Bill Steigerwald

Neal Boortz, the politically incorrect, truth-talking talk-show host out of Atlanta, is carried in nearly 200 radio markets from liberal coast to liberal coast. A libertarian who believes drugs and prostitution should be legal, he also says things like government schools are “the most rampant form of child abuse in this country” and “religion is all-too-often a refuge for scoundrels.” Boortz, who co-wrote the 2005 New York Times best-seller “The FairTax Book,” has just come out with a new book, “Somebody’s Gotta Say It.” I caught up with “The High Priest of the Church of the Painful Truth” in Atlanta on March 22, as was driving to the airport to pilot his private plane to Florida.

Q: Why should anyone who owns a radio buy your new book?
A: On a radio show you cannot go into the depth that you do in a book -- the citations and what-have-you in the discovery and discussing of certain things. That’s one of the things I do in the book. Also there are some tall tales about my old days in radio and how I got into it. I don’t really cover those on the air. So it’s really an expansion of what I do on the air so that people can get to know me better and know how I feel about some issues better.

Q: One of the things you said on the air was that “teacher unions are more dangerous than al-Qaida.”

A: Now what I say -- and there is a difference here – is I say in the long term teachers unions present a greater threat to this country than do Islamic terrorists. Now in the short term, of course, you could have terrorists use a weapon of mass destruction and kill a lot of people in this country, but we would recover from that. The terrorists can’t take out a generation of young Americans; the teachers unions can -- and they’re doing a fairly good job of it.

Q: If you met someone on a plane and they asked you what your politics are, what do you tell them?
A: I just say “I’m a libertarian.” I’m not conservative. I’m not liberal. I’m a libertarian. I default to freedom. When an issue comes up -- What do you think about this? Should the government do that? Should these people do this? To me, the default position is always freedom. People should do anything in the world they want to do as long as it doesn’t violate somebody else’s rights to their life, their liberty, their property through force or fraud.

Bill Steigerwald

Bill Steigerwald, born and raised in Pittsburgh, is a former L.A. Times copy editor and free-lancer who also worked as a docudrama researcher for CBS-TV in Hollywood before becoming a reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a columnist Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Bill Steigerwald recently retired from daily newspaper journalism..