Who's Getting Our Votes: Reason Writers' 2012 Presidential Picks

Plus: Which other races are most important and whether freedom is growing

Before the presidential elections in 2004 and 2008, Reason.com asked its staff, regular contributors, and other people important to the libertarian universe of ideas, to say for whom they're voting and to answer a few questions related to November's big contests.

With the 2012 contest now just a couple of weeks away, we're happy to publish our third "Who's Getting Your Vote?" survey, along with some questions about other important races around the country and whether the United States is becoming more or less free. Nobody's required to participate, but we do this exercise in a spirit of transparency and openness that generally goes missing at other media organizations around election time. Journalists claim all sorts of moral and legal privileges for themselves (typically as a corrective to the supposedly rotten wages the profession offers), but the idea that readers shouldn't know for whom political commentators pull the lever is self-evidently ridiculous.

The previous installments expressed a lot of discontent with major-party candidates and a willingness on the part of some participants to "punish" the Republican Party by voting for the Democrats John Kerry and Barack Obama. I understood the sentiment but couldn't endorse it. After all, those of us who weren't Republicans would also be punished by Democratic victories. Where's the justice in that?

As Matt Welch and I note in The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America, the broadly defined libertarian vote (folks interested in reducing the size, spending, and scope of government) has tended to vote for Republican candidates, ostensibly because of the GOP's limited-government rhetoric. Depending on the definition, the libertarian vote comprises 10 percent to 20 percent of the overall electorate, far more than enough to determine any national election. According to analyses by David Boaz (who participates below), FreedomWorks' David Kirby, and Reason's polling director Emily Ekins, upwards of seven out of 10 libertarian-leaning voters go Republican in presidential races. Major exceptions came in 2004 and 2008, when higher-than-average numbers of libertarians were willing to throw in with John Kerry and Barack Obama (many participants in our 2008 presidential survey said they were voting for Obama). By the 2010 midterm elections, that flirtation with Dems seemed to be over and the Reason-Rupe Poll released this September found that 70 percent of libertarian-minded voters said they plan to vote for Romney. The same poll found that the Libertarian Party candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, could pull as much as 6 percent of the final vote.

Johnson is certainly the clear favorite in our 2012 "Who's Getting Your Vote" survey. Few of the contributors below have kind words for either President Obama or Gov. Romney, but many are stoked by state-level intiatives seeking to legalize the production, sale, and use of marijuana; to recognize gay marriage; and to otherwise limit the power of the state. Contributors were also generally optimistic that Reason's vision of "Free Minds and Free Markets" was either still gaining ground or at least holding its own against constant attempts to limit both. 

Nothing in what follows should be construed as an official endorsement for any candidate or cause. Reason.com is published by a 501(c)3 nonprofit and doesn't endorse particular candidates or specific pieces of legislation. We do hope that you'll find what follows provocative and informative.

To view this article as a single page, go here.

For the 2004 version, go here. And for for 2008, go here. - Nick Gillespie

Peter Bagge

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson, because I agree with him more than any other past or present presidential candidate I can think of. 

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama would be worse, though I think Romney would also be terrible.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Mitt, though Barack is no friend to freedom of any kind.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? They'd both be equally disastrous.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Harry Browne, John Kerry (whom I despised, but I really wanted to see Bush get fired), and Bob Barr (the worst Lib candidate ever, but still much preferable to McCain or Obama).

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? It looks like my home state of Washington may legalize marijuana.  It'll be both fantastic and very interesting to see what happens if that does indeed happen.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? It's a real possibility but an endless struggle.  Most people fear liberty and freedom far more than they're willing to admit.

Peter Bagge is a cartoonist and author of many graphic novels and comic collections, including his compilation of work for Reason magazine, Everybody is stupid except for me (revised edition due out in 2013).

Ronald Bailey

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson. This dispiriting and especially mendacious presidential race has sorely tempted me to take [my colleague's] Katherine Mangu-Ward’s advice and not bother voting at all. However, as I explained in 2008, I voted for Obama to punish the Republicans. I expected Obama to be a disappointment, but not THIS big a disappointment. The GOP has clearly not yet learned to value both economic and social liberty, so Romney and Ryan won’t get my vote.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama, period.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Obama is better on gay marriage and reproductive rights. Romney is better on free speech and school choice.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be all that much difference between the two on this set of issues. Perhaps Obama seems a little less interested in war with Iran and he does want to cut the Defense budget. Both evidently are enthusiastic supporters of domestic spying.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Bush, Bush, Obama.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The Massachusetts Senate race between Scott Brown (R) and Elizabeth Warren (D). Also Proposition 37 in California, which would unscientifically and expensively require labeling of perfectly safe foods containing ingredients from crops improved using modern biotechnology. 

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? The increasing disillusionment with crony capitalism and intrusive government is a hopeful sign that it’s a real possibility.

Ronald Bailey is the science correspondent at Reason, and author of Liberation Biology: The Scientific and Moral Case for the Biotech Revolution.

David Boaz

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I tend to think that think-tank officers should keep their ballots secret. But I am generally guided by the fact that in 40 years of voting I've never encountered an election in which my vote would have made the difference, and by the principle that it's better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? As bad as the Bush administration was, and as bad as Romney's Massachusetts administration was, and as bad as Romney's campaign promises are, I still have to believe that Obama is and would be worse on these economic issues. Though I do notice a certain Randian tone to Romney's promises: When he promises to "get tough on China," I fear that he really might stop the motor of the world economy.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Even here, we see the unfortunate confusion among "liberals" and conservatives on freedom issues. Obama is clearly better on gay marriage. But he's an opponent of free political speech and school choice. And he's surprisingly bad on drug laws.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? In 2008 we clearly thought Obama would be better on military intervention and civil liberties. So much for predictions. The welfare-warfare state gets its clutches into everybody. All we can say is, Obama has been bad, and Romney criticizes him for not being interventionist and threatening enough.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? See (1).

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? I would very much like to see some victories for marijuana freedom and equal marriage rights in the various initiatives around the country. Both issues seem to be at a tipping point, and a couple of electoral wins would really help to accelerate the process.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? In the history of the world, we have experienced few periods that saw freer minds and freer markets than we enjoy today. I believe that an ever larger part of the world will continue to move fitfully and haltingly toward greater respect for individualism, markets, toleration, and personal autonomy, if we can avoid wars and fiscal disaster. But this requires that in the United States and elsewhere, citizens make the case for freedom and free markets, and resist intrusions into economic and civil liberties. The state and its beneficiaries are always pushing, always alert to opportunities for expansion. The challenge is for citizens, who have lives and families and jobs, to push back.

David Boaz is executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer and The Politics of Freedom.

Shikha Dalmia

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson. He is a pragmatic libertarian who offers a principled alternative to the statism of the right (that would outlaw same-sex marriage and abortion; criminalize drugs; erect barriers to keep willing foreign workers away from willing Americans, etc.) and the statism of the left (that would enact crade-to-grave entitlements; confiscate wealth rather than curb spending to avoid going off the fiscal cliff etc.). Johnson is one of those rare libertarians who could operationalize his ideological vision into something resembling a governing philosophy. He cut spending in New Mexico, no small feat in a predominantly Democratic state. He won’t engage in politically futile fights on idiosyncratic libertarian causes such as moving to a gold standard or abolishing the fed (laudable though those goals might be). He seems to regard liberty not necessarily as a goal or a cause, but a tool to advance sound public policy whether it is to prevent overseas entanglements or economy-busting regulations at home.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama would be slightly worse. Romney is perhaps the most rabidly protectionist candidate to run in living memory – with the possible exception of Ross Perot. His saber-rattling against Chinese “cheating” might have been par for the course if it were not accompanied by his very specific pledge that he would declare China a currency manipulator on the day he assumed office. That said, Obama is a creature of government who seems to have no understanding of how crippling Obamacare, Dodd-Frank and EPA regulations are for private industry. He genuinely does not seem to understand that such initiatives – along with mounting debt and deficit -- might have something to do with the lackluster economic recovery.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? I would say “by far Romney” if I were judging solely by his statements during the presidential campaign. But given his record of flip-floppery on many of these issues, it is hard to say which way he’ll blow once he assumes office. He could turn out to be really bad or not-so-bad but I think he’ll be worse than Obama under any circumstances. And that’s not necessarily because Obama is any less prone to flip-floppery (witness his handling of the gay-marriage issue), but because his progressive base is somewhat more freedom-oriented on these issues (with the exception of school choice) at the moment.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? The left is prone to humanitarian wars and the right to wars from (alleged) national interest. That said, I think Romney will be infinitely worse on this issue. He has remained alarmingly consistent in his calls to peg defense spending to 4 percent of GDP so that “no one would ever dare to mess with the America” or words to that effect. His constant sabre-rattling against Iran to distinguish himself from Obama and court the GOP’s hawkish faithful is truly alarming.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? I wasn’t a citizen in 2000. I voted for Bush against Kerry in 2004 and didn’t vote for either Obama or McCain (or the Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr) in 2008.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The union-backed constitutional amendment in Michigan called Proposition 2 or the “Protect Our Jobs” ballot initiative. Not only will it turn public unions into something of a super-legislature when it comes to collective bargaining issues in Michigan, it will also permanently stop Michigan from becoming a right-to-work state. What’s more, if successful in Michigan, it could become labor’s blueprint to pre-emptively ban or scrap right-to-work laws in the 22 other states that allow legislative action through referendums and ballot initiatives.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? It is a question of moving incrementally toward a progressively freer society – not establishing some final utopia. I am not a Hegelian who believes that history will ever culminate in one rational moment; I am a Hayekian who believes history will move human societies toward greater freedom, prosperity and happiness as they discover existing injustices and irrationalities and correct them without ever reaching some final state of perfection. History is a discovery process no less than markets.

Shikha Dalmia is a senior analyst at Reason Foundation, the nonprofit that publishes Reason.com.

Brian Doherty

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why (in 100 words or less)? I am a non-voter, as per my 2004 article "Not Voting and Proud." If you want to vote and ask my advice, I advise you to vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, as his policies if implemented come the closest to creating a just and sustainable federal government. 

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? I think Romney's rhetoric would be better in libertarian terms on those issues; I don't trust his ability to follow through, or to get Congress, the actual lawmaking body, to follow through. 

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? These issues fall on either side of the set of policy positions and/or groups to mollify our two major parties. Thus, it's likely to be a wash, with one better on some, the other better on others. Certainly no coherent set of beliefs in freedom motivate either of them.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? From their records, they both seem to feel free to start wars at will, and detain and murder citizens or noncitizens at will. 

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? I have never voted, and don't expect to. 

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The set of marijuana legalization initiatives on the state level have the promise to break a log jam in one of our most foolish and wrong domestic policies, the drug war. However, if they have their way, both major party presidential candidates will do their best to make sure the will of the people is ignored if they legalize pot use in their states.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? It remains a real possibility, and in fact the only real possibility, to keep this nation going in the face of our looming debt and monetary crisis. Achieving it requires an ongoing project of education. 

Brian Doherty is a Reason senior editor and the author of Radicals for Capitalism and Ron Paul’s Revolution.

Matthew Feeney

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I will not be voting on Election Day. Public choice economics aside, there are hardly any significant differences between the two main candidates. Whatever the outcome, there will still be a lot of work to be done advancing the radical notion that people should be left alone to pursue their own goals without coercing others. I am getting sick of people telling me that voting is a right I have to exercise. I have the right to bear arms, yet I don’t own a gun, and I have the right to petition the government, but I haven’t done so.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? On economic freedom, Obama and Romney are both disasters for different reasons. In his first term Obama has demonstrated his fondness for corporatism and government interference in the market. The president blames so-called “trickle down economics” for the mess he inherited, and believes that the government deciding who should sink and who should float is a good way to foster a healthy economy so long as the rich pay their “fair share.”

Romney talks like a capitalist but seems keen on a trade war with China and keeping our military spending at insane levels. His admission during the first presidential debate that on Social Security he and the President are almost in complete agreement says a lot about how serious Romney is about his faith in markets and limited government. Romney would be worse than Obama from a libertarian perspective because of the rhetoric he is using. Were Romney to move into the White House we would still be enjoying the same crony capitalism, but under the guise of free markets.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Regarding social freedom I think Romney is slightly worse, though not by much. Being a libertarian that found his way as a liberal that got convinced of the economics, I have always found social conservatism abhorrent. That said, Obama seems to have been changing his mind on issues such as gay marriage with disturbing ease. The war on drugs has been perhaps Obama’s greatest social policy failure, having overseen a massive increase in DEA raids on medical marijuana dispensaries. Obama may well have campaigned in 2008 on a platform of social tolerance, but his record on illegal immigrant deportations and his waging of the drug war that would put George W. Bush to shame means I cannot give him much credit for being ever so slightly more tolerant than Romney

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Obama’s foreign policy is a George W. Bush 2.0 foreign policy. We are still engaged in unwinnable wars in countries we have not declared war on, and the drone strike program has been expanded. The Patriot Act remains thanks to Obama’s renewal, the assassination of American citizens without judicial review is accepted policy, drone warfare has expanded, and the sabre rattling with Iran continues. It is on foreign policy that the two candidates are perhaps the most similar. Whoever wins in November the legitimacy and effectiveness of interventionist warfare will remain the overriding assumption of America’s foreign policy.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? In November 2000 I was in the seventh grade and had only been living in New Jersey for three months. I had no idea who these Bush and Gore people were. In 2004 I was slightly more politically aware. Had I been of age and an American citizen I would have voted for John Kerry. In 2008 I would have voted for Obama, but I was not an American citizen so could not vote. I was a liberal in 2008 and I liked Barack Obama. An added incentive for my support for Obama was the Republican 2008 vice-presidential nominee.         

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Colorado Marijuana Legalization Initiative, Amendment 64. The war on drugs is a national disgrace, and I look forward to a time when it is viewed the same way alcohol prohibition is viewed now. Having the good people of Colorado leading the way on this issue would be a very welcome development. Thankfully, recent polling shows the amendment enjoying majority support.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? Being a libertarian who works in media, it can become very easy to get disheartened. Four hours of every day I work on aggregating news, almost all of which involves someone being screwed or abused by governments or coercive agents and being on the receiving end of the stupidity of elected officials. That said, I am optimistic about the war of drugs being scaled back and our education system becoming increasingly open sourced and innovative. The world will never be as free as I want it to be, but I am looking forward to a few important victories ahead.

Matthew Feeney is an assistant editor at Reason 24/7.

Nick Gillespie

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson. The two-term former governor of New Mexico is the first presidential candidate for whom I am totally comfortable voting. He won't win, but I hope he has a strong enough showing to make people want to learn more about limited government. 

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama, but not by as much as most people might think.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney, though the president's ability to affect these issues much is relatively minor.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? A toss-up. Obama's foreign policy and disregard for constitutional limits on warmaking are genuinely appalling. Romney's lack of experience and rhetorical bellicosity, coupled with an advising team heavy on Bush adminstration retreads, is very worrisome.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? The Libertarian Party candidate in each, though often without much enthusiasm.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The pot legalization and gay marriage initiatives around the country, which demonstrate precisely the sort of single-issue, ad hoc coalitions that Matt Welch and I identified in The Declaration of Independents as a rising force in politics. These are attempts to route around a two-party duopoly that has stopped being responsive to citizens' desire for more choice and freedom. 

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? In many ways - and despite a rotten economy and a raft of new regulations and restrictions - we're freer than ever to live however we want to. Certainly, we're freer than ever to express ourselves. But such freedom can always be tamped down via awful policy, which never seems to go into recession. My sense is that we're still stutter-stepping forward toward more individual control over our lives.

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and the co-author with Matt Welch of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America.

Steven Greenhut

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I’m actually not voting for anyone. I let my registration lapse. My former Orange County Register colleague, the late Alan Bock, argued that voting only encourages “them.” If I were voting, I would vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, who is the rare Libertarian candidate who actually held elected office (governor). His running mate, Judge Jim Gray, was a champion of freedom in the courts. On freedom issues, Democrats are incorrigible. Republicans pay lip service to the concept, but often aren't much better and sometimes are worse on war and civil-liberties issues. Perhaps an LP ticket can give the GOP enough of a scare as a spoiler that the party listens to libertarians. Obama will win California so why not try something a little different?

