I want to like Gary. Really, I do. But for every time he starts to move his expressed opinions in a direction I can support, there's something like this that shows up in the national media and dashes my hopes.
Same-sex marriage: Where is the Libertarian in this position? I challenge Gary to show me where in The Constitution The Federal Government has any authority to regulate, promulgate, diss, embrace or in any other way interfere with (for or against) marriage in any form. Marriage "regulation" by the government is a Statist position, not a Libertarian one.
Gold standard: Gold has exactly nothing to do with monetary instability. History proves this; there were monstrous banking and monetary bubbles and panics during the time the US was on the Gold Standard. The problem is counterfeiting of the currency by banks -- the issuance of loans against nothing but hot air. When the currency and credit supply (summed) is grown faster than economic output you are creating an exponential bubble that must, as a mathematical certainty, burst. This is trivially proved and can be understood by anyone with a middle-school grounding in mathematics. Those who fail to understand this are either (1) willfully ignorant as they simply refuse to spend the 15 minutes with a calculator and piece of paper that it requires to understand this (read here if you want the math done for you) or (2) intentionally lying to the interviewer. One Dollar of Capital Gary and the bankster fraudfest disappears instantly. (Glass-Steagall was an attempt to impose this, effectively, and was also mostly-effective too until it was subverted and then repealed.)
Simpson-Bowles or Ryan (budget): The 43% budget cut comes up again. But nowhere is it mentioned that of our current $3.8 trillion federal budget a 43% cut would (1) balance the budget immediately (good) but (2) remove $1.63 trillion in borrowed funds from government spending immediately, which would instantaneously contract the economy by 11%, or three times the drop experienced in the 2008-2009 recession. This isn't middle-school math it's literally second grade math, and while it is both Libertarian and necessary that this happen to avoid a government funding collapse to promote this without (1) talking about the math up front and what this budgetary path means for America in both the short and intermediate term and (2) discussing what we can do (and there are things we can do that are also Libertarian) to mitigate some of the economic pain that must be absorbed -- specifically, withdrawing the jackboot of government that has forced medical and educational costs higher through interference in the market with both -- is simply asking for Mittens (who can do 2nd grade math in his head) to tattoo Johnson with this and make him look like a fool if and when they ever meet in a public debate.
Fair Tax: Excellent. But "treat everyone equally"? No, the reason you put in place The Fair Tax is that (1) the purpose of taxation is to raise revenue for the government, (2) taxing consumption on every receipt means that you can't hide the cost of government, thereby forcing that cost into the public view and guaranteeing that a debate is held on what the people want in services .vs. the taxes they're willing to pay and (3) taxing only consumption means that the engine of economic progress, capital formation, is left entirely alone since capital formation is by definition the accumulation of economic surplus ("saving") that is then put to work ("investment.") But saying these three things requires that you recognize what taxation's essential purpose is and that borrowing is inferior to saving and is not a replacement in the capital formation process.
Free Trade or Fair Trade: "Free trade is fair trade"? Like hell it is. Free trade with other nations that also observe the fundamental liberty interests we ensconce in The Declaration and Constitution, sure. That's actual free (and fair) trade. "Free trade" with nations that use the jackboot of government to oppress workers (thereby tilting the balance of payments in their direction), refuse to enforce standards against environmental polluters (e.g. China) as this gives them a huge cost advantage and those who manipulate their currency (again, by government for the purpose of cost advantage)? You're nuts Gary. Certifiably and outrageously insane. There is nothing Libertarian about force or fraud, and that someone does it "over there" doesn't change what happened nor does it justify our willful blindness and complicity. The gun of government up your nose is unacceptable and using US Trade Policy to enable jackbooted governments in other nations for the alleged "benefit" of the US is the worst sort of abuse since the essence of allowing it "over there" but not here is to hide what's going on from our people. Such a policy severely damages our citizens here effectively importing the force and fraud committed there, and thus is a direct violation of the Libertarian Non-Aggression Principle.
