Gary Johnson

Gary Johnson and the Rise of Libertarian Centrism

Why moderate Republicans like Susan Collins and Mitt Romney are flirting with the Libertarian Party presidential ticket.

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Credit Paul Hennessy/Polaris/Newscom

On CBS's Face the Nation Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine became the latest well-known Republican to flirt with the unthinkable. "I'm taking a look at the Libertarian ticket," said the lawmaker, a veteran centrist.

That puts her in company with Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, who earlier this summer said they were considering a vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, the former New Mexico governor. After expressing dismay at the choice of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump, Collins joined Romney in effusively praising Johnson's running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, with whom she had worked on various projects.

As with so much in 2016 politics, a pattern is beginning to emerge that might have been hard even to imagine a year ago. When libertarian candidates have made inroads in the GOP in the past, it has often been in some of the party's rightmost precincts. But Johnson and Weld thus far have enjoyed little success (and, to be fair, shown little interest) at wooing the most conservative elected officials and pundits. While the Libertarian ticket has been drawing an entirely unprecedented 8-10 percent in national polls, little of its energy comes from the Republican base. Instead, it is making noticeable gains in the center.

In one communication after another, the Johnson-Weld campaign strikes a theme seldom associated with past libertarian campaigns in the US: moderation. It is the "sane" choice, the "responsible" and "adult" ticket, the ones happy to work with the best people and ideas from both parties, campaigning not on fear and anger but on a positive message of problem-solving. A recent Johnson video contrasts a bickering, shouty Trump and Clinton with the cool-and-collected libertarian alternative.

As a more or less lifelong libertarian I'm still getting used to the idea of its being the middle position in an election, the oasis of sanity, the haven from extremism. But win or lose, I don't think this campaign will be the last of what I've come to call libertarian centrism. That position has a logic of its own, as well as a considerable historical pedigree.

Start with the truism that democratic politics is the play of factions based on identities, interests, or social roles. Libertarians commit on principle to upholding rights for all and a strong rule of law. That can make us a balance wheel against the politics of factional revenge. When Group A is in power, libertarians speak up against measures oppressive to Group B; when Group B gets its innings, libertarians warn of the dangers of the measures it takes against Group A.

In Europe liberal parties, often seen as the nearest analogue of libertarian, are often perceived in just this way as occupying centrist/middle positions between labor or revolutionary parties on the left and blood-and-soil or religious parties on the right. European liberal tendencies vary but often they're secular, business oriented, pro-trade, modern, internationalist but not militarist, and interested in meliorist reform rather than street politics or national crusades. Sound familiar?

So on general principle we shouldn't assume that if you squeeze the libertarians out of the GOP coalition, they'll pop out on the far right. (Or far left.) They might pop out in the center instead, as Bill Weld clearly has and Gary Johnson shows signs of doing as well.

When the news spread on Twitter about Collins's comments, the reaction from many libertarian and conservative quarters alike was revealing: a groan. After all, Collins has a not-very-libertarian voting record in the Senate. If she would consider a vote for Johnson and Weld, doesn't that prove they're sellouts?

But as David Frum once said in another context, if you find yourself under the same party roof with someone who agrees with you on basically nothing, congratulations! That's how parties win in the United States, by assembling different kinds of people who come in for entirely different reasons. Instead of apologizing for more-or-less libertarian candidates who can win votes from non-libertarians, we should study them.

I came to appreciate this truth last year when I wrote a long piece about Northeastern Republican governors for The Washington Examiner. When I started, thinking of the late Nelson Rockefeller and a few others of his ilk, I imagined this group to be a sort of GOP mutation that, occasional social issues aside, omitted the liberty gene.

But that was unfair, as I learned when I looked more closely at the example of Gov. Weld and others. Republican chief executives in the Northeast often make a broader liberty appeal. As the biennial report cards on governors from my own Cato Institute showed, they are on average markedly more fiscally prudent than Democratic governors in their states. They are less inclined toward heavy regulation, and often shake up education or welfare systems to good effect. Most of them define themselves to some extent or another as outsiders facing down unaccountable public agencies and big-city machines. Saving taxpayers a buck is only one of the reasons to stand against government-as-racket—as the former prosecutors in the bunch, like Weld, know well. Honest and efficient government is a favorite preoccupation of GOP moderates in Democratic states—and there's no reason for libertarians not to be there with them.

For libertarians in US politics to take on some attributes of a center party, as in Europe, does not guarantee success as an independent force. Quite the contrary. Our first-past-the-post system systematically tends to squeeze down choices to two, with center splinters faring no better than left or right. The German Free Democrats, despite an illustrious history, have come on hard times and are now shut out of representation in the Bundestag. Parties with similar traditions have struggled lately in Sweden, Italy, the United Kingdom, and elsewhere, though they form governments in several other European countries either alone or as part of coalitions. Where voting rules create pressure for a two-party system, classical liberals may be left with little choice but to join a larger though less congenial party and work within it.

The wider significance may come after November, when it comes time to pick up the pieces, whether or not as part of a broader party realignment. It'll play out in how libertarian ideas are regarded by others—and in how libertarians regard themselves.

NEXT: Meet #NeverTrump Savior Evan McMullin, Who Believes in Amnesty for Illegals!

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  1. Open borders seems like an extreme position.

    1. (To be fair, I think he’s for some measure of control)

      1. But you stirred the pot, so it was worth saying.

        1. Can’t let the flavors settle.

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    2. In 1886, ‘closing borders’ seemed like an extreme position.

      It is relative what an ‘extreme’ policy is, which depends on the time, and more importantly, the prevailing thinking by the People at that time.

      1. Getting dangerously close to moral relativism there. Some extreme positions may also be horrible policy ideas, speaking generally at least.

        In my opinion, the problem with open borders in the west boils down to the lack of protection for property rights. Govt is the power to take from others without their consent (not to mention just regulate the fucking hell out of their economic behavior). Everyone who gets past the gate into a western country is granted a share of that power.

        1. “Some extreme positions may also be horrible policy ideas, speaking generally at least.”

          “Good” or “bad” is different than “extreme” and “not extreme”.

          By the standards of the 1800’s, almost everything about America today could be called “extremism”.

          1. Unless people think something is extreme precisely because they think it is extremely bad, and are right.

            Kinda feel like that’s a repeat of the same point I made the first time actually. Were you agreeing with me?

        2. One more retard

          In my opinion, the problem with open borders in the west boils down to the lack of protection for property rights.

          I peed my pants, laughing at WHY he said something so wacky …

          Govt is the power to take from others without their consent (not to mention just regulate the fucking hell out of their economic behavior). Everyone who gets past the gate into a western country is granted a share of that power.

          1) WITHOUT BEING CITIZENS?
          2) So does EVERYONE born here, even to 4th generation parents!!!

          But even illegals improve the intelligence of our gene pool, a pool which includes you.

      2. You know what else wasn’t that extreme according to the prevailing thinking by the People at the time?

        1. Vetting?

        2. Dodgeball?

          1. Smear the Queer?

        3. Wholesale extermination of undesirable ethnic groups?

          No no, I meant cake!!!

    3. Other extreme positions to some: pro-choice, pro-life, pro-Second Amendment.

      1. Shouldn’t “extreme” be in all caps? And maybe sponsored by Mtn. Dew?

        1. But does it have what plants crave?

        2. Gen X is so ten years ago, Hugh.

          1. But we’re still awesome compared to those fucking Millenials.

            1. Well, we don’t do so much damage, what with our barista jobs, roadie gigs and alt-bookstore careers.

              Slackers Uni… meh.

      2. Agreed. I wouldn’t want to be a centrist on speech. (I’m taking this from Jason Brennan’s book)

        1. What about a moderate on justice?

          1. I reckon that’s what a statue of limitations is. Justice” might be too nebulous of a concept to really take a position on though.

          2. It’s a virtue?

      3. I call it extreme choice. Extreme choice.

    4. A path for illegal immigrants to legality but not to citizenship or to any targeted welfare combined with an issuing of a visa granting this status to a much higher quota of background-checked new immigrants would be a pleasant moderate position between the psycho closed borders stance of Trump and the mendacious recruitment of new welfare-dependent voters while by no means allowing new immigrants to compete with union labor of the democrats.

      That would be closer to open borders than anything on the table today.

      1. I’m confused as to where in the proposal the compromise occurs. Open borders supporters get amnesty and increased immigration and supporters of national sovereignty get what exactly? A true compromise position would be amnesty offsets against future immigration i.e. 5 million apply for amnesty then the USA admits no new immigrants for five years. Here’s a hint if the other side gets no cake then it isn’t a compromised

    5. Yes, because freedom and private property rights are extreme positions.

    6. My last pay check was 9700 dollar 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,…. http://bit.do/FOX92

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  2. The sun will come out, tomorrow
    Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
    There’ll be sun

    Tomorrow, tomorrow
    I love ya, tomorrow
    You’re only a day awaaaaaaaaaaay

    1. How’s it going, dollar sign park yen?

  3. If face eating is caused by drugs, why does it only happen in Florida?

    http://nbc4i.com/2016/08/16/ma…..mans-face/

  4. In Europe liberal parties, often seen as the nearest analogue of libertarian…

    I want to say “LOL” but am not sure he’s kidding.

    European politics has no ‘nearest analogue’ AFAIK. Every party i’ve ever seen is as statist-fuck as one could possibly imagine. They crowd around the lower left corner of Nolan Charts. Other than the UKIP (*and i’m assuming the above is not referencing them), who else is there?

    This equation of libertarianism with “Centrism” is tired and false. the compromise between the left and right often amounts to “using govt to satisfy BOTH their arbitrary demands” rather than neither.

    1. Is this why it’s OK for libertarians to be republicans but not democrats?

      1. Is this why

        What “this” are you’re referring to?



        1. My universal translator must be broken. I honestly didn’t think my question was that difficult.

          Your last paragraph about compromise blah blah blah…

          1. I honestly didn’t think my question was that difficult.

            No one said it was “difficult”. It is/was unclear what you’re talking about or how it follows from what i said.

            me =

            This equation of libertarianism with “Centrism” is tired and false. the compromise between the left and right often amounts to “using govt to satisfy BOTH their arbitrary demands” rather than neither.

            you =

            Is this why it’s OK for libertarians to be republicans but not democrats?

            I still have no idea what in my statement said anything about US political parties, and why its “Ok” or not for anyone to vote for either.

            If a democrat advocated “less govt intrustion” into people’s personal lives or the marketplace, i’d vote for them. If a republican recommended the same, i’d vote for them. Which of the two (or either) is actually sincere in their claims is a matter of debate, obviously.

            1. The republicans appear less dishonest at this point. Especially considering who the democrats picked as their candidate.

      2. Yes, because democrat’s answer to any problem is always, always, always “More Government!!!”.

        1. But the republican response isn’t? Clearly I’m reading the wrong news.

          1. Republicans give lip service to smaller government. Some people believe them. There doesn’t seem to be a good reason why.

