Election 2012

Gary Johnson Is the Solution to Our Two-Party Problems

Without big government, our possibilities are limitless.


All political candidates call themselves freedom-lovers, but they are not. Neither major party really opposes government control of the economy or of our personal lives. I'm a libertarian because I see the false choice offered by political left and right: Democrats talk about personal liberty; Republicans talk about economic freedom. But what they do once in power belies their words.

I say we're best off if government just leaves us alone to our peaceful cooperation with whomever we please. Let politicians advocate moral behavior. Let them give to charities. But leave government—which is physical force—out of it.

That's why I like Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico. He's the Libertarian Party candidate for president. As governor, Johnson vetoed 750 bills, and yet he got re-elected in that blue state.

I asked Johnson what it means to be a libertarian.

"Fiscally responsible, socially accepting … more liberal than Obama on several issues, more conservative than Romney on several issues."

Johnson proposes to cut federal spending by more than 43 percent:

"Balance the federal budget now. I think that unless we do that, we're going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse."

To do that, he'd go where the money is. He'd cut the big programs that will soon bankrupt us. That includes Medicare. Conventional wisdom says what he's proposing is cruel and, for a politician, suicidal.

"Look, we've got to slash Medicare spending. If we don't, we're going to find ourselves with no health care whatsoever. Medicaid, same thing. Military spending, same thing."

The left claims that without social spending, people would starve in the streets!

"This is the exact reaction that I got as governor of New Mexico, having vetoed all that legislation. … Kids were going to starve, all the worst things were going to happen, and none of them did. And I got re-elected."

Who would decide what part of Medicare to cut?

"Give this up to the states. Fifty laboratories of innovation and best practice … (instead of) Washington top-down, Washington-knows-best—that's what has us in the situation that we're in right now."

Johnson also says, "End the wars." Won't a pullout of our troops mean the terrorists win?

"We have hundreds of millions of enemies … that, but for our military interventions, we would not otherwise have. So let's take military spending back to 2003 spending levels. Start out with the premise that we should provide ourselves with a strong national defense. But 'defense' here is the operative word. Not 'offense' and not 'nation-building.' We're building roads, schools, bridges, highways and hospitals in other countries, and we have those needs here in this country."

In one of Johnson's campaign ads, he compares the U.S. Constitution to the U.S. tax code.

"One is simple and about equal rights for all. The other is extremely complex and anything but equal rights for all. It's crony capitalism in a nutshell. It's the root of evil. Individuals, groups, corporations pay for loopholes. Both parties sell those loopholes. Eliminate the IRS. Abolish income tax (and) corporate tax."

How will government get money?

"With a national consumption tax. I'm embracing the Fair Tax. … Adopting the Fair Tax would issue pink slips to half of Washington lobbyists."

Johnson would also legalize marijuana.

"Control it, regulate it, tax it."

I like Johnson's message: Let no one be coerced by government beyond the small amount needed to fund a limited government that keeps us safe. Do not let government forcibly take other people's money. When in doubt, leave it out—or rather, leave it to the market and other voluntary institutions.

But sadly that's not how most people think. Most people think problems are things that are solved by laws. They assume it's just the laziness or stupidity of the "other" side's politicians that prevents government from solving our problems.

But government rarely solves problems. Government is inefficient. There's almost nothing government can do that we cannot do better as free individuals and groups of individuals working together voluntarily.

Without big government, our possibilities are limitless.

NEXT: Colorado Marijuana Dispensaries Close Under Federal Pressure

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  1. He’s got my vote!

    Where are the other mustachios on this? Has Selleck endorsed Johnson?

    1. Last time I’d seen him he had shaved, so probably not.

      1. The mustache is always there. He can return to full glory within hours.

    2. Check out that picture! Gary! You my boyeee!

      Givin a talk at the Taqueria Rinconsito in Pamona, CA! Movin’ up to the big time!

  2. Are Libertarians just Republicans who smoke pot or Democrats who like guns?

    1. We like hookers, blow, and colloidal silver too.

    2. You might be a Libertarian if you…. take this 10 question quiz:

      1. And a Canadian version that works well for Comonwealth countries – http://www.fraserinstitute.org…..l_Quiz.pdf

    3. While your question is just for fun, I will say one thing. Being libertarian has nothing to do with being in favor of certain behaviors or even being indifferent to them. The simple question is when is it acceptable to use the force of the state (if ever depending on whom you ask) to address an issue. I am very religious and am against things like prostitution, recreational drug use, profanity, pornography and many other things. Many people here at Reason will laugh at people like me. But the point is that while I am not indifferent to them, I certainly believe in letting people be free to make that decision for themselves. In reality, libertarians can be for or against all sorts of things. They just know that the proper way of going about addressing those issues is through the persuasion inherent in the freedom of speech but allowing everyone to be free to make choices for themselves.

