Donald Trump

L.P. Presidential Candidate Jacob Hornberger Wants 'To Live in a Free Society'

The longtime activist is the front-runner for the L.P. presidential nomination and has a special message to young people.


"I'm running for president because I want to live in a free society," says Jacob Hornberger, the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation. With Michigan Rep. Justin Amash's withdrawal from the race for the Libertarian Party (L.P.) presidential nomination, Hornberger is the front-runner as the voting process gets underway on Friday, May 22.

Born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and a lawyer by training, Hornberger's platform is straightforward, concise, and doctrinaire: He unapologetically stands for open immigration, free trade, an end to non-defensive military interventions and what he calls the national security state, the legalization of all drugs, and the replacement of the income tax and the IRS with voluntary payments to fund the government. In a wide-ranging conversation with Nick Gillespie, Hornberger also discussed some of his outlier beliefs—he believes that Franklin Roosevelt goaded Japan into bombing Pearl Harbor so the United States could enter World War II and that Lee Harvey Oswald was "framed" for the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He also goes into detail about how his Catholicism informs his policy positions (he is anti-abortion, but says the federal government has no jurisdiction in the matter and favors suasion over laws to reduce its occurrence).

At 70 years old, Hornberger would be the youngest nominee for president among the country's three biggest parties. He says his campaign will not only be boldly and unapologetically libertarian but focused on younger Americans. "My message," says Hornberger, "is I trust you, I trust you with your freedom. Right now, the government is taking out of your paychecks $2 trillion a year just for Medicare and Social Security. What they're saying to you by taking this money out of your paycheck is: 'You're bad people. You cannot be trusted to handle your own money. You'll turn your backs on your parents, you'll turn your backs on the needy.' I'm saying, bull! Keep your money, cut out the middleman…I trust you to handle this on your own."

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  1. A free society requires you to take care of yourself. So, no so popular amongst the kids these days.

    1. “Hornberger Wants To Live in a Free Society”
      versus those who want to live in society for free

  2. //He unapologetically stands for open immigration, free trade, an end to non-defensive military interventions and what he calls the national security state, the legalization of all drugs, and the replacement of the income tax and the IRS with voluntary payments to fund the government.//

    That society will last about five minutes before a more organized one comes along, kills Hornberger, fucks his wife, and enslaves his kids.

    1. So, which parts of that do you think will make us especially vulnerable to takeover by a more organized society?

      I like to think that society is capable of organizing itself without a strong government trying to do it for us, but then I’m some kind of crazy libertarian.

      1. Lol
        Open borders is the Achilles heel

      2. //I’m some kind of crazy libertarian//

        I know that already. Fantasy libertarianism doesn’t count for much.

        1. Neither does fantasy conservatism or fantasy progressivism. I don’t think I’m a fantasy libertarian. I have no illusion that the world I think would be best is going to actually come about. It’s just my orientation toward the world and authority.
          We’ve done the strong government that does all the things Hornberger is against for a long time now and look where it got us.

          So, what about my question? I’m guessing that the open immigration thing is probably the main one. But I’m genuinely interested.

          1. Uncontrolled immigrations is one problem. There is also the problem that “non-defensive military intervention” is another of those slippery libertarian concepts without any meaning as almost any military intervention can be characterized or sold, with some finesse, as a defensive action. Free trade also can’t exist so long as modern states exist.

            Most of the other stuff I don’t really care about but the libertarian platform is usually a fantastical one.

            //I don’t think I’m a fantasy libertarian//


            //I have no illusion that the world I think would be best is going to actually come about.//

            I don’t know how you can reconcile these two statements.

      3. Although I do not necessarily agree, I believe the thinking here is a severely limited government represents a power vacuum. Certainly there would be voids if the government withdrew from “non-defensive” military interventions and committed to funding itself with donations.

        Nature abhors a vacuum, so eventually this limited government is either overthrown (if the proles are mad) or (more likely) compromised.

        1. Do you think it’s impossible for a society to be well prepared to take defensive action against a violent power-seeking force without threatening or initiating violence on peaceful people?

          1. I don’t understand the question. Can America as a whole self-organize on a national level, so we’re all coordinated? I doubt it, not without the feds. Without the Union, America would probably look like a bunch of fiefdoms, some more liberty-friendly and some less so. I’d like to think that the liberty-friendly ones would be much more amenable to a libertarian, which suggests splitting the country is not such a bad proposal. Better an oasis of liberty than a vast desert of authoritarianism.

