Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson's Religious Freedom Position Needs Some Critical Analysis

A better argument is required than a fear of a slippery slope.


Gary Johnson
Brian Cahn/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Over at the Washington Examiner, Tim Carney, managed a few minutes to chat with Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gov. Gary Johnson while at this week's Democratic National Convention. The chat focused on two issues of importance to more socially conservative libertarians—religious freedom rights and abortion.

On religious freedom, Johnson is staying true to his position against allowing religious-based exemptions to discrimination laws, which has earned him the ire of not a few libertarians. In Carney's conversation with him, what feels very clear is that Johnson feels strongly about his position, but hasn't really analyzed the complexity of the issue nearly enough:

Do you think New Mexico was right to fine the photographer for not photographing the gay wedding?

"Look. Here's the issue. You've narrowly defined this. But if we allow for discrimination — if we pass a law that allows for discrimination on the basis of religion — literally, we're gonna open up a can of worms when it come stop discrimination of all forms, starting with Muslims … who knows. You're narrowly looking at a situation where if you broaden that, I just tell you — on the basis of religious freedom, being able to discriminate — something that is currently not allowed — discrimination will exist in places we never dreamed of."

Can the current federal [Religious Freedom Restoration Act] be applied to protect things like the wedding photographer and the Little Sisters of the Poor?

"The problem is I don't think you can cut out a little chunk there. I think what you're going to end up doing is open up a plethora of discrimination that you never believed could exist. And it'll start with Muslims."

A host of responses to this rather simplistic take on what is a complicated issue:

  • Formulating laws and regulations based on the "precautionary principle" is bad in general, but it's particularly bad when discussing the limits of liberty. To the extent that the law restricts a liberty, like freedom of religious expression and freedom of association, it needs to be tied to widespread harms that actually occur, not on a fear of what might happen. Johnson is essentially making the same kind of argument that drug warriors make. We can't legalize marijuana because it might lead users to harder drugs. Or people will get behind the wheel stoned and cause accidents. These arguments have not been based on factual analysis but on a fear of what might happen. Undoubtedly there is animosity against Muslim citizens and they may face additional discrimination and rejection in the current environment. But Johnson has failed to provide evidence that the slippery slope he suggests here will actually happen, will be widespread, and will require government intervention to fix. The public accommodation laws of the Civil Rights Act are actually rather narrowly defined based on the types of widespread and coordinated discrimination minorities were actually facing at the time.
  • The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) is simply not blanket permission to discriminate on the basis of one's beliefs. This seems to elude Johnson. The RFRA is a method of defense against government accusations of legal or civil violations by claiming that one's religious practices run counter to the law. The government then must make a case that the law furthers a valid government interest and that forcing people to comply with the law is the least intrusive way they can further that interest. So the government needs to argue it has a legitimate need to make people comply with the law, despite religious beliefs. In the Little Sisters of the Poor case, which was about whether a religious organization could be forced to cover the costs of contraception for female workers, the Supreme Court kicked the case down to lower courts to see if there was a way for the government to meet its goal of having women's health needs covered while not forcing a Catholic organization to violate its own religious beliefs by getting directly involved in it. While the RFRA wasn't actually invoked in the court's decision to bounce it back, you can see the kernels of what it means here. If the state is going to suppress somebody's right to religious expression, it better make sure there's no other way to get what it wants. In the Little Sisters case, it seems very clear that there are other ways.
  • We do already have nuances to these laws in areas like compelled speech and for some religious considerations. The reason that a baker can be forced to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is because the courts don't consider baking inherently a form of expression. Bakers are not showing support or approval of a gay marriage simply by making a wedding cake, according to existing legal precedents. But when an actual message is applied, then people are allowed to say no, they don't agree with that statement, and refuse to do business with them. A baker cannot be forced to frost a cake with a message that is either pro- or anti-gay marriage, and a printer can't be required to produce T-shirts or books with messages he or she finds offensive for religious (or other) reasons. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 itself offers some exemptions from federal discrimination rules for religious organizations.

All in all, Johnson's position on religious freedom ends up coming across as though it's based on a fear that it's going to lead to outcomes that he finds detestable and not an analysis on principles that guide his thoughts.

NEXT: Jerry Doyle, RIP. Radio Host and Babylon 5 Star Was 60.

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  1. A better argument is required than a fear of a slippery slope.

    Actually, pointing out that there is no principled basis for, or practical way to, restrain a government intervention is a perfectly valid argument. Especially given the innumerable examples of slippery slopes to show that its not a theoretical possibility.

    1. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once
      I tried it out. This is what I do… GO THIS WEBSTE…

    2. My last pay check was $9500 working 12 hours a week online. My sisters friend has been averaging 15k for months now and she works about 20 hours a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once
      I tried it out. This is what I do… GO THIS WEBSTE…

    3. Indeed, a slippery slope argument is not a logical fallacy. Just one example I point to is the promise that social security numbers would not become a national ID, because there was a time that was considered out of bounds for free people.

      As for businesses choosing with whom they will do business, I can see a limiting principle in the definition of public accommodation. People have a right to travel, and discrimination in transportation, hotels, restaurants….those businesses upon which the traveler depends….infringe on the freedom to travel. There is no right to cake.

      1. There is nothing infringing the freedom to travel in the examples you gave.

        1. my roomate’s ex-wife makes $64 an hour on the internet . She has been without a job for six months but last month her payment was $17848 just working on the internet for a few hours. go to the website >>>>>>>.

      2. People have a right to travel, and discrimination in transportation, hotels, restaurants….those businesses upon which the traveler depends….infringe on the freedom to travel.

        But that converts the negative liberty to travel into a positive entitlement to the services of others. That’s the slippery slope in public accommodation. Once you say that your negative liberty entitles you to the services of others, there’s no stopping point.

        And, more specifically, the pressure to expand “public accommodation” is relentless. There are proposals on the table now to expand it to include hospitals and numerous other businesses, tacked onto the proposal to expand the privileged classes to include transgenders. Its just too easy to say that a traveller “depends” on far more than just transportation, hotels, etc.

        1. I agree that the concept of a public accommodation compels the service of others, and that is not a libertarian position. As I understand it, the CRA actually does define public accommodation narrowly. And I can sort of see the argument for it, as it relates to your ability to move about the country.

          The slippery slope you point out is the relentless abuse of the language to achieve progressive goals. We see it now that anything open to the public, including church services, is called a “public accommodation”. I really don’t know what you can do about progressives changing the meaning of words.

        2. I generally agree with you, but nobody is going to win an election in 2016 by running on repealing anti-discrimination statues.

          Maybe you can convince Trump to take up this cause, and he will finally manage to torpedo his own campaign as he seems intent on doing.

          1. Johnson’s not going to win the election no matter what he says or doesn’t say or does or doesn’t do.

            1. To be sure. But he’s between a rock and a hard place. Libertarians are animals of the lefty center. In order to attract any Shrillary voters Gay Jay must expose himself, lean further left, and show case his lib leanings. This will turn off disaffected Republicans who want another option to Trump and they will flee him. The result is, despite an election replete with unworthy candidates, he picks up nothing

              1. I’m important for him to appear to be drawing votes equally from both camps, so that he is not perceived to be a spoiler.

                1. Being perceived as a spoiler is a not necessarily a bad thing, because it can be used terrify one of the parties into becoming more libertarian in order to ‘get back’ those votes. Using the perception of the spoiler effect as a weapon is one strategy.

              2. So what you want is not a libertarian, you want someone that will win. Someone who’s willing to be philosophically flexible to collect enough votes to matter.

                1. Yes, and then you can go back to being a libertarian afterward…C’mon Sparky get with the program. Beat them at their own game.

            2. Johnson is not going to win the election because he is milktoast, inconsistent, indecisive, and uninspiring. I am amazed he was able to win ANY election.

              Weld is the perfect compliment. A tax raising liberal republican posing as a libertarian.



          2. How proud were u to be a Libertarian when you accepted gay marriage but rejected that one b forced to provide for such?

            Tears. So proud I was. Looking beyond the politics and the power over others.

            Then Johnson was confirmed. A great guy but his agenda aligned less with principle than with politics. We do have a Constitution in this country. It is exactly that: what this country is supposed to b about.

            As a fellow traveler, I’m sure you know that pride and shame are just different sides of the same coin.

            Shame. Deep shame. Applaud as I am put in prison.

          3. The problem comes when anti-discrmination acts and fairness acts infringe on people’s constitutional rights, and that is what is happening. Anti-LGBT discrimination acts are unnecessary and discriminate against those with traditional values.

          4. Trump is an elitist plant – the .1% old money overlords want Hillary in office so that they can push closer to the New World Order. They knew she had a LOT of baggage so they arranged for her to have an opponent at least as repugnant as her. If he gets too far ahead of her in the polls, or is ahead of her too long, he will say or do SOMETHING outrageously moronic to turn it around for her. Since both parties have many of the same donors, this explanation makes sense – with all the things that have been exposed about her during this campaign, how else do you explain the fact that anyone else going up against her would be KILLING her right now?!

      3. There’s no fundamental right to buy one, either, and whIle being denied a night’s stay at a motel might put a crimp in one’s right to travel, we don’t have a blanket prohibition against motels turning people away. We only prohibit it based on some things.