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama will unquestionably be worse on those issues. He really does believe that the government has the solution to every problem. He is a nightmare on union issues. He recognizes no apparent limits to federal power and doesn’t grasp the wonder of free markets. Obama’s disastrous economic policies – and his unwillingness to alter course despite the consequences of them – are the best arguments for voting for the GOP ticket. But realistically a GOP win won't improve things much.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? It’s a mixed bag. I’d like to see the separation of marriage and state, but Romney and Obama want the state to be involved. I have low expectations for both of them on the speech issue. Obama is worse on school choice and is worse even than George W. Bush on the medical marijuana issue, as his administration cracks down on legal clinics in California. On the abortion issue, Romney would be more likely to send that issue back to the states where it belongs. Obama is worse on gun rights and most other freedom issues, but Romney is a far cry from a social-freedom candidate.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? I’m not comfortable with Romney’s overly aggressive posturing regarding Iran and other foreign-policy issues and believe that he would be surrounded by Republican hawks whose foreign policy is far too interventionist for my taste. Yet Obama’s level of incompetence in the foreign-policy realm is a potentially bigger problem. He has been just as willing to use force as Republicans, and I think his blundering and inconsistency could lead us into war as well. No good choice on this issue.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? To my shame: Bush, Bush and Obama. I voted for Dubya in 2000 because he promised a humbler foreign policy. We see how that turned out. I voted for him again in 2004 for reasons that I forget, but temporary insanity is the only excuse I can muster now. As I wrote in my newspaper column at the time, I voted for Obama because of my belief that John McCain should not be anywhere near a nuclear trigger given his hot temper, which he displayed during a newspaper editorial board meeting. I argued that a McCain/Palin administration would pursue policies not that much different from Obama, except that the GOP would be behind him as he pursued bigger government. I argued that an Obama administration would at least spark a backlash, and the Tea Party movement suggests I was correct on that point at least.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? California’s Propositions 30 and 32. If Californians vote for Prop. 30, a massive tax increase, it will delay budget and other governmental reforms and make it less likely that my home state will ever get its fiscal act together. Giving more money to California’s wastrels always is like giving cocaine to a drug addict. Prop. 32 is paycheck protection and offers the best hope to rein in the power of public-sector unions by eliminating those automatic payroll deductions for politically used union dues. If things go poorly, then expect more taxpayers to flee.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? It seems like a pipe dream right now. But I remain an optimist. It’s easy to forget the many great strides that our society has made in the direction of openness and individual choice. I tend to be a nattering nabob of negativism as I report on the growth in government, but a vigilant public can turn things around. The other day, a friend of mine said we need a great pro-freedom leader to advance our cause, but we can’t wait for someone to save us. That's antithetical to the libertarian ideal. We need to roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves, which is why I now lead a nationwide network of investigative journalists to help spotlight the problems and perhaps lead to some local and state-based solutions.

Steven Greenhut is vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. He is a regular contributor to Reason, the Orange County Register, Bloomberg and other publications. He is author of Plunder! and Abuse of Power. He lives in the Sacramento area.

A. Barton Hinkle

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson (or, perhaps, Mitt Romney), based on the candidate's positions that matter most in the political realm: the role of government in the life of the individual and society.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? While Romney might be more pro-business than pro-free market, Obama's record on health care, green energy, economically significant regulations (those costing $100 million or more), "you didn't build that," and more proves him to be vastly worse.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Extremely close call. Obama gets points on gay marriage and reproductive rights, but loses them on free speech (see: Citizens United). Romney stakes out some unfortunate positions, but seems to do so as much out of political calculation as conviction. 

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? It's a photo finish.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? This space intentionally left blank.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Maryland's gay-marriage referendum - which, if it passes, will further erode the legitimacy of government sorting consenting adults into various groups based on certain traits alone, and then treating them differently on that basis.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? A realistic, non-utopian reading of that motto is a very real possibility. See: the growing acceptance of gay marriage and legalized pot, resistance to Obamacare, dismay over executive overreaching in the war on terror, support for the Tea Party, etc. Many Americans vigorously oppose excessive government power, although the vigor admittedly waxes and wanes depending on the issue. But most will not embrace the full menu of Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, or support candidates who want to abolish an institution that works well in practice because it fails in theory. Americans incline to the pragmatic center.

A. Barton Hinkle is an editor and writer for the Richmond, Virginia, Times-Dispatch. His work appears in Reason and Regulation.

Rob Kampia

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson, because he's the only presidential candidate who intends to shrink the side of the federal government, which includes ending federal raids against medical marijuana businesses.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama is worse.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Obama and Romney would be variously better or worse than each other, depending on the social freedom in question.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? They're equally bad.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Harry Browne, Michael Badnarik, and Bob Barr.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The marijuana legalization initiative (Amendment 64) in Colorado is the most important, because if it passes, Colorado would be the only place in the world where adult marijuana use, personal cultivation, wholesale business cultivation, and retail business sales would all be legal.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? In general, the federal, state, and local governments in the U.S. continue to restrict social and economic freedoms.  At the same time, the American people are becoming more libertarian - and outspokenly libertarian - in their beliefs.  Changes in public policy lag behind the wishes of the voters, but public policy will eventually catch up.  Reason is on the right side of history.

Rob Kampia is the co-founder and executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. 

Manny Klausner

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I'm enthusiastically voting for Gary Johnson, because I take liberty seriously, and I live in California - a non-battleground state that Obama will likely win by more than 1,000,000 votes.  To me, the worst choice would be to vote for Obama based on his disastrous performance to date, and his disrespect for liberty and the rule of law. He is a proponent of unconstrained government in virtually every sphere of life. However, I'm urging people to vote for Romney if they live in a battleground state, if it's a cliffhanger on the eve of the election.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Barack Obama would be far worse.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Barack Obama would be worse as to school choice and free speech - the most critical of these issues.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Barack Obama.
3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? In each of these elections, I voted (in California, a non-battleground state) to send a signal for "Free Minds and Free Markets" rather than voting for the lesser of the evils. Harry Browne, Michael Badnarik, and Bob Barr.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Prop 30 in California - if passed, this massive tax increase would dangerously accelerate the decline of California.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream (in 100 words or less)? It's attainable, but it's a major struggle - and we have to play the long game. However, this is a turning-point election, and a second Obama term would be devastating.

Manny Klausner is a lawyer, a former editor of Reason, and a co-founder of Reason Foundation.

Ed Krayewski

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I’m likely to vote for Gary Johnson because Mitt Romney’s foreign policy is too bellicose and Barack Obama has been a huge disappointment. 

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Barack Obama is worse on issues of economic freedom because of a lack of critical engagement of the negative consequences of government interventionism. Additionally, Romney has at least promised to sign and get passed free trade agreements, something that hasn't happened in the last four years. Neither, though, will critically engage the underlying wisdom of taxation and regulation that informs the federal government’s aggressive attitude toward those functions. 

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? I’m not sure there’s all that many differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney on most social freedom issues. While Obama is the first president to support state’s rights on gay marriage, the support has been largely rhetorical. Meanwhile, reproductive rights, as such, were not particularly curbed under George Bush and I doubt they would be under a Romney administration. The movement for school choice, spurred by demand on the ground, is unlikely to get push back from the federal government no matter which of the two is in charge.  

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? There are even less differences between Obama and Romney on foreign policy and terror issues. While Romney appears more outwardly bellicose, Obama’s foreign policy has largely been an adaptation of Bush’s and continues the roll-back of civil liberties as well as the expansion of an imperial presidency. While Romney would likely receive a cooler welcome onto the international stage than Obama did, friendlier relations with Europe have led to things like the illegal intervention in Libya and sanctions aimed at the Iranian regime that hurt the Iranian people instead. While a Romney victory might stir some anti-interventionism back into the Democratic party, an Obama victory could help the anti-interventionist faction emerging in the Republican party. However, as the bitter fruits of decades of interventionism continue to be reaped, anti-interventionism will gain political capital and traction irrespective of who the next president might be.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? I was too young to vote in 2000 but I was actually a campus field coordinate for the Gore campaign in northern New Jersey. In 2004 I ended up voting for Michael Badnarik and in 2008 for Obama.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Initiatives in support of legalizing marijuana, gay marriage, and charter schools are probably the most important. Passage of even just a handful would represent a significant milestone in moving public policy through petition. The policy approach to the drug war, especially, has been absolutely atrocious, with a tragic bipartisan consensus that insists we can’t surrender in the war on drugs even though by any sensible measure that war’s been lost despite the growing cost in blood and treasure. The Obama administration’s intent, meanwhile, to continue prosecuting the drug war even in places that have begun to liberalize their laws, even when they are swing states like Colorado, ought to remove any shred of doubt about his drug warrior status.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? The notion of free minds and free markets is real in 21st century America, more real even than it has been in centuries, especially because of the explosion of information technology. Though government is certainly growing and the range of national discourse is constantly shrinking, the tools to liberate minds and create free markets have never been more readily available. Modern technology may have made easier the task of building a totalitarian state and society, but it’s also invaluable to help drive and realize the innate human urge for freedom and self-sufficiency which will always win out in the end.

Ed Krayewski is an associate editor at Reason 24/7.

Baylen Linnekin

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? As I noted in my most recent column, I'm sitting this presidential election out. I've concluded that not voting is the only way I can be sure my choice won't betray me. It will be the first time ever that I'll avoid having to make this difficult choice

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? It's a tie. The GOP and the Dems got us into this mess together. And I've seen no reason to think either candidate has any idea how to get us out of the mess they and their parties created.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Tie. The Dems largely talk a good game. The GOP largely talks a bad game. And their policies once in office generally meet someplace in the dis-satisfying middle.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Tie. Obama ran as the anti-Bush on foreign policy and then--Nobel Peace Prize in hand--doubled down on the Bush policies he promised to end. Romney appears to be running as John McCain when it comes to foreign policy. That is not a good thing.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Gore, Kerry, Obama.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The measure I've been following most closely is Maryland's Question 6, a state referendum on same-sex marriage. As a registered Maryland voter, I'm very much looking forward to voting in support of gay marriage and equal rights in my state.  

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? I don't know. Whether it's a reality or not, the fact is that sort of change must happen in the courts rather than in national elections. Maybe Reason could hedge its bets by adopting a slightly less libertarian motto for contemporary America: "Freer Minds and Freer Markets."

Baylen Linnekin is a food law and policy columnist for Reason's website. He is an attorney, adjunct professor, and executive director of Keep Food Legal, a Washington, DC-based nonprofit that advocates in favor of food freedom. The views he expresses in this presidential poll are his own.

Tibor Machan

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson (mainly so as to keep the libertarian fire burning--so media can call upon him to spell out libertarian positions, etc.).

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Looks to me Obama would be worse but given Romney's ill-advised China bashing, not by much.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney far worse. 

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Neither has a feasible and suitable foreign policy perspective (a la George Washington). 

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Libertarian candidate (again, to keep libertarianism in the news). 

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Any time taxes are proposed, the answer must be no! 

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? Not a pipe dream but neither something that's in the cards these days.

Tibor R. Machan, a founder of the Reason Foundation, is R. C. Hoiles Chair in Business Ethics at Chapman University and author, most recently, of The Morality of Business, A Profession of Human Wealth Care.

Katherine Mangu-Ward

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? As I explained at great length in the cover story of the current issue of Reason magazine, I don't vote. You probably shouldn't either. 

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? (see below)

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? (see below)

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)?

There's less daylight between the two parties than they'd like you to believe. Democrats are rhetorically better on gay marriage and reproductive rights, for instance. But the actual legislative and regulatory outcomes on those issues during Obama's first term aren't that much different than they would have been under a Republican. Changes on the margins have symbolic value and can matter a lot to the people directly affected--the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, for instance.

Likewise, I like Republican chatter about regulation, taxes, and school choice, but those areas will also differ mostly on the margins. The D.C. Opportunity Scholarships will likely be restored under Romney, for instance, but true school choice isn't happening any time soon. Both parties are decent on free trade (although still subject to protectionist silliness), fine on free speech, and more or less indistinguishable on civil liberties, unfortunately. The outcomes of elections matter, but political expediency takes precedence over principle so often that picking a candidate based on what he says he believes won't do you much good.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Didn't. 

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? I'm closely watching the marijuana initiatives in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Montana.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? While we're a long way from perfectly free markets, we're not doing too badly on free minds. Thanks to the ever-increasing profusion of ideas, information, and media there has never been a better time to be a person with a brain.

Katherine Mangu-Ward is managing editor of Reason magazine.

Dierdre McCloskey

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson, because I always vote Libertarian. Back in the old days [when I taught at the University of Iowa) in Iowa City, I voted for Ron Paul and had the distinction of seeing my vote. In my precinct the next day in a left-wing university town there were 600 votes for the Dems, 150 for the GOP, and...one for the Libertarian. It was satisfying. Seriously, now, most Americans would vote Libertarian if they got the point. Let's keep explaining it.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama would be worse, but unreliably so. Romney would favor his good friends in big corporations, which is no worse than favoring your good friends in the tire union.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney by a mile. True, if he had convictions, they would be "moderate." But he doesn't, and so he would be in the hands of the most illiberal voices in the Republican Party.  He would for example appoint more Scalias (Scaliae? Scalie?). 

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Close call, since there is a bipartisan (but not tripartisan) agreement that the United States, because it is So Good, can do anything it damn well pleases, anywhere, to anybody. But Romney by a length in the stretch would be worse.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? The Libertarian candidates, whoever they were. Hmm. Can't bring them to mind.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The Senate race in Virginia, because it stands for the division between reactionary populism and progressive populism. Of the two I prefer the progressive sort.  

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? Possible, but it depends more on the artists than the journalists and professors. Ideas get really big when they are embodied in movies and popular novels and TV shows. Bollywood started criticizing cops and bureaucrats, and then India shifted towards free markets (it already had pretty much free minds). The Wire - the guy who made it thinks he is left wing - did more to cast the War on Drugs into doubt than any amount of instruction from we official libertarians.

Contributing Editor Deirdre McCloskey teaches economics, history, English, and communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her latest book is Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World.

Terry Michael

 1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson. I was a professional Democrat for years, including press spokesman at the Democratic National Committee from 1983-87. Even with that long Democratic pedigree, this year I will be doing what I believe the Democratic Party's founders, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, would do: I'm voting for Gary Johnson for president. Obama, who I supported in 2008, ramped up another hideous elective war, rammed through corporate welfare for drug companies as "health care reform," and reneged on slowing prosecutions in the assault on freedom known as the War on Drugs. I'll vote on principle this time, for a two-term governor who wants to keep government out of our bank accounts, away from our bedrooms and bodies, and out of the backyards of the rest of the world. I'll vote for liberty.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? No doubt Obama would be worse. Mitt Romney will be better on fiscal and tax policy and regulation. But I am not naive. Both parties support oligarchic capitalism, not a free market economy.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney would be worse on social issues, a captive of the Republican Party's Southern-based Christianist, as well as militarist, wings.  But Romney himself, like Ronald Reagan, will give only lip service to the Christianists, because he knows the center is not social conservative. And it makes little difference, because we social liberals have won the culture war Pat Buchanan declared in 1992.  And the courts will follow the culture.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Both parties are captives of the military-industrial-labor-congressional-media complex.  The "anti-war" candidate elected in 2008 immediately embraced the war profiteers by starting a "second war" in Afghanistan. The permanent state of warfare Madison and others warned about 200 years ago, as a threat to liberty, shows no sign of abating, because it is a jobs program for Democrats and corporate welfare for Republicans.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Gore, Michael Badnarik, Obama. The 2000 vote was purely pragmatic, as I held my nose voting for the anti-Bush. In 2004, I couldn't be "pragmatic" when the empty suit Kerry said he would have voted for the war resolution even if he had known there were no weapons of mass destruction. And the 2008 vote was an enthusiastic vote for Obama, because I thought he was telling the truth about being anti-war and because I thought he would end identity politics and because I believed he was telling the truth about no health care mandates. I was fooled. But not this time.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Without doubt, the marijuana legalization initiatives. They're a step toward legalization of ALL psychoactives, which is absolutely essential to ending the government-created black market that pushes up prices and profits, for which people are willing to kill and die. Marijuana legalization itself will at least keep some people out of jail, but full legalization is essential to ending the violence and murder.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? Free minds is possible, because the next generation of desk-top empowered voters will demand choices in every aspect of their lives. Free markets are much more difficult, because oligarchic capitalism is so deeply ingrained in our governance.

Terry Michael is director of the Washington Center for Politics & Journalism and is a former press secretary for the Democratic National Committee.

