Libertarian Party

Libertarian Party Presidential Debate Offers Choice Between All Liberty Now or Moving the Ball of Liberty Down the Field

Libertarians will decide this weekend if a message that "nothing matters more...than living in a free society" will resonate in 2020.

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Five leading candidates for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination debated last night, in an event moderated by John Stossel. The voting will begin tomorrow via an online meeting of party delegates.

Two candidates, Judge James Gray and Jo Jorgensen, have been the party's vice presidential nominees in the past (Gray in 2012, Jorgensen in 1996). One, John Monds, earned more than 31 percent of the vote in a 2014 race for the Public Service Commission in Georgia. Another, Jacob Hornberger, has run a libertarian educational institition called the Future of Freedom Foundation since 1989. And the fifth, Vermin Supreme, is a political parodist, famous for wearing a boot on his head, who insists that this time he's a serious choice.

No one theme dominated the debate, though Hornberger, widely considered the front runner, made sure to jab at Jorgensen, widely considered his strongest opponent, for what he considered departures from a full-on radical libertarian platform.

Hornberger believes Libertarians give up their valuable moral high ground if they give an inch to any variety of statism, including Social Security and Medicaid. Jorgensen stressed the limits in our constitutional system of how much libertarian change a president alone could unilaterally deliver. She said she'd be quick to veto excessive spending and to pardon victimless criminals, but she thinks those who have paid into Social Security deserve to get that money back—so she's against instantly killing the system entirely, though she said she would allow people to stop paying into it from day one.

Judge Gray, for his part, insists that taking an all-or-nothing approach to shrinking government will ensure the party keeps getting nothing from America's voters. He consistently pushed viewers to check out the specific policy plans at his campaign website.

Supreme stressed that his humor—which he did not consistently bring to bear, though he was the only one to (apparently) smoke marijuana on camera when the subject of the drug war came up—will be a media magnet that amplifies his serious message and attracts millions of young voters. (Supreme argued that he has a chance of winning up to 25 percent of the youth vote.) Monds said his status as the great-grandchildren of slaves could help Americans see the degree to which government is unjustly interfering in their lives, and he promised to bring home not just the troops but the drones.

On COVID-19, Hornberger insisted that "the dynamics of the free market" would produce all the tests, masks, and ventilators the crisis demands, and that leaving any remnant of government's current interferences in the health care market ensured failure. Jorgensen pointed specifically to unnecessarily stringent FDA regulations as a barrier to solving the COVID-19 crisis. Gray said the government's role in the epidemic should be to serve as an honest broker of information and advice, not to force businesses to close en masse.

They all more or less agreed that an America that interfered less abroad would be less likely to need a sprawling military. Even the most vocally radical candidate, Hornberger, agreed that a military of some sort, just for protection against actual invasion, would be appropriate. But he railed against the military-industrial complex and the national security state, and he called the CIA the most evil institution in American history.

Hornberger insisted he would if he could press a button to end every aspect of the welfare state immediately, with a belief that a richer, freer America would rise up in voluntary charity to prevent disaster. Jorgensen agreed in principle, and used a story about a United Way scandal in the 1990s to buttress her point that Americans are capable of being responsibly charitable, but she seemed to think an instant sudden end to all welfare would not be prudent. Gray also stressed that with welfare, like taxes, a gradual series of steps down from government action toward private responsibility would be most prudent and the best sell to the voter, a philosophy of moving the ball of liberty down the field rather than a Hail Mary pass likely to fail.

Monds argued that government tends to hurt rather than help Americans' welfare, blaming the Federal Reserve's "private banking cartel" for destroying the value of the dollar and minimum wage laws for locking people out of jobs. Supreme had a similar message about things government needs to stop doing to leave more money and choice in Americans' hands, from property and income taxes to the minimum wage.

The most concrete thoughts about climate change came from Gray, who believes that information and free choice internationally might persuade, say, China and India to stop burning coal if people boycotted buying from them until they stopped. Jorgensen thinks a system of restitution for environmental damage plus insurance would likely mitigate future oil spills more than regulation does.

While Monds stressed his personal opposition to abortion, no candidate at the debate wanted the federal government to ban it. Everyone seemed to agree with the basic libertarian platform of open immigration, though Hornberger was especially firm on the glories of free trade and free movement of people. The IRS was in most candidates' sights for elimination.

Supreme didn't try to be overly wacky. Many of his answers included no jokes at all. Other times he started with a quip—such as "I'm a big fan of mind control as opposed to gun control"—before delivering a serious message.

Stossel mostly tried to serve as the devil's-advocate voice of an imagined normal voter—asking, for example, whether Americans are happy to have government help and government rules for pandemic control. "I say liberty above all else," Hornberger replied. "Nothing matters more to me than living in a free society."

The vote tomorrow will show exactly how far Libertarian delegates think that message can resonate in 2020.

NEXT: How Much Credit Should Lockdowns Get for Reducing COVID-19 Transmission?

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  1. //Hornberger believes Libertarians give up their valuable moral high ground if they give an inch to any variety of statism.//

    It is precisely that unwavering addiction to a moral high ground that diminishes the appeal of libertarian candidates. What better way to dispel the notion that libertarians are fanatics beholden to theoretical obscurities than to die on a hill of theoretical obscurity?

    From a practical perspective, if a politician is not willing to compromise on anything, they have no business running for any office in this country.

    1. Unless you are an anarchist, you have already given up feet to dreaded “statists”. The whole question is just how much are you giving up not if you will.

      1. Pretty sure Hornberger is an ancap.

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      2. John,

        Why should we give two craps about what you think since you are evidently willing to deny my ability to stockpile U-2385 in pursuit of a tactical nuclear weapon that I plan on detonating on Deep Playa at Burning Man. Fuck you, you statist creep.

        1. Your sarcasm troll game needs work.

        2. Well attempted murder is illegal even in Libertopia.

          1. But can the all volunteer police force rein in the would-be murderers before they manage to execute their villainous designs?

