In defense of Gary Johnson
The last days, I read more and more american libertarians claiming that the Johnson/Weld ticket is not really libertarian/not libertarian enough and that this is reason enough to NOT vote for the ticket. I think, this is a nice concrete example of the Nirvana fallacy. The LP had chosen a moderate classical liberal candidate instead of a minarchist or even an anarcho-capitalist (let’s put aside here, that I am against anarchism for various reasons and that it would be absurd to nominate an anarchist for a state office), so the candidate is not good enough to vote for. WTF ?! Regarding that the two main candidates are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, this is really ludicrous. Of course, if libertarians think so and they rather stay at home or make a „lesser evil“ choice between the donkey’s and the elephant’s nominee, so be it. But nevertheless, I want to make some remarks to the common arguments against Gary.
Let’s take for example this article here: Seven reasons the Libertarian Ticket isn’t libertarian at all.
„At all“ is really nonsense, but let’s examine the seven reasons.
Ad 1) Weld hasn’t any clue about guns. That’s strange as he claims to be a gun owner his whole life. But his stance on guns is a non-issue as no president or vicepresident can abolish the second amendment. And on the side of the SCOTUS, there is no danger either, because they said already, they’d prefer „original meaning“ to „Living Tree“ judges. As for the no-fly-lists, as there is no due process, they should be thrown into the dustbin. Weld is deeply wrong in that regard, that the people on it shouldn’t own guns. But this was already suggested by Democrats and the majority-Republican House voted against. So even if Weld won’t change his opinion, he cannot pass such a law without congressional approval which is already off the table. So completely irrelevant point in my eyes concerning this presidential election. Not to mention that Gary is against gun control.
Ad 2) True. Johnson doesn’t take the principled stance, that all anti-discrimination laws concerning the private sector should be repealed because they are infringements on the freedom of contract and property rights. He has the pragmatic attitude to call for legal compromises like the one in Utah, where LGBT groups and mormon groups worked together on. That’s not really libertarian, but not that incredibly awful that one shouldn’t vote for the LP ticket. As for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was absolutely right to sign it despite Title II, because not voting for it, would have let the far more evil government segregation in many Southern states in place.
Ad 3) That’s a difficult one, because even at CATO, the opinions on his record diverge. The increase in spending was mostly due to a four-lane highway, where you’d have to analyze the counterside of state revenue by it. And don’t forget: the majority of his house was democrat. You don’t know how much higher the spending would have been without him and his vetos. BTW, under Thatcher and Reagan, spending grew, too, but they also improved over all the state of their national economies.
Ad 4) Eminent domain should be abolished. That’s indeed a great negative point. But are Hillary or Trump against eminent domain? No !
Ad 5) Stories from the past. Absolutely no argument. Especially not in politics. NY delegates, get over it !
Ad 6) Only 3% of the money used by Planned Parenthood is used for abortions, 97% go to other services like contraception (avoiding unwanted pregnancies AND following abortions) and health care (i.e. fighting STD’s). 40% of their budget comes from the government, 60% are private contributions. The government contributions cannot be used for abortions except in very rare cases, but not on the great majority of on-demand abortions. Nevertheless, from a libertarian perspective, PP should only be funded by private donors. This said, theoretically the government’s part should be defunded, but I also dare to say, that you don’t start there. I am sure, during a zero-base budgeting, I would find a lot of government fundings I’d rather end as a classical liberal than PP.
Ad 7) Of course, bills like „2% must be electrical cars“ are nonsense, but the EPA has a role to play in my eyes in a libertarian world. Laws against air pollution are an absolutely valid protection of individual rights.
Then you have people who claim that Gary Johnson is in favour of Islam, even islamic terrorists like Hamas. No he isn’t. He is against blaming all muslims for islamic terrorism and he defends freedom of religion, which also applies to muslims. I am very sensitive regarding islamic totalitarianism and Israel. I am a zionist, not a religious one, but a secular atheist zionist. I defended Israel a hell lot of times when the country was attacked by fellow europeans. I really tried to find out Johnson’s stance on the most famous of all Middle Eastern conflicts (because after all, the so-called „Middle East conflict“ is just one of many conflicts in this region of the world). He said, he met Netanyahu and he is in favour of Israel dealing itself with the Palestinians and the USA NOT telling them what to do. I totally like this answer. I don’t find a single video where he says anything bad.
You find videos of Ron Paul where he calls Gaza a concentration camp, but not of Gary Johnson (and still, I’d support Ron Paul against Trump and Hillary, though I prefer his son Rand, especially because of this topic.)
And Johnson was disliked by some libertarians because he wanted to ban the burqa. He gladfully changed his opinion on this, but he still strongly opposes Sharia law, because many parts are complety antithetical to the american constitution. He also attacked the Obama administration for its interventions in Syria and Lybia unwittingly helping ISIS.
As for people who are staunchly against abortion and blame him for being „pro choice“, I highly recommend to read this article here by Liz Mair, one of the founders of the website „Republicans for Johnson/Weld“.
Last but not least, you have those who blame Gary for endorsing „Black Lives Matter“. To those people I can only say: you don’t understand anything. Go shouting „All lives matter“ and vote for Trump. Really. Sorry, but I lack the nerves to explain to you that many things have to change in the USA to improve the condition of blacks and not wanting to acknowledge this, may not be necessarily racist, but it’s playing into the hands of white supremacists 😦
Those are now really my last words on this topic.
To all americans reading this: make up your own choice according to your own conscience but consider those arguments above before attacking Gary Johnson. Thank you ! 🙂