Libertarian Party

The Libertarian Party Critique of Justin Amash

Competitors, skeptical delegates, and podcasters attack the congressman for being an incrementalist Deep State enabler rather than a principled radical.

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With less than two weeks left before 1,000 or so Libertarian Party delegates select their 2020 presidential and vice presidential nominees in an unprecedented online-only vote, you could probably forgive Jacob Hornberger for being a little irritable.

Hornberger, the 70-year-old founder of the Future of Freedom Foundation, has, after all, won a clear majority of the party's presidential primaries and caucuses, nonbinding though they may be. He has been in and out and back in Libertarian politics for more than two decades now. And yet ever since Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.) threw his hat into the ring on April 28, Hornberger has been all but ignored by the mainstream media, while Amash galivants on cable news networks and HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

So it came as little surprise Saturday night that when the formerly Republican and independent congressman participated in his first Libertarian presidential debate, it was Hornberger—author of an eight-part blog series titled, "Justin Amash, LP Interloper"—who came out swinging hardest.

"Even the libertarian-leaning conservative members of Congress have websites that direct children to the website of the CIA—the most evil agency in U.S. history," Hornberger charged in his opening statement, reiterating his critique of a student resource page at amash.house.gov. "Conservatives love free enterprise, but have long supported the evil, immoral, socialist, central-planning, Republican/Democratic system of immigration controls, which has brought death and suffering to countless people, as well as a brutal police state consisting of highway checkpoints and other initiations of force against innocent people."

Running as he is a "campaign of principle for the party of principle," in a cycle where many Libertarians seem particularly eager to shed their image as a refuge for ideologically alienated and/or politically opportunistic ex-Republicans, Hornberger portrayed Amash as someone merely tinkering around the edges of the welfare/warfare state.

"Conservatives love to 'reform,'" he said. "But reform of tyranny is not freedom. Freedom is a dismantling of tyranny….In this election Libertarian Party members are asked to trade away our principles for a conservative/progressive/libertarian mush, all for the sake of big publicity and the hopes of garnering votes. If we make that trade, we become like them. We become conservatives and progressives. We become the party of expediency."

Those who assume Amash will waltz to a first-ballot nomination over Memorial Day weekend should take a look at the Libertarian Party of Kentucky's post-debate voting exercise among one-quarter of confirmed L.P. convention delegates. In the first round of polling, Amash received just 33.3 percent of the vote, compared to runner-up Hornberger's 21 percent. (The party requires winning candidates to earn 50 percent plus one vote, using an instant runoff process in which the last-place finisher in each round, and everyone under 5 percent, gets lopped off for the next.)

Amash eventually won the informal vote, but it took him six rounds. Here's how the totals went, as reported:

Round 1: Amash 33.3 percent, Hornberger 21 percent, Jo Jorgensen 16.6 percent, Vermin Supreme 7.7 percent, Judge Jim Gray 6.6 percent, Adam Kokesh 6.2 percent, John Monds 5 percent, Arvin Vohra 1.5 percent.

Round 2: Amash 35.1 percent, Hornberger 23.3 percent, Jorgensen 18.5 percent, Supreme 9.3 percent, Kokesh 7.7 percent, Gray 7 percent.

Round 3: Amash 37.3 percent, Hornberger 22.4 percent, Jorgensen 21.6 percent, Supreme 10.1 percent, Kokesh 8.6 percent.

Round 4: Amash 39.3 percent, Jorgensen 24.8 percent, Hornberger 22.9 percent, Supreme 13 percent.

Round 5: Amash 43.8 percent, Jorgensen 30.5 percent, Hornberger 25.7 percent.

Round 6: Amash 55.6 percent, Jorgensen 44.4 percent.

Jorgensen, the 1996 Libertarian vice presidential nominee who caught Hornberger from behind in Round 4 and eventually elbowed him out, is campaigning in a sort of third lane between the no-holds-barred radicalism of Hornberger and anarchist Adam Kokesh, and the more pragmatic approach favored by Amash and Judge Jim Gray. "I'm offering something that's principled and practical," she said in her closing statement Saturday night.

Jorgensen was the only other debate participant to significantly challenge Amash, albeit in a much less abrasive way than Hornberger (who said that he could not commit to endorsing the congressman should he win the nomination). In her opening statement, she asked Amash a series of questions, most of which he didn't address.

"Would you use your authority as commander-in-chief to end our involvement in foreign wars, stop subsidizing the defense of wealthy allies, and bring our troops home? I will," Jorgensen said. "Would you…use your pardon power to free people convicted of exposing government corruption, violating unconstitutional laws, or committing so-called crimes when there's no victim? I will. Would you immediately stop construction on President Trump's border wall boondoggle, and work to eliminate quotas on immigration so that anyone who wishes to come to America could do so legally? I will. And last, where do you stand on one of the most divisive issues in America: abortion? Do you support the Libertarian Party platform? I do. It's not enough to be better than Trump or Biden. Our nominee must be deeply principled with a long commitment to our party."

Amash did address abortion in the debate, saying at first: "I'm pro-life. I believe that the pro-life position is a Libertarian position, and my goal is to work outside of the Libertarian Party to convince people of that. I work with pregnancy resource centers, for example, here in West Michigan, to try to get the message out and spread the message about life. I don't think that the government is most effective at doing that sort of thing. As a president, the Libertarian Party supports the idea of not funding abortion providers. So, the Libertarian Party is aligned with my position on that."

Hornberger then grilled the congressman further:

Hornberger: … You of course pride yourself on being a strict constitutionalist, a supporter of the Constitution. And you supported a bill that called—I think it was in the past couple of years—that called for a nationwide criminal ban on abortion, in which people who were caught engaging in an abortion would be convicted of a federal felony involving a five-year jail sentence. Can you tell me where in the Constitution you rely on to support this federal felony offense for abortion?

Amash: So I'm not sure about the particular bill you're referencing, because it was in the past and I don't know exactly which bill—

Hornberger: It's House bill 36.

Amash: But I can answer the question. The 14th Amendment provides the power to have the federal government address state violations of people's rights. And as someone who's pro-life, I believe that a baby inside the womb is a life. And if I believe that that person is a life, then I think it's appropriate for the federal government to tell states that it is not okay to discriminate against these lives.

Now, as a presidential candidate, as a presidential nominee, I won't be making the legislation; the legislature will decide that. Congress decides on the legislation and sends things to my desk. With the parties very divided over this issue, nothing's going to come to my desk that does that.

