Breaking Down the Reason Staff's Vote Disclosures From 2012, 2008, and 2004

Yesterday, we released our quadrennial survey of which presidential candidate Reason staffers, contributors, and other small-l libertarians plan to vote for. Of the 28 people surveyed, 17 said they'll be voting for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, two others said they'll probably vote for Johnson, eight said they won't be voting, and one declined to disclose.

After we conducted these exercises in 2008 and 2004, I winnowed each list down to just Reason staffers, contributing editors, regular contributors, and they'll-always-be-one-of-us emeriti, so that readers can most accurately target their ire, praise, and ridicule at our institution (which, amazingly, is the only journalistic outfit of any size this year to actually trust readers enough to show them our vote; we're still waiting on Slate).

For ease-of-use, and to see whether there is some interesting movement in voter sentiment, I will put the three elections' Reason-centric disclosures in one blog post below. Some of who were originally described as leaners or undecided in 2004 and 2008 have for these purposes been assigned to the candidates we later learned they voted for. Here goes:

2012:

25 total Reasonoids

15 Gary Johnson (with 2 leaning)

  8 nobody/not voting

2008:

18 total Reasonoids

7 nobody/not voting

5 Bob Barr (w/ 1 leaning)

3 Barack Obama

1 John McCain

1 anybody-but-McCain

2004:

13 total Reasonoids

3 Michael Badnarik

2 George W. Bush

2 John Kerry

2 undecided

2 nobody/not voting

2 none of your business

Conclusions? Draw your own in the comments. Then ask your other favorite journalistic institutions why their belief in transparency doesn't extend to themselves.

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.

  • amagi||

    OTHER favorite journalistic institutions? you mean there are other publications? i thought we were mandated to read reason and reason only.

  • ||

    You're also allowed to read The Freeman.

  • The Hammer||

    You're allowed to check out LewRockwell.com, but don't overdo it...

  • ||

    Some of the stuff there is good, some is weird, and some is just plain nuts.

  • Big 'Orra||

    Funny, I feel the same way about Reason!

  • Suki||

    i thought we were mandated to read reason and reason only.

    I think Reason 24/7 counts as another. The same way that ESPN and ABC count as different channels.

  • amagi||

    i'm pleased with the trend. i hope it is reflective of the country/world at large.

    also, seriously, who reads other publications?

  • Timrek||

    This is why I like you guys (guys being used to include all genders so as not to exclude anyone). Seriously, if the MSM even wants to pretend that there's no bias then they should fess up. I'm willing to bet that even at good ol' impartial CNN there's a real tell tale lean towards Team Blue at the ballot box. To pretend that this doesn't affect how they report on a given topic is hogwash. At least be honest which way your wind blows (or in Reason's case which way The All Powerful Jacket commands you to vote...Do Not Anger the Jacket!).

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    3 Barack Obama

    SCANDAL.

  • Whiterun Guard||

    I always knew reason was a false flag operation for Team Blue!!!

  • Whiterun Guard||

    Why don't they do this for something we could actually affect? Like American Idol.

    I bet in 2008 Reason was a big reason why (thankfully) Katherine McPhee was given the boot.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Well, to hell with Reason, then.

  • sarcasmic||

    Katherine McPhee in a skimpy bikini!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs.....ikini.html

  • Libertymike||

    Green is a good color for her.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Who the hell said McCain? That arguably makes less sense for a libertarian than Obama. At least with Obama one could immerse oneself in the blissfully ignorant glow of his eloquence, but McCain is a naked statist. (Unless they were voting McCain ironically or to split the power amongst the branches, both of which I can respect.)

  • Libertymike||

    Is not Obama a naked statist?

    "immerse oneself in the blissfully ignorant glow of his eloquence"?

    How can eloquence have a blissfully ignorant glow?

    Even with the aid of the teleprompter, Obama is not eloquent.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Face it, he was in 2008. Everyone said so. And that purported silver tongue and shiny newness cloaked any obvious big government plans for so many too weary and hopeful to look.

  • Libertymike||

    Purported is the right word.

    Of course, one would be hard pressed to disagree with the point you make in your third sentence.

  • Rasilio||

    Here is the thing I find amazing.

