Election 2020

'The Welfare-Warfare State is Anti-American': L.P. Presidential Hopeful Jacob Hornberger

The longtime activist believes in open immigration, free trade, ending the drug war, and bringing all troops back home immediately.


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Jacob Hornberger, who's running for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination, has a message for Americans under 40: "Right now, the government is taking out of your paychecks $2 trillion a year just for Medicare and Social Security….I'm saying, Bull! Keep your money, cut out the middleman…I trust you to handle this on your own."

Hornberger is the frontrunner in the race for the L.P. nomination following the withdrawal of Rep. Justin Amash (L–Mich.). He's running on a platform that's straightforward, concise, and doctrinaire. He unapologetically stands for open immigration, free trade, an end to non-defensive military actions, the legalization of all drugs, and the replacement of the income tax and the IRS with voluntary payments to fund the government.

Nick Gillespie talked with Hornberger via Zoom about the role of the Libertarian Party, what he would do as president, and how his unconventional beliefs about history inform his policy positions.

The L.P. nomination process officially gets underway on Friday, May 22.

Edited by John Osterhoudt, intro by Lex Villena. 

Photo credit: Jacob Hornberger by Gage Skidmore

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  1. Hornberger? Is he related to Horndog? I knew a guy in college, who was called horndog!

    1. I knew a prof. Hornberger in college in the ’90s. Far far far left wing, even for the current political environment.

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  2. Sure but you have zero chance of ending it. Anyone proposing ending SS or Medicare will never be elected. It will have to crash on its own or a future Congress and President will have to modify the law. Which one do you think is more likely? Now that Amash is out the LP will be back to the usual low numbers. Platforms like open borders and ending social security are a non starter. Call it anti American all you want you will never convince the voters.

    1. David hates apples.
      Rita loves bananas.

      Louis, the libertarian, proposes apples for everyone, and no more bananas.

      Louis wants to be President.

      Louis is delusional.

      1. What’s Rita doing with those bananas? Asking for a friend.

        1. Keep your nose out of her bedroom, slaver!

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    2. I agree that while just “ending” SS or Medicare are sure losers, it is not necessarily far-fetched to phase-out both programs. Certainly, those who are considerably vested in both programs deserve to be compensated, but I think it could be done equitably. But, it’s a really big “could.”

      1. Ending social security and Medicare is nothing new. They did not exist in the 1800s. If you lost your job, your entire family was out on the street. Put a lot of starving families out on the street and you will have riots. In fact there were many riots in the 1800s. If they had let it continue, you would have what they had in France, the gilotine. Social security is not what you think it is, the government gives a rats arse about citizens, if they cared, they would not have let the vultures on wall street send all the jobs to the commies in China. The government even held seminars, using your tax money, to show US industries how to send off your job to the Chinese.

        Social security is actually security for the rich from an angry, starving mob. It keeps the jobless citizens at bay, making the 1% very secure. The scheme costs them absolutely nothing, because they pay no taxes, so those who still work pay for those who are put out of work because their jobs were exported to communist China. This is why you have to hand over 3 to 4 months of your wages to the government or go to jail.

    3. You think Amash would’ve broken 5%? I don’t.

      1. No way. Did you see his interview with Maher? He has the charisma of a salamander.

        1. I’m not sure a libertarian candidate would ever have the necessary charisma (which is a sad comment on the usefulness of it by the power hungry.)

          Top pols can convince you they are your best friend, by lying in a carefree way and letting you project onto them. They can lie well because they don’t care what you think and don’t really feel bad even if caught.

          Someone who cares is a bad liar, and so suffers from a deficit in ability to sway masses.

    4. “If the right to vote were expanded to seven year olds … its policies would most definitely reflect the ‘legitimate concerns’ of children to have ‘adequate’ and ‘equal’ access to ‘free’ french fries, lemonade and videos.” ~ Hans-Hermann Hoppe

  3. Give everyone back their money they paid to SS adjusted for inflation. Get government out of healthcare completely and phase out Medicare by not enrolling new people. Push off open borders until the welfare state is dismantled.

