Libertarian History/Philosophy

Gary Johnson Marches Up Another Mountain

Gary Johnson is not viewed with gravity by a great many people these days. This is too bad, because he should be.


“When researchers announced the discovery of a mountain taller than Everest on the asteroid Vesta, Gary Johnson had already climbed it.” So said “Gary Johnson Facts” on Twitter a while back, after noting that “A duck’s quack does not echo. Gary Johnson is solely responsible for this phenomenon.”

Like Chuck Norris, who inspired this genre of humor, Gary Johnson is not viewed with gravity by a great many people these days. This is too bad, becauseâ€"unlike Norrisâ€"he should be.

The Everest gag refers to a “true fact,” as such things are called: Johnson once climbed to the summit of Mt. Everestâ€"and he did so with frostbitten toes and a leg that had not fully healed from an earlier break. He hopes to reach the highest peak on every continent. If past is prologue, he probably will: He already has scaled Mount Elbrus, Mount McKinley, and Mount Kilimanjaro. He also has competed in the Ironman triathlon five times, has run 100 miles in 30 consecutive hoursâ€"in the Rockiesâ€"and he has nearly killed himself paragliding.

All of those adventures are just a pastime, however, for a presidential candidate who already has had two careers. When young he went into business as a handyman with zero employees. When he sold his construction company years later, it had more than 1,000.

Then he ran for governor as a Republican in heavily Democratic New Mexico. He had no prior political experience. He won by a 10-point margin. (By poetic coincidence, he beat a competitor for the GOP nomination named Dick Cheney.) Johnson spent his first term slashing taxes and reining in the growth of the state budget. Then he won a second term, and spent that crusading for school vouchers and marijuana legalization. He set a record for vetoing billsâ€"750 of them, more than all other 49 governors combined during the same periodâ€"and left a budget surplus in his wake.

Last year Johnson ran for the Republican nomination for president. For reasons known only to the organizers, he was shut out of three early debates, which effectively killed whatever chance he had of gaining traction in the primaries. But those chances were slim to begin with, given his views on issues such as abortion (he believes “fundamentally in the right…to choose”), gay marriage (“equal acess to marriage for all Americans is a right,” he says, blasting President Obama for giving the matter only “lip service”) and national defense (he would cut the Pentagon 43 percent, just like every other departmentâ€"except Education, which he would abolish).

Equally problematic in the GOP these days, he also believes in evolution. To make matters worse, “I believe in global warming and that it’s man-made.” And even though he does not use tobacco, alcohol, or caffeine, he did use marijuana for three years to ease the pain from his paragliding accident.

On the other hand, he is not likely to win over many Democrats with his views on gun control (“I don’t believe there should be any restrictions when it comes to firearms. None”), taxes (he cut them 14 times as governor), or Obamacare (he has said it is unconstitutional).

Given those positions, he’s a natural fit for the Libertarian Partyâ€"whose presidential nomination he won earlier this month. As ABC News put it, Johnson “intends to hit Obama from the left and Romney from the right. ‘I got a leg up on Obama when it comes to civil liberties,’ Johnson said. “I crush Obama when it comes to dollars and cents. I think I have a leg up on Romney when it comes to dollars and cents and I think I crush him on civil liberties.’ ” He would repeal the Patriot Act and says habeas corpus should be “respected entirely.”

Johnson has another political Achilles’ heel: He is unflinchingly honest. “Always be honest and tell the truth” is one of his Seven Principles of Good Government. A  profile in GQ last year put it more bluntly: “There is nothing he will not answer, nothing he will not share. . . . Johnson is fundamentally incapable of bull****ing.” Example: When Mitt Romney made a swing through Michigan, he gushed oleaginously about how “I love this state. It seems right here. The trees are the right height. I like seeing the lakes. I love the lakes. . . .” By contrast, when a reporter asked Johnson if he would say the same nice things about Michigan that he had said about New Hampshire, he answered: “No, Michigan’s the worst.”

With those positions and that level of candor, he’ll be lucky to get 0.5 percent of the vote. On the other hand, he will probably enjoy the campaign. As he told another newspaper last February, “The endeavor itself is a great adventure. I’m a Zen kind of guy … You better darn well like the journey, or the destination won’t mean anything.”

A. Barton Hinkle is a columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, where this article originally appeared.

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  1. He lost me with his approach to immigration: Social Security Numbers for anyone who is allowed to stay here. For fuck’s sake.

    1. Perhaps you could explain why this is a deal-killer for you. Do you think that someone paying the SS tax should be ineligible for SS benefits because the government has not recognized them as citizens?

