Election 2012

The Libertarian Case for Gary Johnson

He's not going to win the election. But a strong showing by him may just win the future.

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

This is one of three related articles, each making a specifically libertarian argument for the Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian presidential contender.

The libertarian case in favor of voting for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson is pretty self-evident and exceptionally strong. 

Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of the overwhelmingly Democratic state of New Mexico, is not just the single-most qualified candidate the LP has yet to field for president. At this stage in his life, he's got more experience in managing actual political reality and bureaucratic state operations than the one-term former governor Mitt Romney has or the wet-behind-the-ears senator Barack Obama had when he moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Or for that matter, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) had when the good Dr. No ran for the LP in 1988.

As a bonus as big as the Mt. Everest that he actually climbed (on a recently busted leg, for god's sake!), Johnson actually happens to be a full-throated champion of strictly limited government and maximally empowered individuals, of free minds and free markets, of marriage equality, engagement with the world through trade not aid (or drones or boots on the ground), of open borders, of social tolerance, and more. (Go here for Johnson's platform.) When he was running the show in the Land of Enchantment, he held the line on spending and taxes and vetoed hundreds of bills while pushing school choice, prison reform, competitive outsourcing, and many other good things. He never once threatened to invade Texas or Arizona or Colorado, or even Mexico.

Lord knows that finding experienced and comitted-to-the-cause candidates hasn't always been easy for the LP. Four years ago, the party nominated former Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) a notorious social conservative, war hawk, and drug warrior who embraced libertarian values only after being bounced from the House due to redistricting shenanigans. Even as the LP's standard bearer, Barr was not fully at ease with the non-interventionist foreign policy that's deep in the party's roots as an emanation of right-of-center dissent from Vietnam. When LP is not putting forward recent and sometimes-ambivalent converts, it has a knack for anointing folks who may not quite be ready for their day in the sun. In 2004, the LP put forward Michael Badnarik, a nice and smart guy who nonetheless became best known for refusing to acquire a Texas driver's license. Badnarik finished with just 0.32 percent of the vote, one of the worst performances among the generally desultory performances of LP candidates.

This isn't to say Johnson is all things to all libertarians (broadly defined as believers in fiscal responsibility and social tolerance). He's said some odd things on the campaign trail, most notably about U.S. military support for capturing Joseph Kony, the leader of the Ugandan cult, the Lord's Resistance Army. In a Daily Caller interview earlier this year, Johnson unconvincingly called the LRA "possibly the worst terrorist group that's been on the planet for the last 20 years." Um, no. It took Johnson a while to find his voice in explaining what he calls the "fair tax," or a consumption-based tax that would replace all existing personal and business income taxes. I personally find the widely circulated video of him crowd-surfing to be one of the greatest moments of the 2012 campaign (right up there with Clint Eastwood's Empty Chair improv), but I understand why latter-day Hobbesians find it unsettling to see a potential ruler literally put his life in the hands of the rabble.

But geez-louise, this guy Gary Johnson is everything any party could hope for in a presidential candidate: He's accomplished in private and public life, he's vibrant and energetic, and especially since kicking free of the final parts of his Republicanoid past like a butterfly leaving the cocoon for good, he's genuinely charismatic when stumping on the differences between his own views and those of Obama and Romney. A few weeks back, I saw him bring about 500 people to their feet at a University of Cincinnati rally by forcefully detailing the ways in which he and he alone is talking about government spending and debt, ruinous foreign policy, and federal buttinskys dead-set on policing the boardroom and the bedroom. He's the best of both worlds: A leader who can move an audience but who always stresses that you and your choices—as opposed to some nutty coercive agenda—come first. He's the perfect candidate for a post-best-and-the-brightest DIY world. We don't need a maximum leader, we need someone who will set and enforce simple rules for a complex world.

So if you vote and think your vote should express your political beliefs, there's nowhere else for libertarians (and Libertarians) to look.

