Austin Petersen

Austin Petersen, the Conservative's Libertarian Presidential Candidate?

Underdog Libertarian candidate thinks he's the guy who can take best advantage of #nevertrump Republicans


Austin Petersen is a 35-year-old founder of the libertarian movement news and commentary site Libertarian Republic and a former staffer on Judge Andrew Napolitano's old Fox Business Network show Freedom Watch. Petersen is also one of the three people seeking the L.P.'s presidential nomination, which will be decided over Memorial Day weekend at the Party's national convention in Orlando, who was featured in a candidate debate aired on the John Stossel show on Fox Business last month.

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When I interviewed Petersen for a forthcoming feature on the L.P. presidential race in Reason's July issue (subscribe now!), one of his selling points, he told me, was an ability as a Missouri farm boy with pro-life bonafides and a tendency to shoutout (loudly!) to the Founding Fathers, to appeal more to Republicans running from Donald Trump, and thus capture a new constituency for the Libertarians.

In an IM interview this week, Petersen says he sees signs that the inevitability of Trump is helping pump up his campaign.

"From April to May we've raised approximately $42,000. That's just in the past 5 weeks." This week saw his first L.P. convention straw poll victories, in West Virginia, and Alaska "and came within 2 votes of beating Johnson in South Carolina."

Petersen is also proud that his "outreach video to Ted Cruz [one easily accessible public posting of that vid here] supporters posted May 3 reached 461K people, and was viewed completely 160k times, and in the past 7 days, my Facebook page grew by 13,912 likes."

Petersen, an open atheist though still anti-abortion, says he's proud of how many explicitly Christian anti-abortion voters say that they are willing to support an open atheist for the first time over that issue.

Despite his sense of his own appeal to conservatives, he positions himself as the most libertarian Libertarian as well (with more years of movement activism behind him than leading rivals former Republican New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and antivirus pioneer and provacateur John McAfee). He's able to frame that libertarianism in ways he thinks conservatives can get: "I am the only candidate who promises fidelity to the Constitution, or even discusses it," he says. (At the Stossel debate, he beat up Johnson for not being hardcore on free association, getting Johnson to admit that he thinks the law should be able to make a Jewish baker bake a cake for a hypothetical Nazi.)

Within the larger parameters of a Party that doesn't get all that much press attention from left, right, or center, Petersen has lately been showing up more and more on right-wing radio where he insists he's close to bagging their full support (including Dana Loesch, Steven Crowder, and Steve Deace, and he's scheduled on Glenn Beck's radio show on May 20) and getting other bits of public sweet conservative love.

Some cases in point:

• Leon Wolf, managing editor of the right-wing website Red State said on CNN (after painting Trump as too crazy to vote for) that "Gary Johnson is a guy I would look at, he would not be my preference" but that Austin Petersen's "more my speed" (specifically because of abortion). Wolf did a video interview with Petersen at Red State.

• A diarist at the Red State site looked at the Stossel debate and found Petersen the best debater, especially compared to Johnson, and generally a knowledgeable fresh young face for the Party.

• The RandPaulTv site (a media aggregator site about things of interest to Rand Paul fans, not affiliated with him directly) thinks hard and decides Petersen is the L.P. guy best able to pick up Ted Cruz fans. Former Cruz man and right-wing blogger Todd Hagopian agrees.

• Michael van der Galien at Pajamas Media (another former Cruz man) says that the L.P. "Can Have a Great Year, But Only if Gary Johnson disappears." He identifies Petersen as "basically a conservatarian who sees eye to eye with Ted Cruz on a great many issues. He is passionately pro-life, believes bakers have the right to choose what cakes they bake, and is a fervent supporter of the Second Amendment. Oh, and he's also charismatic and a great speaker. If Libertarians are smart, they'll nominate someone like Petersen. If they do, 2016 could very well be their breakout year."

• The Liberty Conservative website analyzes Petersen's positions and declares him "leader of #nevertrump movement."  Similar praise and/or endorsements from right-wing sites can be found on and DailyWhig

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    1. Awesome. Bernie is such an idiot.

