Gary Johnson and Today’s Libertarianism
I’m getting a lot of emails from you guys asking about my opinion on this. Here we go:
1. I’m not going to vote for him, because I’m not going to vote. No one can save the now inevitable collapse of the US and Europe. You might be able to slow the collapse by a few years, but you’re not going to prevent it. The last shot we had to turn things around was during the 1990s, but that was a long time ago.
Even if Gary Johnson became president (which he could not) he would not be able to save anything. Same goes for Trump, by the way.
2. Just like Bernie Sanders, Gary Johnson is not going to win the election and never had a chance in hell to begin with. If you want to vote for a libertarian just for fun, or as a protest vote, go for it. But Hillary or Trump will still be president, and the US is still screwed.
Would it be nice to have a libertarian president? Sure. Not going to happen though. The elites would never allow it, and libertarian ideas are wildy unpopular. Which leads me to my next point…
3. Just because Johnson is polling at 11% in some polls, doesn’t mean people suddenly like libertarian ideas. Human beings hate libertarianism. The concept of personal freedom and being responsible for your own actions and decisions is utterly terrifying to both left-wing progressives and right-wing conservatives.
No one wants small government. Left-wingers want the mommy state to give them free stuff and fix all of their problems for them. Right-wingers want the big daddy state to start wars and crack down on people they don’t like. Libertarians represent about 0% of the European electorate and about 5%, at best, of the American electorate, and that’s only if you include all libertarians plus hard libertarian-leaning Republicans.
Remember that Ron Paul, the best representative of libertarianism we’ve ever had (and another guy who never had a chance in hell of winning anything), only got a pitiful 10% of the Republican vote, which itself is only 50% of the electorate in the US. That means 5%.
Yet another reason for people’s hatred, or at least strong discomfort with libertarianism is the confusion between libertarians and anarchists. As I’ve talked about before, many people think libertarianism means no government. This situation is exacerbated by libertarians who indeed are anarchists.
There are two kinds of libertarians: anarchists and minarchists.
An anarchist, or anarcho-capitalist which is a more accurate term, wants no government and to have everything handled by charity or the free market.
Minarchists, like myself, don’t like government much either, but reluctantly agree that you have to have some government because that’s what human beings tend to like. They just want that government kept as small, local, and decentralized as possible. Have it handle cops, courts, roads, and a few other things, and not much else.
Most people don’t understand any of this, and think all libertarians are anarchists, which is where this “Libertarians are stupid! You need ROADS, don’t you?!?” crap comes from. Um, yes, you need roads, and I have no problem with government providing them.
So no, this 11% Johnson is getting has very little to do with people suddenly embracing libertarianism. They aren’t. They’re just pissed off at Trump and the Lizard Queen, two of the most hated candidates in American history, and this 11% will take just about anyone else at this point.
4. Gary Johnson is not a full libertarian. As repeatedly pointed out by many of his critics, Johnson has a lot of views that are left-wing rather than libertarian. I’m not going to list them all here because it doesn’t matter.
I’d still happily take him as president; a left-leaning libertarian is still orders of magnitude better than a socialist who can’t do math (Sanders), a career criminal (Hillary), or an authoritarian who doesn’t even want the job (Trump). But it’s true, he’s a left-leaning libertarian rather than a full-bore libertarian like myself.
Imagine libertarianism as a line chart. To the left are less libertarian people, and to the right are more libertarian people. On the far left end are Republicans who have a few libertarian leanings, including many Donald Trump supporters. A few notches to the right are left-leaning libertarians like Gary Johnson and right-leaning libertarians like Rand Paul. A few more notches, and you have true-blue libertarians like me and Ron Paul. A few more notches to the right, and you’ve got anarcho-caplitalists like Doug Casey and Stefan Molyneux. So libertarianism is a spectrum, just like any other political belief structure.
One of the many reasons the Libertarian Party hasn’t accomplished much is that many of these different groups waste their time fighting each other instead of getting their shit together. But that’s a discussion for another time. (And it doesn’t matter anyway, since the Western world is beyond help at this point.)
5. Gary Johnson is a quirky dude who isn’t taking this presidential run seriously. Again, I’d happily take this guy as president, but he’s completely screwed up in ways that would have been easily avoidable.
First he was asked about Aleppo, the nexus of the migrant problem in Syria, and he had no idea what it was.
Just about a week or two later, he was asked to name one foreign leader he looked up to. He couldn’t name one. Not one.
Stupid. Didn’t he learn anything from when George W. Bush was tripped up by these questions back in 2000? Or Sarah Palin back in 2008?
Look, dammit. If you’re going to run for president, you must to sit down and memorize (most of) the countries, the names of their leaders, and key cities. It’s not that hard, particularly when you have staff to help you. The press is always going to try to play gotcha with this crap, and if you don’t know the answers, it’s going to make national news and you’ll look like a moron FOREVER.
His defenders are saying that he couldn’t answer the question because there are no libertarian leaders. Doesn’t matter. He still couldn’t name any, even after the Aleppo disaster. The correct answer to such a question should have been something, like, “As a libertarian, there are no leaders I agree with since there are no libertarian leaders. Most leaders around the world are far too left-wing and socialist. But I do appreciate how Deng Xiaoping brought China out of communism, and I do like some of Justin Trudeau’s social policies, and Mauricio Macri seems promising.”
It’s not that tough. Instead, he couldn’t name one damn person. The closest he got was “The former president of Mexico,” who he couldn’t name. By the way, this was Vicente Fox, who was an absolute cluster fuck of a leader. Unacceptable.
Gary Johnson is also very quirky and odd looking, and has difficulty speaking a sentence or three without stuttering, pausing, or making weird facial expressions. Like it or not, visuals matter when you’re running for president. Image consultants are not expensive and should be used when you have weird mannerisms.
So that’s the deal on Gary Johnson. He’s a great guy and I wish him well, but he nor anyone like him will ever be President of the United States. That’s going to be left to criminals and socialists from here on out.