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Gary Johnson: "I'll Run in 2016 to Provide Libertarian Option" That Rand Paul Doesn't Offer

Well there's already good news on today's Election Day. The 2012 Libertarian Party candidate for president, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, has announced that he's running for the 2016 LP nomination.

He directly addressed how his views differ from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the most libertarian likely candidate from a major party:

"On half the issues he's right, but on the whole social issue thing.... Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose, drug reform, immigration, marriage equality. He's not there."

Johnson, who ran with Judge Jim Gray, pulled about 1.3 million votes and 1 percent of the overall total. That was the best showing for the LP since 1980.

In an interview with Newsmax, Johnson laid out his reasons to campaign again. Here's a snippet of the interview (which includes video and a transcript):

"The whole election is a big yawn. Who cares who wins, because nothing's really going to change? It's like a debate between Coke and Pepsi. They're debating over which one tastes better," he said.

"They start talking about tax policy, Coke wants to reduce the corporate tax rate to 30 percent, and Pepsi wants to drop it to 28 percent. 

"Where's the libertarian viewpoint, which says do away with it completely? Do away with income tax, corporate tax? Abolish the IRS. If you're going to replace it with anything, replace it with a national consumption tax. That's real meat on the bones. I just don't see any meat anywhere."...

"People are clamoring to hear good ideas as opposed to the lesser of two evils . . . Either the Democrats are going to win or the Republicans are going to win, but the losers are all of us out here as citizens that really do want meaningful change, and none of it's happening. There's no dialogue regarding meaningful change."

More here.

Back in 2012, Reason ran a series of articles, each making "the libertarian case" for the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian presidential contender. I authored the one arguing in favor of Johnson. Read that (and the others) here.

Back in 2011, Reason TV followed Johnson as he talked with Occupy Wall Street protesters in NYC. Take a look:

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Why can't the libertarians fall into line?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose

    Fuck you Gary. If you're going to run as a libertarian, at least learn what the damn philosophy requires, and what has nothing to do with it. If you want to say that's your position, fine, but that's not the libertarian position.

    Fuck you too, Nick. If you're going to post on Reason, at least add some damn alt-text!

  • Ronny Paulino||

    Obviously libertarians aren't a homogeneous blob but I think this is *generally* a fair statement from Johnson.

  • KDN||

    I don't. I'm for legalized abortion, but the issue seems to divide libertarians in about the same proportion it does the general population.

    However, if you capitalize the L in that statement I think Gary's right.

  • sarcasmic||

    I am morally opposed abortion. However I believe that prohibiting it would be worse.

  • sarcasmic||

    *to*

  • Almanian!||

    I'm with sarc. I don't support abortion, but I don't want the government involved in prohibiting it. Let your religion (or not) and your conscience be your guide.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, I think libertarian abortion opponents think it violates the NAP. In that case, it's kind of hard to say it should be up to the person violating the principle.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    When I'm not in ancap mode, I realize that if we are going to have a government at all, making murder illegal is probably one of the legitimate functions. If murder is to be illegal, the state must define what constitutes a life. No matter how the state(s) define that, it's going to piss somebody off, and I don't think I even have a very good definition.

    Does that make me a baby killer or a feminazi? Oh wait, Gary Johnson already figured it out for me : Baby Killer it is.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Wrong. Those stats which state that criminalizing abortion will lead to more abortion were fabricated; Bernard Nathanson admitted to that.

  • kbolino||

    Those stats which state that criminalizing abortion will lead to more abortion were fabricated

    "Those stats" ... as cited by whom, exactly?

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Guess.

    Pro-abortion organizations fabricated those results. The U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics actually disproved their "research"; outlawing abortion does not lead to more abortion.

  • kbolino||

    Guess.

    Nobody, because I don't see it cited here nor in Johnson's interview.

    Pro-abortion organizations fabricated those results. The U.S. Bureau of Vital Statistics actually disproved their "research"; outlawing abortion does not lead to more abortion.

    That's probably why nobody cited it!

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    I was responding to one of the comments above which argued that criminalizing it would make things worse.

  • kbolino||

    I was responding to one of the comments above which argued that criminalizing it would make things worse.

    Given the government we have, that is undoubtedly a true statement. You just read its meaning far too narrowly.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    No, it's not.

    It was wrong in the '70s, and it's wrong now. Government has a right to intervene in order to protect human life, liberty, and property.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    How would it?

  • marshaul||

    I agree with Sarcasmic, and I tend to feel strongly that this is the proper libertarian position, without attempting to pull any L-cards of those who disagree.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    GO TEAM RED! GO GO GO!

  • ||

    Libertarians are not Republicans, you fucking troglodyte.

  • Misanthrope||

    When Grimes gets sent home in humiliation, will you collect your tears so I can taste them?

  • lap83||

    I'd also take issue with the "social issues" quote. It's a huge myth that I suspect comes from progressives themselves so they can appear to care about liberty. If you completely divided all issues into either social or economic, there would only be a small percentage of social issues that would unite progs and most libertarians.

  • sarcasmic||

    I doubt there are any social issues that progs and libertarians could agree on. For progs freedom means force, for example the freedom to breathe clean air means forcing smokers outside. Libertarians would leave that decision to the person who owns the property.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You can agree on "issues", without agreeing on the philosophy that got you their.

    For instance, you can agree with Republicans that free market capitalism is the best approach. They want it because it produces the best economic outcomes, and we want it because it embraces liberty.

    Agreement, but for different reasons.

  • sarcasmic||

    I agree that libertarians can agree with Republicans on some economic issues, though in practice Republicans barely pay lip service to economic liberty.

    Common ground with progressives? Not so much.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Bullshit. We both agree on homosexual rights. They think it's okay because "fair" and we think it's okay because "liberty". Somewhat on immigration.

    I will grant you that progs are moving south on the Nolan chart and we agree with them less and less all the time, but there are still issues we agree on.

  • sarcasmic||

    Again it depends. Progs believe rights come from legislation that allow them to take people to court, as opposed to liberty which requires no legislation. Progs are hostile to liberty.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I don't disagree.

    But that doesn't mean we don't have the same position on individual issues.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    But we don't have the same position as progressives do on gay rights.

  • sarcasmic||

    But that doesn't mean we don't have the same position on individual issues.

    My libertarian position on most issues is that we need less legislation, not more.

    The progressive position on ALL issues is MORE legislation.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    My libertarian position on most issues is that we need less legislation, not more.

    The progressive position on ALL issues is MORE legislation.

    That is a difference in philosophy, not a difference on whether homosexuals should have the same rights as a heterosexuals (which is a specific issue).

  • sarcasmic||

    That is a difference in philosophy, not a difference on whether homosexuals should have the same rights as a heterosexuals (which is a specific issue).

    Except that progressives do not want homosexuals to have the same rights. They want them to have special rights because they are a special class deserving special laws that make them special.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Except that progressives do not want homosexuals to have the same rights. They want them to have special rights because they are a special class deserving special laws that make them special.

    As I state below, once they go beyond equal rights, it becomes a separate issue.

    We agree up to that point.

  • sarcasmic||

    We agree up to that point.

    You do realize that progressives will never settle for equal rights. That's not good enough. They may claim to want equal rights, but the fact that they will never settle for them means it's not their real goal. Thus when you aid them when they claim to want equal rights, your aiding them in getting special rights.

    That's why I withdrew my support for SSM. The moment I realized I was supporting people whose end goal was to initiate government force against anyone who committed the crime of disagreeing with them, I jumped ship.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, sort of. The thing is it quickly migrates to the much, much, much larger disagreement. Take the homosexual rights issue you raised. Yes, libertarians may agree with proggies that they should be allowed to marry. But, that quickly migrates to proggies demanding "public accommodation". Even where there is agreement, freedom for the proggies is a way station on the way to ordering society in their image.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    But, that quickly migrates to proggies demanding "public accommodation".

    I don't disagree, BUT at the point that it migrates is where it becomes a completely different issue.

    We agree on equal rights. We don't agree on accommodation.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    That's why we don't agree on equal rights. The progs don't want the rights to be equal, they want them to be special.

  • obadiahlynch||

    How, exactly?

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Marriage licenses are a positive right and giving them to homosexuals for homosexual unions only creates a NEW positive right.

    They already have the same right as heterosexuals to marry a member of the opposite sex, but are not content with that because they are gay.

  • obadiahlynch||

    That doesn't make a bit of sense.