            1. Does the all-taxpayer funded police force in the police state rein in all the murderers before the fact?

          2. Well attempted murder is illegal even in Libertopia.

            Not necessarily. Police and the legal system can be privatized.

        3. a tactical nuclear weapon that I plan on detonating on Deep Playa at Burning Man

          And nothing of value would be lost. Please hang around close to ground zero to experience your art installation yourself.

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      3. Giving something up or tolerating something in the short term to achieve a long term objective is not a “compromise”, it’s a strategy. The problem with these candidates is not their unwillingness to compromise, it’s their inability to formulate political strategies.

    2. This nation was founded on theoretical obscurities.

      “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

      This was written in a time of kings and emperors who ruled by divine right over the peasants of their countries.

      1. //This nation was founded on theoretical obscurities.//

        It was founded by men that had the audacity to fight an empire for the right to govern themselves and the brains to eventually condense their theoretical obscurities into a binding legal document called the Constitution.

        Libertarians have done neither, and never will.

        1. But the IDEA of self governance was theoretical. There was no assurance that their quest would succeed.

          1. //But the IDEA of self governance was theoretical//

            Except it wasn’t (see Roman Republic; Ancient Greece).

            In any event, most ideas are theoretical. Putting ideas into practice is what counts, and what separates the good ideas from the bad ideas; the ideas that work, from the ideas that don’t.

            Libertarians have no interest in putting any of their ideas to the test in the real word. As a result, the libertarian party will forever remain an obscure and neglected alternative, if that, marinating in its own impotence and vanity.

            1. Even if we had just one libertarian doing nothing but hammering the drug war, it would be a huge held.

              1. What does that even mean?

        2. How is the Constitution binding on people who didn’t sign it? It’s only binding on the people who swear an oath to uphold it, and most of them abandon it within a day or two. They forgot the penalty clause.

          1. Since the Constitution is a documents that limits government, not the people, why would we need to sign it?

          2. //How is the Constitution binding on people who didn’t sign it?//

            Wow. Okay. I guess police officers that violate constitutional rights are in the clear since, you know, they never signed the Constitution.

    3. Only through a clear moral high ground will the LP gain any permanent adherents or change enough people’s minds to make a lasting difference. There are already 2 compromising parties. Theoretically a moderate pragmatist could split the difference and maybe move things 2 or 3 percent toward liberty in a few areas, if the candidate was some pro-liberty billionaire, but by the next election the movement would start to fade. Witness Ross Perot and the Reform Party.

      1. Only through a clear moral high ground will the LP gain any permanent adherents or change enough people’s minds to make a lasting difference.

        Only through patient teaching and incrementally showing people the benefits of more liberty will libertarianism win.

        Of course, the LP candidates seem neither particularly principled, nor particularly good at convincing people, nor particularly good at making political progress.

    4. Needless to mention the glaring inconsistency of any who pay lip service to the non-aggression, and deny the very existence of life itself for convenience and a vote and condone abortion.
      When does the existence we call life, which we all hold so dear, begin? Where do you cut the Gordian knot. Friedman’s “arguments” in defence of abortion was sophisty made of straw men,for even if wat alleges were true of guest who is now unwanted it can never be reasonable to invite a person into your abode, make them solely dependent upon the abode you’ve imprisoned them within and the kill them.

      You just can’t do that. As Herbert Walker would say ‘it wouldn’t be prudent’, as a libertarian should say: that can not be the rational, “appropriate” response
      to the violation. An example: killing a person for torching you’re vacant 100k yacht, which you didn’t have insurance on; that’s just the way it goes.

      The liberty for a person to commit suicide stops where somebody else BEGINS!

  2. Here is a question for Libertarians that the LP won’t be considering lest their mind go to places and give answers they don’t like;

    Is it consistent with the NAP to purchase stolen goods or goods made with forced slave labor?

    My answer would be yes. If you purchase stolen goods or goods made with forced slave labor, you and the seller are both profiting at someone else’s expense such that your profit is an aggression upon them and you are an accessory to the aggression that is theft and slavery.

    Thoughts?

    1. I think the answer would be:

      “Well, we simply would not to do business or trade with any party or entity that produces goods made with slave labor, or sells goods that are stolen.”

      Of course, such a response presupposes access to perfect information about one’s trading partners and their behaviors. In other words, libertarians would have to assume other people are always going to be honest or, if they are not going to be honest, that it will be possible to uncover their dishonesty every time.

      In sum, fantasy.

      1. We know people do and have done all of that. At an individual level, should knowingly buying stolen goods be a crime? I would thinks so if you believe that purchasing stolen goods is being an accessory to theft.

        What about goods made with slave labor? We know many goods made in China are made with prison slave labor. How can the government allow the importation of such goods consistent with the NAP?

        1. The government should have no say in the matter.

          Are ordinary criminal prisoners slave labor? The prisoners sure don’t get paid any reasonable wage.

          Then there’s the matter of what crimes are acceptable in one jurisdiction and not in others; what about products made by prisoners who would not be prisoners in other states? If every state in the US legalizes pot, and China doesn’t, are Chinese pot smoker criminals slave labor?

          All those questions are far too individualistic to be fair game for government, and that all assumes government has any role in who I do business with or am friends with. Once you allow government to make any personal decisions like that, you are no longer an individualist.

          1. So if I kidnap you and enslave you making products, the government has no interest there? That is just between you and me? If the government isn’t going to enforce the NAP there, when would it?

            If you agree my enslaving you should be a crime, then why should it not be a crime for someone to buy the goods I make with slave labor? They are profiting from my enslavement of you just as much as I am. Why is it okay from them to do that?

            Then there’s the matter of what crimes are acceptable in one jurisdiction and not in others; what about products made by prisoners who would not be prisoners in other states?

            What about them? I am fine with ending all slave labor. There is nothing special about China. It is just the most obvious and pervasive example of it.

        2. The NAP is useless theoretical baggage. It does not make sense, and it never will. For libertarian purists, it is an article of faith, which is why they always discuss the NAP in the abstract and, consequently, always flounder when discussing how it would apply to solve or mitigate real world problems.

      2. In other words…they would be just like everyone else, except you think this somehow disqualifying only for them.

        In sum, fantasy.

