Matthew Larosiere, Legal Associate, Cato Institute
Cato Intern Class Summer 2016
How did you learn about the Cato Institute? What made you want to be an intern?
I was brought into libertarianism after having volunteered for Ron Paul, and then the Campaign for Liberty, in 2008. I became fascinated by the idea of libertarianism, and started reading as much as I could about it. Of course, I noticed most of my favorite pieces of writing had Cato’s name on them. So, getting to work at the Institute, in any capacity, became a goal.
How did the internship affect the way you think about public policy and/or political philosophy?
I was a legal intern in the summer following my second year of law school. My experience at Cato really reinvigorated my interest in fighting for freedom through the law, whereas law school had made it seem that there was simply no way to bring about the changes I wanted to see in the system. My experience at Cato showed me that I had only been taught one very limited side of the law, and the experts here seemed to open massive, new doors.
What kind of work are you doing now?
I am currently doing legal work in Cato’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies. I write amicus briefs, articles, and other media about various subjects of the law. My specialties have evolved into gun rights and taxation.
What advice can you offer to fellow alumni who want to secure a job like yours?
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and explore non-traditional career paths. Just try to have an end-goal in sight, and in every decision you make, ask whether or not the decision inches you towards that goal.
What’s the libertarian community’s most important contribution to the public policy debate these days?
In my own incredibly biased opinion, it is providing dogma-free analysis and policy recommendations. There is always an answer to “why” with libertarian policy. Libertarians seem to uniquely believe in internal consistency as a virtue. That’s powerful.
What’s a change — a policy perspective, a philosophical point, a messaging strategy, anything — that you would like to see in the libertarian community?
I have been somewhat frustrated by libertarians who consider some rights to be more important than others, and openly communicate such. I don’t think it would take much compromise to agree that all rights are worthy of a spirited defense.
Are there any important ideas (policy, philosophy, or something else) to which you subscribed for a long time, but now believe to be erroneous?
I once believed the United States was overpopulated. That didn’t last long after coming here.
What makes you feel most optimistic about the future of liberty?
I feel that people every day are growing to ask more questions. I also feel that many questions people have about why certain rights are so restricted lack satisfactory answers, and that this will lead to more passion in the pursuit of liberty worldwide.