Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson Answers Critics Within the Libertarian Party

From "Nazi cakes" to his 2012 campaign finances, Gary Johnson defends himself to Libertarian Party delegates.

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Still not treating victory as a sure thing, and smart not to do so, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson last night on his Facebook page released a public letter to Libertarian Party delegates addressing some controversies surrounding him and his campaign that might incline some of them not to vote for him for their presidential nomination.

Gary Johnson facebook

Highlights, after he explains all the reasons for the delegates to be optimistic about their chances with him at the helm, he takes on what has come to be known as the "Nazi cake" controversy, created by his opponent Austin Petersen challenging him on some of the implications of Johnson's support for anti-discrimination laws:

In a nationally-televised debate among three of the Libertarian candidates for President (A debate that should, by the way, have been more inclusive of all the candidates.), a highly unlikely hypothetical question was raised about whether a Jewish baker has the right to refuse to serve a Nazi sympathizer asking for a "Nazi cake". I responded to that question in the legal context of whether a public business has the right to refuse to serve a member of the public, as distasteful as it might be. 

The simple answer to that question is, whether all like it or not, U.S. law has recognized the principle of public accommodation for more than 100 years: The principle that, when a business opens its doors to the public, that business enters into an implied contract to serve ALL of the public. Further, when that business voluntarily opens its doors, the owners voluntarily agree to adhere to applicable laws and regulations—whether they like those laws or not.

To be clear, anti-discrimination laws do not, and cannot, abridge fundamental First Amendment rights. I know of no one who reasonably disagrees. In the highly unlikely event that a Nazi would demand that a Jewish baker decorate a cake with a Nazi symbol, the courts, common sense, and common decency—not to mention the First Amendment—all combine to protect that baker from having to do so. It's not an issue, except when distorted for purposes of gotcha politics.

Does a public bakery have to sell a cake to a Nazi? Probably so. Does that bakery have to draw a swastika on it? Absolutely not. And that's the way it should be.

As Johnson has said to me in interviews as well, he goes on to note that there is some important political and cultural weight behind the question, and he thinks linking the Libertarian brand with defense of intolerant discrimination is a bad idea:

Of course, we all know that this conversation is really "code" for the current, and far more real, conversation about society's treatment of LGBT individuals. I have even heard some talk of a "right to discriminate". And of course, we have states and municipalities today trying to create a real right to discriminate against the LGBT community on religious grounds—the same kinds of "religious" grounds that were used to defend racial segregation, forbid interracial marriages and, yes, defend discrimination against Jews by businesses. That is not a slope Libertarians want to go down.

Once again, my belief that discrimination on the basis of religion should not be allowed has been distorted by some to suggest that a legitimate church or its clergy should be "forced" to perform a same-sex marriage. That is absurd. The various ballot initiatives I supported across the country to repeal bans on same-sex marriage all had one provision in common: A specific provision making clear that no religious organization, priest or pastor could be required to perform any rite contrary to that organization's or individual's faith. That protection was supported almost universally by the LGBT community—even though most legal scholars agreed that such a protection already exists in the Constitution. We just wanted to leave no doubt.

I was the first major candidate in the 2012 presidential campaign to call for full marriage equality, and Libertarians have long stood for equal treatment under the law for all Americans. As your candidate for President, I will not tarnish that record.

He also addresses some (but not all) of the critiques of the way his 2012 campaign handled its finances:

Due to the nature of FEC reporting, our 2012 campaign reports continue to show a substantial "debt". That is in no way unusual. Most major national campaigns have the same reporting issue. The actual debts listed by the FEC have, in reality, been resolved and the resolution has been submitted to the FEC for approval—months ago. Our attorneys continue to work with the FEC to gain acceptance of our submissions, and we are confident they will ultimately do so. This is a tedious and burdensome process that plagues virtually all major campaigns, and says more about the nature of government regulation than it does about our finances.

The key fact for you, as a Delegate, to know is that NO funds being raised for the 2016 campaign will be used to reduce the 2012 debts shown on our campaign disclosure reports.

Johnson's preferred vice presidential partner William Weld similarly took to Facebook to react to some common Libertarian concerns about him.

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  1. Gary Johnson: yes to more non-defensive wars of choice, no to free association for you.

    Me: thanks, but no thanks.

    1. I’m thinking his slogan should be–

      Gary Johnson–I’ll make you glad to vote for Trump

      What is the point of voting for a LP candidate if they’re not going to stand up for libertarian ideals?

      He’s not going to win. He’s not going to ‘pick up’ a bunch of voters. He’s only there so we can register our dissatisfaction with the Dems and the Reps, is it too much to ask that he stop undermining libertarianism?

  2. So GayJay is now denying he’s a Nazi-cake proponent? Gary Johnson, just another lying Republican politician

    1. Now I’m hungry for Nazi-cake.

      1. +1 Hot Twisted-Cross Buns

        1. Fabulous!

  3. Gay Jay was on Adam Carola last week. As usual, he said some nice things, but came across as a total snooze. I like the low key thing, but there’s no way it would ever fly with the electorate.

  4. Is it fair to say he doesn’t believe in free association? Not to say that Reason readers shouldn’t be willing to vote for him anyhow, on balance, it’s just a lost opportunity to win over a bunch of voters who were stunned to learn that the government can dictate who you do business with. A curious position for the party standard bearer.

    1. Yes, it is. He showed his true colors in the debate. Now, several days later, he pulls a Trump move and tries to come up with a mealy-mouthed backtrack that you know he doesn’t really mean.