        It is a bizarre fantasy you think these arguments compelling.

        1. Way to sell it, you fucking autist. Nothing is compelling to libertarians, and that is why libertarianism is not compelling to anyone else.

    2. Two thoughts.

      One, the buyer’s complicity depends on their participation. If the buyer agreed beforehand to buy stolen goods, that’s as good as being the thief. f the buyer did not know the goods were stolen, they bear no responsibility: mens rea and all that. If the buyers knows they are stolen only after the fact, my opinion varies all over the map primarily because there are so many shades of knowledge-after-the-fact. Did the buyer intentionally seek out a thief to buy stolen goods? Did the buyer learn they were stolen as they were inspecting the goods?

      Two: I also dither on recovery of stolen goods. In a simple case, the original owner should get the goods back. But if insurance has already paid the original owner, then the insurance company should get the goods back. On the other hand, stolen goods are often damaged in the stealing, and the fact of having been stolen can taint them in the eyes of the owner; the thief owes the replacement value and ancillary damages, and it’s pretty much up to the original owner to assess those values, with the burden on the thief to prove those assessments are exaggerated.

      1. Why does participation matter? If I know the goods are stolen, what gives me the right to profit from the theft of the goods? I am getting the goods at below market price because the guy who is selling them got them for free by theft. How is my knowingly benefiting from the aggression against others okay? I don’t see how it is.

        1. No need to intentionally misread “participation”. I fully explained my meaning, that it depends on whether the buyer knew and encouraged the theft beforehand, or only learned afterward; and if the only learned afterwards, were they seeking stolen goods or was it just chance?

          1. Clearly, if the buyer doesn’t know they are stolen, he shouldn’t be held accountable for buying them. But I am speaking of when he knows. What then?

            1. //Clearly, if the buyer doesn’t know they are stolen, he shouldn’t be held accountable for buying them.//

              What if the buyer is purchasing goods from a seller who has been known to sell stolen goods, but happens not to know whether the particular good in question are, in fact, stolen?

            2. As I said twice already, it depends on whether the buyer knew before the theft or only afterwards; and if afterwards, whether the buyer sought out stolen goods or only learned after finding the goods for sale.

              And then there’s the matter of what to do with recovered stolen goods. There’s a lot of different ways to slice and dice this.

    3. Is it consistent with the NAP to purchase stolen goods or goods made with forced slave labor?

      Agreeing with ABC that it is not consistent with the NAP to knowingly purchase stolen goods.

      What about goods made with slave labor?

      Also not consistent with the NAP.

      We know many goods made in China are made with prison slave labor.

      Yes, but not all, and we don’t necessarily know which.

      How can the government allow the importation of such goods consistent with the NAP?

      The same way forbidding flea markets and swap meets on account of many of the items being sold there being stolen is inconsistent with the NAP.

      That said, there comes a point where you can’t pretend you don’t know something anymore, and given that (to extend the swap meet analogy) the CCP is more of a tightly controlled mall where all of the stores are owned by the same company and they keep swearing all those people they keep in the basement aren’t slaves, I think it’s at least open for debate whether sanctions on China specifically might be regarded as being a ‘lesser-of-two-evils’ situation wrt the NAP.

    4. Thoughts?

      Yeah, how about you spit a little more on Trump’s cock, you GOP cretin. Do you really want to delve into a list of your obvious contradictions, John, or no?

      1. //Yeah, how about you spit a little more on Trump’s cock//

        Does Xi Jinping’s cock taste better?

    5. Sure, because the bad thing has already been done. Like looking at child porn, or even paying for the existing product.

      If stolen goods or their proceeds were permanently removed from commerce, by now there’d be nothing one could legitimately own or trade. Everything of value at one time was either stolen or traded for stolen goods or labor.

    6. Is it consistent with the NAP to purchase stolen goods or goods made with forced slave labor?

      Are you committing aggression? Are you participating in the aggression? No? Then it’s consistent.

      you and the seller are both profiting at someone else’s expense such that your profit is an aggression upon them and you are an accessory to the aggression that is theft and slavery.

      Too much statist and Marxist b.s. has rotted your brain if you think that.

      “Profit” isn’t an “aggression”, ever. And the action you take after an act cannot have caused the act, so you cannot be responsible for the act.

      There are situations in which the purchase of stolen goods might make you an “accessory”, but the mere act of purchasing stolen goods by itself is not sufficient.

  3. At the risk of offending the delicate sensibilities of libertarians, im going to repost some late thoughts from the Jorgensen article.
    Maybe you’ll find them helpful…

    Nardz
    May.22.2020 at 12:55 am
    “That’s why I really don’t get the LP’s seeming obsession with running a vanity presidential campaign every four years. Instead they need more local, state, and congressional candidates and they need to start actually winning some of those races, particularly in congress.”

    It’s rather hypocritical.
    Instead of lots of individuals from the ground up each working to have an impact through influence rather than raw power, the LP seeks the top spot – a collectivist imposition of ideology through sheer power

    Nardz
    May.22.2020 at 1:00 am
    Where are the libertarian legal associations? Outreach to lawyers, and other professions, to pitch their philosophy within specific contexts?
    Get lawyers, doctors, waiters/waitresses/bartenders, truckers, Christians, etc groups going.
    The LP has no clue whatsoever how to build a movement.
    They think it’s just screaming at waves until they get the infinity gauntlet and snap their fingers.

    Jorgensen’s position on Healthcare:

    “Republican and Democratic policies over the past fifty years are the reason health care has become so expensive. Their latest proposals to ‘fix’ health care will further micromanage your doctors and restrict your access to care while failing to solve the underlying problem. They differ only on whether this should be done by private insurance companies or government bureaucrats. This is the exact opposite of what needs to be done. We can reduce the cost of health care 75% by allowing real price competition, and by substantially reducing government and insurance company paperwork. This will make health care affordable for most Americans, while also reducing the cost of legacy programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.”

    Is this anything other than complete fluff? What is her plan? And, more importantly, how is she going to achieve it without any allies in Congress?