    2. Paul Marco just won the internet.

    3. That is beautiful.

    4. Seen it before. Laughed just as hard.

    5. + Woodchipper Revolution

  1. Petersen is the best choice for conservatives. He also is the most philosophically libertarian. He and McAfee are both reasonable choices for people looking at LP candidates.

    Gary Johnson is not a libertarian. And he doesn’t even understand what a libertarian believes. It would be regrettable for the party to nominate this guy again. The guy thinks a libertarian is “socially liberal and fiscally conservative.” Johnson is basically an aging hippie who support lower taxes. That just doesn’t cut it.

      1. I have no idea what that means.

        1. Newsletter, motherfucker, do you have one?

    1. Gary Johnson is not a libertarian. And he doesn’t even understand what a libertarian believes. It would be regrettable for the party to nominate this guy again. The guy thinks a libertarian is “socially liberal and fiscally conservative.” Johnson is basically an aging hippie who support lower taxes. That just doesn’t cut it.

      ^Inarguably true^

      John McAfee 2016

      1. Nothing says viable alternative like a candidate connected to a murder investigation.

        Actually, in 2016 that might be an asset. Fuck.

        1. McAfee is now only facing drunk driving and weapons charges in Tennessee. Belize is behind him.

          1. That’s not better, it’s just less bad. And nothing is behind you in politics. But what am I saying? No one will take McAfee seriously enough to pay any attention.

            1. The burqa-banning, let’s make Nazis a protected class, 30% federal sales tax-touting, pot-smoking Republican in the tie-dyed peace sign T-shirt is the “serious” one.

              1. I’m not going to defend him on freedom of association. I have nothing against a consumption tax, or against smoking pot, or wearing a tie-dyed peace sign shirt. I’d vote for Petersen. Hell, I’d vote for McAfee in this election. But I agree with Johnson on almost everything, as well, and I see no reason to get in a tizzy about purity. Given that none of them have a chance of winning, the bigger question from my POV is, who is going to appeal the most to non-libertarians? McAfee won’t. Petersen and Johnson both could. I’ll volunteer for either one of their campaigns. Johnson seems the most likely to get the nod, and I’m fine with that.

                1. Opposing freedom of association isn’t a “purity tizzy”. This is the LP, not the GOP.

                  How does Johnson appeal to anyone unless their main criteria is “executive experience” which is fucking worthless for anyone who isn’t going to actually win.

                  1. it is a purity tizzy, because it is an oversimplification on the grounds of purity.

                    there are limits for everything. freedom of association does not imply a practicing doctor could refuse to treat someone with a different religion. it does not imply that a utility can refuse to supply electricity. it does not imply a convenience store can refuse to sell a bottle of water to a person of color. it does not imply a gas station can refuse to sell gas to someone with a Prius (smug bastards!). we all know there are certain obligations an individual accepts when they operate as a business open to the public, especially in businesses without available alternatives to let the free market punish them (utilities).

                    the gay Nazi cake is just about where you draw that line. for me personally, if what someone wants to buy is not different from what you sell to others, and you typically take walk in customers… you gotta sell it. so I’m kinda with Johnson on this. can’t force the baker to shape it like a swastika, but if it is a cake straight from the catalog, little Adolf can get it.

                    1. freedom of association does not imply …….

                      Ya. It does. Except maybe the utility, if it’s a government owned utility.

                      My decision to engage in one voluntary transaction does not impose any duty on me to engage in a future, involuntary one. If you are going to point a gun at me and force me to do so, you aren’t a libertarian.

                    2. so if a utility company is not government run, they can deny services for “religious” reasons? this is purity test nonsense. it is also an argument that is sure to keep libertarians from being taken seriously. even if you preface it with, “while i disagree.”

                      the way i see it, people are already exercising their freedom of association when they open a public business. if you sell cakes out of your home, by referral only… you can do what you want. the moment you open a storefront, and create a standard list of products/options…. you are choosing to sell to anyone who can pay those standard prices…. you are no longer engaging in one sale at a time, you have adopted a standard sales model. as long as the request does not fall outside that standard, you have no moral argument to refuse.

                      if you sell cars, produce, bake cakes, etc… and you want to exclude people.. you advertise on Craigslist, and screen each caller. when you open a storefront, you are saying, “everyone come here if you want to buy X, at standardized prices.”