            1. Which is why the party imploded. They stopped believing their own bullshit.

              1. This is probably the best and most succinct theory I’ve heard, yet.

              2. Now all we need is for libertarians to stop believing their own shit.
                Or Reason to abandon their nonstop brainwashing of the goobers.

        2. Whereas the Republican’s answer is “Less Government!!” while instead implementing More Government.

          I fail to see how that’s in any way better than the Democrat stance of “Less War!!” while doing more war is better than the Republican stance of “More War!!”

      3. I don’t think it’s not okay. It just never seems to happen.

      1. If you planned to cite a European party whose principle platform is for Government to “Do Less” rather than “Do Different (*to satisfy my left/right constituency)”, you have my ear.

        1. I’d take the Estonian Reform Party or Germany’s Free Democratic Party over the Libertarian Party of the last decade. From what I understand of them, they are less guilty of the above than UKIP.

          1. I think the exceptions you note reinforce my point – that anything actually close to libertarian ideas is more of an anomaly than representative of a consistent thread in EU-wide politics.

            I have no doubt there’s probably other examples “better than the LP”. The LP, as you note, isn’t really doing all that bang-up a job.

            This article seems to be confusing the LP’s appeal to “Centrists” as saying something about ‘middle of the road politics’ in America…

            …rather than being an example of the LP’s own drift into ideological meaninglessness, where you can have candidates who have entirely different opinions on “Who” the criminal is in a sex-work transaction, but no disagreement at all that its definitely a crime.

            1. And there you go. Completely shifting the argument away from your initial nitpicking.

              There are liberal parties in Europe. They are the nearest analogue to libertarianism. They are not as statist as one can imagine. They do not crowd around the lower left of the Nolan chart. They are often considered ‘centre-right’ because they are not Marxists nor extreme nationalists, not because they’re a compromising mishmash of the two. So what are you LOLing about?

              1. And there you go. Completely shifting the argument away from your initial nitpicking

                Actually there was more to what i was saying, both in the original comment, and right above your head. and below.

            2. “This Thing doesn’t exist.”

              *Points to examples of Thing existing

              “That’s just the exception to the rule that reinforces my point.”

              Maybe if you had worded your original point less absolutely you would be right. As it stands, no.

              1. Maybe if you had worded your original point less absolutely you would be right. As it stands, no

                Maybe if you relaxed your sphincter and grokked the point i was making, there’d be something to talk about.

                this was the point =

                This equation of libertarianism with “Centrism” is tired and false. the compromise between the left and right often amounts to “using govt to satisfy BOTH their arbitrary demands” rather than neither

                If you think pointing to a small party in Estonia and going “GOTCHA!!” is more interesting, then congratulations.

                1. Your point was to laugh at Walter Reason for another stupid mistake to show how unserious they are.

                  Again, what are you LOLing about? What does any of this have to do with Walter’s decision to label the LP’s current ticket as centrist? Are you insisting that centrism refers to a compromise position between left and right, and Europe’s ‘centrist’ parties are proof of this? I’m saying it’s not.

                  a small party in Estonia

                  …which has been the largest party in Parliament for nearly a decade, and is currently the ruling party. “AFAIK” indeed.

                  And why’d you ask if it’s so uninteresting? You put in the request: If you planned to cite a European party whose principle platform is for Government to “Do Less” rather than “Do Different (*to satisfy my left/right constituency)”, you have my ear.

                  1. Excuse me, the largest party in “Who Gives a Shit”-Estonia. Touche.

                    1. Let’s summarize: Olson compares the LP to liberal parties in Europe. Those liberal parties are described as centrist. Those parties are not total statist sellouts, they do not cluster on the bottom left of the Nolan chart. Even without accounting for the differences between the US and continental Europe, they are much better than both the Democrats and Republicans, perhaps even better than the current LP ticket. One of those parties is so successful with a ‘centrist’ liberal platform that it is one country’s ruling faction.

                      But it’d be terrible for the LP to move in such a direction, and laughable to think that would be preferable to what we’ve had.

                    2. Or =

                      Europe is a leftist toilet where even the so-called “liberals” get little traction outside of tiny, insignificant countries like Estonia.

                      And the majority of the larger European nations are represented by a political spectrum where “the center” is significantly farther leftward than the American left.

                      It may seem superficially appealing to compare “Centrist” politics in the EU with the squishy-mush currently on offer in the LP. Look! Similar headline ideas are modestly successful!

                      I think its a facile comparison, and not one which should enthuse libertarians.

                      I don’t think it provides a means for actual libertarian policies to become more mainstream; instead, it seems simply a means by which to improve the libertarian brand by making it into some sort of muddled-centrism which has no particular adherence to principle.

                      I personally think the LP is a shitty vehicle for libertarianism. And this trend makes it worse than its previously only marginally-shitty position. I think libertarians should focus on key policies we want changed, and stop looking for individual politicians/parties to tick all the right boxes.

                      As has been noted – GJ/Weld seem to spend most of their time diluting policy views into meaninglessless. They don’t do much for the above.

                    3. Sure, try to get the others to agree on which policies the “key” ones are.

                  2. …which has been the largest party in Parliament for nearly a decade, and is currently the ruling party. “AFAIK” indeed.

                    The largest party in a country that has a population lower than forty of the states, and less economic and political influence than any of them. Also a lot of Estonians ‘anti-statist’ rhetoric is driven by years under Soviet puppet rule, something the majority of Europe did not experience, and does not influence their politics.

                    1. How many Libertarians hold office in those smaller 10 states?

                      I’m not using Estonia as a gotcha or anything – Walter doesn’t even mention it when listing European countries with liberal parties – but that party is a solid data point against Gil’s narrative that liberal parties in Europe are terrible, statist losers.

                    2. Gil’s narrative that liberal parties in Europe are terrible, statist losers.

                      nice spin

                      my point is/was that your best-case examples are an insignificant side-show in the larger context…. which, yes, is dominated by terrible statist losers

            3. What Wally Olson may be saying is that if libertarians (organized as LP or whatever) compromised more toward the center in the USA, that we’d get a significant seat at the table as in Europe. And when you consider that the center in the USA is more libertarian than is the center in Europe, that probably would leave the LP as more radical than those European parties that occupy the liberal center position.

            4. I am curious why there has to be a criminal in a sex-work transaction?

              1. (sigh) Incessant babbling about “libertarians ideas” … and never a word about libertarian governing. Is this why, after almost 50 years, we have NOTHING to show for it all?
                Well, a clean and tidy Ivory Tower.

        2. How about the Freie Demokratische Partei of Germany?

          The FDP strongly supports human rights, civil liberties, and internationalism. The party is traditionally considered centre-right, but it has shifted to the centre according to polls in recent years. Since the 1980s, the party has firmly pushed economic liberalism, and has aligned itself closely to the promotion of free markets and privatization.

          Not very popular, granted, but fairly libertarian, as far as Europe goes.

          1. the party has firmly pushed economic liberalism, and has aligned itself closely to the promotion of free markets and privatization.

            To be fair, isn’t this The Economist/Bloombergian idea of Liberalism? Free markets, sure (with of course some necessary regulation), and shit run privately (again, with reasonable regulation) but no guns, mouthing off, icky religiosity or free markets where they are clearly unreasonable (health care, say, or badwrong foods & drugs).

            1. Again, slow down, it’s Europe we’re talking about.

            2. BTW, I mean, seriously, there isn’t another country on the planet that has a codified and unqualified freedom of expression guarantee (1st A.) in any form whatsoever.

              1. there isn’t another country on the planet that has a codified and unqualified freedom of expression guarantee (1st A.) in any form whatsoever.

                Which is exactly why i find attempts to make the LP palatable by comparison to ‘centrist’ EU politics sort of revolting and absurd.

                The rest of the world is a giant statist mess. And we are being encouraged to cheer-lead the LP for getting with the program?

                someone made a point the other day that they think its funny that people who think Trump is “not that bad” (*i’m not one) diss on GayJay/Weld for ‘lacking principles’.

                my concern with GJ/Weld and the LP is more that they don’t really even seem to pay lip service to ideals in the process of compromising them. Go ahead and compromise them to death! its still better than either of the 2 other candidates. But at least acknowledge (like sanders did to his fans) that there’s a gap between ideals and practical reality. instead they seem to act that there’s no ideal at all, and that everything is negotiable.

                This guy Allahpundit has made a few remarks about the LP which i think echo my own feeling. namely – that he’s failing to provide much value as a “protest vote”

                1. e.g.

                  He’s a protest vessel, nothing more or less. If you want to cast a vote this fall for smaller government and against authoritarianism, of which there’ll be two different flavors on the ballot in the form of the two major-party nominees, why not Johnson?

                  But ? what if he’s not as opposed to authoritarianism as you might assume?

                  “”THRUSH: How about Obama’s executive order, which was decried as being a great constitutional violation by the Republicans, Obama’s executive order on immigration. Did you consider that to be a violation or did you consider that a reasonable use of targeted executive power?

                  MR. JOHNSON: I saw it as a reasonable use, challenging Congress to action….. “””

                  Between this and his support for using antidiscrimination laws to coerce business owners into providing services in circumstances that violate their religious conscience, I don’t know what the point of voting for Johnson is even as a protest. If he’s not going to stand for constitutional rights and separation of powers, I can write in a name just as easily. How about “Auntie Authoritarian”? Or “Mexican Judge”?

              2. And in practice, there isn’t even a single country that does that.

            3. My German is rusty at best, so it has been a bit of a slog going through their website, but the FDP has called for the removal of lese majesty laws and loosening what is considered hate speech, so not perfect from a US libertarian perspective, but pretty damn good for Europe.

            4. Feh – Germany has enforced religion. Take that!

              Also, they are privatizing formerly public operations faster than we are in the US.

              But yeah the rest – agreed.

        3. Italian libertarian movement:

          http://bit.ly/2aSwHh9

          1. I thought the Pornography Party in Italy (during the late 70s – early 80s?) was sort of libertarian though, to be honest, I can’t remember their economic policy.

            Cicciolina was running for office.

            1. Cicciolina was in parliament from 1987-91.

              1. Yes. We all remember that very well.

                Fun fact: She was born in Hungary.

                As most talented porn stars are.

            2. That was the Radical Party. They have a strong support of the free market. The following is from a wikipedia entry on them:

              The Italian Radicals are an atypical party for Italy and they are typically viewed as leftist by right- wing people, and rightist by left-wing people. Among other things, they are the only Italian party with a clear anti-clerical agenda, whereas most other parties either support the Catholic Church or are ambivalent.

              They are vocal supporters of human and civil rights, which they consider to include abortion, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, artificial insemination, stem cell research, abolition of capital punishment all around the world and legalisation of soft drugs. This put the party at odds with the mainstream centre-right parties. On the other hand, their strong support of libertarian policies, the free market, liberalizations, privatizations, low taxes and privately funded health care put it at odds with the centre-left.