    Reason Magazine where everyone is in at least some sense a libertarian

    2004 - 23% support for the Libertarian
    2008 - 28% support for the Libertarian
    2012 - 60% support for the Libertarian

    Shows just how much better of a candidate that Johnson is, last 2 cycles the LP candidate couldn't even get 30% support from a group of self professed libertarians. Johnson has more the doubled that and the only dissenters left are those who for whatever reason are choosing not to vote or not revealing their vote.

  • Raston Bot||

    Barr, dude. Bob 'Words are Wind' Barr.

  • Spoonman.||

    Yeah, I didn't vote for Bob Barr because he was simply awful.

    I didn't vote for anyone for President. Since the LPTX did an excellent job getting a candidate in virtuall every race, I voted LP for everything else.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I voted for him solely because of "LP." Well, and because the alternatives were too hideous to behold.

  • toolkien||

    Well it looks like the "lesser of two evils" has completely run its course at reason.

  • Ed||

    now it's the lessest of three!

  • ||

    Don't you mean least?

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I have an idea. We should vote for Romney to punish the democrats, just like we voted for Obama to punish the republicans. Then in the next election we should vote for the democrats again to punish the republicans for Romney.

  • ||

    Personally, I think getting rid of ObamaCare should be libertarians #1 priority right now.

    It is not a "market based" reform, as the Democrats keep trying to sell. It turns health insurance into regulated utilities whose sole purpose is to do the administrative work for a publicly funded health care system. The fact that you pay your taxes directly to the insurer is just icing as far as the progressives are concerned. The insurers has no legal control over what procedures will be covered and next to no control over premiums. And the next step will be to cartelize medicine so that doctors are salaried employees of the health insurance utilities. It's disguised, but it has all the features of socialism. Everyone pays the same price for insurance, everyone is covered for everything. All the insurers do is take a 20% cut to pay for overhead. Some day, 20 years from now, the government will just formalize reality and declare them a branch of HHS.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Price controls have not socialized the electric utility business.

    What will impact both are new methods of delivery that have yet to be mass commercialized. Solar, for instance.

  • ||

    Since when is electricity price controlled?

  • Suki||

    I thought that was what utilities boards did? Unless that was a sarcastic retort to the stupid PB comment, then I withdraw the question.

  • The Hammer||

    And since when has solar not been mass commercialized?

  • sarcasmic||

    Romney says he's going to "remove and replace" Obamacare.

    So what's the difference?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    He wants it to be called Romneycare.

  • sarcasmic||

    When I want your opinion I'll go take a shit.

  • Randian||

    I shouldn't have laughed at this but I did anyway.

  • Big 'Orra||

    Sadly, Shrieks right...and so is sarcasmic!

  • ant1sthenes||

    It looks like Reasonoids are becoming libertarian over time.

  • ||

    +1

  • yonemoto||

    the only scientifically reasonable inference we can make is that the reason staff is expanding over time.

  • Suki||

    +2

  • ||

    I have to agree that Gary Johnson is by far the best candidate the Libertarians have run in a long time. Which won't make much difference in the general election.
    It's a shame that he never got any traction in the Republican primary, as he's not really a hardore idealogue. He's actually quite a moderate pragmatist, and he probably could have run a competent general election competition.

    I think his early ground game was severely flubbed, in part because of the unfortunate coalition of libertarians around Ron Paul. Paul was never going to get the Republican nomination because of his obsession with quirky issues like the gold standard, and his old newletter problem.

    But Johnson tends to stay focused on mainstream issues and has none of that baggage. Id really like to see him run again as a Republican in 2016, though I suspect running on the LP ticket destroyed his chances in the Republican Party.

  • sarcasmic||

    Paul was never going to get the Republican nomination because of his obsession with quirky issues like the gold standard, and his old newletter problem.

    It was his foreign policy that did him in.

    Hardcore Republicans feel that a day is not complete unless our military has killed some Muslims.

  • ||

    I think libertarians could sell a non-interventionist foreign policy, but not if you start by implying that America somehow "had it coming" on 9/11.

    You can't go around talking about blowback and sounding like a Chomsky clone and expect Republicans to not instantly tune you out.

  • sarcasmic||

    After going around poking people in the chest, you have no right to act surprised when someone hauls off and breaks your nose.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Who poked whom first?

  • sarcasmic||

    Really?

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    We can play this game back to the Barbary Wars, dude.

  • Libertymike||

    You can, but reality can't.

    How often has Iran, Iraq, Yemen or Afghanistan interfered with the internal governance of the United States?