But of course, Gary Johnson is not going to win the election. Indeed, if past is prologue, he will likely finish with less than 1 percent of all votes cast. So the real case for Gary Johnson—a tougher case to make—is arguing for why you should think about pulling the lever, tapping the screen, or punching the butterfly ballot for the guy knowing that he's a bigger lost cause than the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, the Gilmore Girls movie getting made, and the release of Dr. Dre's Detox put together.

As it happens, Johnson has addressed this very question in his forthright manner. "A wasted vote," he says, "is a vote for someone you don't believe in." He's even exhorting people to "waste" their vote, telling an audience at New York University, "We can make a difference in this election. Waste your vote!" How will pushing Johnson's total above the 1 percent mark—and ideally, higher than the spread of votes separating Obama and Romney on November 7—make a difference?

In several ways, but let me emphasize just one. Going large on Johnson will send the unmistakable message that the surprisingly large and consistent 10 to 15 percent of the electorate comprising the "libertarian vote" can no longer be taken for granted. Voters are leaving the Democrats and Republicans in record numbers at exactly the same moment that they are saying that the government is too big, too expensive, and too involved in all aspects of our lives. Is it so hard to recognize that these two things are related?

To be clear, neither the Dems or the Reps are going into receivership any time soon. The U.S. has always been dominated by two parties and for the past 160 or so years, it's been the parties represented this time by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. What can change, however, is the agendas pushed by those parties. It's happened before. Grover Cleveland, the two-term president, wouldn't pass for a Democrat these days and Teddy Roosevelt wouldn't be so bully on today's GOP. Long the party of segregation, the Democrats shifted course when it became clear the votes weren't there anymore. Without suffering a major loss in credibility or support, Ronald Reagan went from denouncing Social Security and Medicare as socialistic abominations in 1964 to embracing them as sacrosanct building blocks of all that was exceptional about America by the time he became president.

The Republicans will move in a libertarian direction when they finally realize that the libertarian ethos of live and let live doesn't represent moral nihilism but a goddamned sustainable future in a globalized, post-mainstream world. Who do you want sitting next to you as Spaceship Earth hurtles through time: Todd Akin or Gary Johnson? The Republicans have failed to wrap their heads around the unmitigated disaster that the Bush presidency was. Forget social issues for the moment. George W. Bush—in total cahoots with a Congress led by John Boehner and Mitch McConnell, who still roam the corridors of power like Tor Johnson roamed the set of Plan 9 From Outer Space—kicked out the jams on spending and cronyism. He was a big-government disaster, the political equivalent of Hurricane Sandy. And he did what he did with the full aid and succour of a GOP majority that signed on for The Patriot Act, Medicare Part D, the invasion of Iraq, the creation of the TSA, and TARP. The fully unconvincing and meager attempts by Mitt Romney to say he's going to rein in spending while "preserving" and "strengthening" Medicare and Social Security and ramping up military spending to a perpetual 4 percent of GDP flatly demonstrate that the Republicans have yet to get the simple message that voters first delivered during the 2006 midterms.

For their part, the Democrats have yet to learn the lesson of 2010, when voters sent exactly the same midterm message: Don't just do something, stand there! In 2010, the party of Thomas Jefferson took a "shellacking" (Obama's term of art) not despite all of the president's highly touted "historic" successes but precisely because of them. Obamacare, stimulus, more bailouts up the ying-yang, stupid interventions everywhere from Detroit to Afghanistan to college football's ranking system—all helped spark a strong and obvious reaction among large swaths of voters. And yet, Obama and Team Blue haven't changed a goddamned jot or tittle in their basic script. If you don't vote for the (liberal) Democrat, this line goes, then mere anarchy will be loosed. All that is decent and civilized about America will forever be destroyed and we will be bombing indiscriminate countries into the Stone Age, women will go barefoot and be forcibly impregnated and shoved back into the kitchen and Paul Lynde will once again be closeted in the center square. The skies will once again be filled with the choking fumes of plutocrats lighting cigars with $1,000 bills featuring the image of Ayn Rand and power plants will once again exclusively be powered by grinding the bones of the poor, the tired, and non-unionized illegal immigrants. It will be the Hunger Games, but without the laughs. The important thing, the Democrats say without blinking, is that government spending can never, ever decline because it's all essential spending and we'll pay for it merely by asking the super-rich to pay just a little bit more. It's like South Park's Gnomes Underpants Profit Plan, only slightly less detailed.