    2. Also according to that isidewith website, I agree with Johnson on 89% of issues. I’d be pretty happy with someone I agree with 90% of the time getting the nomination.

      1. I see. So you’re going to let that 1% slide. Very well. Hand in your decoder ring on the way out.

    3. My problem with Gary Johnson isn’t his libertarian-light positions, but his frequent goofiness. You’d think that after all this time, he would recognize it and work on appearing more serious. Most people, including myself, would find a “socially tolerant (read lifestyle diversity friendly) and fiscally responsible” candidate far more appealing and electable than the implied soft anarchism of a more purist libertarian candidate. The whole debate highlights the paradox of libertarian politics.

      1. as opposed to Trump, right?

  2. So, half the Republican party likes this guy, figures trump is as bad as Hillary or will lose anyway, votes libertarian.
    Hillary wins, and claims a mandate even though the anti Hillary vote is 60%.
    She still wins POTUS. World does not end. Republican party dies, replaced by LP.

    1. Is there a wormhole to an alternative universe in this scenario?

    2. All the hardcore Hillary haters will come out to vote for Trump and visa versa. The status quo perpetuates and nobody wins for 2016. At least we have Street Fighter 2020 to look forward to.

    3. replaced by Lizard People?


    4. Going from the Republican party dying to the Libertarian party replacing them is quite a stretch. There are a number of movements vying for dominance on the right. Quite a few of them have a lot more support than the libertarian faction.

      If the Republican party fragments, I can guarantee you that a nationalist party could suck up at least 30% of it’s former constituancy right off the bat. All those Trump supporters are certainly not going to be supporting open borders libertarians any time soon.

      1. This is why I’m predicting a Trump victory.

      2. A Libertarian Party that said: “OK, we’ll compromise: we close the borders and kick out the illegals, but we get the rest of our platform” might have a chance at electoral success. But I’ve been sipping whiskey this evening….

    5. That’s more or less my scenario. Except with Joe Biden as POTUS, issuing a compassionate pardon to Hillary on his last day in office so she can die at home rather than in her cell at Leavenworth where she has been in a vegetative coma for the last 3 years. Biden only got the one term because he didn’t manage to get squat through Congress – even though the Dems took over in the ’18 midterms after the infighting between the Trumpalos, the NeverTrumps, the New Jerusalemists, the Zombie Reaganauts and the Neo-neo-neo-cons splintered the GOP 5 ways while the infighting in the Democrat Party caused the communists, the fascists, and the socialists all to split off and form their own parties and the 4 people left decided to move to Sweden, which left the Democrat Party label free to be grabbed by the Brach’s candy company who awarded Congressional primary slots in a nationwide series of contests involving seeing how many nougats contestants could fit in their mouth at one time and surprisingly swept the elections with the slate.

  3. Matt nailed it when he said Petersen tends to talk in slogans and bumper stickers.

    1. 140 characters or less is all you need today for a deep political discussion.

      1. He was actually speaking on FoxBusiness when I heard it. Wasn’t counting characters.

    2. Yes, that would be a problem for someone seeking to be a serious candidate for President.


    3. Have you heard Trump? The guy doesn’t even talk in complete sentences.

      1. He could probably get by with just grunting at this point.

  4. According to that isidewith website, I agreed with him most. I’m pretty set on voting LP regardless of the who the candidate is, so at this point I just want someone who can improve the brand and appeal to a large and diverse voting block.

    1. I’m pretty much on the same page. The isidewith quiz showed that I agreed very highly with the LP candidates, so that’s a good start. But what has really been driving my decision lately is that I think it will be a bigger “fuck you” to Clinton and Trump, as well as to the corrupt two-party establishment.

      1. ^than not voting.

