Radicals in the Libertarian Party were challenged to respond to an article written on LibertyPoint.org entitled Wisdom vs. Reality: Libertarian ‘wisdom’ vs. ‘real’ politics. As a radical, I decided to offer my two cents to the issue in response. I do this independently of the Libertarian Party Radical Caucus, though I am a member. These thoughts are my own and should not be used in an official format as a response from the caucus.
The very first rebuttal I wish to convey is to the following statement within the article:
Unfortunately, as with all too many revolutionary movements, this devotion, dedication and adherence to our tenets sometimes ignores reality.
There is no reality to ignore when adhering to the core of libertarianism. We believe things like taxation being theft, which by definition, it is. You can try to rationalize the “need” for taxation all you want, but when we apply definitions to terms we find that even the dictionary agrees.
the act of stealing; specifically: the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it
Just because a group voted to steal, instead of breaking into your home and taking it themselves, doesn’t change the fact that your property was taken as the rightful owner.
Another core tenet of libertarian thought is that we believe in the non-aggression principle, which means that we believe the initiation of force against a person is wrong. This is the most basic reality that exists. Every one of us was taught since early developmental years that we don’t hit people, break other people’s things, or take what doesn’t belong to us. Libertarians simply take it a step further and say that just because the majority voted to do so, doesn’t mean it is right.
We do not have the power to give authority to someone, if we do not have the authority to do so on our own. Since I cannot steal from my neighbor, I cannot give the authority to someone else to steal from him. When we do this without “government approval,” once we face a court of law, we are still guilty of conspiracy and held at the same level of accountability as the person who actually took the action we asked of them. Why is it different when we ask government to do it?
The next portion the author goes wrong is in the following excerpt:
One of the leading examples of this is the belief that “most people are libertarian but don’t know it yet.”
Reality is somewhat less appealing. Libertarians who’ve been involved with any municipal planning or zoning process know “it ain’t so.” The reality is that, in the United States, in the 21st Century, “most people” have come to expect government to do certain things.
Most people expect local government to pick up the garbage, maintain the streets, provide water and sewer services and police and fire protection. They expect zoning regulations and local ordinances to prevent their neighbor from building a 24-hour convenience store in his back yard.
Evidently, the author seems to think that only the city does trash pick up, providing of water/sewage, police, and fire. I would have to assume that the author has never hired private security to guard assets, has never heard of a volunteer fire department, and never lived in a Home Owner’s Association that does trash pick up. It is also apparent that the author has never lived in a rural community, where there is no sewage system and you maintain your own septic tank. Examples already exist where people have demonstrated that they can do these sorts of things without municipal planning groups. All you have to do is experience things beyond a narrow world view.
Not everyone has city utilities on the grid. Not everyone has to rely on subsidies on farmed food. What utter chaos there must be in the non-incorporated areas around the nation.
The reality is that individuals like the author are just too lazy to do things on their own, or in voluntarily associations. It takes a lot more work to make sure things get done, but why bother when city councils and state legislatures can just do it for you?
The author paints things as there being a dependence on government as a “modern reality,” yet for anyone who lives in a rural area, reality is very different. The vast majority of things are done through voluntary association and personal responsibility. Want power? Better make sure the windmill is in good repair. Want heat? Better make sure to order that propane. Want indoor plumbing? Better make sure the septic system is in good order.Want fire put out? Put on your boots and gear up, because all that’s available is volunteers.
The next passage is one I believe you will find an immediate contradiction between the two statements:
Self-government, however, may have another meaning if you consider that man is a social animal. While rugged individualism is an American ideal, and has and does exist in our society, most people also need and seek community. Even in the “frontier days,” when a man was striking out on his own, family in tow, other individuals came together in voluntary association to help him build his barn.
In other words, wherever two or three are gathered, there will be government in the midst.
Notice how the author is speaking about voluntary association and adhering it to meaning government. There is nothing voluntary about government. You pay taxes or go to jail. You cut your grass or be fined. You want salt? Too bad, it’s banned. 32 oz. soda? Too much sugar for you. Want to choose cannabis as a medical treatment? Too bad, jail time for you. There is nothing voluntary about what is going on. It is put in place with authority that never existed.
Most people are social creatures, but there are miles of difference between voluntary exchange and forced compliance to societal norms defined by a majority.
The reality of the situation is that while it may currently be accepted by the majority, we must always speak the truth boldly and plainly. Watering things down does no one any good. Is it ok if you are elected to a city council to vote in favor of a partial tax decrease? Of course. Take what you can get now, but never settle for more than absolute liberty in all things. As soon as you vote yes, the very next day you should be right back on the offensive in decreasing taxation more.
When we water down things to fit society’s current status, we get lost in all the noise. We must be bold in our approach and show exactly how libertarianism is different. Give examples of ways to improve and always strive for the highest amount in all areas of civil and economic liberty.
In my own candidacy for the U.S. Congress in 2014 and this year, I didn’t cut corners in what I placed in my platform. In 2014, I doubled the Libertarian vote in my district and set the highest polling third party for federal office in Utah since the 90’s. In 2016, I have polled even higher than 2014, and the election is still a month away.
I didn’t say to cut taxes; I said eliminate them. I didn’t say legalize medicinal marijuana; I said all prohibition must end. I didn’t say cut foreign aid to our enemies; I said it isn’t our business to be involved in other nations at all. I didn’t say that we should only go to war with Congressional approval; I stated that war must end and violence is only a means through defense. I spoke the truth. I didn’t take half measures. In the end, a new record will be set in Utah because of it.