    Marriage equality adds a right, or, more properly, acknowledges a human right that's always existed. There's nothing 'special' about it.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I think Auric Demonocles gets at a useful point. If you have two people - one thinks all the members of a group should have the same rights as everyone else, and another who thinks they should have the ability to compel acceptance of that group, do the two people agree?

  • sarcasmic||

    We agree on equal rights. We don't agree on accommodation.

    You're delusional if you think progressives agree with you on equal rights in terms of liberty.

    For progressives, accommodation is equal rights!

    In their twisted minds everything requires force. That's why they despise liberty.

    It's not equality until it's forced equality.

  • Azathoth!!||

    But you don't.

    Progs are operating through force. Libertarians are operating through choice.

    The superficial resemblance hides a massive difference--one which allows their true statist agenda to proceed while people who thought they were getting liberty discover that they voted for something that's turned out to be a comfortable chain.

    What they are actually voting for is the expansion of the power of the state over the individual--to remove liberty.

    It appears to provide gay people with access to rights while actually removing rights from others--as can be seen by the sudden uptick in forced labor lawsuits.

    'Fair' should be a word that warns libertarians away.

  • sarcasmic||

    'Fair' should be a word that warns libertarians anyone who is more mature than a five year old away.

    ftfy

  • Azathoth!!||

    Absolutely.

  • Jim Smithy||

    "For instance, you can agree with Republicans that free market capitalism is the best approach."

    Problem is, Republicans don't think this so your entire premise is wrong

  • Lillia||

    A small slice of the Republican electorate thinks this. Most elected Republicans couldn't even define free market capitalism. And even if they understand free market capitalism and agree that it's by far the best economic system for the country, they sure as hell aren't going to practice it. Small government is unappealing to their donors.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    The idea that progs and libertarians should join forces is ridiculous, and it has never worked. Ralph Nader keeps calling for an alliance between the two sides every election season, but guess what? That's just Nader-speak for "everything we do is right, as everything you do is wrong, but we'll take pity on you and work with you anyway".

    Nader and his progs will never understand that free market capitalism does not equal corporate oligarchy.

  • Suellington||

    He did not say "progressive”, he said "liberal" and yes, most libertarians are liberal in the original sense of that word.

  • marshaul||

    He said "flaming liberals", not "progressives".

    The libertarian positions on social issues shared by Gary Johnson are unequivocally liberal - in the classical sense at least.

  • Eric||

    Note that Gary said "Liberals" and not "Progressives". There is a distinction, and in my mind he used the term spot on.
    Many on this commentariate lump the entire left into the "Progressive" camp. This is as misleading as calling the entire right Social Conservatives. Yes, leftists in general favor a more active government than their counterparts, but the group is not homogenous (see the Nolan Chart).

  • bob sacomano||

    To echo the greatest Duke basketball chant directed at bad officiating from the 90's, "we beg to differ."

    The left is virtually entirely made up of progressives today, and the analogy to saying all on the right are SoCons does not hold up at all. There is exponentially more diversity of thought and values on the right than on the left.

    The left used to care about actual liberal principles, prior to the 60's revolution of the New Left, but even that's being quite generous. Leftists for the past 100 years have subordinated principles and liberal values to cynical identity power politics. And since the advent of the New Left, economic and cultural marxism is the driving force behind Democratic politics, whether they're aware of it or not. And as always happens, the economic fantasies fail harshly and quickly which leaves them with only the cultural marxism, which explains the whole "trigger warning" culture under which we now are subjects.

    So no, the left really can't be distinguished between the good liberals and the bad ones anymore. They have seen the future and it works.

  • marshaul||

    There is nothing "liberal" about the new left, making bob's entire post a four-paragaph non sequitur.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Rand Paul hides his SoCon ways very well no doubt.

  • Rev-Match||

    I tend to care far less about his 'SoCon' personal beliefs and much more about his espoused philosophy on government, which varies greatly from statist Socons in the GOP. In other words, you are burning straw.

  • Sevo||

    Palin's Buttplug|11.4.14 @ 9:27AM|#
    "Rand Paul hides his SoCon ways very well no doubt."

    Whereas you exhibit your fucking stupidity every time you post.
    Fuck off, turd.

  • Craig K||

    "Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose, drug reform, immigration, marriage equality. He's not there."

    I'd agree with everything but the "right to choose." Seems like this is fairly contentious even among libertarians.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    It's complete bullshit. Abortion isn't a libertarian issue. PERIOD!

    You can be a libertarian and have an opinion on abortion. But it's not a libertarian position.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Libertarianism has a very clear stance on abortion... once you settle the question of when a "person" is created.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    once you settle the question of when a "person" is created.

    Agreed, 100%.

  • BakedPenguin||

    This.

  • np||

    Even with treating cells as a person, abortion is based on property rights. Namely the fundamental right to self-ownership. Who gave this other "person" the right to occupy a woman's womb? Just as you would evict an unwanted guest from your home, you would have the right to do so from any living thing from your body, human or not.

  • cavalier973||

    A baby is not trespassing; he is exactly where he is supposed to be.

  • JohnLocke||

    Justice and rights are all about weighing who has the greater right. You have the right to wave your arms around, you don't have the right to hit me with your arms. My right not to be hit by you trumps your right to wave your arms around, my right to be protected from violence is superior to your right to act like a ninny. Ergo it is a crime to hit me. Now you have a woman who made a choice to have sex without protection, or even in the case of rape made a choice not to go to the hospital and get Plan B, and then when she found out she was pregnant she made a choice not to get a prompt early abortion. So now you have a baby with a heartbeat inside of her. She has rights, she has the right not to be inconvenienced by the pregnancy she now regrets, but the baby has rights too. The baby has the right not to be murdered. Considering it was the woman's choices that put her in this situation, and the baby had no choice in the matter, and that obviously the right not to be murdered is a far superior right than the right not to be inconvenienced, after a certain point when we decide a baby is a person, abortion should be illegal. Period. That is how we resolve the issue. When two people have conflicting rights our society has to decide who has the greater right, and that is how we adjudicate disputes.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    That's like saying that you can throw a newborn baby into the streets because he/she bothers you.

    Not a clump of cells. The science clearly states that the union of a spermatocyte and an oocyte constitutes a new human life: a person.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The science clearly states that the union of a spermatocyte and an oocyte constitutes a new human life:

    Sure it's new human life.

    But it certainly isn't a person. It's a clump of unaware cells at that point. That isn't a person.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Yes, he/she is. Gender, DNA, blood type. All of those are determined at that moment. Think of the person you love most in life. All of their unique characteristics were formed at conception. That's when life begins.

    It's a question of life.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Well, we'll agree to disagree.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    You can't disagree with the science which shows that life begins at conception.

    I'll win you over to my side one of these days, Francisco.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Are you not listening?

    I never said that life didn't begin at conception.

    I'm arguing against your notion that life equates to being a person.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    There is no difference between human life and personhood. When you muddle the line between those two terms, you essentially legitimize any form of aggression imaginable.

  • Jim Smithy||

    sure you can. that is an opinion.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    No, it isn't. I can provide you with a laundry list of embryology textbooks which state that it's a fact.

    Sadly, so many libertarians also think that AGW is also an opinion, so it's no shock so many are denying the biological science at work here.

  • marshaul||

    You can't win me over.

    If even I accepted that the fetus was instantaneously a person (I do not), it wouldn't resolve the issue in your favor.

    You see, rights cannot overlap. A right does not (cannot) exist until it no longer conflicts with another right. The mother has a pre-existing right to bodily self-determination.

    Therefore, the fetus can possess no RIGHT to life until one of two things happen:

    1. Its right to life is no longer in conflict with its mothers pre-existing right of bodily self-determination (i.e. it is viable without her).

    2. The mother decides there is no conflict (i.e. she wants to keep the baby).

  • marshaul||

    Because of this reasoning, it makes no sense to grant a fetus legal personhood until it is viable or its mother decides to keep it.

    There is no meaningful concept of "scientific" personhood. That's a philosophical conception, at best.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    That argument can be used to justify aggression against anyone on the basis of property. If you don't want your one-year-old in your house, you still don't have the right to aggress against her.

    Whether or not a child is wanted is irrelevant, because the right to life exists for all. The child is not a trespasser; he or she did not choose to be conceived. He or she should not be punished on the basis of circumstances which were outside of his/her control. Life is a libertarian tenet.