    2. Yeah, it showed I agreed w/ the Libertarians ~91% of the time. From there it was:

      Trump 64%
      Sanders 59%
      Clinton 33%

      1. My order was Feldman/Petersen/McAfee/Johnson at 92-90%. Then Perry at 87 and Comrade Senator at 74%. Drumpf only managed 61% (behind Cruise at 68) and only just in front of old Politburo Hag’s 56%.

    3. The problem with the isidewith site is which of Trump’s views are they using? Are they using the “build the wall/kick out all the illegals” view or the “yeah we’re going to bring them all back” view; the “we’re going to lower taxes” or “raise taxes” view; the “I’m pro-life” or “Planned Parenthood is awesome” view? This schmuck has fewer core values than Bill Clinton, and that’s got to be work.

  5. From April to May we’ve raised approximately $42,000. That’s just in the past 5 weeks.

    Famous cats on the Internet call that Tuesday.

    1. Yeah, that’s probably what gets transferred from Hillary’s campaign fund to her personal bank account every day.

    2. Sanders raises this amount every hour, 24/7/365

  6. He’s able to frame that libertarianism in ways he thinks conservatives can get: “I am the only candidate who prom ses fidelit

    Fucking *Latin*?! I knew there was a reason i couldn’t get through to those people.

    1. Illegitimi non carborundum.

    2. Quando omni flunkus, moritati.

  7. getting Johnson to admit that he thinks the law should be able to make a Jewish baker bake a cake for a hypothetical Nazi

    How can anyone support GayJay?

    1. How can anyone support GayJay?

      Toronto baseball fans are open minded?

    2. When even the LP candidate is calling for statism, it truly is time to burn it all down.

      1. Not all statists are equally dangerous.

    3. Because they consider abortion rights more important than hypothetical Nazi cakes?

      Johnson would be my first choice, but I’ll vote for Petersen if he gets the nomination.

      Hell, I’ll even vote for McAfee if he’s nominated. His slogan should be:

      McAfee — Certifiably insane. Possibly a murderer. Still better than Hillary or Donald.

  8. “From April to May we’ve raised approximately $42,000. That’s just in the past 5 weeks.” This week saw his first L.P. convention straw poll victories, in West Virginia, and Alaska “and came within 2 votes of beating Johnson in South Carolina.”


    Does anyone else feel like changing the name of their political affiliation to something else? I’m not sure i want to be associated with these people anymore.

    I bet the raises more money for a weekend potluck event, and doesn’t have to deal with these masturbation euphemisms all the time.

    1. beating Johnson in South Carolina

      Lindsey Graham approves.

    2. I’m a lepertarian, it’s the only reliable way to get people to leave you alone

      1. *catchy*

      2. This helps…..ewalks.jpg

  9. OT: Cops, after a high speed chase, decide to beat up guy that’s getting on his knees

    Beating at about the ten second mark.

    Police officers beat a suspect on television following a car chase through Massachusetts and New Hampshire on Wednesday.

    As news helicopters circled overhead, the driver of the pickup truck involved in the pursuit opened the driver’s door and crawled on his hands and knees in Hudson, New Hampshire. About eight officers closed in on him, some with their guns drawn, and at least two officers struck the man. One of the officers pummeled the man with repeated blows.

    Another story about the incident

      1. That’s fucked up

    1. The TV camera decided to magically zoom out once the beating started. And the crew never commented on it.

      1. they’re just being responsible. You see, the “Viral Video Effect” is having a detrimental effect on policing, and puts officer lives in danger. They’re getting “too timid” in their response to criminals, you see.

        James Comey, the director, said that while he could offer no statistical proof, he believed after speaking with a number of police officials that a “viral video effect” ? with officers wary of confronting suspects for fear of ending up on a video ? “could well be at the heart” of a spike in violent crime in some cities.

        “There’s a perception that police are less likely to do the marginal additional policing that suppresses crime ? the getting out of your car at 2 in the morning and saying to a group of guys, ‘Hey, what are you doing here?'” he told reporters.

        I’m confident that a man like this has our nation’s priorities at heart.