      1. Signing up for Socialist Security, often done as a minor, or nowadays, done by parents of infants, waives all of our inalienable rights. By claiming to be a U.S. Citizen, you are “subject to the jurisdiction thereof”. It’s a contract that you can’t get out of, even if you signed it while a minor, or your parents signed you up for it, and that was only for the tax deduction. Soc Sec was supposed to be voluntary, and was only to be between an individual and the gov’t. Now a child can’t attend school without one, and it’s a contract they didn’t sign and can’t get out of. Per the Supreme Court’s Hooven decision, if you’re a citizen of the “10 mile square”, over which Congress has “exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever”, you are at the mercy of Congress. See; Amendment for Drug War, Selective Service, Income Tax, and countless other examples of sovereign citizens being treated as subjects.

        1. For anyone wanting to try and “save” that pyramid scheme, the only way to even attemp so would be to bring a large younger population into the country to keep feeding the monster. Current birth rates will not do it especially given the highest birth rates are to the poorest people..

          1. agreed.
            You can Actually SAVE the pyramid scheme by just raising the FICA salary CAP from $106k. Even getting rid of it. Unfortunately, people making over $200k would be paying per year more towards FICA than they would ever receive in benefits. Perhaps just increasing the Employee portion so that it doesn’t look ‘anti-business’…hahaha.

        2. You are subject to the jurisdiction of the United States even without a Social Security number. And, by the way, those fringes on the flags don’t mean shit. Just thought you should know.

          1. glad you said it, so I didn’t have too.

          2. Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. How else did they wage a War on Drugs, aka victimless crimes, without a Constitutional Amendment? Prior to Soc Sec, the War on Booze required one. Why do they have infants signed up? Why is it set up so that you can’t go to the bathroom without a SSN? For your benefit, or theirs?

            1. How else did they wage a War on Drugs, aka victimless crimes, without a Constitutional Amendment?

              Commerce Clause. It has nothing to do with a Social Security number. Want to bet that an immigrant without a SS number involved in the drug trade would be subject to arrest?

              The rest of your post is uh, strange? I mean, I agree that I don’t particularly care for the near-requirement to get a government identification number, but having or not having that number has nothing to do with the sovereignty of a State or the Federal Government.

              1. Sorry that you missed all the Patriot meetings held during the Clintonista regime. We studied the Constitution and the laws and especially the Uniform Commercial Code. Check out UCC 1701-1. Why do you think that 98% of Democrat officeholders are lawyers? The devil is in the details, and that is the lawyer’s stock in trade. It’s a huge, complicated web that they’ve created, and it isn’t to protect our freedom.

                1. Ha ha, now I know I’m being trolled. Nice reference on the NCC 1701 there Kirk.

                  1. UCC is the Uniform Commercial Code. Look for it in your comic book shop.

              2. And, by the way, those fringes on the flags don’t mean shit.

                Heh heh.

          3. I don’t live in Washington, D.C., which is legally known as the United States. How am I under it’s jurisdiction?

            1. Actually, no. These United States are federation of States bound together via the Constitution to “form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty.”

              1. “and enslave the sheeple”. Enjoy your U.S. Citizenship, I’m going to re-establish myself as a Sovereign Citizen. Step one, get rid of my Socialist Security number. Wish me luck.

                1. Good luck. Let us know how it goes. Take lots of pictures.

                2. Good luck. Enjoy prison.

            2. Sometimes I think the problem with sovruns is that their mommies dropped them on their heads as infanfts. But that’s giving too much respect to those who’ve been dropped on their heads as infants.

              You nuts have invented a religion that says black in white, and no amount of evidence will dissuade you of your error. The Unites States of America includes fifty different *states*. More than must DC you numbnut. It doesn’t matter if you spell in in ALL CAPS or Comic Sans font, your state is part of the United States. If you don’t like it, move the fuck to Canuckistan where they have more tolerance for whackos that we.

              1. Shit, you’ve persuaded me with you logic and reason, but mostly, your spelling.

            3. Ah, one of those who believe the purpose of the word “exclusive” is to make the 16 preceding clauses redundant.

        3. What the fuck? Are you one of those people who thinks that they are not legally obliged to pay federal income taxes?

      2. how come there is no onus on the individual to get the govt’s attention and ask to be recognized? And how many folks are paid payroll tax deduction?

        Still, that one bothers me far less than the man-made global warming belief. At least with the first, we can have a policy debate. AGW is its own religion; there is no discussion with zealots.

        1. Sure, there can be a policy debate about Soc Sec, but you can’t get out of it, and you can’t function in the modern world without a SSN. That is totally fucked. Unless you want to live as the Amish do.

        2. And how many folks are paid payroll tax deduction?

          A lot. Tons actually. Not necessarily cash, but 1099’ed. I’ve seen it at a significant number of businesses here in SoCal.