What neither party understands is that the American people—and especially libertarian-minded voters—have moved on into the 21st century. As the recent CNN/ORC International Poll notes, "just four in 10 registered voters believe the government should promote traditional values, down from 53% in 2010 and 57% in 2008." At the same time "six in 10 say the government is doing too much that should be left to individuals and businesses." Can you imagine that? In a world in which voters are evacuating the traditional parties in record numbers, Americans are articulating a basically libertarian message of social tolerance and fiscal responsibility. That is precisely what Gary Johnson is selling as the Libertarian Party's presidential candidate. And he doesn't have to win in order to deliver the message to Democrats and Republicans that they can maintain or consolidate their standing by taking the choke collars off of us all and giving us more space and freedom to figure things out for ourselves. We're not talking about some sort of radical Neal Stephenson-meets-Robert-Nozick-meets-Zardoz anarcho-capitalist scenario. Just a recognition that the federal government doesn't have to be in on every conversation we're having (literally and figuratively), and that it can't keep spending 40 percent more than it takes in or gain the world's trust via military occupation and the semi-regular bombing run or drone deployment. 

That's the message that a vote for Gary Johnson will be sending, especially if he pulls, say, 5 percent and the final spread between Obama and Romney is 2 percent. According to the Reason-Rupe Poll, support for Johnson pulls equally from Democrats and Republicans, so they would have no one to blame but themselves. And the candidates and their parties could start working to resolve the situation by changing what they stand for in time for the next election.

In a memorable campaign slogan, Johnson asks voters to "be Libertarian with me this one time." Who knows? The next time it happens, it might be for Democratic and Republican office seekers.

Related Stories

"The Libertarian Case for Mitt Romney," by Robert Poole

"The Libertarian Case for Barack Obama," by Mike Godwin

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

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  1. Erect Gary’s Johnson!

    1. I’m gonna pull that lever.

  2. Reason is obviously in the tank for Johnson.

    1. JINX!

    2. Fucking libertarian bias in the media! When will people WAKE UP?!?

    3. Nice to see you hit all three.

      1. consistency is usually the hallmark of greatness. in this case …

    4. they forgot the libertarian case for Jill Stein.

      1. There isn’t one

  3. Reason is obviously in the tank for Gary Johnson.

    1. In 2004, the LP put forward Michael Badnarik, a nice and smart guy who nonetheless became best known for refusing to acquire a Texas driver’s license.

      If more people had that kind of stubborn resistance to pointless government regulations, this would have been a much freer country.

      My grandparents told me of how they used to just have to send 2 bucks to order a driver’s license — no test, no eye check. If only they’d said “screw you, who needs a DMV?” instead.

  4. Gary Johnson would be great in the White House.

    I have to agree with Julie Borowski, though. I’d a thousand times rather see him in the Senate (an open seat he likely would have won in NM) than getting 1% as a 3rd Party candidate for President.

    1. Building a libertarian caucus in the Senate is both achievable and valuable.

      Start with Rand Paul and Gary Johnson, then try to add some other libertarian leaning republicans in the mountain west.

      They could have a real impact for decades.

      1. Too bad Gary Johnson is tilting at windmills instead.

        It’s his life, and he owes me nothing. However, I would have donated happily and generously to his campaign for Senate, as a Republican (because then he could actually get into the Senate).

        The Senate has been close to 50-50 for a long time now, with only an occasional blip to 60-40 at the outside extreme. Think of the possibilities, if BOTH parties needed the libertarians, to get cloture. That would be a far more valuable than another 1% result in the Presidential election — and maybe, after some legislative success, one of the libertarian caucus could run for President and win.