That's my view of it, and when I'm voting in Congress, that's how I would vote. But as a presidential candidate, with respect to people who are concerned within the party because there is a split within the party between pro-life people and pro-choice people, the president will have very little opportunity for that kind of thing, because there is a huge divide within the party. So the only thing that is likely to come to my desk as president is a bill to not fund abortion providers, no federal funding for abortion providers, and that is something that all Libertarians within the party agree on. At least, the vast majority of them agree on that.

Hornberger's most influential backers, at the Libertarian Party Mises Caucus and on the podcasting airwaves, have dinged Amash for backing the "Deep State" in the impeachment of President Donald Trump (despite Amash's lead role in nearly de-funding the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance operations back in 2013), and for potentially being another in a lengthening line of ex-Republicans who fail to ignite a lasting ideological fire.

"I even think that in some scenarios 1 percent might be better than 4 percent," libertarian comedian Dave Smith said to Hornberger on an episode of his Part of the Problem podcast last month. "I think those votes are worthless if you didn't actually convert people or introduce them to liberty or change their way of looking at the world at all."

Or as Ludwig von Mises Institute senior fellow and popular podcaster Tom Woods, with whom Smith taped an Amash-criticizing podcast last week, said at a Mises Caucus-sponsored event down the street from the 2018 Libertarian National Convention: "So yeah, we won't get the 70 million votes, but maybe we get 1 million people who say, 'I never looked at the world the same way again after I listened to those people.'"

Amash's answer to the broad critique is to remind people that most Americans are not self-identified libertarians, no matter how intrinsically libertarian they may be without knowing it, and that political actors wishing to have any kind of influence need to acknowledge the fallen world around them.

"I've been a libertarian my entire life, a small-l libertarian," Amash said Saturday. "And I believe that when you work within government, you have to make those changes that will convince people to come to your side….You have to present libertarianism to them with the issues that they care about or are concerned about right now. It can't be some kind of overnight experiment where we re-work all of society or re-work all of our government."

"In fact," Amash continued, "that's arrogance in the form of central planning of another sort, to come in and say, 'We're just going to throw out everything we have overnight and start anew.' We have to do things gradually and carefully, and we have to trust the people to make decisions through our constitutional system of government."

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  1. “He’s a Johhny-come-lately with no accomplishments who only runs as an L because the R’s that he ran with for years don’t want him anymore”

    1. Sorry. He had a Post Office. That needs a bailout now apparently.

      1. 2 post offices. Give him some credit.

        1. So double the bailout?

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        2. Yes. He has no accomplishments, unlike Trump who got the deficit up to over a trillion dollars. Now THAT’S an accomplishment. MORON.

          Libertarians do NOT support retaliatory tariffs. Sorry.

    2. What universe do you live in where non-stop fawning coverage from Koch Media Inc is not an accomplishment?

      1. Mea culpa.

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    3. Libertarians seem to want him, douchebag. And what are Hoenberger’s accomplishments? I’ve never even heard of him. Lol.

  2. How dare you!

    1. He needs to shoot someone’s dog ASAP so we can just put this all behind us.

    2. Screw that guy. He’s been violating people’s rights for ten years and killed Iraqis before that.

      1. Was that supposed to edgy? Clever? It just the same generalizating that libertarians are supposedly supposed to object to?

        1. None of the above. The guy has been acting immorally for his entire adult life.

          1. Serving in the military is acting immorally?

            1. When you’re the aggressor, yes.

      2. Are you sure about that?

        Also, why do you think he deserves to be screwed for reminding officials “We do not get to violate someone’s Constitutional Rights …”
        He’s not getting punished for violating people’s rights here, but for supporting them.

  3. Once again, the party that doesn’t want to win elections. Just disband and form the Libertarian Club. That way you can control the membership to only the true believers and a total membership of three, all of whom hate each other for being splitters.

    As for Hornberger, if he didn’t like the nomination rules he should have found a different party. You don’t seek the nomination of an anything-goes-nomination-process party and then complain when anything goes. Something about non binding primaries and stuff. You want that changed? Then go through the process of changing it. Otherwise you’re as pathetic as Bernie whining that the nomination was stolen by Hillary.

    1. Give me legalized methamphetamine or give me death!


  4. “In fact,” Amash continued, “that’s arrogance in the form of central planning of another sort, to come in and say, ‘We’re just going to throw out everything we have overnight and start anew.’ We have to do things gradually and carefully, and we have to trust the people to make decisions through our constitutional system of government.”

    Ah, so it’s ‘central planning’ to let people do what they want.

    Thanks for clearing that up, Amash. And here I thought getting rid of tyrannical aspects of the state was a core Libertarian component.

    Not that I disagree that if people want tyranny that they will get tyranny, but calling the process to get rid of the tyranny central planning is a curious assertion.

    I think what he means to say is that if people want tyranny good and hard, it would be central planning to say no to them. There may be a valid point in that, but if it’s at all true than Amash is essentially admitting that he’s on the losing side.

    1. I think what he means to say is that if people want tyranny good and hard, it would be central planning to say no to them.

      That’s certainly Hihn’s position on the matter. Personally, I don’t mind if the people who want tyranny get tyranny. It’s when my neighbors want tyranny and I get tyranny that I start waving the yellow and black flag.

    2. Way to take what he said out of context, douchebag. He’s certainly for less tyranny than Trump is.

  5. I’m just pleasantly surprised Vermin Supreme made it to the fourth round.

    1. The only serious candidate in the race.

      1. Why do you hate boots? Why are you racist?

  6. If you are not going to win elections, and at the national level the L party isn’t, then you need to either not run a candidate or run a candidate who is ideologically pure. Yes, an ideologically pure candidate will lose. But you are going to lose anyway. So, you might as well put forth a candidate who makes all of your points and acts as a conscience to the race.

    Amash isn’t that. As someone said above. He is a phony, no accomplishment Congress critter, who has done pretty much anything he could to get in front of the camera. Now that the Republicans won’t have him, he slings up to the Libertarians. My God are Libertarians cheap dates. Reason Libertarians will lay down to any dipshit politician who even held office willing to sweet talk them. If you are going to be a whore, try and be an expensive one. No one likes cheap whores.

