Tag: Gary Johnson

The Libertarian Party Can’t Even Balance Its Own Budget

Ryan Lau | @RyanLau71R

Since its inception in 1971, the Libertarian Party has pointed out serious flaws in the American political landscape. From criticizing endless war to condemning wasteful budget spending, the LP has certainly taken note of legitimate issues. But would the party of Chair Nick Sarwark come remotely close to solving them, if elected into office?

On the topic of war, it’s hard to say; supposedly antiwar candidates frequently back down on their promises. Barack Obama is an excellent example of this, for his policies led to the creation of several new wars and countless drone attacks against civilians. But he is no indication of the Libertarian Party, so it is unfair to say whether they would keep their antiwar promises. On fiscal issues, though, disturbing evidence seriously calls their ability to manage money into question.

Continue reading “The Libertarian Party Can’t Even Balance Its Own Budget”

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Is Bill Weld the Best Thing Libertarians Can Get?

Jack Parkos | United States

The mainstream libertarian movement is dying. It could be speculated that libertarianism will never come to significance under today’s system. Mainstream libertarians have abandoned private property rights and decentralization for a so-called “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” platform focused on “tolerance” and weed.

Bill Weld puts the final nail in the coffin. Bill Weld was the vice presidential candidate under Gary Johnson in the 2016 Presidential Election and has joined the Republican Party in a possible attempt to primary Trump in 2020.

As a libertarian, I can only stand back and laugh at what’s happening. If Bill Weld is the best we can do, then is libertarianism dead? While he is running in the Republican Party, he no doubt has the views of the Libertarian Party. Many of his views are an insult to libertarianism.

Admittedly, Bill Weld does hold some good views, such as decentralizing education and being more dovish on foreign policy. However, he does have some views that many libertarians cannot get behind.

Weld’s Blatant Anti-Libertarian Agenda

Bill Weld has been quoted as comparing AR-15’s to “weapons of mass destruction,” and is indeed pro-gun control. Even many mainstream Republicans are fine with the AR-15. In an interview, he was quoted as saying,

“The five-shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle. The problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon. And those are independent criminal offenses. That’s when they become essentially a weapon of mass destruction. The problem of handguns is probably even worse than the AR-15.”

That statement sounds more like something one would hear from the Democratic Party, but this is coming from a so-called “libertarian” running in the Republican party. It’s an embarrassment to all libertarian whether they support the party or not.

A Right to Abortion

There is plenty more he can be criticized for. Bill Weld has little respect for property rights or the Constitution. On the issue of abortion, he stated that the federal government must ensure everyone has access to abortion.

“I think it’s OK for the government to be involved in ensuring clinic access because that’s guarding a fundamental constitutional right of the individual. So that’s not the nanny state; that’s good government, not bad government.” However, Weld is wrong, this is a nanny state. Furthermore, nowhere in the Constitution does it state abortion as a right. Weld is buying into the leftist lie that abortion is somehow a “right”.

Endorsing a Violation of Property Rights

Weld and Johnson ran a campaign in 2016 that seemed to be simply social liberalism and not libertarianism. Weld’s running mate Gary Johnson supported forcing a baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding, furthermore, explaining that he would force a Jewish baker to bake a cake for a Nazi. This is a complete violation of property rights, a key tenet of libertarianism. Much speculation points to Bill Weld holding similar views to Johnson based on his past rhetoric, one, in particular, being his support for affirmative action.

Furthermore, Weld supports an open borders policy. Right now, under a massive welfare state and the current state of politics, immigration restrictions are needed. This isn’t an anti-libertarian stance but rather an overall net gain for liberty. Moreover, he compared Trump’s immigration plans to Nazi Germany, making holocaust references and comparing Trump’s wall to the Berlin wall. This is all from the leftist playbook.

An Endorsement of the Opposing Side

Perhaps worst of all was when Bill Weld practically endorsed Hillary Clinton for president in 2016.

“Having said that, I’m not taking back anything I said about the massive difference between the two establishment party candidates. One would be chaos for the country, I think. And the other would be a very business-like and capable and competent approach to our affairs.”

In this interview, Bill Weld explains how Trump would be chaos for the country and that Hillary would run it better. Furthermore, he endorsed Obama for president as well. No libertarian in their right mind would endorse Hillary or Obama, so why did Weld support them? It could be said that Trump was maybe the better option for libertarians as many thought that way. However, he did not have to support either of the candidates in any elections. After all, Ron Paul didn’t.

Ron Paul is retired from politics, and right now there does not appear to be another charismatic libertarian to lead the movement. Rand Paul will likely not run for president either.  However, libertarians should not look to Bill Weld to be a leader of the movement.