  • Nyarlarrythotep||

    Ah a bunch of baloney, like I come to expect from my fellow libertarians, who are, it seems, mostly assholes. You, the anti-abortion zealot, don't give a shit about when something becomes a person; you're just a reactionary, you are freaked out about women, you want to control them.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You, the anti-abortion zealot, don't give a shit about when something becomes a person

    So please explain your "libertarian" position concerning abortion.

  • Jim Smithy||

    freedom of choice. note the first word...

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So the little person in the womb gets to exercise their freedom of choice?

    Get it?

    Whose freedom of choice takes priority? If the zygote is a person, then you do NOT have the freedom to infringe upon the the rights of another. If it's not a person, it has no rights and you do.

    Because you cannot determine the status as a person of the zygote, you cannot use libertarian principle to decide the matter.

  • mgd||

    I'm with you for the most part. But to continue--if the answer to whether a zygote is a person cannot be determined, shouldn't the decision be left to the party we *know* to be a person, rather than allowing the state to force its opinion on people? Doesn't that seem like the libertarian response in the face of ambiguity?

    In other words, I don't know when human life begins, but I have my opinion. It is, all the same, nothing more than an opinion, and I am not going to use the power of the state to force it on you.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I couldn't agree more mgd. It is a decision best left to the conscience of the individual most involved...absent further facts.

  • marshaul||

    "But to continue--if the answer to whether a zygote is a person cannot be determined, shouldn't the decision be left to the party we *know* to be a person, rather than allowing the state to force its opinion on people? Doesn't that seem like the libertarian response in the face of ambiguity?"

    Absolutely. Very well put.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Yes, you can. The zygote is a human being, and humanity and personhood are not in conflict with one another.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Nonsense. California Democrats legalized the destruction of human life on the basis of gender. They're the ones declaring the real War on Women.

  • JParker||

    No, that's the wrong place to draw the line.

    First, abortion is not the same as feticide. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy, not a fetus. A cesarean section is, for example, the abortion of a pregnancy which usually results in the fetus/child remaining alive.

    Second, even a fatal abortion can be acceptable as an act of defense of one's person or property. The fetus, can be legitimately viewed, in many cases, as an innocent trespasser and recipient of the woman's property (food, oxygen) against her will.

    In this case, the mother may legitimately terminate the pregnancy by ceasing to provide resources and shelter to the fetus. However she must do so in a way that, at the cost level chosen by her, that does minimal damage to the fetus.

    At this point, there are no known means of doing so at the lower cost levels that a fatal abortion permits; however, this does not mean that some third party might not choose to conditionally subsidize the woman to make a non-fatal abortion cost competitive.

    Those who oppose fatal abortions should then expend their resources to find lower cost means of carrying out non=fatal abortions and/or provide subsidies to women who wish to abort their pregnancies to do so non=fatally.

  • marshaul||

    Also agree with JParker. The right of self-ownership implies a right to abort, but it doesn't imply a right to kill a fetus which is viable outside the mother's body.

    Those who really want to save the lives of aborted fetuses (rather than simply having government impose itself on others) really ought to be working to subsidize the lives of aborted fetuses, so that they are viable at as early as medically possible.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    It constitutes the destruction of human life, which goes against libertarian principles.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    So you're with Judge Nappy on prosecuting abortion docs for murder? That is hardly libertarian.

  • KDN||

    I love how you get "I'm a rabid pro-lifer" out of "abortion isn't a libertarian issue." You're the Michael Jordan of poor reading comprehension. I wonder if you even cracked 250 on the SAT verbal.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    The Judge claims to be libertarian.

  • sarcasmic||

    So does Glenn Beck.

  • ||

    So does Bill Maher.

  • sarcasmic||

    idiot

  • KDN||

    You can be a libertarian and have an opinion on abortion. But it's not a libertarian position.

    Remedial English time: this means that any libertarian can have any opinion on abortion he wants, and that opinion is never the "libertarian" position on the subject. The corollary to this is that no person's standing as a libertarian is dependent upon his views on abortion.

  • cavalier973||

    The corollary to this is that no person's standing as a libertarian is dependent upon his views on abortion.

    It kind of sounds like G.J. thinks it does.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I don't get your point.

    this means that any libertarian can have any opinion on abortion he wants, and that opinion is never the "libertarian" position on the subject.

    Correct.

    The corollary to this is that no person's standing as a libertarian is dependent upon his views on abortion.

    And still correct.

    What is your issue?

    There is no libertarian solution to the abortion issue because in order to know whose rights take priority, one must first answer, the unanswerable question of when a zygote becomes a person. As soon as you have a definitive answer to that question, you can make a libertarian argument. Until then, a libertarian argument doesn't exist.

  • KDN||

    It's not my issue. I'm explaining your point to PB because, as per usual, it completely whooshed past him. I agree with you completely.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I'm explaining your point to PB

    Sorry. My comprehension apparently sucks too. Need coffee.

  • cavalier973||

    Folgers, Maxwell House, Chock Full O' Nuts, Starbucks, Duncan Donuts, Gevalia, Seattle's Best, Eight O' Clock, or Misc.?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Dunkin Donuts

  • lackoffaithless||

    I think you can make a libertarian argument without defining personhood. Children don't have full adult rights either, but we still apply some version of the NAP to them. I would extend that to the fetus. Whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, you can make a libertarian argument about abortion without deciding when personhood happens.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So at the moment of conception, the two cells are a person? What do you base that on (other than feelz)?

  • cavalier973||

    Unique DNA code.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So do two cells off my finger, but they aren't a person.

  • cavalier973||

    Interesting. So, when the two cells off your finger eventually grow into a human being, what do you name him/her?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Bob.

    Actually, those cells do have the potential to become a person. Cloning.

  • cavalier973||

    The fertilized egg becomes a person with no cloning required.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The fertilized egg becomes a person with no cloning required.

    So? What difference does that make?

    Fucking (insemination) is required why not cloning?

  • ||

    Here's what I base it on, at the moment of conception the two cells satisfy the scientific definition of life(it can respond to stimuli, maintain homeostasis etc.) This is a separate life from that of the mother or father(a new and unique DNA). So the question is, what kind of life is it? It's not an oak tree, its not a zebra, its not a mushroom, its DNA is human and therefore it is human. If it is not a human being at the moment of conception, when does it become human? At what other point can you point to a zygote, fetus, or even newborn and say that it is distinctly different than it was the day before?

    I can understand that people will disagree with me, but don't tell me my position is nothing but feelz or a desire to see women in the kitchen, bare foot and pregnant.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    It may be human, but it may not be a person. People have rights, not human cells. I have a hard time saying a lump of cells without a brain is a person.

  • JWW||

    So once the fetus has developed a brain, then its a person?

    Therefore fetus' at that point of development should be banned from being aborted.

    Now, is that actually what you meant to say?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So once the fetus has developed a brain, then its a person?

    Therefore fetus' at that point of development should be banned from being aborted.

    Now, is that actually what you meant to say?

    What I'm saying is I have no idea when it's a person. I'm certain one isn't a person at conception. I'm certain it is a person at birth. Certainly having a brain would be required, but I doubt that is the exact line either, because a brain would probably need to be aware of itself.

    I have no idea when it happens and neither does anyone else. I'm fairly certain that both extremes are wrong. But I'll tell ya what. For lack of an objective conclusion, I'd be willing to compromise. We'll split the difference and call it 140 days. The beauty of that solution is that it pisses both extremes off and no one is totally happy AND it will end this ridiculous debate giving libertarians a position on the issue.

  • PM||

    I have a hard time saying a lump of cells without a brain is a person.

    I may not like shreeek, but I still think he deserves human rights...

  • sasob||

    ^this^

    I don't know how much of a brain it would take or at what point a fetus develops it, but there has to be some capacity for consciousness, sentience, etc. on at least a perceptual level.

    At the other end most people would have no problem pulling the plug on someone who is either brain dead or so brain damaged that he or she is just an unconscious vegetable.

  • sasob||

    That was meant as a comment on what Francisco said.

  • JohnLocke||

    This question is above my paygrade, but look at the death penalty. The common libertarian position is to be against the death penalty because, among other things, what if we're wrong? Isn't it better to err on the side of caution than ever murder an innocent man? Yet... that same person who holds that view on the death penalty throws caution to the wind when dealing with a fetus. Shouldn't we err on the side of caution with a fetus too and not murder it just in case it is actually alive in ways our current technology cannot detect? I think, for now, the heartbeat is a good milestone. Keep abortion legal before it, illegal after it. But I'm honestly not sure where the cutoff should be, only that there needs to be a cutoff, based on the biological development of the fetus, not our current available technology.