  2. If Ron Paul is not the GOP candidate for POTUS, Gary’s got my vote.

    1. It would be way shorter to say, “Gary’s got my vote.” Brevity!

      1. Gay-Jo has my vote AND donations!

        1. “Gay-Jo” is the worst nickname you could possibly come up with.

          1. It’s catchier than Gary Johnson.

      2. A boy can dream, can’t he?

        1. Not only that, he can ignore the dinosaur media and find unfiltered (or at least unbiased) sources of information.

          1. I will bet you One-Thousand Federal Reserve Notes that Ron Paul will not be the GOP nominee. We can do this in BitCoins, Gold, or Quatloos too – whichever makes you more comfortable.

            1. I will take you up on that.

              Make that Gold.

              1. Woah, really? Give me your e-mail address. I’ll have something to you in writing for your signature.

                1. Damn, he took off. I’m going to go explore the Paulbot forums and find this guy. I want my 1,000 quatloos, dammit.

      3. So apparently you are unaware that Ron Paul continues to rack up delagates and there are many more states that have not yet had their state conventions? Or are you buying this bs that Romnobama is the “presumptive nominee”?

          1. Love the Paul, Hate the Paultard.

            1. Ah, yes. The Golden (Standard) Rule.

            2. Your handle is appropriate. Insulting anyone who dare’s disagree with the Goddess who wrote a few novels.

              1. I insult Paultards because they’re Paultarded.

          2. I have a subscription to Reason and have no intention of canceling it just because of someone’s opinion on the comment thread.

            Why would you?

        1. I will never tell a Ron Paul supporter that Ron Paul isn’t going to win the GOP nomination. All I ask is that if Dr. Paul does not get the nomination that you fully support Governor Gary Johnson.

        2. So apparently you are unaware that Ron Paul continues to rack up delagates and there are many more states that have not yet had their state conventions?

          Well aware of that. Just saying Paul doesn’t have a realistic chance of being the nominee.

          Feel free to disagree with that opinion.

          1. Another shocking, counterintuitive opinion — Obama will become the Democratic nominee and will win Hawaii’s 4 electoral votes.

            Feel free to disagree with that opinion, too.

            1. Since when can Kenyans run for president and vote in Hawaii?

            2. Contrary to popular opinion, the nominee is not chosen by popular vote but by the process of delegates.

              1. We know that. We discussed it endlessly a couple of months ago. We have mostly come to the conclusion that the GOP powers-that-be will not recognize the Paul delegates if they outnumber the Romney ones.

          2. So you are saying there is chance?

        3. I recall the week before the 2008 GOP convention, when a group of Paultards are pissing their pants in ecstasy that Ron Paul was going to win. They knew he was going to win because he had a secret plan and would enter the convention floor followed by hundreds of delegates and lead us all into the promised land where the rivers were pink lemonade.

          Fast forward to this year. Last night in fact. A rather overly enthusiastic dude was bragging about how he was a Ron Paul delegate going to Florida. This was in California where we haven’t even had our primary.

          1. Paul is doing FAR better this year and we have a far more organized group of people. Beside’s the idea that the Nobel-Prize-Winning Bush-clone is going to end wars is discredited now.

        4. Obamney IS the presumptive nominee. Most of the country, and almost all of the GOP establishment, presumes that he will be the nominee. Regardless of how well the delegate strategy is working.

        5. I think that the best that is going to come of Dr. Paul’s delegate hoarding is the potential for an entertaining Republican Convention… A few awkward moments, chants and boos will not a nomination make.

          I would really like for it to be otherwise, but it is what it is.

        6. Ron Paul may be racking up “delagates” but the only ones who will be voting at the convention are “delegates”.

    2. I didn’t know Jesus H. Christ was a natural-born citizen.

      1. Naturalized. Read the Book of Mormon.

        1. I’ll just wait until those polite young men show up on their bicycles and have them explain it to me.

          1. The Marx brothers?

            1. The Marx Brothers? Polite?

              1. yeah, I guess not:) I can picture you bent over the stove cooking me dinner, but I can’t see the stove:)

    3. Gary Johnson has my vote too, (as have all the past Libertarian candidates since Andre Marrou who were actually libertarian). Unfortunately it looks like he won’t have Ron Paul’s vote.

      1. ” Or that he would endorse anyone outside the Republican Party, he said. Unless his supporters are treated badly.”

        Which is going to happen, so Paul will end up endorsing Johnson.

    4. Honestly as much as I like Ron I’d vote for Johnson first anyway

      1. But if Ron were to capture the GOP nomination, you’d have to swallow your pride and preference for Johnson in order to vote for Paul. It’s one thing to vote libertarian when the two major parties offer nothing even remotely libertarian, but if the GOP were a pretty hardcore libertarian himself, I’d think you’d have to vote for him, if only to send the GOP the message of approval and encourage them to stay in that direction.