            Of course, it could easily go the other way. America is an anomaly. The level of freedom is unprecedented for such a massive state apparatus. It is eroded, constantly, but slower than in other places that profess a love of liberty. A large part of that is the overriding Constitution, that document which is constantly being violated. Pray it is never rewritten, or we will forget what the violation was.

    2. He’s FOR defensive military actions.

  3. >>Keep your money, cut out the middleman…I trust you to handle this on your own

    Congress on line 2…

    1. “Tell them I am in a meeting; I’ll call back sometime . . . “

  4. It’s fine to be idealistic and hope your message gets through to people. But when I read about how enslaved many people have become to the new left I simply don’t see how it’s possible. Schools indoctrinate the young into fearing climate change, the far left has taken over most of the internet, and the media is of course the boot lickers willing to lie for their prog masters. You may despise the gop and there are reasons not to like them but they are far better than their only competition. The LP is not going to win this so don’t throw away your vote and let the true tyrants of the left take over.

    1. I live in a People’s Republic state. My vote was worthless from day 1. Voting LP here sends a clearer message than anything else I could do.

      1. Maybe the LP should stop wasting time on symbolic, pointless Presidential campaigns and focus on grassroots.

        1. This guy gets it. Impotently putting all our weight and press behind who gets to be god-king for the next four years is a losing long term strategy. I don’t for one second believe we’re going to get anywhere close to my ideal political world in my lifetime. Trajectory is what matters and if you think that a limited, restrained and accountable government is preferable, we’re losing on every imaginable front. Local wins and pushing decentralization is the only way to make any headway. Unfortunately, we’re up against people who are willing to make impossible promises and have a money printing press. Lately, they’re really starting to show that they’re not afraid to use it.

          1. You build from the ground up.
            This is why it’s impossible to take the LP seriously.
            If they were really interested in advancing their agenda, they’d start small with municipal, county, state efforts.
            But all they ever crow about is going for the top spot, where they can’t even come close to Perot level support.
            They like basking in the attention as a side show, not working to accomplish anything.

        2. “Tea Party calling, wants its identity back.”

    2. There are only 3 or 4 swing states where voting LP might change the outcome. My state is going red no matter what the few LP people here do.

  5. Even if the LP nominee avoids the “pro-choice” and open-borders advocacy – even if the LP candidate ends up being sound on these subjects while focusing on the national debt, there’s still a problem, viz:

    Ideally I should be able to rank my preferences so that if my first choice doesn’t win the second-choice will get my vote instead. In such a set-up, I might be able to vote LP for my #1 choice and Trump for #2.

    But the duopolists have other ideas – they’ve set it up so that voting 3rd party means throwing my vote away and being unable to express my preferences as between Trump and the Dems.

    OK, duopolists, if you want to narrow my choices in this way, fine, I’ll hold my nose and vote for one of you (the one who isn’t a Dem).

    But not every potential 3rd party voter is like me – deferring to the duopoly precisely because they’ve rigged the system. Some voters will go for a third party if an interesting enough candidate comes along. That candidate probably won’t be LP, but it could be someone like Perot – remember, the crazy dude who was going on about the national debt?

    1. And many will vote third party or not vote because they don’t want their stamp of approval on whatever piece of shit does end up getting elected. I’m not voting for evil, even if it’s a lesser one.

      1. Amen, brother.

      2. The only winning move is not to play.

  6. But the duopolists have other ideas – they’ve set it up so that voting 3rd party means throwing my vote away and being unable to express my preferences as between Trump and the Dems.

    OK, duopolists, if you want to narrow my choices in this way, fine, I’ll hold my nose and vote for one of you (the one who isn’t a Dem).

    Well, by voting in their system your sanction their method. Ranked choice will never happen because it provides an opportunity for third parties. Neither party knows which one is more disadvantaged in a third party situation, so they’re both immensely hostile to it.

    The game is rigged, so I won’t play it. Even if a good LP candidate comes along I’m not sure I’d bother. People don’t want a limited government. I wasn’t “sold” on limited government by some pitch. It’s in my bones. Either you value liberty or you don’t. Most people don’t. I blame generations of tribal superstition and warfare; generations raised under kings and tyrants. Maybe pre-modern man was a more liberty-loving individual.

    1. “Well, by voting in their system your sanction their method.”

      I’m not so sure…they think that if you vote you’re approving the system, but “if you don’t vote you have no right to complain.” So they created a logical closed circle.