    Nardz
    May.22.2020 at 1:11 am
    She’s not wrong, but thats just shitty advertising.
    -reduce regulations – unnecessary regulations increase cost without adding value; find those regulations and eliminate them
    -price transparency – allow docs and hospitals to advertise standard prices for various procedures; you can shop around for an oil change -$25 at BigLube, $40 at LubeMax, $50 at Expressway- why can’t docs do the same for stuff like physicals?
    I’m not gonna do the work for her, but keep it simple. Identify the problem and give a concise, relatable example of your solution.
    Why the hell talk about 75%? She’s exceedingly vague throughout, and decides to get specific with that number? Dumb

    Nardz
    May.22.2020 at 1:21 am
    “Republican and Democratic policies over the past fifty years are the reason health care has become so expensive.”
    -Ok. Maybe name one or two and give an example of how they’ve raised costs? Something like the AMA limiting residencies reduces the supply of docs which decreases the amount of competition and inflates prices?

    “Their latest proposals to ‘fix’ health care will further micromanage your doctors and restrict your access to care while failing to solve the underlying problem. They differ only on whether this should be done by private insurance companies or government bureaucrats.”
    -Such as? Perhaps we can talk about how it’s more central planning and you’d rather have the doc less constrained by prescribed procedure and making more decisions with you?

    “This is the exact opposite of what needs to be done.”
    -Correct. So what needs to be done? You haven’t said that yet.

    “We can reduce the cost of health care 75%”
    -Dumb. Why throw out a specific figure? Because you read in a book it’s what you need to hook someone? It’s not – it’s distracting.

    “by allowing real price competition, and by substantially reducing government and insurance company paperwork. This will make health care affordable for most Americans, while also reducing the cost of legacy programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and the VA.”
    -Annnnnd we’re right back to being super vague. We’re going to reduce costs in this precise amount by doing stuff. Again, she’s not wrong – she’s just terrible at making her case

    Nardz
    May.22.2020 at 1:30 am
    You can learn from Trump you know.
    Say what you want about “the wall”, but it’s distinct messaging of an idea that can be readily visualized.
    You hate regulations?
    Me too!
    Let’s look back all the way to Brexit – 5 years ago now.
    You know whats something that I, an American, still remember about it?
    The bananas.
    The EU regulated whether bananas could be imported based on their curvature or some shit.
    Thats incredibly stupid, and it’s easy to relate to how absurd an idea that is. And it’s not that the specific regulation is that important, but that it became representative of domineering EU bureaucracy.
    It was a hook. Simple, relatable, and ludicrous.
    Is leaving the EU really that scary when they’re buying themselves with determining the proper curve of a fucking banana?
    Pretty sure we could find an example of something like that in the thousands of pages of US Healthcare regulations…

    1. That’s a big wall of text there, but I’ll break out some of it, since you were able to produce in minutes what I couldn’t get out of GG yesterday to save my life.

      Instead of lots of individuals from the ground up each working to have an impact through influence rather than raw power, the LP seeks the top spot – a collectivist imposition of ideology through sheer power

      Which of these people has led you to believe they expect to win? They don’t want power – that’s why they’re libertarians. They are running to attempt to persuade other people to stop giving the government more power, since that’s not a position that gets voiced as a general rule. I think we all agree that none of these people would know what to do with the power if they got it.

      1. //They don’t want power – that’s why they’re libertarians.//

        They’re running for President because they don’t want power? Jesus fuck …

        1. They’re running for President because they don’t want power? Jesus fuck …

          “What other motive could they possibly have?” said GG, looking confused.

          1. So they’re doing it for fun, and wasting their time?

            1. Speaking of wasting people’s time . . .

              1. It’s funny because yesterday you asked me what it was I found so peculiarly annoying about libertarians and their political candidates.

                My answer was the pointless vanity campaigns, doctrinal incoherence, lack of concrete policies or a plan for transition to a libertarian society, and the absence of any willingness to compromise with people who have questions or disagree.

                I bet you’re still confused why libertarianism isn’t skyrocketing in popularity.

                1. It’s funny because you can’t actually tell me anything about the “doctrinal incoherence” because you weren’t talking about that. Until you were. At which point you weren’t. Until you were again. But you weren’t really. . .

                  Then Nardz came along and made your point for your in like two seconds.

                  Shouldn’t you be looking for a job?

                  1. Nardz point is that libertarians “do not want to accomplish anything” and “mostly they like bitching.”

                    I agree with that.

                    You like throwing your vote away for vanity Presidential campaigns to get the message across of libertarianism. What is the message? Nobody knows – not the candidates, not the party insiders, and not even you.

                    Here is your opportunity to sell the product, and all you can manage to do is bitch.

      2. “Which of these people has led you to believe they expect to win? They don’t want power – that’s why they’re libertarians. They are running to attempt to persuade other people to stop giving the government more power, since that’s not a position that gets voiced as a general rule.”

        Ok, cool.
        They’re doing a really shitty job – which is basically what GG has been saying that so upset yall.
        Libertarians, in general, don’t seem to want to communicate with people on their terms, or in any kind of a convincing way. Yall (generally) seem to want to moralize down to the public and then bitch that nobody bows down and accepts your world view.
        Be better.

        “I think we all agree that none of these people would know what to do with the power if they got it.”

        Yea, and thats really not conducive to spreading your word when you choose running for president as the vehicle. Maybe if you took a more blatantly satirical tack, libertarian conversion via presidential campaign might gain some traction. But the LP runs a conventional campaign with a conventional message, just somehow more incompetently than the 2 major parties.

        1. They’re doing a really shitty job – which is basically what GG has been saying that so upset yall.

          I didn’t notice anybody get upset at that. I don’t think there’s widespread disagreement on that front. That was GG’s bailey he kept retreating to when he couldn’t back up his pointless attacks on foundational libertarian principles yet persisted in being a cunt about it.

          Libertarians, in general, don’t seem to want to communicate with people on their terms, or in any kind of a convincing way. Yall (generally) seem to want to moralize down to the public and then bitch that nobody bows down and accepts your world view.