  3. Our ‘two-party’ problem stems from Madison’s fear of English factions. Hence the first past the post district that fosters two strong institutional parties.

    1. I agree that the first past the post district fosters two strong institutional parties but IIANM, Madison favored factionalism because he felt that as long as multiple factions vied for their own diverse interests there was little likelyhood that any could gain outright power.

      He opposed the notion of parties because he realized exactly what you refer to. Political parties are, for the most part, loose coalitions of factions with seemingly opposing interests and most electoral systems seem to cause them to devolve to the middle and also to congeal into two dominant ones.

      However, we also can’t ignore that most states have electoral laws that favor the two “major” parties.

      While normal electoral jostle seems to create two dominant parties, that same electoral jostle should generally displace one of those parties in favor of a third party who’s policies were more favorable to a half +/- of the electorate.

      1. Sorry, I should not have said, “Madison favored factionalism”. It was more a matter that he recognized its existence and believed the system he was proposing was the one that would best prevent any single faction from gaining outright power.

        What his system has failed to do was prevent political parties forming that in many cases have allowed the dominant faction of the coalition to impose its will to the detriment of the interests all the factions in the party.

  4. The Fair tax will not get rid of lobbyists. They’ll just change their arguments to say you can’t tax the good or service my clients provide, it’s too important. Just as there are different tariffs (which is a consumption tax) for different import goods.

    But the socialist on the same program this interview is taken from did have one good point. Our tax code because of the assumptions in it does make experimentation with different types of corporations/volutary organizations difficult if not impossible.

    1. Here in Maine the sales tax does not apply to food, but they did create a ‘snack tax’ to tax candy because it’s like bad for you and stuff.
      But how do you define candy which candy to tax? Flour.
      Thus a Snickers is taxed, but a Twix is not.

      1. Nice. Flour is also useful for dust explosions, so there should be an ATF tax on it as well.

    2. Even assuming the Fair Tax will get rid of lobbyists, it won’t ever get through Congress because the very same lobbyists will fight it. So to get rid of lobbyists through the implementation fo the Fiar Tax, you first have to get rid of lobbyists in order to implement the Fair Tax. That means it’s DOA already.

      1. Which is great for me, because even if my insignificant red-safe-state Johnson vote puts him over the top, my mother won’t loose her IRS job.

        Not that I expect Johnson to win, anyway.

  5. Who is Johnson Gary?

  6. Stossel is to be commended for using his media prowess to enlighten Americans about Gary Johnson. Gary Johnson is the only candidate who offers solutions and forward thinking ideas to restore our troubled country back to the greatness it demands. A thrust to get Gary Johnson into the national debate is imperative. The GOP fears Gary Johnson as evidenced by them spending huge sums of money fighting to get him off the ballot. It’s not just seammy, its downright unamerican. The more America learns about Gary Johnson, the more they embrace him and his ideals.

    1. forward thinking ideas

      Screw that social progressive BS!

  7. Johnson would also legalize marijuana.

    Control it, regulate it, tax it.”

    That doesn’t sound very free market.

    1. It’s a fantasy to think that marijuana would be this magical one thing that won’t be taxed or regulated, so why argue based on fantasy? It’s going to be regulated, it’s going to be taxed… why not spin that as a positive to those who think it is a positive?

      1. Yeah, if CPS can no longer take your kids away because of pot, that’s a huge positive, even if BATFE becomes… I don’t know, BATFEM?

        1. I imagine it would fall under the FDA, being both a food and a drug. Of course, the DEA might still be involved in paramilitary style tactics over the slightest breaches of regulation.

          1. That’s kind of a fantasy scenario. The DEA is already involved with legal drugs– ask your physician if he has a DEA # to prescribe medicine. IF we continue to push the “Marijuana is Medicine!” meme, then I’m guessing the DEA will be involved in the sale and consumption in addition to the FDA.

            1. And the FDA already oversees legal drugs as well as the DEA enforcing regulation and use. What you are describing is the exact thing I was describing. What’s the issue?

              1. I took your comment to suggest that only the FDA would be involved and took your snarky comment about the DEA as a joke. But yeah, I get what you meant.

                Oh, and there’s always an issue…

      2. The hope is, thought, that it’s regulated with some semblence of sanity. My fantasy is that it’s leaglized without regulations or taxes, and then those regulations and taxes are applied after the fact– like every other product in the world: In response to a problem.

        When you go the route of California, setting up an onerous regulatory regime before your boots are even on the ground, then it’s just screwed.

      3. “why not spin that as a positive to those who think it is a positive?”

        Becuase it lends credence to premise that control, taxation, and regulation are good.

