April 25, 2009
Pia Varma of Laissez Faire LoungeBy Ben-Peter Terpstra
When Pia Varma speaks tax-and-tax politicians itch. Is she the Naomi Klein of the free market movement? Already, the young capitalist is a partner in the PopModal company, a YouTube for conservatives, and most recently she delivered a red-meat libertarian speech to Liber-Tea Party protesters.
Still, Pia is just as comfortable talking clothes with Ann Coulter over cocktails. (Pia: "Where did you get your top?" Ann: "Isn't it fabulous.") Young. Enthusiastic. Smart. Face it, Pia is sharp. Hey, I couldn't construct a bridge between Coco Chanel and Aristotle?
Please tell me about Laissez Faire Lounge, and the inspiration behind the catchy name.
Laissez Faire Lounge is my blog and a libertarian/conservative hangout. Right now I am the sole writer and I write every weekday. The blog may develop and expand in other directions or it may not. All of the postings are centered around a libertarian/conservative philosophy and perspective. The catchy name? Ha, hah. I wanted something that was part Mises/Cato Institute part cool, hip, sexy lounge...hence Laissez Faire Lounge.
I see that you're a "PopModal" girl and that The (London) Daily Telegraph's Shane Richmond enjoys it too. What's so special about the site?
Yes, I am a "PopModal" girl and a partner in the company. The site is essentially a YouTube for conservative videos. It was founded by Jeffers Dodge, a former music exec A&R guy, who wanted to bring his skill sets in the entertainment industry to the conservative movement.
The way I see it, there is an enormous conservative audience and lots of product (movies/music/merchandise etc.) aimed at this audience and no distribution. Our aim is to be a distribution outlet for all things conservative.
What's the worst pick-up line you've heard from a left-wing male?
Ha, hah...I don't think that left-wing males ever pick me up. I think they're scared of my conservative lunacy. I'm an acquired taste!
How do you respond to campaigning reporters who charge that free-market values failed America?
I think they are either pushing an agenda or naive. I think making these sorts of statements does such an enormous disservice to the world. Are we looking for the answers that sound the best or make for the best sound byte, or are we looking for the correct answers?
I wrote a blog entry called, "En Vague" about the very subject of these sorts of sweeping statements. I think the free market system is an easy scapegoat. I only hope that people are curious for a more in-depth explanation and do their own analysis and research about what actually led to the economic collapse.
I take it you like Ayn Rand's Fountainhead and the movie (1949), starring Gary Cooper, the critically acclaimed Republican actor. What lessons can Americans take from it in 2009?
I loved the movie, love Ayn Rand and am curious about what Hollywood will do with Atlas Shrugged. I think that Americans can take the most from the courtroom scene in the Fountainhead. Howard Roark's explanation of socialism is perfect. Atlas Shrugged is a play-by-play of what is going on in America right now. I think Ayn was an oracle.
You're self-identified "optimistic pessimist" and support laissez-faire capitalism. So does that mean you're a realist?
Ha, ha...yes. We are a rare breed these days.
How familiar are you with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? I imagine you formed a view on his controversial visit to your university, Columbia, New York.
I wasn't actually at Columbia when Ahmadinejad spoke. I think his visit was simply a bunch of intellectuals trying to be clever and not realizing what a dangerous message that is sending.
With that being said, I think that conservatives, particularly the very hawkish conservatives, should take some time to really understand what is going on in the Middle East and realize that the best foreign policy is one that centers around free trade. I believe strongly that we have a right and responsibility to defend ourselves, but at the same time, nothing will make us safer than free trade.
Ha, ha. Ann Coulter jokingly accused you of being too defensive. Please explain.
Yes, ha, ha...in an interview I did with her - and I made the claim that conservatives were cool too! She told me I was being too defensive. My comment was more sarcastic...there is nothing cooler than being a conservative.
Being cool is being anti-establishment, right? Conservatives are against every establishment there is: media, education, government, big business. Plus, there is nothing cooler than capitalism!
I'm praying that Coulter will invade my country, kill my leaders' plans, and convert them to Christianity. Now, seriously, why are America's politically incorrect girls so stylish and funny?
They put us in this transforming machine during our training sessions. Sort of like the movie, Stepford Wives.