        What’s happening with cops being denied service at some restaurants is an example: the cops (as of yet) have no basis to file a tort for the denial of service. It’s not against the law for a public accommodation to discriminate against cops.

        But to the extent we do prohibit discrimination against people based on specified characteristics, I agree with Johnson. A religious exemption is inviting the government to decide what is and what isn’t a religious belief.

        1. And this is why I read this blog. I hadn’t considered the other side of the coin, defining protected classes. If in the course of trying to fight discrimination, you create it, I agree….bad idea.

          1. There is no need to define classes if you have freedom of association.

            You are basically debating who will decide when your freedoms apply, or if you really have them.

        2. A religious exemption is inviting the government to decide what is and what isn’t a religious belief.

          As opposed to giving the government the power to quash religions beliefs altogether.

          1. Exact how is this quashing religious belief?

            1. It is compelling religious people to act against their sincerely-held beliefs and is therefore a quashing of their First Amendment right to freely exercise them.

              1. Religious people shouldn’t have more rights than the rest of us. If I have a sincerely-held belief that has nothing to do with religion, that shouldn’t be considered less valid than if the belief was related to a religion.

                If you’re not violating anyone’s rights, then there is no problem. That should be our standard. The government simply should not be in the business of deciding what is and is not a true religion.

                1. It’s right there in the amendment, genius.

                2. Not so fast, slim. Religion or worship is part of all people (classically/historically) even those whose religion is to deny that this is true. It is part of our DNA (evolution, if you wish). This is part of the human condition and to deny it is to be moron. While I perceive that you feel u have outsmarted this tendency, don’t be thinking of just your beliefs.

                  Big question to you or anyone on this thread: would you really force someone to b part of your celebration that doesn’t want to be?

                  If you would, you are not informed by the principles considered here.

                3. They don’t have more rights, they have the same rights.

                  Freedom to Associate and Freedom NOT to Associate. Two sides of the same coin.

                4. It should be up to the people of each state to decide what morals they will follow. Not judges, and not executive orders.

        3. They already have that power, via the 1st amendment. They currently decide who has freedom of religion rights.

          You can smoke peyote if you join the right church, but I cant.
          You can avoid selective service registration if you join the right church, but I cant.

          As I come from a protestant “preisthood of the believer” background, why is peyote or pacenikery or whatever not something I can choose to be part of my belief system?

          I dont see how allowing it in support of freedom of association makes things worse.

          1. Peyote, you have a point.

            Selective Service is a violation of everyone’s rights. No need to feel bad that a few got out of it. Just end the practice entirely.

        4. “A religious exemption is inviting the government to decide what is and what isn’t a religious belief.”

          But doesn’t the government already make that decision? They put all kinds of limitations on what is a religious belief. Mormons (and others) cannot legally practice polygamy. Religions cannot practice animal sacrifice. Native Americans could not use peyote in ceremonies until recently, and still it is narrowly allowed. Muslims cannot practice Shria law. Actually, the way I see it, traditional Christianity is the religion that the government does not restrict. There is no true religious freedom in this country.

          Also, I must ask at what point, like the old parable “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins”, does your right to religious freedom encroach on my rights?

          1. The government isn’t deciding what is and isn’t a religious belief with those laws, but the fact religious freedom laws haven’t made those laws inapplicable as applied to FLDS, Muslims, etc. certainly does show how selective and corrosive those laws are.

            Generally applicalble, religiously neutral laws aren’t invalid or otherwise unenforceable simply because they happen to abridge one person’s religious beliefs. The man whose faith requires him to dance naked in front of young children shouldn’t be able to get a religous exemption allowing him to do so outside an elementary school, for an extreme example, even though most of the harm those children will experience as a consequence is more from our cultural mores than anything immanent to his actions.

            Muslims can practice Sharia. They can’t impose it or enforce it beyond what our laws allow, but you’l start to run into some sticky situations when you make religion a trump card to play over certain laws.

            When the government bans human sacrifice they aren’t saying that’s not a religious belief. They’re saying you can’t kill people even if it is.

            With RFRA, I might claim my religious beliefs require me to use marijuana, and the government will argue that’s not a Christian belief.

          2. You have answered your own question with your parable. A fist ends in harm.

            Declining to b part of someone elses’ thing is not harm, even if your GOV thinks so.

            Get real, not political.

      4. One thing that’s always struck me is that it seems to be OK to discriminate when purchasing a product for end use, but not when selling a product (or buying a product for resale).

      5. If the right to free speech means tolerating offensive speech then the right to contract means tolerating bigotry.

        Anti-discrimination laws, as applied to private persons are an affront to liberty.

      6. The slippery slope tends to be considered a logical fallacy. You are not arguing on the merits of whatever law , but on a hypothetical this could lead to another law that is actually bad.

    4. Johnson was arguing that LIBERTY should be restricted by the government, not “GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION,” based on slippery slope arguments. His slippery slope argument for restricting liberty was baseless, since the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has been around for more than 20 years, and has resulted in no parade of horribles at all. Indeed, the Supreme Court has been very stingy in handing out religious exemptions under RFRA, and when it has granted exemptions, it has done so in a religiously even-handed manner, as in its decision in Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita (2006).

      Johnson’s remarks endorsed the New Mexico Supreme Court’s awful, anti-free speech decision in the Elane Photography case, which violated the First Amendment freedom against compelled speech by fining a wedding photographer for not filming a non-marital commitment ceremony of a lesbian couple. Photography is speech, as federal appeals courts have said. That ruling, which libertarian think tanks like the Cato Institute criticized, also violated New Mexico’s state RFRA.

      Johnson has falsely said there is a century-old federal public accommodation law that requires businesses to serve everyone, giving even Nazis the right to be served by Jewish businesses, when no such law exists (the existing federal public-accommodation law only deals with things like racial discrimination, not other categories like sexual orientation or being a Nazi, and was enacted in 1964.)

      1. Johnson-Weld is the most politically correct, pro-social-engineering “libertarian” ticket ever.

        Johnson falsely claimed it is the FEDERAL government’s role to ban all forms of discrimination, which the Supreme Court has rejected, saying that some forms of private discrimination are state matters beyond Congress’s power under the Commerce Clause and the 14th Amendment, in its decision in United States v. Morrison (2000).

        Johnson’s running mate, William Weld, appointed avid supporters of campus speech codes to Massachusetts state judgeships and civil-rights agencies. Weld was also an outspoken supporter of state-enforced race-based affirmative action, trumpeting his support for it at a time when most Massachusetts voters opposed it, and even some moderate Democrats like state senate president William Bulger had misgivings about the use of race (Bulger later abolished a few race-based programs as head of the University of Massachusetts).

        1. Why is it that the most important freedoms to you all seem to involve not being nice to black people?

          1. Why do you believe government-mandated racial preferences are needed to be “nice to black people”? Why shouldn’t the government treat all people fairly, and pay no attention to irrelevant, superficial characteristics like skin color?

            1. I don’t and it should. They just aren’t my number one priorities.

              1. So then your point was…?

          2. Because that’s how you all see the world, dumb leftist.

          3. Because I place a higher priority on how government action affects ALL people, above how it affects any particular subset of people.

            Because to do otherwise would be discriminatory.

            1. maybe even…


        2. So my ‘no fat chicks’ policy is still legit? Excellent.

        3. Quick Summary,

          Johnson and Weld are not libertarians, they are progressives. Maybe libertarian-ish progressives on alternate days.

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  2. Gary is not a great Libertarian on this issue, but his ticket is still the only decent choice remaining in this race.

    Why Reason isn’t literally holding fundraisers for his campaign baffles me. This is the most lucrative opportunity for getting people to hear the Libertarian argument in years and instead we have non-stop Trump bashing and the occasional “Hillary is kinda bad but she ain’t Trump” pieces.

    Jesus are you guys missing the boat on this election.

    1. How can someone who is not a great libertarian present a libertarian argument?

      1. You ever heard of a writer named Ayn Rand?

        1. I didn’t realize she ran for public office, I must have missed that.

          1. “How can someone who is not a great libertarian present a libertarian argument?”

            Where’s there even the slightest implication of “public office” in your initial question, brah??

            Rand wasn’t a great libertarian. Her books presented libertarian arguments. It’s a valid answer to your question, and if your INTENDED question is still unanswered, it’s your own fault for wording your question incorrectly.

            1. OMG brah! Did you even read the comment I replied to, brah?

            2. Rand presented objectivist arguments that libertarians latched on to.

              She didn’t present libertarian arguments at all.

          2. me too, and a political candidate does not just present a libertarian argument, they must show some sort of inclination to actually pursue those goals. Johnson and Weld do neither one.

      2. Firefly seems popular around here.

        1. Another space show that was really nothing special.

          1. *blank state*

            Gorram reavers

            1. Stare, not state.

              Great honk.

          2. FMS$
            Blasphemy, burn the socialist!

    2. Reason is a 501(c)3 non-profit and literally is not allowed to do that.

      1. Also, this. I thought that was the case but didn’t mention it on the off chance I was wrong.

      2. i was worried Reason might be figuratively regulated as a 501(c)3. which is a thing.