    2. stunned to learn that the government can dictate who you do business with

      Unless they’ve been hiding under a rock for the last five decades, they should already have been fully aware of this.

      1. ^This^

        Free association has been dead for a long time now. Public accommodation law is what it is. While reasonable people can disagree on whether or not businesses should have a “right ti discriminate,” the fact of the matter is that horse already left the barn. Anyone who chooses to run a business understands this (or ought to).

        1. Some of us are crazy enough to still believe that the whole point of this damn exercise is to push back against the evil tide, not to simply surrender.

          1. Some of us are crazy enough to still believe that the whole point of this damn exercise is to push back against the evil tide, not to simply surrender.

            ^This^

            1. It’d be one thing if he said, “1) Here’s the proper principle…, but 2) It’ll be very hard for people to change their thinking on the subject and it may not be worth this fight yet. So, while we probably can’t change that precedent, I will vocalize the principle whenever possible.”

              That’s not really what he did. He basically said, “We ought to just forget that principle.”

          2. Even if all businesses, not just essential ones, be considered establishments of public accommodation (a dubious proposition, but one that seems to have become accepted by lake of discussion), what makes him think Nazis would be a protected class? Are there any laws in the USA forbidding businesses to discriminate on the basis of political affiliation? If so, would unaffiliated Nazis be considered to be affiliated with an unorganized Nazi party?

          3. The point of this exercise is to get a libertarian into office. So long as libertarians demand that their candidates be clones of Rothbard with the personality of Rand, they are not going to win elections.

            “Legalize heroin! Right to racism! The South will rise again!”

            “Gee, i don’t get it, why am I polling so low? Must be statist conspiracy!”

          4. I understand Johnson and Loki’s point, but to Dissident’s point, I really wish Johnson would have led, “As a Libertarian, I fully believe in Freedom of Association as prescribed in the Constitution, BUT…”, and then followed with the rest of the blurb.

            Fact is none of the candidates are going to win the election, and that’s fine with me. Except for “having a pen and phone”, the President is virtually powerless. A Libertarian president would never get anything “Libertarian” through Congress. The most important thing in this election cycle is to get our message out, then in 2 years start getting Congress(wo)men elected. That is when real change can occur.

        2. It’s been said that a horse is the only animal dumb enough to run into a burning barn…

          Let’s light the barn on fire!

    3. Defending Christian bakers – easier. Defending racists – harder.

      1. Try defending Christian bakers to a prog, see how easy it is.

        1. Try defending liberty to a prog. Fuck progs.

  5. My biggest issue with Johnson is not the Gay wedding cake issue (dispite spending way too much time in an earlier thread yesterday defending FOA). My biggest problem with him is his VP pick.

    1. ^This^ too. I really hope if Johnson is the presidential nominee that the LP picks someone other than Weld for VP.

      1. I do not know his true political affiliation, though I suspect it is more LP than Dem, when I saw that Mark Cuban volunteered to be Hildebeast’s VP just so he could go toe-to-toe with Trump, I thought that would have an entertaining pick for Johnson. Celebrity show-down. Would definitely put us in the spotlight.

    2. I’m with him on this particular issue (nice to see him articulate it better). but totally agree that his VP pick is horrible.

    3. He’s bad enough by himself. the fact he chose someone even worse as a veep is just a sign of how little he wants to “Promote Libertarianism”, and how much he’s simply trying to sweep up leftover Republicans to put up ‘better numbers’.

  6. Is it just me or is his tie too long in that picture?

    1. ROFLMAO. Not only does he not know how to properly do a necktie, but from looking at his shirt he doesn’t know how to use an iron either.

      And that’s OK, but at least visit the local dry cleaner for crying out loud.

    2. Ties have gotten ridiculously long in recent years. I’ve even cut several inches off of ties I’ve received as gifts.

      1. Length isn’t a problem if you use a double Windsor knot

        1. Touche!

          (tho i will fight to the death over the superiority of the half windsor)

        2. I’m tall & fat, & sometimes have trouble getting enough length with a full (double) Windsor.

  7. Either you are a Libertarian or you aren’t. Where Mr Johnson get the idea that public accommodation for business has been excepted for a 100 years is just plain wrong. In 1971 Roseburg Texas they still had Colored entrances and water fountains. I for one would not do business anyone that decriminates. Most people are bigoted in one way or another, myself included. I hate all Politicians. My point is either you believe in Freedom or you don’t. There are no half measures. Gary Johnson appears to be a good man. If he were a Republican or Democrat I would have some hope for this country. But one he is not and that is a Libertarian.

    1. Prince Charming isn’t coming. May be time to lose the chastity belt.

      1. Prince Charming isn’t coming. May be time to lose the chastity belt.

        If you have to hold your nose to vote for the Libertarian, why bother? Third Party votes are statement votes, not votes intended to elect. If Johnson is the LP candidate I, and I think a good number of others, will be less likely to make a statement vote, and more likely to make a lesser of two evils vote. The LP has no chance of winning, all they can hope for is to be a voice of principle. The principle in this debate is the right of free individuals to choose how and with whom they do business.

        The fact that some people will make choices based on ignorant or hateful bases is not valid grounds for taking away the essential liberty to choose one’s associations. Further, forcing people to associate with those they dislike just intensifies that dislike. We, as a species, keep trying to impose goodness by force. This is impossible. Goodness must be chosen individually, only evil comes from force.