The reality is that pragmatists like this author cannot do anything without radicals speaking boldly on principle so that people can see the difference between us and the two major parties.
The Utah Debate Commission has decided to exclude the campaign for Craig Bowden, candidate for Utah’s 1st Congressional District, as well as candidates for the Gubernatorial race and Attorney General race. This measure to exclude candidates is egregious on its face, and will be challenged. For far too long, systems set up by the two major parties have worked to keep alternate voices from being able to be heard. Whether it is with debates or ballot access, the drive to maintain power has kept third party ideas out of the eye of the public.
The Debate Commission is in direct violation of election laws, and will be held accountable for what it is doing. Under the Equal Time Rule, candidates from opposing parties are able to receive equal air time at the same rate that is offered to other candidates broadcast. Normally, this would not apply as a law, as it does exempt organizations that hold their own debates as long as it is not the broadcast station itself. Where the Utah Debate Commission violates the law, is that the news media sits on the board for the commission. They are instrumental in planning these debates, and dedicate non-regular air time to have these debates. As such, it does not fall under “on the spot news” as required to be exempt from the law. The media is helping manufacture the news under the guise of a private entity.
As such, the campaign of Craig Bowden, will be seeking the price of 30 minutes airtime from every broadcast station, both televised and aired on radio, on the prime time slot. This lawsuit will go away if the campaign is included in the debates.
Further, Craig Bowden’s campaign will be seeking equal damages for every third party candidate and independent who was excluded. This is in combination with any fines the Federal Communications Commission may seek to impose on the Utah Debate Commission. The monies awarded on behalf of other third party candidates will be paid to each candidate that was excluded from the debates.
The Libertarian Party is more popular than ever this year, as people across the nation are starting to realize both parties have continued to burden future generations with more debt, we continue to send men and women to wars we don’t belong in, civil liberties are attacked, and cronyism runs rampant.
However, in my observation, we are not seizing the real advantage this year. It is beyond amazing that we have our top ticket performing so well this year. I am doing my part on my outlets showcasing Gary Johnson too. The problem is that with the momentum in our favor, we continue to focus at the top ticket, instead of bringing to light the great candidates who are running down ballot.
The fact is that we need to get people associating what they are seeing with Governor Johnson with the candidates who are running locally. We need state legislators, Congressmen, Senators, Mayors, etc. to build up a base to run for higher office in the future. I fear we are hoping that this will just occur naturally, and people will just find out about those candidates. If we put all our eggs into one basket, and the basket falls, our eggs will break and we will lose out on this chance.
Evidence is already showing that we are losing our greatest chance in history.
In one such instance, Lily Williams, U.S. Senate candidate from Colorado, fell .02% short of being included in the debates in her state. Imagine if we had put the same amount of volunteer work and donations that we are putting into the Johnson campaign for Mrs. Williams? She would be on that stage for sure.
Another example is that from my last time looking at FEC reports, only two candidates have even raised more than $5,000 in their campaigns. We need to be supporting those candidates so they have a chance of winning and being heard. If you would like to see the list of federal candidates you can go to http://www.5n1plan.com and see who is running to represent you. You should also go to your state or county’s election page to find out who is running for county and state office.
We need to be out knocking on doors, making phone calls, sending donations, writing the media, etc. If everyone were to do this across the whole country in support of our amazing slate of 2016 candidates, we would start lighting liberty’s torch in a way our nation hasn’t seen in over 100 years.
The choice is yours, I cannot force you to help out candidates who are running, but I know that they need support. Do your part for everyone, not just the top ticket. There could be a future presidential candidate in that mix who will now have experience to run on. Those state legislators could run for Congress with records to run on.
Seize this opportunity and fight as if we didn’t have a top ticket doing as well as they are. Get those people into office!
Seems that libertarianism is under full attack lately by those in the Democrat and Republican Parties, and as such, we are left to set the record straight when the attacks come. The latest that has crossed my feeds in social media come from Citizen’s Daily Journal entitled Gary Johnson is Progressive – Not Libertarian. Aside from many of the regular attacks that involve “he’s just there to steal votes from [insert candidate here], and if you don’t support [insert candidate] then [insert candidate] will win” fear mongering both parties use to maintain power in this article, I want to address the list of things this author believes are not libertarian.
It is time for people who know the history of libertarianism to stand up and defend the record so that we can make sure our message is heard, not what the two parties want people to think. I will post why each position lines up with the Libertarian Party platform as well as also history of libertarianism as each apply. People need to understand what we stand for from the sources that actually matter: the people in the trenches fighting for it every day.
So here is the list of things considered unlibertarian, and also where Gary Johnson fails on libertarianism according to this author.
- Pro legalized drugs
- Pro legalized prostitution
- Pro amnesty for illegal aliens
- Pro open borders
- Pro jihad resettlement in the USA
- Pro free trade with communist regimes
- Pro unrestricted abortion
- Pro affirmative action
- Pro same-sex marriage
- Pro separation of church and state
- Soft on crime
- Anti-death penalty for violent offenders
- Anti-national security
- Pro isolationism
So here we will post the break down, fully sourced as always, to show you the actual positions of libertarianism and when needed, the position of the Libertarian Party candidate running at the top of the ticket.
Pro legalized drugs
It is true that the Libertarian Party and Gary Johnson are pro-legalization or decriminalization. Incarcerating people for crimes where there is not a victim is no form of justice. Just because you don’t like what a person does, it is their body they are using to ingest or inject substances. Until someone, other than the user, has their life, liberty, or property harmed, there is no actual crime.