  • sasob||

    I don't think anyone doubts that a fetus is alive - or even that it is "human" life. The question is whether it is a human being, at what point it becomes such, and why. What makes it a human being? DNA with potentiality? Or actuality?

    You brought up capital punishment, so I'll just ask: do they execute potential murderers and criminals? Or actual ones?

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Nothing to say, but awesome comment.

  • marshaul||

    Disagree. A position consistent with libertarian rights-oriented principle is possible even in our current state of ignorance. See my post above.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So you're with Judge Nappy

    No, fucknuts. I'm with libertarian principle. Retard!

  • Marshall Gill||

    FdA, you keep using the word "person" and I have read others use the word "being". You don't deny that it is a living human, apparently, just not a person. Is "person" a subset of human being? Can you, or anyone, tell me the scientific mechanism which occurs when a human fetus becomes a "person"? Surely there is a scientific name for the mechanism, like mitosis and meiosis.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Only people have rights. Before it's a person, the rights of the host take priority. After it's a person (with rights) the rights of the child (i.e. the right to exist) takes priority over the mother's right to not be inconvenienced.

    I don't deny that it's living and it's human (WRT DNA), but there is no way in hell you can convince me that just because a lump of cells is alive that it is a person. Up to a point, you can kill it and it will never have any knowledge that it ever existed. At some point in the womb, that changes. When it becomes aware of itself, perhaps? So...

    Can you, or anyone, tell me the scientific mechanism which occurs when a human fetus becomes a "person"?

    No, I can't and neither can anyone else, which is precisely why I claim that the abortion issue cannot be ascertained using libertarian principle. Because it's impossible to know when personhood starts.

  • Marshall Gill||

    it's impossible to know when personhood starts.

    How can you feel so certain that it exists if it can't even be described or known, apparently? How can you be so certain that it isn't at conception? Because, as you accused others of in this thread, feelz? If there is no fact, no scientific mechanism by which personhood occurs, how in the fuck is it any other than feelz? Is personhood some kind of atheist soul? When does it enter the body?

    "Living human individual" describes a human being in his zygote stage. Just as it describes you and I. There is really only one reason to describe a living human individual as being a "non-person".

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    How can you be so certain that it isn't at conception?

    Because a person isn't his body a person is his mind. Without a functioning mind, you are not a person. It is a glob of organic material.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    People who kill others deserve to go to prison. Go tell the children who survived abortions that you want abortion to be legal, and see what they have to say.

  • marshaul||

    "Go tell trespassers who have survived armed homeowners than you want armed home defense to be legal, and see what they say."

    Until you surmount the fundamental disagreement, this is nothing more than an appeal to emotion.

    In short, it's not about what some poster child "feelz", it's about respecting rights.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    This is the most repugnant argument I have ever heard. Comparing an unborn child who had no control over his/her conception to armed robbers is beyond idiotic.

    Libertarians should stop acting like social Darwinists on this issue.

  • Robert||

    Of course abortion's a libertarian issue, and it's an issue between libertarians. I doubt there are many who don't consider it an issue, they just don't agree on their analysis or conclusions.

  • Robert||

    In fact, abortion is the one major issue that most people, no matter how libertarian they are analyze on libertarian grounds. If only they'd apply the same analysis to other matters!

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    In fact, abortion is the one major issue that most people, no matter how libertarian they are analyze on libertarian grounds.

    If you do, you are basing it upon an unknowable assumption. There is no way to determine when a zygote gets rights.

  • Marshall Gill||

    There is no way to determine when a zygote gets rights.

    It is no different than how to determine if an infant, or child, or adult human being has rights. It is a living human individual.

    Why does a person have rights? Most specifically, the right to not have aggression initiated against them?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Because it isn't a child. It's an unaware lump of cells. It doesn't even know it exists. It cannot possibly as it has no functioning mind.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Define functioning mind. And just so we're clear, I'm pro-choice. I just don't think you're making a coherent argument. You agree that it's a person at birth. Is it a person 5min before birth (let's assume it was taken to full term)? I think you'd say yes (maybe not). 10min? Yes. A day? Probably. A week? Probably. A month? Still probably. 6months? Probably not.

    Your problem is with the definition of "functioning mind." What is that? Certainly there is electrical activity much earlier than birth. Is that functioning?

    If you believe it's legal to abort a fetus, then do you support repealing all manslaughter/murder laws for fetuses? If not, are you claiming that the fetus becomes a person only when someone wants it? That's rather disturbing if so.

    You're right that the definition is ultimately arbitrary. I define it as the age at which the fetus is likely to be viable outside the womb, i.e. ~24wks. The problem that I have is that the age of viability keeps getting pushed back. Eventually it's likely that we'll have artificial wombs and so we're right back to where we started. Thankfully that's not a problem I have to worry about any time soon.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    What part of this don't you get? I'm not calling a functioning mind the definition of a person. I'm saying that, and probably some sort of self awareness would be required. I have no idea when that happens.

    My position, is that no one can define when it's a person.

    Not me, not you, not anyone. But I'm certain it's after conception and before birth.

  • sarcasmic||

    I dunno. I think most libertarians agree that a woman should have a right to choose which school to send her kids.

  • Almanian!||

    And - if they drive them to school - to choose which vehicle/mode of transportation they want to use to drive them there.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    I'd throw 'marriage equality' on the pile, as well. It's not an anti-libertarian position, but it is an issue entirely orthogonal to the pursuit of negative liberties which libertarianism is all about.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is equal protection of the law a negative or positive right?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    All protection under the law is a positive right.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That's not quite what equal protection is, it's more like the idea that when the gov applies a law to you it applies it equally .

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    I realize that, but all adjudication of the law is performed by the state and thereby paid for with taxes and thereby requires action from another.

    Any time there is government, there will be some positive rights. What they should be and how they come to be is the question.

  • cavalier973||

    Were heterosexual people legally able to marry someone of the same sex, while homosexuals were being denied that legal option?

  • Vincent Milburn||

    ^This!!!!!!!!!!!^

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It's something of a prerequisite in the context of negative liberty, but whether it should apply to anti-libertarian government programs is something that does not have a purist answer precisely because it is so orthogonal to the goals of libertarianism. Consider, for example, the question as it relates to welfare: is it more or less libertarian to have a welfare program that applies to all citizens regardless of need (i.e., hands out 10,000/year to all citizens, from Bill Gates to Tiny Tim) over a system which selects for low income? There is no clear answer, because this is not a program which libertarians consider just in the first place and therefore its universal application cannot be considered inherently just or unjust solely on the basis of libertarian principles.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    I think gay people should be able to get married if they want.

    I just don't know why they'd want to. marriage is between a man and woman, so I wouldn't think they'd be into that sort of thing.

  • Jim Smithy||

    taxes, benefits, etc... basically government intervention

  • marshaul||

    "Marriage" is whatever the fuck two people who want to get married think it means. Full stop.

    Words have meaning, but that meaning is assigned by those who use them.

  • I. B. McGinty||

    "Who cares who wins, because nothing's really going to change? It's like a debate between Coke and Pepsi."

    Well one can is red and the other can is blue.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Coke and Pepsi actually do taste different. Pepsi is sweeter.

    Though if you really want ginger ale neither one is going to be acceptable to you.

  • Almanian!||

    Canada Dry and Vernors are more different than Pespi and Coke.

    I was always an RC Cola guy, myself...

  • cavalier973||

    Jones Soda Co.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Jarritos!

  • lap83||

    Coke also has more carbonation

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Sort of like how NM abolished it's state income tax when Gary Johnson was elected it's libertarian Republican Governor

  • Juice||

    "Where's the libertarian viewpoint, which says do away with it completely? Do away with income tax, corporate tax? Abolish the IRS.

    Right on! No income tax! No IRS!

    If you're going to replace it with anything, replace it with a national consumption tax.

    um, what's libertarian about that again?

  • PM||

    Notice that last sentence begins with "If". I get the feeling Johnson doesn't necessarily support replacing the income tax with anything, but recognizes the reality that it will be demanded by vast majorities of people, and a national consumption tax is the least-bad alternative.

  • sasob||

    ...but recognizes the reality that it will be demanded by vast majorities of people,...

    If it were demanded by vast majorities of people, there would be no need to make it a tax - they could all just donate to the government. Of course, their real problem is not being allowed to pay it themselves, but desiring to force others to pay it as well. It's truly amazing how many actually have no problem with slavery just so long as everyone is subject to it.