              1. They sound totes libertarian!

    2. There are some ‘pro-market’ parties in Europe and Scandinavia which sometimes get associated with Libertarians, but many of those tend to also be anti-immigration- and some legitimately are offshoots or part of what’s commonly labeled as the ‘far right’ parties– kind of like UKIP.

      1. The ones you’re referring to don’t seem to be the same ones the author is referring to.

        He’s saying the centrist-left in Europe is the closest analogue to Libertarians in the US. You seem to be saying the “Nativist Right” is the closest.

        I still think both (or all European political flavors) are distinctly/significantly more-statist than either end of the US political-party spectrum.

        Even lefties in the US at least pander to the idea of certain civil liberties, and (some) revile at the description of their ideas as ‘socialist’. Even when they advocate cradle-grave welfare, lefties can sometimes get huffy about intrusions into people’s personal lives, or coerced choices.

        You don’t see that in the EU. The idea of Beneficent Overlordism is well-established, widely accepted.

        The reason Brexit is/was so shocking to the EU mindset (imo) is the idea that the world might *not* be inevitably moving towards more, bigger, more encompassing bureaucratic control.

        1. He’s saying the centrist-left in Europe is the closest analogue to Libertarians in the US. You seem to be saying the “Nativist Right” is the closest.

          I’m not sure I’m saying that much either way.

          Some of the liberal parties are in some ways the most libertarian.

          I still think both (or all European political flavors) are distinctly/significantly more-statist than either end of the US political-party spectrum.

          Yes, because Europeans have a distinctly different view of goverenment. They come from a couple thousand years of monarchies– that’s going to affect your culture and your view of the state’s role.

          Hell, even France wasn’t so much pissed off at the existence of their monarchy, just pissed off about how much more he had than the peasants– and how he flaunted it. If Louis had just spread it around a little more, they probably could have done more what England did which was a more gradual movement away from a Monarchy.

        2. He called them the nearest analogues. What’s the problem?

          You can’t argue with anything in his description of liberal parties in Europe.

          1. damning with faint praise? polishing a turd? pretending that the LP’s menu-on-offer should be acceptable because it bears some general similarities to centrist european politics (*which, by any reasonable measure, are farther left than anything in the US)?

            You can’t argue with anything in his description of liberal parties in Europe.

            I wasn’t trying. I was dinging the comparison for pretending that its supposed to be ‘favorable’ for the LP

            1. What do you think Walter’s objective was with this piece?

              He’s not trying to sell you on the LP. He’s examining an interesting development, one which may be more politically successful (though troublesome for ‘real’ libertarians). Considering liberals frequently hold seats in Europe, and are the ruling party in Estonia, it’s not faint praise at all when compared to the LP’s score of 0.

              1. He’s examining an interesting development, one which may be more politically successful (though troublesome for ‘real’ libertarians).

                I see that. And i think that’s really just great for Estonia. Really. Bully for them.

                My point was to note that “centrism”, and in particular, European centrism, pretty much sucks.

                And if that’s what it costs to have a “modestly improved 3rd party run still doomed to fail”? I am not encouraged or excited by that prospect.

                as i ted above, imy pov is similar to this guy

                If you’re thinking of casting a vote for a guy who can’t win, it doesn’t matter what his positions are, really. All that matters is whether he’s gone too far in muddling the message you want to send with that vote. Johnson is, in theory, the candidate of smaller government; in practice, if he’s willing to entertain the idea of appointing another Breyer to the Court, then maybe he isn’t. Is ideological purity unimportant in a protest vote or is it very important since, after all, you’re choosing to forfeit what tiny influence you have over the outcome of the election in order to cast that vote? I’m leaning towards writing in Harambe the dead gorilla for president at this point but it’s something to think about.

                Harambe 2016

                1. it is sad when people who make protest votes, diminish what value those votes can have.

                  voting Mikey mouse, or Harambe are true wasted votes. they just say, “I hate you all, and you could never get my vote.” both major parties completely ignore you, so your protest is not really heard.

                  voting for Johnson, for all his lack of purity, at least signals the general direction the other two parties would have to move to get you to consider voting for them (not that many of us ever would… most of his standing in the polls is not from big L libertarians… those are the 1% that voted for him last time.) the protest vote actually registers, as a protest… even if they will completely miss the point, their response is likely to be at least a little less statist than where they stand now.

                  1. voting for Johnson, for all his lack of purity, at least signals the general direction the other two parties would have to move to get you to consider voting for them

                    The general direction = “More like Mitt Romney, less like actual libertarian”

                    Thumbs up, bro

                2. Walter’s not advocating here. You don’t have to be excited.

                  “Centrist parties” is much broader than “liberal parties.” Each liberal party there is different and has its own peculiar positions, but most of them look preferable to what is on offer here by the two major parties. The premise is that a similar tack here may be more successful for the LP. In the fantasy world where this actually leads the LP to gain seats somewhere in the US, would you actually say things have gotten worse?

                  But as he concedes at the end of the article, the LP is likely going to be powerless with either strategy.

                  1. In the fantasy world where this actually leads the LP to gain seats somewhere in the US, would you actually say things have gotten worse?

                    I think if Gary & Weld have to dilute positions on the Drug War, Sex-Work, Free-Association etc down to where they’re unrecognizable as libertarian at all… yes, that’s worse.

                    If the choice is between a “slightly principled 10%” of the vote, and the shitty-mush they represent now getting 15% of the vote, I’d prefer the former for its protest-value.

              2. I agree w you that he’s an observer. It would be sooo disappointing to me if Wally Olson turned into one of the disingenuous salespeople we’ve seen so much of here this year.

        3. He’s saying the centrist-left in Europe is the closest analogue to Libertarians in the US. You seem to be saying the “Nativist Right” is the closest.

          I still think both (or all European political flavors) are distinctly/significantly more-statist than either end of the US political-party spectrum.

          They are, but you have to consider them relative to the polity they’re part of, rather than on some absolute scale. Presumably if you moved those people to a larger polity that was more libertarian, after a while they’d be more libertarian, while maintaining their positions relative to each other.

          What I find funny is the idea of the European liberals as occupying some position between the international socialists & the blood-&-soil conservatives. Seems to me like points of a triangle. However, it may be that for historic reasons the liberals wind up agreeing with either of the others more often than the socialists & conservatives agree w each other.

      2. What about the Radical Party in Italy, the one founded in 1955 and led for a long time by Marco Pannella? They never were anti-immigration and were never considered on the right in Italian politics.

    3. Libertarianism is not “centrism”. However, positioning one’s party to the center in an election where the major parties have gone to the extremes may be a better strategy.

      Typically, the Libertarians are perceived to be further right than the Republican party. Not the greatest position to be in politically. Libertarian polices can be sold as centrist because they combine the better ideas of both sides, which may include “far left” ideas like pot legalization with “far right” ideas like deregulation.

      A true “centrist” wouldn’t be pro-pot legalization. But voters looking for an alternative to Clinton and Trump may be receptive to a libertarianism that is presented as a centrist middle ground, combining “socially liberal” and “fiscally conservative”.

      1. Typically, the Libertarians are perceived to be further right than the Republican party. Not the greatest position to be in politically.

        This. Because the modern political language has been raped, if you’re for individual rights, civil liberties, a greatly scaled back de-militarized state with limited powers, now you’re Hitler.

      2. This (as in the “center” w the “regular folks”) is how Cato tried to sell libertarianism ~40 yrs. ago w Inquiry magazine & “Byline” radio bits.

      3. the more accurate way to put it is that libertarian-ism is a philosophy that leads to conclusions that fall alternately to the far right or the far left. (depending on the specific issue) it is not exactly the same as being “centrist”, but the outward appearance, and net impact look a lot like it.

  5. Why moderate Republicans like Susan Collins and Mitt Romney are flirting with the Libertarian Party presidential ticket.

    I can’t see Mitt Romney giving us a card.

    1. When I look at government, I always say:

      Needs more of Mitt Romney and Susan Collin’s input

  6. Libertarian-Republican Mitt Romney.

    OWN IT COSMOS

  7. Gary Johnson and the Rise of Libertarian Centrism

    Repeating the “Big Lie” doesn’t make it so.

    Reason — Worse than Hitler!!!

    2016 — the Year of Stupid

    1. And greatest subhed ever?

      Tiny Insj?n in central Sweden isn’t known for pig mask-wearing couples shooting lasers at Pok?mon hunters before having sex against a waterwheel. But that could be about to change.

  8. Gary Johnson is a Republican that likes weed, ass sex, and mexicans. The Libertarian Party is free to nominate him to represent their party. That does not make Gary a libertarian.

    1. If you’re keeping score at home: the Libertarians nominated a Republican, the Republicans nominated a Democrat, and the Democrats nominated a Goldwater supporter.

      When exactly did I die, and what did I do in life that was so bad it brought me to this place?

      1. and the Democrats nominated a Goldwater supporter. raging cunt.

        1. tomatoe, tomahtoe.

          1. big, fat, camel toe

      2. Does it make sense to call someone a Goldwater supporter who apparently abandoned what Goldwater stood for forty plus years ago?

        1. It does when you’re making a joke, as I did. Leaving Hillary out of it, it’s still weird who the nominees turned out to be.

      3. I never thought I’d see the day when the Libertarian candidate actually appealed to me. For him to be a former Republican Governor is even more shocking. To make matters even worse he has virtually no chance despite being the clearly superior choice.

        Hopefully this craziness is because I died so young that I didn’t know how adults are supposed to behave.

    2. Gary Johnson is a Republican that likes weed, ass sex, and mexicans.

      Also free trade, deregulation, and spending less money.
      At what point does the list of modifications to the Republican platform get long enough to adjust the definition to Libertarian?

      1. Don’t forget fewer foreign adventures, criminal justice reform, and tax reform.

        And though it may not be a point of differentiation with R’s, he’s strong on gun rights.

        So, really, a better definition of GJ would be a libertarian that likes anti-discrimination laws and doesn’t want to completely blow up the government.

      2. Also free trade, deregulation, and spending less money.

        Classic Republican part positions from the 80s or so.

        1. And I imagine a lot of libertarians voted for the Republican party of 30 years ago. But times and political parties change.

          Also, when was the last time Republicans actually achieved a significant reduction in regulation and/or spending?

          1. Well, they did try a little thing called the sequester. Maybe you’ve heard about it? They threatened to shut down the government over it.

            1. The reductions in spending authority were approximately $85.4 billion (versus $42 billion in actual cash outlays[note 2]) during fiscal year 2013,[2](p14) with similar cuts for years 2014 until 2021. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that the total federal outlays would continue to increase even with the sequester by an average of $238.6 billion per year[2](p3) during the following decade, although at a somewhat lesser rate.

              And almost as soon as it was passed they tried to carve out exceptions for defense spending. In the end I’d be shocked if it made a difference at more than the few percent level.