      3. I didn’t realize that, my mistake.

        That being said, there still isn’t enough being written about how this is a great opportunity for the LP to shine.

        1. [There] still isn’t enough being written about how this is a great opportunity for the LP to shine.

          I have made the same point before. I expect we will soon be reading The Libertarian Case for Hilary Clinton or more likely The Libertarian Case for Why Hillary Clinton is Better than Donald Trump.

          I’m beginning to wonder where else I can go for libertarian-ish content.

          1. I’m beginning to wonder where else I can go for libertarian-ish content.

            I’m just here for the commenters, and even some of them have a strong case of TDS.

      4. 501(c)(3)s cannot endorse a candidate or support partisan political activities. Its actually a fairly narrow restriction.

        But, yeah, fundraisers are right out.

        1. They could host a debate and ask loaded questions. That seems to work.

          1. Only for Party Members in good standing. And I don’t mean the LP.

      5. Can’t you guys set up a Reason Global Initiative to work around the 501(c)3?

    3. I agree. I disagree with him on immigration, for example (and most Libertarians), but he’s head and shoulders above Clinton and Trump when it comes to the police state, excessive defense spending, and our addiction to deficit spending.

      Both in quantity and quality, he’s better on the issues, imo, than the major party candidates.

      1. Johnson is indeed “head and shoulders above Clinton and Trump”.

        That’s true. This year’s election is that bad.

    4. Purity over success, apparently.

    5. Johnson’s position just may cost him more libertarian votes than it gains him in leftist/progressive votes.

      Which is a win/win if you are in the #anyonebuthillary camp.

    6. Johnson votes 73% with Bernie Sanders, who is as far left as you can get. He is awful on First Amendment/religious liberty issues, awful on climate change//carbon tax issues, still wants to federally fund Planned Parenthood with our tax dollars, wants the US to remain very much in the United Nations, supports TPP, believes Hillary Clinton is no criminal, etc. His VP is very strict on gun control.

    7. I agree with you. So what if he’s not as Libertarian as many of you want him to be?! Whatever the fuck that means! Y’all have a golden opportunity here to really get yourselves recognized. Johnson gets in, does a decent to good job (because he can’t do any worse than Bush or Obama, and especially Hillary or Trump!), then you can say, “See, what Libertarians can do?” This starts the landslide: Libertarians start winning all over the country, and in 4-8 years, you put someone else in who’s closer to the thinking of “true” Libertarians.
      When Thomas Jefferson talked about having a revolution every so often, he was talking about at the polls, but if the government got too tyrannical, through force of arms by the civilian militia. Now is the time, voting Libertarian is our revolution against the ruling elitist establishment and sends them a strong message: if you continue to disregard the Constitution and your constituency, you will be replaced. We should not be scared of our politicians/government, they should be scared of us!

  3. a fear that it’s going to lead to outcomes that he finds detestable

    Markets have a way of dealing with that just fine. You’d think the Libertarian candidate would have a bit more faith in markets.

    1. Do they? If he finds the idea ‘this particular person can reject this other person for religious reasons’ detestable, I don’t see how markets will help – at best you can have a proviso of ‘this other person can then go and do business with someone else.’ Which is awesome if his problem was ‘people don’t receive goods/services’ rather than ‘this is icky and there ought to be a law’.

      1. Anyone who prioritizes what “people don’t receive” over ‘what people are free to do’ should not be called a libertarian.

        1. Liberaltarian is what that is.

    2. This.

      He is showing a remarkable lack of faith in markets AND a remarkable preference for Federal force to compel people.

      He lost me in the Libertarian debates on this point and now he’s doubling down on it.

    3. Is there any freedom we have which doesn’t allow detestable behavior?

      I guess it might be tough to think of one (that isn’t arguable) for the 2nd amendment. Really bad taste is at least possible.

  4. Give the millennials time

  5. Johnson is staying true to his position against allowing religious-based exemptions to discrimination laws

    I think the issue is probably less about “the slippery slope of religious exemptions” and more about the legitimacy of “Anti-Discrimination” law in general.

    e.g. – People should be free to refuse business to anyone, at any time, for any reason. Full stop.

    I believe Rand Paul got into trouble for making exactly this point. which may be why Johnson is trying to avoid it. Or maybe he doesn’t actually believe it in the first place (i’m not sure he does)

    but he’s still being extra-stupid by trying to pretend to be principled… yet still finding some “middle ground” where principles and ‘protected classes’ are supposed to coexist.

    He’s just fucking dumb. He justifies compelling people to provide service on the rationale that *if he doesn’t*, why, all these super-crazy racists will just explode from the shadows, because as we know EVERYONE IS HORRIBLY RACIST AND ONLY HIDES THEIR RACIST RACISM BECAUSE OF LAWS.

    “”discrimination will exist in places we never dreamed of.”””

    Isn’t that exactly the fundamental belief of every progressive? People are awful and need to be regulated in their thought, behavior, etc. because otherwise ‘potentially bad things might happen’?

    1. “discrimination will exist in places we never dreamed of.”

      The funny thing is that, of course, it does. People I’ve never met are discriminating in ways I don’t know about to other people I don’t even know exist. And yet the world keeps spinning. How is that even possible?

      1. Whycome women refuse to return my calls!? Their discrimination is intolerable and intolerance discriminatory!

        1. Hey!

          She Not Puttin Out?

        2. If chicks won’t suck your dick, it’s discrimination. File a title IX claim for each refused blowjob.

          1. Hey that’s right! If she sucked OTHER dicks then it is a public accommodation! She is REQUIRED to suck yours too! The gubment ought to do something!

      2. Kochtopus!


      I used to think otherwise. Trump and his supporters convinced me not to. It is now clear to me that, yes, there are, in fact, a shit ton of closet racists out there, just waiting for an opportunity to crawl out of the woodwork.

      1. Perhaps it’s time to move to a different Heinlein character…… Professor Neil O’Brian, perhaps?

        1. Friday

      2. Trump really did make you lose your mind, huh.

        1. I think the correct word is “disillusioned”.

        2. She was every bit this stupid loooooong before Trump ever got involved in politics.

      3. So you actually think that laws make people less racist.

        1. No. Quite the opposite. My point is they DIDN’T make people less racist, they just made it socially unacceptable to *appear* to be racist in public.
          And then Trump came along and made it socially acceptable to be racist in public again, and the mask came off.

          1. Perhaps those laws had something to do with Trump’s rise.

          2. So doesn’t that actually completely blow your assertion out of the water?

            If these laws make being a racist politically unacceptable, then Trump should not be successful. Did the laws change along with Trump’s rise? No. So you should stop stating that the laws have some sort of magic to suppress racism.

            Indeed, social stigma is social stigma. For the past 20 years, we have had SJWs shoving GoodThink down peoples’ throats, and Donald Trump has tapped into the building resentment therein. Laws have had nothing to do with it.

    3. The fundamental belief of progressives is that the rile of government is to make people better. By force if necessary.

  6. Don’t you see that exceptions need to be made because HE’S OUR GUY?

    1. well put: identity politics is the reason that even the big two can’t come up with legitimate candidates

    2. They’re actually both career republicans.

      And there are all those other issues like war, prohibition, spending, etc, that some may think are more important.

      1. Although, Johnson and Weld are milktoast and will roll over to progressives of either party in about three heartbeats.

        Well, ok, Weld wouldn’t wait 3 heartbeats.

  7. Is it discrimination against or by Muslims that you’re so very worried about, Gary?

    I’m really struggling to figure out in what sense businessmen en masse will begin discriminating against Muslims if we stop compelling them to act against their consciences. It’s alarming and quite inflammatory that he’s relativizing refusal to participate in something a business owner finds unconscionable with refusing to serve someone because Muslim. That’s the domain of lefties who treat any hesitance to embrace something (e.g. gay marriage) as tantamount to wanting to criminalize it.

    1. I can imagine a photographer declining to participate in a photoshoot involving a Muslim woman wearing a burka if he believes the burka is an instrument of repression and illiberal cultural norms. That is not an unreasonable philosophical difference of opinion, but Johnson would see it as bigoted anti-Muslim discrimination.

    2. Those are my thoughts. Under the RFRA I can only discriminate against blue eyed people if I can show that I have a specific religious reason for doing so. The same holds for discriminating against Muslims. It is possible that someone somewhere has a bonafide religious objection towards Muslims but I am unaware of any particular Christian tenet that would prevent a Christian from baking a cake for a Muslim wedding. RFRA doesn’t allow people to just make stuff up.

      1. Maybe a Christian baker would object to baking a cake for a wedding to four wives at once?

        1. Which wouldn’t need an exemption because polygamists aren’t a protected class.

          1. I was being kind of facetious, but really, what guarantee do we have that “polyamory” rights and the “battle against Islamophobia” won’t take this sort of a turn?

            1. There is no guarantee there, but we’re also not there yet.

          2. “_______________ aren’t a protected class”

            There’s your libertarian moment right there.

        2. But in that case would the objection be based on the objector’s religious belief that marriage is between one man and one woman or because the happy groom and brides are Muslim? If it is the former then it could be argued that it is a legitimate religious objection. If it is the latter I am not so sure.