Charles Oliver

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I'm not going to vote for president this year. I live in a state that's pretty solidly Republican, and the odds of any single vote affecting the outcome are very small.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Barack Obama strikes me as marginally worse than Mitt Romney on economic freedom. Yes, the numbers on Romney's tax plan don't add up, but at least his first reflex isn't to raise taxes. That's more than I can say about Obama. Obama's record on spending is very bad. I don't see how Romney could do worse. I don't expect Romney would cut spending. He seems unwilling to tackle entitlements or defense spending. But he might - might - reduce the rate of growth of spending, and it's clear that's more than Obama will do. But  I've seen nothing to indicate that Romney would scale back government assistance to big business and his bellicose remarks on China indicate he would be very bad on trade issues.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Social freedom, overall, seems like a tossup to me. Obama's better on reproductive rights. Romney is more likely to support school choice. Neither has shown a great devotion to the First Amendment. Obama has done little, if anything, to roll back the war on drugs, and Romney's likely to be at least as ardent a drug warrior.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse
regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)?
I don't need to tell Reason readers just how bad Obama has been on foreign and defense policy. But Romney promises to be even worse. He's said nothing about rolling back the security state that Obama and Bush built up and given little indication he opposes military intervention. Indeed, his only real criticism of Obama is that the president hasn't been bellicose enough.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? No one.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? No one senator or congressman is going to have much of an impact on what happens in Washington. But a single sheriff or city council member or county commissioner can have a big impact on local government, so those races are the most important for most voters. Unfortunately, they don't get as much attention from the press or the public as they should.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? I wouldn't call it a pipe dream. But I don't think we are going to have truly free markets until more people have free minds. Or to put it another way, you aren't going to create a free nation through the ballot box. You have to change people's beliefs and their sense of life first. When you have a culture that supports free minds and free markets, then you'll have a government that respects them. But the culture has to change first, and it's going to be a long, difficult process to change the culture.

Charles Oliver is a Reason contributing editor who authors Brickbats and writes for the Dalton, Georgia Daily Citizen.

Garrett Quinn

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson because my vote for president in Massachusetts is irrelevant.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Barack Obama but only because we really don’t know which Mitt Romney will govern.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney overall but, as it is with him on economic issues, we really don’t know which Romney we’ll get as president. Will it be the corporate manager that doesn’t really care about social issues or will it be the severely conservative fellow we saw in the primary.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Oh, flip a coin.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? 2000? I was too young. 2004: Kerry because he was from Mass. 2008: Bob Barr.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The race in the Massachusetts Sixth Congressional. Richard Tisei, a pretty libertarian guy, could make history by being the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress and restock the depleted ranks of Bill Weld northeast libertarianish Republicans.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? This is United States of America and we’re still, for the most part, the only country in the world where the government was founded on the idea of leaving people the hell alone. So, there’s that.

Garrett Quinn is the author of the Less Is More blog for the Boston Globe as well as a radio host on WRKO 680 in Boston. He is covering the 2012 campaign for Reason.com.

Anthony Randazzo

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson. The more third party candidates like Gov. Johnson can draw at the polls, the greater the possibility that the third-party-candidates-don't-stand-a-chance psychology can be broken.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Mitt Romney will be just as bad as President Obama on trade and energy policy. Meanwhile his economic plan panders to the middle class, lacks a principled approach to cutting spending, and wants to use the tax code for political manipulation just as much as President Obama, but with different constituencies. When Romney fails with his plan, real free market economic policies will be smeared with his failure, setting back favorable views of economic freedom in the long-run.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Mitt Romney. At least President Obama's base forces him to pander on a few social issues.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? This is just a matter of picking between which wars, interventions, and civil liberty violations we would prefer.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? The first time I voted for president was in 2004. I voted for George Bush as a protest vote against John Kerry. I voted for Bob Barr in 2008 (see above reasoning for Gary Johnson).

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Yes on 64, Colorado 2012, the regulating of marijuana like alcohol. 

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? Incremental change eventually can make our mission a possibility—just think of the strides made on gay rights and the campaign for awareness of the disastrous effects of the drug war over the past 20 years. But where the boom years of the 1990s appeared to give economic freedom a global victory, the post-crisis mentality has been to blame free market ideology and deregulation for what was chiefly a regulatory failure. So whatever gains are made, there will never be an end to challenges or threats to free minds and free markets.

Anthony Randazzo is director of economic research at Reason Foundation.

Mike Riggs

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I relinquished my Florida residency in 2011 with the expiration of my driver's license. I am now a resident of Washington, D.C., which is 75 percent Democratic. Because I cannot even begin to pretend that my vote matters, I will not be voting. 

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? If it's possible for anyone to be more generous to crony capitalists than Obama, it just might be Mitt Romney. Also, I keep hearing that he is going to spank those Chinese cheaters, but also that Solyndra is in the initial steps of suing China for dumping solar panels below cost in the U.S. market, which is just confusing as hell to me (Romney and Solyndra being on the same side, that is). On the regulatory front, Obama has done a bang-up job of making life harder for anyone who doesn't employ an army of compliance officers. Would Romney cut the red tape off at the spool? If he says so.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? While Romney would clearly be better for fetuses, Obama is better for the women who carry them. Gays and school choice advocates, like drug reformers, should keep fighting the good fight at the local and state level, and forget about Washington. Free speech has been in jeopardy since day one of the Obama administration, when the DOJ still went after Butt Man [the pornographer John Stagliano], an effort President Romney would duplicate many times over. 

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? If the first vice presidential debate was any indicator, the difference between Obama-Biden and Romney-Ryan on civil liberty and foreign policy is that the latter administration would be proud of its barbarism, not necessarily more or less barbaric. 

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Nobody, nobody, and nobody. 

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The marijuana legalization initiatives in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado; the sentencing reform initiative in California.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? The central planners aren't giving up, so I'm not going to either.

Mike Riggs is associate editor of Reason.com.

Damon W. Root

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? That’s hard to say. Between these two, it’s a race to the bottom.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney. I’ll give Obama the edge here because of his long-overdue support for gay marriage.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Romney is certainly not the peace candidate, but then again Obama launched an undeclared war in Libya. I don’t see any real difference between these two on foreign policy.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? I voted for Michael Badnarik in 2004. I didn’t vote in 2000 and 2008.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? I’m watching the fate of Question 1, an eminent domain reform referendum in Virginia that would amend the state constitution to prevent some Kelo-style land seizures where “the primary use is for private gain, private benefit, private enterprise, increasing jobs, increasing tax revenue, or economic development.”

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? I’m not what you would call an optimist, but I believe these things are worth fighting for.

Damon Root is a senior editor of Reason magazine.

Scott Shackford

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson, probably the first time I won’t be embarrassed to admit whom I’m voting for (see below). He’s not nearly as libertarian in foreign policy and subsidies as needed, but certainly better than Obama and Romney.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? I don’t really think there’s a lesser evil here. They’re both awful. Mitt Romney talks a better game on economic freedom but I honestly don’t believe he’d do much different in office.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Both parties look at “social freedom” issues as a way to appeal to various voting blocs, not on their own merits, so it’s a wash. They both follow where certain polls lead.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Obama is just awful, but Romney would most certainly compound Obama’s awfulness with even more awfulness, thanks to Obama’s expansion of executive power.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Ralph Nader (sorry), John Kerry (sorry), Bob Barr (sorry).

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The marijuana legalization and gay marriage recognition initiatives are important this year. If the polling holds true, it may be the first time either proposal survives an actual public vote.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? I think we are seeing a shift of political debate from conservative/liberal differences toward the direction of the libertarian/progressive divide (or at least inclusive of this second axis). I think it’s a long, hard slog, but at least we’re actually having the debate now.

Scott Shackford is an associate editor of Reason 24/7.

Peter Suderman

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? I’m not voting for anyone for president. First of all, my vote doesn’t count. Second of all, have you read my profile of Mitt Romney? I couldn’t vote for the guy. Third of all, have you read my profile of Barack Obama? Same deal. Couldn’t vote for that guy either. Third party? Nope. Sorry. Why bother? My vote doesn’t count.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Obama, but only by a little. Obama’s record speaks for itself. Romney isn’t much different. He’s a GOP-friendly technocrat who would rather tweak bad federal policy than end it. But he’d probably hold the line on taxes and look for some small ways to restrain spending on the non-defense part of government.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney, but only by a little. The difference between the two is muddy in many ways, but the important clear contrast is that Obama now says he supports gay marriage. That took too long. But it’s a good thing, and all else being equal, I’d prefer a president who supports it to one who doesn’t.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Tie. Obama has stuck with virtually all of the Bush administration’s worst civil liberties violations, and added a deeply disturbing death-by-drone program of his own. Romney could have attacked Obama for his wild expansions of executive power in this realm, but instead he’s stayed mostly mum on the civil liberties specifics while broadly criticizing Obama for being too timid about projecting American power abroad. 

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? In 2000 I tried to vote for Bush, but mostly out of sheer laziness never got around to returning my Florida absentee ballot. In 2004, I voted for Bush, which in retrospect was pretty stupid—perhaps even as stupid as voting for Kerry would have been. In 2008, I held my nose and took the trash out of my apartment on election day. But I didn’t vote. Taking out the trash was more satisfying, and more productive.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Colorado’s marijuana legalization initiative. It’s hard to think of any domestic policy that is as dim-bulb stupid, as cartoonishly anti-fun, and as cruelly inhumane as marijuana prohibition. If it ends up fully legal in even one of the 50 states, that will set a precedent that will be hard for others to ignore.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? Free minds? Sure, more or less. Free markets? Well, how about free…ish? It’s not even close to perfect, and sometimes it’s downright aggravating. But all in all, it’s not too bad either.

Peter Suderman is a Reason senior editor who writes frequently about health care and entitlements.

Jacob Sullum

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson, because iSideWith told me to. Presumably that is because his views are closest to mine. Why else vote for a candidate, unless you really think you have the power to decide the outcome? If voting is primarily an expressive act (which it is), why not let the good be the enemy of the not quite as awful? For what it's worth, my iSideWith order of preference for the candidates who were still in the race at that point (July 12) went like this: Johnson, followed closely by Ron Paul, then Green Party nominee Jill Stein. Romney and Obama scored about the same, a distant fourth.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Judging by what they say, the edge here goes to Obama. 

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Hard to say with that mix of issues. Romney's avowed positions are worse on gay marriage and reproductive rights, better on school choice. Romney is worse on free speech when it comes to porn, while Obama is worse on political speech, which even the most avid masturbator might admit is more important. 

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? With the possible exception of torture, this really seems like a wash to me. Democrats in opposition are arguably a little better than Republicans at challenging abuses of executive power, so maybe that gives a slight edge to Romney, although not due to any virtue of his.

3. Who did you vote for in 20002004, and 2008? Harry Browne, Michael Badnarik, Bob Barr. I admit I had to look up the first two, although giving Jacob Sullum someone to vote for may be the Libertarian Party's most important function. 

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? Marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado (Oregon too, although the chances there look slim). 

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream (in 100 words or less)? I reject your false dilemma. I say it's a real pipe dream.

Jacob Sullum is a Reason senior editor and a nationally syndicated columnist.

J.D. Tuccille

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson. He represents the closest a competent, qualified presidential candidate has come in my lifetime to representing my view of the proper, very limited, role of government and of the relationship of the individual to the state. Since Romney and Obama are debating the degree to which they'd grow the state, there's no contest. 

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? Keeping in mind that presidents often embrace policies entirely at odds than those they espoused as candidates, I think Barack Obama would be a bit worse worse on economics. He clearly believes that the state should be deeply involved in managing the economy, while Romney at least promises a lesser government role. 

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? Romney might be a tad worse on social freedom - he's certainly less tolerant of gay issues and abortion, for sure. While Obama is terrible on school choice, I give him the edge on social freedom.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Both Obama and Romney wallow in authoritarian overreach. We know that Obama's civil libertarian promises of his first presidential campaign were followed by enthusiastic embrace of indefinite detention, drone assassinations, warrantless wiretapping and the full apparatus of the modern security state. Romney's position is, essentially, "me too." They also both seem out of their depth beyond the U.S. border. To Hell with both of them.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? If I remember correctly, I voted Harry Browne in 2000, to sleep in and skip the process in 2004, and Bob Barr in 2008. I consider voting non-essential, but excusable as a defensive act and form of expression. Honestly, I sometimes half-complete a mail-in ballot, then toss it.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington are important, both as efforts to extend the protected range of personal freedom and as screw-yous to the federal government. If state governments have value, it has to be in the form of occasionally interposing themselves between individuals and D.C. (the same can be said of the feds returning the favor). The ObamaCare initiatives in Alabama and Florida fall into the same category.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? I think "free minds and free markets" are always a possibility, but they increasingly find their niche in the interstices of regulated life. That's not because intrusive laws are new, but because the government has vastly more resources than in the past with which to enforce them. Fortunately, greater resources are also available to practitioners in the shadow economy and opponents of the state.

J.D. Tuccille is the managing editor at Reason 24/7 and the author of the novel High Desert Barbecue.

Jesse Walker

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? I suspect Obama is worse, but you never know. Romney's rhetoric on China certainly makes me dubious that he'll be any kind of free trader.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? I'll say Romney is worse, but again I have reservations. There are a few areas, such as religious liberty, where he may turn out to be better. As with economic and foreign policy, the significant story isn't that one candidate is marginally preferable to the other; it's how terrible they both are.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Romney is more likely to start a war with Iran, so I'll give him the dunce crown here. Do not take that as an endorsement of anything in Obama's foreign policy record.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Harry Browne, Michael Badnarik, Bob Barr.

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? The marijuana initiatives in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, a triple opportunity to give a vote of no confidence to the drug war.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? It isn't a pipe dream to demand freer minds and markets. We'll see how far we can take it.

Jesse Walker is a Reason senior editor and the author of a forthcoming book on paranoia and American politics.

Matt Welch

1. Which presidential candidate are you voting for and why? Gary Johnson, because he reflects my views more than any presidential candidate I've ever had the chance to vote for, because I know and like him personally (weird!), and because I am voting in a state (New York) that will certainly favor Barack Obama. The president richly deserves to be fired, for his economic mismanagement, his lying, and his ass-covering, speech-constricting response to the Benghazi attacks, but my vote cannot impact that. It is important to me that the preference for limited government be expressed by (at minimum!) a third-place showing on election day.

2a. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding economic freedom, including things such as industrial policy, free trade, regulation, and taxes? The only scenario under which I can imagine Romney being any worse than Obama on economic freedom is if we were in multiple costly new wars on the day that borrowing costs spiked up. Though Romney has campaigned against Medicare cuts and for boosting military spending, he is still rhetorically in a much different place than the Keynesian in Chief, and most importantly so is his political party. I have at least some hope that the limited-government grassroots will apply much more pressure to keep their man in line than the anti-war/pro-civil liberties left has placed on Obama.

2b. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding social freedom issues such as gay marriage, free speech, school choice, and reproductive rights? An edge to the incumbent, with caveats. Obama wins big on legal abortion rights (though it's unclear to me how much practical difference on that issue there would end up being). Romney is better on school choice, but I'm not sure how much difference that will make. Obama has been lousy on free speech and drug enforcement, but is there much to suggest that Romney is better? Dems are better with gays, Repubs are better with guns. Both disrespect individuals once in power. It's a big, messy category.

2c. Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, who do you think would be worse regarding foreign policy, military interventions, and the global war on terror (including domestic restrictions on civil liberties)? Romney has sketched out a more interventionist, more chest-thumping posture than Obama's already significant buttinskyism. He has shown zero interest that I've seen in curtailing any of Obama's civil liberties abuses. Neither party seems capable of rallying around the concept of imperial pruning, let alone pullback, and as long as that's the case, I'm afraid we're creating the conditions for an eventual unplanned, chaotic retreat. While Obama deserves to be punished for his interventionism and civil liberties degradations, Romney has done nothing to earn that particular protest vote.

3. Who did you vote for in 2000, 2004, and 2008? Ralph Nader, largely because of my support for campaign finance restrictions, a subject on which I have since totally changed my mind, but also as a protest against bipartisan civil liberties abuse; John Kerry (to fire George W. Bush); and no one (would have been Bob Barr if I had completed the paperwork in time).

4. Apart from the presidency, what do you think is the most important race or ballot initiative being decided this fall? By far, the marijuana legalization initiatives in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Getting the first state into full and open defiance of federal drug laws is the essential first step in finally ending drug prohibition, which has been one of the single most ruinous and murderous policies in American history.

5. Reason's libertarian motto is "Free Minds and Free Markets." In contemporary America, is that notion a real possibility or a pipe dream? To paraphrase the individualist-anarchist (and gold-seller!) Louis Carabini, there's no need to wait for government - we can all become our own gold standard. Not that I'm interested in precious metals (yet!) but rather that the most crucial work of freedom happens between the ears. On that front, I am optimistic that the conditions for personal freedom are better now than ever, both here and abroad. But this happy fact is in conflict with a teetering yet ever-expanding state. The tension between the two is arguably the fundamental conflict of our times.