    1. Amash has practical, real-world ideas of libertarianism who can help get the message out to the largest audience. I would say that that is a better strategy than nominating someone who wants to burn everything down. Also if you think that Amash is a no accomplishment Congress critter, I challenge you to identify someone in Congress who has done more to advance libertarian ideas in the past few years than he has. I’ll wait.

      1. Virtually anyone. Since smash didnt actually affect anything.

        1. When you’re the only true libertarian in Congress, it’s hard to make a significant impact.

          1. So you agree. He was worthless. Promoting failure common where you’re from?

            1. What I’m saying is that when the duopoly continues to agree on things like huge bipartisan spending bills and on unconstitutional surveillance, when you only have Amash and a few others opposing it’s hard to make a significant impact. You must be honest here and admit that if most people in Congress thought like Amash, our country would be a much better place right now. If you think there is someone in Congress who is a better libertarian than Amash, I’d like to hear your reasoning why.

              1. “What I’m saying is that when the duopoly continues to agree on things like huge bipartisan spending bills and on unconstitutional surveillance, when you only have Amash and a few others opposing it’s hard to make a significant impact.”

                Yes, it is, and IF he was elected president, he’d have even less effect: Trump proposed a tax holiday as opposed to a top-down distribution of cash for the (claimed) ‘relief package’; went nowhere, even among the R’s.
                You think Amash as a L, and a rep as a whiny media whore, plus the history of backing the bogus impeachment would have any cred to accomplish *ANYTHING*?
                Hell, he couldn’t get a dog-catcher appointment through congress.

                1. He’d end all the wars unlike Trump.

            2. What exactly did you expect him to accomplish as one guy out of 435, you twat?

            3. JesseAz, so what you’re saying Amash would be much more valuable as president than as just a congressman. And that’s somehow an argument AGAINST him being president? Lol. Idiot.

          2. Who? Did I miss a true libertarian in Congress?

            1. You probably think Trump is a libertarian though.

            2. Amash, Massie, Rand. Probably Mike Lee too.

        2. So then name one, dipshit Jesse Ass.

    2. > If you are not going to win elections…

      If you’re not going to win elections then you better figure out how you can. I will tell you what WON’T win an election, and that’s debates over the esoteric nuances of the NAP. If you don’t want to win elections then just disband and start a debate club.

      And what do you care John? I thought you were a Trump cheerleader? Amash is the secret lovechild of Rothbard and Hess compared to Trump!

      1. Uhmm. And compared to Biden so is Trump. It doesn’t sound any more clever.

    3. “So, you might as well put forth a candidate who makes all of your points and acts as a conscience to the race.”

      What good does it do for him to make all of those points to the zero people outside of the Libertarian Party that will hear them? Media coverage of politics doesn’t pay any attention to candidates that won’t make a significant impact on the outcome.

      It would be great if major media outlets were better at fostering a real debate about important policies and ideas (or rather, if they would do that at all). But ratings, clicks, and subscriptions depend on catching the eyes of people that increasingly interact with politics as a form of entertainment. This is how we’ve entered the 21st century in American politics where tribalism, “alternative facts”, etc. have shaped everything related to government.

      Justin Amash may not be pure enough for Libertarian Party faithful, but if it comes to a choice between growing the LP’s influence or remaining ‘pure’ and being essentially ignored, which will it be?

    4. Or you run a more qualified and more sane and less power mad candidate than the Dems and the Repubs, as the LP did in 2016. Amash can’t match Johnson in accomplishments, but he appears far more sane and reasonable than Trump or Biden.

      Eventually the voters will realize they’re being duped.

  7. everybody luuuuvs you, so don’t let them down …

  8. Hey yo @Reason can I get a piece commissioned on the boi @VerminSupreme?? @NickGillespie on the beat of course

      1. Tony 38% less clever than gay’s post.

        1. But somehow 56% gayer

          1. gay and vermin supreme > Tony and amash

  9. I did not see the debate but from the articles description Jorgensen deserves a second look. Her second place finish in the polling also will have me rethinking my belief that libertarians have a strong misogenistic leaning. I don’t think it matter who the nominee is as this will be a referendum on President Trump. After Labor Day expect nothing but Biden and TRump. Biden is the first choice of only a few, but I expect that coalitions of anybody but Trump will carry him to a victory. Amash would do better to line up for 2024.

    1. “will have me rethinking my belief that libertarians have a strong misogenistic leaning”

      Luckily for us we don’t give a shit what you think boy.

      1. We already know what he thinks anyway, whatever was on the front page of Vox last night.


    2. Her second place finish in the polling also will have me rethinking my belief that libertarians have a strong misogenistic leaning

      Weird that this would be the thing that makes you question that given the overall gender distribution for being a libertarian in the first place.

      It’s not that there aren’t any female libertarians, it’s just that there are a whole lot less of them than you might expect.

      1. Well its kind of chicken or the egg? Do Libertarians skew misogynist because there are more males, or are there more male Libertarians because misogyny pushes away women. Either way Jorgensen seem to break through.

        1. Moderation4ever
          May.12.2020 at 9:05 pm

          Fuck off; you’re too stupid to read.

    3. Moderation4ever
      May.12.2020 at 5:40 pm

      Fuck off.

    4. “misogenistic”

      Lol

  10. Amash supports The Coup and Invasion USA.

    He’s an enemy of Americans who don’t want to be ruled by homegrown or foreign born statists.

    1. The Coup? You mean that Amash supported impeachment because it was obvious that Trump tried to leverage aid passed by Congress and signed by him to get Ukraine to target Biden for him?

      Personally, I want to be governed by a President that wouldn’t even imagine trying to use a foreign country to do his opposition research for him.

      If I tried to come up with a comprehensive list of everything Trump has said or done that disqualified him for public office, in my eyes, (let alone the presidency), I wouldn’t have time for anything else for weeks. Yet, he won because the majority of Republican voters that didn’t vote for Trump in the primary decided that preventing Hillary from becoming President was more important than their party having the moral authority to govern at all.

    2. He voted against citizenship for dreamers, idiot.

  11. Hornberger turning into Mr. Abortion is pathetic. What’s he campaigning for? The Reason vote?

    In all seriousness, the libertarian case against abortion is so obvious that only a fool or a liar could pretend not to understand it. Unfortunately, people like Hornberger refuse to understand that state intervention meant to protect a class of people it’s legal to kill isn’t the same as any other form of state intervention. If slavery were legal today, a lot of LP people would argue that banning it would constitute a form of big government.