    1. That’s too incremental for Hornberger and other “pure” libertarian candidates.

      1. Hell, they could keep their mandatory “retirement” fund thing going, but follow a better model like Chile or something like that. Give people individual ownership of their account instead of it just being a big government slush fund.

        1. Turn it into actual geezer welfare: means test for recipients, remove the income cap on contributions, and make the contributions part of regular income tax. Then, we’d have some apples to apples numbers on how much it costs to keep Grandma from eating cat food, and whether the population is OK with that or not.

          Kill SSI disability with an ax. It should be a state administered charity program, or not exist at all.

    2. //Give everyone back their money they paid to SS adjusted for inflation.//

      Who is going to pay for *that*?

      A truly libertarian redistribution scheme.

  4. The LP candidate needs to focus on applying the NAP to government.

    1. Because doubling down on theoretical gobbledygook is how you win elections in the real world.

      1. How exactly, does the NAP work with respect to tax collection? Are people going to volunteer to pay in Libertopia?

        1. Morality, that’s how.

          The NAP is the cornerstone of all human morality, so if we follow it, everything will work out because everyone will be moral.

          1. Objective morality, yes.

            1. Objective morality is a contradiction in terms. This is why people do not take libertarians seriously.

              1. No it’s not. Objective morality deals with actions between individuals. Subjective morality deals with actions that only effect an individual.

        2. A tax is compulsory. If people volunteered to give the government money it wouldn’t be a tax. Anyway in Libertopia there would be so little crime thus so little need for government it could be funded non-coercively.

          1. “Anyway in Libertopia there would be so little crime thus so little need for government it could be funded non-coercively.”

            That’s one of the silliest things I’ve read here, and I’ll forget to skip reading SQRLSY occassionally. Did you miss the part of American history where they discussed the Articles of Confederation and had to abandon them because none of the States would voluntarily pay their debts?

            Funded non-coercively…

            1. If every person accepts and lives by the NAP and only initiating force is illegal how much crime do you think there’d be? How long do you think violent criminals would last in a society where everyone is armed? If the only function of government is to defend liberty how much do you think it would cost? It could probably be done on a volunteer basis.

              1. //If every person accepts and lives by the NAP//

                You fucked up right off the bat by diving head first into fantasy. This is why people do not take libertarians seriously.

                //How long do you think violent criminals would last in a society where everyone is armed?//

                Including the violent criminals?

                1. You lack both vision and imagination.

  5. V


  6. So the LP took a look at the golden opportunity that Gary Johnson squandered for good publicity in 2016 and said hold my beer……voluntarily, without force of course.

    1. If only they could have convinced John McAfee to stop fucking whales long enough to run this time.

      1. Why would you get rid of the single best reason to vote for McAfee?

  7. He unapologetically stands for open immigration, free trade, an end to non-defensive military actions, the legalization of all drugs, and the replacement of the income tax and the IRS with voluntary payments to fund the government.

    Candidates need to explain not only what their ultimate vision is, but also how we can get there. Since Hornberger does not, we have to assume that he’ll just willy-nilly implements what he can get passed: unidirectional opening of borders and unidirectional removal of trade barriers. IOW, Hornberger is no different from radial leftists in practice.

    1. Would Amash have pushed that agenda? I doubt it, he’s actually been elected and he knows the best you can expect is incremental change, not any kind of fundamental transformation. It’s fine to have some sort of visionary goals, but as a practical matter you have to have a series of limited, concrete proposals to get there from here. And yet, even if Amash didn’t push a single one of those platform planks, the LP would have been happy to have him as their candidate. Which means the LP is just as willing as anybody else to compromise their principles for utilitarian reasons, so why the hell keep pushing that “uncompromisingly principled” line when it makes them look like radical extremist loons?

    2. How is simple, apply the NAP.

      1. And what does that mean? Right now, the state is forcibly taking private property, restricting freedom of movement, and restricting free speech. Furthermore, unilateral opening of borders and dropping of trade barriers will increase the magnitude of those violations. A libertarian presidential candidate has to be clear about what is strategy is for ending that violation of the NAP. None of the LP candidates are.

        1. Just fucking apply it, slaver.

          //A libertarian presidential candidate has to be clear about what is strategy is for ending that violation of the NAP. None of the LP candidates are.//

          Because they instinctively retreat to reiterating the non-aggression principle, because fantastical thinking is a solution.