        1. I support Fredom of Association but it is not the only Libertarian issue I support. If I can get someone who supports Libertarian issues 80% of the time, that is one helluva inprovement over what we currently getting. Is the gay wedding cake issue the only libertarian issue you care about? Do you think a Libertarian President will have the public support to overturn Public Accommodation laws? These are relevant questions.

          1. I’m under no illusion about Libertarians winning the election but the same criteria applies in getting the message out. I’m not going to let perfect be the enemy of the good.

          2. Almighty, what you say is the only way to make actual, real-world advances for the Libertarian Party.

          3. Given that public accomodation laws are State and Local level laws it would be difficult at best to overturn them and no President would have that power. The majority of Federal anti discrimination law is about housing and employment, the only Federal law I am aware of that interferes with the relationship between the business and customers/the general public is the ADA

            1. No it’s enshrined in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

              1. “enshrined” is probably not the best word.

                1. It may as well be:)

          4. Some issues matter a lot more than others. Johnson also says that he can’t even rule out getting us involved in even more non-defensive war of choice, because you just never know when that next Adolf Hitler is going to arrive from out of nowhere and attempt Holocaust II.

            Would you support a libertarian who said something like “The War on Drugs really isn’t so awful, because drugs are bad, mmkay?”

            Of course you wouldn’t. That’s a fundamental issue that goes to the very core of the party.

        2. the problem is that these individuals already made their choice on how and with whom to do business….. they opened a public storefront… they offered products at standard prices, and with standard options. it is possible to believe in freedom of association, and to believe that those who open public storefronts are exercising that right WHEN THEY OPEN THE STORE.

          1. So all they have to do is put up a sign and say this is a private store. Except they can’t freely associate even if they do that so you’re full of shit.

            1. they can sell out of their home, they can find customers through word of mouth, referrals. there are a ton of ways that people can sell their time and wares, that don’t run into any definition of public accommodations.

              of course, you do less business that way, but at least you can shelter yourself from the big bad world…. where gay people are considered human beings with the same rights as others.

              1. where gay people are considered human beings with the same rights as others

                How many legs does a dog have if you call its tail a leg? The “right” to force people to do business with you is a fabrication of violence that can only be supported by authoritarian thugs.

          2. The fact that something has been wrong for 100 years doesn’t make it any less wrong. Supporting something because it been around for a long time is not an adequate defense.

            Acknowledging the fact that it’s been around a long time and may not be high up on his list to be changed would at least make the statement that it’s still wrong, but that’s not what he’s saying. As a Libertarian for over 45 years now, that bothers me.

            The only organization that has no right to discriminate whatsoever is the government itself, not private individuals, whether or not they sell their goods or services to the “general public,” whatever that is supposed to be.

            If you’re a welder or a tailor, for example, how would you go about practicing your trade in anything other than a “public” fashion? You’re not allowed to do it from home.

            1. its not where you do business, it is how. when you open your store to the general public (meaning anyone can walk in… not really that complex an idea), and offer standardized items at set prices… you are saying to the public, “come here to buy X at Y price.” you are making a public commitment to abide by those terms to anyone who makes the trip to come into your store. you can, of course, kick out people who disrupt your business…. but if they are there in good faith, abiding by the rules set for everyone else… then what right do you have to rescind your public commitments?

    2. the separate entrances and fountains were part of the whole “separate but equal” theory of the Jim Crow days. public accommodation was the settled legal stance, and people got around it by providing separate facilities for black people… they still had to serve them… so your point is fundamentally flawed. public accommodation laws have been established for quite some time… it is the reason there were separate entrances.

      it is nice to see Johnson finally articulate this a little better. you can refuse to sell something you would not normally sell, but not a standard item you would sell to anyone else. this is a choice you make, in exchange for the many benefits of operating a public storefront.

      i also agree that those who dig in on this are completely unaware of how absolutely terrible it makes us look. anytime you find yourself trying to defend someone, where you have to include the disclaimer that you would not do business with them, you really got to think about how that message is likely to be received.

      1. this is a choice you make, in exchange for the many benefits of operating a public storefront.

        The notion that conducting business begins with a curtailment of your liberty to the State in exchange for the privilege of operating a store is precisely what I find objectionable here. Everything we stand up for makes us look bad to someone. We support drug legalization, and most would agree that heroin is dangerous. We support the right to suicide, but most agree that suicide is usually bad.

        The point is that supporting liberty means supporting people’s right to choose things that are likely wrong because imposing bureaucratic force to compel goodness is itself evil.

        Now, if your point (as JBs seems to be) is that you find GJ, on the whole, worth support as a statement voter I have no issue with that at all. I am just saying that I, and I suspect others, view his position on this issue as distasteful, and would be more likely to vote LP if he is not the nominee.

        1. my point is not that this is a curtailment to the state, in exchange for the privilege for opening a storefront. it is fundamental to the concept of a public storefront. you put up a big open sign, you prepare price lists, that are standardized, you establish hours of operation with the doors open to the public…. you are implying a contract with the public when you do this, to sell your wares at those standard prices.

          if i opened a store, could i randomly, and indiscriminately decide i don’t like people who walk in, and shoot them for trespassing? i opened my store to the public, but then decided i didn’t mean that individual… can i really claim they are trespassing? can i claim they are violating my property rights for walking into my store that is open to the public?

          i see the baker issue as the same. you prepared a standard sales model for selling to the public. you don’t get to indiscriminately back out on that commitment.