    Things would be so much easier if the anarchists in the LP’s ranks would form their own party.


    1. If slavery were legal today, a lot of LP people would argue that banning it would constitute a form of big government.

      Specifically, LP people like Amash given his idea’s on what constitutes central planning. Weird, right?


      [getting rid of slavery, well] that’s arrogance in the form of central planning of another sort, to come in and say, ‘We’re just going to throw out everything we have overnight and start anew.’ We have to do things gradually and carefully, and we have to trust the people to make decisions through our constitutional system of government.”

      -Amash

      1. Slavery is legal, read the 13th amendment.

        1. Tell me again how many fetus crime lords there are.

          1. You sound really dumb.

            1. That was meant for IceTrey. LOL.

    2. Amash’s position on using the 14th Amendment to impose abortion restrictions on the states from a federal level is bizarre and unprincipled whatever the case with Hornberger may be.

      1. He also believes he can protect transgendered by simply adopting the liberal redefinition of sex. He said so a week ago.

        He doesnt have actual principles.

        1. It’s gender, not sex, moron. Two different things. The 14th amendment demands equal protection from state governments, and the feds can have requirements before giving states funding. Get over your anti-trans bigotry, okay.

          Amash running in all likelihood helps Trump, so you should be kissing the man’s ass.

      2. States don’t have rights. People do. If a state decides that a certain group of people doesn’t have the right to live, then the federal government is perfectly within its rights to nullify that law.

        Not all forms of federal intervention are the same. When the states make decisions that protect human life and liberty, that’s good. But when a state government decides that certain people don’t have the right to live, then federal intervention is perfectly just. This is why a federal ban on slavery would be an affirmation of liberty, not a threat to states’ rights.

        1. Yea, you’re saying the 13th Amendment banning slavery wasn’t necessary, which goes against how the framers viewed the Constitution and would be a form of judicial activism.

          The federal government is limited by its enumerated powers and does not have a carte blanche ability to create laws at the state and local level in the name of protecting rights, and nothing in the 14th Amendment allows it to do that, either. The people who wrote the 14th Amendment also knew it wouldn’t ban slavery, which is why the 13th Amendment needed to be written first. What the 14th Amendment does is protect due process; it protects people from state governments. It doesn’t protect people from each other, and wouldn’t protect fetuses from their mothers, either.

          Apart from the Constitutional issues… the whole idea of “natural rights” which the founders embraced comes from Locke’s description of government of a social contract. When people talk about fetuses being given rights in the Declaration of Independence, they’re completely missing the understanding of the document as the framers saw it and replacing the framers views with their own views.

    3. You mean that the woman owns her uterus and a fetus has no more right to its use than I have to one of your kidneys?

      1. Cool, so you’re fine with a law that allows eviction of the fetus (ending its use of the uterus) but prohibits deliberate action to kill or dismember the fetus in the process of removal?

        1. No. Even chemical abortion kills the fetus. Legally a fetus isn’t a person so it has no rights and killing it isn’t murder.

          1. “Legally a fetus isn’t a person”

            IT’S THE LAW!!!

          2. “Legally a fetus isn’t a person so it has no rights”

            Oh, well that’s okay then.

            Black men weren’t persons until 1868, and women weren’t recognized as persons until Reed vs Reed, and that was fine.

            1. The “unborn” (fetus, embryo, blastocyst, or zygote) is not a person in either a legal or logical sense because it does not have the characteristics that causes us to value the life of a person (thoughts, feelings, dreams, joy, love, and more). It only has the potential to become a person. That is insufficient reason for the government to demand that a woman remain pregnant against her will.

                1. Vince,

                  ?

                  That’s an insult typically used by conservative and alt-right men against liberal men they see as weak, as it comes from “cuckold”, an English term for a man whose wife is unfaithful.

                  In other words, I expect to see it from right-wing men that see Trump as a “real” man that has no problem wearing his misogyny on his sleeve. (Cuckservative is another of their favorites when aimed at conservative males that aren’t “alpha” enough.)

                  My position on abortion, like all of my other political beliefs, is one I try very hard to base on rationality. Values and premises can come from subjective priorities, but everything, including those starting points, are subject to question and revision in my mind as I express myself and read the responses from people with different views.

                  Given how easy it is to simply give in to emotions and passions and cognitive biases when talking politics, religion, and other highly charged areas, I think that it is a display of mental strength to place such a high value on thinking deeply and rationally about these topics and doing the same when communicating about them, rather than a weakness.

                  I view people that can’t control their emotions in these debates and default to crude, single-word insults to be the ones that are weak. Weak-minded that is. Perhaps if I was a Jedi, I could simply use the old Jedi mind-trick to make you log off of the internet and rethink your life.

      2. Did the fetus put into self there of its own accords or did the woman’s actions put it there? Really is that your best argument? Because the two things are not even close to being remotely similar. The fetus didn’t choose to be in that womb, but is there because of the woman’s actions (usually, rape does occur yes). So the woman is going to conduct violence against something that is defenseless, and in the circumstance it is because of her actions. You are so right it is the woman who is the victim not the defenseless, blameless fetus.

        1. If abortion for rape isn’t murder it never is.

          1. Nice appeal to emotion fallback.
            Anyway, abortion for rape is murder.
            It’s no different than someone killing an adopted child who was the product of rape, because it traumatized his biological mother to see him running around town.

            1. Is the termination of a pregnancy at the embryonic stage (< 8 weeks) murder? A human embryo doesn't look significantly different from that of other mammals until close to that 8 week mark. At around 4-5 weeks, you'd probably be unable to distinguish it from a mouse embryo at an equivalent stage. (Unless you're some kind of biologist that studies that kind of thing.)

              I argue that whether you are talking about a zygote (fertilized egg, still a single cell), blastocyst (the literal clump of cells that might implant in the uterus several days later), embryo, or fetus, you are not talking about a person. A person has characteristics that we use to justify valuing that life in a way that places obligations on our own actions.

              People often challenge me with something along the lines of, "Aren't you glad you weren't aborted?" I respond with. "Well, I'm also glad that my mother met my father in the first place. I certainly wouldn't have existed if they didn't. Or if they didn't have some attraction toward each other. Or if that one particular sperm out of millions didn't fertilize that one particular egg. Or if that fertilized egg didn't implant in my mothers womb. Or if that embryo and later fetus failed to develop properly, resulting in a miscarriage or severe deformities or . . ." I could go on.