        1. Dumb. Comey should probably get back to his real job and tell us whether Hillary will be prosecuted.

        2. I doubt if that’s the whole explanation, but it seems reasonable as a possible factor, no?

          1. Maybe, though in Ferguson it was a video which threw a wrench into the cop-bashing narrative, and if the actual shooting had been on video there might not have been a riot in the first place. So it cuts both ways.

          2. “a possible factor” in what?

            the so-called ‘spike in crime’ in ‘some cities’? which has zero actual statistical significance?

            (there’s no ‘spike’ in crime any more than there’s an ‘epidemic’ of drug use. any time anyone suggests there is, the question should be, ‘Relative to what?’ last year? the 10 year average? the average in the 1990s?)

            And not only is there no real data suggesting any significant uptick in crime…

            …there’s also no real data suggesting that “Cops are Policing Less, and More Timidly” …and ergo letting Criminals run amok…

            (which relies on yet-another bullshit-argument based on mythical presumptions – namely, that Cops have a significant role in ‘preventing crimes before they happen’, rather than just being the janitors who *record* crimes after they’ve happened)

            In short, the entire argument is a bullshit bedtime-story being fed to morons who want to believe it.

            The X, Y and Z of the argument are all speculative hogwash, and the entire purpose of the argument is to attempt to restrict people filming and distributing videos of police misconduct, and to create the impression that such coverage ‘helps criminals’, and should be self-censored.

            Which is exactly why the news org were so quick to pull back when they were broadcasting that beat down.

            1. Lott is not terribly convincing. What he seems to mean by charging “cherry-picking” is: “No fair focusing on Baltimore, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and the other cities that had well-publicized police killings and protests and then increases in crime.”

              Yeah, if you average in areas without crime increases, maybe the areas with crime increases can be canceled out. But there’s no rule that the Ferguson effect must effect every city and police department in the same degree, or it can’t possibly exist. Maybe it’s a marginal effect that manifests differently in different locales.

              1. Lott is not terribly convincing.

                You’re asking for a convincing argument AGAINST something there’s no significant data *in favor of*.

                The burden’s on the claim.

                The “worst” of the so-called spikes are lower levels of crime than often seen in times before “police videos” were even a thing.

                crime is near the bottom of a 20 year trend DOWN, which was counter to the direction things were going for most of the 20th century well before we had things like “viral videos”

                1-2 year ‘blips up’ mean fuck-all. Anyone trying to compare single points in time and declaring a trend is exactly what i said = a fucking moron.

                Secondly, if you want to try and claim said ‘videos’ are a factor in people’s behavior, you’d need to make some case explaining why the ‘viral’ things are only affecting single cities rather than the entire virally-exposed population.

                Its just a bullshit excuse to throw at the fact that “crime exists” in certain places. Its the videos what done it! Its moronic grasping at ‘new causes’ when these same criminal acts occurred for decades sans any similar excuse.

              2. Also =

                re: Baltimore

                and St Louis

                So even in the exceptional cases where people think this ‘effect’ was most pronounced … it never existed in the first place.

                1. From your first link:

                  That violent crime escalated after Gray’s arrest, death, and the subsequent riots is irrefutable, and Morgan and Pally explain that a “Gray Effect” may have overcome Baltimore.

                  Not exactly a refutation there, folks.

                  From your second link:

                  The increase in homicide in 2014 predated Michael Brown’s killing on August 9. Violent crimes exhibit much the same pattern, although the rate of increase in violent crimes over 2013 accelerated after August. Only the timing of the change in property crimes is fully consistent with a Ferguson effect.

                  In other words, we might be seeing something, but correlation is not causation. Yeah, maybe it’s just a coincidence here. Certainly the Sentencing Project, or the average sociologist, would hate to see any evidence of a Ferguson Effect.

                  1. From your first link:

                    That violent crime escalated after Gray’s arrest, death, and the subsequent riots is irrefutable, and Morgan and Pally explain that a “Gray Effect” may have overcome Baltimore.

                    Not exactly a refutation there, folks.


                    Christ you have to be dense to cherry pick that shit and then claim it as ‘support’ for your assertion that “Cops are Afraid of Being Videoed”.