          1. Very good point, now try using it in the gay cake disputes and see what reaction you get.

            1. The problem is my use of the word “legitimate”. You will find people who will argue that there is no such thing as a “legitimate” religious objection to anything. Certainly people can claim that there “should not” be a religious objection to gay marriage (or whatever) but that doesn’t delegitimize the objection. At one point people claimed a religious objection to people of other races but I am not aware of any actual biblical passages that support that objection (though my knowledge of the Bible is extremely limited). That objection differs from the objection to gay marriage in that there are passages that Christians can point to that will support their practice. I support gay marriage because in general I believe that marriage, straight or gay, benefits society but I also believe in people following their conscience. If I believe that a baker is wrong to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding I won’t use that baker but I will still support their right to practice their beliefs as they see fit.

              1. The bible is filled with marriages of mixed race, so your are correct.

              2. Certainly.

                My understanding is that Biblical racism against black people is based on a fairly strained construction of the passages about the Canaanites, cursed by God to be servants to the Israelites. So if black people are Canaanites, and white Christians are the new Israel, then black people are supposed to be slaves of white Christians.

                Other Christians tend to say that whoever the Canaanites were, any curse they have is overturned by Christ, and God made of one blood all nations of the earth, etc.

                1. I think you’re overthinking it. Racism exists because the object of racism is different and humans naturally prefer other be the same as they are. Anything used from the Bible is just rationalization not cause. The only long-term solution to racism is for people to know others of different races and get used to seeing them as individuals, i.e., more than a faceless identity group. It’s unfortunate that race baiters insist on encouraging racism, which is understandable given they are dependent on it’s persistence.

              3. “If I believe that a baker is wrong to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding I won’t use that baker but I will still support their right to practice their beliefs as they see fit.”

                my personal belief is that the baker can refuse to sell the cakes… IF it is a publicly disclosed policy. in the case of gay marriage, 97% of the public would never know they were supporting that policy. Otherwise, you are expecting the free market to punish a largely hidden policy.

                i think there reasons for refusal are BS. while the bible says some things about marriage… it says absolutely nothing about cake. it is a clear attempt to pervert the idea of religious freedom, to infringe on the freedom of others. but, what the hell? they want to discriminate…. fine… but don’t go hiding behind the fact that 97% of your potential customers will never know (maybe slightly more might know, if the aggrieved party spends valuable time and resources to spread knowledge of your policy for you.)

                1. while the bible says some things about marriage… it says absolutely nothing about cake.

                  You completely miss the point. It could be any economic good or service, they don’t want to offer products that facilitate what they believe to be wrong. I shouldn’t need to cite a reason not to serve you. My labor is mine, my property is mine and I am not your slave. It’s really that simple.

                  1. as i said…. they can refuse, as long as it is a public policy. i don’t really care if it is a “valid” reason.

                    that said… it really is a stupid justification. and every time someone tries to draw a distinction between refusing service because “you are gay”, versus “you want to have a gay wedding”….. it is a strain to make a distinction that is meaningless.

                    1. One is material support for an act, the ceremony, that your beliefs preclude your support for. The other is a personal dislike of the person in question. Either reason is good enough to justify not providing goods or services.

                  2. while the bible says some things about marriage… it says absolutely nothing about cake.

                    In 1 Kings, Elijah compels the widow of Zarephath to bake him a cake because the Lord says so ? does that count?

                  3. ^THIS^

                2. ” think there reasons for refusal are BS. while the bible says some things about marriage… it says absolutely nothing about cake.”

                  Oh, really?

                  When the prophet Samuel warns the Israelites about what will happen if they have a king, he lists the various oppressive things a king will do, such as tax the people, take their property, and compel them to work for him.

                  Among the things the king will do, warns Samuel:

                  “He will use your daughters as perfumers, cooks, and bakers.” (1 Samuel 8:13)

                  So one could actually argue that the Bible specifically warned against compulsory cakes.

                  1. and how does that translate to “thou shalt not bake gay cakes?” it says you should not take a king… not that you should use your CHOSEN profession to treat people unequally.

                    1. not that you should use your CHOSEN profession to treat people unequally.

                      The cake is support for the act. And all professions treat people unequally. Go down to the grocery store and try to buy some groceries with buttons and lint instead of money. You’ll be treated differently than the guy with pictures of Andrew Jackson in his wallet.

                    2. I didn’t know cakes had a sex.

                    3. see how sheltered you are?


                3. There are passages about the faithfull making products for pagans, specifically pagan religious items, that is forbidden. Basically don’t make and sell items used in religious services of the spiritual enemy. Gay ceremony cake radially falls under this prohibition.

              4. If someone says it’s against his religious beliefs that black people can marry, than that is against his religious beliefs. Even if he says he’s a Christian.

                That’s why I’m not a fan of these religious freedom laws. Either the government ends up in the business of deciding religious doctrine, or anyone can basically exempt themselves from whatever laws they don’t like. The latter, of course, won’t happen consistently.

                1. It depends on how the law is phrased. We already have a religious freedom law. It’s call the First Amendment. Other religious freedom laws just seek to clarify this. If the SCOTUS disagrees, then that law is struck down.

      2. This is a terrible understanding of RFRA and this is the heart of the problem. Most people do not understand why RFRA was passed and what it says.

        All RFRA says is that the government needs to have a ‘compelling interest to burden the free exercise of religion’ and must have pursued ‘all available alternatives’. It just reestablishes the Sherbert Test which existed from the 1960’s to the early 1990’s (I don’t recall a lot of people claiming religious exemptions for discrimination then).

        Considering that there is no ‘compelling interest’ in forcing bakers to bake gay wedding cakes (they have plenty of alternatives) it would seem that a state RFRA would protect this, but ‘religious liberty’ has fallen out of fashion, even among so-called ‘libertarians’ (who don’t really support ‘liberty’ so much as they support looking ‘cool’).

        I would expect so-called ‘libertarians’ to have a little more depth in such a discussion than your average rich white liberal college SJW. For shame.

        1. The problem with religious freedom laws is they put the government- particularly the courts- in the role of determining what is a bona fide religious belief or practice.

          If the religious clauses in the First Amendment mean anything, it’s that the government has no role in determining what is and what isn’t religion.

          1. If the religious clauses in the First Amendment mean anything, it’s that the government has no role in determining what is and what isn’t religion.

            … a problem you can solve by suppressing all religions equally, which is not better from a 1A perspective.

            1. In what way is that squashing religions at all?

          2. Actually that has been answered in the past, but is now being ignored by the courts. The government doesn’t get to define what is a ‘bona fide religious belief’. If you say that is your religious belief then that is to be accepted. What the government has to show is that it was a ‘compelling interest’ in having you violate your conscience.

            I have no idea why people are so perturbed by this concept.

            1. Because it creates an unequal application of the law.

              Baker X doesn’t like gays because he’s just a bigot. So he can be forced to bake for a same-sex wedding.

              Baker Y, OTOH, has a religious objection to baking a cake for a same-sex couple, so he’s off the hook. After all, Baker X can just be forced to provide that service.

          3. Ya If I’m free to the the Pope of my new religion that I just made up today, then I don’t really have freedom of religion. And the Pope of my new religion just issued a fatawah against gay cakes.

            1. Pretty nonsensical response, but I get it: you don’t believe in religious liberty. It’s a shame, because this country was founded on the basis of religious liberty- not homocakes. I hate to break that to you.

          4. The problem with religious freedom laws is that government action necessitates them at all.

            Two wrongs, and all that.

        2. I think religion is an anachronism and think it’s an unfair basis for laws.

          More important and general rights should provide whatever freedom religious liberties give, and not just be restricted to members of certain major organized religions. Right to property should cover most of this cake stuff for example.

          1. That’s a better argument than we should exempt people who claim a religious belief from certain laws. IMO, anyway.

      3. That’s true. A Christian would bake a cake for any wedding between man and woman regardless of religion, but not for a gay wedding, which to them is a perversion of the nature and intention of marriage. The government also must have a compelling reason to restrict religious freedom.

    3. Trump’s followers were quite happy to say that Muslims should be barred from entering the country. Why on earth do you think these same people wouldn’t, if it were legally allowed, refuse to serve Muslims in their restaurants?

      1. Don’t you see the difference between refusing to serve someone because they are gay or Muslim versus not wanting to serve a Muslim wedding service or gay marriage?

        Discriminating against a individual, because of his characteristics is one thing, but then saying that you also have to not discriminate against his practices is something completely different. Gay marriage is the only marriage that is a ‘protected class’. Which is beyond bizarre, as that makes those marriages, in effect, stringently protected by law, but not any others.

        1. I see the difference. But lots of people would concoct a religious excuse for not serving Muslims if they could get away with it.

          In general yes, I think nobody should have to serve anyone they don’t want to. My point is simply that Gary Johnson *isn’t wrong* when he says that if it were legal there would be blatant discrimination everywhere.

          That is one thing the whole Trump phenomenon has opened my eyes about. There’s a shit ton of people out there who are closet bigots just waiting for it to be okay to be bigots again.