              The point is that it isn't until I was born and started to actually live a conscious life that I became a person. When considering that fertilized egg, that single cell is all it is at that moment and doesn't take on any of the characteristics of a person until well past the point at which all but a tiny percent of abortions are performed. Anything else is the hopes and dreams of the happy couple. And that is what abortion is really all about. Unwanted pregnancies.

          2. Did I say it wasn’t? All I said about rape is it wasn’t the fault of the woman’s actions. Reading comprehension, along with logic, seems to be a weakness of yours. Whereas generalizations and bigotry (all soldiers and cops are immoral) seem to be your strength.

      3. Seeing as that’s where every single Eutherian being ever has formed, and the whole reason a uterus exists is to house a human in their earliest stages of life, I’d say the child has as much right to the uterus as their mother.

        1. Your home exists to house humans I’ll be moving in tomorrow.

          1. I didn’t invite you, like that woman did the fetus by having sex.

            Face it. Your argument sucks.

          2. “Your home exists to house humans”
            You’re right, that is exactly what it’s for.

            “I’ll be moving in tomorrow”
            Should I be allowed to brutally kill you for that?
            Especially since I was the one that purposefully invited you in, and I know that without fail you will be leaving in 9 months?

            You really don’t think your analogies though, do you.

        2. Mother’s lament, I have to give you credit for being pro-life even though we disagree about Trump.

      4. A fetus is a human person. This might come as a shock to you, but killing people is wrong.

        1. So how do we stop them? How do we turn unwanted pregnancies into wanted pregnancies? A bill not to fund abortion providers isn’t going to do the trick.

          1. No answer? It’s a sincere question. If you don’t like women aborting, how do you plan to stop them? You’re going to have to come up with something better than defunding abortion facilities. That might salve your conscience, but it won’t stop abortion.

    4. Anarchists don’t need a political party. They can just go live somewhere.

  12. “Competitors, skeptical delegates, and podcasters attack the congressman for being an incrementalist Deep State enabler rather than a principled radical.”

    This gets it exactly backwards.

    Justin Amash committed political suicide because of his unwillingness to be pragmatic–thereby undermining libertarian capitalism in the real world. The goal in the real world should have been to undermine the Democratic party’s ability to implement their socialist policy objectives, which represent a greater threat to libertarian capitalism now than they have since Johnson’s Great Society or maybe even the New Deal before that.

    If the election were between Republicans led by Donald Trump and Democrats led by Joseph Stalin, any “principled” libertarians who refused to work with the Republicans would not actually be principled. There isn’t anything principled about libertarians letting Stalin and his Democrats come to power to implement socialism.

    No, Biden and the Democrats aren’t as bad as Joseph Stalin, but once we’ve established that there is a point beyond which being “principled” becomes not only obtuse but also counterproductive to the libertarian capitalist cause, the only question is whether we’ve crossed that line already. My answer is that, yes, we have.

    Medicare for All is terrible. Have you seen the tenets of the Green New Deal? They’re far, far worse. The Democrats are openly advocating authoritarian socialism, and as the Democrats become increasingly authoritarian and socialist, it is entirely appropriate [absolutely imperative] for libertarian capitalists to become increasingly Republican. Mr. Amash should have been leading the libertarian charge into the Republican party. He abdicated instead–on “principle?

    That is why he should be opposed. Amash is too “principled” at a time when what we need is a pragmatist–someone who can make the Republicans see that a fiscally conservative, socially liberal Republican Party has a tremendous appeal to libertarian minded voters–a voting block for which the Libertarian Party only represents the tip of the iceberg.

    1. Honest question: does this make Rand Paul any better in your view since he appears to be far more pragmatic than Amash? Or is he still on your shit list?

      1. My anger at Rand Paul was when he led the charge against a Senate bill that the House had already passed and that President Trump fought to sign–that would have cut $772 billion from Medicaid. That is exactly the kind of “principled” that’s a problem.

        When your libertarian capitalist “principles” make you oppose cutting $772 billion from a socialist entitlement program, you aren’t being principled. If a socialist had been in Rand Paul’s seat instead of Rand Paul, the outcome of that vote would have been the same. That bill would have been the first time anyone has cut entitlement spending, and if I can’t trust a libertarian to support those cuts, then why am I supporting him? Smaller government = cutting pending (especially socialist entitlement spending) + tax cuts. If your “principles” make you vote with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren against cutting entitlement spending, then you and your “principles” are the problem.

        If I had to compare the two, Amash just seems like a tragedy–because of all the opportunities he’ll never have to advance freedom once he loses his seat. I think Rand Paul actively working against slashing entitlement spending in the name of his principles is probably worse than Amash. Hopefully, Paul won’t make such mistakes again–not that the opportunity to vote for a bill that cleared the House, would be signed by the president, and cuts $772 billion from entitlement spending will ever happen again in our lifetimes.

        1. Unfortunately,in a lot of states (e.g. Pennsylvania) you won’t advance above the lowest rung – committeeman – unless you are willing to get out and campaign for RINOS such as Arlen Specter or other establishment endorsed yahoos that a libertarian could not support without being a hypocrite and complete phoney.

          1. Well that wasn’t Amash’s problem or Rand Paul’s problem. They both made it into congress.

            Being part of a governing majority is about compromise. If mouthing support for some anti-libertarian jackass is what stops them from holding seats where their votes could make a difference in slashing entitlement spending, then I wouldn’t describe them as principled either.

            I don’t really care what politicians say so much as care about how they vote, and if they’re voting against slashing entitlement spending, then whatever principles stop them from mouthing support for jackasses are beside the point for me.

            Cut spending + cut taxes + defend the Constitution.

            Saying, “blah, blah, blah” doesn’t matter to me.

            If Trump had threatened to ban assault weapons in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, that wouldn’t have mattered to me anywhere near as much as whether he actually banned assault weapons. In a perfect world, libertarians would be free to speak the truth, and it would help them at the polls. The real truth is so offensive to average people, no one who wants to be reelected will dare speak it.

            You know what the truth is?

            The biggest problem the American people face today is what’s in their own authoritarian and socialist heads. If they weren’t so eager to force each other to do things against their will or abdicate their personal obligation to make choices for themselves, they’d be a whole lot better off than they are by ceding their autonomy to whatever politicians says things that make them the most horny.