This aligns completely with the party platform.
Individuals own their bodies and have rights over them that other individuals, groups, and governments may not violate. Individuals have the freedom and responsibility to decide what they knowingly and voluntarily consume, and what risks they accept to their own health, finances, safety, or life.
The prescribed role of government is to protect the rights of every individual including the right to life, liberty and property. Criminal laws should be limited in their application to violations of the rights of others through force or fraud, or to deliberate actions that place others involuntarily at significant risk of harm. Therefore, we favor the repeal of all laws creating “crimes” without victims, such as the use of drugs for medicinal or recreational purposes. We support restitution to the victim to the fullest degree possible at the expense of the criminal or the negligent wrongdoer. The constitutional rights of the criminally accused, including due process, a speedy trial, legal counsel, trial by jury, and the legal presumption of innocence until proven guilty, must be preserved. We assert the common-law right of juries to judge not only the facts but also the justice of the law.
Pro legalized prostitution
For the same two planks above, this falls in line with libertarianism and the party platform. It is a voluntary transaction that doesn’t have an actual victim. Now, if we were going to address the human trafficking currently occurring in the realm of illegal prostitution, you now have a victim that is being forced. However, if this were brought into the light, those who are trafficked or abused by pimps would have a way to come forward without fear of reprisal from the criminal justice system.
Pro amnesty for illegal aliens
The is where the writer actually starts lying about Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party. While we are not opposed to traveling across borders, we have made it clear through our platform where we actually stand.
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
Where does Gary Johnson stand on the issue? Well here is his stance from his website:
Having served as Governor of a border state, Gary Johnson knows the complex issues associated with immigration reform first hand. Solving immigration problems is not as easy as building a wall or simply offering amnesty.
We should appreciate and respect the diversity of immigrants that come to the United States to be productive members of society. But we also need to recognize that everyone who comes here is not so well-intentioned.
Gary Johnson and Bill Weld don’t want to build an expensive and useless wall. The only thing a big wall will do is increase the size of the ladders, the depth of the tunnels, and the width of the divisions between us.
Candidates who say they want to militarize the border, build fences, and impose punitive measures on good people, ground their position in popular rhetoric, not practical solutions.
Governors Johnson and Weld believe that, instead of appealing to emotions and demonizing immigrants, we should focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.
Making it simpler and more efficient to enter the United States legally will provide greater security than a wall by allowing law enforcement to focus on those who threaten our country, not those who want to be a part of it.
Certainly doesn’t sound like amnesty to me. It only takes simple research to find out where actual stances exist instead of misinforming people.
Pro open borders
Are open borders a bad thing? No. Liberty actually transcends the lines we draw in the sand. In the Declaration of Independence it states that “All men are created equal…” It doesn’t say you have to be born in a certain area. Libertarian philosophy transcends borders. It fosters the belief that everyone is born free, that no man has power over another.
The root of libertarianism in the non-aggression principle. This includes blocking free movement of people.
Pro jihad resettlement in the USA
This is where the author really goes off the deep end on this bit of misinformation towards Gary Johnson. At no point does Governor Johnson state that he is “pro jihad.” This is exactly the type of scare tactic that has been being used by Republicans to cause hate.
The fact of the matter is that there are people in Syria who are facing death every day. I will not pretend to know what would be required for the vetting for entry, and while generally libertarians don’t believe in intervening, a human crisis where we might be able to help some people escape the daily horror they face would be one of the times where it would be acceptable to at least this libertarian.
Pro free trade with communist regimes
How do you help people in poverty around the world? You do so by eliminating the barriers we erect. The people who live in these nations are not enemies to liberty. They are families with no options, and we would restrict their ability to make a difference in their lives for the better? The only harm that comes from trade embargos are for the innocent people forced to live under systems of oppression. Oppressing them further serves no purpose. The evil still thrives in those regimes, and their control is stronger because there is no mobility. Free trade includes everyone and would foster relationships with people who committed no offense against us. Truly free and open trade is 100% a libertarian position, and is within the scope f the libertarian platform as well.
We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade. Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries. Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders. However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a credible threat to security, health or property.
What is wrong with this position? Nothing.
Pro unrestricted abortion
The author attempts to state a position Governor Johnson does not take in his article. Further, libertarians actually fall on both sides of the spectrum of abortion. This is a debate that is difficult no matter what side you are on, but to set the record straight for Governor Johnson, as well as the official libertarian stance on the issue, evidence is provided amply throughout the internet.
An interview with David Scheff in Playboy Magazine in 2011 states this position on abortion from Governor Johnson:
Q: Where do you stand on abortion rights?
A: It should be left up to the woman. If my daughter were pregnant and she came to me and asked me what she ought to do, I would advise her to have the child. But I would not for a minute pretend that I should make that decision for her or any other woman.
Q: But you have supported legislation that requires parental consent and signed a ban on partial birth abortions.
A: I think the decision can be made at an earlier stage. That’s why I don’t support partial birth abortions. I realize it’s a fine line, but I generally come down on a woman’s right to decide.
Q: Do you disagree that parental consent is problematic for teenagers who can’t talk to their parents?
A: I believe that parents ought to know. Where that can’t occur, there needs to be a process in place, which we have in New Mexico.