              But it’s better than nothing, I’ll give you that much.

            2. Which reason responded to with feverish denunciations and in Sunderman’s case likely actual tears.

      3. And gay Nazi cakes.

        Gary loves him some gay Nazi cake; built with slave labor.

      4. “Free trade” like the TPP or actual free trade?

        1. I imagine if Gary Johnson was given fast track authority – which he would, if he was President – the TPP would look a lot more like actual free trade than you would get from trump or Clinton.

          1. Johnson’s only proven strength is vetoing. And yet he has basically walked away from that history. Bureaucrats and diplomats write trade deals. Will Johnson have the balls to say “no, do it again, and this time do it right”? 2000 New Mexico Governor Johnson? Probably. 2016 Presidential Candidate Johnson? Doubtful.

            1. And you think Trump would do a better job? Trump would just load it down with even more crony capitalist deals than it has now.

              1. … what does Trump have to do with anything? I’m talking about Johnson w/r/t libertarianism not Johnson w/r/t Trump.

                1. My guess is that it is just so rare to see a discussion about actual issues when any candidate is mentioned. Given Johnson’s much lower media profile discussions of his positions are rarer than stumbling on a diamond mine in your backyard(I wouldn’t want to guess on the odds of actually owning the mineral rights as well) it is inevitable that the Clump ends up mentioned when they don’t matter.

  9. When I see Johnson and Weld, I think of Reagan and Goldwater–and the differences are more telling than the similarities.

    The difference between Johnson and Weld, on the one hand, and Reagan, on the other, is that Reagan was seen as a staunch hawk who was vehemently anti-communist to the point of scaring people. When Reagan said he wanted to consign communism to the ash heap of history, people on the left thought that meant he wanted to nuke them. Johnson and Weld aren’t scaring anybody but warmongers with their foreign policy.

    The big difference between Johnson and Weld, on the one hand, and Goldwater, on the other, is that where Johnson and Weld have gone all soft on the right of association, Goldwater was one of only six Republican senators that voted against the Civil Rights Act, and he did it on right of association grounds. For Republicans of Johnson’s and Weld’s age, that was probably the biggest political blunder in living memory.

    Whether Goldwater was right about the CRA and association is beside the point–it would have passed without his vote anyway, and Goldwater’s opposition to CRA doomed him to irrelevancy. In their hearts, swing voters “knew” he was a racist.

  10. Winning elections isn’t about being right on principle. Politicians need to act like politicians to win. Winning at this point for Libertarians means getting into the double digits and, thus, showing the Republicans their new road to the future. I’m not saying I don’t care about association rights. I’m saying that I care about a lot of other things, too, and if taking ten steps forward to a significantly more libertarians future requires us to take a step back on association rights, then that’s probably a step back worth taking.

    1. As long as “libertarianism” means endless immigration, it will never be the future. It will never get majority support from voters, because they don’t want the US to become Latin America, much less a country with a large Muslim population.

      It will also never be the future in a country filled with Latin American peasants and Muslims, because most people from those cultures are opposed to libertarianism (sometimes violently).

      1. There is zero chance of the US becoming a country with a large Muslim population. This is one of the more insane fantasies that Trumpistas have bouncing around their heads.

        And large numbers of “hispanics”, are essentially white. If they don’t identify as white that’s because white people are being stupid by regarding people as non-white just because they speak a different language and have some Native American blood.

        I have co-workers with last names like “Chavez” and “Alvarez” and “Maza”, who speak perfect English and are completely assimilated. How do you think that happened?

        1. If they don’t identify as white that’s because white people are being stupid by regarding people as non-white just because they speak a different language and have some Native American blood.

          … while I’m sure some cultural friction is at play, you’re thinking every Hispanic is like your coworkers while PapayaSF is talking about the people with Mexican flags plastered on their cars who have 8 kids by 6 different women. Now, to be fair, he’s not much different from the white guy with the Stars and Bars plastered on his F-150 who has 8 kids by 6 different women. But those two people are not going to share an identity with each other, never mind you or your coworkers.

          The problem is that you both are painting with broad brushes and not accepting the reality of immigration.

          1. How is the reality of immigration of Hispanics today different than reality of immigration of Italians 100 years ago?

            1. Well,

              1. There is a very large and very deep ocean between the US and Italy that enforced some selection bias;
              2. There was a lot less welfare spending in the late 1800s and early 1900s;
              3. Multiculturalism dominates today whereas (semi-)pluralistic Americanism dominated then.

              To some extent, the critiques of immigration today are not very different in kind from those of yesteryear, and are thus often overblown. But one of the most fundamental critiques, that society and government are going to change and immigrants are going to play some part in that change, wasn’t wrong.

              PapayaSF thinks all immigration is bad or at least the whole exercise is so bad on net that it should just be stopped altogether. I think he’s conflating things and taking a fundamentally collectivist approach to the issue, his protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.

              But rarely do I see a counter-argument address the critique that I identified. Some things will change, and what if those changes are on net not for the better?

              1. One has to weigh those things against the freedom to pursue happiness of the prospective immigrant.

                Our laws already forbid immigrants to accept welfare for at least 5 years (naturalization period).

                An individual has the right to be judged on their own merits and not assumed to be a welfare case (or a terrorist) just because of their ethnic background. Put yourself in the shoes of the rare Objectivist from Egypt who wants to get the fuck out of Islamic territory.

                1. “An individual has the right to be judged on their own merits”

                  Amen

                2. Our laws already forbid immigrants to accept welfare for at least 5 years (naturalization period).

                  But they can have children and start collecting welfare immediately. And your belief that the law is being followed is touchingly naive.

                  1. And your belief that the law is being followed is touchingly naive.

                    Nothing like inventing conspiracies when you’re wrong.

                    But they can have children and start collecting welfare immediate

                    The children are citizens. Before you invent another conspiracy, birthright citizenship comes here from the common law, where it has existed since before our founding. It’s confirmed in the 14th amendment, only because slaves were explicitly denied citizenship. but that never stops goobers from saying the 14th Amendment applies only to ex-slaves (which is also illiterate)

              2. I don’t think “all immigration is bad.” I think mass immigration is bad, especially by poor people from very different cultures, into a broke welfare state, and into a culture officially obsessed with SJW racial bean-counting, and by people who (and whose children) will likely vote to take away my liberty. Which is, of course, why Democrats are so pro-immigration.

            2. If one of the political parties was importing them in the hopes of overthrowing the constitutional order and fundamentally transforming the country towards democrat-socialism, then nothing.

              I suspect non-Mexican Latinos will let them down and become generic Americans as well, but …

              *shrugs*

            3. We were willing to tell the Italians they were doing it wrong.

              1. We were willing to tell the Italians they were doing it wrong.

                ^^^ This is I think the best summation of the “difference”. Lord Charles Napier vs. the Rotherham authorities.

            4. Leave the gun. Get the cannoli.

        2. A Muslim population doesn’t have to be “large” to be troublesome. Look at Europe.

      2. most people from those cultures are opposed to libertarianism (sometimes violently).

        FTFY

        1. Gotta love the argument that we can’t let non-libertarians into the country, a rule that’s somehow never thought to be applied to statist European immigrants.

          1. Gotta love the argument that we can’t let non-libertarians into the country

            Which nobody says.

      3. “because they don’t want the US to become Latin America”

        Good music, good food, at least the police are honest and upfront about being corrupt…

        Eh, why not??

      4. “As long as “libertarianism” means endless immigration, it will never be the future.”

        As long as libertarian candidates can be easily smeared as bigots, they’ll never be the future.

        If you’ve been paying attention to the campaign, you’ll notice that Obama can actually, for reals kill hundreds of innocent children with drone strikes, and no one gives a shit. But if Trump merely says such a thing, he’s lambasted for his insensitivity.

        Such is the voter market we live in and have to win in. What Trump said in his nomination acceptance speech about immigration from areas that are rife with terrorism is probably alright. But if you can’t run without saying bigoted stuff against Muslims, then you can’t win.

        And if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t want to win if winning means you can’t say bigoted stuff about Muslims, then pardon the rest of the libertarian movement if we ignore you. It’s not as if government discrimination against Muslims were consistent with First Amendment anyway.

    2. I’m not saying I don’t care about association rights. I’m saying that I care about a lot of other things, too, and if taking ten steps forward to a significantly more libertarians future requires us to take a step back on association rights, then that’s probably a step back worth taking.

      It’s hard to say. Many of the association arguments (and I’m admitting some of those I take a stand on) are merely a few cuts among thousands. But it’s hard to tell how big the cuts are- or how badly they’ll fester vs. the others.

      As a libertarian, I absolutely hate my government playing favorites, picking winners/losers, and applying rules based on a favored constituency. I believe that it’s one of the worst things a government can do– in aggregate. But does it really matter if the application of one small rule applied to an obscure bakery that I’ll never visit is forced by the guns of the state to bake a cake against their will?

      Probably not.

      But it sets a really nifty precedent that says that government can in fact force and conscript labor from people in service of a social goal. There’s a word in the dictionary for this system I’m sure, but it escapes me at the moment.

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

      2. I respect your point. But, there isn’t a perfect choice here. And the fact is, if this is the hill you’re choosing to die on, whose banner are you fighting under? Trump and Clinton both take the same position.

        1. As a libertarian, I’ve died and lost every hill I’ve ever stood on.

          In fact, I’d go as far as saying that by virtue of standing on the hill, it will be lost. It’s gotten to the point where if I really want to keep a freedom, I shut up about it.

        2. Agree. I have adamantly argued against Tony and the like that Christian bakers shouldn’t have to bake cakes for gay weddings.

          But if this issue is going to cost Gary Johnson a shot at the presidency and ensure a Trump/Clinton victory? Yeah, let’s set it aside for now, especially considering it’s not something he can change as President.

          Jesus, pick your battles people.

          1. But if this issue is going to cost Gary Johnson a shot at the presidency and ensure a Trump/Clinton victory? Yeah, let’s set it aside for now, especially considering it’s not something he can change as President.

            It absolutely shouldn’t be, but we have a New Media Paradigm that will ignore 90% of the major policy proposals by a Johnson or a libertarian candidate, and then bait them with CRA type ‘gotcha’ questions, and when they answer them wrong, *BAM* they’re racists just as we suspected. Then barrels of ink, both real and virtual will be spilled talking about it.

            So at that point, a libertarian candidate has to make a choice early on, lie about their belief in freedom of association or don’t believe in it at all– or perhaps, yes, there’s a third option: Go full mainstream and say that freedom of association exists but only in relation to favored constituencies. Because I agree, dying on that hill might not be worth it.

            I don’t know what the answer is.

          2. The question we really should be asking is who in their right minds would want to eat a cake made by someone who has a deep hatred of you?

            The government forcing a homophobic Jewish baker to baker a cake for a gay Nazi* wedding is opening the gay Nazis to a high risk of food poisoning. How can the customer protect the health of the guests if they have no way of knowing which bakers to avoid?

