Gary Johnson

Beyond Two Evils

There are more than two choices in the presidential election.


Many people dislike both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton—for good reason: Both are power-hungry threats to democracy and rule of law.

But what can we do? What's the alternative?

Fortunately, one political party wants government to have a little less power. Former governors Gary Johnson and William Weld, the Libertarian Party's presidential and vice presidential nominee, don't have to be smarter or more moral than Clinton and Trump (though they are) because they want to reduce the power that government has over your life.

"I want government out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom," says Weld in a recent Johnson/Weld campaign ad.

Sadly, the betting sites give the Johnson/Weld ticket practically no chance of winning.

Why? Most conservatives fear libertarians will weaken our defense and legalize drugs.

But Johnson/Weld don't want to destroy our military; they just want to spend a little less. We already spend more on defense than the next seven countries combined.

Libertarians want to legalize some drugs, but drug prohibition hasn't worked. Kids find it easier to get marijuana than alcohol. And prohibition creates vicious criminal gangs.

The left fears that libertarians will destroy the welfare state and allow rich people to get even richer. We would. But so what if some rich people get richer? Private charity will help the needy far better than clumsy government has. Since people hate politicians, why not elect ones who promise to leave you alone?

Clinton wants to raise taxes and increase regulations. Trump wants to start a trade war and give loyalty tests to Muslim Americans who are already citizens.

Clinton and Trump are so eager to do bad things that they even steal bad ideas from the other party. Hillary Clinton wants to criminalize flag-burning. Donald Trump wants to increase the minimum wage.

Democrats and Republicans each talk as if they want to protect your freedom—from the other party. They don't show much interest in protecting you from their own parties' failed schemes.

Johnson will get a chance to tell Americans more about the libertarian option—if he can make it into the televised presidential debates that start in September. But the private company that runs the debates, the Commission on Presidential Debates, has ruled that to qualify, a candidate must get at least 15 percent support in national polls conducted by five polling firms.

Johnson's reached 13 percent in a CNN poll, but his average is closer to 8 percent. Audiences might not get to hear the alternative he offers to big government.

Gary Johnson wants the government to spend less, snoop less into people's private lives and fight fewer wars overseas. I think many Americans want that.

I understand that the Libertarian Party probably won't win. So, libertarians aren't waiting for an electoral victory to lead the freest lives they can.

I recently paid a visit to an annual libertarian gathering in New Hampshire called PorcFest. Porc refers not to politicians' wasteful and self-serving pork-barrel spending, but to porcupines, a libertarian mascot. Porcupines leave you alone, unless you attack them—and they have sharp quills for self-defense.

The people at PorcFest don't believe in waiting for good politicians to come along. They know that rarely happens. They try to live their lives as much as possible as if government doesn't exist. Many carry guns for self-defense, enjoy weed without checking local laws and use digital currency instead of government-printed dollars. For the most part, local authorities tolerate it, knowing the PorcFest participants behave well and clean up after themselves.

Maybe the ultimate solution to our political mess isn't to fight forever to make government better. That's probably hopeless. Maybe it's smarter to make a new beginning—just walk away from most of government. The less government there is to abuse us, the less it matters which authoritarian wins the next election.


NEXT: Ross Ulbricht's Conviction, Sentencing for Running Silk Road Should be Overturned, Argues New Reply Brief

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

    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…

  1. Stossel has more sense and is better qualified for president then the two candidates currently running. It’s disturbing how similar both parties are to the extent that it’s almost a one party system, granted they run candidates against each other but neither party has any interest in allowing the LP to gain traction.
    And this Commission on Presidential Debates? Give me a break. The LP and the Green Party filed a lawsuit in 2015 regarding the duopoly these two parties have on presidential debates –

    Bruce Fein the attorney for the two plaintiffs –
    “The unlawful agreement among Defendants has several illicit purposes,” writes Fein. “The first is to acquire, maintain, and exercise duopoly control of the multi-million dollar market in organizing, promoting, sponsoring, and fundraising for holding national general election presidential and vice-presidential debates to artificially advantage the Democratic and Republican Party candidates… the second illicit purpose is to acquire, maintain, and exercise duopoly control over, and to exclude and severely undermine competition in, the multi-billion dollar market of organizing, promoting, fundraising for, and engaging in general presidential and vice-presidential election campaigns.”
    – Washington Post.

    1. And then there’s this.…

    2. When the media oligopsony invited Nixon and Kennedy to debate there were something like 16 candidates running.

  2. I hear that crap so much about they don’t have a chance of winning, but why go vote for someone who doesn’t uphold your moral and values just because they may have a higher chance of winning ending in a result where you always lose.

    1. Exactly. That sentiment irritates me too, it gives me immense satisfaction walking away from the booth knowing I wasn’t a sheep and that I didn’t participate in the continuation of the duopoly.

      1. You should be proud that your vote actually worked to repeal bad laws and lower taxes. If only the grinning party benefits from an election, then how the hell did the goddam income tax make it from the commie manifesto of 1848 into the 16th amendment of the Constitution with way less than 2% of the vote? Resistance is utile because spoiler votes repeal and overturn bad laws. The looters change laws based on third-party platforms not because they agree, but so they can continue to suck your blood–even if in smaller volume. They sure as hell are not going to work for a living.