          1. The state has limited powers in the first place, “curtailment of the state” is the point, not a compromise. Refusing someone service is not the same thing as assaulting them, and having a “public” business (a bullshit legal distinction specifically created to force business to obey) doesn’t legally require them to never change their business practices. Fuck off slaver.

            1. public business is not a bullshit distinction, it is a business that is open to the public. exercising your freedom of association to selectively retract that invitation, is the same as exercising your freedom of property to shoot them for coming in. you already publicly expressed that you were not exercising either, when you opened your store to the general public.

          2. Discrimination is allowed by biz as long as it’s not on the basis of race, sex, religion, or one of the other protected classes. All the discrimination practiced by the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld would’ve been legal.

          3. A lot of dumb here…

            in exchange for the privilege for opening a storefront. It’s a fucking RIGHT- not a privilege!

            you are implying a contract with the public when you do this, to sell your wares at those standard prices. You’ve obviously never bought a new car…

            if i opened a store, could i randomly, and indiscriminately decide i don’t like people who walk in, and shoot them for trespassing? Of course not, you politely ask them to leave- then have your Gov’t bosses come in and shoot them for you.

            1. way to jump on my poor word choice. i should have said, “in exchange for the inherent benefits of opening a public storefront…..” considering the rest of what i said, it should have been clear i was talking about the very concept of a public storefront, and not any state acceptance of such. even in the utter anarchy some seem to want, there would be basic public expectations… even absent any kind of enforcement.

              “You’ve obviously never bought a new car…”
              if you walk in and ask to buy a car at sticker price, you will not be turned away. none of these gays were demanding special deals.

          4. How is going into business a “privilege?” Who grants this “privilege?” Who was given the power to do so? Where was it given? Who was it given by?

            Any and every person who offers his goods or services to others, even an employee is still a business. You are still exchanging value with others. Every time you decide that you will do this job or that one for a given amount, you are setting prices. Every time you decide what hours you are willing to work, you are setting hours.

            “The public” does not exist. There are only individuals, some of whom you may want to associate or do business with and others you don’t. You are either a free person or you’re not. There’s no middle ground on that definition.

            1. as i said to the last one… poor word choice. i should have said, “in exchange for the inherent benefits of opening a public storefront…..” considering the rest of what i said, it should have been clear i was talking about the very concept of a public storefront, and not any state acceptance of such. even in the utter anarchy some seem to want, there would be basic public expectations… even absent any kind of enforcement.

              “”The public” does not exist. There are only individuals, some of whom you may want to associate or do business with and others you don’t. You are either a free person or you’re not. There’s no middle ground on that definition.”

              if you believe that, then don’t put a great big “open” sign on your door that invites all to enter. don’t put price tags on things. don’t print up catalogs. don’t advertise in the phone book. businesses go through a lot of trouble to engage the public…. it is why they open the store…. to pretend the concept of “the public” does not exist when one person they don’t like walks in is disingenuous, at best.

          5. The issue isn’t whether you’d shoot someone for trespass, it’s whether you’ll bake a cake for them.

            Suppose you allow entry of any and all into your business. Someone comes in and asks you to bake them a cake and you agree to do it, but then they don’t leave. Closing time comes and they’re still there, and they refuse to leave. Then they would be trespassing, and you should have the right to eject them. But shooting them right away would probably be the wrong move unless they threatened you, e.g.with a weapon or superior strength. Would it make a difference if, all else being equal, you had refused to bake them the cake in the first place?

            1. “Would it make a difference if, all else being equal, you had refused to bake them the cake in the first place?”

              yes. your long hypothetical has them behaving in a way that disrupts your business, and is not in keeping with the same rules everyone else follows, in your store…. they are violating the implied contract of a public business (you have to leave at closing time.) it is completely different from someone who comes in and behaves in a way indistinguishable from other customers you serve.

      2. in exchange for the many benefits of operating a public storefront.

        People are only able to engage in voluntary transactions with other people when the State gives them permission?

        1. they voluntarily opened a public storefront. never even mentioned the state, or permission.

          1. voluntarily opened a public storefront.

            Weasel words.

            1. not at all. they are free to sell things from their house, trunk, Craigslist, and discriminate all they want. they open a store BECAUSE the public access makes it easier, faster, and more efficient to sell their goods. opening a public store is definitely a deliberate, and voluntary decision.

              1. They are free to sell things as they please or not, and if they decide to change their conditions you don’t get to put a legal boot on your neck simply because you don’t like that. Fuck off slaver.

                1. all i have ever suggested is that the aggrieved party (the gay couple) should be free to seek compensation for any harm or inconvenience caused. if the store’s refusal was reasonable, then the case should be thrown out. (we can debate individual cases and outcomes… but in principle, they should have the right to arbitration). this is hardly a “legal boot.”

                  the bakers are the ones trying to use the state to shield them from responsibility. they want laws to remove other peoples right to seek arbitration. you, in fact, are the one playing into the hands of the slavers, that want to hold on to some power to discriminate, now that they lost the battle over gay marriage.

                  fuck off, retard.

              2. The location or manner of advertising the availability of your goods or services does not define the nature of the exchange. They are either voluntary exchanges between free people or they aren’t.

                As to your rationalizations as to any purported “other” means of doing business:

                Many, if not most, people in many, if not most, places are NOT free to work from their home or garage or other dwelling in any fashion whatsoever.

                Many types of businesses are simply impossible to operate in anything but a dedicated area.

