Saturday, August 04, 2012

Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Visits Alaska; Johnson Still Frozen Out Of Presidential Debates

While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have virtually ignored Alaska so far, Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson shows respect for the Last Frontier. He's currently visiting Alaska, and there's a rally on his behalf scheduled in Anchorage on August 4th. His running mate, Jim Gray, visited Alaska in July. Only the Alaska Dispatch has bothered to publish a story so far.

Johnson's Alaska visit has included a tour of the Anchorage conservative talk show circuit and a meeting with Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. After the Delaney Park Strip rally at 10 A.M, Second Amendment enthusiasts (note that Dispatch refers to them by the slanted term "gun-loving libertarians") will take him shooting at the Birchwood Recreation & Shooting Park 20 miles north of Anchorage. Libertarians aren't the only ones supporting Gary Johnson; there are signs that some Ron Paul supporters unable to reconcile themselves to Mitt Romney are migrating to the Johnson campaign.

Gary Johnson is the most credible Presidential candidate in Libertarian Party history, bringing a proven track record in both the private and public sectors:

-- Private Sector: Started a construction company in the 1970s that eventually employed more than 2,000 people -- among the biggest of such companies in New Mexico. He later sold the company, making him a millionaire.

-- Public Sector: As New Mexico's Republican governor from 1995-2003, he defied Republican conventional wisdom at times by vetoing 750 bills, more than all other New Mexico governors combined, and left New Mexico with a budget surplus and with the people on his side.

Much of Gary Johnson's platform is classical libertarianism. He's for cutting unnecessary spending, and Medicaid and Medicare do not get a free pass. He's pro-choice, pro-gay marriage and pro-school vouchers. He's against the U.S. Department of Education, gun control and the use of military power for purposes other than national defense. He opposes federal overreach into state business. Most notably, he's been typecast as supporting the legalization of drugs, although as I illustrated in this previous post, he only supports the legalization of marijuana. Johnson even predicts that marijuana will be legal nationwide by 2016. Johnson continues to support laws against driving under the influence of drugs, and does NOT support the legalization of other drugs.

Unfortunately, despite his clear-cut strengths, Gary Johnson has not gotten the desired traction. I suggest there are three reasons for this:

-- A vote for Johnson is a vote for Obama: So many people are either so scared or repulsed by the prospect of a second term for Barack Obama that they will only support the most prominent opponent. Mitt Romney is the most prominent opponent, and so they support him, not so much because they want Romney in, but because they want Obama OUT. They're willing to overlook Romney's rampant statism and his apparent flip-flopping.

-- Objectivism undermines libertarianism: Many people judge libertarianism by an extreme version known as objectivism. Promoted by Ayn Rand, objectivism, in a nutshell, holds that the world works best if it is one gigantic raceless and nationless marketplace where profit reigns supreme and workers are little more that two-legged wildebeest condemned to endlessly migrate from one job to the next. Objectivism presupposes that everyone is equally capable to compete, although America's growing economic disparities seem to belie that notion. While most Americans do not believe government has an obligation to guarantee success or any other specific outcome, many Americans believe government should guarantee opportunity and access.

-- Frozen out of much of the mainstream media and the Presidential debates: Gary Johnson gets very little mention in the national media, and only perfunctory coverage in local media outlets. Furthermore, Johnson has been frozen out of the national presidential debates so far because of the "15 percent rule". Johnson consistently polls at five percent or less. The 15 percent rule is arbitrary and unfair in this case because libertarianism represents a political philosophy virtually non-existent within the Democratic Party and fighting for survival within Republican ranks. American voters deserve more than two different brands of statism from which to choose. An active petition campaign to get Gary Johnson into the debates is currently in progress.

Gary Johnson's voice deserves to be heard.


  1. I fall within your first group of reasons so unless something major changes, I won't be voting for Gary Johnson. But I agree; his voice deserves to be heard. In addition, if any pollsters call me, I'll say I am voting for him.

  2. Classic libertarianism isn't pro-choice, but the Libertarian party is, so those who care about life won't be voting for him.

  3. AKan -- the rule of thumb that you should vote for the lesser of two evils is ONLY applicable in close races. The electoral college votes in Alaska are guaranteed to be Mitt's (which is why neither he nor Obama will be visiting the 49th state before election day). It isn't that they don't care... but the math of the electoral college is perfectly clear. This irrelevance of AK in terms of presidential-swing is actually somewhat liberating: you can vote for Gary Johnson, or write in somebody (see below), and neither help Obama nor hurt Mitt.

    Sure, that means Gary won't win... but the point isn't for him to win in 2012, the point is to send a message to the mainstream olde guard establishment republican campaign-staffers, and also the liberty-candidates (most likely including Gary Johnson!) of 2014 and 2016. The media may not report Gary Johnson votes far and wide, but the people who matter *will* hear the message.

    Lance -- if you want somebody pro-life and pro-liberty then maybe you will appreciate Virgil Goode, former repub on the constitution party ticket this year. He's in the process of trying to get his name on the AK ballot. He's already on ballots in about 35 other states.

