiance of an empire. I feel like that’s what we are doing. I’m not Patrick Henry by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ll be damned if I’m not inspired by him. He was articulate. He was one of those guys when he spoke, people listened. The thing is, he was right! He was prophetic. He was right when he said, when will we be stronger? Tomorrow when they take our gun? Tomorrow when they take our farms and assets after they’ve taken our guns? No! Today is the day when we draw a line in the sand, and we say no more. We want peace; please give us peace! We are begging you with tears in our eyes give us peace, and if you do not, we promise you we will destroy you, or we will fight like hell, but you’re not going to take our freedom! That is the soul stirringness of why I love Patrick Henery.
Shumate: I love your fiery passion my friend it’s exactly what we need.
Hazel: Thank you, man! It comes from a sincere place.
Shumate: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I enjoyed our conversation.
Hazel: You’re welcome, anytime, man! I’d love to get up to North Carolina and have a beer.
For any readers interested in helping Shane in his Senate campaign, they can reach him or donate at ShaneHazel.com. You can also hear him talk more about the ideas of liberty and his campaign on the Rebellion Podcast.