There’s strike one on the lies told by this author about unrestricted access. But it continues with the governor’s record. During the GOP Primary Debate on Ma 5th, 2011, located in South Carolina, Governor Johnson had the following exchange:
Q: Most Republicans and everyone else on the stage but you identified themselves as pro-life; you have said that abortion should be legal until the fetus is viable. How do you hope to woo conservative GOP voters with that position?
JOHNSON: I support a woman’s right to choose up until viability of the fetus, as governor of New Mexico, I would have signed a bill banning late term abortion, I’ve always favored parental notification, I’ve always favored counseling and I’ve always favored the notion that public funds should not be used for abortion. So running for Governor of New Mexico in a state that was 2:1 Democrat, I really didn’t get that vote in the primary, but I’d like to think that I got all of those votes in the general election and that’s a reality here also, for those individuals that hold that as their number one issue, I’m not going to get that vote, I would hope to get that vote if I were to move on to the general election.
That makes strike two for the author. Could there have been more? As a matter of fact there is. Another interview by Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone Magazine , Jun 15, 2011 has the following exchange:
Q: You have unorthodox takes, for a member of the GOP, on abortion.
A: I support women’s rights to choose up until viability of the fetus. I’ve supported the notion of parental notification. I’ve supported counseling and I’ve supported the notion that public funds not be used for abortions. But I don’t want for a second to pretend that I have a better idea of how a woman should choose when it comes to this situation. Fundamentally this is a choice that a woman should have.
Strike three already, so the author is out. It continues with this throughout Governor Johnson’s record on the issue. Governor Johnson also believes that insurance companies shouldn’t be mandated to provide contraceptives and that the government shouldn’t fund abortion. Each of these can easily be found.
To the point of where the Libertarian Party stands on the issue, we have the following to say:
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
We fall on people to make informed decisions. It is a very difficult decision, and it isn’t the role of government to determine this course.
Pro affirmative action
Once again, the author chooses a stance that is false about the record for Governor Johnson. What does the Governor believe about affirmative action? Like the Libertarian Party, we believe in a meritocracy. A place where you rise or fall based on your personal performance regardless of your sexual orientation, gender, religion, or skin pigmentation. You don’t have to take my word for it, however. In the 1998 New Mexico National Political Awareness Test taken November 1, 1998, Governor Johnson answered the following:
Indicate the principles you support concerning affirmative action. Should state government agencies should take race and sex into account in the following sectors: College and university admissions?
Q: Public employment?
Q: State contracting?
And the Libertarian Party agrees:
Libertarians embrace the concept that all people are born with certain inherent rights. We reject the idea that a natural right can ever impose an obligation upon others to fulfill that “right.” We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should neither deny nor abridge any individual’s human right based upon sex, wealth, ethnicity, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Members of private organizations retain their rights to set whatever standards of association they deem appropriate, and individuals are free to respond with ostracism, boycotts and other free-market solutions.
Pro same-sex marriage
Libertarians are less pro same-sex marriage and more in line with removing government from the equation of determining what people decide to do as consenting adults. It is none of our business. However, since people who are in same-sex relations were being denied the equal treatment of the law, we support the current status where they are now allowed to marry, while continuing to advocate for the separation of marriage and state.
Liberty is choosing your life and your pursuit of happiness.
Pro separation of church and state
The author here is attempting to convey that the governor is somehow against religion. This is not the case. As a matter of fact, once again, ample evidence shows that Governor Johnson falls on the side of choosing for yourself. America is a melting pot with more religions than imaginable. Where all libertarians stand is that you are free to worship as you choose, so long as you don’t force it on others.
Soft on crime
Most crimes are victimless. We do not advocate for throwing people’s lives away for choices that involve consent or their own bodies. I have already shared the platform planks, and feel they do not need to be repeated. We are not soft on crime. We are just only interested in prosecuting things like rape, murder, burglary, and robbery. Crimes with victims.
Anti-death penalty for violent offenders
With the error rates in convictions, estimated to be at 4.1%, we would rather not kill innocent people. It is not the job of government to take life, and as a party we have also passed a new platform position that matches this.
We oppose the administration of the death penalty by the state.
The government should not be the ones determining who lives and dies. Especially when 4 out of every 100 that have been determined so far, will have committed no actual crime.
Another lie from this author. As a matter of fact, for a claim of him being anti-military, he is polling higher than both the Republican and Democrat candidates among active duty military. 38.7% average, a full 8 points ahead of Donald trump and 24 points ahead of Hillary Clinton. Why would the military be backing him in such high percentages? I would say it is his military and veteran policies. Again, you don’t have to trust my word for it, take the words of the governor and the Libertarian Party for what they are.
Q: Libertarians are seen as isolationists. Where do you see a role for U.S. military in the world?
JOHNSON: If we are attacked, we’re going to attack back. And you can certainly argue that we have been attacked by ISIS, but let’s involve Congress also in this process. Congress has abdicated to the president and to the military–we find ourselves in these conflicts without an open debate and discussion on how we should move forward. We’re obligated to defend borders in other countries that have not been negotiated through Congress, either.
Q: But if we have been attacked by ISIS, then how can you not be involved in Syria, which is obviously a big swath of the Levant, where ISIS has its stronghold? How do you stay out of there?
JOHNSON: Well, because of our intervention, ISIS has grown as a result. I mean, you had Assad against ISIS, and now you take out–you know, we decided to go against Assad, and that’s ISIS. So, you know, is that now our new ally?
Maybe they see things like this where he is actually taking reasonable action instead of promising to send them anywhere for any reason like most presidents of the past. This page is called Marine Vet For Freedom, I’m a Marine Veteran, and I am done with wars that don’t defend our nation. I didn’t sign up to invade other countries. Lots of us feel the same way.