          I don’t think that’s unique to libertarians, and that’s not all libertarians. Put in the context of the rest of what you say, I think what you’re saying is that libertarians don’t have quite as much money to spend on marketing.

          The Greens took the exact same strategy, and it didn’t exactly fail.

          1. Yet another opportunity to sell your product, and all you managed to do is complain about how libertarians are unfairly singled out.

            Republican ideology is trash. Democrat ideology is trash.

            Sell me the alternative without crying about the others.

            Go.

            1. Republican ideology is trash. Democrat ideology is trash.

              Sell me the alternative without crying about the others.

              Think for yourself.

              1. So, you have nothing to sell.

                You are living proof of why the libertarian party will forever remain a toothless sideshow for impotent losers.

                1. You have shown time and again that you are not interested in engaging in good faith. There is nothing to “sell” to the guy who’s decided just to gainsay everything. You’re exactly a right wing Tony.

                  You’ve figured out what you hate about libertarians. I think your work here is done.

                  1. Of course. I’m RIGHT WING.

                    Why is that, exactly? Because you can’t defend your views for shit, I must be an evil right wing conspirator?

                    Good faith my ass. You don’t have a grasp on your own beliefs, and you can’t admit it.

                    Welcome to Libertopia, dipshit.

      3. They are running to attempt to persuade other people to stop giving the government more power, since that’s not a position that gets voiced as a general rule

        Well, they are doing a piss-poor job at it.

        Botox-addled Pelosi and Joe “The Turnip” Biden are doing a better job at persuading other people to stop giving the government more power than the LP (even if it is just by bad example).

        If you care about libertarianism, don’t support the LP.

        1. If you care about libertarianism, don’t support the LP.

          I’m feeling a little out of options. I don’t agree with the “don’t vote” strategy. I don’t think it sends the message its practitioners think it does.

          1. Libertarianism is primarily going to be advanced through changing minds; once you do, voting and political parties will follow.

            1. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think voting is an act that carries great consequence, which is why I see no harm in voting LP. I think it’s marginally less pointless than voting major party. But the real work is in talking to people in the real world.

    2. Is this anything other than complete fluff? What is her plan? And, more importantly, how is she going to achieve it without any allies in Congress?

      She knows she’s not going to get elected. She’s trying to get a message out, and she’s trying to soundbite it for the twit age. I agree with you 100% that she’s not doing a great a job, but I think her style and sound-bityness will get more traction than Hornberger’s stuffy wonkiness, which won’t be heard over the Trump-Biden din.

      Her message is simple but true: both parties have failed you on healthcare, and we need to move in the direction of less government involvement in the healthcare sector. I think that’s as much as you’re going to get across to people this election cycle.

      On the other hand, if you’re looking for a plan, I know a woman who always has a plan . . .

      1. //She’s trying to get a message out, and she’s trying to soundbite it for the twit age.//

        So, on top of running a pointless campaign, she wants to spread the message of libertarianism to the public by presenting it in a manner that insults people’s intelligence?

    3. You can learn from Trump you know.
      Say what you want about “the wall”, but it’s distinct messaging of an idea that can be readily visualized.

      And this gets to a point you came around to make yesterday to the effect that, yes – it’s about mindless, feel-good messaging. If I understood what you were saying, you made the argument that Trump’s mindless, feel-good messaging is inspirational in contrast to the mindless, feel-good messaging of Progressives, which is demoralizing.

      That’s a fair point, and I think a good argument for supporting Trump over Biden. Where I live, my vote doesn’t matter, so I vote LP to say “fuck both of y’all, but I like where these people are in contrast to you so much that I’m unbothered by what crazy dipshits they are.”

      I was voting Green for the same reasons in the early ’90s. If in 20-25 years we have a Libertarian New Deal, it will be because of those voting LP now (at least in non-swing states). If the LP just withers away and everyone sorts into Repub vs. Dems, there’s a solid chance that in 20-25 years we might as well be in China.

      1. //I’m unbothered by what crazy dipshits they are//

        That would tend to bother people that aren’t already crazy dipshits.

      2. “And this gets to a point you came around to make yesterday to the effect that, yes – it’s about mindless, feel-good messaging. If I understood what you were saying, you made the argument that Trump’s mindless, feel-good messaging is inspirational in contrast to the mindless, feel-good messaging of Progressives, which is demoralizing.”

        Kinda…
        “Mindless, feel-good messaging” would be the pejorative way of saying.
        Of course, “mindless, feel-good messaging” can also be compelling advertising that advertise core values.
        More than encouraging/demoralizing, those slogans*** hooked people on what the candidates were about:
        *”hope and change/yes we can” – the most mindless of the bunch, but did effectively communicate that Obama was an alternative to Bush and the 8 years of “disagreeable” war and we could achieve government mandated utopia full of unicorns and chocolate syrup rivers
        *”make America great again/America first” – again a reversal from citizen-of-the-world, to proud of being American and not being ashamed of “selfishness” in our government’s approach
        *”I’m with her/stronger together” – we finally get Queen Hillary, first of her name, and it takes a village to coronate our better (unsurprisingly, this is the one that wasn’t successful)

        Those “mindless, feel-good messages” told you where the candidate/movement was coming from and what they were about – vague, but not really at an emotional level. Broad but simple.

        Libertarians could follow suit
        “Get Daddy Gov outta your way”
        “Be your own boss”
        “Give me freedom or give me endless debt and infinite red tape”
        Just a couple off the top of my head in 30 seconds. The main point is the message needs to be simple, succinct, and, most importantly, appealing.
        Obama, Trump, and even Hillary knew who they wanted to reach and appeal to.
        Do libertarians?
        Who are you trying to reach?
        Who do you want to appeal to?

        1. Again, you’re really focusing on the slickness of the marketing. When they’re marketing shit I don’t want, I don’t care about that.

          Faulting libertarians for not running campaigns as slickly as the major parties seems bizarre to me.

          1. //Faulting libertarians for not running campaigns as slickly as the major parties seems bizarre to me.//

            We’re faulting libertarians for running vanity campaigns to gather irrelevant votes, and then complaining when they don’t win.