      As I see it, it’s as if I was in prison without trial, and my jailer offered to transfer me from a corona-infected prison to a more sanitary prison. I’d probably accept the offer, without thereby agreeing with the premise of me being in prison in the first place.

      Really, voters are not choosing between freedom and statism, they’re choosing among flavors of statism. I can appreciate those who don’t want to play, but in my case, my cynicism and low expectations enable me to participate even if the stakes are merely statism versus extra-crazy-statism.

      1. In other words, it can always get worse. By this time I don’t think I can vote to stop it getting worse, but enough voters like myself could slow the speed at which it gets worse.

      2. “if you don’t vote you have no right to complain.”

        I’m sure that phrase was coined by the duopoly. Probably the same guy who was advocating for straight-ticket voting. The goal of the machine is to get people into the booth and check one of the boxes. When I tell people I don’t vote, and some voting asshole pulls that line I tell him to shove that sticker up his ass.

        I don’t think I can vote to stop it getting worse, but enough voters like myself could slow the speed at which it gets worse.

        Well, I’m only 34, but I would still rather set the world on fire with the Objectivists than watch everything die by inches. Since I haven’t been recruited I’ll just retreat and bar the castle doors.

        1. Whatsoever floateth thy boat, dude.

        2. People who don’t vote are the only ones who have a legitimate right to complain!

    2. There is no ‘duopoly’.

      How do I know?

      Because I can’t remember the last time a Democratic-Republican defeated a Whig.

      The problem America’s smaller parties have is that every one of them wants the keys to the car when not one of them has shown that they know how to pedal a tricycle yet.

      A few have managed to stay on those little push along cars, but they’re still rolling into walls alot.

    3. Average humans just aren’t very smart and are easily manipulated. It isn’t their fault, the evil smart people will literally do anything for power. It’s a big advantage.

  7. Listening to this guy is tiresome. Hornberger has a long list of fantasy wish-fulfillment, just as fabulous and likely to happen as the Green New Deal. It’s the GND for libertarians. But also open up the borders, because people from other countries never come here and do violence to citizens.

    This stuff is bad enough coming from someone young, full of vigor, but coming from a fossil like Hornberger it is less than compelling. This will surely be a banner year for the LP.

    1. Six months ago I would have told you that the GND is impossible to get through. Lately, I’m starting to wonder…….

    2. But also open up the borders, because people from other countries never come here and do violence to citizens.

      I’ll bet your against the lockdowns.

      1. you’re*

        I am. It takes about 5 minutes to see how an economic lockdown absent a vaccine rollout (or divine miracle) makes any sense. It’s delaying the inevitable and letting the economy perish.

  8. I’m wondering if this ‘special message to young people’ will resonate, given that the current generation of young people seem uniquely uninterested in freedom.

    1. Freedom as sold by the LP is particularly unsexy. Young people see Iron Man and Captain America telling you to vote Democrat this year.

      1. What do you mean? Legal drugs, gambling and prostitution that’s sexy!

  9. What the kids will hear, and the legacy media will probably report (if they report at all)

    “Get off your lazy ass and go to work; TANSTAAFL!”

  10. So your leading candidate is a conspiritard. Do you still think people should take the Libertarian Party seriously? I don’t.

  11. The LP candidate needs to push one message, stop government from initiating force i.e liberty. Keep it simple and keep repeating it. That’s what the progressives do. Esoteric arguments aren’t going to cut it.

  12. Jacob For Liberty! Hornberger 2020! Hopefully Sam Robb will be his running mate.

  13. “[Hornberger] explains why he parts company with libertarians who don’t believe in open borders or unilateral free trade …”

    Next week on The Reason Interview, a candidate for president of NARAL explains why she parts company with pro-choice activists who oppose legal abortion. And in November we hear from a candidate for pope who parts ways with Catholics who don’t believe in God.

  14. “He unapologetically stands for open immigration” Uh, no thank you. It fucking figures “Reason” run by the Koch brothers would want open immigration, sounds good on paper but the problem is, most of you libertarians are deluded when it comes to this issue, most illegal immigrants and even the ones who become legal have NO sympathies to small government ideas. If Hornberger won and instituted that policy, he’d be a one term president with a fucking, scum sucking Democrat taking over and you’ll have a leftard, totalitarian big government state for the foreseeable future.

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  17. Liberal Democracy — “It’s political Stealing”, Hornberger…

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