Forcing Jewish bakers to bake cakes for Nazis. Imposing a 23 percent sales tax. Supporting the United Nations. Calling Hillary Clinton a “wonderful public servant.” Favoring the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
No, these aren’t descriptors of a Democrat. They are descriptors of a libertarian presidential candidate.
Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican Governor from the beautiful state of New Mexico, is running for United States president again as the Libertarian Party nominee. His running mate is former Massachusetts Republican Governor Bill Weld. They are both trying to prove that they are the alternative to the disastrous choices of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But are they really a viable alternative?
Early last month, the party selected Johnson from a slate of various candidates with an array of backgrounds, including Austin Petersen, John McAfee, Marc Feldman (rest in peace), Darryl Perry and others. Despite some of the others being more libertarian than Johnson, in particular Perry, the party chose the former governor (on the second ballot) and became the Libertarian nominee.
It became quite clear that Johnson was placed on the Libertarian pedestal because he has the most name recognition than any of the other candidates. Weld was also tapped to be the VP pick because he could generate funds for the party.
Simply put: the party dumped its principles, values and years of grassroots movement just so the likes of CNN, PBS, MSNBC and Fox News could have a libertarian on their networks.
Johnson first ran for president in 2012 when he threw his name in the GOP primaries. After not getting anywhere, he decided to run for the Libertarian Party. The party received more than one million votes so the party heads likely wanted to repeat that success. Unfortunately for die hard libertarians, Johnson’s knowledge of libertarian issues, positions and ideas did not grow in the last four years. They remained the same.
He is a libertarian lightweight. He is essentially one of those who like to pounce on populist issues, like legalizing marijuana and ending foreign interventions, but refuses to tackle the more controversial stories of the day, like private property rights and legalizing all forms of drugs (heroin and cocaine). He’s someone who simplifies libertarianism as fiscally conservative and socially liberal, which is an asinine description. Libertarianism is radical freedom from government!
Some like to argue that he tones it down because he wants the mainstream media to take the party seriously as opposed to a fringe group. However, as we have seen in the 2016 election so far, the people don’t care what the mainstream media think. Ron Paul developed the libertarian movement in 2008 and 2012 because he wasn’t shy espousing his support of abolishing the Federal Reserve, getting out of the United Nations and eliminating all forms of taxation.
For the most part, Johnson would be a great leader of the Republican Party. But leader of the Libertarian Party? Nope. Let’s go into detail, shall we?
Here are five reasons libertarians can’t support Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential race:
Johnson’s approach to the national economy is far different than what other libertarians have called for. His panacea to an ailing economy is to impose a FairTax, fix Social Security and limit the size of the state.
A 23 percent consumption tax? Fixing Social Security? A look inside the books of the Federal Reserve should be avoided? There are so many things wrong with Johnson in relation to the economy, the Federal Reserve and government Ponzi schemes like Social Security.
First, a consumption tax (FairTax) is an awful idea. He says he wants to replace the income tax with a 23 percent sales tax, but you shouldn’t replace something terrible with something else just as terrible. Also, eliminating deductions and loopholes does a lot of harm because, as the great Ludwig von Mises has said, “capitalism breathes through loopholes.”
Here is what economist Murray Rothbard said about a consumption tax, which he referred to as a tax on just living:
“The consumption tax…can only be regarded as a payment for permission-to-live. It implies that a man will not be allowed to advance or even sustain his own life unless he pays, off the top, a fee to the State for permission to do so. The consumption tax does not strike me, in its philosophical implications, as one whit more noble, or less presumptuous, than the income tax.”
Second, Social Security is a Ponzi scheme that will soon be bankrupt. He doesn’t want to abolish it, he wants to keep it because it’s “fixable.” Although it’s a good idea to ensure the current generation of recipients have the funds, the ultimate objective should be to abolish it. Yes, you can raise the retirement age in the meantime, but the end goal: end Social Security.
Third, Johnson seems to be undecided on the Fed. He has good soundbytes, but when it comes to the nitty gritty, he’s unsure. Johnson has confirmed if legislation was placed in front of him to end the Fed then he would sign it. However, at the same time, he has said that it’s not the solution to what hurts the economy. Moreover, he has been tergiversating on auditing the Fed. In one sentence, he wants to audit the Fed, but then in the next sentence he warns against an audit because it would create global panic.
Former New York Democratic Senator and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will do anything to get into office. She will lie and cheat, steal and flip flop, pander to certain groups and then fib to others. Clinton will do whatever it takes to gain power, to grab what she feels is her divine right.
And Johnson likes her.
Speaking at the CNN Libertarian town hall last month, Johnson referred to Clinton as “a wonderful public servant,” while Weld called her an “old friend” and someone he shares a “life-long bond” with. At the same time, Johnson toed the media line and continually referred to Trump as “a racist,” though he pledged not to partake in any name calling.
Soon after the FBI announced this that it was not pressing charges against Clinton over her emails, Johnson told the same news network:
“I’m not a stone-thrower when it comes to Hillary Clinton and her emails and her server,” he said. “I don’t think there has been criminal intent on Hillary Clinton’s part. I don’t see an indictment.”