          1. But, Johnson’s argument makes no sense. RFRA has existed for twenty years and the Sherbert Test existed from 1960 to 1990. We never had a problem (and we still don’t) of people discriminating against others under the guise of ‘religious liberty’.

            This is a paranoid distraction

          2. That is one thing the whole Trump phenomenon has opened my eyes about. There’s a shit ton of people out there who are closet bigots just waiting for it to be okay to be bigots again.

            It’s been raining “bigots” according to you for a lot longer than Trump has been running for office. So what if there is discrimination after you repeal public accommodation laws? People overwhelmingly prefer to live in homogeneous societies and simply not forcing everyone at gun point to associate with each other sounds like a non-government (thus non-violent) way for people to express that, if that is their bigoted wish. I personally don’t know of any business owners that would do this, there’s more than enough social pressure to push back on blatantly discriminatory practices like this.

          3. “That is one thing the whole Trump phenomenon has opened my eyes about. There’s a shit ton of people out there who are closet bigots just waiting for it to be okay to be bigots again.”

            And using “libertarianism” as the opportunity. Like the Tea Party wasn’t high-end enough.

        2. the idea that selling a cake means they “serve a Muslim wedding service or gay marriage” is already a reach for relevancy.

          make no mistake, they are refusing to sell to them because they are Muslim or gay… because of their characteristics… the addition of the word “wedding” is just why they thought the argument might work.

          1. make no mistake, they are refusing to sell to them because they are Muslim or gay… because of their characteristics… the addition of the word “wedding” is just why they thought the argument might work.

            If so, so? And the fact that they serve gay patrons in other capacities kind of invalidates your argument.

          2. This is not true at all. There’s a big difference between baking a cake for a secular celebration such as a birthday, for example, and baking one for (what many people regard as) a spiritual occasion such as a wedding. A wedding cake is much more than dough and frosting. It is a symbolic blessing and expression of support for the union. It most certainly IS a kind of speech, regardless of whether the courts currently see it that way.

      2. Why on earth would this be my business?

        Control is an illusion. We can polish up our moral superiority until the glare can be seen from space, build fences around society and have a list of Required Legal Politeness for this person and that favored demographic. And the assholes will still be assholes.

        Cast the people into dungeons, crown them kings, scold and nag and shakey finger, and people will still be people. We can pursue happiness, but neither gods nor sainted justice warriors, wise men nor subtle drugs can ensure that we will catch it.

        Prohibition of public assholery will work exactly as well as every other prohibition we’ve tried. Laws do not change who people are, they merely give us justification for unleashing hell on thoughts and actions which haven’t been sanctioned by our neighbors.

        1. this

          when I write as well as this, why am I gay or whatever the charge was yesterday ?

          1. People may have been sarcastically chiding you as talking like a fag because Idiocracy. But I could be wrong, I wasn’t there.

          2. Welcome to the commentariat! We eat our own.

            It was a poke in passing. To return the compliment, I really enjoyed that post you made. But you had dug a hole, and when that happens it’s traditional for one of us to push you in, grinning. It’s mostly in good fun, though it sometimes invites a certain piquant tone to the interactions.

            1. I’ll get over it.

            2. I like the shoveling of dirt into the hole after the push. That is my favorite part.

      3. Why on earth do you think these same people wouldn’t, if it were legally allowed, refuse to serve Muslims in their restaurants?

        So people should be compelled to do things they don’t want to do so long as most people don’t agree with their motivations.

        Rights: they’re for the cool, agreeable people now!

        1. It’s an dystopic horror if you come from a socialist mindset wherein business owners are born into of a fixed bourgeois class that universally conspires with each other in a giant monopoly of the economy.

      4. and, out of curiosity, how do you reconcile these views….

        1. People who discriminate against those who have different views are horrible and must be punished

        2. We need to let in more people who subscribe to the most prejudiced and intolerant religion on the planet.

        1. Just amend #1 to say “white people”. Problem solved.

          1. Of course, silly me!

  8. His basic argument is that there is no right to free association that protects against legally compelled association so not even religious freedom can trump it. He raises “discrimination” to an ultimate evil enshrining a positive right. Though I get the impression that Johnson has not actually thought very deeply on this and is having an emotional reaction.

    1. …having an emotional reaction

      He seems to me campaigning as a libertarianish SJW.

      1. Holy shit! Maybe that explains all the reason writers lately!

      2. I am going with the assumption that he is sincere and not simply pandering to social liberals.

        1. I think politically he’s boxed in. Freedom of association is too easy to caricature as a return to Jim Crow, etc and so it’s outside the Overton window currently. If you don’t like the idea of people not serving other people for differences in religion, color, etc it’s an easy emotional argument to say that we should ‘outlaw’ discrimination without thinking through the ramifications of it.

          1. Outlaw something without thinking through the ramifications ? It’s what we do.

            -every politician ever

  9. Johnson is an idiot. But he’s a principled idiot and he gets that he doesn’t always understand everything even if he starts every paragraph with “Look, you idiot.” Unlike Trump who understands everything and wants to destroy the world, and unlike Hillary who works for the people who understand everything and want to use her to take control of the world. And Weld is a smart guy who will keep him in line. I think Johnson is earnest and can learn. He should get private tutoring by Stossel or Welch on these basic but tricky issues.

    1. I need a 2-term Governor and long-time Libertarian activist to learn about freedom of association?

    2. 90% of what you just wrote = solid
      10% of what you just wrote = batshit

      Better than your usual ratio, I guess

    3. Why can’t you just say he’s a shitty candidate, but a shitty candidate with the right letter after his name?

    4. 22nd thinks Susan Collins is great, and would be a valuable partner to the Johnson Weld team

      1. And when I say 22nd, I mean Weld

  10. I think what you’re going to end up doing is open up a plethora of discrimination that you never believed could exist.

    Like Jim Crow laws? The reason they had those laws is too many businesses didn’t care what color you were as long as your money was green. Absent anti-discrimination laws, businesses were free to discriminate against blacks – but it was going to cost them in lost business to the guy who didn’t discriminate. What we have here is sort of the opposite, instead of being required to discriminate against minorities, you’re being required to discriminate in favor of them. People willing to pay the price in lost business if they want to discriminate and the law says they can be forced to do business with those they’d rather not – how is this not discriminating against the majority of good white Christian folk who hate the gays, the coloreds, the Jews? Oh, right – it’s only a small minority of people who would choose to discriminate. I think he’s wrong about just how much discrimination would be going on if the government weren’t involved. The fact that he thinks absent the laws everybody would be discriminating against everybody else is a pretty bleak indication of his low opinion of his fellow man.

    1. (As a libertarian I have a pretty low opinion of my fellow man, too – but as long as he isn’t trying to make me adopt his opinions I don’t care what sort of stupid bullshit he believes. When they start getting the government involved in enforcing their opinions I care.)

    2. as long as your money was green.

      Yeah, unlike those shifty-eyed Canucks with their Monopoly-colored monarchy bucks.

    3. Good point, one I’ve made before.

      Jim Crow laws existed because their proponents feared businesses would cate more about the colour of money than someone’s skin.

  11. It’s not complicated at all. Self-ownership includes freedom of association, and it doesn’t end just because the government requires you buy a piece of paper from them to run a business.

    1. Part of me, the statist evil part, always gets a little pissed when some pharmacist refuses to carry the day after pill, just because they are taking part in the occupational licensing scam — by gum! if they are using state jackboots to keep out competitors, they damn well better serve everybody! — but that’s such a narrow minded gripe. The real problem is state interference period, whether in needingbusiness licensing or stomping on freedom of association.

      Gary’s problem is he has that first natural disgust at people abusing their public business license by not serving all the public. How much he really believes it, and how much is what he has to say unless he wants to come out against business licensing, I do not know.

      1. I think you’re totally correct…and it speaks to how Johnson often seems to be setting his political philosophy by instinct, rather than by specific principles and their logical consequences.

        His instincts are pretty libertarian, just like yours or mine, but absent the specific principle that my right to associate with who I want supercedes your need to get a morning after pill, the somewhat understandable instinct to go “what a dick, but that’s his right” ends up as “someone is doing harm, I must stop them” instead.

      2. Been in business since 2002. Never got a license. Never will.

  12. “The reason that a baker can be forced to make a wedding cake for a gay couple is because the courts don’t consider baking inherently a form of expression. Bakers are not showing support or approval of a gay marriage simply by making a wedding cake, according to existing legal precedents.”

    Existing legal precedents also allow Congress to impose a penaltax to implement Obamacare, and to regulate homegrown marijuana as interstate commerce.

    So the argument from authority doesn’t really work.

    1. Can a clothing store be required to sell burkas for Muslims to drape their wives and daughters in? I mean something like this.

      1. I mean, just so long as the phrase “women who show their faces are sluts” isn’t stitched into the burka, the store owner isn’t expressing his *approval* of women going around like Ku Kluxers, right?

  13. So, if a ‘gay marriage’ is now a ‘protected class’ (which is essentially what Johnson is saying) then is a ‘remarriage’ a ‘protected class’, too? Meaning, can a Catholic baker be fined for not providing a wedding cake to a divorced person who has not received an annulment? Or, better yet, can the Knights of Columbus be sued for not renting its facilities to a divorced person being remarried that, again, did not receive an annulment?