As for the Libertarian Party on the military?
We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression. The United States should both avoid entangling alliances and abandon its attempts to act as policeman for the world. We oppose any form of compulsory national service.
Anti national security, another lie from this author, as was demonstrated already with the party stance on national defense. So what does Gary Johnson say?
From his website it states this about national security:
The objective of both our foreign policy and our military should be straightforward: To protect us from harm and to allow the exercise of our freedoms.
Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed and the trillions spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. The chaotic, reactive military and foreign policies of the past two Presidents have, if anything, created an environment that has allowed real threats to our safety to flourish.
As President, Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to refocus U.S. efforts and resources to attack the real threats we face in a strategic, thoughtful way. The U.S. must get serious about cutting off the millions of dollars that are flowing into the extremists’ coffers every day. Relationships with strategic allies must be repaired and reinforced.
This one is the most hilarious claim, and gladly the best was saved for last from this author. The author claims that the Governor is pro isolationism, yet has also claimed that we want open trade & borders, stated he is pro-trade with communist regimes, and wants to bring Syrian refugees into the U.S. If he were isolationist, he wouldn’t do the others. So which is it? The fact of the matter is the attacks against libertarians are going to continue from the right-left adherents because we are a threat to the powers that be.
I’m not the biggest fan of Gary Johnson, and have been critical of him on several things. However, I am not going to lie about him, nor am I going to bash someone who is clearly the best choice of the slate currently available. When the Johnson/Weld ticket cross my line fully, you’ll hear it from me, but for now they are the most liberty minded ticket available to us.
Remember that libertarianism is neither left nor right. We merely believe that people should be free to seize their own lives and do what works best for them. As long as governments exist, we will always believe their only use is to support policies that protect life, liberty, and justly acquired property. Aside from that, it honestly isn’t anyone else’s business.
In an article posted on August 31st, 2016, writer Bill Lueders wrote a hit piece against the Libertarian Party titled Do Libertarian Converts Know What the Party Stands For? To set the record straight with the truth, here is my response:
The first thing of critique is this quote:
Johnson, who garnered 1 percent of the vote when he ran for President in 2012, is the former governor of New Mexico. His running mate, William Weld, is the former governor of Massachusetts. Both are enjoying unparalleled political attention and success, with roughly 9 percent of the public now planning to vote Libertarian.
But probably many of these people are largely unaware of the party’s positions.
That’s in part because the Libertarian Party’s rising fortunes in the current presidential sweepstakes have little to do with the Libertarian Party. Rather, they reflect a greater-than usual degree of popular dissatisfaction with the candidates being offered by the Democratic and Republican parties.
First, in the top five polls being considered for inclusion in the debates, Gary Johnson currently sits with an average of 10%, but that isn’t the meat and potatoes to point out. The biggest slam is actually not against the party or candidate, but against the people currently supporting their new found home. The writer assumes that the people supporting Johnson and the Libertarian Party are “unaware” of what we stand for.
If that were truly the case, I guess that means that the surges of people looking up who Gary Johnson is and searching for Libertarian candidates on sights like Google should just be ignored. I suppose we should also ignore the record viewing being set when he is on the television. There is also the fact that for the media is actually inviting the Libertarian ticket to be interviewed far more than ever in Party history. I suppose the author believes that no one is paying attention to the news; that you are ignorant and just hating on Trump and Clinton.
The author further doesn’t mention that there are other candidates that people are paying attention to with Darrell Castle and Jill Stein. Both also polling higher than normal. Even Ed McMullin, the long shot independent candidate from Utah is getting press. In spite of this, Governor Johnson has separated from the other candidates to become a realistically viable choice.
The next quote to note, that the author didn’t fully research is in regards to the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The truth is that Bill Weld, his running mate is really the one lauding the agreement. Gary Johnson, however, had this to say in an interview with Glenn Thrush he did on June 6th, 2016 about the TPP:
Well, first of all, NAFTA. Would I have signed it or not? My skepticism says that maybe I wouldn’t have signed it, because these trade agreements are just laden with crony capitalism. Would I have signed or implemented the Trans-Pacific Partnership? I’ve got to tell you, I think it’s laden with crony capitalism. Free market really is the answer. It’s the answer to unifying the whole planet, in my opinion, and if China wants to subsidize the goods that it sells to the United States, who benefits from that? Well, we do. And at the end of the day, who pays for any sort of tariffs? We do.
So free trade, genuine free trade, that’s another one of Trump’s–you know, hey, he says “I’m all for free trade” but then, in the next sentence, he says, “I’m going to force Apple to make their iPads and their iPhones in the United States.” Hm, that sounds really free trade to me.
In another quote from a CNN interview that aired July 3rd, 2016 he talks a little optimistically about the bill, simply based on what he has learned so far, but also remains skeptical due to cronyism that runs rampant in bills like these.
I am a real skeptic when it comes to these trade agreements that, in fact, these trade agreements can be laden with crony capitalism. But based on people that have been advising me that I hold in very high esteem, I am being told that the Trans-Pacific Partnership would, in fact, advance free trade, and so I would support that document.
The devil is in the details, though, and for the most part legislation that passes really promotes crony capitalism, promotes those that have money as opposed to a level playing field for everybody. So I am a skeptic, but based on what I know, I would sign TPP.
Moving on from the TPP, the next statement to take issue with is where the author forgets how to research for a retraction, or intentionally left out the part where Governor Johnson walked back comments on “burqa banning.”