            You seem fine with the premise of running vanity campaigns, and don’t really seem to care that your candidates have no real positions, or that they can’t win.

            That seems bizarre.

          2. “Faulting libertarians for not running campaigns as slickly as the major parties seems bizarre to me.”

            I’m faulting libertarians for ignoring human nature and political theories of rhetoric that stretch back to at least Aristotle.
            If you want to sit on the sidelines and comment, that’s fine. But the things you don’t like will just keep growing.
            If you want to influence/persuade people, you’ve gotta figure out how to do it effectively.
            Simply defending status quo libertarian strategy isn’t going to accomplish anything.
            Maybe you think libertarians are doing well and are satisfied with the movement.
            If so, rock on.
            I’m just offering a perspective on where I see flaws in presentation and offering ideas on how they might be improved.
            No need to be defensive

            1. I’m faulting libertarians for ignoring human nature and political theories of rhetoric that stretch back to at least Aristotle.

              I think that formulation is a bit slanted, given that the political theories of rhetoric you’re referring to stretch back to at least Aristotle’s condemnation of them. I don’t think it’s a lack of awareness of the existence sophistry and demagoguery that libertarians suffer from.

              If you want to sit on the sidelines and comment, that’s fine. But the things you don’t like will just keep growing.

              Sometimes yes, sometimes no. History shows us time and again that over the long term persuasion is more powerful than force (although I acknowledge this is an unresolved point of disagreement between us).

              Maybe you think libertarians are doing well and are satisfied with the movement.

              Gary Johnson got us more votes and more mainstream attention than we’ve ever had. I’m not ready to call the movement dead.

              I’m just offering a perspective on where I see flaws in presentation and offering ideas on how they might be improved.
              No need to be defensive

              I appreciate your perspective even though we often disagree, since you argue in good faith. My ire with GG’s bullshit doesn’t have anything to do criticisms of the LP and everything to do with his Tony-style “argumentation” that keeps promising to go somewhere but never does. It’s why I was glad to see you show up and take over his argument for him.

              I get that the LP is a pathetic joke and that LP candidates are almost never actually libertarian. I get that LP candidates tend to be off-putting and either too aspie to appeal to anyone (Hornberger) or too self-righteous and vague to appeal to anyone (Jorgensen).

              Some of us libertarians on this very site can be off-putting, but again, that’s nothing either unique or universal to libertarians.

              As I’ve said before, I can even see the argument that if you live in a swing state you should vote for Trump if you care about libertarianism, since that’s the only even incremental progress that’s within reach. If you don’t live in a swing state (like me) then the only way I’ve found to signal my disapproval of both major parties and send at least some kind of vaguely-intelligible-if-noisy-and-abrasive signal of where I’d like to see things heading, is to vote LP.

              I’m open to suggestions.

              1. //My ire with GG’s bullshit doesn’t have anything to do criticisms of the LP and everything to do with his Tony-style “argumentation” that keeps promising to go somewhere but never does. It’s why I was glad to see you show up and take over his argument for him.//

                Oh, bullshit. Your “ire” stems from your inability to take a fucking stance, or present a single redeeming thing about libertarian politics. You have the logical fallacies Wikipedia page bookmarked so that you can pathetically signal your purity on the internet and are more than happy to drown in sophistry, while achieving absolutely fucking nothing.

                //If you don’t live in a swing state (like me) then the only way I’ve found to signal my disapproval of both major parties and send at least some kind of vaguely-intelligible-if-noisy-and-abrasive signal of where I’d like to see things heading, is to vote LP.//

                Who the fuck do you think you’re signaling to? Nobody knows who you are. Nobody knows how you are voting.

                Where’s the protest in that?

                A “protest vote” is the most feeble and impotent fucking thing you can do. How about actually working with the LP party to make a difference? Grumbling alone in living room isn’t going to change a damn thing.

                1. Thank you for your input. I’d like you to know how much I value it.

                  1. Look, I’ll make one more attempt at a good faith engagement with you. The other day I tried for hours to coax you into expressing some specific gripe about libertarianism we could discuss. You refused and refused and refused and refused, the whole time lobbing childish insults at me.

                    At some point it stops being worth my time. You don’t seem dumb, which is why I bother in the first place, but what am I to do?

                    1. Here’s my gripe:

                      Libertarians, and the LP in particular, have no real political ambitions, no political goals, and no workable solutions to problems such as healthcare or an ever expanding government.

                      I haven’t been hiding my position.

                      You seem to agree that these are problems. What’s your solution?

                    2. Yes, libertarians have no political ambitions. That’s the whole point. The solution to ever-expanding government is to try to persuade people to stop wanting to expand government.

                      Will it work?

                      Witness your own complaint that libertarians don’t want to be in charge of things. Nobody wants the people who don’t want to be in charge in charge, because they don’t have “effective solutions.”

                      The people who do want to control your life don’t have effective solutions, either. Just more government control of your life.

                      My “solution” to healthcare is to try to persuade people we don’t need the government in healthcare. I have no interest in imposing my “solutions” on other people.

                      Because, most importantly, people need to be empowered to solve their own problems. And not all problems have solutions.

                      I don’t care that my philosophy won’t result in me having power.

                      My vote goes to LP so that there is a vote counted, no matter from whom, specifically, for a pro-liberty stance rather than for the two major parties.

                      Lastly, how do you know I’m not already in a position of influence? Why do you assume everything is about elections?

                    3. So …. no plan, no solution, no power, no point. No reason to be in politics, no reason to be in government. No reason to do … anything.

                      The entire libertarian position is one of complete and total abdication which will invariably pave the way for aggressive people with political ambitions — many of whom are openly hostile to basic notions of liberty — to take over.

                      Who knows? Maybe one day everyone will wake up enlightened. The tyrants will surrender their powers. The bureaucratic leviathan will unwind under its own weight.

                      Until that day, it seems that libertarians are content to just sit on their ass, bitching … and getting pushed around by everyone else.

                      But we already knew that.

                      Good talk.

                      Good luck.

