Radicals in the Libertarian Party are responding to Gary Johnson's stance on anti-discrimination laws - a stance they've always known he had - like the fainting damsel in distress at the sight of the bad guy.
"Woe unto us Libertarians! Heaven's no! Wherefore art thou Liberty?"
Don't do that.
We're talking about Gary Johnson. Lest you forget, here is a guy that managed to get elected as a Republican in a state that was 2 to 1 Democrat, and manage to ACTUALLY cut spending. Does that compute, you “principled” Libertarians? He actually DID it. He also vetoed hundreds of terrible bills, and still managed to get re-elected.
You can comb through his record and probably find a few things that are not so Libertarian, but that is why you need to read this carefully.
What is wrong with you? Do I have to agree with everything the man says? Can’t I just support him because he’s actually effective at minimizing government? Can’t he be imperfect?
“No!” some of you say.
Walk me through this then.
“He failed basic Libertarianism. Freedom of association is Liberty 101.”
He didn't fail.
If you are not already familiar with Johnson’s position on anti-discrimination laws, I’ll sum it up: he wouldn’t change them. That's pretty much it.
He supports the Civil Rights Act, which makes it unlawful for private businesses to discriminate against people on the basis of religion, sex, race, etc. In the recent debate on Fox, he defended this, even if it meant forcing a Jew to bake a cake for a Nazi.
That does sound pretty horrible, until you realize that is exactly how it is now. Right now, a neo-Nazi could sue a Jewish baker for refusing him service. That’s kind of been the source of a lot of humor among Libertarians lately, in light of the incidents with Christian bakers and photographers.
The point here is not to say this is just or Libertarian in any way. It’s not.
My point is: So what?
Sometimes the Libertarian position is not always the practical position, which pretty much sums up Gary Johnson’s campaign. He’s not a sellout, because I’m sure he believes this. But does that mean he can’t be a Libertarian?
Dude, if Gary Johnson can’t be a Libertarian, then we are ALL screwed.
If you actually listen to the way he defended this position, it reveals a couple of things. While the end result may still be incorrect from a Libertarian standpoint, he demonstrates an understanding of what governing is really like. He says things like “people will get hurt,” after painting a picture of a town with only one baker. The fact that the free market will theoretically be there to supply any underserved customers is besides the point.
In his scenario, racial and ethnic discrimination can take on a mob-like nature that the state may not be able to manage, even if it wanted to. We’ve already seen how governments fail to respond to riots (even if we Libertarians like to wax poetic about the times in which the government is all TOO good at it).
So I don’t think Gary Johnson is thinking about this issue in an abstract, philosophical way. He just simply can’t believe that getting rid of these laws at this point in time would be a good idea. There are some places in this country where, if the laws were repealed tomorrow, people probably would get hurt.
It’s an argument worth pursuing, and if all the Libertinos would just stop shouting for two seconds, maybe we can learn something.
But it’s safe to say this is NOT Liberty 101. Like many issues, it’s complex when translated to reality.
But maybe you still disagree. Fine. Libertarians are stubborn, myself included. I get it. But you should at least be able to see why this is a smaller issue than you realize.
Think of it this way. Any time a politician eliminates a tax, unjust law, or government program, it is a plus 1 for liberty. Every time a politician does the opposite, it is a negative 1. If a politician says he won’t change an unjust law, that is disappointing, but not a negative.
You can say that we shouldn’t be keeping score, but why not? Is that what we do in a way when we decide who to vote for? This candidate has more stars in the “pro” column, and that candidate has more stars in the “con” column? If you take into account his experience, his relatively good manner of speaking about issues and his ability to suggest actual solutions instead of just rhetoric… I mean, c’mon.
All of his pluses CLEARLY outweigh the negatives.
I mean seriously, he’s not talking about closing up the borders and shipping out the illegals. His lists of government programs are lists of programs he wants to GET RID OF, not create. Stop acting like he's the next LBJ.
The strange thing is that Gary Johnson’s critics seem to acknowledge that he would probably be the most effective President of all the Libertarians running, but they would rather shoot him down than respectfully correct him and move on.
“He just put the final nail in the coffin of his campaign!”
If you say so. That’s a bit like a self-fulfilling prophecy. And you know what’s really ironic? The radicals who are shooting him down the most are the ones that like Austin Petersen even less, and he’s exactly the person they are going to hand the nomination to.
Austin was pretty much the runner-up to Gary, and he’s weathered the storm of Libertarian in-fighting just fine. He’s smart enough to get support from outside the party, and the radicals are ensuring his victory.
Remember, this is the guy that goes on rants about secret Libertarian elite conspiracy theories, and has openly stated that he does not support our party’s Statement of Principles. He has done everything he can to alienate some of the most energized members of our party, and has made personal attacks against other candidates and activists. Perhaps more importantly, he has a lot going against him, like his lack of qualifications, no name recognition, young age, etc.
The very same people who see that in Petersen are going to ensure his victory. And it reminds me of a story that I was told at the convention recently.
Years ago, when the window of opportunity opened like it has now, the Libertarian Party was set to nominate a person that would have been fantastic for the party. People inside and outside the party knew who he was, and he was by most measures a compelling candidate. When it came time to give speeches, though, another candidate gave a very rousing speech and the delegation ended up nominating him instead. When it was too late, they found out that the guy had almost no money and no campaign staff. He ended up being a terrible candidate, but the delegates chose him anyway because he said all the nicey words that Libertarian radicals like. He passed the purity test, but a huge opportunity was squandered to do it.
This has to stop. IT HAS TO STOP.
I could not be more opposed to the Libertarian Radical Caucus at this point. I was starting to warm up to them, but that’s just because the idea of having principles is Romantic and sexy. But principles without pragmatism is suicide. We may as well go off and start a book club and learn to pick up snobbish dialects so that we can all sit around and navel-gaze.
We’ll be 100% correct and principled in our prison cells, while the country burns to the ground.
Gary Johnson is wrong on anti-discrimination laws, and I don’t care.
You can spit in the face of the guy that is suing the debate commission to get into the debates. You can hate the most qualified person we have to actually be president.
The more you talk about how Gary Johnson is not Libertarian enough, the more you turn Libertarianism into an exclusive club, populated by whackjobs.
Cut him some slack, guys.