    Since the Barbary Wars, how many times has Iran, Iraq, Yemen or Afghanistan invaded both Canada and Mexico simultaneously?

  • ||

    You really have to look at America's Middle Eastern interventions in the context of the Cold War.

    Since everyone likes to cite 1953 and Iran, it's worth pointing out that in 1953, the following were the facts on the ground:
    1. We'd just finished a bloody war 8 years earlier in which control of Persian Gulf oil played a crucial strategic role.
    2. The USSR had just gotten the Atomic Bomb.
    3. Everyone thought we were going to be at war with the USSR in a few years.
    4. Mossagdeh was a socialist who nationalized our oil (US and British) holdings and was moving to align Iran with the USSR.

    Now, the left is constantly claiming that seizing our oil holdings was some sort of benign democratic move "for the people". This is disingenuous. Every communist country in the world has called itself a "people's Republic". Every socialist state has claimed that nationalizing industries is "for the people".

    There was no fucking way that in 1953 with the threat of nuclear war with the USSR on the horizon we were going to lose control of Persian Gulf Oil.

    End of story.

  • Calidissident||

    Nothing you post there has any relevance to anything. You can try to justify it all you want, that doesn't change its effects

  • Calidissident||

    Everyone knows only Muslims were pirates

  • ||

    Good luck getting votes from people who like to poke people in the chest that way.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's why Ron Paul was drummed out of the primary. The chest pokers can't stand him.

  • ||

    You can't just assume that everything America has ever done is solely about chest poking. See above.

  • sarcasmic||

    When did I say "solely"?

    I was just trying to make a simple analogy, not a doctorate thesis.

  • ||

    And I'm trying to explain how libertarians could sell Republicans on a libertarian candidate.

    Ron Paul has the unfortunate tendancy to characterize American foreign policy by adopting some of the worst leftist tropes about it. For instance Chomsky's bizarre history of US foreign policy in which the USSR is a virtual non-entity.

    If you want to make an honest assessment, you could at least say "we did this for a reason, in dire circumstances, those cirsumstances no longer exist, so we're not going to do that anymore".

    The way I see it is our foreign policy was largely justified during the Cold War, but it's been on autopilot since then and we ought to realign it more in keeping with our values now.

  • Virginian||

    ^exactly

    There's two ways to sell Ron Paul's foreign policy.

    The first way is adopting a Chomsky like, pseudo Marxist critique and talk about empire and the military industrial complex. The veracity of this critique is not relevant, because Republican voters don't want to hear it. Just like Democrats don't want to hear how a free market gives them more money to give to the poor.

    The way to sell noninterventionism is to talk about leaving the backwards savages alone to stew in their own juices. We're better than them, they are not worth our blood or treasure. They're is nothing there that can possibly be worth the costs.

  • sarcasmic||

    The way to sell noninterventionism is to talk about leaving the backwards savages alone to stew in their own juices.

    The predictable Republican response is that if we leave them alone we create a breeding ground for terrorists, and before you know it every day will be 9/11.

    Instead our military must remain in the Middle East in perpetuity, killing thousands and thousands of people a year. But that's not what pisses them off. It's our freedoms that piss them off. Not the killing and interfering. Nope. It's our freedoms.

  • Big 'Orra||

    The way I see it is our foreign policy was largely justified during the Cold War, but it's been on autopilot since then and we ought to realign it more in keeping with our values now.

    Exactly ... We had to do some crappy stuff (supporting various strongmen to block the USSR,) but since it's gone...

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    Why do you hate America?

  • Raston Bot||

    On the bright side, the next four years won't be any prettier from a debt landslide perspective so let's go GayJay '16!

  • Calidissident||

    Johnson's pro-choice views alone are a bigger disqualifier in a Republican primary than any of RP's views

  • Ken Shultz||

    There's a big shift towards voting for nobody, too, which I totally respect.

    I want to vote for Romney--to kick Obama out on his ass. I just want Obama out on his ass...

    ...but I'm having a hard time pulling the lever for Romney.

    God, I want Obama out so bad, though. I bet this is how the Reasonoids who voted for Obama felt. Bush was so bad--he was the biggest threat to the Constitution. And although he wasn't running against Obama--his security state ideology sort of was. And if there's a real threat to the Constitution there, how do you spend that vote on a protest candidate? They apparently felt like that when Bush wasn't even one of the candidates, but in my case, Obama really is one of the candidates we can replace!