                There are court cases that have said that advertising your services in any way, even if it’s just word of mouth or opening the trunk of your car makes you a “business,” subject to all the rules thereof.

                There are no monetary, or in many cases even non-monetary, exchanges that the government does not claim the power to wield control over.

                1. “There are court cases that have said that advertising your services in any way, even if it’s just word of mouth or opening the trunk of your car makes you a “business,” subject to all the rules thereof.”

                  but without a public storefront, there are no expectations of public accommodation.

                  i am not defending the application of anti-discrimination lawsuits to all businesses i have said many times that those who’s trade requires participation in an event should be free to decline…. i limit my harsh opinion only to those who refuse to sell standardized items, at standardized prices, to people who came to their public storefront in response to their advertising. i don’t know how much more clear i could be that i am only applying this to those who have opened public storefronts.

      3. anytime you find yourself trying to defend someone, where you have to include the disclaimer that you would not do business with them, you really got to think about how that message is likely to be received.

        People with principles who aren’t authoritarian pieces of shit don’t really care if the implications of a principle make others uncomfortable, on account of not being authoritarian pieces of shit.

        The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

      4. Also, fuck off Tulpa.

  8. Johnson/Weld is better than Barr/Root and I voted for the latter.

    Sigh, the fact I have to even think about the comparison is sad.

    1. What was bad about Wayne Root?

      1. The fact that he bailed back into the Republican Party the first chance he got, in the vain hope no one would realize he ever left it?

  9. After all that…Johnson still fucked it up.

  10. Wow, he makes it hard to vote for him. Freedom of association is one of those things that is at the foundation of liberty.

    He seems to imply that since the ship has sailed on “public accommodation” that it is pointless to fight it. He could take that position, but it would be nice to also hear him talk about how fundamentally wrong and immoral it is to have these public accommodation laws.

    But, the thing is, Rand Paul timidly tried to go down this path with Rachel Maddow, and he was utterly crucified for even having the slightest doubt about the settled religious doctrine on this. The damage is too great to risk to do a full, first-principles defense of freedom of association as we libertarians understand it.

    At least he is saying that he has this position merely because that is what the firmly established law, and he is not defending the status quo from a religious/fundamentalist perspective the way the progressives do.

    He is still the best option to advance the Libertarian Party and take advantage of the current situation, in my opinion. The Libertarian Party and libertarian philosophy are not the same thing. The party has to get out there and get dirty and move the needle while the pristine philosophy keeps the real flame burning.

    1. Half the stuff we’re against is firmly established law! Do we have to concentrate on holding the line against new intrusions, or legally shaky ones like same-sex “marriage”, only? I.e. do we have to become true conservatives?

  11. It doesn’t sound like he’s backtracking.

    “Does a public bakery have to sell a cake to a Nazi? Probably so. Does that bakery have to draw a swastika on it? Absolutely not. And that’s the way it should be.”

    So a nazi comes to a Jewish baker and says “I want a cake for my April 20 Hitler’s Birthday party.”

    Johnson tells the baker, “it’s OK, you have to make him a cake, but he has to draw the swastika himself.”

    It’s what I’d call the Pretty Woman solution – suck the nazi’s dick but don’t kiss him on the lips, your conscience is clear.

    1. Lame cop-out, and the typical stance of a politician who’s trying to have it both ways.

      Nobody says “OK, the Christian baker must sell the cake to the guy guys, but it’s OK for him to tell the gay guys that they have to put the two little men cake figures on the cake themselves.”

      And I don’t believe for a second that Gary Johnson would support that argument, because it’s a patently ridiculous argument. Normal non-baker people don’t own little gay guy cake figures any more than they own tubes of cake icing. They’re going to the baker to provide ALL this stuff.

      1. i think the most they could demand is that the baker sells them two sets of toppers, (two brides, two grooms) because they don’t sell those separately, as a rule. they can’t make them put them on the cake, because it is not a standard option.

        1. You’re still missing the most basic point … no one has the right to DEMAND that ANY individual has to perform any service or sell any legitimately owned good to anyone else.

          The ONLY organization that has no right to pick and choose is the government itself, and it does more discrimination than almost any other group.

          There is no difference in principle between not wanting to deal with, say, bald headed men or redheaded women than any other criteria a person might use. It is a matter of individual choice, no matter how bad you (or anyone else) think that choice might be in practice.

          1. ” bald headed men or redheaded women than any other criteria a person might use. ”

            so say…. being black? Chinese? how can anyone take this position and expect to be taken seriously? seriously?

            this is exactly what people mean when they point out that this position is guaranteed to keep libertarians a fringe group. it screams wack job from word one. for people who don’t understand how this is shooting yourself in the dick, there may be no hope of fully formed rational positions. just some vague notion that complete anarchy would be great. no rules…. and no responsibilities. (the second part is what this is really about… but it is hard for you guys to comprehend that when you can’t get past the “promoting racism is not a good idea.”)

      2. Actually I do see it as a legitimate compromise?not one I’d support, but one I recognize to be one. Why couldn’t you buy your own cake toppers & icing? I think they’re stock items. People do mods to all sorts of professionally-made things, why not to cakes?

  12. Can I turn away business from a crazy person? I work in a trade, we deal with lots of paranoid people. Can I turn away them?