            Unfortunately, voters won’t support you for calling the voters a bunch of infantile authoritarians–especially if that’s what they are.

            So what?

            We push forwards selling freedom in the most palatable manner possible anyway. Like a profoundly beautiful woman a beauty pageant, we don’t have to show up in the evening gown contest wearing sweats with rollers in our hair. Just because we have the truth on our side doesn’t mean we have to say it in the most offensive way possible. Politicians are supposed to say whatever they need to say to get elected. That’s okay. We didn’t want to seize the reigns of power and inflict libertarianism on an unwilling population anyway. Our job is to persuade our fellow Americans to want what Libertarians are selling. Once that happens, the Republicans and the Democrats will be falling all over themselves to out libertarian each other.

            1. “…… republicans and democrats will be falling all over themselves to out libertarian each other.”

              I can’t imagine that happening. Some will play along with the notion of smaller government, others with cutting entitlement or military spending or other ideas, but it will take a major collapse of society for D’s or R’s to contemplate any major philosophical changes.

              And at that point the globalists will already have a very non libertarian “plan” ready to go, before a panicked populace has a chance to dissect it. Hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

    2. “The goal in the real world should have been to undermine the Democratic party’s ability to implement their socialist policy objectives, which represent a greater threat to libertarian capitalism now than they have since Johnson’s Great Society or maybe even the New Deal before that.”

      Yes, exactly. To protect libertarian capitalism, the Democrats need to be opposed by Any Means Necessary. This includes voting for and supporting a corrupt, incompetent, childish, narcissistic moron that has weakened all of the institutions that exist to ensure that our country has a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, rather than by whatever behind the scenes power brokers exist that manage to use disinformation and populism to fool enough voters to put them and keep them in power.

    3. Ken Shultz, liberals seem to think Amash helps Trump and hurts Biden, so you should rethink what you just said.

    4. No libertarian has any imperative (moral or otherwise) to serve authoritarian Republicans just because authoritarian Democrats are worse (even much worse). But once you’ve slipped through the major party filter and somehow found your way to Congress, try to stay there and not blow it on things that don’t matter, like a theatrical impeachment vote.

  13. “No, Biden and the Democrats aren’t as bad as Joseph Stalin”
    A couple of months ago I would have agreed with this statement but now I’m not so sure. We’ve seen Democrat governors, mayors and their cheerleaders at the federal level demonstrate that they have absolutely no respect for individual liberty and will not hesitate to use police violence to enforce their will.

    1. The lock downs by Democrat governors in California, Michigan, and New York–and the support for them progressives and the media have shown–certainly have exposed the Democrats as even more authoritarian than most people realized.

      Stalin didn’t start out as Stalin. People didn’t want to believe he would do what he did, and even after he did it, plenty of them didn’t want to believe it. It was that way with Castro and Chavez, too. They don’t start out wanting to do the things they do, but once they start nationalizing things, they need to put price controls in place, and once they do that, prices collapse, and they need to take over food production and distribution, and once they do that, . . .

      You start down that road, and all the rest of your choices are made for you.

      Still, they haven’t gone down that road yet. They just keep telling us that’s where they want to go for now. There wasn’t anything about Stalin, personally, that made him worse than other people in the same circumstances. Pol Pot was in similar circumstances. So is Maduro. Those circumstances require authoritarian responses, and if an America president ever went down that road, he or she would find the same pressures for the same reasons, no doubt.

      1. “Stalin didn’t start out as Stalin.”

        Really? Did he change his name to make it more marketable at some point before the Russian Revolution? Reading short summaries of his biography, he seems to have been fairly violent and despicable long before 1917, funding his ‘militia’ with robbery, kidnapping, and protection rackets.

        Do you have any examples of leaders that really were prominent and at least somewhat respected in reasonably well-functioning democratic/republican governments that then turned dictatorial? Besides, which of the two major party candidates have referred to media outlets critical of him as the “enemy of the people” the way that Stalin did?

        1. Stalin’s period of exile from 1913 to 1917 in an arctic village in northern Siberia seems to have been a period of decency and respectability. He did take up with a 14 year old, and abandon her just as easily, but aside from that, life in exile was probably something of a high point for him, morally and emotionally. He accepted his exile without attempting to escape or make trouble. He adopted the clothes and life ways of the Tunguskan natives and spend his time hunting, fishing, playing with children, and putting to use his education by providing rudimentary medical care for the residents.

          1. Uh, I wasn’t asking if you could cherry pick a few years of Stalin’s life where he wasn’t all bad, I was asking for an example of someone who had been a generally decent person most of their life that then turned despotic after becoming prominent enough to gain a major leadership position. And that this happened in a reasonably well-functioning democratic country, with a free press, competitive elections, and so on.

            If we really want to protect a liberal economy (call it libertarian capitalism or whatever), then we start by protecting democratic norms and institutions. As I said, this are: a free and independent press, free and fair elections, and elected leaders and non-elected officials that are held accountable for their actions.

            This requires something harder than worrying about ‘slippery slopes’ of increased spending on social welfare programs (aka ‘free stuff’) turning into despotic communism. It requires refusing to support politicians and parties that won’t uphold those ideals of republican government even when you think the other side is worse in some fashion.*

            This means that we have work hard to avoid falling into a wide variety of cognitive bias and motivated reasoning traps. It means that we stop rewarding candidates for being the ‘lesser of two evils’ and demand that they actually meet minimally acceptable standards of integrity and support for democracy itself before we even start to look at policy differences.

            It is ruefully amusing the way that we complain about not being able to trust politicians given that we keep voting in politicians that we know are untrustworthy.

            *If party primaries functioned better, then we could do this kind of sorting better at that stage, confident that people unfit or corrupt would be prevented from winning a party’s nomination. But party primaries are a combination of maneuvering dominated by networks of special interest donors behind-the-scenes and pure populism in public aimed at the smaller, yet most strident, portion of a party’s base that votes in the primaries.

            1. “Uh, I wasn’t asking if you could cherry pick a few years of Stalin’s life where he wasn’t all bad”

              Yes, I understand. I wanted to point out that Stalin seemed to have at least the potential to lead a decent life. Maybe the point is it’s the surroundings and trappings of power that lead to corruption. Stalin, of course, is my favorite Soviet leader. Let’s turn to my favorite American leader of the same era, RM Nixon. Growing up, he seems to have been a morally upright person. I think he was always a bit of a slippery character, but also courageous, caring and righteous. His downfall was a lack of self confidence which graduated into full blown paranoia and addiction. It’s a tragedy worthy of Shakespeare.