        1. Well, it could be that Johnson is just an executive type, rather than a deliberating/compromising type.

          1. That was my thought, also. The guy climbs mountains for fun and has been a successful business entrepreneur, as well as governor. These are not the things that tend to come to mind when one hears the phrase “senatorial temperament.” Not to say that some people who have been or will be Senators haven’t done or won’t do such things. They just don’t seem characteristic of the breed.

      2. You don’t even need that many Senators to make a difference. With a 53-47 split right now, 3 or 4 would be enough to force most issues to the pro-liberty side.

    2. This.

      We will NEVER win in the presidential race, but a Senate caucus is definitely possible.

      And senators are more important than the president anyways, especially if you can for a coalition.

      1. agreed

  5. ….but my precious and valuable single vote…

    1. You haven’t read enough “I’m basically libertarian, but…” articles to realize that your one vote for Gary Johnson isn’t going to make any difference at all whereas your one vote for Romney is going to make all the difference in the world.

      Funny how one vote can be both entirely worthless and precious and valuable at the same time.

  6. I’m not wasting my vote. I’m voting for Kodos.

    1. KONY 2012!

    2. Yes, but what about Presidential Candidate Kang, his program to enslave humanity and build giant ray guns has the endorsement of Nobel Price winner Paul Krugman. Just think of the jobs created, especially if galactic war breaks out!!!!

      1. I’m voting Cthulhu.

        http://cdnimg.visualizeus.com/…..633f_h.jpg

        Why bother choosing the lesser evil when you can choose the greater evil?

        1. Didn’t we already do that a few times?

          1. It’s been done to death, and after strange eons, even death may die.

      2. Candidate Kang is a flip flopper do you really expect him to build those ray guns. Besides Kodos has promised a gentler, kinder enslavment.

  7. Way to suck up to The Establishment? and support The System?, Gillespie!

    The Jacket not working today to guide you to what is right and true?

    1. If Gillespie really supported Johnson, then Gillespie would give the Jacket to Johnson.

      Gillespie, [angels sing] his arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft The Jacket from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that, Gary Johnson, was to wear The Jacket.

      1. Strange writers lyin’ in ponds distributin’ Jackets is no basis for a system of government!

        1. If I went ’round claimin’ I was an Emperor, just because some moistened Fonz had lobbed a coat me, they’d put me away!

  8. Gillespie sez God and Lord a lot.

    1. I was wondering about this too, until I realized that I had heard many of the colloquial phrases in this article — “geez louise” in particular — from the candidate’s own lips. If I had to bet money, I would guess that Gillespie is trying to make the libertarian case for Johnson in Johnson’s own “voice.” The resulting effect is very strange. I like what the words say, but imagining Gillespie pretending to be Johnson while saying them makes me think that the writer is perhaps mocking the candidate, in a way that only those who have heard Johnson talk a lot in interviews and speeches might recognize. If this effect is unintentional, then perhaps Gillespie has simply copied someone he admires; that phenomenon has certainly been common enough among the crowds of fans for various celebrities over the years.

  9. Finally, a post that isn’t a joke.

    1. But isn’t he still suggesting people should vote?

  10. Everyone knows that as soon as Gary Johnson got to the Oval Office and felt the pressure brought to bear on him to fix all of the unique problems of all 350 million individuals that all bets are off. He would fold like a camera.

    There are no heroes, children. Only disappointments waiting to punch you in the dick.

    1. Cameras fold?

        1. PROVE IT.

          1. LOUD NOISES.

          2. Actually, it’s fold like a cheap camera, but I don’t like to judge.

            1. I thought the saying was “Fold like a Dallas Cowboys quarterback”, but maybe that’s a regional thing.

    2. to fix all of the unique problems of all 350 million individuals

      Yes it would be difficult to get entrenched bureaucracies out of the way so that those 350 million individuals could set about fixing their own problems on their own without having to ask permission and take orders from government assclowns, but I think he could at least get the ball rolling.

      1. Fix our own problems?

        You monster.

        1. Yeah – hey, sarc, why don’t you just nuke everyone NOW?

          Fix our own problems – fuck!