Matt Welch is editor in chief of Reason magazine and co-author with Nick Gillespie of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong with America.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    (grabs popcorn)

  • ||

    Quick, make Terry Michael send you another pissed-off email. Go!

  • ||

    He's not doing anything bonecrushingly stupid, so it might be difficult.

  • CE||

    Judging from the signs in my town, Gary Johnson is going to carry California. Go G-Money!

  • ||

    Not a single Obama. I'm tremendously disappointed with the maybe-Romney vote, though.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Yes, much improved over last time, when I was in shock that a few were going down the Obama Make-Believe Highway.

    It's curious that so many of them--and so many commenters--aren't voting. That's definitely endemic among libertarians, and it's hard not to wonder what kind of difference that makes in elections. Not just in LP votes, but in votes for the more limited government candidate in general. Seems to me that many statists have a vested interest in voting for Leviathan and make sure they do vote.

  • sarcasmic||

    One day I'd like to see all those eligible voters who sit the election out to come together for a third party candidate.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Not voting is one of the three options I'm currently considering. (Not out of principles, but out of laziness and an ability to recognize how little a vote actually matters)

  • ||

    Why is not doing something abjectly pointless curious? Your grasp of statistics is lacking, ProL. Performing futile acts as if they matter is the stuff of animists, not rational people.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Your grasp of statistics is lacking, ProL.

    Remember, even with his love of space, instead of becoming an engineer, he could only handle being a lawyer. An inability to handle math is the obvious answer.

  • ||

    I heard that ProL likes to play the lottery, too.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    He probably even thinks there are 5 lights.

  • ||

    I think he also said Q is his favorite character after Wesley.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Hey, we're talking about his inability to prefer elementary school level math, not his perverse love of young impressionable boys. That's a topic for another day.

  • Proprietist||

    What about the self-fulfillment of flicking off the establishment? As Deidre McCloskey pointed out, having your middle finger stand out from the crowd is worth the effort.

    Not voting means not expressing your disapproval at the system when the opportunity arises.

  • ||

    You seem to completely not understand the "fuck you" value of not voting.

  • Proprietist||

    Sorry, I don't understand it, because that's not how anybody outside of those you talk to directly will understand it. You're casting a 0, and we're casting a -1.

  • ||

    You once again fail to understand that I don't fucking care how others understand it. Why is this so hard for you to get?

  • Proprietist||

    I get that you don't care, but I still don't get how not voting is a middle finger to the rigged system. Not that you care.

  • Randian||

    I don't even see any evidence that the system is rigged.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    They would have changed the rules to keep Gay Jay out of the debates if it was rigged, duh.

  • The Sego Sago Kid||

    Uh, Randian.. the debates? GJ ballot fights in PA and other states? It's pretty rigged, man.

  • Randian||

    Uh, Randian.. the debates? GJ ballot fights in PA and other states? It's pretty rigged, man

    What about the debates? Yes, the CPD is an establishment organization.

    The ballot fights? If the system were rigged, how is Gary Johnson on any ballots at all?

    If the system is rigged, how do we peacefully transition power and political offices every two years?

    Yes, there are a lot of institutional roadblocks that favor those currently in power and the politically favored, but if the system were 'rigged', you would know it.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Him (and other marginal candidates) being on the ballots is just a cede to malcontents.

    It makes people think that things could change.

    The establishment got a big wake up call with Perot, and they're not going to let it happen again.

  • Randian||

    Yes, WG, it's all a grand conspiracy just to placate the sheeple.

    Turn off the Alex Jones, please.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    + 1000

    - Perot voter (last time I voted)

  • sarcasmic||

    If the system is rigged, how do we peacefully transition power and political offices every two years?

    As long as the transfer is to a Republican or a Democrat, the transition remains peaceful.

    What if a spoiler were to win? Do you think it would remain peaceful?

  • Randian||

    What if a spoiler were to win? Do you think it would remain peaceful?

    Like Joe Lieberman running as an independent? Like Jesse Ventura, you mean?

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    And how, pray tell, would you know it? Well, I might know it, because I'm looking for it, but you never would, because you already believe it can't/doesn't happen.

  • Zeb||

    Maybe "rigged" is the wrong word, but it is certainly optimized for the convenience of the two major parties.

  • JW||

    Maybe "rigged" is the wrong word

    No, that's exactly the correct word.

  • Zeb||

    I think that "rigged" implies to some people that one particular outcome is predetermined. Given that definition, it is not quite the right word.

  • JW||

    It is predetermined. The game is rigged so that either a Democrat or a Republican occupying the White House is the most likely outcome by a generous magnitude, so much so that it's a certitude.

    I call that "rigged."

  • Zeb||

    I pretty much agree. Just trying to be ecumenical.

  • LifeStrategies||

    You actually need None Of The Above on the ballot paper. Then, in an ideal world, if NOTA wins then NOTA fills the position, ie nobody does.

    Then nobody gets to create more harm with yet more misguided policies...

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, let's say that ten million votes are like-minded and don't vote. That could swing an election. Significant?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Not voting in this election is pretty stupid. There is absolutely no good reason to not vote for Johnson.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Not voting in this election is pretty stupid. There is absolutely no good reason to not vote for Johnson.

    You realize that Epi is an anarchist, right?

  • Proprietist||

    Exactly - if we want more legitimate candidates like Johnson to ditch the establishment and go third party, historic vote totals are a must.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    In what universe is Gary Johnson a legitimate candidate?

    His electoral success was many years ago and he couldn't even get enough support to appear in more than one of the GOP primary debates (and with Ron Paul appearing in all of them, you can't really claim media/party establishment was to blame).

    I mean, if you agree with him, fine. But this is a guy who was out of options in his home party and came to the LP because they offered a chance to be a big fish in a little pond. Getting GJ 2% instead of 1% of the vote isn't going to lure skilled politicians from the two big parties.

  • Proprietist||

    Two term governors aren't ditching for third parties every day. Johnson is arguably the second most "legitimate" third party candidate for President in history after Teddy Roosevelt.

  • R C Dean||

    In what universe is Gary Johnson a legitimate candidate?

    He's on my ballot; what more does he need?

  • Whahappan?||

    He didn't get in the debates because he's not a career politician and doesn't have contacts and relationships with the party insiders. The Republican party leadership (as well as the Democratic) hate freedom and liberty, and as he doesn't have a large, ready made constituency, being out of politics for many years, or any allies in powerful places, they were able to exclude him. The GOP establishment gave him a big fuck you, and I don't blame him one bit for going with the LP.

  • BakedPenguin||

    TULPEROOOOO

  • BarryD||

    Were Johnson's parents not married?

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I don't see your point, except that you want to make sure everybody remembers you are an asshole. You did make that point.

  • $park¥||

    The vote for him if you wan ... oh, wait.

  • JW||

    Not voting in this election is pretty stupid.

    Endorsing the broken and corrupt system in place, by voting, is even stupider.

  • Cytotoxic||

    The system doesn't need or care about your 'endorsement'. It's happy you're not voting to change it.

  • JW||

    Here's a news flash chief: it doesn't give a fuck about yours either.

  • fredtyg||

    Not voting is exactly what they want you to do. That way they can easily ignore you.

  • $park¥||

    It's curious that so many of them--and so many commenters--aren't voting.

    I simply refuse to participate in a corrupt system any longer. My vote is my refusal to vote.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Behold The Children's logic. As if your participation is dependent on voting or not.

  • $park¥||

    Your statement in no way even begins to make sense. I understand that I am stating a concept that is beyond your understanding. It's alright, maybe the next guy will feel bad because you called him a child.

  • B.P.||

    I find it more curious that a few of them can't handle the voter registration process.

  • BarryD||

    Maybe they don't have ID.

  • fredtyg||

    It's infuriating that they aren't voting. I can see not voting if you have only two choices you're not happy with. I do that myself every now and then. But they have the most credible- not only libertarian- but third party candidate to cast a vote for in most of our lifetimes.

    They're not wasting their time voting in a case like this. If all these non- voters would just take the time to vote, we'd probably have enough numbers to make us a force to be recognized.

  • Longtorso||

    I saw Gillespie's comment, but does The Jacket get its own vote? Who gets the Black Leather Endorsement?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    The Jacket will obviously write in Elvis.

  • Whahappan?||

    No, Fonzie of course.

  • db||

    The zip-out velvet liner votes for Elvis.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    At least he got a plug for the book in there!

  • AlmightyJB||

    What book?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    A guy who doesn't rule out Romney but prefers Johnson, and a guy who won't disclose his vote. For the rest, it's Gary Johnson or Nobody. Did I get this right?

    The liberaltarians have evolved, or made themselves scarce.

  • Azathoth!!||

    They've learned to not be so obvious. Several 'liberal'tarians are apparent, just read the responses.

  • RBS||

    I see the HitandRunpublicans are still around. Idiots.

  • CE||

    No, they finally got a liberaltarian candidate who doesn't frighten them.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    BARACK OBAMA. EVERYONE IS SECRETLY VOTING FOR BARACK OBAMA.

  • sarcasmic||

    John said so. They all hate Romney. Prove him wrong. See? You can't. John's right.

  • R C Dean||

    Well, they are voting for GayJay, which is a vote against Romney, which is a vote for Obama.

    Right?

  • $park¥||

    Right on the nose.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    What, no waterboarding this year?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    IMAGINE THAT. Gitmo gets a new owner and all of the sudden torture talk is off the table.

    I would waterboard anyone who complains about Friday Funnies, because that person just doesn't get it.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'd waterboard anyone who mentions anything about getting the first post.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I hope I can post a complaint in the Friday Funnies, first!

    /masochist

  • Bee Tagger||

    Penn Jillette's answer last year shamed them into not including it:

    5. Leaving George W. Bush out of consideration, what former U.S. president would you most like to have waterboarded? No one. I'm against torture, and even this gag makes me a little uncomfortable.

  • Killazontherun||

    It's a joke, shame is morally dubious aggrandizement.

    FDR, because being a cripple he wouldn't put up much of a fight.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Before the presidential elections in 2004 and 2008, Reason.com asked its staff, regular contributors

    Considering that I wasn't asked, I'm going to have to assume that Reason doesn't think my constant demands for more alt-text are contributing. I'M TRYING TO MAKE YOUR SITE BEARABLE!

  • Voros McCracken||

    Interesting that Steve Chapman was not included since he was the most likely to pull the Obama lever again. Neither was Cavanaugh though it seems like he's way off that bandwagon now.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Nor Lucy.

  • Mike M.||

    "Interesting" as in you sure don't have to be any kind of genius to figure out why certain people are conspicuously missing here.

  • mr simple||

    They didn't answer the survey in time?

  • Raston Bot||

    'homeschool' Lucy's going to vote for Obama?

  • Zeb||

    Chapman is just a syndicated columnist.

    I'd be really surprised if any other Reson staff voted Obama again. Last time there was sort of an excuse. The whole blank slate thing is on aspect. He also talked a good game on a few things. And the alternatives of Barr and McCain were not terribly inspiring. The only thing I can think of that McCain might have been better on would be that the healthcare monstrosity might not have passed. But he was all in for bailouts, more war, stimulus spending and propping up the housing market with stupid gimmicks. There was no clear better choice in my opinion.

    I voted for Barr, BTW and pretty much assumed that Obama was full of shit on anything he said that appealed to me.

  • John Thacker||

    McCain's biggest advantage, as I said at the time, is that he had actually voted against most of the stupidest of the GWB things, including Medicare Part D, the farm bills, the energy bills, and the spending. (Not the war, but the various interrogation techniques.) He was light years better on free trade and immigration than either of these guys too.

    McCain's alternative stimulus bill, as presented after the election, was a much better bill, being half the size, having no direct spending, and having economist-approved cuts to the employer side of the Social Security tax.

    McCain also sponsored an amendment to remove Buy American from the stimulus we did get, but of course that failed.

    Sure, he's an annoying jerk, but I think that McCain got overly punished for Republican excesses, including things he voted again, and a lot of people fell for the idea that Obama was going to make changes in foreign policy, which was always laughable to me.

  • johnl||

    Yeah, I hope we didn't browbeat Cavanaugh so much he'll never answer again. And by "we" I mean all of you guys since I never took part in that. You people are the reason libertarians can't have nice things.

  • Matt Welch||

    BTW, feel free to volunteer your own answers to the survey, boys and girls.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I'm voting for whoever makes alt-text mandatory.

  • ||

    I'm not voting. For Bill and Opus.

  • R C Dean||

    I'll pull for Johnson. Helps with LP ballot access (I think; can't be arsed to actually track it down), plus he's the cleanest dirty shirt in the hamper.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    And open ourselves up to ridicule when our pick Johnson wins and turns out to be worse than Hitler? I don't think so.

  • ||

    You're already open for ridicule, FoE. WAY OPEN. So you could vote if you wanted to waste your time.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    EVERYONE KNOWS I'M THE COOLEST ONE HERE. How do they know? Because I'm not afraid to pull the trigger on the caps lock when it suits me.

  • ||

    FoE, you're like school on a Sunday. NO CLASS.

  • Zeb||

    What about Sunday School? Dumbass.

  • ||

    It takes a man of breeding to quote Fat Albert.

  • ||

    You mean misquote "Fat Albert"... I believe that Russell used to say "school in the summer", not "Sunday"

  • Auric Demonocles||

    you know who ELSE isnt afraid to pull the trigger when its JUSTIFIED?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Sheriff Justified from the show Justified? I hear it's good television but I'll never see it because YOU JUST SPOILED IT FOR ME.

  • ||

    Just watch it for Natalie Zea.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    atfpapic, this was a GOOD SPOIL

    hth

  • Enough About Palin||

    Not voting, same as in 2010.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Yay! Classroom participation time!

    1. GJ, because the others make me want to puke
    2a. What do you prefer, nosehair-pulling or prostate exams?
    2b. See 2a
    2c. See 2a
    3. 2000 - Bush, 2004 - probably Nader as a FU vote, 2008 - Barr
    4. Virginia has put eminent domain restrictions on the ballot.
    5. Pipe dreams all the way down

  • Auric Demonocles||

    You "probably" voted for Nader? Were you too drunk to remember? Or just too young and you mean that's who you would have voted for?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Pretty sure it was Nader. My mind tends to block things it doesn't want to remember.

  • tarran||

    Writing in None of the Above, baby! All races. Johnson's policies would be disastrous and saddle us with both an income tax and a national sales tax.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Why is Obama better on reproductive rights? We've seen that in his view, "reproductive rights" mean "forcing others to pay for your reproductive preferences (regardless of their religion)"/

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Agreed, out of all of those things, Obama was worse on everything except gay marriage. On some things that weren't listed, like surveillance and war on drugs, they're both equally shitty.

  • BarryD||

    Johnson, for the reasons people cited in the article, except that he's not a personal friend of mine so that one doesn't count.

    But what happened to Craig Newmark? We all give such a major shit about HIS opinion, as the thinking man's libertarian!

  • Lord Humungus||

    With Amash as my congressman and with Prop 2 in Michigan, I'll drag myself to the voting booth, even though Gary Johnson didn't make the ballot.

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    I voted for Romney.

    Reasons:
    1) Obama is a real live socialist. Read some Marx people, he's our intellectual enemy.
    2) I live in a swing state, and though I much prefer Johnson, I felt Karma dictated that I had to vote against Obama.
    3) I can't stand Obama: his politics, his world view, his sense of entitlement, his petulance, his arrogance, etc. just piss me off. I think a lot of people have an aha moment when they realize they can't stand someone. Mine came in 2008 when Obama substituted for Ted Kennedy as a commencement speaker. Obama said that the graduates basically had two choices: they could join the "money culture" or they could "make a difference". This is so wrong in so many ways it just about made my head explode. If anything is a signal that he's anti-individual, anti-market, and anti-rational self-interest it was this speech.

  • Proprietist||

    Your loss - even if the election came down to the difference made by your one vote, there would be recounts that would find different numbers and the final decision would be made by a court. Should've voted for Johnson if you preferred him.

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    I've done that for several elections. It is always an underwhelming feeling. It's like taking a shot on net from your own goal line, what's the point it's not going in anyway.

  • Zeb||

    Won't it just be the same if Romney loses?

  • Proprietist||

    If Romney wins and he sucks as much as we can all rationally expect him to, won't it feel like you took a shot on your own goal?