    2. Your candidate can’t win, so vote for my candidate so that you’ll feel like a winner rather than a loser.
      Because my candidate might not win if you don’t vote my way, and then I would be the one who feels like a loser.

    3. it’s a viscous cycle isn’t it. the more people buy into this the fewer vote for them and relegate them to this position.

      The real issue isnt as much the libertarian platform as it is the way they allow it to be framed and the unimpressive candidates they have carrying their banner.

      1. So instead of woodchippers, should we start using politicians as lubricants in internal combustion engines?

        1. There is an inverse proportion between the number of progressives and the amount of personal freedom we enjoy. Therefore the key to freedom is to reduce the number of progressives.

          Is this a good time to discuss my p,an to euthanize all the progressives?

      2. Very viscous. Almost can’t move.

  3. It’s not probably won’t win. It’s no way they win, unfortunately.

    1. Betting Fair give Johnson a 0.3% chance of winning. Which pretty much rounds to 0.

      I’m not saying people shouldn’t vote for who they want to. But most people are going to pick one of the two prominent candidates and not go with a nobody.

      It would be nice if the Commission on Presidential Debates went with a top 3 debate for at least the first debate. But I also see the point in not muddying the waters.

      1. What point do you see in not allowing a third party candidate in the debates? How does that “muddy the waters”, and why would that be a bad thing? If the other two candidates can’t get their points across in a persuasive manner if there’s one more candidate involved, how qualified are they?

  4. I understand that the Libertarian Party probably won’t win.

    Don’t cede that possibility to anyone. The Dems and the Repubs are the ones running the clown candidates this time.
    No votes have been cast — Johnson can win if people vote for him.

    Bill Weld says he’s in it to run the table.

  5. They’re all clowns. Even Johnson and Weld are totally confused and unimpressive. You gotta think, though, about how many marbles a person must have rolling around their skulls to run for public office. What a nightmare.

  6. There will be no real third choice in a Presidential election until some third Party manages to get a foothold in Congress. Get freaking busy.

    1. We already have a foothold in the Supreme Court. Every issue the commies and christianofascists cannot be weaned of is whacked by the Senile Court the GO Pee and Dems appointed and confirmed. Conscription and Roe v. Wade were early casualties of libertarian platforms. Condoms, diaphragms and pictures of nekkid people were all illegal in my grandmothers’ time. Using the police to harass gay folks was another policy the LP platform opposed.

      With way less than 2% of the vote the commies got the 16th Amendment and mystical bigots got the 18th. To them that was Winning!

  7. Private charity will help the needy far better than clumsy government has.

    Is there anything sadder than an entire political worldview based on weird little claims like this that you know can’t possibly be true?

    1. tony knows it can’t possibly be true because he’s never bothered to find out what it might mean to some homeless dudes to make a meal & eat it with them. his worldview assures him of his great compassion for humanity because of his contentment with being robbed. taxation def smells better, amirite?

      1. Tony somehow believes he is generous because he votes to take money from those he envies and give it away. That’s what passes for generosity in what passes for the mind of what passes for these people.

        1. Exactly. Taxation isn’t generosity, it’s theft.

          1. It’s neither.

      2. It can’t possibly be true because if it were poverty would not exist and never would have existed.

  8. The wasted-vote dilemma is imposed by our current voting method, choose-one plurality voting, which leads inexorably to a two-party system. The only viable solution is to switch to Approval Voting. Anything else is wishful thinking.

  9. Most of us want to have good income but don’t know how to do thaat on Internet there are a lot of methods to earn money at home, so I thought to share with you a genuine and guaranteed method for free to earn huge sum of money at home anyone of you interested should visit the site. More than sure that you will get best result.OI3..


  10. I agree, Johnson/ Weld is a somewhat better ticket than either Trump/Pence or Clinton with anyone. That said, I am still disappointed in your phrasing “Beyond Two Evils”. We had three choices for the Libertarian nomination, and both of the other two would have been a more principled choice, for reasons you yourself observed in the debate. (Others are now observing it at as well: (…..m-position) You even repeated Austin Petersen’s question about the matter, where Johnson actually dug his heels in and called objections to his position ‘a black hole’, and affirmed that a Jewish bakery could also be required to serve Nazi party members.. Sorry, but the real ‘black hole’ would be continuing the policies of the Obama administration toward people of faith, and allowing government mandates to limit the religious and political freedom of those who cannot in good conscience endorse by their words and art either a same-sex marriage or the Nazi party platform.. Most reasonable Christians would refer the person requesting a wedding cake for a gay wedding to another baker who had no issues with it, and the free market should prevail on this issue.

  11. Changing moronic laws is winning, and the LP has been winning by transforming spoiler votes into better laws and lower taxes than would otherwise have been the case.
    Looters getting government jobs for their buddies and abettors is different from winning. That’s the trouble with coercive parasitism–everybody loses.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.