    Obama has already nationalized one industrial giant, and he's effectively nationalized a huge chunk of the financial system and the healthcare system. How far does he have to go before we vote for someone who can actually replace him?

    If Lenin were on the ticket, would I vote for his opponent--the one who can really win? Or would I just let Lenin win so that I could make a statement with my third-party protest vote? Obama isn't as bad as Lenin, but that's mostly because he knows that if he went as far as Lenin, people like me would definitely vote against him.

    If nationalizing GM, the financial industry, and the healthcare system doesn't make Obama a big enough Lenin to vote against, then how big of a Lenin does Obama have to be?

  • sarcasmic||

    Remember that Romney plans to "Remove and replace".

    So he supports nationalizing heath care, as long as his team does it.

    Instead of nationalizing industry, he plans to take the mercantilist approach and tax consumers of foreign goods.

    He won't be any different on any of the wars, including the ones at home.

    I really see little difference between the two candidates, except for who they would put on the Supreme Court. Then again look at what Bush and Reagan appointees have done, so does it really matter?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "I really see little difference between the two candidates, except for who they would put on the Supreme Court. Then again look at what Bush and Reagan appointees have done, so does it really matter?"

    To me, that's a win for Romney.

    When Obama makes appointments, he'll appoint people who are proud of doing what Roberts did. He'll appoint people who promise to make sure the Constitution doesn't get in the way of his Progressive agenda...

    If Romney makes the appointments, yeah, Supreme Court justices are like a box of chocolates, but if they support a Progressive agenda against the Constitution, it'll come as a surprise.

    There's a difference between purposely subverting the Constitution by way of appointments, like Obama wants to do, and having the Constitution subverted unintentionally, like might happen to Romney if whomever he appoints happens to fool everybody on the way to confirmation.

    The hardest time I'm having is explaining to all my formerly Republican friends and family--who I convinced in the past to vote libertarian--why I think they should vote for Romney this time. They're all set to vote for Johnson!

    Facing that's a toughie.

  • sarcasmic||

    Last election I voted against Obama and felt dirty for selecting the Republican.

    This time I will vote for someone and select Johnson.

  • Randian||

    It may be trite and corny, but I'd rather stand for something positive than against something negative.

  • Libertymike||

    You want to stand for something positive?

    How about a long and prosperous life for Honey Boo Boo?

  • ||

    Is she running too?

  • Libertymike||

    If she were, I would become a hypocrite and vote. For her.

  • Big 'Orra||

    I really see little difference between the two candidates, except for who they would put on the Supreme Court.

    Do you really think that GHWB knew what he was doing when he nominated Clarence Thomas? If ANY president nominates a half-way decent justice it will be by accident (and it WON'T be by a Democrat...)

  • Applederry||

    Here's, I think, the best reason not to support Romney.

    From all the signs coming from Europe and China, these next 4 years are not going to be pretty. Really, it doesn't matter who is in office. Even if they made all the right decisions, it's going to take a long time to recover and no president and no congress can stop the coming hurt. If Romney wins and operates on his (we know to be false) free market rhetoric, then those policies, regardless of their actual implementation, will be blamed up and down for not making things better.

    Far better for Obama to try his policies and fail, which I think has a big part in why libertarian ideas are becoming more appealing to certain groups. The faltering economy and Obama's failures are finally starting to crack the shiny veneer of socialism. It sucks, but in a sense, I think we need Obama to send us to rock bottom for us to have any chance to get better.

  • sarcasmic||

    The faltering economy and Obama's failures are finally starting to crack the shiny veneer of socialism.

    No it's not.

    If the economy gets better it will be because of Obama's policies, and the government needs to do more.

    If it gets worse it will be because the government didn't do enough, and the government needs to do more.

    "Heads I win, tails you lose."

  • Romulus Augustus||

    Sarcasmic, I fear there is no sarcasm in your post this time. Head, etc.
    is what happens, too, every time one of the GOP guys goes all bi-partisan,
    compromise.

  • Libertymike||

    Exhibit A being Scott Brown.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Agreed, and that's why this strategy is a nonstarter. There are many who will always blame the right, businesses, the wealthy, and libertarians, no matter what. Even in good times.

    And a total collapse will not lead straight to libertarianism. It'll lead to greater authoritarianism.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It'll lead to greater authoritarianism.

    It might.