                    That was one fucking city! And you think that’s ‘support’ for the idea that cops *everywhere* are being repressed by ‘videos’?

                    basically you are resorting to a “Crime exists! And you can’t prove [garble garble something] DOESNT have ‘an effect’!” as your new claim.

                    The entire article goes on at length showing there’s no statistical basis for any argument that “police reticence to enforce laws” is going on.

                    1. Calm down, dude. I am not asserting the maximum possible claim: ALL cops EVERYWHERE are afraid of being videoed, and thus policing less, and thus crime is up EVERYWHERE. I am just saying it might well have a marginal effect, and in fact, your links seem to confirm that.

                      And of course, crime stats are notoriously flexible and imprecise. Many crimes do not get reported. In SF, there’s an epidemic of car break-ins, and while it shows in the stats, many people have stopped bothering to report them, because they know the cops don’t care.

        3. It makes sense. In order to level up enough to safely fight actual threats, cops have to grind easy enemies like unarmed cigarette sellers, friendly puppies, or surrendering criminals. If you cut off this vital source of XP, the consequences are easily foreseeable.

    2. I’d be curious to know if there was audio of the cops shouting “Stop resisting!” (I’m assuming since the guy wasn’t shot to death they weren’t yelling “Stop grabbing for my gun!”)

  10. “At the Stossel debate, he beat up Johnson for not being hardcore on free association” [etc]

    You’ve got to be kidding me.

    Privatizing Social Security would be hardcore.

    Withdrawing troops from all foreign countries would be hardcore.

    Legalizing crack would be hardcore.

    Letting bakers decide for themselves whether to make nazi and/or gay cakes isn’t “hardcore,” it’s regular common-ground common sense.

    1. “Letting bakers decide for themselves whether to make nazi and/or gay cakes isn’t “hardcore,” it’s regular common-ground common sense.”

      While I agree with you, if you want to be able to sell freedom of association you have to be able to overcome the bigotry arguments that will rain down upon you like hellfire. I think you have to start out by comparing it to freedom of speech ie supporting peoples rights to be assholes isn’t the same as condoning their behavior. I think you also need to stress today’s power of social media to stand uo to bigotry both real and imagined. Government need not get involved.

      1. People will inevitably go straight to the argument of do you really want to have stores with signs saying “no niggers allowed” or whatever. Of course only someone who was looking to collect fire insurance money would do that today. But what do you say to that? It’s a tough sell. I think you have to rely on that connection to freedom of speech. People have the right to be assholes.

      2. You also have to remind people that the chief counterexample, Jim Crow, was not bigotry reigning in a laissez faire environment; it was a system of government regulations mandating segregation in private businesses. Even the much-reviled NC Potty Warz law, as I understand it, doesn’t go that far.

        Or you could just say: “Freedom of association cuts both ways; if you gut it, a strong rightward shift could easily result in discrimination jumping from forbidden to mandatory. Given the rise of Trump, can you afford not to have such a legal protection in place?”

        1. Or, at the very least, try to get people to the position that freedom of association should only be curbed in cases of urgent necessity.

          So if they think Jim Crow comes under the heading “urgent necessity,” then so be it. Black families were sleeping in their cars because there was no room at the inn is a more urgent situation than having to try the florist down the block because the first florist you try won’t cater your wedding.

        2. Yeah, Jim Crow was much more of a governnent issue. Businesses mostly just see green.

          1. Yes, it was, sort of. But slavery was the reason why blacks didn’t own very many businesses in the Jim Crow era (or have as much money to spend as whites).

            After the Civil War, they should have just taken all of the property from the slave owners and divided it up among the freed slaves. Then the playing field would have been a little more level.

      3. I think the issue most people have with free association stems from: A. Having an incredibly narrow view of prejudice and B. Having a skewed view of business transactions

        They don’t want to acknowledge the fact that the bigotry of KKK members and rednecks beating up gay people (as seen on dramatized tv so it must happen all the time) is a tiny percentage of the total prejudice that occurs everyday throughout the world. Most importantly THEY never do anything discriminatory. (When they pick and choose friends, what t-shirt to buy, etc. That’s totally different) That lack of introspection is combined with this idea that business transactions are not equal and business owners are somehow in control of everything, even though they can’t exist without customers and don’t have extra money lying around for bitter people to use the government to take by force. Choosing not to bake a cake is no different than choosing not to buy a cake.