Romneycare or Obamacare: Neither (good!) And...my God.... the word "free markets"? Ok, nice phrase. 10 seconds, but no elaboration and what is "free market" about our current system, may I ask? Among the abuses, all enforced by government today, are (1) limits on the ability of someone to open a new MRI in a town because "there are enough already" (as determined by a medical board that is usually staffed by the people who own the current MRI devices; their intent is to limit competition and therefore drive up prices!), (2) EMTALA, which mandates that you be treated if you have no money (and effectively forces your appendectomy to cover the cost of Juanita the illegal Mexican Immigrant who showed up this morning in labor, a month or more premature, drunk and on drugs -- with no money or insurance), and (3) reimportation bans and other anti-competitive laws that put the force of federal law into barring you from buying something, owning it, and choosing to resell it (that's called "the free market" Gary!) and thus cause drugs and devices to be priced at 1/10th or less of what they cost in the United States across the border in Canada. An actual free market in medical care would return the cost of routine medical care to that which was spent (in inflation-adjusted price) in the 1960s overnight, making the entire "insurance need" disappear for all but major medical -- that is, catastrophic -- incidents. This is what has to happen to resolve both the private medical crisis and the government funding crisis (as that's where the insane cost escalations are coming from) but Johnson has espoused exactly none of this as policy. Read this topic on The Ticker Gary -- seriously. Start in 2009 and work your way forward or pick up a copy of Leverage and read the sections on medical care.
NRA or Brady: NRA. How about JPFO Governor? Remember that the NRA has no particular problem with some gun bans and some gun laws. What part of the 2nd Amendment's "shall not be infringed" wasn't clear, Governor? 1/2 a point and only because Johnson's web site actually does mention that the 2nd Amendment is clear on its face. To get the whole point he'd only have had to say exactly that -- and leave zero weasel room. But he didn't.
I'm sure I'll hear things like "but he's far better than either Romney or Obama." Ok, and this means exactly what? I hear this exact same debate point all the time on why I "have to" vote for Romney, lest Obama be reelected.
I dismiss this argument out-of-hand; we tried this in 2008, remember, when McCain explicitly supported bankster theft via TARP. Look what we got!
No, ladies and gentlemen, I will not play that game.
I am a Libertarian, not a lapdog.
It is the responsibility of the Party at both the Federal and at the 50-states level to put forward candidate(s) that espouse and support actual Libertarian positions and if they do not it is the job of Libertarians to pound them over the head with the inconsistencies in their positions and demand that they change them in exchange for our votes. We cannot change the candidate running on the ballot once the nominating/primary/selection process is complete but we sure as hell can demand that they conform to the principles that our party espouses if they want our support at the soap box, the donation box and the ballot box.
The "gay marriage" issue is especially-galling and stupid. There are large sections of this nation that are filled with people who are rabidly against "gay marriage." Go into a Baptist Church, speak that phrase and see what happens. I hope you can duck because the shoes will be flying in seconds. Johnson's position is instantly-poisonous in huge swaths of this nation and the damage it does to the Libertarian brand in those areas is literally crippling. This would be a price that would have to be paid if "gay marriage" was a Libertarian position but it is clearly not, as adding more jackbooted government regulation and involvement to what already exists is exactly the opposite of Libertarian thought. The worst part of it is that an actual Libertarian position is one that the hard-core evangelical Christians, including those very same Baptists, would whole-heartedly support, as it would leave the celebration of marriage and determination of what was a marriage explicitly to each Church as it desired! Return the State's role to one exclusively of contract enforcement (that is, a place to take disputes before a Judge) and allow each religion to define for itself what marriage is and leave them free to insist that any couple to be married execute a contract that is acceptable to them and which the State can then arbitrate in the event of disputes. This not only resolves the entire "gay marriage" issue (go see a Priest of your choice!) but in addition allows those religious paths that believe in "until death do us part" to only celebrate those marriages in which the contract in question provides for fault-based dissolution only and other religions that believe that "irreconcilable differences" are acceptable to celebrate marriages under that agreement. In other words a Libertarian position, were Johnson to adopt it, would turn a 50/50 issue where the haters throw shoes at you into a 95% approval issue where everyone likes what you believe in and intend to do. It's pure insanity to discard the Libertarian position for one that panders to a loud and tiny minority in the LGBT community but that is exactly what Gary Johnson has done.
But these issues are not the ones that will decide the nation's future -- and her President. That will be decided on economics.
If we don't deal with the economic distortions, especially in government funding, health care and education, none of the rest is going to matter at all.
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