    1. Yes, unless their craziness is a bona fide disability.

  13. when a business opens its doors to the public, that business enters into an implied contract to serve ALL of the public.

    it seems to be the Gov is trying to have & eat his nazi cake.

    the issue was never a question of whether or not a business was simply “refusing to serve” certain people – though indeed, they can and should retain that right.

    The question was about whether any group of people can compel businesses to engage in speech that they find odious and objectionable.

    If a business doesn’t already make “Nazi Cakes” for ANYONE, they shouldn’t be compelled to serve Nazi Cakes simply because some Nazi has some socially-approved status.

    And, contra Brian – that’s not “intolerant discrimination”. That’s simply exercising a passive option to abstain from certain speech/behavior/associations.

    there is some important political and cultural weight behind the question, and he thinks linking the Libertarian brand with defense of intolerant discrimination is a bad idea:

    IOW = His support for libertarian principles lasts only until someone suggests he’s “being uncool”. Righto.

    we all know that this conversation is really “code”

    “code” aka a fucking analogy used to point out how stupid and insane and un-libertarian the idea of ‘compelling speech’ is.

    1. “enters into an implied contract”

      Implied by whom?

      1. implied by the owner of the store…. when they put up the open sign, and put out the catalog with the options and prices. they are opening as a public storefront…. public is right in the name.

      2. The entire notion expressed in the term “implied contract” should be anathema to libertarians.

        It basically says in so many words, “whatever a majority believes they have the ‘right’ to, they can force you to deliver…. without requiring any actual law saying as much, or need for voluntary assent”.

        That said – i want to reiterate that the problem with Johnson’s comment is that he’s changing the subject.

        I DO believe people have the right to refuse business with anyone entirely. But that’s not what the ‘nazi cakes’ analogy was about. That was about “compelling speech”.

        He’s pretending the issue is one of mere ‘accommodation’. its not.

        In every case, the ‘seller’ was never refusing to serve the customer – simply refusing to add a “speech” component to which they objected.

        IOW, everyone can have cakes when the cakes all say “nothing”;
        its when the buyer insists the cake ‘contain’ statements affirming support for X, Y, or Z cause/issue that it becomes an issue of compelled speech

        If Johnson feels the need to dissimulate and change the argument, it means he doesn’t HAVE an argument about the question of ‘compelled speech’.

        Pretending we’re a pussy-hair away from Jim Crow segregation is a cheap, dishonest, and retarded response to the issue.

        1. “In every case, the ‘seller’ was never refusing to serve the customer – simply refusing to add a “speech” component to which they objected.”

          absolutely false. the baker cases i have personally seen refused to sell even a blank cake (no names, not topper). the refusal to write they names on (many wedding cakes i have seen don’t bother with names anyway), has never been the complaint. the bakers were trying to say the cake itself constituted speech.

          1. the baker cases i have personally seen

            I’m not interested in what you have or have not “personally seen”.

            Silva said she told the customer she would make the cake with a blank Bible page so that he could write whatever he wanted inside. She said she even offered to give the man an instrument to write the words himself.

            He declined, Silva said, and instead told the baker she “needed to talk to an attorney about this.”

            After making the statement, Silva said the man returned a short time later and asked her if she had spoken to an attorney. When she said no, he left again — only to return once more. At that time, Silva said she had called her brother into the shop to assist in asking the man to leave for good.

            Even though the man hasn’t returned, the ordeal is far from over. Silva has since been notified by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) that a religious discrimination complaint has been filed against Azucar Bakery.

            Regardless – people can and should have the right to refuse anyone for any reason.

            But the argument here isn’t about accommodation – its about compelled speech. Your insistence that its not is just more evidence of the point made above: that you have no argument there, so you need to change the subject.

            1. Another example =

              “‘
              The Christian owners of Ashers Baking Company were convicted last week after refusing to make a cake featuring Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie next to the words “Support Gay Marriage.”
              “”

              “When it comes to defending civil liberties and human rights, you cannot be too active and too determined,” the actor began as he initially defended the right of prisoners to vote.

              Pressed by the interviewer to see how far Stewart would go in the defense of civil liberties, Stewart stood up for the bakers who refused to make the cake.

              “You’ve picked a deliciously difficult subject because, finally, I found myself on the side of the bakers,” Stewart explained. “It was not because this was a gay couple that they objected. It was not because they were going to be celebrating some kind of marriage or agreement between them. It was the actual words on the cake that they objected to.”

            2. for those cases where they refuse to place specific words, i am completely on board with their right to refuse. generally, they are at least trying to accommodate the persons request, while denying the non-standard option being requested. speech cannot be compelled.

              i am talking about the cases where they completely refuse service at all. these are the ones where the courts are hammering them specifically for public accommodation laws. (here are two examples)

              http://aclu-co.org/court-rules…..ay-couple/

              http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015…..-case.html

              i ask again. would it be OK if these owners had instead shot the people in the face, and claimed they were trespassing?

              1. Refusing someone service or entrance is not the same thing as attacking them. Fuck off slaver.

                1. if you attack them because they walked into your business that is open to the public, then it is. and with the same logic.

                  1. “if you attack them because they walked into your business that is open to the public, then it is. ”

                    Saying “I won’t serve you please leave” is the same thing as shooting someone in the face.

                    Makes perfect sense.

                    1. the logic behind it is. it is using a vaguely libertarian idea (freedom of association versus property rights) to justify a very un-libertarian outcome (unequal rights versus bullet to the innocent’s head)

                      someone actually dying just makes it harder to ignore the absurdity of the argument.