                    4. I get that you don’t understand a philosophy that doesn’t seek to dominate other people. As much as I can tell of your ‘philosophy,’ to the extent that you have the courage to express one, is that might makes right and you’re desperately trying to find some way to get more power for your poor, underpaid self.

                      It doesn’t take much familiarity with history to see the slow progress humanity has made toward liberty. You can bitch about how you don’t have power and get squashed by the machine you’re designing to help you, or you can join the march of history toward the liberation of the individual. Not to sound like Hicklib, but in truth it doesn’t matter what you do, because you’re small and your little will doesn’t matter much.

                      Who knows? Maybe one day everyone will wake up enlightened.

                      You still seem to think libertarians think some kind of utopia arises from liberty. I think that’s you looking for utopia, not libertarians. What I value is the freedom to show you what happens when you, tyrant, come try to dominate me. And you watch what happens to the governments that try to keep enforcing these lockdowns. You people who think government is the end-all-be-all are in for a big shock.

                      The bureaucratic leviathan will unwind under its own weight.

                      It will. It always does. Read up on some history.

                      Until that day, it seems that libertarians are content to just sit on their ass, bitching … and getting pushed around by everyone else.

                      But we already knew that.

                      Good talk.

                      Good luck.

                      And this is where I say “well, I tried.”

                      Fuck off, slaver.

                    5. Here’s the last thing I’ll toss before I start ignoring you – if you haven’t read this book which I’m guessing you haven’t, you should. It’s a good first step toward understanding what we’re talking about. The prologue is the important part.

                    6. //Fuck off, slaver.//

                      Ah, the inevitable default of every autist laboring under the incoherence of libertarian ideology.

                      Juvenile nihilism. Anarchic sentiments. Impotence. Depression. Anger.

                      “Libertarians”

          3. Faulting libertarians for not running campaigns as slickly as the major parties seems bizarre to me.

            The LP isn’t “libertarians”, it’s just a bunch of people who have taken possession of the name within our political system, just like other people misappropriated “liberal”, “social”, and “community”.

            You want to advance libertarianism? Do it without the LP.

            1. You want to advance libertarianism? Do it without the LP.

              Then what with?

              1. Some action. Some political activism. Maybe run for local office? Anonymously throwing your vote away is pointless. Nobody even knows you’re doing it.

              2. Teaching. Podcasts. Founding companies. Creating technology. Write books. Make movies. Change people’s minds. Create tools to help people become more autonomous and self-reliant.

                1. Agree with all of those. A vote for LP doesn’t interfere with any of that.

  4. ” Jorgensen stressed the limits in our constitutional system of how much libertarian change a president alone could unilaterally deliver.”

    Any libertarian presidential candidate if elected will have to be ready to compromise.

    The LP , IMHO, should concentrate on congressional seats where that is not the case.

    1. Consider the budget. Any budget that is passed by Congress is going to offend such a President’s libertarians sensibilities. So, what should the President do? Refuse to sign any budget and just default to whatever can be passed by veto proof majority in Congress or compromise and sign the best budget that can attract a majority?

      I would think the former path would be stupid and self destructive and accomplish a lot less than the latter.

      1. What libertarian sympathies, John? His libertarian sympathies in building his ridiculous vanity project in the Arizona desert or something else?

        1. Wow.

          Reading comprehension? Zero.

    2. Bottom up is the only way the LP is ever going to secure any political relevance. But doing that requires practical platforms and, invariably, compromise with Republicans and Democrats at the local level.

      I think the biggest obstacle for most libertarian candidate is the fact that they have to (1) pass a purity test among their own while (2) simultaneously convincing people outside of the party that they are willing to compromise on their purity in order to govern effectively.

      At the end of the day, my view is that it is impossible to do both and, recognizing this, most libertarian candidates revert to placing a premium of demonstrating their purity to the faithful, while losing the rest of the electorate. This is why libertarian candidacies so often devolve into nothing more than vanity projects and resume boosters for people that — again, in my view — have no actual desire to be in politics.

      1. It seems to me that libertarians do not want to accomplish anything.
        They like the limited attention, but mostly they like bitching.
        If libertarianism ever did manage to accomplish something, to gain any influence, libertarians might risk losing the holier-than-thou perch they seem to base their identity on.
        Now, obviously there are degrees of applicability here. Many of you are reasonable people who simply take “you do you” as a sound basis to approach the world from. But the more doctrinaire one gets, the more unreasonable and insecure one appears

        1. //It seems to me that libertarians do not want to accomplish anything. They like the limited attention, but mostly they like bitching.//

          Agreed.

      2. Bottom up is the only way the LP is ever going to secure any political relevance. But doing that requires practical platforms and, invariably, compromise with Republicans and Democrats at the local level.

        What libertarians need is incremental strategies, not compromise. A “compromise” is “I give you your pork if you lower my taxes and we’ll call it even”. The term “compromise” already falsely suggest that politics is about extracting the maximum amount of resources from your fellow citizens.

        1. Compromise is realizing that you can’t have everything your way. Compromise means seeing the world **as it is** and playing the game. If you don’t want to compromise, fine. They have more people than you do, and now you’re fucked. You have nothing to give, and nothing to trade and, therefore, you are irrelevant.

          Not compromising is a one-way ticket toward impotence.

          1. And there, in a nutshell, do we have the two positions dominating the LP: ideological purists on the one hand (the people you ostensibly oppose), and people who think of politics as a zero sum game among interest groups (you). You’re both full of it, and that’s why the LP will never amount to anything.

    3. Any LP candidate who could win the presidency thru the electoral college will bring with her quite a number of Congressmen and Senators. A minority for sure and a huge target for the statists in both old parties. Electing an LP president would only be the end of the beginning.

  5. I suspect ‘all liberty now’ will be about as successful as Sanders ‘all socialism now’ platform.

    1. If things can tilt as far toward ‘all liberty now’ as they’ve tilted toward ‘all socialism now,’ I’ll count that a victory.

    2. I disagree with “all socialism now,” but at least I understand what it entails, because socialists are always blasting out policy proposals. Insane policy proposals, but proposals nonetheless.