      2. Yeah I think you’re assuming that people want to solve their own problems.

        That’s a mighty big assumption. Most of the folks I know, and most of your fellow citizens, would much rather that you solve their problems. Less effort on their parts that way, and evolution rewards those who expend the least amount of energy to accomplish their goals.

        1. ^This. The more people I encounter the more people I find that just want to be taken care of.

        2. I believe this to be true, Jimbo.

          It is from their POV, unfortunately, a rational position to take in terms of self-preservation, even if overall it is self-consuming, self-destructing, and destined to FAIL in the long run.

          The Law of the Conservation of Energy, notwithstanding.

          1. Doesn’t matter. Humans aren’t built to worry about inter-generational issues. We’re short-term geared creatures. Which is why the cycle of history is what it is.

            1. For the most part that’s true. It’s the ones that think they can in grand Platonic fashion that really scare the shit out of me.

              1. What does just being good friends have to do with it?

                1. Look over there, Sparky! Ke$ha is taking a shit in the middle of the street in the oh-so-classy way she is wont to do! Go get ‘er, tiger!

                  1. Goddammmit!

                    Isn’t Reason endorsing Johnson a little like Jeter endorsing the goddammned Yankees or vice versa?

                    I mean, am I missing something goddammit? What’s with e goddamned thlibertarian Lola’s voting for Democrats? I don’t get it. I understand the whole ‘my candidate would never be elected’ strategy but holy mother of Joan of Arc goddammit, why would anyone endorse Obama?

                    Goddammit.

                    Vote for your guy you pussies!

                    1. ‘what’s with the goddammned libertarian Lola’s’ Keyboard jumped. Goddammit.

    3. Tell me more about these so-called folding cameras, old man Fisty.

    4. Johnson has proven his willingness to use the veto pen vigorously. That’s all I’m asking for.

  11. I’m planning to waste my vote on Johnson.

  12. Teddy Roosevelt wouldn’t be so bully on today’s GOP.

    Oh yes he would, Nick! He would have loved ObamneyCare. Ole TR didn’t join The Progressive Party for nothing…

    In the social sphere the [Progressive Party] platform called for

    A National Health Service to include all existing government medical agencies.

    Social insurance, to provide for the elderly, the unemployed, and the disabled

    Limited injunctions in strikes

    A minimum wage law for women

    An eight hour workday

    A federal securities commission

    Farm relief

    Workers’ compensation for work-related injuries

    An inheritance tax

    A Constitutional amendment to allow a Federal income tax

    I’m pretty sure the modern TEAM RED-ster has little problem with most of these in some form or fashion.

  13. Don’t you see?

    A VOTE FOR JOHNSON IS A VOTE FOR OBAMA!!!!!!!!!

    1. No you idiot a vote for Johnson is a vote for Romney.

      1. We need John and Tulpa to settle this argument once and for all.

        1. Could we get MNG to weigh in?

          1. Don’t you dare say it two more times.

    2. My take:

      A vote for Johnson is the only way to vote against both Romney and Obama.

  14. Ole TR didn’t join The Progressive Party for nothing…

    I hate that fucker.

  15. I made a pact with my uncle, a man of his word: if I voted for my first choice Gary Johnson instead of my (distant) second choice Mitt Romney, he’d vote for first choice Jill Stein instead of his second choice Barack Obama. While I know my vote doesn’t matter and was planning to vote for Gary anyway, he thinks his vote does matter, so this way we got two protest votes out of it all. It still doesn’t matter, but now it doesn’t matter less in that beached starfish kind of way.

    1. You should totally vote for Romney just to teach him a lesson.

      1. “That’s why you should have voted for Johnson, Uncle Ron! Because you can’t trust anyone!”

    2. Did you tell your uncle that he’s a stupid communist, though?

      1. At the last wedding, in fact. It’s the reason Apples to Apples is no longer played at family gatherings. That, and it’s a shitty game where people awkwardly balance trying to be funny with playing genuinely.

        1. It can be a great game. I was playing with a bunch progressives once when the “Evil” card came up. People had put some lame cards up when the “Communists” card was overturned. It got awkwardly quiet. Seems our friend from Vietnam had had a little personal experience before her family escaped.