If someone thinks Clinton is a great person and considers her as a friend then they have terrible judgment in people.
Who would have thought that free trade would have such a presence in this year’s general election? Whatever your stance is on free trade, it has been front and center of political discourse.
Trump claims he supports free trade but it seems he wants his own type of trade agreements in place. Clinton has affectionately defended NAFTA, a backroom globalist trade deal that does nothing for free trade at all.
Although it hasn’t garnered as much debate as it should, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, is a dire agreement that should be vehemently chastized and thrown in the garbage almost immediately. Clinton has flip flopped several times on TPP, while Trump has been opposed to it (though his positions change from hour to hour).
Johnson, meanwhile, thinks it will advance free trade so he is for it, despite his opposition to cronyism and corporatism in the past.
“It is my understanding that the TPP does advance free trade,” Johnson said. “Is it a perfect document? Probably not. But based on my understanding of the document, I would be supporting it [though] in a perfect world there wouldn’t be a document like that, there would just be free trade.”
But he said a week earlier that TPP is “laden with crony capitalism.” Which is it?
Trade agreements like NAFTA and TPP do nothing to advance free trade. They’re just government-managed free trade agreements that benefit certain groups and states through backroom globalist deals. As Laurence Vance writes, “free trade is only threatened by government intervention.”
Real free trade is when you travel to another country and you buy 100 pairs of pants for $100 and then you return to your country, waving your hand at the border security agent, and proceed to sell those same 100 pairs of pants for $200. That’s real free trade.
We don’t need no stinkin’ government style trade.
It’s strange that Johnson would endorse NAFTA and TPP because he has previously said that he wants to eliminate needless trade barriers, tariffs and restrictions. He does sound somewhat good here, though:
“So much of the legislation that we pass isn’t really free market at all. It’s touted as free market, when the reality ends up to be very corporate. The reality ends up to be corporatism. I was always looking at business legislation from the standpoint of having it affect everyone equally as opposed to big business being further advantaged. So many of these treaties–NAFTA being one–the criticism of NAFTA should be rooted in the fact that big business became even bigger business.”
Like on many of the issues, Johnson is wishy washy on trade. Weld is worse because thinks “government can level the playing field for everyone.” Yeesh!
Core Libertarian Matters
Watching Johnson appear in the Libertarian Party debates, you can conclude one thing: he looks like he’s embarrassed to be in front of libertarians. Also, when watching him on television, you can also deduce that he doesn’t want to talk about the core of libertarian issues.
On the surface, Johnson sounds great. But when you go deeper into the heart of Johnson’s brand of libertarianism, many conventional libertarians would shake their head in shame.
Here are several issues that most libertarians would simply hang their head in disgust:
- He only wants to legalize marijuana, but he won’t touch heroin and cocaine.
- He wants to continue funding Planned Parenthood.
- He supports the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which dismantles private property rights. Oh, and he likes driver’s licenses.
- He endorses a ban on women wearing burqas.
- He thinks businesses should be forced to do business with everyone.
- He believes Weld is the “original libertarian,” but he is a far cry from libertarianism. According to Reason, Weld has supported eminent domain, affirmative action, regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and assault weapons bans.
- He is unsure if U.S. military involvement was necessary in WWI and WWII.
To be fair, Johnson on foreign policy is much better than Clinton and Trump.
He wants to end foreign aid, he has criticized the wars (Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan), he would end the drone strikes and he has outlined the unintended consequences of U.S. foreign policy.
These are certainly good positions to have, but he does have some troubles. Some of them include:
- Supports staying in the UN and NATO.
- He would never “rule out military intervention categorically” even if not attacked.
- Favored the U.S. military to go after Joseph Kony in Uganda.
- Defended the nuclear attacks on Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
So far, Johnson’s foreign policy has been level headed. But he does have his own share of problems.
When he says things similar to neo-conservatives (see below), it’s rather worrying. When you have someone like Bill Kristol and Jeb Bush considering supporting you, it’s quite frightening.
“The fight against those who would do us harm continues today, and it is a fight we must carry out with the same determination that was so magnificently displayed by the heroes of 9/11,” Johnson said in a statement in 2012.
If a Kristol or a Bush likes you then you’re in serious trouble.
By now, you’d realize that Gary Johnson is no Ron Paul. In fact, he is no libertarian at all when you dissect his positions on core libertarian matters. He is just a pro-pot, socially liberal, fiscally conservative, Republican-lite politician. Sure, he’s better than Trump and Clinton, but so is Deez Nutz and Vermin Supreme.
When libertarians head to the ballot box in November, and they see a list of candidates, there should be a shout of guttural verb followed by a “you.” There aren’t any pro-liberty candidates out there this year that can really represent the interests of libertarians. This is disheartening perhaps because we have had two straight elections of straight talk, honesty and real libertarianism on the Republican side.
Will there ever be a libertarian like Ron Paul running for president again? Nope. But why should libertarians settle? They shouldn’t.
Perhaps the former governor could be summed up with this video:
Be sure to check out: Libertarians for Donald Trump? 5 reasons libertarians can’t support Trump