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.