    That said, although Gary Johnson *is* personally pro-choice, his *policy* stance on abortion is the same one that Ron Paul holds (despite being pro-life personally) which is that the federal government has no business whatsoever with abortion, and it should be left to the states... just like education/etc.

    Point being, you might be comfy voting for Gary, if you are comfortable with Alaska being pro-life at the state level, and don't care what folks in CA and MA decide to do in their states. Obama wants the feds to force all states to be pro-choice; Romney claims not to (2011... as opposed to 1994 and 2002...) but is not going to be actually *doing* anything about Roe. At the end of the day, it boils down to whether you see abortion as a character-issue dealbreaker (write in Virgil Goode), or a policy-issue dealbreaker (vote for Gary Johnson).

    p.s. You are completely safe doing either one, without worries about accidentally helping Obama, because of the electoral math... see my note to Akan.

  4. AnchorageActivist... actually, it seems silly to say that true Objectivism, itself, undermines the ideas of libertarian-leaning candidates. But I might agree with you that faux 'objectivism' such as you describe is very off-putting. Of course, the difference between actual objectivist concepts, and what you call a summarization, is like Earth versus Eris.

    Here's what you say objectvists believe, and by extension, that some libertarians believe, and more importantly, that most libertarian ideas are derived from: "the world works best if it is one gigantic raceless and nationless marketplace where profit reigns supreme and workers are little more that two-legged wildebeest condemned to endlessly migrate from one job to the next"

    Nationless??? Helpless-animal workers?? Sigh. Methinks you speak of anarcho-capitalists, or maybe hollywood-esque mafia.

    Here is a summary of *actual* Objectivism, which is the philosophical system on which the ideas of the Libertarian Party were inspired, but from which it somewhat diverges: reality, reason, self-interest, and capitalism. Putting these tags into soundbites: to command nature you must first obey it, or, if wishes were horses then beggars would ride; you cannot eat all your cake and still have that cake to eat later; man inherently is an end (The Good) in himself; give me liberty or give me death.

    The political system of objectivism is not fully detailed, as yet -- for instance, one of the key tenets is that all taxation must be entirely voluntary -- which is a big reason why the libertarian party is not 100% objectivist.

    Anyway, if you want the deeper details of how actual Objectivist concepts look, I recommend the movie Atlas Shrugged (based on the sci-fi novel), and the step-by-step intro by Peikoff (his personal politics are wacky... because I think he misunderstood part of his own book).

    Most libertarians are 95% objectivists; most republican-leaning libertarians are 80 or 90% objectivists. Heck, even VP pick Paul Ryan likes Ayn Rand... though he is only 25% a follower, despite press reports to the contrary.

    Gratitude to this site for definitional quotes:

  5. Overall, though, I thought this was a good article. Your analysis is mostly correct, though I would change all three slightly:

    1. the *perception* among voters that vote-for-gary-and-you-help-obama, when in fact that ONLY holds true in swing-states (see reply to AKan)

    2. the *perception* among voters that objectivist and/or libertarian ideas require cannibalization of little johnny and gramma janie, when in fact human sacrifice is the polar OPPOSITE of those actual philosophies (unlike some warmongering repubs on the right and some eat-the-kulak dems on the left BTW), see my reply to AnchorageActivist

    3_A. Hit this one on the nose. Media blackout was a constant problem for Ron Paul, and now also for Gary Johnson... notice how whenever he *is* mentioned, usually either no policy positions at all are specified in detail, or they are careful to only give ones they believe marginalize him ("legalize drugs" as you point out is a very misleading summary of his true position on the matter).

    3_B. Sure, being kept out of the debates in October 2012 is bad. But that's small potatoes compared to being kept out of the Republican primary debates in October 2011 -- the only reason that Gary Johnson is running this year as L-NM is because, despite being a two-term governor as an R-NM, by fiddling with rules, Johnson was kept out of all repub-primary debates save one (and Buddy Roemer was totally shut out). This despite people with *less* experience than either of them easily makiing it into the repub-primary-debates.

    Hint: the people that own 99% of the mainstream media outlets (and 50% of the hits on the internet) are the same people that are in charge of setting rules for the CPD and the primaries... and the same top donors to both the Obama campaign and also the Romney campaign.

    The ideas of freedom and liberty are being stifled, carefully and deliberately, by a small group of extremely wealthy and extremely powerful folks. Not some shady Evil Conspiracy like bilderberg or world zionists or area 51 alien pod-creatures... just the boring old corruption sort of conspiracy. The small group that is the direct beneficiary of bailouts, mostly. The people behind rule#12 at the RNC. Those people are the opponents of the tea party, the occupy protestors, *and* the liberty movement, all at once, and for the same reason.

    Gary Johnson won't win in 2012, but I hope he runs for senate in 2014, and then runs again for the presidency in 2016, as an R-NM. He'll be so famous by then that, just like Ron Paul, they won't be *able* to keep him out of the repub primary debates, no matter how rigged. Furthermore, rigging the natcon will be harder!