        So they think forcing associations they want just punish the cartoon villains of the world, when it can be used as a tool against anyone anywhere.

  11. “Petersen, an open atheist though still anti-abortion…”

    Not exactly consistent with the narrative, is it?

    I mean, recognizing living human beings as persons with rights…surely the only people who think like that are inbred rednecks sitting on mountaintops waiting for the Rapture?

    What’s an atheist doing babbling this Sky Daddy nonsense about the right to life?

    1. It’s not inconsistent to be an atheist and anti-abortion, just as it is not inconsistent to be atheist and anti-murder. Not all anti-abortionists are religious. The only issue in my mind is whether the government or any privatized justice system would or could get involved.

      1. I should have mentioned that I don’t see any inconsistency, either, I was simply being sarcastic.

        Seriously, if I actually thought being prolife was a monopoly of Christianity or theism, I’d cite that as an argument in favor of Christianity/theism.

        But there are indeed atheists in the prolife foxholes.

        1. I’m an atheist. I don’t like abortion and certainly find it appalling that so many people use it as a form of birth control. I don’t believe in prohibition of abortion mainly because I don’t believe in the sort of additional power the government would give themselves to enforce it. There are legitimate reasons to abort. Putting governnent in that mix I believe would have unacceptable results. Cure worse than the disease. Education, not legislation.

          1. Granting the fetus a proprietary use of the womb enslaves the women to the fetus and violates the NAP.

          2. I’m an atheist, and I think you can make a credible, non-religious claim that a nine-month fetus is a human being with human rights. However, you can’t make a credible, non-religious claim that a one-cell fertilized egg is a human being.

            You can argue that fertilized eggs have rights, but you can also argue that cows have rights, and that beef should be banned. It’s not inconsistent, but in my opinion, it’s not libertarian.

      2. The SC has already ruled a fetus is not a person so abortion is not comparable to murder.

  12. Peterson without a doubt has much more of a polititions demeanor than Johnson or McAfee. Not that I care about that (I identify much more with McAfee) but that is clearly inportant to the genpop when it comes to presidential politics. Altough certainly Trump has shown that being a little off the cuff isn’t a deal breaker. I’ll vote for any of the three as any of them would be a significant move in the right direction.

    1. This is the year of the “outsider”. Trump, Bernie,… now who?

      The ONLY Libertarian Party choice is McAfee.

      GayJay is nothing but a Republican Who Smokes Pot while Petersen just runs a monetized rightwing website.

      That said, I’ll vote for anyone but Johnson.

      1. “GayJay is nothing but a Republican”

        Not seeing much Republican here SIV.

    2. Watching part of this Stossel Libertarian debate.

      Feeling immediate dislike for Petersen. Too choreographed, too much rehearsed grandstanding. Go away. If there were a Libertarian Marco Rubio, it’d basically be this guy.

      Gary Johnson is? Gary Johnson. Boring. Not dislikable, but nothing new or compelling. Seems fuzzy-headed, maybe too much weed.

      McAfee seems to speak Libertarianism in a more natural extemporaneous way, along with staking out less ideologically predictable positions. So far he’d have my vote of the 3.

      1. McAfee no doubt hates the nannys as much as any of us. I think he speaks Libertarianism in a more narural way because that’s how he wants to live. Left the fuck alone.

      2. that was pretty much the consensus view when it aired.

        mcAfee came off ‘real’, GJ ‘goofy and pandering’, and Peterson fake and retarded.

        1. I only saw the first one. It pretty much took half the debate before GJ settled into coherency. Maybe he should lay off the weed until after the election. I was seriously annoyed.

        2. Just occurred to me that a positive side effect of having McAfee as nominee, is that he might drive off some of the #NeverTrump tards threatening to squat in the Libertarian party.