          1. Whoops! That must have been…akward.

        2. Try Cards Against Humanity, aka, Apples to Apples for assholes.

          So, true story time. A guy in my gaming group was invited to a family gathering by his fiance. They were playing Apples to Apples and the adjective “Squishy” or something like that came up. He played “Car Accident”. Room goes silent. Seems his fiance had failed to tell him that the family gathering was due to it being the first anniversary of her Aunt’s husband dying in, wait for it, a car accident.

    3. You guys were both foolish in the first place in believing that your one vote was going to make any difference in the outcome of the election. Your odds of changing the final outcome range from 1:10m to 1:100m depending on your state. It’s like if every American had only one dollar and 96% decided to spend it on the megamillions lottery with the worst of all gambling odds.

      If we could break this delusion once and for all, maybe third parties could start getting somewhere. Everyone should always vote for their first choice.

      1. You know there is a very real possibility that Romney or Obama are people’s first choice.

        1. It’s certainly possible, and I guess they should vote for them, provided they know what all the third party candidates are actually advocating. If everyone was voting for their top choice (after educating themselves about all possible options regardless of “electablility”), I can’t imagine the duopoly’s stranglehold lasting for very long.

    4. Your logic, not to mention your strategy, is impeccable.

  16. “This is one of three related articles, each making a specifically libertarian argument for the Democratic, Republican, or Libertarian presidential contender.”

    A waste of valuable pixels! All three articles are a rhetorical water-boarding of libertarian principles; I expect better of Reason!

  17. Reagan ran in 1976 and didn’t win his first time around.

    If Obama gets elected to a second term and really trashes the constitution and civil liberties even more, Obama may drive more Democrats to the Libertarian Party in 2016. And Ron Paul supporters will never forgive the GOP for what it did at the convention this year.

    If Romney gets elected and things continue to get worse, in 2016, Democrats and Republicans will see that neither party has any competent leaders and Johnson may gain a whole lot more voters from both parties.

    Either way, if Johnson can get 5% and runs in 2016, he has a solid chance of winning four years from now.

    1. I like your optimism, but you are vastly over-rating the American voting public, and are only setting yourself up for severe disappointment.

      1. Shhh! It’s fun to watch when their dreams come crashing down around them in a crescendo of misery and screaming.

        1. Then again, forgiveness has been defined as “screaming and then silence.” Just sayin’.

    2. “Obama may drive more Democrats to the Libertarian Party in 2016”

      Uh, the primary platform of the Democratic Party is, “We will take stuff from THEM and give it to YOU!” Where exactly are the Democrats who are really libertarians deep down? I don’t see any.

      Their secondary platform is, “Anyone who points out this fact about the Democratic Party is EVIL, GREEDY, and in the pocket of the KOCH BROTHERS!”

      1. The economy must be tightly regulated because businesses are greedy profiteers who would sell you poison if they thought they could make a buck.

        Libertarians are anarchists who would have chaos in the marketplace and allow anyone to sell anything for a profit.

        Democrats must oppose libertarians at all times.

      2. As a college student, I think there are a decent number of people around my age who aren’t really solidly ideological liberals, but support Democrats nonetheless because they think Republicans suck. If the Republican Party turned libertarian, and was able to combat the allegation of being for the wealthy and corporations, I think they could get the votes of a good number of the people I described

    3. I remember when I was young and stupid.

      1. idealistic, maybe.
        that is not a stupid thing to think, although i think it is wrong.

    4. Not as long as electronic voting machines are in use.

  18. How about a Democrat and a Republican case for Gary Johnson?

  19. i decided to not vote for gayjay when I learned he endorses mandatory labeling of gmo food products.

    1. Way to stick to your principles. Who are you voting for, then? Yourself? Obviously no one else is purely virtuous enough.

      Actually, voting for yourself is the recommendation of my new favorite political party: http://www.gunsanddopeparty.com/.