        1. Yes this is true, if Ron Paul were to somehow win the Republican Nomination I would vote for him over Gary Johnson on the Libertarian ticket, however in an election where there was no 3rd option and it was Johnson vs Paul I would vote for Johnson.

        2. I think Gary Johnson would vote for Ron Paul in that scenario.

  3. Virgil Goode, Constitution Party:


    I’m not endorsing him, I’d just like to see more coverage.

    He’s not very telegenic, and he harps too much on immigration, but he is both in favor of handling the fiscal crisis and against killing babies, which in terms of American politics makes him controversial and edgy.

    1. Oh good. I was hoping someone woudl bring up abortion.

      1. And Johnson didn’t?

    2. He’s a kind of a jackass. Much prefer Chuck Baldwin as far as Constitution Party candidates go.

  4. His problem is that he’s unrelentingly boring on TV radio. I’m sure he’s a very capable governor, of course, just not able to get att’n from a wide electorate.

    1. Forgot they were deleting ampersands. I suppose there might be a thing called “TV radio”, though.

      1. Come to think of it, that might be what you’d call the sort of thing Ken Freedman et al. have been pioneering via Web streams associated with WFMU.

    2. Boring? This is the guy who said, “If I was on the torture rack and I had to vote for Romney or Obama or they’d kill me? Take this to the bank, I would rather die.” (to paraphrase). That’s not boring.

      Or would you rather pick some superficial liar who can “slow-jam” the news and look cool while tanking the economy. Sorry, but I choose substance over the guy selling himself as the “cool motherfucker”.

      1. You and the 3 other people who know about him. Nobody else will, because the broadcasters and cablecasters want to keep their audiences.

        And yeah, saying the above — at least the way GJ says it — is boring. You could put the same words in just about anybody else’s mouth and they’d be more interesting.

  5. I have to say, that article made me a little hard.

    1. Back to yer bunk, AJB!

  6. Gov. Johnson is not running negative attack ads. The question remains, can a consummate gentleman win, much less get any attention, when the other boys in the sandbox play dirty and lie? Obama bullied a girl and Romney hazed a kid, can only bullies be president or can a nice guy who tells the truth get a shot? And when will Rasmussen, Gallup and the other polling organizations stop snubbing Gov. Johnson and include him in their polls?

  7. Mr. Johnson is the kind of american we need. Vote Libertarian!!!

  8. I have a post on the Gary Johnson reddit providing the contact info for polling firms:…..mand_gary/

    They are probably not going to start including him without some pressure, so we should start contacting them asap.

    I also have a post on electoral reform and potential ways for Governor Johnson to expand his support:…..r_johnson/

    Please let me know what you think

  9. Go Gary Johnson…He’s got my vote.

  10. Any of you wasting your vote on any of these statist fucks can just turn in your Liberaltardian Decoder Ring right over there next to the pile of tin foil.

    Almanian for President – 2012
    “Why The Hell Not?”

    1. “This Time, Why Not The Worst?”

    2. Why vote for the Lesser Evil: Cthullu for President

      *This message brought to you by Cultists United

      1. In light of the past 3 1/2 years, he may need a new slogan.

    3. “You know you want it.”

  11. Between Obama and Romney, I agree with more of what Obama says, but disagree with most of what he does. So in a two-person race I would pick Romney.

    I think Johnson comes closest to agreeing with me on the most issues, so I am going to vote for him. There are a whole bunch of issues which Romney and Obama agree upon which never get talked about, but Johnson and I are on the other side of the issue.

    Interestingly, Johnson has more executive experience than Romney and Obama combined (he will until the end of the term, at which point they other two will have caught up with him.)

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  13. We talk about minor and third-party candidates? What’s we truly have are two OLD parties that have failed us, we need to look to NEW parties to help guide us towards the future? this year I’m voting LIBERTARIAN!

  14. I’m planning on writing in Ron Paul, but I definitely like Gary Johnson. Both candidates and their supporters are/were treated horribly by the GOP, and I would love few things more (politically at least) to see the GOP go down in flames. What makes it even stupider is that after trashing Paul, Johnson and their fans, Republicans are now doing everything they can to intimidate and threaten those same voters to vote for Romney “or else…”. You would think that in an election where the GOP is begging for every vote it can get they wouldn’t do something so stupid.

    I speak as someone who just recently moved over to libertarianism after being a hardcore conservative.

  15. As usual, Gary Johnson shines in this pragmatic method to identify ALL workers in the U.S. properly regardless of their origin, something that must be done if we are to be fiscally responsible, balance the budget and get this country back on the right course.

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