          1. I think most of them will end up with Hitlery. As long as she promises to keep bombing brown people.

      3. I’m not sure I would consider ideological unpredictability to be a good thing.

        1. I just meant that McAfee’s articulated positions don’t sound like wholly deterministic caricatures of typical Libertarian policy.

          Whereas by contrast Petersen’s do. He might as well be emulated in the form of a predictable script and named Libertarian Purity Bot.

  13. Johnson is pretty much the most qualified to be president (and you can extend that to Trump/Hillary), but at the same time, he’s lethargic and boring. While those are pretty good qualities to have in a president, it makes it hard to get elected as president.

    1. Johnson strikes me as slightly goofy, but that’s still a huge improvement — even on the basis of temperament only — than Donald or Hillary.

      1. Johnson slips up occasionally as not seeming to register certain basic, self-evident Libertarian values. Which is? odd.

        In the debate I watched, he went bleeding heart prog and argued that private businesses shouldn’t be allowed to refuse service for religious reasons.

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  15. It will be tragic if the Libertarian party sells its soul for Republican votes by adopting anti-abortion policies. It would force me to vote for the Democrats and I really really don’t want to do that.

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  17. Simply having a ‘good’ candidate is not enough for the LP, even if many voters claim to be looking for alternatives (especially the elephants). Name recognition is going to be critical to actually taking advantage of the situation. And while Johnson may not be a household name, enough in the media do recognize it that it may be the leg up necessary to getting the LP ideas out in front of the most sheep possible.

  18. I like Peterson’s positions, but he sure seemed like a colossal douche in the debates.

  19. It would be nice to blend them together: Johnson, the proven executive – 8 years as governor of a state in which orphans are not dying in the gutter, and roadz still exist; McAfee, the true believer with the populist charisma; and Austin Peterson, who has mastered the arcane arts of wearing a pressed suit that fits him, smiling when the camera is pointing at him, and actually paying someone to cut his hair.

  20. Peterson comes off like a dopey AV Club kid pretending he’s running for President. I want to steal his lunch money, not vote for him.

  21. I’ll get out and vote for Johnson if he’s nominated, and I think he’d be a wonderful president. However, I think Austin would be the better nominee for this reason: Bernie Sanders style independent liberals care more about pot, gay marriage, and corporate welfare than they care about abortion. Ron Paul style independent conservatives, on the other hand, care a great deal about abortion. I personally know dozens of people who are libertarian-ish on most issues, but won’t even listen to you if you support abortion.

    I think the pro-choice people who are looking for a third voice care less about the abortion issue than the pro-life people who are looking for a third voice do. Therefore, we should nominate a pro-life candidate. (That is okay with me because I think most reasonable people who see a late-term abortion on video are going to at least have some misgivings about the no-limits-at-all position taken by so many politicians.)

    Austin is also a stronger debater, and he’s much better at getting our message across in brief interviews. That’s essential given that the nominee is going to start out with the task of navigating a narrow media channel to the broader electorate.

  22. i agree that Petersen would appeal the most to those seeking to jump the GOP ship… but that is because he comes off as more of a republican trying to win libertarians over than a libertarian trying to win over republicans. (IMHO) he has absolutely zero chance of pulling in anyone from the left (he all but puts up air quotes when he says he thinks he can appeal to “reasonable” democrats). he might make a good spoiler vote for the GOP, but not much more.

    i think GayJay is probably the most qualified. while the nazi baker thing hurts him with the purists, it does make him palatable to those on the left. (personally i agree with him for businesses that operate as a storefront selling standardized products.) i think he probably has the best chance to bring the LP party appeal to the most new people, and not just the right.

    that said, i also like McAfee, for mostly the same reason. he speaks intelligently to libertarian principles, he allows some reasonable wiggle room for existing commitments, and he seems like he could appeal to a broad range of people. unfortunately, there is a lot already in the public sphere to suggest he is insane, so i have to give the slight advantage to Johnson

  23. You can cross off Steve Deace. Steve was his usual evangelical purist in the interview and, frankly, Austin didn’t handle it very well either.

    Knowing Deace, I thought it was a mistake to even seek an interview with him.

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