  • Jim Smithy||

    nothing. but it is the only fair way.

  • brokencycle||

    I can't take Gary Johsnson seriously anymore. He's going to give everyone the Libertarian option of trying to use anti-trust law against your opponents. I was a huge supporter of him during the Republican primaries and even for most of his Libertarian run.

    You can't be libertarian and sue someone under the Sherman Anti-trust Act. It appears you can be Libertarian and do the same though.

  • Juice||

    or support the "fair" tax

  • Jim Smithy||

    "or support the "fair" tax"

    minus the prebate and apply the tax to stocks/bonds/etc..

  • Not a Libertarian||

    Would Governor Johnson get the majority of national libertarian votes in a contest with Senator Rand as the GOP nominee? My assumption is no.

    However, my guess is that he would get the plurality of the votes of Reason editors and commenters (with a select few voting for Senator Clinton). This might not be how they would think they would vote now, but with the twists and turns of the nominating process, their opinion of Rand will undoubtedly become ever more ambivalent.

  • Timon 19||

    COSMOTARIANZZ!

  • sasob||

    Rand Paul is not going to get the GOP nomination; you can forget about that right now. Neither will Cruz. It will probably be either Jeb Bush or Romney.

  • cavalier973||

    ...who will then go on to lose the election, because both those guys may give the GOP establisment the Warm Fuzzies, but I've a feeling the GOP Base is considerably less enthused.

  • sasob||

    Have to agree with you there.

  • JWatts||

    It won't be Romney.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    I hope you are wrong. Americans are tired of the Bush family and yesterday's general election losers usually don't come back.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    And there you have it.

    Precisely what's wrong with the LP. Purity over reality. They'd rather accept defeat, time and time again in the name of 100% purity than expend the energy required to change people's attitudes.

    I don't disagree that their positions are correct and that is where I'd like to see the country eventually end up, but they are unwilling to do anything rational to convince the general public that their way is better. It's simply agree with me or fuck off.

    The Pauls, on the other hand, realize that the notion of libertarianism is foreign to the vast majority of Americans and they've been indoctrinated to believe there is only the Team. Hitting them over the head with "I'm gonna make Heroin legal" probably isn't the best starting point for bringing them into the light.

    We've finally got a 90% solution that has an actual shot at winning, and they are gonna support the 99% solution that has no shot at all? I fear if the LP ever did rise to power, they would simply become Team Orange. I much prefer actually changing hearts and minds.

  • sarcasmic||

    You can only change the minds of people who think.

    Unfortunately, most people seem to emote.

    You're not going to reason someone into agreeing with you if their beliefs are from emotion.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Nonsense. You convince them logic is superior to emotion. You can teach people to think.

    You are right that some never will, by choice, but that doesn't mean ALL never will.

  • sarcasmic||

    I used to be in that camp, and I didn't become a libertarian because I was taught how to think. I had to learn that all by myself.

  • PM||

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

    – Jonathan Swift

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Just a question: doesn't everyone's worldview begin with emotion-based, arguably "faith"-based, first principles? Otherwise reason has no starting point. You have to have at least one given.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    This is made even more amusing considering that Gay Jay isn't even close to being a purist type. His record in NM is laudable from a non-purist liberty-friendly standpoint, but obviously not from a doctrinaire libertarian viewpoint. I say this as someone who voted for him in the 2012 general election and who supported him in the primary -- he would have been better off running for Senate.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    he would have been better off running for Senate.

    Excellent point. He'd be more relevant to the cause.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, he doesn't really have standing to say that. I voted for him in 2012, (and he was definitely the best choice) but if Rand Paul gets the nom, I'm going with him.

  • sasob||

    Hitting them over the head with "I'm gonna make Heroin legal" probably isn't the best starting point for bringing them into the light.

    I would like to see them hit over the head with "Your life, your body, and the fruits of your labor are YOURS and not the property of the State or your fellow man."
    I guess that would be too much to hope for from any politician.

  • Robert||

    I'd rather not hit anybody over the head with anything, but rather say things like, "Whatever we decide about this, let's not forget the interests of heroin users; they're people too." Or, "Keep in mind that people worked for this property and feel attached to it."

    Not, "Fuck you, the rule is...."

  • Robert||

    the notion of libertarianism is foreign to the vast majority of Americans


    Not just libertarianism, all -isms. You gain respect among Americans by not having an inflexible ideology. Americans are OK with a ruler who follows rules generally, as long as they make exceptions case by case after some examination. That makes them "human", hence better.

  • Mitch Connor||

    I'm voting AGAIN for GARY JOHNSON.

    I will not vote Democrat and I will DEFINITELY not vote Republican.

  • JWatts||

    Could you say that again, but with more capitalization? And maybe some exclamation points.

  • cavalier973||

    Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose, drug reform, immigration, marriage equality. He's not there."

    Well, you know where Rand is, though? In an actual elected office. Kind of gives a guy some advantages when it comes to political stuff.

  • Almanian!||

    +1 seat at the table

  • Mencken Sense||

    Exactly.

    Running against the most libertarian presidential contender since Calvin Coolidge would be insane. If we get another Romney/Obama "choice" however, I'll cast my big L protest vote as usual.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Johnson was in state elected office too.

  • cavalier973||

    "Was". Thank you, Bo.

  • Almanian!||

    Yeah, I've just never warmed up to Gay Jay at all. At. ALL. Seen him a bunch of times - he's never impressed me as more than a self-promoting....politician.

    Which is why I'm voting for myself for President - again - in 2016.

    Almanian - 2016
    Cause I'm Not As Bad As Team Red Or Team Blue
    For Serial.

  • cavalier973||

    Hmmm...what's your position on Marvel vs. DC?

  • JWatts||

    Whoa, don't answer that Almanian. It's a trick question.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose, drug reform, immigration, marriage equality.


    Pot, Mexicans & Ass Sex

    VOTE JOHNSON '16

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Is there ANY reason the LP can't run Rand on the LP ticket at the same time Rand is running on the Republican ticket?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    LP rules prohibit their candidate from being on another ticket. I believe that the GOP has similar rules in effect.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Change them. Republicans don't want a spoiler and Libertarians might actually win something.

    Win-Win

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is that true only at the national level, because I seem to remember NY candidates running on the GOP and Conservative ticket

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    State GOPs are considered distinct from the national GOP, which is how you tend to get some fairly insane party platforms from the state GOPs (or in some rare cases, pretty awesome libertarian-type platforms).

  • Not a Libertarian||

    And would it not be better for the Libertarian Party (if not libertarianism) to not be associated with the Republican Party?

    If the GOP went with Rand, would not the best counterpoint by the Libertarians be a "left-libertarian" resolutely anti-conservative candidate?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    There is no such thing as a left/right libertarian.

    Anything else you believe outside of libertarian principle comes from somewhere else.

    Abortion, religion...not libertarian issues. Separate.

  • ace_m82||

    Defining what murder is seems to be a political issue (if there are any at all). The only pertinent question to a non-an-cap libertarian is "Does it violate NAP?".

  • marshaul||

    That's an arguable point, but if one accepts it then Rand Paul instantly becomes not-a-libertarian.

  • libertreee||

    There he goes again! Not another tired debate over the flat tax vs the fair tax! Abolish the IRS? C'mon. The Fair Tax would need the IRS to collect the revenue from the businesses, to keep the returns of those who want a rebate, etc. Why can't libertarians see that the flat tax and the fair tax are both unconstitutional? Since an income tax is a tax on public offices and privileges, it is constitutional. It is just not constitutionally applied to ordinary workers. Would Ron Paul argue the merits of a flat tax or a fair tax? No, he would talk about the right to keep the fruits of your labor (unless your earnings come from a federal privilege! See NONTAXPAYERS FOR RON PAUL http://tinyurl.com/mwobpzm

  • Jim Smithy||

    "The Fair Tax would need the IRS to collect the revenue from the businesses, to keep the returns of those who want a rebate, etc."

    There are no rebates, refunds, or credits with the fairtax.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Does anyone else find it funny that Johnson, a GOP also-ran, thinks he'll have to 'run' for the LP nomination?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties.

    Sorry, Gary, but, as much as I donated to you in 2012, you're just plain out dead wrong on this. At this point in time, philosophically consistent libertarians have more common cause with even social conservatives than progressives. The socons lost their culture war. They aren't going to be pushing their morality on the country any time soon. The proggies you urge alliance with? Let's see....campus speech codes, mandatory contraception funding, "rape culture", affirmative consent, public accommodation,....shall I go on?