    The slippery slope that I see is making contracts, such as marriages, into ‘protected classes’. It is one thing to say you cannot discriminate against a gay customer, but it is quite another to say you cannot discriminate against a gay union.

    And, no Johnson has not thought this through. He’s a cosmotarian, which means he doesn’t really believe in any concept of liberty. He just understands math well enough to be fiscally conservative, but he totally wants to be invited to cocktail parties and look ‘cool’, so he’ll avoid everything that truly defines ‘liberty’.

    He’s also god awful on foreign policy and more hawkish than Trump (it’s sad when the libertarian candidate wants more wars than the Republican candidate).

    1. The divorced example is a bad one. First off, divorce is allowed due to marital unfaithfulness or in the case of an unbelieving spouse. Secondly, the cake that a divorced person buys is not to celebrate a divorce. It’s probably for their son’s birthday party. It is not celebrating the actual divorce.

  14. Muslim is the new gay.

  15. Is it just me – or did Johnson seem a lot more libertarian 4 years ago when he was campaigning as a Republican?

  16. I don’t agree with Johnson’s position, but if I was running for President, I would probably take the same stance. To do otherwise would be taking a controversial stand on something that is of relatively small importance compared to bigger issues like trade, eminent domain, and occupational licensing. It would be like Rand Pauls statements on the anti-discrimination parts of the CRA – it would be a giant distraction from his substantive policy positions that would only cost him support.

    Gary Johnson is simply making a sensible decision to pick his battles.

      1. It is a quarrel in a far away country between people of whom we know nothing.

      2. “Everybody is entitled to their own beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that folks have the right to discriminate,” he said.

        I’m going to that guy’s house and I’m going to bang his wife. Because folks don’t have the right to discriminate. If the good lady says no, I’ll sue them and see that they get rehabilitated.

      3. They are making 1st and 14th amendment arguments. I think there is an obvious 13th amendment case too.

        1. Surprise, surprise, the Supreme Court rejects
          that argument:

          “We find no merit in the remainder of appellant’s contentions, including that of “involuntary servitude.” As we have seen, 32 States prohibit racial discrimination in public accommodations. These laws but codify the common law innkeeper rule, which long predated the Thirteenth Amendment. It is difficult to believe that the Amendment was intended to abrogate this principle.”

          1. (not saying I agree – it all depends on what the meaning of “servitude” is.)

          2. I will say that there is a difference between renting a room to person X, when you are already open and renting rooms to persons Q, Y and Z and baking a cake for person X. If the bakery could bake 4 cakes at once and chose to only bake 3, it would be more similar, but that isnt really how cakes work.

            I wouldnt want to be the person making that difference in an argument, but its the kind of hairs the supremes split on a regular basis.

            1. The current orthodoxy is that if someone chooses to serve the public, then they have to do so without racial, etc. discrimination, and if they don’t like it they can go into another line of work, hence they’re not serving involuntarily in the same way as if they were ordered to go into the cotton-picking business when they would rather be a baker.

              1. And I would counter-argue that they are just choosing to get out of the business, then later getting back into it.

                Which is different than the motel or a restaurant, as they are continuing to do business with others.

                But a wedding cake, especially if it involves delivery and setup and etc, is a one at a time type thing.

                1. I don’t actually know what do with the 13th amendment in this situation – I’d like it to mean freedom of association.

                  1. We have the 1st for Freedom of Association already.

                    1. But that extends to non-commercial situations. The 13th would apply to the doctor not wanting to perform a surgery or a baker not wanting to bake a cake or me not wanting to fill out my taxes.

                2. To give a further example.

                  I used to do lots of corporate training. It was a week at a time, and I wasnt working anywhere else those weeks (well, sometimes I did a bit on the side, mostly emergency fixes, but not often).

                  It was an occasional thing.

                  If I had refused a gig from the Nazi Linux Users Association, I could easily argue that I was choosing to get out of the business that week. And then take another job the next week.

                  1. I’m just saying the courts don’t read it that way.

                    It gets worse – the courts and Congress actually use the 13th Amendment as the basis for banning private racial discrimination.

                    Discrimination is a badge or incident of slavery – therefore Congress can ban it as part of its enforcement power under the 13th amendment – and the courts can enforce the ban.

    1. ” trade”

      Yes, the freedom to buy and sell certainly is important

      “eminent domain”

      Yes, don’t you hate policies which force businesses to close?

      “and occupational licensing”

      I know, right? Let’s focus on people being able to engage in business without government red tape.

      1. Yes. But when we’re talkign trade we’re talking about laws that impact EVERYONE.
        Eminent Domain impacts tens of thousands of people every year.
        Occupational licensing impacts millions.

        The number of anti-gay Christian bakers who don’t want to serve weddings is small. I would focus on the issues that give us the most bank for our buck, so to speak.

        1. You can define any issue narrowly enough that it looks minor (to those not on the receiving end).

          Only a small number of people have severe pain which can best be alleviated by some kind of marijuana product.

          Only a small number of youths take BB guns to parks.

          On the religious freedom front, add up the people who use illegal drugs in their rituals, the ones who carry ritual knives, etc., and add example after example, you begin to get something like a possible coalition.

        2. Occupational licensing laws are unjust for the exact same reason as anti-discrimination laws: they both violate Freedom of Associaton. The latter may be less politically popular than the former, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

          1. But it does make it easier to achieve A than B, and it’s probably a good idea to focus on picking the battles you can win than trying to fight every battle simultaneously on all fronts.

            1. The RFRA battle is ongoing.

              In abandoning it, Johnson is abandoning a perfectly defensible position to the enemy.

              Even more, he’s joining the invading forces.

              1. The first RFRA law was passed by Congress in 1993, on a bipartisan basis, and that hardline theocrat Bill Clinton signed it.

                1. And as for picking battles that can be won, good luck in Johnson forcing Jews to make nazi cakes.

                  That was sure a pragmatic stance to take!

    2. Is there much support among regular people for forcing photographers to photograph gay weddings?

      I’m no libertarian, but I find it quite ironic that many of the people who were for decades telling people not to vote strategically are telling them to do so now, despite the fact that their candidate has no chance of actually winning.

      1. Yes, because to do so would be questioning anti-discrimination statues in general. Most people think that anti-discrimination as a blanket rule, is sacrosanct. The idea is that nobody should be allowed to discriminate against anyone, anywhere, ever. Even if it results in some absurd situations, like demanding that a trans-woman (biological male) be allowed into the nude section of a sex-segregated spa.

        1. No, if you ask most people, they would give you a very idiosyncratic yes/no list as to who should be allowed to discriminate vs. whom.

      2. I would guess that the majority of people would oppose forcing photographers to photograph gay weddings.

        I would also guess that the majority of people would oppose wedding photographers being allowed to discriminate against gay people.

        The majority of people are pretty easily led by question wording.

    3. Counterpoint: Rand Paul won the election after making those comments.

  17. I like Gary Johnson. I plan on voting for him. But, he’s just plain wrong on this issue. People should have the right to decide who they do business with. Period. Full stop.

    My impression is that socons are just simply a big blind spot for Johnson. I think they gave him a lot of flack in 2012 when he was running in the GOP primaries and he never got over it.

    1. Completely agreed. I come from a socon upbringing and was myself a solid socon until late in college, and while I’ve since become socially liberal enough to vote libertarian without reservation, whenever I see Johnson working so hard to emphasize how we should crack down on socons I cringe, pretty much feeling everyone I grew up with slamming the door on ever considering him.

      Hadn’t thought of it as a “blind spot” but it’s a term that makes a lot of sense here.

  18. Look. Here’s the issue….


  19. You know who else’s position on religious freedom could have used some critical analysis?

    1. Ferdinand II of Aragon?

    2. Pope Tielhard I?

  20. Bill Weld was on CNBC this morning, sounded great.

    They asked him how well the Libertarian ticket could do, pointing out that Ross Perot hit 19 percent of the popular vote but won 0 states. Weld said they were in it to run the table, and win the popular vote. He didn’t sound high either. He figures they’re at 10 percent now, and can bump that to 15 percent with some endorsements from moderate Republicans, then make the debates and get to 20 or 25 percent by September, and then it’s game on.

    It was great to hear an LP candidate say he was running to win, and pointing out that a lot of people agree with his positions on the issues. (Even if he had to stray pretty far from the LP platform to make that true. Johnson-Weld is light years ahead of Trump-Clinton.)

    He even said the 2 words that have been in short supply in this election year: “Cut spending.”

    1. Yeah, obviously Johnson/Weld are streets ahead when it comes to the issues, but does that even matter in an election that is so resoundingly not about the issues? Is there even 20% of likely voters in this election that care about discussing actual matters of policy, balancing budgets, and so forth more than the sub-reality TV spectacle of Clinton and Trump calling each other mean names?

      1. Weld and Johnson were interviewed last night on Fox with Brett Baier. Weld came across as a much better candidate than GJ.

        Weld was on message and to the point; GJ was scattered and kinda wishy-washy.


        that is all.