              “As I said, this are: a free and independent press, free and fair elections, and elected leaders and non-elected officials that are held accountable for their actions.”

              I agree but fear it’s too late for that. The rot is already too deep and nothing substantial will change without major disruption. I’m advising my readers here to prepare an escape route.

        2. You sound more concerned with rhetoric than actions. For example, Gretchen Whitmer is currently not calling a 77 year old barber an “enemy of the people”, but she’s actually treating him like one; using the full resources of the state to go after him like he’s a public threat.

          The specific examples he cited aside, the poster you’re responding to is making the point that if you start off with the wrong principles or wrong foundation, you’ll go down a slippery slope trying to enforce them even if you don’t intend to. I don’t think any of the Democrat governors are going to become murders and tyrants like Stalin, but still the same, the more they dig in deep to enforce their principles, the more petty they’ll become.

          Btw, the phrase has a long history and was first use to describe tyrants who oppressed their subjects and thus by oppressing the people became “enemies of the people.” It was later used as an attack against politicians who opposed suffrage rights or were against the expressed will of their constituents. This later became common enough it became overused and misused and this was critiqued in a play by Henrik Ibsen. But the original use of the term wasn’t pro-tyranny, it was anti-tyranny. And btw Stalin used “enemy of the nation” or “enemy of the workers” or different variations.

          1. Just because a slippery slope argument can be made, doesn’t mean that it is something to actually worry about. Especially when you look at the bigger picture of threats to liberty.

            This is a public health emergency that can only be fought effectively when everyone acts in a responsible fashion. Responsible means being informed about how the virus is transmitted, what measures need to be taken to minimize that transmission, and what the risks are to themselves and others. Not everyone can be an expert in epidemiology, and experts don’t always agree, and they aren’t always right when they do agree. But if people aren’t going to trust the experts, or that the government is properly vetting the advice of experts, or whatever, then they have a duty to inform themselves as much as they can before simply doing what they want based on their own needs and desires. Liberty is the presumption when a person’s actions only affect themselves. When my actions can negatively affect other people, then the rights of those other people matter, and my liberty can rightfully be curtailed if necessary.

            When I look at the shutdown protests and arguments, I see a lot of frustration with not being able to live our lives like we want, fear of economic damage, and ideology. People have a perfectly reasonable fear and worry about making ends meet, but fear is usually only a positive motivator when confronted with an immediate threat (fight or flight response). It is an impediment to rational thought about complex dangers, which of course, works both ways. We need to think rationally about both the economic dangers of social distancing as well as the public health dangers.

            Reasonable people can have different views on how to respond to this crisis. People that disagree with us might actually have valid rational arguments for having different positions. Understanding and considering those arguments before assuming nefarious motives is our duty to think rationally ourselves.

  14. Amash should have waited for a ’24 run or declared earlier. He dragged his feet for too long. I know delegates in my state that would otherwise support Amash but will not support him because of his procrastination. His approach is optically bad for many delegates.

    Many will be skeptical after ’12. Delegates did a solid for Johnson by voting Weld onto the ticket only to have Weld all but endorse Clinton.

    Amash should focus on ’24, run the full cycle and help the LP attain ballot access in all 50 states (something that is in danger of not happening in ’20).

    1. “Amash should have waited for a ’24 run or declared earlier. He dragged his feet for too long.”

      If he wants to spoil Trump’s chances later this year by siphoning off Republican voters, waiting for 2024 makes no sense. In 2024 it won’t matter who the Libertarian party decides to run. I doubt they will be in a position to act as spoiler as they are this year. Amash will likely gravitate back to the Republican party.

      1. You really don’t understand politics if you think someone like Amash will “siphon off Republican voters”.

        And, in any case, if you prefer Biden/some-female to Trump/Pence, you are a statist.

        1. “And, in any case, if you prefer Biden/some-female to Trump/Pence, you are a statist.”

          I prefer none of the above, if you must know.

          “Amash will “siphon off Republican voters”.

          Sure, why not? He’s been getting Republican votes throughout his entire career. Trump was also able to attract Republican votes despite being a life long Democrat and contributor to the Clintons.

          1. Don’t forget that he toyed with running for the Reform Party nomination in 2000. Some people back then called it correctly, in my view, that he was doing it for the publicity rather than any desire to actually win. That has been true of all of his forays into political issues (including the Birtherism), in my opinion. They were about self-promotion rather than any desire to impact events in the country in a positive way. His business has always relied on his image as a successful businessman much more than his actual success in developing and managing properties well.

            I can almost imagine Trump getting Steve Bannon alone in a room after the media called the election for Trump and asking him, “What do we do now?”

  15. Have I said this already? If they had a ranked preference voting system, I’d be happy to vote Amash #1 and Trump #2. Of course, I think they’re both assholes, when was that a disqualifying factor?

    The rival candidates and others scored some hits against Amash, but the “accusation” that he’s prolife makes me more inclined in his favor. Though unlike Trump, he’s not pledged to appoint sound judges who recognize Roe for the abomination it is.

    1. …and he seems awkward and slippery when “confronted” with the “charge” of being anti-abortion. He could have said “it’s true I don’t anticipate really strong prolife bills coming across my desk, but if one did of course I’d sign it. It’s not as if I support compulsory nazi cakes or anything.”

  16. Libertarians need to focus on stopping government from initiating force and nothing else. Keep it simple and keep repeating it. That’s what the socialists do and it seems to work.

    1. Haha. Good point. The socialists are nothing if not simple and repetitive.

  17. “Conservatives love to ‘reform,'” he said. “But reform of tyranny is not freedom. Freedom is a dismantling of tyranny…”

    Well there’s a big old pile of implication, assumption and strawmanning leading up to that cheesy platitude.

    “Conservatives love to ‘reform,'” Do they really? This is news to me.
    And what do they love to ‘reform’? Apparently ‘tyranny’.

    Let’s contemplate the stupidity of this statement for a minute. Has any politician anywhere ever said “I promise to reform tyranny, I love reforming tyranny”.
    Hornberger is an idiot.

    Anyway, the more Amash sticks to his guns on abortion, the easier it is to forgive him for lying about the Mueller Report.

