George Mason University law professor and occasional Reason contributor Ilya Somin compares former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) to see which one “is a better standard-bearer for libertarianism.” Here’s a snippet:
Turning to the issues first, the difference between the two is strikingly large. As I explained back when Paul ran in 2008, he has very nonlibertarian positions on free trade, school choice, and especially immigration. He also believes that Kelo v. City of New London was correctly decided because he thinks the Bill of Rights does not apply to the states. The latter is theoretically compatible with being a libertarian; one can believe that the Constitution should protect us against various forms of oppression by state governments, but simply fails to do so. But Paul’s position is at odds with most modern research on the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, and with the views of virtually all libertarian constitutional law scholars. It also bodes ill for the nature of his judicial appointments in the unlikely event that he actually wins the presidency.
On all of these issues, Johnson is clearly superior to Paul from a libertarian point of view. He supports school choice and free trade agreements, he’s as pro-immigration as any successful politician can be, and he believes that the Bill of Rights constrains the states as well as the federal government.