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    Nah. Obama would have been worse. I felt very comfortable voting against Obama. It felt right.

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    I also agree that voting doesn't really matter in the winning an election sense. But as a way to voice my preference (mine is Obama must go), it serves me pretty well. I will enjoy Obama's loss on an almost metaphysical level. Getting Johnson past 500,000 total votes does not do anything for me. That's the payoff. It's totally based on emotion.

  • Proprietist||

    If voting for Obama is taking two shots on your own goal and voting Romney is taking one shot on your own goal, the problem is still that you're betraying your own team and helping them lose.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    2) I live in a swing state, and though I much prefer Johnson, I felt Karma dictated that I had to vote against Obama.

    You understand a vote for Johnson is also a vote against Obama, right?

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    I see it as a half vote against him, not at all different than not voting from Obama's perspective. Voting for Romney is, in my view, the most realistic way to vote against Obama.

  • Calidissident||

    It doesn't matter how you see it. A vote for Gary Johnson is, objectively and factually, a vote for an opponent of Barack Obama and objectively not a vote for Barack Obama

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    Yeah but I am not contributing to Obama's loss as much. That's the goal. No matter how much my vote doesn't count, voting for Obama's only serious opponent is the best way I can see to vote against him.

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    1) Romney see above
    2a) Obama - he is anti-capitalism reflexively.
    2b) Obama is better on gay marriage, but that's a self-serving BS position. Reproductive rights isn't really an issue since birth control and abortion are here to stay. Obama is proven to be anti-speech and anti-school choice. He's a teachers' union stooge.
    2c) I guess Romney, but it's a race to the bottom
    3) I voted Libertarian in all three of those elections.
    4) The Senate Races in which somewhat pro-liberty Republicans are running. So I am hopeful that Jeff Flake, Ted Cruz, Richard Murdoch (yeah I know), etc. win. Also, I am hoping that Elizabeth Warren loses because she's just another Obama.
    5) Probable in my lifetime (I'm 42). Statism can't work and will one day just sort of implode. I'm not very excited about living through the implosion, but I think we'll eventually have an American Republic much closer to what the founders envisioned than the dysfunctional state we have now. A libertarian paradise is unlikely, but a much freer country is inevitable.

  • David Emami||

    Reproductive rights isn't really an issue since birth control and abortion are here to stay.

    What's really up for decision now about abortion is not whether or not it will be legal (as you point out) but issues related to it. Specifically:

    1. Parental notification/permission for abortions by minors. To me this is more a "rights of minors" question than an abortion one -- it should have the same legal handling as any comparable medical procedure. What that handling should be is a question libertarianism doesn't deal with easily. It's excellent when you're talking about sane adults, but gets sticky when dealing with minors, the insane, and the mentally.

    2. Should the government pay for abortions, or force employers to pay for them, directly or indirectly? The libertarian answer to this is clearly "no", in my opinion.

  • David Emami||

    3. How should abortions be handled once the fetus is viable outside the womb? The libertarian rationale for a woman's right to have an abortion is that her womb is her property. Essentially, she is evicting a trespasser (the fetus). That the fetus will die outside the womb does not obligate her to allow it to remain there. However, later in the term the fetus can survive. Does the woman have a right to remove it by lethal means if non-lethal means are available and she is not under threat of harm? To put it differently, does she have a right to kill the fetus, separate from her right to have it removed from her womb? At one month, these are the same question. At eight months, they are not.

    To continue with the trespassing analogy: if come out of your house one morning and find a man passed out under your car, is it OK for you to drive your car over him in order to leave, or should you be required to first drag him out of the way and onto the sidewalk?

  • radar||

    Either Johnson or Romney. Depends on what the final polls in Virginia are. If it starts looking safe for Mittens, I'll do my protest vote bit for Johnson. All I care about is firing the miserable failure currently in office.

    To me, it's pretty clear that Romney's better on economic freedom (talk about damning with faint praise, but so it is). They both suck on social freedom, but since I couldn't give two shits if abortion was restricted and I hold out the slightest of hopes that Romney would be a tepid school choice advocate, I'd give him the edge there. Gay rights are going to happen no matter who's in office - there's no putting that genie back in the bottle. Foreign policy is basically indistinguishable.

    And I'll add a category of my own - I will not risk the addition of any more leftists to the Supreme Court. That's the biggest point in the favor of GOP candidates I can imagine.

  • ||

    You do realize Souter and Stevens were both Republican appointees, yes?

  • David Emami||

    Yes, some Republican nominees turn out to be bad, or "grow in office." Others turn out to be good. Nominees by Democrats, on the other hand, are almost exclusively bad from the get-go.

  • ||

    Johnson. Still trying to decide if I want to watch the election returns or just wake up in the morning and see if the tears taste salty or sweet.

  • Zeb||

    Definitely Johnson. He's the only candidate in a Presidential general election that I really have paid attention to that I could actually support with any enthusiasm.

    Past votes:

    1992: Frank Zappa
    1996: Can't recall. I think it was the silliest third party I could think of.
    2000: Whoever the libertarian was.
    2004: I can't remember. Not Bush.
    2008: Barr (ick)

  • Voros McCracken||

    Sorry Matt, wasn't trying to stir anything:

    1. GJ
    2a. Obama
    2b. Tie
    2c. Romney
    3. NV, NV, LP
    4. Don't know.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    1) Gary Johnson, because he's the most libertarian. "Strategic" voting is not something I worry about, because I can't control the votes of others. Plus Johnson certainly won't win if he doesn't get votes.

    2a) Romney would be bad, but Obama is probably worse. It's horse manure vs. elephant manure.

    2b) Obama is worse on all of those except gay marriage. He's worse on "reproductive rights" because he interprets that as meaning "it should be free."

    2c) Romney would be worse, which is horrifying, because Obama is terrible.

    3) Bush (before I realized I was a libertarian), nobody, nobody.

    4) Medical marijuana is on my state ballot, so I'm going for that. There's also a state initiative to expand eminent domain seizures, which is pretty important to defeat.

    5) It's possible and takes work. In the meantime, I'll enjoy it from the peanut gallery.

  • Delroy||

    1) Gary Johnson. With Gillespie's vote, that makes 2 of us in Ohio.

    2a-c) Obamney

    3) The Libertarian candidates.

    4) I'm picking Issues 28 29 in my city of Kettering, OH. They're initiatives to set term limits and reduce the pay of our City Council members. While I don't consider them well-written or perfect, I like that they were grass-roots originated and they stick it to the elitist council members who have tried to swat it away with a council vote that endorses voting "No". Fuck them. Link: www.betterkettering.com

    5) I believe we are heading towards free minds/markets. I think the internet is an enabler for that.

  • Delroy||

    "28 and 29" I forgot there are no ampersands allowed here.

  • CE||

    I'm voting for Gary Johnson. Of the candidates on the ballot, he has by far the best record in office, and the best platform.

    My past votes:

    1984: David Bergland 0.25%
    1988: Ron Paul 0.47%
    1992: Ross Perot 18.91%
    1996: Harry Browne 0.50%
    2000: Harry Browne 0.36%
    2004: Michael Badnarik 0.32%
    2008: Ron Paul 0.04-0.23% (write-in)

  • cavalier973||

  • Proprietist||

    Still disappointed by all the non-voters who "would vote for Johnson" if they voted. As Jacob correctly points out, voting is an expressive act. Even if one accepts the reality that a vote can't matter in determining the final outcome, the personal fulfillment from voting for the best candidate on the ballot and knowing for the next four years that you expressed your disapproval at the establishment should be worth the effort.

    Not expressing your approval or disapproval by not voting simply means you get lumped in with those unqualified or too lazy to vote. You aren't making any statement whatsoever, and when intelligent people actively discourage voting (for the best candidate on the ballot) because a vote cannot change the outcome, it simply means less intelligent people make up a bigger proportion of those who actually do vote.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    As Jacob correctly points out, voting is an expressive act.

    That's a highly questionable characterization. The vote can also be seen as a tool for modifying the behavior of the big power players, actual approval of whom you may not feel comfortable expressing.

  • Cytotoxic||

    THIS. We have so little power; we cannot afford to not use every bit of it, 'too cool for school' HandR posturing notwithstanding.

  • ||

    Your futile grasping for meaning in a meaningless act may work for you, but it doesn't for me. Not voting is also an expressive act: it says fuck you, I'm not participating in your rigged bullshit system.

  • Proprietist||

    Not voting is also an expressive act:

    Wrong - writing in Frank Zappa or Cthulu is an expressive act that says you aren't interested in participating in a rigged system. Not voting is a non-expressive non-action that will be interpreted by almost everyone as laziness.

  • ||

    I don't give flying fuck how people "interpret" my non-vote. I only care about my reasons. Other people's interpretations mean Jack and shit to me, and Jack left town.

  • Proprietist||

    I don't disagree that they are misinterpreting it. I'm just saying that voting third party or writing in some dead or illusory figure is far more clearly a "f--- off" than not voting.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Frank Zappa is not illusory.

  • Proprietist||

    He is, however, dead.

  • Cytotoxic||

    So you don't care how others interpret your 'protest' and will then wonder why it's so ineffective.

    Anarchists are this stupid.

  • tarran||

    Not voting is a non-expressive non-action that will be interpreted by almost everyone as lazines

    And your point? I've been smeared as hating America, being a commie, being a fascist, being an Objectivist (the unkindest insult of all). Oh no, they might think I'm lazy! Someone get me my clutching pearls!

  • JW||

    Someone get me my clutching pearls!\

    Tulpa has them. You may not want them back after he's used them.

  • sarcasmic||

    Not voting is also an expressive act: it says fuck you, I'm not participating in your rigged bullshit system.

    Not voting is a cowardly non-act: it says you win, I give up, and I submit to your corrupt system.

  • ||

    Your capitulation to a rigged system is more cowardly than anything else, tuff gai.

  • sarcasmic||

    Capitulating would be listening to Red Tony and that Cocksick buddy of his, and selecting from the two major parties.

    Voting for a third party candidate sends a greater message than not voting at all, coward.

  • tarran||

    Bravery is required to vote?

    Let me guess, Sarcasmic, your polling place is as dangerous as Sarajevo airport was that time Hillary Clinton flew into it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Bravery is required to vote?

    Where did I say that?

    Let me guess, Sarcasmic, your polling place is as dangerous as Sarajevo airport was that time Hillary Clinton flew into it.

    Worse. Before they put the new parking lot in I would get boxed in sometimes and it might take ten or fifteen minutes to get out of the lot.

  • tarran||

    I infer it from the fact you are calling people who don't vote cowards.

    Cowardice is defined as avoiding danger that one has a duty to face.

  • sarcasmic||

    I infer it from the fact you are calling people who don't vote cowards.

    No, just Epi for saying his non-vote is a big "fuck you!" to The Man.

    If he wanted to send a message he would vote for someone other than one of the majors, but instead he is shirking his duty.

    If he said he didn't vote because he's lazy, then I would accept it and move along.

  • tarran||

    He has a duty to help install someone at the helm of a corrupt, often-criminal organization?

    Wow! That sucks! Poor Epi!

  • tarran||

    Getting back to your response, it's an utter non-sequitur.

    Cowardice is not a synonym of a futile act.

    You said Epi was doing something futile and was therefore a coward. That makes no sense.

  • sarcasmic||

    Semantic error! Semantic error!

  • JW||

    YOU HAVE TO ENDORSE MY FORM OF PROTEST OR YOU'RE A GIANT POOPY HEAD.

  • sarcasmic||

    Epi's a giant poopy head regardless.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    Not voting is a cowardly non-act: it says you win, I give up, and I submit to your corrupt system.

    It could say that. But it could also say that I refuse to play your BS games with the same duopoly every 4 years (my take). I vote concerning local down-ticket items, but never for politicians.

  • Proprietist||

    It "could" say either, but it's such a vague sentiment that nobody will read it as a statement of disapproval. Unless you vote "NOTA" if the option is available.

  • ||

    nobody will read it as a statement of disapproval.

    Another blanket statement about all people that you can't possibly know. Quite the collectivist mind-reader today.

  • Proprietist||

    Sorry for the sweeping terms. Replace with "everyone outside of those of us who you talk to personally about how your non-vote is a protest."

  • ||

    That's still sweeping. You don't possible know what everyone else will think.

    But the main point, is that why are you so worried about what others think about you?

    I mean honestly, almost all of your posts are worrying about what others will think. Who...cares? There are literally only two people who I truly care what they think about me: my wife and my employer. Everyone else is free to think I'm a lazy malcontent, and I don't care. At all.

  • Proprietist||

    Dude, if you intend a pat on the back as a "f--- you", and most everyone else takes it as a sign of encouragement, you didn't really communicate your message very well.

  • Zeb||

    Meh. Voting is fine. Not voting is also fine.

  • R C Dean||

    Not voting is also an expressive act:

    In the same way that not buying insurance is commercial activity?

  • ||

    ^winner!

  • Auric Demonocles||

    The poll tax has been replaced by the penolltax.

  • Cytotoxic||

    Your futile grasping for meaning in a meaningless act may work for you, but it doesn't for me.

    The irony.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I think McCloskey's anecdote, when her's was the ONLY libertarian vote cast in her precinct, is illustrative. Our votes for GayJay actually do count in ways that a vote for the D or R can't. When I see however many votes in my own precinct for a libertarian candidate, I am heartened that there are at least a few other voices crying out in the wilderness. (Plus ballot access.)

  • Citizen Nothing||

    On the other hand, I can't really see Epi's non-vote, and don't know whetner he is some kind of freedom loving principled non-voter, or simply too lazy to get his ass off the couch. (Although in this case I suspect both.)

  • ||

    It can be both!

  • Charlotte Falcon||

    Sure. And why not? It's your choice.

  • Ted S.||

    I agree, but when I cast a write-in vote in the judge races, it never gets reported. :-(

  • ||

    You keep assuming a lot of things. Let me list them:

    voting is an expressive act.

    Subjective opinion, assuming you are excluding non-voting.

    the personal fulfillment from voting for the best candidate on the ballot and knowing for the next four years that you expressed your disapproval at the establishment should be worth the effort.

    I get no personal fulfillment from it whatsoever. And even if I did, who the hell are you to tell others that that should be enough to compel them to vote?

    Not expressing your approval or disapproval by not voting simply means you get lumped in with those unqualified or too lazy to vote.

    Perhaps to you. Maybe to most people. Unless you ask everyone, I'm not sure how you can make a blanket statement like that.

    You aren't making any statement whatsoever

    According to you. Subjective opinion.

    when intelligent people actively discourage voting ... it simply means less intelligent people make up a bigger proportion of those who actually do vote.

    Subjective opinion. You're not in a position to judge the intelligence (or lack thereof) of anyone except yourself and perhaps those you have immediate access to.

  • Proprietist||

    Wow - I was stating subjective opinions on a forum about subjective opinions. Your criticisms are harsh and wounding.

  • ||

    But you aren't stating them as opinions. You are stating them as objective facts to try and prove a point.

  • Proprietist||

    The personal fulfillment part about voting for an anti-establishment candidate was clearly an opinion. If you find it more fulfilling to not vote for an anti-establishment candidate and to not communicate any particular message to anyone, be my guest.

    I consider most people here and most of the Reason writers relatively "intelligent" in my opinion (I guess I need to put that every time I make a statement). Thus, it's a shame that those smart enough know their vote doesn't actually effect the outcome translate that to "voting is a waste of time and brings me no personal fulfillment". In my opinion.

  • ||

    Everybody does it, myself included. Further down this very thread I make a disparaging comment about the vast majority of the human race and state it as fact. I didn't recognize that I had done so until after I had posted it.

    That doesn't make it OK. It's important to recognize collectivist thought any time it rears its ugly head, and try to prevent it (IMO; I suppose a collectivst would believe differently). It was easy to see yours because they were generally sweeping statements arguing for a point which I disagree with. Someone who disagrees with me would find it easier to see the faults and flaws in my statements.

  • Proprietist||

    I just find it difficult for principled non-voters to claim that simultaneously that they are sending a principled message by not participating and simultaneously that it doesn't matter how anyone else interprets that message.

    Most people will misinterpret your message as "I don't care" regardless of whether or not that is your intention, and your protest isn't registered or reported anywhere either. Compared to a vote against the establishment and status quo and/or a vote for the best candidate on the ballot, you are actually saying nothing, in my opinion.

  • ||

    See, the purpose of my not voting is NOT to send any sort of message, except for, "I don't care." Which truly is the only message I have for this race in particular, and US elections in general (I don't have experience with elections in other places and so can't speak to that).