    Different people choose different solutions.

    Chairman Mao reacted in one way.

    Deng Xiaoping reacted in another.

    Maybe Mao and Deng Xiaoping were both statist fucks.

    But I think Barack Obama is more like Chairman Mao.

    I'm hoping Mitt Romney is more like Deng Xiaoping.

  • ||

    If we actually want to create another free society, we're going to have to found a colony on Mars.

    Seems like the only place where freedom has eveyr really existed is on the frontier. Everywhere else gets gradually taken over by the many tentacles of Leviethan.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Things have become more free in the past. We here in the U.S. are spoiled becasue our freest days--in terms of central government--seem like they're behind us...

    On the other hand, outside of government bureaucracy specifically?

    A hundred years ago, women couldn't vote, and ownership of property for women was a little sketchy. Black people had problems voting in huge chunks of this country until the 1960s. We're much freer than we used to be in lots of ways...

    And for Eastern Europeans? Up until the 1980s, they were living under the boot of a totalitarian dictator.

    The world does move from less free to more free sometimes. The people of Libya decided to kill Gaddafi for want of their freedom. I hope they choose freedom in the future..

    And there are still some frontiers to go to. I'm sure the people who live outside of Yellowknife are some of the freest people on earth in terms of interference from government bureaucracy. I'm not sure they have as many choices available to them as I do living in Southern California. I've been looking at places in South America, too. Chile and Colombia look interesting in terms of freedom--and with nice weather, too!

    The weather on Mars is worse than Yellowknife!

  • Ken Shultz||

    As Greece and Italy found out, eventually, we will slash our budget.

    As China found out, eventually we will become more capitalist.

    The reason to advocate for libertarian solutions to our problems isn't becasue if we don't, we'll never slash the budget or become more capitalist.

    The reason to advocate for libertarian solutions is so that we don't have go through what Greece did before we slash our budget. The reason to advocate for libertarian solutions is so that we don't have to go through what China did before we become more capitalist.

    I'm a businessman. The idea that I have to hit my investors with a big loss because, otherwise, they'll never learn to support my business plan? I can't get behind that.

    We can avoid what's coming. And not just in the long term, we've got something coming up in the short term right in front of us!

    The fiscal cliff, that's about taxation. I know that just because going over the edge of that cliff would be incredibly stupid, that doesn't mean our politicians aren't so stupid that they'll just walk right over that cliff anyway. But that doesn't mean I'd advocate going over the cliff. I wouldn't help us along in jumping over the cliff.

    Once our economy is crushed by taxation, inflation, and budget problems, then people will realize what we should do? The whole point of slashing taxes and the budget is to avoid having the economy crushed by taxation, inflation, and budget problems.

  • Libertymike||

    How does one avoid a tsunami?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Our fiscal and tax problems are anthropomorphic.

    The people who are ignoring the problem are the same people advocating that the government do something about global warming.

    No one's making the case about our fiscal problems in a way that average people understand. They think we can go the way we're going forever.

    I don't think Romney's like that. He may be limited by what Congress will tolerate, but he's not like Obama.

    Obama thinks the tsunami isn't real. No, it's worse than that. Obama thinks anthropomorphic overspending and overtaxation is a hoax.

  • JacobLyles||

    I'll probably get picked up by the spam filter if I keep posting it, but I'd encourage you to take a look at my case for Romney here:

    http://jacobexmachina.blogspot.....-2012.html

    The short of it is that Romney is the first competent person to be nominated for President in my life time. He's a center-right candidate, and he's going to be better than Obama on economics because nobody could be worse.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I wonder who Mika Bfltsplk will be voting for? She does such an excellent job of wrapping her personal preference in a cloak of dispassionate impartiality, it's really impossible to tell.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Your remaining bit of mental health is at risk unless you quit watching that show.

    Do you dream about Chuck Todd?

  • ||

    You of all people need not either be throwing stones nor questioning the mental health of others, you lithium deprived, pus soaked tampon.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I bet this is how the Reasonoids who voted for Obama felt. Bush was so bad

    Perhaps you're not aware of this, but Bush was out no matter what.

    Now, McCain... that's a different thing altogether.

  • sarcasmic||

    But McCain was Bush. Remember? Just as Romney is Bush. All Republicans are Bush. Bush, Bush, Bush.

    And as we all know, it was the failed policies of the past that are to blame for everything from unemployment to gout.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Do you dream about Chuck Todd?