      2. Stop trying to make “streets ahead” a thing, Pierce.

      3. I think the percent is larger than you think. But even if its only 20%, add to that the people who hate both Trump and Clinton and suddenly its not a bad number.

    2. He’s either a liar or he’s delusional, take your pick. The sun is more likely to blow up before the election than that scenario coming true.

      1. Winning outright is highly unlikely.

        While I am not predicting it, winning just enough states to throw the election into the House measures on my probability meter. Very, very low, we need 3-4 sigmas to measure it, but it shows up.

        And once it gets to the House…I like Johnson’s odds.

  21. Does the claim that permitting discrimination against gays would lead to discrimination against muslims really count as a “slippery slope” when a major party presidential candidate is already campaigning on legally restricting muslims?

    1. I thought he was saying that permitting Christians to discriminate would lead to Muslims discriminating, which would be really bad? Like, some half-assed attempt at cleverness based on the assumption that people worried about this also don’t like Muslims, just because?

  22. Do you believe that Johnson would gain followers by sticking to and articulating strict libertarian principles or lose followers?

    If you think he would lose followers, then stop being bitchy, realize you’re in a ridiculous minority that will never matter in politics, build yourselves a bridge and get over it.

    If you think he will gain followers, then stop picking weak-kneed nancys who keep tap-dancing around the issues. Get someone who’s not afraid to give their opinion. A libertarian Trump.

    1. Pragmatism is fine but you stop being a libertarian at some point.

      1. Giving up on politics doesn’t necessarily mean giving up on libertarianism. You can stick to your principles while understanding that the majority don’t agree with you.

    2. “A libertarian Trump.”

      Wayne Allen Root?

    3. If you think he will gain followers, then stop picking weak-kneed nancys who keep tap-dancing around the issues

      Because what the LP really needs is an influx of nanny-statists and disaffected leftists.

      1. That’s an… interesting way to completely misunderstand.

      2. The LP, just like God’s Own Prohibitionists and the Democratic Peoples Party, is a party organized by dues-paying members with a platform only some of our candidates read. The looter parties want government jobs for the bribery and graft to run their machines. If they fail to get someone elected it’s a major disaster for their cash business.

        The libertarian party is a machine that turns votes into freedom. Our spoiler votes force the looters to change their platforms or, failing that, to use their courts to kill bad laws they can see us zeroing in on. They need 50% +1, whereas we need less than 2% of the popular vote to WIN by repealing bad laws and cutting taxes. This we accomplish cheaply and with no fraud or violence. To continue to accomplish all this we need small contributions and votes, not many of them, and we care not where they come from.

  23. It’s also funny how Johnson cited possible discrimination against ‘Muslims’ as a reason to not support religious liberty. Johnson, the numb skull, was the very one who supported a ‘burqa ban’ (before he realized, of course, that such a position would cost him invitations to cocktail parties). A ‘burqa ban’ is one of the dumbest proposals I’ve heard this entire election season and it highlights that Johnson is, in fact, antagonistic to religious liberty- more so than Democrats, which is saying a lot.

    1. I suspect Johnson has good intentions, he’s merely mistaken his affable, fickle-as-public-opinion emotarianism for thinking ideas through to their logical conclusions with a central priority of liberty.

    2. Maybe Gary is smarter than he seems. He may have thrown out a couple of scraps of spoiled meat in the dust so that the really stupid have something to dogfight each other over. While that’s happening, our candidates for Congress, Governors’ races, Statehouse, judgeships, city races, trade association boards and such can quietly WIN elections by racking up a harvest of spoiler votes and changing the laws. Our candidates routinely win without getting hired as slimy politicians. The politicians we DO hire, to better fit in with the looter parties, are… well… politicians. Whaddaya expect?

  24. Say it with me, Gary: Allodial property. Property rights. Freedom of association.

    Maybe when GJ’s 80 he’ll be vaguely libertarian.

    1. I want some allodial property. But then other libertarians would be telling me that the sum total of Earth’s population has a natural right to move into my allodial backyard, becuz frehdom of moovments.

      1. No one is saying that.

        We say that they have the right to buy your neighbors house and move in, even though they werent born nearby.

        1. We say that they have the right to buy your neighbors house and move in, even though they werent born nearby.

          No, that’s called property rights. The concept of “freedom of movement” centers around the idea that a person has a natural right to either 1) trespass on the property of others or 2) utilize the stolen property of others vis a vis public property. “Freedom of movement” as a it were can only possibly apply to frontier or unowned territory as a natural right, in all other instances it can only be contractual.

          1. No, freedom of movement, as in move from Mexico to the USA.

            It has nothing to do with trespassing.

            1. Say I live on the border and I don’t want people crossing my property. We can agree that’s legitimate I assume. So I guess they can then take the public roadway, but then who in the world possesses a natural right to utilize land that was stolen? They might enjoy that privilege, they may enjoy the legal ability to do so, but you can’t predicate the existence of a natural right on the violation of other natural rights. The only person(s) who actually have anything close to resembling a “right” to use that public property are those from whom the property was stolen, be it the expropriated land owner or his heirs, or in the absence of such persons, only the people from whom wealth was stolen to develop the public property have any say-so about who can use the road.

              Unfortunately, the right to restrict access is often diffused over the whole of the tax paying population. Unfortunately, owing to human nature, rules about restricting access to property must exist in some form, even ill-begotten rules are preferable to the expropriated “owners” than to have no rules at all.

              Sure the government owns the road in my neighborhood, but since they are the only ones effectively allowed to make rules for use of that road, it’s preferable for me that my children not play in the yard while people can legally race up and down the street at 100mph with impunity.

              1. The only ones I ever see driving 100mph are government cops, probably on their way to shoot folks who correctly assert that they don’t own the roads. But there was a time when some 120 thousand hydrogen bombs stood ready for launch and a highway system that made the entire nation into an airport for nuclear bombers while doubling as supply and evac routes was a powerful deterrent. Germs and nukes still exist even in these peaceful times…

  25. forcing people to provide goods or services to a ritual or ceremony with which they vehemently disagree on religious grounds sure as fuck sounds like a violation of religious freedom.

    1. Exactly, it is a violation of the First Amendment and freedom of religious expression. Thomas Jefferson said “The civil authorities should never override the rights of conscience.” George Washington said the same.

  26. You forgot one tiny fact to take into consideration in this article… HE’S A LIBERTARIAN!!! He isn’t going to subscribe to policies that intrude on people’s individul freedoms… He ISN’T a Dem. who wants to police every detail of our individual lives for us, he ISN’T a Rep. who wants to wall off our country & line billionaire pockets.

    He’s a LIBERTARIAN! I know it’s difficult for the (obviously Democrat) journalist who wrote this piece to wrap his head around… But a LIBERTARIAN is someone who doesn’t care about that sh**.

    He cares more about Americans being ABLE to say, “Hell no!” to whatever they, as individuals, feel is right. This INCLUDES the right to say no to forcing someone to sell flowers to a gay couple without fear of persecution. INCLUDES the right to be able to say, “Hell no!” to government forcing nuns to sell contraception. INCLUDES the right for business owners to say, “Hell no!” to letting someone with a penis into the restroom with naked women and little girls. This also INCLUDES the right to be able to say, Hell yes!” to any of those options / decisions above.

    LIBERTARIANS want government to get the hell out of our INDIVIDUAL lives & focus on foreign policy, not tell us what toilet paper we should use & why it’s immoral to wipe a certain way. (Proverbially speaking.)

    Seriously, people. The fact that I have to sit here & type these words to make this point is rediculous. The fact that no one seems to know these things inherently… is frightening.

    1. Wait, so being a LIBERTARIAN means telling people that they are obligated to serve others? Damn people around here have been lying to me for years!

    2. Prove it. As far as I can tell, he’s a democrat who wants to balance the budget.

    3. LIBERTARIANS want government to get the hell out of our INDIVIDUAL lives & focus on foreign policy, not tell us what toilet paper we should use & why it’s immoral to wipe a certain way. (Proverbially speaking.)

      So why isn’t Johnson supporting freedom of association?

    4. LIBERTARIANISM is. . .never having to say you’re sorry.

  27. Here’s a question: Why is it there’s a law when the Free Exercise Clause has been right there, all along?

  28. How about this as a simple dividing line…

    If you are incorporated, a c-corp, S-corp, or an LLC then you have to abide by anti discrimination laws as part of the costs of receiving the government protection of incorporation. Sole Proprietorship and General Partnerships operating under a DBA are treated as individuals and not subject to public accommodation laws.

    1. That would be a fine, easy to follow, and discernible legal solution.

      A rabid team of roughneck lawyers from the ABA will be by shortly to nail you to cross and label you a scab-heretic.

      1. For some reason that last sentence reminded me of Douglas Adams.

        Here it is:

        “And then, one Thursday, nearly two thousand years after one man had been nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change, a girl sitting on her own in a small caf? in Rickmansworth suddenly realized what it was that had been going wrong all this time, and she finally knew how the world could be made a good and happy place. This time it was right, it would work, and no one would have to get nailed to anything.”

  29. Holy shit, this election season is awful.

    Can we not get the libertarian to defend liberty? IDK, just seems like a no-brainer.

    1. Apparently not, but we should support him anyway because it will somehow promote liberty…even though he isn’t that fond of the idea himself.