    That's exactly what you personally would read it as, per your posts today. But I took (perhaps overblown) umbrage that you would assume the same about everyone who doesn't vote.

  • Zeb||

    Now that is an argument. And I mean that seriously and complimentarily.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    See, the purpose of my not voting is NOT to send any sort of message, except for, "I don't care." Which truly is the only message I have for this race in particular, and US elections in general (I don't have experience with elections in other places and so can't speak to that).

    Which completely makes sense in your case, but Epi claims that he's sending a "fuck you" to the established government, AKA sending a message... while not caring how people interpret the message.

  • Proprietist||

    I don't assume people's personal reasons for not voting - I'm criticizing the notion that not voting sends any real message and that perceptions of this supposed message don't matter. It's incoherent and illogical to say "I care" and "I don't care" at the same time.

    Any engagement in libertarian political conversations, any criticisms of the establishment or any opportunities for a more libertarian future is relatively futile mental masturbation if we refuse to clearly express our beliefs at any possible opportunity, even if it requires a small amount of sacrificing our personal time.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    It is an axiom of communication theory that the meaning of your communication is the response that you get. Intentions don't count, only the response, whatever and whenever and wherever it/they may be.

    The question to ask is first, "What response do I want? (Including who do I want it from) and then "Is not-voting/voting getting the response I want?"

    I submit to you that even as an anarchist that denies the legitimacy of voting completely (as I do) even voting for Barr (mmruglph. I just threw up a little at the memory of the horror of it all) moves us closer to our goal. Face it, Barr was no libertarian. But hardly anyone other than LPers knew that!! Drug warrior scum if ever there was. Spook (they never really quit, you know). He wasn't going to win, and he held the place for the next candidate, helped (maybe) with ballot access and all. I guess my point is that with the vote totals the LP gets, it doesn't matter too much if the candidate is Murray Rothbard or Barr, the way elections are run in the US, hardly anyone will know the difference, anyhow. Do you pick the candidate that may be a perfect libertarian and isn't photogenic and has no political experience or the one that's, meh, 95% and can make a campaign MACHINE. I say take the 95% and promote the libertarian points s/he is good on. The other guy may be right on all of them, but no one will know.

    (I don't know why I'm writing this, I know that our liberty will definitely not be achieved electorally.)

  • CE||

    Agree with Proprietist. Not voting just gets overlooked.

    No vote for any candidate will change the outcome, so vote for the candidate you think is best.

  • The Craig||

    From Sullum:

    Gary Johnson, because iSideWith told me to.

    It is interesting (maybe?) that when you head over to iSideWith and click through the state results, you would think the election is actually between Johnson and Obama.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I thought it was simply strange to say that he is voting a certain way because someone else told him to do so?

    I think Jacob is bogarting all of the good drugs to himself.

  • CE||

    Gary Johnson has the best record in office of all the candidates, and a fair percentage of the American population agrees with his platform, they just don't know it.

  • Longtorso||

    Who gets the ratfucker vote?!?! WHO GETS THE RATFUCKER VOTE?!?!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    A horny rat?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    You all know who I'm voting for, so I'll just offer a prediction: the people who refused to vote at all will still bitch about the winners of the elections not caring what libertarians think.

    No votes for Rs or Ds, OK. But are any of these votes attainable for the Rs or Ds, without alienating much larger parts of their parties? If not, it's a good example of why they don't give a care what we think.

  • Bingo||

    You are one smug motherfucker, aren't you?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Do you have an argument to make or just insults?

  • Bingo||

    For you? Just insults.

  • ||

    You don't deserve anything but insults, Tulpa Dumb.

  • tarran||

    Hey, don't call Tulpa dumb, Episiarch! Dumb people don't read about Zeno's paradox!

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yes they do, they just don't understand it.

  • SugarFree||

    That really was one of his more embarrassing episodes.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I got halfway through reading it and got interrupted, when I cam back I got to about three quarters of the way through and got interrupted again - I don't think I'll ever finish the darn thing!

  • SugarFree||

    "If you don't participate in our rigged, bullshit game you have no right to complain about our rigged, bullshit game."

    I reserve the right to complain about any fucking thing I want, Republican stooge.

  • sarcasmic||

    Look! It's Fallacy Man!

    Have you moved any goalposts lately? Flogged any straw men?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    I htought it was flogging goalposts and moving straw men? Or was it beating goalposts and moving dead horses?

  • SugarFree||

    Stop trying to turn me on, dammit.

  • JW||

    a prediction: the people who refused to vote at all will still bitch about the winners of the elections not caring what libertarians think.

    No matter who wins, I'll be very happy about who loses.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Voting for Johnson (already sent my absentee ballot) is my middle finger to the powers that be.

    My only hope is that someday, enough people vote Libertarian to make the difference between R and D candidates. Their tears would be delicious.

  • JW||

    Voting for Johnson (already sent my absentee ballot) is my middle finger to the powers that be.

    I get that, but refusing to play their game at all is an even bigger finger. I might even be a mooning.

  • Proprietist||

    No, it's not. You cast a 0, we cast a -1. And I'm including those who vote "None of the Above" or write in something as -1s if those votes are counted.

  • JW||

    There is no such thing as a negative vote. By you're own definition, you're literally wasting your vote.

    You either vote or don't. If you do, you're casting a positive vote.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm talking in perspective of the establishment parties and the corrupted system they've set up. Voting third party, write-in or NOTA is a rejection of the establishment. Not voting is neither a rejection nor an approval.

  • JW||

    Voting third party, write-in or NOTA is a rejection of the establishment.

    I get that. It's still not a negative vote. It's a vote for someone. Full stop.

    Not voting is neither a rejection nor an approval.

    I'm pretty sure that my refusal to participate is an outright rejection. I'm also sure that voting is an explicit approval of the system, no matter who you vote for.

  • Calidissident||

    Half the potential electorate doesn't vote. One percent of people who vote (usually), vote third party. Imagine if it was the other way around. I think it's pretty clear what the bigger F-U to the establishment is

  • Proprietist||

    I get that. It's still not a negative vote. It's a vote for someone. Full stop.

    Voting FOR anyone that is not a Democrat or Republican (especially in the face of the lesser of two evils crock) is generally going to be perceived as a rejection of both Democrats and Republicans by the media and the public.

    Not voting is going to generally be interpreted as laziness or apathy. While they may ask if non-voters simply weren't being represented, the fact that they have to speculate means your message was unclear in intention. Perception matters, and if you aren't being clearly perceived, it's hard to claim you are making a big statement.

    If you don't vote, you are rejecting both the establishment and the anti-establishment. I'd say that's fine if the anti-establishment doesn't remotely reflect your views, but many here admit they'd vote for Johnson if they could be voted.

  • JW||

    If you don't vote, you are rejecting both the establishment and the anti-establishment.

    I'm rejecting myself? How exactly does that work?

    I can't control how anyone perceives my refusal to participate and I frankly don't give a shit how you interpret it. I know the reason and that's all that matters.

    How you satisfy your own conscience is your own business. Don't come running to me to rationalize it.

  • Proprietist||

    I'm rejecting myself? How exactly does that work?

    IF you consider not voting a rejection of the corrupt establishment, it must also be a rejection of the anti-establishment, since you are not voting for the anti-establishment candidates either.

    If you consider it as not making a statement either way, then you're being consistent while admitting it's not sending any message at all.

  • GILMORE||

    say what you will, but at least its an ethos, dude.

  • CE||

    Voting is neither an explicit nor an implicit approval of the system. It's either a futile attempt at self-defense, or a chance to flip off the establishment, or a chance to see how many like-minded Americans are out there.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Voting is NOT an explicit approval of the system, it is an act of desperation, especially if one votes LP.

  • sarcasmic||

    1. Johnson because Obamney and Robama suck.

    2a. They both suck. Obama sucks for trying to pick winners and losers with subsidies, and Romney is a mercantilist who wants to tax consumers of foreign goods.

    2b. Tie.

    2c. Tie.

    3. Browne, Badnarik, McCain (first and last time I ever voted for a major candidate, I felt dirty afterwards)

    4. Does it really matter? There will be a landslide incumbent victory in Congress, and even if the marijuana initiatives pass, federal law will still be enforced.

    5. Pipe dream. Most people emote. Their minds are shut off, and I do not foresee any great "awakening" in the near or distant future. Yeah, I'm pretty pessimistic.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    1. Not voting due to poll tax. Would vote for Johnson if FLEC didn't suck.

    2a. Obama. By a gnat's pecker.

    2b. Obama by a long shot. Now that he's given up on free speech publicly, he's actually dangerous. I can seriously see him doing something to curtail 'offensive' speech in the future. Romney would just be status quo on every single issue.

    2c. Tie.

    3. Bush, Badnarik, (write in) Bush.

    4. Proposition 2210, damn mooching war widows.

    5. Please. People are cultists on either side. Even somewhat smart people have rationalized or deceived themselves into supporting one of these dick stains. People aren't getting any more reasonable, and I think we're so far over the hump that even a 'good' president, congress and Court couldn't bring this place back. Buy guns, secure some property on the coast and wait for the end times.

  • Ted S.||

    What's proposition 2210? A Google search on that term didn't yield any results.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    A Simpson's reference. I may have the number wrong.

  • Ted S.||

    Ditto on #1 and #3.

    On #4, there are no important elections here in New York with the possible exception of re-electing the few Republicans in the state Senate who voted for gay marriage. One of them was primaried out of office, and I think the others have Conservatives (we have a Conservative Party here in NY) running against them. Having the Republicans lose their majority in the Senate would probably be a problem, because they're the only thing preventing New York from going the California way at 100 mph instead of 50.

    #5 I agree with you too. When Johnny Jolly got six years for contempt of court for imbibing purple drank while on probation, you don't know how many of my fellow Packer fans were braying for him to go to prison despite not doing any harm to anybody else -- and how much they were slurping the Drug War propaganda. :-(

  • John||

    Who is Johnny Jolly?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    GB Packers lineman.

  • Romulus Augustus||

    And then they came for me, but I had never voted against them.

  • Bingo||

    Got a lol out of this:


    But most will not embrace the full menu of Rothbardian anarcho-capitalism, or support candidates who want to abolish an institution that works well in practice because it fails in theory

    Oh because it works SO well in practice! Please explain to the millions imprisoned and the millions dead how well it works. Fuck off, A. Barton Hinkle. Your articles are easily one of the worst I see in this magazine.

  • Randian||

    Uh oh, the Rothbardians are here to make hay out of this article. I look forward to reading how "reason" "loves the State" blogged on LRC all day every day for the next four years.

  • John||

    No matter what you believe, someone is always going to call you a heretic. Someone is always more pure.

  • RBS||

    Hahahaha.

  • CE||

    I embrace the full menu of Rothbardian anarch-capitalism, heartily. If a candidate promised to veto everything and abolish everything he could, I think he would do better than any third party candidate since Perot.

  • Mongo||

    Somewhat easy questions this time around....

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I vote every election because a) when we voted punch cards I was addicted to poking things through holes and b) I have a fetish for gadgets and now we use electronic vote machines. And you people don't even want to know what I'll be doing to myself when we're able to vote online!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I hope you mean voting third party, not jacking off.

    OK, I provided the set-up, now where's the punch line?

  • John||

    I like those old school machines with the mechanical switches and the big lever you drag accross the whole booth when you are done. Those things are like some steam punk creation.

  • Ted S.||

    We had one of those through 2008. They've gone to fill in the bubbles and put the gigundo paper ballot into a machine.

  • Zeb||

    I think the fill in the bubbles is the best method for electronically counted voting. I feel like there should always be some physical ballot that is human readable and that the voter actually interacted with.

  • Ska||

    That's what I get to vote on. Feels sort of like I'm the Wizard of Oz for a second. I go home and drink absynth to complete the process.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Are you sure you weren't voting on a loom?

  • Zeb||

    I still get to vote by writing on a piece of paper.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I can only assume while barefoot and chewing on a stalk of wheat.

  • Zeb||

    Nah, more of a boots and chainsaw thing.

  • John||

    No one dreams of voting for a black President this year?

  • AlmightyJB||

    I am. Unfortunately Walter E. Williams isn't running.

  • John||

    Thomas Sowell. Can you imagine Sowell debating Obama?

  • sarcasmic||

    Obama would call in sick for that one.

  • AlmightyJB||

    That would be a thrashing:) I would love to see that.

  • John||

    Maybe when Obama is out of office, someone can pony up the six figure apparence fee and ambush him with Sowell sitting on the stage. I would pay hundreds to watch that on pay per view and thousands to be there in person.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    We could finance it by bottling Obama's tears in little vials and selling them as relics to the libertarian faithful.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    I'd still prefer Williams on both counts.

  • sarcasmic||

    Nein nein nein!

  • John||

    The complete lack of Obama votes among the Reason staff shows that supportive Obama is officially no longer cool or fashionable.

  • ||

    Because that is the only possible reason anyone voted for him in 2008. Not that they (naively, to be sure) bought into his bullshit. Nope, it was only to be cool.

  • John||

    I would like to think that is why Jim. The alternative, that they bought into his bullshit, is too horrible to contemplate.

    How could anyone be dumb enough to buy the bullshit Obama was selling in 08?

  • ||

    Maybe it's different for you coming from being republican-leaning, but I was so damn sick of Bush and everything he had done that I almost (perish the thought now) pulled the lever for Chairman Obama.

    It was bad times. And I freely admit to underestimating just what a disaster he would become.

  • John||

    And times are any better now? You are not just as sick of Obama as you were of Bush? IF it was just about fatigue with the incumbent, why aren't any of them voting for Romney like they did for Obama in 08? There was a libertarian candidate in 08.

  • ||

    I can't speak for them. As for myself, I was still breaking out of the "there are only two choices" mindset. It was the first election that I ever voted straight 3rd-party (I think it was one Constitution Party guy and the rest Libertarian. Sort of spoiled for choice in that regard in West Texas).

  • John||

    Note you voted 3rd Party in 08. And Reason claims to be a member of the third party. I pretty sure their mindset was third party from the start.

    The fact that any of them voted for Obama, the most leftist Dem candidate ever, when there was a Libertarian option is inexcuable. They voted for Obama because it was fashionable.

  • alex griggs||

    Completely agree with John here. And as noted above, John, not all the people from past polls -- or current reason folk -- are included this team. I imagine, like others, that this is because they plan to vote O.

  • ||

    Can't really argue that. I can't read minds, so I don't know why they would have done that. I can only surmise that they missed the mark even more than I did in how bad they thought this asshole was going to turn out to be.

  • Another David||

    It's amazing how every four years, the Democrats find somebody even more leftist than the record-holder for Most Socialist Candidate Ever to run. Truly an impressive streak.

    I can't fault the Reason guys for voting O last time. He talked a good game on drug policy, war and executive power - areas where the President can make a huge difference and where McCain would have defaulted to "really bad" just by following the Republican playbook. Even making the usual allowances for broken campaign promises, Obama seemed likely to be the substantially better choice on those fronts.

    Then, of course, he turned out to have been lying completely about his positions there, rather than just partially like people expected.

  • CE||

    Obama and Romney and W all make Clinton (Bill) look like a fiscal conservative.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The complete lack of Obama votes among the Reason staff shows that supportive Obama is officially no longer cool or fashionable.

    I thought the exact same thing.

    And then I realized that means that Obama's a goner.

  • John||

    And I feel cheated out of my prediction that at least one Reason staffer or contributor would vote for Obama. Chapman wasn't polled. This thing was rigged.

  • Marshall Gill||

    There is a video somewhere where Chapman says he is voting for Johnson.

  • B.P.||

    From Anthony Randazzo:

    "When Romney fails with his [economic] plan, real free market economic policies will be smeared with his failure, setting back favorable views of economic freedom in the long-run."

    Fair enough, as far as that goes; it's the way the media and partisans portray it time and time again (ie: "That rapacious, government-slashing, free market capitalist Bush!", etc.). If Romney wins and continues on with no changes on the debt/deficit/spending front, it would be great if the Tea Party-types took to the streets again in a fit of righteous fury. That would cause some heads to explode...

  • John||

    Why? I would say there is at least a fifty fifty chance of Romney being primaried in 2016. And if they were hurting an incumbent Republican President, the Tea Party would finally get some good media coverage.

  • tarran||

    Are you shitting me?

    The media would never give them sympathetic coverage...

    The narrative would be that the fanatical teaparties are forcing Romney rightward even further from sensible policies.

  • ||

    Absolutely true. Even today I hear and read all the time about how far to the right America has turned in the last 25-30 years, and we all know that hasn't been the case at all.