  • Juice||

    progressive ≠ liberal

    GJ is correct.

  • JWatts||

    Sorry, but most people are going to equate "flaming liberals" with progressives. He might not have meant it that way, but it's pretty poor verbage.

  • JulioFranco||

    This is a guy who didn't know who Henry Hazlitt was 2 years ago criticizing Rand Paul for being insufficiently libertarian. I voted for Johnson and I don't hate him, but his attacks on other libertarians are out of control.

    And libertarians are not flaming liberals on social issues. Drugs should obviously legalized but this guy actually promotes marijuana use like it has something to do with being a libertarian. He plays up all of the worst stereotypes. The Libertarian Party should be about promoting libertarian ideology not promoting some hippie queer lifestyle.

  • ||

    That's why I think Ron Paul was one of the best voices for liberty. He may have been the least likely congress critter to use drugs or solicit a prostitute, which made it real easy for him to say that its none of my business without coming off as a hedonist.

  • Juice||

    And libertarians are not flaming liberals on social issues.

    When using actual definitions of words, yes they are.

  • JulioFranco||

    Gary Johnson actively promotes drug use. He is defining flaming liberal as actively supporting a lifestyle. That is how liberals think. If you aren't fully on board the gay agenda, they have a problem with you.

    Look at how Johnson talks about Rand Paul. He calls him social conservative. Rand Paul is basically a modified libertarian on social issues. A social conservative would be someone like Rick Santorum.Social conservatism and social liberalism involves the active promotion, not just tolerance, of certain lifestyles. Neither of the those views are libertarian.

  • Eric||

    You're applying a different yardstick to both sides based upon your biases. One can hold social liberal/conservative views and still respect the liberties of others. The problem right now is that the left, having won the culture war is drunk on power and thinks that they have some kind of mandate. They are as mistaken as the conservatives of the 80s and 90s were.

  • cavalier973||

    And libertarians are not flaming liberals on social issues.

    When using actual definitions of words, yes they are.

    I disagree. One may oppose the use of narcotics and think "same-sex marriage" is nonsense without thinking that government ought to step in and do something about it.

  • Eric||

    Paul's not a libertarian, he's a conservative Republican who happens to respect liberty*...unlike the majority of the rest of his party.

    *as far as "liberty" is politically expedient.

  • PM||

    Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose, drug reform, immigration, marriage equality.

    The irony here is that Gary Johnson failed a lot of libertarians' purity tests on exactly those issues, because he supports legal abortion only until viability and supported a ban on late term abortion, and supports public health and safety exceptions to open immigration, and favors issuing work visas to existing illegal aliens rather than offering a path to citizenship. "Marriage equality" is a dead issue for 2016. The judiciary already decided it. I voted for GJ and would do so again, but those positions are actually pretty moderate from a libertarian standpoint, not "flaming liberal".

  • John||

    If the Republicans nominated Paul, how could you justify voting for Johnson, unless you just think Paul is faking it?

    Paul would represent a real sea change in major party politics. His nomination would be one of the major parties actually moving towards Libertarian ideas. If doing that doesn't get them any Libertarian votes and people like you vote for Johnson, why would they ever do so again? It is one thing to vote for Johnson if both parties nominate someone you just can't tolerate. But if either of the parties nominated someone who was close to your views, how could you not vote for them? How does that do anything to advance your cause?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I think this is about right, If the Republicans nominate a guy who is about as libertarian as you can possibly hope for in the mainstream of American politics and libertarians vote for someone else, well, I'm sorry, but then I can't make any even halfway plausible political case for Republicans to embrace libertarianism.

  • PM||

    It seems this logic is employed regardless of the candidate though. "Well, sure, the Republican candidate sucked, but he was as good as you were ever going to get in this election, so you should have voted for him!" At some point you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but everybody has a different threshold for what constitutes "good".

    Besides of which, libertarians don't constitute a large enough voting bloc to sway any election, anywhere, for any office, especially not a national office like president. The GOP, rightly, doesn't give a shit what libertarians think of the candidates it nominates.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    but everybody has a different threshold for what constitutes "good".

    Agreed. And that's why everyone needs to run a cost benefit analysis as to whether a candidate is libertarian enough to vote for. If not, vote Libertarian. It's a personal thing. Is your threshold 90%, 85%, 60%? For me 75% is the cutoff. I put Rand at about 90%.

    Besides of which, libertarians don't constitute a large enough voting bloc to sway any election, anywhere, for any office, especially not a national office like president.

    Not true. It has happened several times here in MT, including the last Senate election. Tester beat Rehberg by 18,000 votes. The libertarian (Cox) got 32,000 votes.

    Republicans can pay attention and start running libertarians or they can suffer the consequences.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    At some point you can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good, but everybody has a different threshold for what constitutes "good".

    Fair enough. And if we were talking Mitt Romney or Chris Christie, I'd be perfectly okay with what you're saying. But, the candidate John brought up is Rand Paul. In effect, a Paul nomination would amount to the GOP saying "Okay, okay, we get it! You guys were right. We're going to try to do what we need to do to work with you.". If the libertarian response to that is "Still not good enough!", then there's a logical conclusion for the GOP to draw from that - no matter what the GOP does, barring disbanding, there's really not much point in pursuing GOP votes.

  • John||

    Sure it is PM. Just because it is always employed and often wrong doesn't mean it is always wrong is isn't wrong in the case of Paul.

  • Robert||

    LP once nominated someone for US House against Ron Paul, over abortions.

  • PM||

    Rand Paul isn't going to get the Republican nomination, so in all practicality it's a moot point. If he did get the nomination I'd strongly consider voting for him. Gary Johnson is much closer to my viewpoints overall though, and my individual vote is utterly statistically meaningless even if I lived in a competitive state, which I don't. So I certainly wouldn't feel guilty for "wasting" my vote.

  • John||

    I think he is going to get the nomination. And if and when he does, a good number of Libertarians still won't vote for him because they would rather feel smarter than everyone else than win.

    And if you think your vote is meaningless, don't vote. I can't see how you can rationalize thinking your vote is meaningless taking the effort to vote.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    a good number of Libertarians still won't vote for him because they would rather feel smarter than everyone else than win.

    No, John, they just want to be more selective in libertarianism's appeal.

  • JWatts||

    Indeed, how can you keep the club exclusive if you just start letting anyone in.

  • obadiahlynch||

    Gary's a true Libertarian. Paul is .. not.

    Watching the comment thread turn into an anti-abortion/anti 'proggies'/anti gay fest reinforces the belief I've had since I started reading Reason -- most of the folks here aren't really Ls at all but Rs.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Most here are l-s.

  • PM||

    Hi Bo.

  • cavalier973||

    "Anti-proggies" is non-libertarian?

  • obadiahlynch||

    Many of the philosophies espoused by progressives are, in fact, libertarian in nature.

    Terms such as 'proggies' -- especially when there are no similar terms thrown around for R types -- would indicate that those who use those terms are, in fact, simply Republicans at heart and not Libertarians at all.

  • kbolino||

    especially when there are no similar terms thrown around for R types

    Christfag, bushpig, socons, neocons, "Tea Party types", etc.

    Granted, the first two are shrike-isms, but your selective reading is bullshit.

  • JWatts||

    "Terms such as 'proggies' -- especially when there are no similar terms thrown around for R types"

    Proggies is just short for Progressive. And that's a term that they use. It's no more derogatory than referring to Republicans as Team Red, which happens all the damn time.

  • Suellington||

    No, proggie is most certainly not an insult. Progtard is an example of an insult.

  • Eric||

    I agree that after W ruined the brand, many R's sought refuge behind the libertarian mantra. They'll go home soon now that the GOP seems to have regained some of its senses.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And of course there are no libertarian Rs.

  • obadiahlynch||

    The R philosophy is not libertarian, so, not so much, no.

  • JWatts||

    Not every American fits exactly into the box of Republican, or Democrat or conservative or liberal or libertarian, etc.

    So, if you are attempting to draw the box of libertarian so tightly that you exclude almost everyone else and prevent any overlap with any other position, then you are going to have a very, small box. And very small influence.

  • Robert||

    There is no R philosophy. Major political parties can't afford to have any.

  • marshaul||

    Robert nailed it.

    I think a good many Americans are, or could easily be talked into being, comfortable with libertarian philosophy.