      1. Most likely wont vote. Live in SC so electorally my vote doesn’t matter. I might still look up the legally allowed distance to heckle voters from though.

    2. Why?

      Labeling laws are, in general, libertarian.

      Telling people what they are and aren’t allowed to eat, is not.

      Whether GMO food products are actually a problem is another question, but that’s for the consumer to decide.

      1. What if I want to buy food products without labels?

      2. I demand we label all food produced or handled by people named Jesus. Seems libertarian. The question of the safety of foods handled by Jesus is another question for consumers to decide.

      3. GMO not a problem, we’ve been modifying our food since we adopted agriculture and animal husbandry. It’s the alar scare of the 21st century

      4. Labeling laws are NOT libertarian. They are a much less offensive government intervention in the marketplace than most, but a real libertarian knows that 1) you can take someone to court for fraud or other transgressions if their labeling deceives, whether or not there are labeling laws; and 2) If people place real value in labels (or there is some legal protection to be gained by labeling), private-sector players can and will find a way to satisfy the need (e.g., Consumer’s Report opens a “truth” website for products that allows you scan or enter a U-P-C code and get back independently determined or confirmed product information: usage, nutrition, composition, safety, etc.)

        The FDA was founded on innocent-seeming labeling laws, and after several decades of mission-creep, look at the monster we have now: ARMED AGENTS raiding vitamin factories, etc.

  20. I already wasted my vote for GJ. I mean, Vermont is a small state and someone might actually notice. Well, ok, probably not but still my conscience is clear.

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

    I approve this message.

    1. Approve it? I thought you wrote it, RC. -)

  22. Why wasn’t there a piece articulating the libertarian case for not voting, since that was the stated preference of a big chunk of Reason staff?

    1. None of them felt like it was worth the effort to send a futile message to the commenting masses.

  23. GayJay2012
    VOTE LIKE YOUR LADYPARTS DEPEND ON IT

  24. I Side With:

    Gary Johnson 99%
    Virgil Goode 61%
    Mitt Romney 59%
    Jill Stein 15%
    Rocky Anderson 13%
    Barack Obama 3%

  25. I Side With:

    Gary Johnson 99%
    Virgil Goode 75%
    Mitt Romney 59%
    Jill Stein 56%
    Rocky Anderson 53%
    Barack Obama 25%

    I’m guessing the 25% of the time for Obama is when he was lying about what he would do.

  26. I was surprised by the first item here — guess Johnson believes global warming is a serious threat or something:

    I side the most with Mitt Romney on environmental issues.

    I side the most with Gary Johnson on domestic policy issues.

    I side the most with Gary Johnson on healthcare issues.

    I side the most with Gary Johnson on science issues.

    I side the most with Gary Johnson on social issues.

    I side the most with Gary Johnson on foreign policy issues.

    I side the most with Gary Johnson on economic issues.

    I side the most with Gary Johnson on immigration issues.

    1. a good number of libertarians agree with GayJay on Global Warming in this way.
      1. Temps are rising: evidence is good
      2. Anthropogenic: evidence is inconclusive
      3. Must give complete power to central authorities to cronify capitalism even further and destroy massive wealth in order to achieve dubious goals: evidence is definitively in the negative.

      1. 1. Temps are rising: evidence is good

        False

  27. That isidewith test is crap. I answered it as a libertarian purist who is radically pro-life and I was 94% with GayJay. They assume Gary is 100% LP Party line which he most definitely is not.I believe it had me closer to Mitt Romney on science issues too. Rocket to Golub!

    1. For me it was 92% Gary, 91% Mitt

  28. I would if I didnt live in the Hellhole of Ohio. Damn Democratic Party buses in the lazy fuckers that want my money.

  29. Gillespie takes the easy one. Lazy son of a bitch…

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  38. Amazing how some of the other comments are against a candidate who says that “the government is too big, too expensive, and too involved in all aspects of our lives.”

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    But how many people don’t realize this is what made America great, is what continues to bring prosperity to Switzerland and which would arrest America’s current decline…

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  48. Reason is obviously in the tank for Gary Johnson.

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