                    2. “the logic of murdering people is the same as not baking them a cake”

                      what a stupid argument

                    3. the stupid is not understanding the point being made.

                    4. There are no unequal rights. There are two individuals, both with the equal right to request a good or service and both with the equal right to agree to or decline to provide that good or service.

                      An individual can only infringe on the rights of another individual when they introduce force or fraud into the equation.

                      You have the right to free speech. That doesn’t mean that anyone else has to provide the stage and microphone for you to speak with. Refusing to do so doesn’t infringe upon anyone’s rights.

                      You have the right to your own religious beliefs. That doesn’t mean that anyone else has to comply with the strictures that your religion holds to be necessary. Their refusal to do so doesn’t infringe on anyone’s rights.

                      You have the right to live your own life, to control your own body and all possessions you legitimately own in any manner you see fit as long as you don’t try to force other people into giving up their equal rights.

                      The pertinent word is FORCE.

                      You can ask. You can try to persuade. You can refuse to interact with people you don’t agree with. You can tell them or the whole world what you think about them. You can organize boycotts. You can shun them.

                      But you have no right to FORCE them to comply with your position, whatever it may be, no matter how laudable the cause.

                      Bottom line is that no voluntary action or declination of action infringes on anyone else’s equal rights.

                    5. from your own words:

                      “An individual can only infringe on the rights of another individual when they introduce force or fraud into the equation.”

                      and what do you call it when someone advertises a product, at a specified price… and refuses to sell it at that price, when you come in the store? personally, i call that fraud. that’s what you all keep ignoring. these are not individuals who chose not to engage in commerce… they already set the products up for sale… they already advertised… they already convinced people to come to the store….. they already committed to the public, this arrangement.

        2. Trade would break down if there were absolutely no notions of implied contract terms.

    2. let me simplify this for you. a baker does have to sell the standardized wedding cake they would sell to anyone else. they don’t have to put on the topper with two dudes.

      the baker was not being compelled to speech, he was being compelled to bake a standard cake, at the standard price, with the standard options. (if the standard options don’t include a same sex couple on top, that is where they can refuse)

      1. I support Johnson’s nomination, but from a philosophical pov I think you are making a distinction without a difference.

        The thing about libertarian philosophy is that it concerns itself not with the relative goodness of the exercise of a right.

        The problem is “being compelled”, full stop. It doesn’t matter at all what the person is “being compelled” to do.

        1. the problem is the logical shutdown this absolutist approach takes. there is just about nothing you can encounter in life that cannot be twisted in some way to constitute your being compelled. this is like supporting a persons right to kill people indiscriminately, because not letting them do so is compelling them to behave differently then they would prefer.

          1. this is like supporting a persons right to kill people indiscriminately

            No, its not.

            You’re just doing exactly what i pointed out Johnson does – changing the subject because you don’t have an argument.

            1. no, I’m not. it is the same logic being used to defend the bakers. they opened public businesses, but don’t want certain people to come in, so… by that logic… they should be able to shoot anyone they want for trespassing.

              1. Refusing someone entry or service isn’t the same thing as attacking them. Fuck off you mendacious slaving piece of shit.

                1. they are refusing service that is publicly offered and advertised. if i put out a bowl of candy, with a “free” sign on it…. and then find out someone who took a piece was gay, i can’t accuse them of theft. i already made the thing publicly available, with a clear indication of what was required to obtain it. (in the case of the candy, nothing) their being gay does not change what i have already advertised and made available to the public.

              2. Then you’re too stupid to bother with

                1. funny, i thought i was the one with no argument.

                  1. You are.

                  2. So in my job, the crazy paranoid person who claims the neighbors are making her phone Jack ring, I have to continue to serve her? I should be able to tell people to get out of my shop.

                    1. as a general rule, what people do outside your shop is not typically an acceptable reason. if she is talking to the shelving (actively disrupting your business), a reasonable person would see no problem asking her to leave. if she tried to sue you for it, she would loose.

                      to be clear, all i suggest is that those you kick out have the right to seek compensation, if they feel it was unreasonable. if your reason is reasonable, they will loose.

                2. so what is the line? you accept that it is ridiculous to suggest the store owner could shoot them for trespassing. what if it is a gas station, and the next gas station is 30 miles away (in the middle of the desert, where this is frequently the case)? can the owner refuse to sell them gas for being gay? (standard product at standard price). what sets the bakers aside as being different? (specifically the ones that completely refuse, not those refusing the words on the cake)

                  1. You’ve been told, you’re just too fucking stupid to admit it.

                    The line is being compelled.

                    Which, you moronically think makes the act of refusal of service the same as actively attacking someone.

                    1. the “compelled” is where i disagree. i feel they have already made the decision to offer their products for sale to the general public… they are not being compelled to do anything.

                      the same way they made the decision to open their business to the public, so they can’t claim trespassing and shoot the people.

                      freedom of association is not a free pass to back out of commitments you have already made, or do whatever you want with no consequences. libertarian-ism is indistinguishable from total anarchy, when you remove the critical part of being responsible for your own actions. it is not just doing what you want, it is also paying the price if those decisions don’t lead to favorable outcomes. you guys just seem too stupid to understand that concept. these store owners opened public businesses…. they are not independent contractors…. they are public storefronts.

                    2. i feel they have already made the decision to offer their products for sale to the general public… they are not being compelled to do anything.

                      I walked into a restarant the other day wearing just a pair of overalls. They pointed to the “No shirt, no shoes, no service” sign and kicked me out.