    The problem with the GOP is that they represent none of these Americans. Rand Paul doesn't seem positioned to change that.

    The GOP isn't broken because it lacks purity; the GOP is broken because its systemically corrupt.

  • marshaul||

    it's*

  • XM||

    Gary Johnson's party will never win any meaningful election, so he has no incentive to calibrate his message or take the middle road to appeal to different groups. That's true for all third party candidates. That's where their "courage" to be themselves comes from. You can't win, so you can stick closer to your principles and propose a lot of good (but "radical" to others) ideas that the media will ignore.

    We sane people are having a lively debate here, and Johnson is better than the pizza delivery man from NC. But he's invisible to 90% of the population. Half the population probably don't even know what "libertarian" is. I can go to Koreatown, Westminster, or Little Tokyo and ask them who the LP presidential candidate will be, and draw a lot of blanks.

    I wish the LP would make a serious attempt to win votes instead of playing symbolic spoiler.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Gary Johnson's party will never win any meaningful election, so he has no incentive to calibrate his message or take the middle road to appeal to different groups.

    Which shows they care more about being holier than thou about liberty than actually wanting to live in a state of liberty.

    I wish the LP would make a serious attempt to win votes instead of playing symbolic spoiler.

    Precisely.

  • Robert||

    No, they know what "libertarian" is because the name is self-explanatory. They know it's favoring liberty. And that's more than they know about political parties in general.

  • Robert||

    I meant more than they know about most ideologies.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    This is why the LP will never get my vote. Because of their support for abortion. That and the fact that Johnson annoys me just as badly as Jesse Ventura.

    Here it is, plain and simple: I oppose abortion because it is the taking of another person's life. Life begins at the moment when a spermatocyte and an oocyte unite; that's basic human biology. If libertarians defend human life, then that's it. Life doesn't being arbitrarily at implantation or viability; it begins at conception.

    Abortion should not be permitted because it is the taking if another person's life and liberty. Gay marriage isn't; I support gay marriage. Drug legalization isn't; I'm for ending the WoD. But I don't support abortion because it violates libertarian principles.

    The pro-abortion libertarians (who sound as if they just rolled off the Salon.com turnip truck) remind me of how the Founding Fathers supported slavery. It's hypocritical.

    Rand has my vote. GJ has my eternal scorn for trying to be the libertarian equivalent of Ralph Nader.

  • kbolino||

    At the end of the day, even many libertarians who oppose abortion get the heebie-jeebies about making it illegal. With so much destructive wielding of state power in ample evidence, the thought of expanding that power is a bridge too far for many of us, myself included. Even many who think it should be illegal will rate it quite low on their list of priorities.

    That having been said, there are few libertarians (and No True Ones IMO) who agree with government funding of abortion. Just because something is legal doesn't mean it has to be endorsed at others' expense. Conservatives are no different from progressives on this matter if they can't see the difference between permission and endorsement.

    When it comes to crime, I do not brook any appeal to the government as authority. If you believe an act is criminal and should be punished, then you should be willing to carry out the sentence. This is as true for theft, rape, and murder as it is for abortion. If you aren't willing to draw your own sword, then you have no standing to claim the sword of another at my expense. I understand the claim that you are "pro-life" means you do not want to do violence to others; but the state is an instrument of violence and violence by proxy is still violence on your behalf.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    I'd be willing to initiate government force in order to end slavery. Guess what? There are instances where the government should step in and use force: instances where individual life and liberty are being violated.

    If murder or rape were legal, then would you be against the government making those offenses illegal? After all, it would entail initiating force against murderers and rapists.

    Tell me what your libertarian solution to slavery would have been. Just let it die out over time? Because that involves sacrificing black lives and liberties. Not libertarian.

    And no, carrying out vigilante justice only sets back the pro-life movement. That's exactly what the pro-abortion crowd wants.

  • kbolino||

    The government does violence against all sorts of people, criminals and non. Hell, just to determine guilt, the government does all sorts of violence to liberty and property (and occasionally life as well). You are no different from progressives and their "social justice" crusade if you think you can ride the slippery slope to getting what you want.

    I have no love for the state. It exists, it does not seek my consent, and it can and will do violence against me with and without cause. The government does not effect justice; it metes out violence under a claim of monopoly.

    It is that last point, the monopoly of violence, that you seem obtusely unable to understand. The government is not necessary to punish crime. People punish crimes outside of government all the time, and were capable of doing so well before any strong central authority existed. As with all things, if people really believe something should be done, they will do it themselves.

    The "problem" that government purports to solve is the unjust monopolization of violence. But there is no true justice in this world. You can catch someone on video, hear a dozen eyewitness accounts, find the murder weapon in his house, and get a calm and uncoerced confession from him, and yet never learn that he was not in fact the murderer. Only God is fit to judge, and I'm don't believe He exists.

    In the end, the state is just the gang currently at the top of the food chain.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    So, the government shouldn't be used to stop murder and rape and slavery? I'm a minarchist; I believe that government should step in to protect life and liberty when necessary. That includes all of the instances I have talked about.

    But if you want to form a vigilante team of super-libertarians in order to enact justice, then go right ahead, Bruce.

  • kbolino||

    We don't live in a world with a minarchic government. We don't have anything close to minarchy, never mind anarchy. The day the government teeters on the line between anarchy and minarchy we can talk about whether it's time to beef up its ability to protect life and property.

    Giving in to statism because it gets you goodies is the same sort of mentality that brought us leviathan in the first place.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    So, let injustice continue because of your perpetual fear of government? Lincoln trampled on habeas corpus, so ending slavery is bad?

    Really bad argument. Libertarianism is meant to be the defense of life, liberty, and property; key word: life. Inviting the government to outlaw the destruction of human life counts as a good expansion of government.

    I'm about ready to go back to describing myself as non-partisan, actually.

  • kbolino||

    Now, you made two other important points that the comment limit kept me from addressing. One is about vigilantism and the other about slavery.

    Insofar as vigilantism hurts your cause, it's because people aren't really on your side, anyway. They are on the state's side. Their opinion will sway to and fro in the wind. Someday soon, you might have their consent, but a decade later you'll be on their bad side again.

    The government did not end slavery. Even the Civil War and the 600,000 lives lost, most of whom were neither slaves nor slavers, did not end slavery. It took a very long cultural slog to end slavery practically. And just as the last nail was about to be driven into the coffin of racial slavery in this country, the slavers rebranded themselves and built a new form of slavery on the backs of the descendants of slaves.

    The state does not solve problems. It can at best be an instrument of majority will clogged by structural protections of minority interests, but that requires interest and dedication on the part of the populace.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Doesn't change the fact that the state should act to stop the destruction of human life. Slavery should not have just been allowed to die out over time.

  • Eric||

    I don't see abortion as a Black/White Pro/Anti issue. Personally, I'm OK with the choice to abort in the first trimester as I don't consider that collection of cells an individual with any rights. However, third trimester abortion is awful, and there should be tight restrictions on its availability. I will admit that I don't know where the dividing line is between the two.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Third-trimester abortion should be illegal. Period.

    And those "cells" in the first trimester are part of a unique human being. That's a violation of the NAP. Life begins when sperm and egg meet; libertarianism is meant to protect all human life.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    It's black-and-white because it's about life and death. An unborn child is not half-alive.

  • Eric||

    I respect that opinion. However, I can think of a couple of justifications for third trimester abortion:

    - To protect the life of the mother.
    - The baby is brain dead. It would be cruel to force a woman to carry to term knowing this.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    The baby should still be born. Brain dead does not mean actually dead.

    Both individuals have the right to life. Doctors should work to save both lives, rather than sacrificing one because he/she is unborn.

  • sasob||

    Brain dead does not mean actually dead.

    Then what does?

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    No one has the right to take another person's life. A "brain-dead" person is still a living human.

  • kbolino||

    Hypothetical: If both lives are going to end with no intervention from the doctor, and the doctor can save exactly one of them, is it wrong for him to do so?

  • sasob||

    Life begins at the moment when a spermatocyte and an oocyte unite; that's basic human biology.

    No, it doesn't, and no, it isn't. If you don't believe that, then have someone show you living spermatozoa under a microscope. Life comes only from life - it doesn't begin. That spermatocyte and oocyte are already living, human cells long before they unite to become a new and different organism. You can argue that organism is the beginning of a new human being - if you want; but without something more than just an autonomic nervous system, it is no more a person than a hard-boiled, fertilized chicken egg is a plate of barbecued buffalo wings.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    The creation of a new human being occurs when sperm and egg fuse. You're being exceedingly pedantic.