          Arguing with libertarian purists is pointless.

          “Well, what happens when people don’t follow the rules …”

          “Um, don’t be naïve, when there is world peace, everyone will follow the rules.”

          1. There are only two choices the Non Aggression Principle or tyranny. I guess you’re a tyrant. BTW when people violate the the liberty of others the retaliatory use of force is perfectly moral. I mean c’mon this is basic stuff.

            1. You’re stating your moral principles, not a feasible political plan for getting us closer to a libertarian country. In other words, you’re a fool, just like Hornberger, and a dangerous fool at that, because people like you and him ultimately just promote the political agenda of tyrannical leftists.

              1. Until enough people are convinced of the immortality of the current situation you’re never going to be able to change anything.

        2. Prohibit government from initiating force.

          1. And if Hornberger gets elected, he is just going to do what? Decree that it be done? Like a dictator? That’s not a credible political plan.

            1. He can start by appointing an AG who will reschedule all drugs to OTC which is an authority the Congress has already granted the office.

              1. He can bring home all the troops.

  8. OK, could someone here tell me how more immigrants will lead to more libertarianism in the US?
    If Hornberger wants to get rid of SS & Medicare, what makes him think that immigrants from 3rd World countries are going to vote for that?
    This is why I can’t support people who call themselves “libertarians” any more. It’s like, they live in a political la-la land, where chocolate unicorns eat rainbow lollipops that grown on magic trees.

    1. Non-aggression principle, brah.

      Just, like, apply it … and watch the world transform.

    2. The pure libertarians are anthropocentric to the point of denying natural selection, kin selection and neurological differences in the frontal cortex, or reasoning abilities, among humans (much like marxism). They seem to think that, unlike other mammalian species, humans are some kind of devine, all peaceloving, hardworking, equally sharing gods. Every single one of us. *All we need is peace and love*.

      Evidence or consequences does not seem to enter into it. The evidence is out, and the sanctuary states and cities are Sanders voting Jacobins. Add to that the history of the world does has more than a little strife, torture and war from us reasoning little demi-gods.

  9. Sorry, I can see the sense in a lot of things but open immigration is not one of them.

  10. I think a national sales tax would be better than voluntary payments. Exclude necessities from the tax but collect it on luxury items, sin item…anything that isn’t food, medications, baby supplies, etc. People then have a choice to spend less and save or spend more and help fund the government.

    1. Agree that the National Sales Tax would likely be better. You could probably do away with a large chunk of the IRS and Treasury enforcers, and many more besides.

      Even so, I can see many potential problems with defining what, exactly, constitutes a ‘sinful’ or ‘luxury’ item. Take medicines, for example. Are antibiotics ‘good’ and painkillers ‘bad?’ Or how about food; do restaurants pay sales tax on the food they resell? At any rate, it’d be interesting to see Blue and Red teams’ respective (and VERY lengthy, I’m guessing) lists of ‘sinful’ and ‘unnecessary’ items!

    2. Drop all personal taxes and only tax business. Since they pass on the taxes anyway. This would prevent double or triple taxation.

  11. Here’s how you kill Social Security and Medicare:
    – If you’re 60+ this year you get 100% of the benefits you were promised.
    – For every 5 years younger you are you lose 10% of the promised benefits to the point where people who are under 10 right now will get absolutely nothing.
    – Everyone pays full SS and Medicare until the last beneficiary dies or the program pays for itself.

    It’ll never happen because it involves asking people to pay for stuff they’ll never get, which is a requirement for a return to fiscal discipline.

  12. Americans who promote conspiracy theories are traitors. You can’t get more anti-American than Hornberger.

    1. Funny your name is James K Polk who ran his own conspiracy. Having American soldiers dress as Mexicans to incite the Mexican-American war.
      Trust government they would never give us a fake investigation like 9/11 commission. Trust private enterprise. They would ever harm us with talcum powder or ignition switches, etc., etc., etc.

  13. Outsourcing jobs to communist China. Paying poverty wages. Insane profits. That’s American.

  14. Until all the land and resources stolen from the indigenous population is returned to them – America is a welfare state built on redistribution.

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