And finally, while Libertarians purport to be all about personal liberty, there are some limits to their tolerance, as when Johnson told the Libertarian magazine Reason that he would ban the wearing of burqas in the United States. One reason he gave is that these make it harder to see when Muslim women are beaten.
While it is true that the initial comments made were in line with this, after hearing from Libertarians like Will Coley within the Muslim community, he has since become more educated on Islam, and offered this statement:
In an interview with Reason Wednesday, I was asked about a ban on women wearing burqas. The question came in a discussion of Sharia law and its incompatibility with the fundamental tenets of liberty. I answered the question in the context of the fact that, under Sharia law, women have no choice but to wear the burqa, and live under a system of law that not only allows, but condones, abuse of women. In that context, I stated that banning the full-face burqa, as was done in France, would be a reasonable step toward preventing signs of abuse from being hidden. My response was not about telling women what they can and cannot wear, but about protecting them from harm under a brutal ideology under which women have nothing resembling equal rights.
However, having had time to consider, my response was wrong. As with many well-intentioned ideas, a government-imposed ban on full-face coverings would have unintended consequences and likely result in government overreach. As governor, I vetoed many such well-intended laws, and on reflection, would in fact veto a government ban on full face burqas. While the law must provide protection for women from abuse, it is clear that banning face veils wouldn’t work, and would be impossible to enforce without infringing on basic rights.
Sharia law is incompatible with the freedoms upon which America is founded, and it must not be overlooked that, under Sharia ideology, women have no rights, and are certainly not free to dress as they wish. Imposing such a system on women under some guise of freedom of religion or expression is not acceptable under any notion of liberty. On that point I am firm. But a government ban on an item of clothing might well have the consequence of restricting, not protecting, freedom.
This quote was sent to the same Reason Magazine that interviewed him the first go around.
Those are the real big fallacies I found in the author’s evaluation of Gary Johnson. The real cringe worthy reporting is where things take a turn of selective pasting.
The first part he wrote on self-defense is as such:
- Self defense: “Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”
The Libertarian Platform, however, states this:
The only legitimate use of force is in defense of individual rights—life, liberty, and justly acquired property—against aggression. This right inheres in the individual, who may agree to be aided by any other individual or group. We affirm the individual right recognized by the Second Amendment to keep and bear arms, and oppose the prosecution of individuals for exercising their rights of self-defense. Private property owners should be free to establish their own conditions regarding the presence of personal defense weapons on their own property. We oppose all laws at any level of government restricting, registering, or monitoring the ownership, manufacture, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.
This is not what the author tries to portray. He is essentially saying that we should just allow anyone to have firearms, while ignoring the part where the only legitimate use of force is in defense. This is whether you have a firearm or not. We believe that those who violate the rights of others should be prosecuted. We do not advocate any type of threats or aggression. Had the author included that, you would have known that we do not advocate violence, which is one of the most important parts of this plank.
The next part to have a gripe with is this quotation:
Energy policy: “While energy is needed to fuel a modern society, government should not be subsidizing any particular form of energy. We oppose all government control of energy pricing, allocation, and production.”
While he is citing the clause correctly, he is doing so out of a want of promoting green energy. What he fails to mention is the fact that we oppose all forms of subsidies, including the ones that progressives want to be rid of: those on fossil fuels. We would be natural allies if the author would look to what it really means. If big oil weren’t given such advantages in the cronyist system that currently exists, green technology would overtake it in the market. Fossil fuels are only surviving because of sweetheart deals.
The next problem the author really has is our position on unions. He cited this:
- Union membership: “We favor repealing any requirement that one must join or pay dues to a union as a condition of government employment.”
It is meant to look like we do not support unions at all, however, the Libertarian Party platform actually has this to say:
We favor repealing any requirement that one must join or pay dues to a union as a condition of government employment. We advocate replacing defined-benefit pensions with defined-contribution plans, as are commonly offered in the private sector, so as not to impose debt on future generations without their consent.
Note that this is only directed at government employees, but it gets better because the Party also covers private unions in a separate plank he conveniently left out:
Employment and compensation agreements between private employers and employees are outside the scope of government, and these contracts should not be encumbered by government-mandated benefits or social engineering. We support the right of private employers and employees to choose whether or not to bargain with each other through a labor union. Bargaining should be free of government interference, such as compulsory arbitration or imposing an obligation to bargain.
We do not oppose unions in the least. This is a private agreement between parties that the government doesn’t need to take part in. You have every right to associate as you feel, and you have the right to attempt to bargain collectively. This is a voluntary contract entered into, so we have no issues with it in the least. Many Libertarians even advocate for people to join unions and are members of unions themselves.
This next one is puzzling, and it isn’t clear what the author is trying to get at, but again, he leaves out the majority of the plank on Healthcare:
Health care: We favor a free-market health care system. . . . People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.”
The plank in its entirety actually states:
We favor a free-market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.
The important part of this is that we advocate for freedom of choice in what a person want for their healthcare needs.
The author cherry picks a lot in his critique of the Libertarian Party, and it is something he may want to brush up on. Luckily the truth can be found quite easily. The Republicans and Democrats have been trying for years to misinform the public about libertarians. Why? Because we are the fastest growing party and political machines like to keep their power.
Recently, among many Libertarian Party groups I associate with online and off, I have heard many complaints about our top ticket candidates Gary Johnson and Bill Weld. While I certainly agree that there are some valid concerns and issues raised, some individuals have spent a large majority of their time doing nothing more than attacking the top ticket.