            * I probably placed the strawmen in the wrong order.

          3. I laugh when I realize that nobody ever addresses Johnson’s arguments.
            And I know why they don’t.

      3. Again, look to Goldwater’s mistake.

        To the people who care about not voting someone who seems like a bigot, not voting for someone who seems like a bigot matters a lot, and in this day and age, being able to dodge charges of racism and homophobia matters a lot.

        It’s a point of contrast to the Republicans, too. For a lot of people it’s why vote for libertarian homophobes when you can vote for the real thing in the Republican Party? And if you wouldn’t vote for Republicans because they’re homophobes, why vote for libertarian homophobes?

        I believe in freedom of association on principle.

        Most people who are not libertarians and don’t understand libertarianism simply cannot tell the difference between freedom of association and homophobia. That’s the reality. Running for President on the Libertarian ticket is not a suicide pact.

    3. Or to paraphrase another commenter – sure, in the abstract, nobody should be forced to work for anyone else, but it’s really a side issue.

      It’s not as if the question of compulsory labor has every been important in politics.

      1. Yes, I completely agree you are right on principle, but there are lots of issues where people are being forced to work for others. The whole ACA is a giant scheme to force people to pay for everyone else’s healthcare. There are lots of issues where people’s freedom to work in a given occupation is being curtailed. Occupational licensing affects more people than anti-discrimination laws.

        Do you kill yourself trying to defend christian bakers, when they are a minority and it’s an unpopular position?
        Or do you focus on taking down the ACA when that is a popular position that you can win?
        Do you take on occupational licensing laws when that is a position that people will be open to listening to?

        Pick your battles.

        1. The opponents of Obamacare tend, in practice, to be the the opponents of compulsory gay cakes.

          And indeed, a major objection to Obamacare is the infringement of religious freedom – an objection which of course Johnson won’t be able to make.

          And indeed, it will be hard to Johnson, having conceded the principle, to oppose compulsory labor in, say, health care – at the very least the progs will remind him how inconsistent he’s being.

          1. So ideally, it should all be the *same* battle.

            Why is Johnson pissing on his allies in the Obamacare battle and surrendering key positions in that battle?

            1. “Occupational licensing affects more people than anti-discrimination laws.”

              And are based on the same basic principle…people in government doing favors to their friends by forcibly skewing the marketplace in their friends’ direction.

              I don’t think closing down Christian bakers is necessarily more popular than regulating hairdressers…in the former case you can shut down debate by saying “fight homophobia,” in the second case you can shut down debate by saying “defend public health.”

              1. Homophobia is a lot less popular than unlicensed hairdressing.

                And the main reason to be against ObamaCare has nothing to do with religious freedom. That’s a flag of convenience. The main issue is economic liberty.

                1. If you can say it’s “homophobia” to believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and to act on that belief, then it’s “pro-disease” to oppose occupational licensing, because it’s all about protecting public health. It’s just as accurate.

                  1. We’re not arguing about words, we’re arguing about whether it’s a good idea for Gary Johnson to position himself as the defender of the rights of people who oppose gay marriage.

                    1. Why not position himself as the defender of the 1st Amendment, and show how it’s being threatened, whether you’re talking religious freedom, freedom of speech, or freedom of the press?

                2. Why can’t the main issue be that, although there are a few good points, it just isn’t a good system for cutting the cost of healthcare?

                  Even the British socialist mess is far cheaper per capita while delivering better returns on many metrics. I’m not suggesting that we should use that model but there is a problem when socialism is working better than a ‘market’-based solution.

                  1. “Market” based and controlled by a labor union- the AMA.

                  2. The ACA is not a market based solution.

        2. Pick your battles.

          And ensure that some battles are never fought.

          1. The thing is, also, that Johnson *has* picked the gay cake battle, he’s on the side of extra government power.

            1. Not really. The President does not control whether Christian bakers will be forced to bake gay cake. He’s not out there waging a crusade to make sure of it. He’s declining to challenge the popular wisdom. That’s declining to pick a fight, not picking a fight.

              1. The President appoints the “civil rights” bureaucrats and the judges, who in turn decide on the scope of the Civil Rights Act.

                Currently, for example, Obama’s people are trying to expand the Civil Rights Act to cover gays and the Stan/Lorettas of the world.

                So we see that a President can make a difference.

                “That’s declining to pick a fight, not picking a fight.”

                Please – he calls for compulsory gay and nazi cakes.

                1. Is this really your single issue ? The right to be a dick to gay people by not baking them cakes?

                  1. I’ve listed several issues – religious freedom (the cake being simply an example among many), 2nd Amendment, “concentrat[ing] the power of the government” in the name of Jobs, penalizing a private organization for sponsoring a joint Democratic/Republican press conference (that picky 1st Amendment thing again), etc.

                    1. “The right to be a dick to gay people by not baking them cakes?”

                      Don’t forget t-shirts, city tours, flowers, etc. etc. – all the services which businesses should be forced to provide to gay couples, or else go out of business.

                  2. Really Hazel?

                    Where does it stop?

                    What line will the left NOT cross?

                    They came very close in California to taking a significant step in stopping Christians from running educational institutions and Obama has went after them via health care.

                    Christians, stop resisting!!!!!

                    1. OMG, a Christian might have to give a tour to a gay person. THE HORROR.
                      Fine, you guys feel free to die on that hill. I won’t be joining you.

                    2. Not my hill, but do you want people on YOUR hill???!!!!????!!!!!

                    3. I’m telling you that hill is indefensible, but you refuse to join unless I defend it. Sorry, but I’m not wasting soldiers defending that stupid hill. Your troops aren’t worth the loss. So oyu can either go off by yourself and die on that hill, or join the rest of us and fight another day. Your choice.

      2. And yet not a single person who is against Johnson for compulsory Nazi cakes seem to be demanding that free association be opened further.

        You’ve, for example, put forward no candidates this election who want to make racial discrimination in services legal. If Johnson had said he was okay with Christian bakers refusing services to gay people wanting a marriage cake, but he was opposed to a Klansmen baker turning away all black people, I doubt the opposition to Johnson would be as fierce.

        If you aren’t calling for TOTAL free association, but are willing to focus on the gay cakes thing to not focus on the allowing racists to discriminate racially thing, if you would be willing to support a candidate that was pro-Christian baker association but not pro-Klansmen association, you’re ALREADY compromising your beliefs and choosing your battles.

        So why is it so bad that Johnson compromises an inch more??

        1. Johnson isn’t compromising his beliefs, he seems to actually believe in compulsory gay and nazi cakes.

          It’s one thing to be hesitant in launching an attack against heavily-fortified enemy territory, it’s another thing to surrender one’s own territory without a fight, and it’s even worse to hand it over to the enemy because you believe in the enemy’s cause. Johnson is doing the latter.

          A crusade to legalize racial discrimination would be an assault on fortified enemy territory. Abandoning the Christian bakers is giving up a defensible position. And deserting to the enemy and helping them attack the Christian bakers…that goes beyond tactical flexibility.

        2. And yet not a single person who is against Johnson for compulsory Nazi cakes seem to be demanding that free association be opened further.

          Who killed all the (small-l) libertarians off in your world?

          I am absolutely demanding as much.

          1. As am I. There was a Good Wife episode of a Jewish man who was trying to evict a tenant and was trying to find legal ways of doing so.

            Half way through the episode, his tenant shows up in court to defend himself and he’s a skinhead neo-nazi.

            I have been leaning libertarian for a while, but I felt that it was absolutely ridiculous that that man could not discriminate on who they could reject or evict as tenants.

            Now the question is, would I be ok with vice versa? A Neo-Nazi refusing room to a Jew? Well here’s a distinction we all seem to miss – currently the people we have less sympathy for are universally on the outs. So why would we care? The people we care about being on the outs are currently in and would be provided for by more people than rejected.

            Also, combined with lower regulations, less restrictions in entering business, and less participation in the government picking winners and losers, you would have better chances for voids to be filled by new businesses.

    4. This is quite well said. And it’s one of the major reasons why, as much as I have some pretty real problems with Johnson and Weld, they have my vote in November.

    5. The association thing bothers me a lot, but so do lots of other things I have overlooked in candidates. To be honest, it comes down to what the first President Clinton said: Its the economy, stupid.

      And not the short term health of it either, I want to add 1-2% to the growth rate forever. That will fix a lot of the other problems all by itself.

      And of the big three candidates (or four, including Stein), Johnson is the only one with a chance to make that happen.

      I think the anti-Johnson folks are overlooking the forest. Or maybe they just don’t give a damn about economics.

      1. Clinton will destroy the Supreme Court which will destroy the last vestiges of the constitution.

        Trump could very well start nuking the middle east.

        Johnson is a pretty sane dude. I voted for him last time and will again this time.

        1. I voted for Barr/Root.

          This one is easy.

        2. Trump could very well start nuking the middle east.

          Oh, please. If he had a propensity for violence, don’t you think there would be evidence by now? After decades in the cutthroat NYC real estate business? What’s the “Trump body count”?

          1. After decades in the cutthroat NYC real estate business? What’s the “Trump body count”?

            Billions of lost Trump dollars!

          2. Oh, please. If he had a propensity for violence, don’t you think there would be evidence by now?

            Which presidential election season are you watching?

          3. A lot less than Clinton’s body count. Even if you just count the summer.

      2. The cuts to military spending alone will probably give us more than 2%.

        Johnson’s call for a UBI allows us to end most entitlement programs and removes the purpose for the minimum wage. Based on the really world trials I wouldn’t be surprised to see an additional 2%+ here as well.

        The part of Johnson’s plan that I don’t understand is changing the taxation system from income to consumption based. A flat 23% sales tax will still require massive paper trails to determine whether or not a product is taxable. Moreover a stock purchased should be subject to the same tax as it is and investment intended to make a profit for me to consume. Now we not only need a complex bureaucracy to determine who should pay the tax but also an adjusted rate to tax just the profits. I simply don’t understand the desire to rewrite the entire tax code when we can just replace most loopholes with the UBI.

        As I said I don’t really understand the tax plan. I would love to hear well reasoned arguments why it is preferable to a flat rate income tax combined with a UBI?

    6. So the big question is, how many of your principles are you willing to sacrifice on the altar of having a winner? Do you suppose the republicans and democrats are asking themselves that same question right now?

      If you sacrifice principles now, it’s easy enough to just assume those principles are flexible in the future. Thus begins the long slide into the pit with everyone else.

      1. “Do you suppose the republicans and democrats are asking themselves that same question right now?”

        Don’t be ridiculous, they never ask their question.

        1. Actually… yes, they did. Most decided it would advance down-ticket gains to vote for McCain or Romney anyway. And since McCain and Romney got so many votes against The First Black President, the GOP decided we must really like our big-government candidates. So in comes Jeb. And Kasich. They were supposed to WIN.