  • to_each_his_own||

    "On half the issues he's right, but on the whole social issue thing.... Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose, drug reform, immigration, MARRIAGE EQUALITY. He's not there."

    I'm nit-picking here, but maybe Gary is more of a Prog than libertarian.

    Marriage Equality?????! It should be Marriage FREEDOM!!!

    Being equal means the government gets to choose. Being free means YOU get to choose.

  • Jonathan G||

    Translation: I'm an asshole. I'm sorry but Gary Johnson is totally wrong. He makes great policy points such as the War on Drugs. But Rand Paul (while flawed of course) provides the greatest opportunity for the liberty movement in a very very long time. I don't agree with his position on abortion at all. I happen to be 100% pro-life. Don't agree with him on immigration either. Not an open borders fan. Also the State shouldn't be involved with marriage period. Libertarians are shooting themselves in the foot by going on board with this marriage state bullshit. Rand 2016

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Nice to meet a fellow pro-life libertarian.

    I agree that the government should stay out of marriage, but the way to win votes is to say that you want the government to recognize same-sex marriage. As long as the government is regulating who people marry, then there should be no discrimination.

    It's like how Rand Paul handles the CRA now. He doesn't qualify it; he just says that he supports it. That gets the liberals to shut up.

  • Eric||

    Honest question to you and Jonathan: What makes you a Libertarian instead of a Republican?

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    One can be a Republican and libertarian. I never claimed to be a member of the LP. And I voted all Republican today.

    But to answer your question: antiwar, pro-free-trade, pro-gay, pro-ending-the-WoD, pro-open-borders, pro-privatized-SS, pro-Second-Amendment, anti-death-penalty, anti-minimum-wage, pro-right-to-work, anti-Obamacare, anti-IRS, anti-NSA, anti-drones, anti-DEA, anti-mandatory-minima.

    Do I need to go on? Since when is being pro-life a reason to disqualify someone from libertarianism? The two are compatible (protecting life and liberty), kind of like how being a Democrat is pro-serfdom.

    I'm a Republican in the tradition of the Old Right and Robert Taft.

  • sasob||

    kind of like how being a Democrat is pro-serfdom.

    As is being a Republican in many instances.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    And like I said before: Robert Taft Republican. Not John McCain Republican.

  • jmomls||

    Sorry, I'm not voting for anyone wearing a t-shirt with the international sign for "we surrender" plastered on the front.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    GJ tries too hard to appeal to leftists. It's sad, since leftists can't distinguish free markets and oligarchies.

  • ProLifeLibertarian||

    Dammit.

    *distinguish between

  • Pargo||

    Should a state be allowed to compel a parent to work at a job so that the parent can provide food for their child, or should the state allow the parent to choose indolence while the child is malnourished?

  • Sevo||

    Pargo|11.4.14 @ 3:36PM|#
    "Should a state be allowed to compel a parent to work at a job so that the parent can provide food for their child, or should the state allow the parent to choose indolence while the child is malnourished?"

    Hey, it's Pargo! Proven liar! Happy to see you back; got some more lies?

  • Sevo||

    Here's Pargo in this thread:
    http://reason.com/archives/201.....sm#comment
    "Pargo|11.3.14 @ 12:56AM|#
    Public school teachers total about 3.3 million and approximately 127 million people voted in the last election. Even if they all voted, teachers would represent about 2.5% of the voters. In addition, teachers are paid about the median family income in the U.S., so they don't have excessive economic clout. Exactly how does this small, economically modest, group capture elected officials?"

  • Pargo||

    I see that as usual, you have nothing of substance to say.

  • Sevo||

    Pargo|11.4.14 @ 6:09PM|#
    "I see that as usual, you have nothing of substance to say."

    I see that, as usual, you attempt to direct attention away from your mendacity.
    Do you think that sophistry about the 'poor, unrepresented teachers' is gonna fly with anyone other than proggies like you?

  • Pargo||

    So where is the mendacity? Is my estimate of 3.3 million public school teachers inaccurate or my claim that approximately 127 million people voted in 2012?

    Or is "mendacity" just another word you throw around without regard for it's meaning as you do with "sophistry"?

  • Sevo||

    Pargo|11.4.14 @ 7:37PM|#
    "So where is the mendacity? Is my estimate of 3.3 million public school teachers inaccurate or my claim that approximately 127 million people voted in 2012?"

    Why, you're right! What you posted is technically true and just intended to fool people into thinking those factoids represented the political effects.
    So you really weren't mendacious, you slimy asshole, you were just hoping to mislead.
    Feel better now?

  • Sevo||

    So now that we've dealt with your pedantry, allow me to correct myself. Here's were you were mendacious:
    "Pargo|11.2.14 @ 7:47PM|#
    In my original post I stated:
    "Progressives in general have not argued for this kind of policy in 50 years. Certainly no progressive that seriously studies economics has recently advocated for central planning.""
    And when called on the obvious lie, you attempted various sorts of sophistry to weasel out of it, slime bag.
    http://reason.com/archives/201.....sm#comment
    Are you happier now?

  • ||

    HELL YES!!!

  • Pargo||

    Was that a reply to my question about compelling work?

  • jjjjj||

    Ah yes, the old "libertarian = fiscally conservative + socially liberal" mantra. Keep on missing the "liberty" part of "libertarian," Gary.

  • Robert||

    It's been remarked for decades that "socially tolerant" would be a lot more apt slogan than "socially liberal". 40 yrs. ago "liberals" seemed (maybe actually were) socially tolerant, so that slogan was adopted, but now it's pretty easy to see "liberals" mostly aren't that way.

  • wwhorton||

    Wow, these comments are just exactly the flaming ball of wreckage I've come to expect following articles like this. 90% of the comments have to do with abortion, there's a general theme of confusing "l"ibertarian with "L"ibertarian, people are pissed off at the LP for actually nominating candidates to office, and at least four people think the best Libertarian (yes, big L) candidate is a Republican. And, my favorite, people are talking about not voting for Gary Johnson because of one or two issues but have no problem voting for Rand Paul because he's the "closest we're gonna get."

  • Harper||

    Don't you people get it?! Rand Paul is hiding his true nature! He's seen how unsuccessful his father has been attempting to go mainstream, therefore he hides most of his libertarian...ness! He walks among the idiots like Romney and Gingrich until he's ready to bring the Libertarian platform to the the majority!!!

  • sammypeel552||

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  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You worked at Wal-Mart yet you use USD instead of $? Color me skeptical.

  • Pargo||

    I'm guessing Walmart in Nigeria, or maybe central America.

  • Suellington||

    I will happily vote for Gary Johnson, as I agree with about 90% of what he says. He seems like a decent chap to boot. Unless, of course, Rand gets the nomination.

  • RAHeinlein||

    Gary Johnson is simply a narcissist who will do whatever it takes to be in the public "eye" - Republican, Libertarian, now "flaming Liberal" - it's irrational to consider GJ a sincere candidate.

  • dj kumquat||

    rand paul is "not there," on drug reform?!? screw gary johnson and his mega ego. to his credit, it sounds like he's found a party and he's going to stick with it. losing in the GOP primary in 2012, then jumping to the LP for the general election was no way to get my vote. but if he runs as the alternative to rand paul in the general in 2016, no one can claim with a straight face that the LP wouldn't be stealing votes from the GOP.

  • Suellington||

    Stealing is wrong, but I am not sure that the GOP owned those votes to begin with.

  • Bannu||

    "Look, libertarians are flaming liberals when it comes to social issues, when it comes to civil liberties. A woman's right to choose..."

    Yeah, no. To me and to a lot of libertarians I know, the child's right to life trumps the mother's desire to not be held responsible for her and the father's actions.

  • LaKeisha||

    One thing is for damn sure. No matter who the Libertarian Party candidate is in 2016, they'll sure get a lot of campaign money "indirectly" from Democratic Party supporters. The best thing that could possibly happen for the Hillary scum would be to have a strong Libertarian Party candidate. That would pretty much guarantee she gets elected.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Oh, Please, Gary - Just do us all a favor and go fishing.

  • tlapp||

    I voted for Gary Johnson and if republicans put up someone like Christie or Bush I'll vote for him again. If Paul gets the nomination he will be libertarian enough for me to get my vote even if he has watered down some positions to make himself electable. At least I know his core philosophy is on point.

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