I do appreciate dissent, and we should all be willing to declare our lines that should never be crossed. It is one thing that the Libertarian Party has done for the most part as the Party of Principle. We will call out candidates that are wrong. However, this focus of non stop attacks is not serving the party well. Voice your dissent and move on is the best way to handle the disagreement. I have even voiced my disagreement on my various outlets, but then I move on and get back to work for down ticket candidates, including myself.
One of the legitimate arguments that was brought in for support of Gary Johnson was that other candidates, though more consistent in their application of libertarian philosophy, was that he was the most experienced candidate available to carry the banner at the top of the ticket. It is hard when you compare the experience of a two term governor and self made millionaire to what was on the debate stage with him at convention. Only one other candidate on the stage in Orlando had the credibility and ability to get media, and that was John McAfee, who was a multi-national businessman.
So now is the time to stop focusing so much time on the blunders and start focusing on the candidates down ticket to get elected and into debates. You want to have a strong base going forward over the next four years, so that when we have the next go around, we have those more principled individuals with more credibility to their resume. We have around 100 candidates for the U.S. House and Senate, several gubernatorial candidates, a myriad of state legislative candidates, and plenty of those running for county and municipal races on the Libertarian ticket. If the people who spent as much time attacking Gary Johnson and Bill Weld went and spent that time promoting and volunteering for those locals, we would see many gains this year, as there is already a much larger interest in what we are saying this year ever since Trump and Clinton, two of the worst candidates possible for Democrats and Republicans, have driven people to seek other options.
We need to direct those people to looking into the people we have available for them to vote for at all levels of government. We’ve been plotting to take over the world and leave everyone alone, but we will only be able to do that if we actually start making headway in other races.
If you are one of the individuals focusing your time on Johnson or Weld in the negative and reading this, I implore you to stand up for the people who need your help. Doors are not going to be answered if no one is there to knock, flyers do not hand out themselves, letters to the editor must be written and submitted, phone calls aren’t made without someone to dial.
We have enough people in the party, and those that agree with us, that if we all went to work for the down ticket, we would no longer be considered a minor party. We would become the most legitimate threat to the two party system and start to dismantle the barriers to liberty.
The choice is yours on how to spend your time, but this is my two cents on the matter.
Dear Public Servants in the US House and Senate,
In a recent Inspector General’s report from July 26, 2016, there was 6.5 trillion dollars that the Pentagon could not account for. Yes, that’s 6.5 trillion with a T. That’s one-third of our current national debt. If a business couldn’t account for 6.5 trillion dollars, the entire management team would be fired and arrested, and charges would be filed against them.
Apparently, this isn’t the first accounting trouble with the Pentagon either. It’s been over 20 years since a successful audit of the Pentagon has been completed, and they have until the end of September 2017 to be audit-ready. They may not even be ready for an audit by that deadline though, and even if they are, who knows how many trillions of dollars have been wasted in the mean time?
So I’m asking all of you, please, be accountable to your constituents. Let us know what’s going on with our tax dollars. When something like this happens, keep us informed. You all are supposed to be our voices in Washington. How can you speak for us, if we don’t know what’s going on? Get the Pentagon’s accounting practices and spending in check before the national debt crushes our country, and we no longer have anything for a military to defend.
For Liberty Restored,
Freddie “Joe” Nichols III
Candidate for NM State House, District 54
Yesterday was one of the busiest days I have had on the campaign trail. It all started with setting up for an event in Ogden for the Pride Festival. We had a booth set up to do some outreach on behalf of the Libertarian Party in Utah. After set up, I headed out to join in a rally for Governor Gary Johnson, this is where things started to get really interesting for me. As a person heavily involved with Utah’s Libertarian Party, I was afforded the opportunity to head back into the Green Room to get some words in with the media and also be with the two former Governors who are the top ticket.
During the time back there, I was able to speak with Governor Bill Weld at some length, and I was glad to have that opportunity. As many of you in libertarian circles know, I have been critical of Bill Weld’s past as Governor of Massachusetts. Speaking with him directly has given me the chance to see things from him in a different light, and I can see that he isn’t the same person now he was then. I’ve always prided myself on being able to judge a person’s character when I am able to meet with them, and Governor Weld was being very honest with his answers to me. I still don’t agree with everything, but I never have agreed 100% with every candidate who has run to represent me. The areas that matter most to me, he is on the right side of the issues.
One of the highlights of our conversation, after it turned from political issues, was laughing about how fast our shoes have been wearing out on the campaign trail. It was a very human moment, and something I don’t think I will forget.
Shortly after this, I joined in with the rally to listen to the speakers chosen, including Barry Short, Mark Madsen, and of course, the two Governors. It is definitely looking like Utah may be the place for a state to turn Gold. The crowd numbered between 1200 and 1800 from estimates given, which marks it as the largest libertarian gathering in Utah’s history.
This trend continued as I traveled back to Utah to finish out the day manning the booth at the Ogden Pride Festival. I have to say that in all my years volunteering to help with events like these for the party in Utah, I have never seen such a huge response from people asking questions, taking information, and saying they plan to vote libertarian this election.
Nearly all the material that was brought was handed out and several new libertarians pledged to support our nominees this year. We also were approached by the candidate running for the U.S. Senate in Utah, Misty Snow, where we had a great conversation about civil liberties. She seems to have a pretty good head on her shoulders, and I sincerely wish her the best of luck in her efforts; it’s not easy stepping up to run for office. She definitely seems like someone I would be able to work with on several issues that affect Utah, like dismantling the Draper NSA facility.