          The internal battle of the GOP has been going on since at least Obama’s first election. It has just gotten worse as time went on.

      2. There’s a difference between “sacrificing principles” and compromising to acheive progress with a longer term goal in mind.

        The Democrats have waged a decades long war to turn the US into a Social Democracy. They have fought for it a teeny tiny bit at a time. They have moved the needle ever so slowly to the left.

        Why do libertarians have to be “You must accept complete and instantaneous deregulation of everything right now!”? Why do libertarians think it’s some sort of betrayal to say “let’s just legalize weed for now, and leave heroin for later”?

        It’s OK to compromise a bit in the short term if it moves you closer to your long term goal. If anything, in my opinion, the Trumpistas are the ones losing sight of the long-term goal. The long term goal is free markets. Voting for Trump ot stop Hillary means you’ve forgotten what it’s all about and all you care about is whether the socialist in power has a D or an R by thier name.

        1. The problem is 1) the governed like big government, generally and 2) the governing like big government absolutely.

          Progress towards big government is easy. Moving back is hard and carries a lot of consequences for the people who enforce it. So, yes. You may only get one shot at this. Make it count.

      3. Politics the the art of the possible. Your principles are going to continue to be irrelevant to the govt either way.

    7. I’m saying that I care about a lot of other things, too, and if taking ten steps forward to a significantly more libertarians future requires us to take a step back on association rights, then that’s probably a step back worth taking.

      I understand this and probably kinda, sorta agree (especially considering slavery,) but can you please show me where 50 years of stepping back on free association has led to more freedom?

      I see LGBT usurping the CRA and us winding up with LESS freedom. Maybe I am wrong, but I feel MUCH less free.

    8. I agree. This is how the progressives did it. Time to adopt a strategy that clearly works well in the political market.

  11. So, not only is Johnson embracing the social totalitarian left, he is attracting the spendthrift wing of the GOP in pols like Collins, bravo.

    1. Susan Collins, spendthrift?

      Good one. She’s one of those Republicans always ready to “compromise” with Democrats on spending and taxes.

      1. Look up the word, it does not mean thrifty.

  12. This.
    This is how you actually get more libertarian policies. You don’t run to the right of the Republican party, and then cave in and vote R in order to keep D from winning. You position yourself in the center-libertarian direction. Not centrist, but center-libertarian. Make the D’s and R’s look like the extremists, and force Republicans to vote L to stop D from winning.

    1. Make the D’s and R’s look like the extremists

      The extremist won the Republican nomination, the Extremist forced the Democratic pragmatist to become more extreme.

      1. Many Americans have libertarian instincts, but people fear change that is too rapid. We’ll never win by running as extremists. We win by occupying position on the Nolan Chart that’s moderate and doesn’t sound crazy to the majority of Americans.

        1. There would have been a time when even suggesting free college tuition for all would have been extreme.

          Look, all I’m saying is that 2016 is turning into a year where a whole host of things that I didn’t believe possible– 8 months ago are now being seriously bandied about as real possibilities.

          I watched my own town go from left-liberal to full on reactionary angry, spittle-spewing communist in just a few short years. It’s the extremists that seem to be feeling their power these days.

    2. The path to libertarianism runs through hard left social policies. Shorter HazelMeade. Compromise is one of those you first things sweety how about giving up a little of your hard left social policies first.

      1. If being tolerant of gay people and drug use is what you consider “hard left” then I agree. Let’s be hard right on economics, and hard left on social issues.

      2. I’m willing to not legalize heroin if you’re willing to bake gay cake. How’s that for compromise?

    3. You also have the option of forcing Democrats to vote L to stop R from winning.

  13. So, let’s see…conservatives are more than usually alienated from the Republicans this year, the Republican candidate’s leading conservative opponent in the primaries declined to endorse the nominee, so…it’s time for the Libertarian Party to “pragmatically” nominate two guys who basically tell conservatives to fuck off.

    It’s practical politics!

    1. tell conservatives to fuck off

      Only on social issues.

      On the most important issue of the day (and last 150 years) they are right there with the tea party movement, if not even better.

      1. Even Olsen says they have shown little interest in attracting conservative voters.

        1. Shouldn’t their economic policies attract them naturally without much need to try?

          1. Which economic policies?

            “Concentrat[ing] the power of the government” to provide black youths with jobs (because it’s bound to work *this* time!)?

            Putting small businesses out of businesses because of their religious-based practices?

            1. All three of them.

              How many businesses are impacted by regulation and occupational licensing vs. anti-discrimination law?

              1. This is Pauline Kael territory – nobody *I* know would have any problem with catering a same-sex wedding!

                1. It’s true. I don’t know any anti-gay Christians. They’re pretty low on the list of people whose rights I’m worried about right now. I’ll get back to you after we address the rights of illegal aliens who were brought here as children.

              2. How many businesses are impacted by regulation and occupational licensing vs. anti-discrimination law?

                I honestly don’t know. My experience would cause me to pause, then answer “yes”.

                I’d estimate that a significant portion of what your modern HR department does is in service to avoiding anti-discrimination lawsuits. In a healthcare operation (as an example), you have entire departments dedicated to meeting occupational licensing requirements.

                so again we have to get out our rulers and measure which cut of these thousands is the biggest?

              3. Those really are not separate considerations.

            2. “Concentrat[ing] the power of the government” to provide black youths with jobs (because it’s bound to work *this* time!)?

              That was pretty cringe-worthy. That woman in the Town Hall might as well have been asking “Say, could you tell me, do Libertarians support police beating the crap out of black men?”. Really, it was almost a set-up for Johnson and Weld to make the case for libertarianism’s opposition to police excess. And they wiff it by responding with a call for a government jobs program.

          2. No. Most conservatives aren’t economists, and couldn’t explain economics if you asked them. They’re cultural conservatives.

            1. A lot of conservatives run small businesses…I don’t know if they have academic degrees in economics, but I would imagine that Melissa and Aaron Klein, the Oregon bakers threatened by “public accomodations” laws, know a thing or two about economics.

              1. And I suppose that when Johnson said he agreed with 73% of Barry Sanders’ platform, this was because he admired Sanders’ economic literacy?

            2. From polls posted here, roughly a third of republicans are socially conservative, another third are economically conservative, and the remaining third are both.

              1. Need a poll on what they are willing to compromise on for economics.

              2. Ostensibly Trump appeals to none of those groups, so that seems like an incomplete classification. There are definitely some whose primary motivation is populism and/or white identity politics.

      2. There’s no impermeable barrier separating “social issues” from “economic issues.”

        How will Johnson fund his expanded Civil Rights Act – you know, with the compulsory gay and nazi cakes?

        And his handpicked running mate wants to tighten the gun-control laws – how will Johnson pay for *that*?

        His handpicked running mate wants to “concentrate the power of the government” so as to “make sure that there are jobs available for” black youths. How will they Johnson pay for that?

        Every additional program they endorse on top of existing spending, the less credible their budget-cutting promises seem.

        1. As I have said twice today, Kaine or Pence would be his VP, so what does it matter about Weld anyway? He isnt getting to 270 EC votes.

          1. I don’t see him throwing the election into the House, either. Which states is he going to win?

            Are you saying Johnson is deliberately misleading voters by having Weld say stuff which Johnson totally disagrees with and will never implement?

            1. Or perhaps he doesn’t have the will to stand up to Weld?

              There are plenty of Weld clones in Congress – how will Johnson stand up to them if he won’t stand up to Weld?

            2. Which states is he going to win?

              My best guess: none.

              But at the outside chance, some subset of Utah, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado.

        2. There’s more to life than guns and gay cake.

          1. Well obviously, there’s a place called Europe, and the Western half isn’t too shitty (for now?). But that doesn’t mean we should give up on what makes us distinct: things like the 1A and the 2A.

            1. that doesn’t mean we should give up on what makes us distinct: things like the 1A and the 2A.

              Notable for the lack of mention of anything about free markets vs. socialism.

              1. How distinct are we in that regard? It seems like a difference of degree, not character. The prevailing interpretation of the commerce clause, which I have not seen Johnson inveigh against, basically sets up the US for a European-style socialist regime (or at least, does nothing to prevent it).

                1. He gave his finacee ‘Atlas Shrugged’ to explain his politics. I think that’s a difference of character.

                  1. He gave his finacee ‘Atlas Shrugged’ to explain his politics. I think that’s a difference of character.

                    Umm… ok? Alan Greenspan loved him some Ayn Rand. How’d that work out?

                    1. It worked pretty great for 20 years. Greenspan was, if anything, too weak. He warned of irrational exhuberance, but allowed himself to be persuaded to keep interest rates low too long.

          2. Exactly Hazel, so tell NARAL, The Brady Campaign and The Human Rights Campaign to stop pushing their agendas …

          3. The 1A and 2A are the foundation for all other rights in the constitution. That’s why they’re the first two in the Bill of Rights.

            1. The entire constitution depends on the right to refuse service to gay people? Really?

              1. Is giving gays positive rights worth undermining the principles if liberty?

                1. Is defending the rights of anti-gay bakers to be bigots worth destroying any hope of progress on any other issue?

          4. These kind of arguments don’t work when you personally spend 80 percent of your time virtue-signaling about these issues.

            1. I’ve spent far more hours defending anti-gay bakers online than I have spent defending Gary Johnson’s position on gay cake.

          5. Guns are pretty important. They sit in importance just under free speech. If we’re now getting to the place where the first, second, fourth and ninth amendments are not the hill to die on, that’s pretty depressing.

            Guns and speech are kind of a bulwark against tyranny. Guns also allow a free society to distribute their security and maintains the cultural position that the state doesn’t have a monopoly on violence.

            So yeah, I’ll die on that hill.

            1. The second amendment is in zero danger. Even Obama couldn’t get a bill through congress after Sandy Hook.

              1. … except that there is an unfilled seat on the SCOTUS where an ardent 2A supporter once sat.

                1. Irrelevant for 2A if Republicans continue to control congress, which they will.

                  1. Irrelevant for 2A if Republicans continue to control congress, which they will.

                    Are they going to let every vacancy go unfilled, or will they settle for a “moderate”? My money is on the latter. Also, isn’t the Senate (where confirmations happen) in play?

      3. Only on social issues.

        Except their “fuck offs” to conservatives on social issues have more than a tinge of “fuck off” to libertarians, as well. Picking a gun grabber for veep, dismissing freedom of association, and citing statists as the sort of people you’d appoint to the Supreme Court is an unforced error for a Libertarian. Even going with just plain boilerplate libertarianism would have done less to alienate conservatives.

  14. I could feel much more comfortable about Gary Johnson if he hadn’t dragged Weld onto the ticket. I’m not a big fan of Johnson, but I do think he’s at least generally inclined towards less government. Weld is a statist through and through. The fact that he’s a statist who tries to at least balance a budget is only a marginal improvement.