        1. Libertarians running for office should be realistic. If regulating and taxing weed is what it takes to make it legal, that’s still better and more libertarian than demanding it not to be regulated and taxed and being politically unable to actually legalize it.

          1. I’m just saying I wouldn’t make that my main selling point. That’s just letting the bastards win.

            1. So let them win if it means weed is legalized. If people walk away thinking they won but weed is legal then we are in a much better position. I think Gary Johnson is aware that some people will never be okay with legalization unless it is loaded with caveats. Once it is legal, people will see how it’s totally fine and be more willing to ease up on the regulations. But there are a lot of people who need to hear the words “tax it, and regulate it” before they will support that policy.

    2. Re: sarcasmic,

      That doesn’t sound very free market.

      Indeed not. It is simply a cop-out, designed to make anti-drug SoComs feel more at ease. Gary is still just a politician; someone with better libertarian credentials than many out there with the exception of Ron Paul, but still only a politician who will say what’s necessary to win.

      1. I’d rather he win and change a few things, than demand the world and change nothing.

        1. ^ THIS.

          After all, if you lambaste GJ for the “tax and regulate weed” part, why not lambaste him for keeping the 52% of government he won’t cut when he cuts 48% to balance the budget?

          They are not perfect or final solutions, but they are achievable steps in the right direction.

          1. You’re a sucker then, the solution is to start a new country one day with Libertarian Ideals.

            These Gary Johnson losers will get you nowhere fast.

      2. I’m with you, the guy needs to read more Austrian economics too, he’s just flat out socialist on random stuff. I question his monetary policy.

    3. To be clear, he does not want to do any of these things on a federal level. He wants to legalize it on a federal level and let the states control it, regulate it, and tax it how they see fit.

  8. I like the “Live Free” ad slogan thing. Actually I just slapped a Johnson sticker on the back window of my truck.

  9. Johnson proposes to cut federal spending by more than 43 percent:

    “Balance the federal budget now. I think that unless we do that, we’re going to find ourselves in a monetary collapse.”

    We’re already in a monetary collapse.

    1. Come on, easy credit will save us. 🙂

  10. The elephants and donkeys deserve the bird! Obama and Romney have forsaken the American Dream. They hardly disagree at all on the important issues. What will they debate?

    A declaration is an affirmation. Independence means self-government. They could have called The Declaration of Independence, The Affirmation of Self-Government!

    Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray are the only choice to Save the American Dream: Self-Government, freedom from big government tyranny and oppression…. and to Restore Justice, the guardian of Liberty! The people believe in self-government and self-medication. Read more at:

    1. Your blog whoring is McLame.

  11. Wasn’t half of this article written another article of his? Does he just copy/paste stuff everytime he writes something new?

  12. It would be great to see the two party system broken in America, but all I see is America headed towards a one party state. Not an undemocratic one like China, but more like in countries like South Africa where the same party is voted in no matter how dismal and corrupt the party is, all that is required is throw sufficient crumbs at your various internal factions and the dominant faction rules both the party and the state for a very long time.

    1. Liberal and conservative journalism colleges guarantee a constant stream of regurgitating retards into the mainstream news media barrel the results of which are absorbed into peripheral brain cells of the average simplistic ‘Merican. This bolsters your crumb theory.

  13. Finally an article on the Libertarian candidate! Its the only one on the front page, while there are many on both Romney and Obama. And what does it generate?
    Put an article up on either Romney or Obama and you get well over 100 comments, all of them negative.
    Which leads us to conclude that for most Libertarians, its much easier to just complain about the other guy than read about your own candidate.

    1. Also bear in mind there is a difference between libertarian and Libertarian (the party).

      And there are also a lot of people who consider themselves classical liberals.

      The problem is that Gary Johnson isn’t a very good libertarian or classical liberal, nor is he much of a candidate.

  14. Gov. Johnson would be so much better than either Tweedlerom or Tweedlebama. I’m going to vote for Johnson, not concerned my vote will be “wasted” because my blue state is a sure thing for the incumbent. If I were in a swing state, I’d think hard about which of the pablum candidates will do less harm.

    If we had a parliamentary democracy in which major parties are forced to form coalitions with fringe parties, we L’s and l’s could exert more power, as opposed to having to find a home with the R’s like Flake, the Pauls, etc.

    1. He’s no Mises, still a bit too big government for my taste.

      1. note to self, read Mises to increase reason street cred

  15. Can he become the third party option for this country it is a long time both of these parties ruling this country perhaps peoples get third option.

  16. “Balance the federal budget now.” What a novel concept – spending no more than you earn!

    At last, a politician talking sense. It’s a shame that voters seem to believe their big party politicians implicitly, don’t they realize that most of them lie through their teeth?

  17. Thank you very much

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