    Does dropping him into a cauldron of viscera in an abbatoir count?

  • ||

    Can I get the Reason staff members who are not voting (or anyone else) to tell me why the following statement is false:

    If you don't care enough to vote, you can't bitch.

  • The Hammer||

    By voting, you are tacitly endorsing a horrible system in which 50.1% of the population can enslave the other 49.9%. By voting, you agree to abide by the result of the vote, whether or not the candidate for whom you voted wins. By not voting, you are refusing to endorse this system.

  • The Hammer||

    And if you do not endorse the system under which you are being forced to live anyway, you retain the right to bitch to your heart's content.

  • ||

    FdA PWND!

  • Auscifer||

    I can't get over the whole not-voting thing. I have problems with that, but I'll start with what I do not have a problem with.

    Not-voting because (1) You don't care or (2) You are too lazy. These are perfectly acceptable. In oen article, the arguement was given that if someone does not care, you probably do not want them voting, to which I agree.

    Voting and just skipping the POTUS section is perfectly acceptable too. Any "none of the above" vote has my deepest respect.

    But if you do care about who wins, and you DO NOT vote, well that's bullshit. Correct me if I'm wrong, but among the reasonoid non-voters, I did not see any mention of local-yokel races. Judges, School Board, Statehouse reps., etc. These are elected officials that an enganged citizen can really influence. Because their constituencies are so small, a single person can really influence the elected official.

    And on that note, that's why I call bullshit on the justifications given by the non-voters. Someone in the comments said not-voting is counted as a zero, whereas a protest vote registers as a -1. You can opt out of voting, but you can't opt out of being governed by those that still do vote.

    And get that statisics crap out of here. Obviously one vote on the national level is statistically meaningless, but that's not the case in local races.

  • ||

    Voting is tacit acceptance of the system being thrust upon you as though this pathetic version of democracy is the only viable social arrangement. I don't vote because I don't accept the viability of the system itself and don't want to endorse it in any manner.

    When the mugger gives you the choice of "your money or your life," it does not become immediately moral and legitimate because you got to vote.

  • Auscifer||

    How did the mugger achieve that power over me to steal or kill?

    Well, I'd say that a large number of people collectively decided to grant the mugger that power.

    So is it not technically possible that the same large number of people could make the decision to remove him from that position and replace him with a mugger with a different name?

    Would a mugger named "Obama" and another named "Gary Johnson" treat me exactly the same?

  • Ken Shultz||

    I usually don't vote. I might make an exception this time because I think getting rid of Obama is so very important. Like I suggested up top, I think I can be a principled non-voter, though, and still say that if Hitler or Stalin were up for election, I would vote for whomever were running against them--and still remain a principled non-voter...

    My justification for not voting goes like this:

    Let's say libertarianism in a nutshell is the idea that people should be free to make choices for themselves rather than politicians making their choices for them. If elections are the mechanism by which politicians are legitimized to make choices on our behalf, then why would a libertarian participate in an election? How do you participate in an election without participating in the process that legitimizes a politician to make choices for you?

    Indeed, how can you tell other people that you should be free to make choices for yourself rather than have politicians make choices for you--and then turn around and tell them who to vote for? ...if whomever they vote for is going to use the fact that they won an election to legitimize making choices for us.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If voting mainly serves to legitimize politicians taking away our freedom to choose for ourselves and politicians making our choices for us?

    Then the only people who have a right to complain are the people who don't vote.

  • Auscifer||

    My nutshell definition of libertarianism is the same basically, but also includes the legitimate use of aggression by the State against citizens that infringe on the rights of other citizens.

    So how did the State's use of aggression grow out of control at an exponential rate? Perhaps because certain individuals lied, cheated, and stole their way into government positions and then disregarded the law, Constitution? Isn't it possible for individuals that do intend to follow the law to also find their way into government positions?

    This long and boring speech by G. Edward Griffin makes the case better than I can.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1-0o0cSw24

  • Big 'Orra||

    ... if Hitler or Stalin were up for election...

    Ironically, given a choice between the two, most would choose Stalin, though he obviously is responsible for MANY more deaths, he hid his evil with talk of "the little people" and "us" and "the people."

    Ayn Rand's morality shines, doesn't it?

  • Ken Shultz||

    When very few voters participate in elections, I suspect the politicians' legitimacy suffers...