The best part of the evening was discovering the booth next to us featuring Even Stevens, a sandwich company in Utah. This company has the Libertarian solution to “who’s going to take care of the poor” question we are often asked. Essentially what this sandwich shop does is to donate one sandwich to a charity for every sandwich you buy. They do this without government mandates or interference. They do it because they care about the people who need some help.
I am certainly excited for what has been happening in Utah, and every day that passes I feel we are getting close to being included in the 1st District Debates. That is one thing I would sincerely ask for you all to donate what you are able as we start doing our Top of Utah Tour this week. Just head to www.Craig4Congress.org and give your best donation.
We are getting so close to changing the landscape of politics, and Utah is the place for it to happen.
For those of you who have followed my blog for a while, you know me to be downright
blunt in my positions. I am not someone who is afraid to tell the truth, and I am not going to hold anything back.
I am honestly aghast at how the more radical elements of the Libertarian Party were treated the weekend. I am a member of the radical caucus myself, and I would say pretty close, if not fully, an anarchist. What I personally witnessed caused me to have to step out more than once during the convention.
While there will be some disagreement between the anarchist and mincarchist elements of the Party, there were several times where it went from slightly disagreeable to outright hostility.
This is not to say anarchists are without flaws, as one of the more radical members of the party majorly embarrassed the party with his display on stage doing a strip tease. There was no respect whatsoever in what that individual did, and it makes our movement look ridiculous. We are trying to create a better way for the American people, but doing things like stripping on stage is not going to help you in the least.
For those who don’t know as much about the more radical elements of libertarianism, it
really boils down to two principles: self ownership and the principle of non-initiation of aggression. It literally is about as libertarian as you can get, as the smallest form of governing, is when you are fully allowed to govern yourself.
More than once, we were called fools, purists, stupid, and other names as arguments were brought to the floor in opposition or support of various platform changes. Out of every proposal, the only one that really set a new standard that anarchists/radicals seem to agree with is that the Libertarian Party has added a new plank that opposes the administration of the death penalty
That new plank makes it clear where we stand as a Party, and I am glad we were at least able to get this done. Another bright light that came of convention was the election of Caryn Ann Harlos, a fellow member of the Radical Caucus, to be the Region 1 Representative of the National Committee. This was by and large the greatest choice to represent the West (minus California, who has their own Region).
Outside of business measures as a delegate, things were far better with the amount of educational seminars, motivational speeches, and togetherness in various hospitality suites. I did enjoy being able to see so many people who were advocates of more liberty. I was able to speak one on one with John McAfee, Adam Kokesh, Darryle Perry, Shawna Sterling, Larry Sharpe, Austin Petersen, and just about everyone I am friends with on social media that I got to meet for the first time face to face. It took a minute to recognize a few of you, but definitely great to finally put names to faces.
The one thing that was clear throughout the convention is that pragmatism was more important to the majority than principle adherence. Gary Johnson and Bill Will, both former serving Republican Governors, were selected as the Presidential and Vice
Presidential nominees after two rounds of voting each. Gary Johnson won with 55% of the voting delegates, Bill Weld receiving 50.5% of the delegates, barely meeting the threshold.
I personally am not overly excited about either nominee, but will be helping every candidate at every level I can, and also working with John McAfee’s #VoteDifferent Initiative to unsure that I do what I can to help all down ticket races in the Libertarian Party get some wins. This will be the majority of my focus outside of my own race for Utah’s 1st Congressional District.
It was certainly a lot of fun to be there, but I am worried about the massive compromises that have been made, especially with appointing Gov. William Weld. There is nothing more I can do, but I do want you to know that I did cast my delegate vote in favor of principles.
I do ask that everyone get out an keep educating the nation about our local, state, and federal candidates who can better articulate the philosophy of freedom. We may not be former governors, but at one point, neither were they.
I would also like to thank all the other candidates who ran, but especially Austin Petersen. He and I have butted heads since he declared in July of 2015. When meeting him face to face he was beyond cordial and he stuck to his principles, though I may agree with some of them. He was the most consistent of the candidates. I like to think that I am able to see character once I look someone in the eye, and I can tell you that Austin is the most genuine out of everyone I met (though John McAfee isn’t far behind). Once you get him one on one and the bumper sticker soundbite is gone, he is far better than I ever gave him credit for.
I hope that all the candidates who weren’t selected continue to work toward the greater liberty that we all seek. I know most will stand tall, but some of them are seemingly in the mood to “take their ball and go home” in mentality. I had hoped that we could put things aside and work together so that we can actually make a difference. I will be available to answer questions anyone may have at Craig_Bowden@Craig4Congress.org.
I will also be releasing the Winning strategies video once I can get home and have some time to unpack.
I will admit that I was not with everything as much as I would have liked to have been.Unfortunately, my flight coming in to Orlando was delayed.
That being said, there was still plenty to do at the reception. For the most part, it seems that everyone is in high spirits going in to the start of business tomorrow morning. Old friends were reuniting, online friends met for the first time, and new acquaintances were being formed all over the patio area at the Rosen Centre.
Tomorrow the real business portion starts, and it will likely get heated from time to time as debates rage about platforms, candidates, nominations, etc. But for the time being, libertarians are joined together. Suits and flip flops, anarchists and pragmatists. For a brief moment, utopia may have existed.
I will report all business live as it happens on Twitter, and blog all results as they are declared. Follow at@CraigBowden2020.