                      Was I denied my rights as an “Appalachian-American”?

                    3. to repeat myself… as a general rule, what you do outside the shop will not be a valid reason, but what you do inside could, if it can be said to disrupt business. these people are not “acting” gay in the shop…. they are buying a cake in the same manner as, and following the same rules as everyone else.

                    4. then you shouldn’t be allowed to fire people for being “homophobic” or whatever

                      equality = equality, full stop

                    5. as an employer, you should be allowed to fire someone for any reason… including if they act “too gay”. not really relevant to the implied commitment to the public you made on advertised products at advertised prices, during advertised hours.

      2. the baker was not being compelled to speech

        Wrong.

      3. I can’t believe that description. If the baker weren’t required to write something about it in icing, how would s/he even know it was for a same-sex wedding?

        1. people tend to talk while going through the brochure. the wedding/significant other is an obvious topic to come up. I’d imagine it’s not an uncommon thing for a name or pronoun to give it away while you are shopping for wedding stuff.

    3. But he’s for a lot of things that other people consider uncool, so he’s not against everything anyone thinks is uncool.

  14. Fuck off Nazi cake slaver. Might as well go full retard and get McAffee as our choice.

  15. Barring some semblance of reason overtaking either the dems or the GOP, nominating a libertarian moderate is the only way to get libertarian ideas into mainstream discussion. If you want an ancap who checks off every box on your list, that’s fine. Just know that you’re ensuring that libertarian ideas stay here – buried in the comment section of reason.com.

    1. nominating a libertarian moderate is the only way to get libertarian ideas into mainstream discussion.
      That’s not true at all. You don’t even have to have anything to do with elections to get discussion of ideas by the mainstream. You could be a foreigner ineligible for political office, and in fact ineligible for a lot of other things, to get your ideas discussed by the mainstream. You don’t even have to be physically present, or alive. The idea that you need a presidential candidate to say things in order for the mainstream to pay att’n to it is simply wrong. In fact there are lots of people who’d rather pay att’n to any of a great load of other things than a politician.

  16. Oh boo friggin hoo libertarians. I love everything Gary says. He knows how to play the game without compromising himself. Who cares about nazi cakes really? He brushes these controversial topics off his shoulders and focuses on the issues that can bring libertarianism to the mainstream like fiscal conservatism and civil liberty. Can we just start with that and then work our way towards privatizing the roads and the less accepted parts of libertarian philosophy? One step at a time people, chill out.

  17. “Who cares about nazi cakes really?”

    Apparently, Gary Johnson.

  18. as i think on it, i have begun to realize why the fervor of the purists over this issue pisses me off so much….

    YOU ARE NOT THAT STUPID!!!

    you guys are letting people use the phrase “freedom of association” on you, the way “save the children,” and “support the troops,” are used to get blind support from other groups on issues. you hear a libertarian based idea uttered, and you jumped right in, without realizing how terrible what they are pushing really is. they are not really protecting peoples rights, they are stripping other people of their right to seek arbitration when they feel like they have been harmed. it should be clear to all how likely this approach is to be abused. (and, for the Colorado baker who sees a wedding for dogs as sacred, but a party for gays— the actual wedding being the week before, in another state– as an abomination… i would say it already has been abused)

    it is just so sad to see you all get sucked up by the fact that these bigots were smart enough to use libertarian words to defend themselves. i agree with you all on so many other issues… but on this one, you just seem like you are acting like sheep…. following anyone who will utter the right buzzwords.

    or maybe just “fuck off, slaver.” that seems to be the thing to say when you don’t have anything more intelligent to say.

    1. why not push the simpler, first amendment meets free market approach? someone who hates gay marriage, can put up all the anti-gay marriage propaganda they want.. all over the walls of the store. you can’t censor speech, and the vast majority of those who disagree will leave of their own accord (unless you are the only store in a reasonable driving distance…. hence the harm created to them if you refuse… no viable alternatives.) why do we need new laws that bigots are sure to try to expand and abuse?

  19. I’d like hear Mr. Johnson clarify why he thinks the government should mandate GMO labeling on foods. That sounds like more nanny state bullshit but he claimed to be for it “because he has Celiac disease (where he also claimed it was the number one undiagnosed disease in the world–utter bullshit claim).

    That reminds me, Johnson has a habit of dropping lines like that. On Penn Jillette’s Podcast, Penn’s Sunday School, Mr. Johnson made the outright false claim “no one has ever died from marijuana”. He likely misspoke and meant no one has ever overdosed from marijuana but the two statements are wildly different. As a polished politician, you’d think he be able to not make such critical errors in speech. Granted, no one on the show challenged that statement either, so perhaps I’m being too harsh.

  20. Doesn’t he distinguish between private and public discrimination?

  21. The supposed “defense of racists” argument (really a “don’t bully racists” argument) can be made very simply with two arguments:

    First, by removing government restrictions of public racist behavior it becomes far easier to identify and avoid them. Since a given racist cannot publicly state that “I don’t serve ‘their kind’,” they will surreptitiously discriminate, such as selling inferior merchandise or providing substandard service that on their face seem perfectly legitimate.

    Second, it reduces the excuses/claims of victimhood that racists can use. Rather than saying “it’s the evil government that is holding me back by favoring ‘their kind’,” they would be reduced to saying “it’s all the other people who won’t do business with me that is holding me back”. It’s much harder to claim victimhood that way without sounding totally ridiculous.

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