    1. Does it make you feel any better to know that the best case scenario is Johnson/Weld winning enough EC votes to throw things into the House and only the top 2 vote recepients get considered by the Senate? So Johnson’s veep would be Pence or Kaine?

      1. Not really, no. Not much to like about Pence or Kaine, either.

        I think I’m just going to stop paying much attention to national politics until the failures of the coming one-party Demotopia rule leads to serious secession/partition movements, because I don’t see much that’s appealing coming before then. Not when even the LP starts drifting towards statism. The sad reality is that the population is growing ever more accepting of statism, which is why the LP is attempting to become a more “serious” party by nominating candidates like Johnson and Weld. Reason can trumpet their libertarian moment polls all they want, but they’re essentially meaningless when the respondents claiming to be libertarian don’t actually believe much that is compatible with libertarian philosophies. And when Hillary! starts packing the Court, it will all get a stamp of legitimacy. Hope you don’t have a paper trail on any of your firearms – maybe your house won’t get searched then.

  15. Is it too late to get my popcorn?

    1. As long as it’s centrist popcorn with only a moderate amount of butter and salt

      1. Butter??? JESUS WHAT ARE YOU SOME KIND OF ANTI-VEGAN MEATIST??

        Please be sensitive to the people who find butter offensive. Some Olestra-based product is clearly the more-moderate choice.

        1. “Plain for me!”

          /Mrs. Flanders

          1. I prefer a bowl of melted butter with some popcorn sprinkled on top like beer cheese soup is served.

        2. mmm melted yellow plastic….

  16. I just registered on the reason.com site. So, this is my first time reading the comments on an article. Wow, you all are deep into the ideas, and I guess that’s wonderful and probably necessary. But take it from a newbie??this election affords you the opportunity to do something you’ve never been able to dream of doing?entice me and several million other people who don’t think a lot about libertarianism to actually vote for a libertarian candidate.

    You may regard my johnny-come-lately interest as worthless because it’s so unsophisticated, and you may consider the possibility of welcoming it to be a sell-out of your principals. But I’ve been watching the libertarian movement for many years, waiting for the moment it was willing to offer an actual political product rather than just some brilliant ideas about a political product. And I can tell you I couldn’t be happier to have a third choice in an election without a viable first and second choice.

    My suggestion would be to not shoot yourselves in the foot by disdaining the interest of people who may not entirely believe in, or even fully understand, what you represent. Why not welcome us, educate us and find more like us. The remarkable opportunity you have this election cycle will not come round again any time soon.

    1. Is there anything you think Reason Magazine could be doing better?

      1. I get that there’s a core audience that’s interested in the content that, for me, goes a little too deep; and they deserve to have access to that material. Maybe I should focus more on the Reason Magazine content? Maybe it’s geared to a more general reader? I think the Johnson/Weld website does a pretty good job of catering to where I’m at by focusing on issues rather than ideas per se.

        1. I see.

          So, you think maybe Reason should water down their hardcore ideological focus, and spend more time on popular topics like, say, marijuana legalization, gay rights, and immigration reform… stuff like that?

        2. I’m also a bit of a newbie who discovered this site after a slow drift away from the left and have been gradually reading more and more. The magazine is a bit more in-depth and wordy from what I’ve seen (I’ve only had a cursory experience with it) but is also generally more well-written than the site (the editors here are real slackers). I wouldn’t shy away too much from the ideology, because when people begin to hear that you’re leaning libertarian, or towards the libertarian candidate, they always ask the same questions that you’ll want to be able to answer, and they don’t often ask about specific policies so much as they attempt to bait you into an extremist-sounding answer: Do you think heroin should be legal for everybody? Do you think we should never intervene in foreign affairs? Do you hate the environment/poor/elderly? Is Somalia/the Great Recession/the Great Depression proof that libertarianism/deregulation doesn’t work? Don’t you want to stop Trump/Hillary?
          .
          This is one of the downsides I’ve found to being openly libertarian. Policy talk is rare, because that opens up all of the D’s and R’s ideas to criticism. Even Johnson has fumbled some of these attacks. Some of the books they plug here are good introductions to how to answer these questions, or to see exactly where you might diverge from the “true” libertarian answer. And Cato-type papers are also good just to be able to have things to cite (liberals love citing, or citing a place that cites, like Vox)

      2. I too have been waiting for a realistic option to the R/D debacle for years. I have only recently begun reading Reason. The level of debate here is generally far more interesting than the tastes great, less filling Clump arguments I see elsewhere.

        What I would like to see is a good breakdown of the proposed consumption tax structure. That the bureaucrats would be busy for years recreating the current mess of a tax code would at least keep them out of other areas for a while. Otherwise I fail to see what good the change would make. This is assuming one goal is to prevent the tax structure from becoming overly regressive. It is entirely possible this has already been published and I just don’t know where to look.

        My other concern is that I haven’t figured out how to easily access my comment history and replies. Perhaps that is due to the fact I have not done enough research to form a solid opinion on whether SolidOpinion is relatively safe to use.

        1. Just to clarify, there are two comment sections: the one you posted in here, and the SolidOpinion-powered one at the top of the page. The former is primitive, has few features, and has been going for years. The latter perhaps has some features, but actual reason commenters (the ones you’re interacting with down here, many of which have been interacting here for years) do not write there — it is used just about exclusively by trolls, who typically attempt to lampoon libertarian positions through caricature.

          1. Thank you for the information. At least I am sure I wasn’t missing the obvious.

    2. welcome us, educate us and find more like us

      Lots of Reason staff are working their butts off on the TV circuit doing just that.

      1. Yeah I like the videos.

    3. You may regard my johnny-come-lately interest as worthless because it’s so unsophisticated, and you may consider the possibility of welcoming it to be a sell-out of your principals.

      Not at all. In all honesty, newbies on this commentariat are generally given a fair shot. If you’re not here to troll, you’ll be as welcomed as the regulars. ProTip: bring your thickest skin, because the regulars can get pretty rough with each other, and downright medieval on trolls.

      Now, this bunch has been trolled by drive-by or “seminar” posters on a near-constant basis, so the initial reaction might be less than charitable. OTOH, there is no political ideology more abused and despised than libertarians, so if you can’t take it, you won’t make it.

      1. I’m shooting my Peter North load on your back right now. Can you feel it?

    4. entice me and several million other people who don’t think a lot about libertarianism to actually vote for a libertarian candidate

      Wait, there’s a libertarian candidate running for President? Cool, maybe I’ll vote for them. The Republican (Johnson), the Democrat (Trump), and the Evil Incarnate (Clinton) are all kind of shit.

    5. Welcome I2. One thing I would like to impress on you is that while Reason may be one of the most visible libertarian sites, they are not the arbiter by any means of what is and isn’t libertarian. That burden falls on me. But seriously, for the most part they do a decent job of reporting on a side of government you don’t find other places. Overall libertarians will agree that less government is better than more. You’ll hear about NAP (non-aggression principle – look it up) and so on but as far as size of government goes a Big “L” Libertarian is going to advocate for no more than a Night Watchman State – look it up. Any less and one would be venturing into Anarchism which is not the same as Libertarianism. Many of the Reason writers are small “l” left leaning libertarians that allow for more government including a “social safety net”. If you advocate for state intervention prepare to get shit, but I would not let that discourage you from making your arguments. Just be open minded and be ready to dish it back out. Also, be aware that there are a lot of trolls. Some very anti-libertarian, some of those will act like the are libertarian in order to try and smear the brand. My policy is to completely ignore them because otherwise they just shit all over the thread.

      1. The NAP and Night Watchman State may be more than your interested in knowing but if you want this stuff to start making sense than understanding some of the principles is a good start.

      2. I would recommend Bleeding Heart Libertarians, Marginal Revolution, and EconLog
        All more serious in depth libertarian websites. (Although the comments sections have the usual trolls).

  17. CNN asks: Where is Gary Johnson?

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/16/…..g-rallies/

    Again, Gary Johnson needs to start giving well-written, well-staged Major Policy Speeches – Foreign Policy, Economic Policy, etc. Make the case that libertarianism is the disenfranchised mainstream of American politics.

    Well-written speeches would provide Johnson with better talking points for interviews and his stump speech, material for ads, opportunities for follow-up opinion pieces by surrogates, etc.

    1. If CNN’s pants weren’t so baggy, it would be easier to find Johnson…

      is the kind of tasteless joke which I will try to avoid telling.

    2. Good point. They’re also grist for the news cycle. He needs to find venues to give speeches in though.

      1. The Piggly Wiggly parking lot is booked throughout the month. Perhaps an empty field will is available.

        1. Maybe a TED talk. They hand those out like candy these days.

  18. I guess it’s time to break out some Outlaws.

    Kris Kristofferson and Waylon Jennings. One “left” and one “right” yet were friends. Both on the fringes as “Outlaws” wanting the “Man” off their back. Are they “centrist”? No. That’s what I see libertarian to be, neither left nor right, but on the fringe of both. Or put another way, I see the political spectrum as a circle – 12 being anarchism and 6 being full statism; the “line” dovetails back on itself. “Centrism”, as I see it, are those assholes who congregate from about 4 to 8, passing through straight down 6. Their objectives may differ,but so long as someone is “doing something about it” by using broadcast Force against peaceful and productive people, they’re happy. Conversely, those who are on the fringes, tending toward anarchism, do so from each end and unite at 12. THAT’S where libertarianism is – between 10-ish and 2-ish through 12. It’s a sparsely populated place, and lonely. It’s a place the people who need Forcing others to do what they want them to do – to quell their angst – don’t want to go. That’s why libertarians are not liked. Trying to market libertarians as sensible centrists isn’t going to work. The soccer mom who thinks fetuses are children and want guns taken away and dusky colored people somewhere and want near universal health care are “centrists”. A little broadcast Force from column A and a little broadcast Force from column B. Libertarian? No way in hell. Baiting and switching is a waste of time.

  19. I sincerely have been looking into Team Johnson. But the more I read or hear from him the more it seems he’s just another Big Government Socially Liberal candidate. What a shame.

    1. They’re libertarian. Socially liberal has been part of that definition only since 1969.
      May I assume you’re a follower of the statist and anti-constitutionalist Paulista Cult?

  20. lulz – “libertarian centrism”

    Like a libertarian who thinks there is an acceptable amount of soft-tyranny. Precious.

    Can anyone say ‘anti-concept’?

    1. translation:
      Yeah, I’m for freedom – as permitted by the state.

  21. RE: Gary Johnson and the Rise of Libertarian Centrism
    Why moderate Republicans like Susan Collins and Mitt Romney are flirting with the Libertarian Party presidential ticket.

    Oh goody goody gum drops!
    The LP might get more assholes from the republican party whil will try to incorporate their views on MJ, gays and war.
    Soon more democrats will join the LP and change the libertarian viewpoints to the left of Marx, Keynes and LBJ.
    I can hardly wait.