  30. Under current hospital service accommodation laws, could a surgeon be compelled to perform female genital mutilation on a woman from, say, Senegal?

    1. Ooooh…. Someone should post that question over on Jezzy or DU and time how long it takes for it to be moderated away.

      O/U — 15 minutes?

  31. I cant wait to force the muslim deli to make me a ham and bacon sandwich and serve me a beer!

    1. How about some beer cheese on your sammitch?

  32. It’s not about freedom of religion. It’s about freedom of association. This talk of a religious exemption is just exemption for religious organizations to avoid the ban on their otherwise secular free association rights. Yes religious organizations should be free to discriminate according to their beliefs, but so should everyone else.

    1. THIS.

      We need to kill the concept of public accommodation.

      BTW, accommodation is a tough word to spell, took me 3 tries. 2 Ms, really?

      1. That’s to balance out the extra “n” in millennium.

  33. The problem is I don’t think you can cut out a little chunk there. I think what you’re going to end up doing is open up a plethora of discrimination that you never believed could exist. And it’ll start with Muslims.

    Shit, I’m as islamophobic as John Sobieski, and this argument failed to sell me. No one is worried about Muslims refusing to associate with people they find distasteful — there aren’t enough for it to even matter. To the extent anyone cares, it’s because they’re worried about Muslims committing mass murder against those they find distasteful.

  34. I must have misread my history books. I always thought that this country was founded, in part, on ‘religious liberty’. Cosmotarians, though, seem to insist that it was, in fact, founded on ‘homocakes’.


      1. First time I’ve seen the term, “homocake.” Is that trademarked?

        1. You are alive?

          1. If you are, congratulations and I pray you’re doing OK.

          2. Like Kirk, I’m still alive. I posted not too long ago for some reason, probably to say hello to the doc, who has returned.

        2. I’m surprised nobody has made a hoecake joke.

    2. Frushitarians is the preferred nomenclature.


    More lost voters for Johnson. Readers of the Federalist (which has been stridently Never Trump) got to read about how Johnson is not very libertarian and not worth their vote, due to his position on religious liberty.

    Another 1% showing- here we come!

    1. I have a good number of friends who are saying they’ll vote LP this time. First time in my life I’ve seen that.

      Whatever Johnson is or isn’t, he’s not Trump or Clinton.

    2. Another 1% showing- here we come!

      GayJay didn’t break 1% back in 2012.

  36. I’ll admit it. I scrolled to the end. I’m going to guess without reading that the comments–taken in whole–are yet another demonstration of why the word “libertarian” pretty much dooms any candidate. Frankly, I was surprised Johnson emerged as the LP candidate. I was not, however, surprised at the process including no cover charge strip show. To suggest Johnson’s argument needs “critical analysis” is a bit like complaining about the choice of music while the band played on. Congratulations on being the party that never let being elected distract from counting the number of angels that can dance on the head of an ideological pin.

  37. Gary Johnson would suck a bag of bleeding AIDS dicks if meant proving how tolerant he is.

    Remember when Rand Paul was the big sellout for not wanting to give welfare to Syrian refugees or when Reason attacked him for not wanting pay for abortion on demand? Can we get that guy back?

  38. LOL, you have a major series of typos here, you called some guy a “libertarian” who thinks if you call up a muslim bakery and demand they make a cake with a cartoon of Mohammed eating bacon on it, that bakery should be forced by laws to bake it. Don’t you guys edit your articles?

  39. If you force people to provide services to people they hate, then the providers will just rub their taint all over it. Nobody wants taint in their wedding cake, do they?

    On the other side of the relationship. Why the hell would I want to support the business of someone who is a bigoted asshole who is going to rub their taint all over my cake?

    The cake lawsuit was nothing but an act of revenge; motivated by hate, against an enemy.

  40. What happens when inability to pay as in poor become a protected class. You might laugh I have actually heard this as a proposal. It would be only a matter of time before you are required to serve someone even if they can’t pay. I mean isn’t that just as likely a scenario then the overwhelming majority of businesses that would still serve people regardless. Let’s really ask how many businesses would this truly matter for. You are not going to see Wal-Mart, Hilton, or Outback’s deny service. This will be a few small isolated businesses. The Pharmacy at the heart of a recent lawsuit against Washington State showed that there were a bunch of other Pharmacies withing 5 minutes of them but still they were forced to sell something they were against. I think I am going to propose a counter law. That if a business wants you to buy their product or service you must buy it even if you are morally opposed to the company or them.

  41. If one believes in free thought – forget free speech for a moment – then you must believe in freedom of religion.
    Whatever we (mankind) believes so strongly that it controls their behavior can be deemed their “religion”.
    BTW: I got that from a Supreme Court Justice.

    1. Right.
      Just mind the fact that free thoughts also include schizophrenic delusions, express repetition compulsions and support irrational phobias as well as multitude of dangerous fantasies about who is good and who is evil.
      Your Supreme Court Justice is as simpleton as so many American libertarians waving the flag of religious liberty.

  42. Having met Johnson in 2012 , this rejection of market freedom is a very disturbing development . To use the few natural or State enforced monopolies to argue against the rights of individuals to conduct business any honest way they chose is deeply anti-libertarian .

  43. Would someone with the right connections please connect the Johnson campaign with Penn Gillette and his reasoning on the subject?

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  45. Johnson has shot his chances in Utah – where he was polling pretty well compared to other states. He’s lost me. Disappointing.

  46. Fellow commenters. Looking for a good criminal defense attorney for Fayetteville / Cumberland county in NC. If anyone has a friend or suggestions it would be appreciated.

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  48. Maybe Gary could get his tongue pierced–to the side of his cheek. At least no one would take him seriously and he’d not likely spoil things for the down-ballot candidates. For libertarians in 2016, prayer means wishing Gary would shut up, smile at the crowds and kiss the occasional baby.
    Laws are passed and repealed by Congress, where we have a whole slate of candidates holding their breath. Most government growth in recent decades has been in state and local arenas–where cops shoot hippies and tan people and use asset forfeiture to rob motorists passing through. Gary did a find job of blocking the idiot anarchist and the belligerent conservative from REALLY embarrassing us, and for that we owe him a vote of thanks and a speechwriter.

  49. I find it funny that ‘moral degenerate’ John McAfee would have been better than Mr. Johnson on this issue. Clearly LP made a mistake, I wish Gary the best of luck though.

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  51. Holding high office can ruin a man…

  52. Gary Johnson:
    -Anti 2nd Amendment.
    -Anti free markets.
    -Pro government authority / progressivism.
    -Anti free association.

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  54. The Dilbert blog had this to say: But here’s the problem. The people who think experience matters, also vote.
    This is why it is more important to outsiders whose votes we want that Gary have some experience in office. To those two or three insiders sincerely perplexed my Gary’s lack of consistency or ignorance of the platform. Be happy LP voters chose this one over the noob, the anarchist and the other proto-televangelist.

  55. There is libertarianism, and there is libertinism, which places sexual license at the top of our liberties. The two are not the same (libertinists are happy to restrict the freedom of moralists to disapprove of their perversions). Too many libertarians are really libertinists first and foremost, and Johnson clearly is at least playing to that crowd, no doubt because of his hope of winning a lot of Bernie Sanders voters.

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  57. To quote The Great Dick Cheney, “Freedom means freedom, for everyone.” (Note: not a Cheney fan.) The only way to govern this divided country is to offer freedom for everyone. If the LIbertarians are offering freedom for abortion and same-sex marriage, then they need to offer religious freedom as well. Especially if you want the votes of disaffected Republicans and Christians. In Canada, pastors go to jail for 30 days if they defend Chrtistian teaching on homosexuality in their churches. What’s next? I am a disaffected Republican Catholic. I am chilled by the enthusiastic embrace of abortion Johnson advocates. But because I see the soft totalitartianism the left is moving toward, I will settle for a libertarian government in which all have freedom. But Gary Johnson — whom I respect greatly as he was my governor for 8 years — doesn’t seem to care at all about my religious liberty. So what’s the point? Freedom is freedom for everyone–otherwise, the LIbertariuan Party is just so much more soft totalitarianism in drag.

  58. I thought both the author and Johnson are afraid to admit that some provisions of the Civil Rights Act are violations of the Non-Aggression Principle. Bakers should be allowed to refuse service to gays for the same reason they should be allowed to refuse service to Blacks – because compelling them to serve anybody is involuntary servitude and an initiation of force. I think most libertarians would boycott a baker who refused to serve gays or Blacks, but we won’t point government guns at him.

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  60. The political philosophy behind bans on interracial marriage is that people do not have freedom of association. We, as a people, rejected that.
    The political philosophy behind anti-discrimination laws is that people do not have freedom of association. We (at least enough people to coerce Congress) have accepted that.
    And nobody sees the hypocrisy.

    Four legs good. Two legs bad.

    If I’m ever called to jury duty, and it’s a discrimination case of any sort, my vote is “not guilty.”

  61. Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. Legal experts have suggested that if Congress has the power to require individuals to buy health care insurance, it may also mandate that Americans buy broccoli. – – – – – ????? ???????????? ???????

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