  • ||

    Are you kidding? The media hates normal republicans, but it can live with them. They would completely lose their shit if Rand Paul ever came close to the presidency.

  • John||

    Maybe so.

  • CE||

    We'll find out in 4 years. Or 8.

  • Marshall Gill||

    Wouldn't it be awesome?

    Hope the country last that long.

  • KRoyall||

    And once again Reason reminds us Libertarians have no political coalition and hence no impact on anything of consequence whatsoever. You all revel in your ideological purity but the world spins without you.

    You go out of your way to trash Romney/Ryan yet they are the only ones in this race even talking about our fiscal challenges and the size of government.

    Your legacy will be that of a bunch of disaffected complainers who proudly heckled those in the arena from the sidelines. Your mentality reminds me of a bunch of 8 year olds.

  • Randian||

    Only serious adults vote for Rockefeller Republicans who won't make serious budget cuts, embrace insurance mandates and want to start a war with Iran.

  • ||

    TEAM RED troll is TEAM RED. How jejune.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Did you get a word of the day calendar or something?

  • ||

    Don't be so banal.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    But it is my wont to be so.

  • JW||

    The petulant brown-noser has got us down pat. I guess we should gather up our toys and leave the Internet now.

  • ||

    Your points are fascinating and devastating. Tell me more, please.

  • Ska||

    Captioning Creepy Wonka without the image again?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Perhaps he has a newsletter, we could all subscribe to it.

  • SugarFree||

    Stop being such a child, Warty. Everyone knows adults do as they are told.

  • jdcllns||

    "Disaffected Complainers" is the name of my band.

  • Jerryskids||

    Libertarians have no political coalition and hence no impact on anything of consequence

    So you think nothing outside of the State is of any consequence? Everything is political? I think there's a name for that belief.

    they are the only ones in this race even talking about our fiscal challenges and the size of government

    And talking is all they have any intention of doing. The GOP is no more anti-Big Government than the Democrats or the Communists.

    Your legacy will be that of a bunch of disaffected complainers who proudly heckled those in the arena from the sidelines.

    Nobody deserves heckling and contempt and scorn more than those assholes who vie to get into the arena - in fact some of us think anybody who wants to get into the arena should be automatically disqualified from doing so. (And - at a minimum - spayed or neutered to keep their kind from reproducing.)

  • tarran||

    You go out of your way to trash Romney/Ryan yet they are the only ones in this race even talking about our fiscal challenges and the size of government.

    Obama is talking about it too. More to the point romney/Ryan are going to keep doing the things Obama was doing.

    In light of these facts, your observations prompt me to ask a personal question, and I apologize if I am being too forward.

    Were you always this big a retard, or did you get retarded as you grew older?

    Do answer honestly; remember, it's for science.

  • AlmightyJB||

    I would like to know what the percentage of eligible voters is that would vote third party if they din't consider it "throwing their vote away".

  • sarcasmic||

    Probably enough to change the outcome of an election.

  • John||

    Not that many. I think it is that third parties usually represent an ideological exreme of one or the other parties. Perot got 20% and he was insane. I think a third party candidate could win or maybe throw it to the House. But it won't be a Libertarian or Green. It will be some kind of a populist "lets throw all the bums out" centrist like Perot was.

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarians are the ideological extreme of which party?

  • John||

    The Republicans. The Democrats have pretty much severed all contact with them. Note the other day when Reason ran a list of the Libertarian leaning major party Congressional candidates there wasn't a single Democrat on the list.

  • sarcasmic||

    Really?

    The ideological extreme of the Republican's moral crusade against politically incorrect chemicals is to legalize them?
    The ideological extreme of the Republican's moral crusade against "Terror" is to bring the troops home?
    The ideological extreme of the Republicans' abandoning free market principles to save the free market is to return to free market principles?
    The ideological extreme of the Republicans' boner against illegal immigrants is open borders?

    Are you drunk?

  • John||

    I didn't say it was perfect. But it fits to some degree or there wouldn't be libertarian leaning Republicans.

    There are libertarian leaning Republicans Reason says so. But there is not a single Libertarian leaning Democrat. Why is that?

  • ||

    Poor Terry Michael. He gets no respect.

  • sarcasmic||

    But there is not a single Libertarian leaning Democrat. Why is that?

    Because Democrats see the solution to any problem as force, while libertarians would rather err on the side of liberty. Democrats equate liberty to anarchy, and find the concept distasteful.
    Republicans give lip service to liberty so libertarians will vote for them, but in truth they still want everything to be controlled.

  • John||

    Republicans give lip service to liberty so libertarians will vote for them, but in truth they still want everything to be controlled.

    So at heart, the Pauls, Johnson (who has spent most of his life in the GOP), Jeff Flake, and others like them are no different than Nancy Pelosi? Do you really believe that? And if you don't, how is the above statement in any way true?

  • sarcasmic||

    That comment is so illogical I'm not going to bother to pick it apart. Try again.

  • RBS||

    Damn, John just can't wrap his feeble mind around the proposition that libertarians are not republicans.

  • John||

    Didn't say they were RBS. I said just the opposite. I said they were not. Being the idological pure or extreme version of one or the other party makes you not that party. The Greens are not Democrats.

    And I will ask you once agains Sarcasmic. IF Republicans just give lipservice and don't really mean it, then what about the candidates listed by Reason the other day? Are they giving lipservice too? Are they not Republicans? Just what are they?

  • RBS||

    Being the ideological extreme of A PARTY makes you not part of that PARTY?

  • John||

    Being the ideological extreme of A PARTY makes you not part of that PARTY?

    Yes. it puts you on a different place on the ideological scale. It makes you different. I wouldn't call Greens Democrats. Why? Not because Democrats and Greens don't believe in many of the same things but because the Greens take what Dems do up to 11. That makes them something different.

  • RBS||

    What? Sarcasmic is right, nothing you just wrote makes any sense.

  • sarcasmic||

    What? Sarcasmic is right, nothing you just wrote makes any sense.

    Sometimes Red Tony takes over and he becomes a blithering TEAM idiot.

  • ||

    I bet there are Democrats who could switch to Green and not totally confuse eveyone or betray their core beliefs though, no?

  • sarcasmic||

    IF Republicans just give lipservice and don't really mean it, then what about the candidates listed by Reason the other day?

    Republicans allowing some libertarian leaning folks into their ranks does not make all Republicans libertarians. It's how Republicans draw votes from libertarian voters.

    Are they giving lipservice too? Are they not Republicans? Just what are they?

    They are an extreme minority within the party. They're mascots. Jesters. Their purpose is to draw votes and then be ignored.

    Did Ron Paul ever do anything effective? No. The Republican party considered him to be a joke, but thanked him for keeping their brand in power.

  • John||

    Republicans allowing some libertarian leaning folks into their ranks does not make all Republicans libertarians.

    For sure anymore than all Dems are Greens.

    And the Dems would love to have those Paul voters too. But they wouldn't let Paul in the party under any circumstances.

  • sarcasmic||

    And the Dems would love to have those Paul voters too. But they wouldn't let Paul in the party under any circumstances.

    Of course not. Liberty is abhorrent to them.
    Republicans may talk a good game on the subject of liberty, but in practice not so much.

  • sarcasmic||

    Tell me John, what have Republicans done that supports liberty?

    Name one thing.

    Medicare Part D? NCLB? The Controlled Substances Act? The PATRIOT Act?

    Come on, John. How do Republicans protect liberty?

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Tell me John, what have Republicans done that supports liberty?

    The eliminated the natonional 55mph speed limit in 94.

    They are generally for lower taxes.

    They put the sunset provision in the patriot act.

    They have voted to repeal Obamacare.

    Pretty thin gruel to be sure, but still inifinitely more than the dems have done in the last thirty years.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's what I thought, John.

    Republicans in practice do not support liberty.

    How can libertarianism be distilled Republicanism?

    It can't.

  • Calidissident||

    This is one of the dumbest things John has ever said. Unlike say the Greens and the Dems, where they agree on basic principles across the board, with the Greens taking it to the extreme, libertarians and Republicans have major fundamental ideological differences, especially on social issues and foreign policy. The LP's ideological relation to the GOP is not analogous to the Green's ideological relation the Democratic Party

  • Lisa||

    How do libertarians do in practice?

    Oh wait.....

  • Lisa||

    that was to sarcasmic

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarians don't have power. Republicans do.

    Analogy fail.

  • Proprietist||

    Nope - libertarians are unto themselves. The Constitution Party is an extreme version of the GOP.

  • SIV||

    Not when they were running Chuck Baldwin. He was the best candidate in the 2008 general election. Maybe I should've voted in that one...

  • Lisa||

    "The Republicans. The Democrats have pretty much severed all contact with them. Note the other day when Reason ran a list of the Libertarian leaning major party Congressional candidates there wasn't a single Democrat on the list."

    I agree and disagree. I agree because if you didn't weight any of the issues that libertarians believe, it would more resemble the right than the left. However, I disagree because a lot of libertarians care about drug legalization so much that I'm pretty sure many would vote Democrat if they promised it....even if they also said they'd decrease freedom in every other area. The priorities of many libertarians is what makes me think that they would easily support the Democrats for 2 or 3 issues in exchange for 10 or 20 others.

  • Proprietist||

    I agree because if you didn't weight any of the issues that libertarians believe, it would more resemble the right than the left.

    See, I take a different view. I think libertarianism is more of a progressive ideology, as was classical liberalism. I think the problem is that the modern Left's policies of state dependency, currency devaluation, the Regulatory State and central planning are all extremely regressive in execution. Political and economic elites collaborate to centralize power and wealth, and they use dependency to manipulate the poor to preserve that power.

    If leftism supports the decentralization of wealth and power to the people as purported, libertarianism is more left-wing than even the Green Party. But I guess it all kind of depends on how you define "Left" and "Right" - both of which in practice are merely incoherent conglomerations of special interests.

  • sarcasmic||

    I think most non-voters just want to be left alone, and would vote Libertarian if they thought it would make a difference.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    WHERE ARE EKINS' ANSWERS.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Who polls the pollsters.

  • Delroy||

    I see what you did there.

  • Moogle||

    ProTip

    The sociopath political class doesn't care if you vote or not. Your little protest against the system means nothing.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Your vote also means nothing.

  • Randian||

    It actually doesn't.

    Quick quiz: if the system is so rigged and votes don't matter, how is it that we manage to peacefully transition power and political offices every two years?

  • Randian||

    "it actually DOES"

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Because it doesn't. It just goes from Coke to Pepsi. Dr. Pepper doesn't even get put on the survey.

  • Randian||

    Then how is everyone in this list voting third party?

    It may be a reflexively easy thing to say "ahhh man this shit don't matter they don't count your votes and nothing matters", but it's also lazy.

    Your vote counts. Not for very much, I'll grant, but it does count.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Honestly, I would vote if it wasn't virtually impossible for me this year (because of the stamp thing). Because it's so easy, and I don't mind doing easy meaningless things.

    I mean I've voted in every election since '94.

    But I totally see where the not-voting-on-principle people are coming from.

    Plus Mangu said she'd show me her hooters if I didn't vote.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    If you're referring to LP, I think you mean "beer."

    Or maybe "green dragon cocktail."

    Or depending on the year, possibly "bottle of distilled water laced with LSD."

  • $park¥||

    What, exactly, changes for the better every two years? What does it say about a system that you can swap any random douchebag into and have nothing change?

  • Randian||

    I didn't say it changed for the better. I said it changes.

    If the system was really, truly rigged, then no one would ever leave office.

  • $park¥||

    Then you are misunderstanding the meaning of "rigged." It's not rigged in that the people don't change, it's rigged in that no matter who ends up in office the outcomes don't change.

  • ||

    Exactly. Randian, you seem to be assuming that the only possible way a political system can be rigged is to result in a dystopian dictatorship.

    There are many ways to rig this game. The US gamemasters are smarter than most in this regard; they rely more on bread-and-circuses than on jackboots. They realized long ago that people will willing be kept pets as long as the cage is gilded (and there's entertainment provided). It's like the difference between Brave New World and 1984.

  • $park¥||

    It's like the difference between Brave New World and 1984.

    Right. BNW style ultimate nannyism, which we have, or 1984 style hard authoritarianism, which may come along when the nanny state starts to crumble.

  • ||

    Yeah, I said they don't rely on jackboots, but when you look at what the DEA/ATF and local PDs have been up to the last few decades, the jackboots are starting to pop up more and more.

    But don't worry. It Can't Happen Here.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    So instead of a boot stamping a human face, forever, it's neverending Honey Boo Boo, American Idol and Domino's Pizza for the proles?

  • ||

    Pretty much, yeah.

  • SugarFree||

    No, LTC(ret)John. It's still a boot and it is still stamping them in the face, but they tongue the sole without being told to any longer and are content if as least one eye isn't so swollen they can't see the TV.

  • ||

    Moistening the sole makes it chaffe less.

    P Brooks and I got into it over this last week, but I really think the "people are all just victims of the gov't and would work hard and succeed if it got out of their way!" belief held by a sizable number of libertarians is just a fashionable update of the Noble Savage myth.

    People in general (with notable exceptions) are mendacious, venal, lazy, bigoted pieces of shit. It's just that for most of us, greed is the One Ring that rules them all. My desire to own shit and eat steak ensures that I go to work and try to do a good job everyday, and generally mind my own business. When people no longer have that desire, or their laziness overrides it, you get welfare lay-abouts.

    The gov't oppresses people because they allow themselves to be oppressed. I hate to trot out a feminazi trope, but it's like false consciousness. When somebody gets a DEA wrong-address raid, and then complains on the news but adds that they understand mistakes happen at this is necessary because Drugz R Bad, I lose all sympathy.

  • SugarFree||

    I'm with you, Jimbo. I don't think that people are inherently good, but they are trainable. You train them that being lazy has no consequences, you get a lot of lazy people.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Giant Lizard and SF are pretty on track - people are redeemable, but they sure don't start out "good".

  • sarcasmic||

    it's rigged in that no matter who ends up in office the outcomes don't change.
    *ding ding ding*

  • John Thacker||

    It's "rigged" because the American people idiotically support stupid policies. They don't like the outcome of those policies, but they're dumb enough to support them without realizing the connections.

  • Randian||

    Nihilists. Fuck me!

  • $park¥||

    Which protest:

    1. Voting for one major party because the other one is worse?
    2. Voting third party because the two major parties suck?
    3. Not voting because the whole system sucks?

    In all of those situations you're correct that the political class doesn't care. If a protest against a system means nothing then the system itself means nothing.

  • John||

    I would say the system matters a lot. It just doesn't owe me its attention.

  • $park¥||

    It might matter, but it has no meaning. I will happily admit that the broken system that I refuse to take part in has an enormous effect on my life. That doesn't change the fact that it's broken and participation is meaningless.

  • CE||

    I take option 2, voting 3rd party, just to see where we stand.

  • ||

    Where's Lucy? No longer with Reason?

  • BakedPenguin||

    A few writers are absent. Hmmm.

  • ||

    Fucking Welch had better not have purged our beloved Lucy.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Fucking Welch had better not have purged our beloved Lucy.

    /wraps torch, sharpens pitchfork

  • Paul.||

    If he did, I'll stand by Welch's decision. Even if it hurts.

  • tarran||

    Maybe they naughtily failed to turn in their surveys before the deadline.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    For a magazine called reason, they're not very good at herding cats.

  • JW||

    Dri...! Aw, son of a bitch! There's no drinking to that.

  • alex griggs||

    A few writers are absent. Hmmm.

    You know what's a delicious, if long, possibility? They turned in their ballots with Obama votes so Welch and Co. fired their asses. Delish.

  • ||

    Unlikely, especially for Lucy.

  • Jonathan Harrison||

    Never considered anything other than writing for Ron Paul ... except checking the box for Ron Paul. Thanks to Republican Party thuggery, that won't be an option. But I've still got a pen and a hand to write with.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    Go ahead Paultard, keep on being irreverent.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Ha, ha - being in IL is so liberating! O! will win here - but my county actually has some Libertarian voters, so I may just go ahead and join them. GJ is not ideal, but he is the best match for what I would want in the White House. I can probably live with Romney, as long as I prime myself for much disappointment (ie. "compromises" with Pelosi and Reid, tax increases, no significant spending fix, status quo foreign mis-policy, etc.). I think we'd be deeper in the crapper with another O! term, so he's right out.

