Sunni: Hi Marc, and thanks for setting aside some time in your busy schedule to talk with me. How are you doing these days?
Marc: I couldn't be better. It's always a pleasure to speak with you.
Sunni: Well, thanks! I know your schedule is brutal right now, so I'll try to be less wandering than I usually am with these interviews. [laughs] I'm not sure how most people know you—as a cofounder of the Freedom Summit, or as a criminal attorney. But we'll get to both those subjects, I'm sure. First, how about you tell me a little about yourself, and how you came to be pro-freedom? I detect in your voice a bit of an Eastern accent, so I'd bet you aren't an Arizona native, for starters. [laughs] And I'm thinking Butler Shaffer had something to do with your political views.
Marc: I'm a Bostonian and therefore a big Patriots fan. I migrated to Arizona in 1989 and was a Reagan Republican. Professor Butler Shaffer first presented libertarian ideas to me while I was in law school. Initially, I fought him, arguing we needed government to accomplish a host of worthy goals. Soon I realized he was right and I was wrong. It didn't take me long to become an advocate for freedom.
Sunni: Who are some other people who've had a big influence on your thinking?
Marc: Obviously, parents always have a substantial influence. In addition to them, Butler had the most influence. I have also been influenced to a large degree by the writings of people such as Professor Walter Block, George H. Smith, Harry Browne, and Murray Rothbard. More recently, David Friedman and Chris Heward have forced me to reexamine aspects of my views.
Sunni: The first time we met in person was at the 2004 Eris Society meeting, where you spoke on The Drunken Monster Erroneously Referred to as the 'Justice System'. It was a terrific kickoff talk, and you took a good amount of flak from some people who apparently thought you were overstating the case against the judicial system. How can you hold views like those you stated and remain part of that system?
Marc: That's a difficult but fair question. There are aspects of practicing criminal defense that constantly bother me. Indeed, merely living in the United States often necessitates actions which offend libertarian principles. I pay taxes despite opposing taxation and most of what is done with that money. I hold licenses to practice law, to be married to my wife, to drive a motor vehicle, and to conceal deadly weapons. I oppose the requirement for all of these licenses. Although my philosophy is sometimes referred to as either hard-core radical libertarian or anarchocapitalist, I admit that in practice I make compromises and choose my battles carefully.