      I have no idea what “all liberty now” means. I do not think libertarians know what it means either or how the transition to “all liberty” is going to occur from where we are today.

    3. Socialism yes. But with no malarkey.

  6. he called the CIA the most evil institution in American history.

    The Reason article about this is going to be hilarious.

  7. Much ado about nothing.

  8. Hornberger believes Libertarians give up their valuable moral high ground if they give an inch to any variety of statism, including Social Security and Medicaid.

    This is stupid. We’re never going to make any progress with this attitude. To reassure voters we need to both (1) run on moderate steps toward libertarianism and (2) reassure voters we will evaluate the impact before determining the next steps. One of the most off putting tactics of left wingers is their enacting their wish list (Obamacare, gay marriage) and immediately transitioning to the next more extreme policy (Medicare for all, trans hysteria).

    We need to take a lesson from the Contract with America. At that time voters were skeptical of Republicans. They identified a handful of steps fitting their philosophy which were immensely popular. They focused on these specifics and left the extremes left wingers could caricature out of the plan.

    Focus on fully legal marijuana everywhere instead of all drugs legal. Focus on specific legal reforms and drop the I-hate-cops rhetoric. Focus on controlling the CIA and stop referring to it as evil.

    We can’t even get the basics right because too many people’s first priority is patting themselves on their back for their purity.

    1. Well said

    2. Agreed.

  9. “Libertarians will decide this weekend …”

    They will do no such thing since almost no libertarians are members of the Libertarian Party.

    1. ^ This.

      If you care about libertarianism, the LP is not something you want to support.

  10. Sounds like the real argument will be around who is running the LP not who gets the nomination. Moving the party left to focus on abortion and open borders sounds like a plot by the left to destroy the LP before it gets any traction…

    I am more interested in shutting down every federal agency created after 1960, make SS means tested and moving back to a free market based healthcare system and no foreign interventionism or deficits. And getting govt out of private economic transactions.

    1. Wouldn’t “means testing” reward the spendthrifts who didn’t save for retirement and punish the thrifty who did? If you are going to “means test” then perhaps do it based on lifetime earnings not on what assets you have when you retire.

  11. Hornberger is pushing libertarian principles, the others are pedaling compromise of those principles. No one is going to win the election, not one of these candidates will be taken seriously by those Americans who believe in the government’s efficacy and who decide American elections. Hornberger can fan the flames of liberty. The others are just pretending.

    1. Governing in a democratic republic is about compromise. The entire constitutional structure is maintained by pitting competing interests against one another. Libertarian purists seem to forget that the Constitution exists and that it gives the government certain powers and permissions over the electorate.

      So, what is the problem? It seems like the problem is that libertarian purists have so thoroughly dedicated themselves to the notion of “fuck the government” that they have lost sight of the fundamental structure of our republic.

      “The Constitution is not libertarian enough, so I’m just going to boycott the game entirely and win people over with incoherence and theoretical jargon.”

      Good fucking luck. That’s a one way ticket to irrelevance.

  12. Well with Amash out of the race the dreamyness factor is again in play. Which of the remaining candidates will give Reason columnists that chill up the leg that they all crave? Personally I’m torn on the issue so I’m waiting for Bill Weld to weigh in. I’m pretty sure his endorsement will lock up the nomination.

  13. The LP offers nothing because they will not win any elections. Biden offers socialism and further degradation and destruction of the economy. Hate on trump if you must but he’s the only choice if you are a capitalist and like your constitutional protections.

    1. This should be a lesson. How did the socialists suddenly become relevant? By infiltrating the Democratic party and slowly, but surely, pushing it to the left. By contrast, the socialist party proper is still fucking irrelevant.

      The socialists took over the Democratic party and sold socialism as a natural, practical outgrowth of existing democratic policies.

      Libertarians could do the same through the Republican party, if they had any fucking sense.

      1. How did the Republicans become relevant? By completely replacing the Whigs over a major moral issue.

        1. Keep humping the dream of a miraculous libertarian emergence. It will never happen.

      2. Libertarians could do the same through the Republican party, if they had any fucking sense.

        If only someone had thought of that before!

        1. Real libertarian genius, you are.

          1. They’re going to come around any decade now.

  14. Jacob Hornberger, John Monds and Sam Robb are the only good options.

  15. The Libertarian party is irrelevant. Gary Johnson was their best chance and he could not garner 2% of the vote. There best issue was marijuana legalization and that issue is over. I have voted for many Libertarian Party candidates over the years, but they tend to be libertarian leaning failed Republican candidates. If they can’t win as Republicans, how can they win as Libertarians? Until the Libertarian party can get on the ballot in all fifty states, and run real Libertarian candidates, they will remain irrelevant. If you are a libertarian, the Libertarian party is either a waste of your vote, or at best a protest vote.

    1. Johnson got 3%, pay attention. The LP is irrelevant, until it isn’t. It’s nice to have an option, even if 97% of the voters keep complaining that they don’t have an option, when they do.

    2. And the LP has been on the ballot in all 50 states many times, and 48 or 49 when they haven’t. The real libertarian candidates have gotten 0.5% of the vote.

    3. The real problem is that Libertarian Party candidates are *terrible*. I would vote for a Biden over Hornberger, and I would vote for comatose or even clinically dead Republican over both of those. Yes, I would vote for Richard Nixon in 2020.

  16. It’s a pity that voters are thieves. Otherwise, a policy of “I’m not going to steal for you” would be a winner.

  17. Except voters don’t want a free society, they want free stuff.

    1. “EWM
      May.23.2020 at 8:17 am
      It’s a pity that voters are thieves. Otherwise, a policy of “I’m not going to steal for you” would be a winner.

      CE
      May.23.2020 at 11:29 am
      Except voters don’t want a free society, they want free stuff.”

      This is what I’m talking about.
      “Fuck trying to persuade anybody, that takes work. Let’s just bitch about everyone else being inferior to us”

      1. Just a heads up: you’re not winning converts that way

        1. They have their protest votes and that’s enough for them.

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