    The more authority I ever wielded (Assistant State's Attorney, Army Officer) the more I came to mistrust it. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent guy, decent education, experience, etc - and I HAVE NO BUSINESS MAKING CHOICES FOR OTHERS. The absolute dirt slurpers who do (BLUE or RED) have shown me that small "l" libertarianism is the best branch of politics/thought/whatnot to keep people from lording it over others.

  • Jerryskids||

    I think we'd be deeper in the crapper with another O! term

    I hear a lot of that: "Romney may be terrible, but there's no way he could be worse than Obama."

    O, ye of little faith. It not only can be worse - it will be worse. It always gets worse.

  • Libertarian||

    Yep. They said, "what could be worse than Clinton?" And we got Bush. They said, "what could be worse than Bush?" And we got Obama. Now they say, "yada, yada, yada."

  • Mike M.||

    Aside from his unusual predilection for sticking cigars into fat ugly pigs, was Clinton really that horrible? To me, he feels like George Washington II compared to the fucking nightmare we're suffering through right now.

  • ||

    Just imagine how sweet Obama will look in 3 terms.

  • Paul.||

    Where Cavanaugh at?

  • ||

    Nice work, guys. I see that everyone went either Johnson or nobody. Clearly, the only reason they're voting thus is because they don't want to get chewed out by the commentariat for the next four years, again.

  • RBS||

    Everyone should have said they were voting for Obama just to see John's meltdown.

  • ||

    Already voted for Gary Johnson via absentee ballot.

    Considered not voting, but only took a couple minutes to send a fuck you message to the Rs and Ds, since we have permanent absentee ballot in Hawaii, and so didn't have to reapply to voteor anything -- the buggah just arrived in the mail.

  • CE||

    Chalk one vote up for G-Money!

  • Paul.||

    Hmm, Cavanaugh not even listed in Reason Staff site. Lucy still listed.

  • RBS||

    http://reason.com/people/tim-cavanaugh/all

    Apparently he's just a columnist now.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Scandal!

    It was all those trips to the beach in his suit on company time.

  • GILMORE||

    This entire article could have been reduced to:

    "'Gary Johnson' and 'Not Voting': Reason Staff-Consensus 2012"

    Also = fuck clicking "next page" constantly. a) its not like we're suddenly going to be surprised that someone's enthusiastically voting for Obama or Romney, and we can always cheat (and always do) by just clicking for the 1-page "Print" format which is much easier to read anyway.

    Excuse the vituperation, but I'm still taking the !@(#*$ new web design to task for the layers of monumentally silly bullshit. I mean, why would anyone even *need* ampersands?? It's not like its in the FUCKING NAME OF THE BLOG or anything?!? And the format still doesn't read properly in *Internet Explorer* 9. Ooooh, but I'm sure its just Dazzling in Chrome! (surprisingly, Safari works great = suggesting perhaps that Reasonoids or their minion-staff are also Applephiliacs)

    Also, I think the conclusion to this piece should have been a John McLaughlin-style summary =

    "WRONG! The answer is: you're voting for a bottle of Makers Mark bourbon which you hope will wash away your dread and loathing of the next 4 years, no matter who's elected! Next question..."

  • John||

    I don't do web design. But can someone please explain why everything has to be in four click through pages instead of one? I agree with Gilmore. I fucking hate that. And Reason is not the only offender by a long shot. Why do they do that beyond just torturing their readers?

  • SugarFree||

    Page hits are the metric for advertising dollars. Instead of one click, the same story gets four.

    The same thing applies every time you refresh and comments page.

  • John||

    And advertisers are too dumb to see through this?

  • tarran||

    They're not. Eventually, they'll figure out a way to not count the duplicate clicks... and life will get better.

  • ||

    Yes, oddly enough.

  • SugarFree||

    Yes and no. Often the additional click brings up a different ad than the initial click. Therefore more people can advertise on the same story.

    What's really going to happen is that the house of cards is going to tumble down when it is finally realized that most advertising is ignored.

    Between adblock and TiVo, I see zero ads on TV and the Internet in a day.

  • sarcasmic||

    I was offered a job in a company that does advertising on smart phones.
    I turned it down for a variety of reasons, one of which being that people will eventually wake up and find it doesn't work.

  • GILMORE||

    And advertisers are too dumb to see through this?

    you havent noticed all the pro-bama ads running on Reason? web ads make direct-mail seem like goddamn psychics

  • CE||

    Yeah, scrolling down is much easier than reloading a page. It's not like my computer runs out screen, or the page has to fold out across my desk.

  • R C Dean||

    Also = fuck clicking "next page" constantly.

    My copy had a "view as single page option".

  • GILMORE||

    the beauty of market forces. it took them 2 hours from bitch to fix.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Why aren't people being pilloried for the Barr support? Arguably that guy turned out to be just as big a dickhead, relatively speaking.

  • John||

    Politiciasn turne out lousy. It is what they do. You can be forgiven for voting for Bar. He at least claimed to be a Libertarian. That is a lot more forgivable than voting for Obama. That any proclaimed libertarian ever voted for Obama is totally inexcusable.

  • ||

    That any proclaimed libertarian ever voted for Obama is totally inexcusable.

    Not actually, no. That you think so doesn't mean much.

    If Romney wins and does something absolutely horrible, I look forward to you excoriating yourself for choosing Obama 2.0....

    ....HA! Like that would ever happen. You'd just claim his horrible, unconscionable actions were either totally unforseeable (an excuse you reject for Obama), or somehow aren't really all that bad.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "In 2008 we clearly thought Obama would be better on military intervention and civil liberties."

    "We" are an ass.

  • ||

    Nope, just wrong.

  • ||

    Hey Reason, your single page version is missing some people, like Ed Krayewski and Baylen Linnekin. And the version in the Reason iPhone/Pod app also omits some people, such as Linnekin (again).

  • DebtFreeQuaker||

    I'm pretty stoked this election. I voted (mail-in ballot here in Colorado) for Gary Johnson, one of the best libertarian presidental candidates ever.

    I also got to vote in support of marijuana legalization initiative (Amendment 64).

    A great year to be a Libertarian! :)

  • The Hammer||

    I forgot to get the mail-in ballot, so I'm gonna have to run the gauntlet at some point. Sucks working in a different county than I live in.

  • CE||

    Oh, great. Now Reason is logging me out while I'm typing comments, and those comments vanish into the ether when I try to log back in. I'll give up one of these days.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Pardon me, boys, but I see the Chattanooga newspaper has endorsed GayJay.

  • The Hammer||

    Link?

  • Lisa||

    I don't understand the "Obama was a disappointment" theme I saw in a lot of responses. As political correspondents, aren't these guys supposed to know about political records? The signs were everywhere regarding what Obama would look like as president to anyone who bothered to look at his past.

  • R C Dean||

    Same here. In what way has Obama not been exactly what you would expect of a President with no executive experience, a short resume as a Chicago machine politician who voted "present" whenever he could, and a resume that included stints in academia, community organizing, and helping ACORN?

  • triclops||

    Yeah, I am by no means a genius, but I could have told you pretty much everything Obama would be, except I underestimated his ability to get indignant for being treated anything less than royally.

    He always was a hard lefty who spoke in contradictions and paradoxes that some people seemed to believe were actually moderate stances, and the only moderation we would ever see out of him is the "moderate" brand of statism (ex: D. Brooks, M. Bloomberg, and T Friedman) that modern presidents always embrace.

  • Mike M.||

    Looking into Obama's past was declared verboten early on by the Beltway Cocktail Party Circuit, which reigns supreme over all Journolism.

    Even today after the last four horrible years, you can barely get these guys to scrutinize, much less mock, hardly a word that comes out of the guy's mouth.

  • Apple||

    I already voted for Gary Johnson. More importantly, I voted for gambling and to make medical marijuana legal in Arkansas. If it passes, Arkansas will be the first Southern state to make it legal. I doubt it will pass.

  • Fladnag the Yarg||

    Voting for Gary J. The only one who has a proven track record of NOT trying to run everyone else's life.

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    As a fucking Ohioian, who was a big GayJay guy early, but am voting for Romney because I want Rand-DeMint-Lee-Cruz to get their budgets signed into law.

    I also want time to sort my passports out...

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    What? How does that follow? If Romney signs Rand's budget, it won't be the one Rand's been talking about. It'll be Romney's budget that he got (coerced/lied to/etc.)Rand to get on board with.
    RAND =/= RON!
    Why do you choose to believe the lie?

  • Paleo-ConAvenger||

    Hahahaha, go back to the DailyPaultard where irrationality is celebrated.

  • ||

    I think you're both idiots.

  • triclops||

    Not that my voting record is impeccable, but I don't see how not voting is sending a message.

    To me, it is like a silent boycott of a product or company. That company will have no idea why you didn't buy their product, and will probably assume reasons quite different than your actual ones, and the "lesson" they will learn might be worse than the current behavior you are boycotting.

    I see some similarities with the Chick-fill-a protests. Quietly staying home doesn't send a message.

  • SIV||

    So Cav sat this one out.

  • cavalier973||

  • ||

    Thanks for the answers.

  • Drunk Jamie||

    My professor at the University of Montana is going to give 5 extra-credit points for students who show up to class with an "I voted" sticker. I'm thinking about challenging the idea legally, because I argued in class that "not voting" is as valid an expression of my values and constitutional rights as voting. Think I have a case?

  • Drunk Jamie||

    So yeah, maybe it's not a LEGAL case, but I can argue its merits in the Code of Ethics at UM. And I can get, I'm willing to predict, the professor to back down. He is essentially buying votes.

  • ||

    ...to recognize gay marriage; and to otherwise limit the power of the state.

    Ummm, just FYI, expanding an illegitimate state institution so that it ensnares more people != "limit[ing] the power of the state". That's actually a huge expansion of the power of the state, which is why it's so fucking mysterious why so many so-called libertarians support the idea. I can see these people circa 1850:

    "Forget about abolition. There's no practical way that's ever going to happen. The only way we can ensure the fair treatment of slaves is to allow them to own slaves themselves. Sure, it may be true that granting the ability to enslave is not a legitimate state function, but as long there's going to be slavery, there MUST be slavery equality! If you want to abolish slavery, go get the slave owners to give up their slavery and then we'll talk."

  • Lyle||

    For all the high minded free thinking rhetoric and sentiment from Reason... it's not really such a free thinking institution. Everyone is either voting for Gary Johnson or not voting. That's a lot like mindedness if you ask me.

  • ||

    Non-conformity is the new conformity.

  • SIV||

    The tREASON staff all fell for the Republican canard that "a vote for GayJay is a vote for Obama". Actually it's a vote for Mike Huckabee's 30% federal sales tax and monthly gubmint checks FOR EVERY HOUSEHOLD IN AMERIKKA!

    I'm voting the same way as Doherty and KM-W

  • ||

    Oh noes! A 30% sales tax?!? Sounds super scary. I'll stick with my 50-tiered income tax running from 10 to 35% with 2 million deductions, some of which benefit me, so fuck everybody else. And please leave in place the alternative minimum tax, estate tax, capital gains tax, gasoline tax, tobacco tax, alcohol tax, and tanning booth tax. I'll pay all of those happily, but those there's NO FUCKING WAY I'm paying "Mike Huckabee's 30% sales tax". That's just insane!

  • ||

    I can't tell if you're serious, or simply parodying something. Knowing you, you're being serious.

  • ||

    Really, Lyle? "They come to similar conclusions, therefore they aren't really thinking about it." Fuck you. "Free thinking" doesn't mean "voting like a moron".

  • Lyle||

    I don't know what "voting like a moron" means.

    And yes, there is a lack of diverse opinion, i.e. thinking at Reason.

  • JeremyR||

    "Reproductive Rights?"

    Really?

    This is why I think the "Cosmotarian" label gets stuck to Reason. Libertarians are pretty much split on abortion, with those against it believing that the baby still has rights in the womb. Using a loaded phrase like "reproductive rights" is pretty telling.

    Similarly, where was the question about guns? Does anyone at Reason actually own a firearm or shoot regularly? There are Democrats who aren't bad on guns, but Obama isn't one of them, bringing up gun control in the debates...

  • cavalier973||

    With regard to gun control: both Romney and Obama are all for the Federal Government having the authority to go into your home and confiscate your firearms without a warrant. I know that neither of them say this, but they both support the NDAA of 2012, and if the President has the authority to throw you in prison without a trial, it stands to reason that the President will confiscate your firearms (and anything else he thinks of) at the same time.

  • d_remington||

    I'm writing in Jim Crow and his magnificent band of musical white only doves.

  • ||

    So Obama, then? I guess calling him "Jim Crow" is meant to be ironic? He's certainly the only presidential candidate messiah who would have white doves following him around. Murder and lying are just so DREAMY.

  • dj kumquat||

    yous guys are all drinkin' yer own piss, you just think it's kool-aid.

  • ||

    You should really stop talking to your "selves". It's not healthy.

  • amagi||

    tried posting this yesterday but couldn't get it actually to go through:

    voting for Johnson but a little worried about this Fair Tax business. My previous votes were for Kerry (before i was enlightened) and Barr

  • Killazontherun||

    Late to the dance, but here it goes:

    1. Gary Johnson. All the other kids are doing it. He's a Light Bringer, or Light Welder, no, no, he's a Light Worker.

    2. Obama, by running against the nonexistent deregulatory and mythical laissez-faire policies of the Bush administration while putting forth his disastrous green industrial policies and regulatory schemes like Dodd-Fudd is assured to put a strain on our general welfare built on the prosperity of free markets for decades to come.

    2b.

    Obama. The left is openly hostile to free speech. Citizen's United has uncovered what they really are -- totalitarians barely restrained by our constitutional order. Even their support of reproductive rights is highly compromised by the forced imposition of paying for other people's decisions. Obama also seriously entertains the concept of blasphemy. His State Department works hand and hand with Islamicist groups that want to carve out a peculiar institution in the UN laws that make it illegal to insult a 1400 years dead desert bandit.

    cont.

    3. Bush (hated Gore, didn't trust Browne), didn't vote, Barr.

  • Killazontherun||

    4. Wow. Ballot initiatives are really boring, aren't they? So, something, something about marijuana freedom going on somewhere out West in flyover country, and token support for a gay marriage rights thing else where.

    5. Support is gaining for free markets, waning for free minds as the kids don't seem to be into Nietzsche, Mencken, Heinlein, punk rock and slapping Tipper Gore as back in the day.

    Even though the ideas of free markets is on the rise, the middle class is on a seventy year decline in having the skill sets that make black markets possible. Pretty much leaving it to lower classes (skin heads, biker gangs) and ethnic minorities to keep freedom of economic choice a real possibility. Though the idea of free markets is on the rise, the class that most supports them grows more ineffectual by the day.

  • Killazontherun||

    Left off 2.c. It's a toss up. There is not much room for debate on foreign policy in DC. They are pretty much on the same page until a fuck up creates finger pointing.

    Also for the record, this is the most delicious Bit'o'Honey in all of Candyland. Woo woo wee!

  • David Emami||

    "Romney is worse on free speech when it comes to porn, while Obama is worse on political speech, which even the most avid masturbator might admit is more important."

    Kudos to Jacob Sullum for citing an instance of what I find generally: while both major parties (and their candidates) are bad on various issues, some issues are more important than others.

  • JacobLyles||

    According to my unscientific estimate, Gary Johnson's vote total would be 20% higher if all his supporters actually, you know, voted.

    I must be the only libertarian in the world that is voting for Mitt: http://jacobexmachina.blogspot.....-2012.html

  • David Emami||

    No you're not. The things that Romney is better on are far, far more important than the things Obama is better on.

  • Cameroon||

    If you believe that Obama would use the extra $80 billion in revenue extracted from the rich to reduce the deficit, I have an 11-page glossy jobs pamphlet for you. And Obama's tax on the rich would hit Johnson is certainly the clear favorite in our 2012 "Who's Getting Your Vote" survey. Few of the contributors below have kind words for either President Obama or Gov. Romney, but many are stoked by state-level intiatives seeking to legalize the production, sale, and use of marijuana; to recognize gay marriage; and to otherwise limit the power of the state. Contributors were also generally optimistic that Reason's vision of "Free Minds and Free Markets" was either still gaining ground or at least holding its own against constant attempts to limit both coach outlet, Still, according to a Bloomberg survey of selected economists, under Obama's plan, "13,000 jobs would be created in 2013, bringing the total to 288,000 over two years." That's hundreds of billion in spending—deficit spending—aimed at creating a few unsustainable jobs without the benefit of any real private-sector growth.coach outlet

  • bhami||

    I'm disappointed by the number of apparent Gary Johnson fanbois at Reason. Karl Denninger has given many reasons that Johnson does not deserve support: http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=213366

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