  22. While I’m sure playing yourself as the center is far and away the best political choice they can make, my fledgling libertarian education has shown me that “centrism” has typically meant embracing the most statist policies from both sides and combining it into the worst possible candidates and compromises. But hey, if we can change that, then why not?

  23. That’s what I hate about Republicans – libertarianism is “unthinkable” but, obviously, progressivism can be attractive.

  24. How are people like Romney and Collins “moderate” republicans? Are you suggesting that people who support our constitution, freedom of association, religious liberties and small government are “extremists”? Give me a BREAK! These people are virtually the same ideologically as the democrats; and democrats are not moderate by any stretch of the imagination!

  25. This is a very unusual election year with the two major parties having widely unpopular nominees.
    The national Republican party is now the raving of one man, The Donald.
    Hillary, a pathological liar and an instinctive turn off for many, is The Ultimate Establishment robot.

    Enter two sane, easy going, two term successful, popular Republican governors who are running as Libertarians.

    You don’t need to like everything they say.

    But they seem to me the best candidates in the race.

    Today NBC gave them 11% polling.
    The five polls which the Commission on Debates will use to choose participants have them at 10%.

    We can do this people.

    The next few weeks are critical. If we can get 15% we are not only in the debates but will be unstoppable once millions get a taste of Johnson/ Weld sanity compared to the two bozos on the same stage.

    Let’s make this happen.

    We may not have this opportunity for many years to come.

    Volunteer, give money , do whatever you can to get them to 15%.

  26. Johnson and Weld were nominated and elected to represent the Libertarian Party by a democratic vote. They won.

    If you don’t think they are perfect whatever then good for you.

    Maybe you can just get your candidate nominated and elected to represent the party next time.

    Meanwhile, they are doing better than any previous LP candidate and once in the debates will get a lot of attention for the LP and our approach.

    1. 1. The LP does not own my vote. If they nominate somebody I don’t like, I have no obligation to vote for them.

      2. Unlike the two major parties, the point of the LP is not winning elections, or getting percentages of the vote, or getting major party status, or getting in the debates. The point of the LP is to advance liberty. Those other things are only worthwile to the extent they serve that end.

      3. In their rhetoric this year, Johnson and Weld have compromised so much of libertarianism, not merely on abstract issues but on issues that are currently in play among the electorate like freedom of religion, that getting them in the debates may actually do more harm than good. Tell me how Gary Johnson getting up on stage and saying that once you enter the marketplace you forfeit freedom of religion, and that bakers can be forced to bake cakes against their will, advances liberty. Tell me how William Weld getting on stage and praising Clinton as a great public servant advances liberty.

      4. With the Johnson/Weld candidacy, the LP has moved from the easy path of staying true to libertarianism at the expense of getting media attention, to the equally easy path of gaining media attention at the expense of staying true to libertarianism. Both are easy and both are pointless. Don’t confuse what they’re doing with the hard path of staying true to libertarianism AND getting media (and voter) attention.

  27. On the one hand, it’s good that Republican Congresscritters realize that the libertarian option is better.

    On the other hand, I’m not convinced that the endorsements of those losers are going to help anybody.

    1. I’m not convinced that the endorsements of those losers are going to help anybody.

      They are all winners at the ballot box. That means a majority of voters in a ENTIRE congressional district trust them to at least some degree. That makes their endorsement several thousand times more powerful than anything you’ve ever done. But thanks for sharing your rant.

  28. It has nothing at all to do with centrism. And it’s hardly new. It may look strange with current dominance by the anti-government libertarian faction. But it was the pro-liberty faction which launched the movement and the party,

    David Nolan created his chart for two purposes. To show how and why bipolar politics (left and right only) is obsolete, So when Johnson says most Americans are libertarians but don’t know it, he’s quoting David Nolan.
    From 1959.

    Weld cites a shortened version of another founding mantra. “Liberals want government out of your bedroom and into your wallet. Conservatives want government out of your wallet and into your bedroom. Libertarians want government out of your life.”

    So is Johnson/Weld the treason claimed by their attackers? Or a rebirth? A return to our roots?
    I know what David Nolan would say. I heard him say it often.

    1. ” “Liberals want government out of your bedroom…”

      Citation needed.

      “..Libertarians want government out of your life.”

      Not these two Libertarian candidates..

      1. “Liberals want government out of your bedroom…”

        Citation needed.

        Seriously? Liberals aren’t seeking to control everyone’s sex life. That’s extreme social conservatives, the ones Barry Goldwater predicted (correctly) would be a major threat to his party. Reagan had no use for them either, since his support for homosexual teachers was a major factor in bringing down the nationwide, anti-gay Anita Bryant Crusade.

        Are you not aware that it’s only conservatives seeking to control anyone’s sex life through government power?

        Fundamental to libertarianism is knowing that governments have one of two purposes, to defend individual rights, or to impose one set of values on an entire society by force, SOME liberals wish to impose their economic values by force, SOME conservatives wish to impose personal values by force.

        But today, only a minority of both liberals and conservatives are such raging statists. A growing majority of Americans are fiscally responsible and socially tolerant, as we’ve now destroyed most of the mind control by both left and right.

        “..Libertarians want government out of your life.”

        Not these two Libertarian candidates..

        You have absolutely no basis for that comment. If they were anarchists, why would they have served as governors and why are they seeking office today? Anarchists are a minority of libertarians, even before the Dallas Accord, which you might also wish to learn about.

        1. Forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions and birth control is having government in your sex life.

          1. Forcing taxpayers to pay for abortions and birth control is having government in your sex life.

            That never happens. And makes no sense even if it did.

        2. The fear of ‘social conservatives’ is like a disease among Leftists in both the Democratic and Libertarian Party, apparently. I cannot think of any bill in the past twenty years (other than a federal marriage amendment) that ‘social conservatives’ have pushed to put government in your bedroom.

          I do see Leftists, though, pushing government into churches (birth control mandate and proposing eliminating tax exempt status to churches) and everyone’s pocket through taxpayer funded abortions.

          I think it is time for you to confront reality. The culture wars have become one-sided. The Leftists are the aggressors and the social conservatives just want to be left alone.

          1. The fear of ‘social conservatives’ is like a disease among Leftists in both the Democratic and Libertarian Party, apparently.

            True. The Santorums and Huckabees get little or no support from the majority of even Christian conservatives.

            I cannot think of any bill in the past twenty years (other than a federal marriage amendment) that ‘social conservatives’ have pushed to put government in your bedroom.

            “Bedroom” stands for all personal issues and I can think of dozens.

            I do see Leftists, though, pushing government into churches (birth control mandate and proposing eliminating tax exempt status to churches) and everyone’s pocket through taxpayer funded abortions.

            There are no taxpayer funded abortions. None. But your tribe says otherwise.

            I think it is time for you to confront reality. The culture wars have become one-sided. The Leftists are the aggressors and the social conservatives just want to be left alone.

            The reality is that both tribes are eager to be brainwashed … as we see in your own biased comments. Find one ounce of proof that taxpayers are paying for abortions. Why do you believe such a shameless lie?

            1. Ummm… maybe you’re new to America, but the Democratic Party has in its platform to eliminate the Hyde Amendment and to make abortions publicly funded and they are already publicly funded (in certain instances) through Medicaid. Additionally, California just passed a law forcing every employer to cover abortions in their healthcare plan.

              To be frank, ‘social conservatives’ (at least of the paleo variety) are far more ‘libertarian’ than Leftists, such as yourself that masquerade as ‘libertarians’. The American Conservative constantly talks about our unjust foreign policy and our funding of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen. I have yet to see Reason write a single article about foreign policy since Bush left office.

              1. Caught another socon bigot!!!!

                To be frank, ‘social conservatives’ (at least of the paleo variety) are far more ‘libertarian’ than Leftists, such as yourself that masquerade as ‘libertarians’

                (laughing at the fool) Here’s a link to the web archive of my published political writing. Look especially to the ones on Taxes, Healthcare and Federalism …. then look in a mirror and shame yourself for being so blatant a bigot in public.

                http://libertyissues.com/archive.htm

                I have yet to see Reason write a single article about foreign policy since Bush left office.

                Two … TWO … major fuckups in a single comment!!! You tried to defend extreme socons and made a public fool of them, and yourself. Typical of you people.

  29. The problem with the Johnson-Weld ticket is that it is running away from the center and towards the left to Bernie Sanders’ socialists. Their anti-Constitutional rhetoric on the First and Second Amendment and the rights of conscience is troubling. Both have at one time or another voiced opinions that are not unlike trump or Hillary in the use of government’s coercive power to compel individuals to submit to overreaching and oppressive government. The only reason they’re doing so well is the two major candidates are so repulsive. Frankly, they’re looking more like government oriented Northeast Republicans or now defunct Blue Dog Democrats not libertarians.

    1. The problem with the Johnson-Weld ticket is that it is running away from the center and towards the left to Bernie Sanders’ socialists.

      Says another brainwashed social conservative,

      Their anti-Constitutional rhetoric on the First and Second Amendment

      Examples?

      Frankly, they’re looking more like government oriented Northeast Republicans or now defunct Blue Dog Democrats not libertarians.

      Frankly, you don’t understand either of those or you’d never say such a thing.

  30. Johnson running as ‘Democrat Lite’ is a disgrace. He doesn’t support religious freedom; he supports expansive executive orders; his VP wants to ban guns for people on ‘terrorist watch lists’ (without judicial review); he’s said nothing about civil liberties; his foreign policy is more aggressive than Trump (it’s bad when the Republican nominee is more non-interventionist than the Libertarian), and he backs excessive EPA regulations.

    What makes him ‘libertarian’? Pot and open borders?

    1. He doesn’t support religious freedom;

      Liar.

      he supports expansive executive orders;

      :Liar.

      his VP wants to ban guns for people on ‘terrorist watch lists’ (without judicial review);

      That’s dumb ONLY because the watch lists are crazy, Gun rights, like all other rights are not absolute, to anyone who understands individual rights,,

      he’s said nothing about civil liberties;

      Do a google search. This link goes right to the results.

      his foreign policy is more aggressive than Trump

      (sigh)

      He backs excessive EPA regulations.

      Like ….

      What makes him ‘libertarian’? Pot and open borders?

      His 8 years as governor make fools out of your puppetmasters,

      1. I’m assuming you’ve never read any interview given by Gary Johnson. So, rather than engage in a debate with an ill-informed troll, I’ll respond in-kind: “liar”.

        1. Intimidate somebody else. You have been called out as a fraud. Again. Put up or shut up.

          For now, I forgot to include the link that proves you a bullshitter.

          You hate him because he’s not an extreme socon. After you’ve also been proven an extreme socon bigot
          here

          Why are you people such hateful trashmouths???

          1. Never an example for Just Say’n’s bullshit!

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  32. Centrism in defense of liberty is clueless.

    1. More clueless than that statement? You people NEVER explain how liberty can be defended by NEVER getting elected. So how would YOU move us toward a free society?
      I didn’t think so.

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