    1. Also, Trump/Vermin 2020!

      The entropy will be amazing.

    2. Anyway, the more Amash sticks to his guns on abortion, the easier it is to forgive him for lying about the Mueller Report.

      I don’t see where fabricating a constitutional “right to life” for fetuses is any more libertarian than fabricating a constitutional “right to abortion” for women.

  18. If you run a guy who has an upside-down boot on his head, that will create more interest in the Libertarian Party than anything else.

  19. If you’re not going to win elections then you better figure out how you can. I will tell you what WON’T win an election, and that’s debates over the esoteric nuances of the NAP. Best web designing company in Jaipur If you don’t want to win elections then just disband and start a debate club.

  20. Amash IS better than either Trump or Biden AND he is a libertarian. He gets my $$, my campaigning, and my vote.

    1. Okay, Justin’s mom.

  21. “ I believe that the pro-life position is a Libertarian position,”

    The government forcing rape victims to have babies because you believe in an imaginary sky dictator is not Libertarianism. Fuck off, Elephant.

    1. Oh look, pure strawmanning and an argumentum ad passiones from a guy who probably purports to be a critical thinker because he doesn’t believe in no “skyfairy”.

    2. And the government forcing uninvolved third parties to participate in, or pay for, the consequences of the sexual escapades of morally depraved women based on the ideological ravings of 1960’s Marxists isn’t libertarian either.

      Both pro-choice and pro-life positions in the US are authoritarian and illiberal.

    3. Then go vote for Biden, feminist cuck boy.

      You don’t need to believe in God to be against abortion.

  22. Is there an explanation for how an individual can “declare” they are a candidate for any given political party without the consent of that party?
    How doe Amash get to be an LP candidate with being nominated by the party?

  23. I find it amazing and amusing how seriously the Libertarian Party takes itself without ever really accomplishing anything. It is a stunning achievement in a country where many voters have at least some small “l” libertarian sensibilities. You would think at some point the big “L” libertarians would wonder, “Hey, maybe it’s something about us?” Nope. Amash strikes me as a reasonably articulate guy with libertarian sensibilities who has (gasp!) actually won an election. He’s way better than the two alternatives, but he apparently didn’t get the memo. The LP isn’t about winning elections or even influencing them. Shame.

    1. 100% agree. Need to get more candidates elected in the house and senate. Too often this site feels like the peanut gallery taking shots at the 2 major parties, easy to do and accomplished nothing. Living in Libertarian academic theory does not protect and restore liberty.

  24. Libertarians losing a voice in the house, he will get far fewer votes than Gary Johnson.

  25. These are kids running for high school class president. They obviously aren’t taking this seriously, and neither should we. I’m not sure why Matt Welch is, but maybe it’s just one of those check boxes you have to tick to write for Reason magazine.

  26. Jacob Hornberger is a libertarian with decades of pro-liberty accomplishments and activities. He understands the principles of liberty far better than Amash. He understands the Constitution and the law far better than Amash. He is a polished speaker and a scholar.
    Neither will win the election. Why not run the candidate who best presents and best represents libertarian principles?

    1. “Why not run the candidate who best presents and best represents libertarian principles?”

      Amash stands a much better chance to act as spoiler to Trump. He has national name recognition and will inevitably attract votes that would have gone to Trump.

      1. And why is being saddled with a senile socialist and a female vice socialist a good thing from a libertarian point of view?

        1. It makes no difference. Same product different packaging.

    2. Hornberger has accomplished things for liberty, but he does not get my vote because he refuses to debate Pete Hendricksen on the income tax, but instead hurls invective . He is not a tax attorney, but pretends to know the Income Tax when he does not. He claims the thousands of refunds earned by honest hard working Americicans who file educated tax returns are simply IRS errors, even though the correspondance for these refunds is posted on http://www.losthorizons.com and the Pete Hendricksen You Tube channel. He doesnt want real change -he wants to protect libertarian ideology that taxation is theft, when in fact the INcome tax is a tax on the exploitation of a federal privilege for profit (known as a PUBLIC OFFICE DUTY). He allows ideology to blind himself to over fifteen years of empirical results from filing educated returns and receiving full refunds of all withholdings, state and federal, including payroll taxes.

  27. If there were ever a time for the LP to put up a candidate that could be treated as “credible” by the media and general public, it’d be in the race against Donny Jingles and Gramps Biden.

    Put up an ideological or satirical candidate when the two “viable” choices aren’t so godawful that it could inspire large-scale voting for candidates from a “third” party that managed to get some real attention paid to it.

  28. But I can answer the question. The 14th Amendment provides the power to have the federal government address state violations of people’s rights. And as someone who’s pro-life, I believe that a baby inside the womb is a life. And if I believe that that person is a life, then I think it’s appropriate for the federal government to tell states that it is not okay to discriminate against these lives.

    The 14th Amendment applies only to “persons born or naturalized in the United States”. Obviously, a fetus is neither. Neither the US Constitution nor US law protects “human life” or protects against “discrimination” against arbitrary humans on this planet.

    Nor, for that matter, is there any kind of libertarian principle that the state must protect every human life anywhere. In fact, in many forms of libertarianism, the enforcement of the protection of human life is itself a private responsibility.

    Amash is not a principled libertarian. His positions are sometimes libertarianish, but that’s probably more by accident than by reflection. Why would you expect anything else from a failed Republican anyway?

  29. Anybody who argued Amash is part of the deep state or the warfare/welfare state must be batshit crazy.

  30. As I consider the LP field for 2020, I’m faced with the stark reality that non can or will win. There simply are not enough enlightened voters in the U.S. to understand and adopt libertarianism before November of this year. I wonder if it’s a better strategy to use the LP as a conduit for philosophical educational outreach (Hornberger)? Or, if a political strategy of using star power (think Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, Vince Vaughn, Joe Rogan et al) and a coalition of independents & 3rd parties to break the D/R duopoly as a near term objective might ultimately lead to a day when intellectual libertarianism will translate to officeholders?

  31. Wow Tom Woods is supporting an open borders pro abortion guy? Ok that is really a surprise to me…I thought Tom was a devout Catholic and defending of nation states as the best wall to protect liberty…I”m honestly shocked.

  32. Jacob Hornberger 2020! Jacob For Liberty! Hopefully Jacob Hornberger will pick Sam Robb as his running mate.

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