    Saddam Hussein could claim very little true legitimacy--because he was never popularly elected. At that point, the politicians and their reliance on violence and coercion becomes bare to the world. It is possible to rule legitimately without an election--but it's much harder that way. When we see people like Putin and Chavez hold and go through elections, they don't do it to keep power--they use elections to legitimize the power they already have.

    The only thing elections are really good for is removing someone from office--like I'm thinking of doing to Obama. Other than removing someone from office, however, elections are just used to legitimize politicians making our choices for us. ...and I refuse to participate in that.

    I might vote to throw an especially dangerous would-be autocrat like Obama out of office, however. At least, that's what I'm thinking about doing right now. But it goes against everything else in my thinking. It's like...don't vote unless it's an emergency. With Obama, I think we might have an emergency.

  • ||

    Got it.

    Let's say libertarianism in a nutshell is the idea that people should be free to make choices for themselves rather than politicians making their choices for them. If elections are the mechanism by which politicians are legitimized to make choices on our behalf, then why would a libertarian participate in an election?

    But we don't live in a place that allows us to make choices for ourselves, and I want to. That means something must change for me to get what I want. Short of armed revolution there is only one way to implement that change. I must elect those with the same ideals I have so they can work to make it a place where people can make choices for themselves.

    All not voting (in protest of the system) does is ensure the system is perpetuated.

  • Auscifer||

    I agree with you regarding fraudulent elections. If I thought the U.S. had the same scale of fraud to that of Saddam's Iraq, I would also not vote.

    But I don't believe we are at that point... yet.

    And I must assume that you do not believe we are there yet either, because you intend to vote and apparently believe it will count.

  • Killazontherun||

    Shi-ite, was stuck with a pantsload of work yesterday afternoon. Did not even see this had been released until now.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If you don't care enough to vote, you can't bitch.

    Right here: *If you don't care enough*

    It's not that I don't care, it's that I don't care to demean myself by validating the self-aggrandizement and desperate need for the adulation of strangers which politicians seek.

    If you *want* the job, you are definitionally disqualified.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Whether someone votes or not is entirely irrelevant to the right to complain or otherwise to suffer the indignities of government oppression under protest. It's not like one vote that will only have marginal value to one of two statist parties gives you much choice.

    I'd prefer that all libertarian-minded people would vote, especially when someone with decent libertarian credentials is running, but their failure to do so doesn't mean that they have to shut up.

  • ||

    I agree that they can do as they choose, obviously. But I just can't get my head around it. These people (Reason staff) spend their lives trying to influence people and when it comes to the actual selection of the body they are trying to influence, they can't even take the time to cast a protest vote for someone that meets their requirements?

    I put it to you that like mined individuals tend to act similarly. So let's make it the cool thing to do and convince libertarians NOT to vote? Your vote may not count, but at some point, when the group gets large enough it will. Isn't that the plan? To convince more people to become libertarians?

    So some time in the future..."We have the largest block of voters in the nation...but we don't vote cause we think it isn't cool."

    Ya know, there are those who think libertarianism is self defeating...

  • sarcasmic||

    Pessimists of America canceled their annual meeting.
    They figured no one would show up.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I tend to agree, I'm just not buying into the hyperbole generally around "YOU MUST VOTE!!!"

    Frankly, I think we're better served by trying to influence these elections away from the worst excesses of statism. If things keep going the way they have been, we may lack even that option at some point.

  • 0x90||

    As you know, for some, the system is something imposed upon them, against their will. In this case, it is entirely rational to see the vote as the single voluntary act afforded in an otherwise coercive system, and that by exercising the "right" to vote, a person symbolically stamps the entire imposition with explicit approval. Furthermore, one may find the very concept of men ruling over other men, whether by means of the vote or otherwise, to be abhorrent, and may wish not to become a material participant in that process.

    Which is to say, for some, it is inherently not a question of strategy, and is rather about conscience. But even on strategy, if your goal is to make an impact, you already know that voting is not your tool; you will do far better by trying to directly influence the thinking of people you know. And in the end, that is how you will create the voting majority you're wishing for, anyway, so the argument goes: why not pursue that goal in the knowledge that you did so by rational argument alone, and not by grasping at the levers of power?

  • ||

    If only I had said it this well...

  • Jim Treacher||

    Personally, I'd rather Obama DIDN'T win, but whatever...

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