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A Libertarian Isn’t Fiscally Conservative and Socially Liberal

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

We heard the watered down message, repeated like a scratchy old Monkees record stuck on the same song. Just when even the staunchest supporters couldn’t stand it anymore, there it was once again, straight from the mouth of Gary Johnson in 2016. “Libertarians are fiscally conservative and socially liberal!” The old rhetoric spewed its way onto the podium of American discussion, forever tainting the very idea of liberty.

Eventually, after enough people gave the former governor a fair bit of criticism on his little slogan, he modified it slightly. Over time, “socially liberal” evolved to “socially whatever you want”. Though closer to accurate, this never fully replaced the original label. Throughout his 2016 Presidential campaign, Gary Johnson fervently declared the idea of being fiscally conservative and socially liberal. This was a way of grabbing voters from both the conservative and liberal camps. However, he failed in both arenas. Instead, his magnet of ideas turned repulsive, shunning many who were strongly by his side.

The Flaw of Being Socially Liberal

On its surface, social liberalism sounds like an incredible libertarian ideal. It allows for consenting adults to act liberally if they so choose, right? Well, not necessarily. Often times, the modern liberal movement has thrown a number of wrenches into true social freedom.

A prime example of such action is the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. In general, American liberals showed disdain for the business after it refused service to a gay couple. With a clear stance, they fought hard to ensure that the business owners would need to serve all customers to avoid discrimination. Yet, this position falls in stark contrast to the idea of social freedom. Forcing a cake owner to make a cake gives him or her a positive obligation to provide for someone else.

This runs opposed to the libertarian doctrine, which states that nobody must do anything for another. It, of course, strongly suggests that individuals help and serve each other out of human compassion. But once a mandate exists, the action is no longer free. On the other hand, the gay couple is still free to buy a cake from anyone else in town. Though the owner committed an immoral action, he did not in any way limit their freedom. Social liberalism, thus, can run counter to the notion of freedom.

An Unappealing Doctrine

Clearly, libertarians believe in social freedom, rather than liberalism. The latter, though, makes libertarianism very unattractive to personal social conservatives. Many who may flock to libertarianism are wary of drugs, homosexuality, or prostitution, for example. Despite this, they may recognize the right for all of the above to be legal. Though they do not approve, they view it not in their power to stop these actions.

Surely, social freedom keeps with these beliefs. It alone allows people of vastly different beliefs and backgrounds to coexist without harming each other. Unfortunately, social liberalism does not do the same. Though perhaps permissible by personal social liberals, it simply is not okay to the personal social conservative to forcefully push a liberal social agenda. Thus, social liberalism will leave out many people willing to accept actions they do not approve of.

Fiscally Conservative: Just as Bad

Upon hearing the words “fiscally conservative”, many may think of very limited spending. After all, Republicans have tried for decades to paint a picture of small government. But, beneath it all is a warped image of debt.

In name, many Republicans oppose spending increases, but does this mean they are for serious cuts? Usually, this isn’t the case. In the modern Republican Party, Senator Rand Paul is a radical. A strong voice against government spending, many view him as the most fiscally conservative member of the chamber. Upon further scrutiny, though, he does not value economic freedom. In his 2016 Presidential campaign, Paul vowed a 14.5% flat income tax on all Americans, with nothing on the first $50,000. He supported a strong military and a sizable social safety net.

Most of the other Republicans were, thus, even less fiscally conservative. Libertarians want nothing to do with this. Opponents of all wasteful spending, they oppose a bloated military and, generally, social safety nets too. Fiddling with the progressive tax code, as most conservatives do, is not fiscally responsible.

What is a Libertarian?

Without a doubt, a libertarian is not fiscally conservative and socially liberal. In fact, a pure libertarian is neither of these things. Rather than the minute tweaking of budgets, they support drastic overhauls of the federal budget and an elimination of the deficit. Rather than social pressure on conservatives, they support the freedom of all. Johnson began to make progress when saying “Socially whatever you want”. But nonetheless, there was a considerable way to go.

Rather than separating fiscal and social issues, it is simpler to examine them together. One key principle binds libertarians; they believe one may do as he or she pleases, as long as the action does not directly prevent another from doing the same. Economic restriction and heavy government spending, thus, are inadequate. Social limitation on conservatives and liberals alike are also unjust. Libertarians are not some form of watered-down blend of the two parties. They are not a moderate group that takes the best of both worlds; such an idea suggests that either world has much good in it. All in all, a libertarian, both fiscally and socially, is but one thing: free.


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The Libertarian Party: A History From Hospers to Johnson

John Keller | United States

The Libertarian Party

John Hospers (1918-2011) was the first Libertarian presidential candidate. He defined Liberty best in 1971, during his campaign for President in 1972, that “Liberty is the absence of coercion by other human beings.” The Libertarian Party began forming on July 17, 1971, with a meeting of David Nolan, John Hospers, Ron Paul, Tonie Nathan, Edward Crane, and others. The new political party was officially announced January 31, 1972. The first platform of the party focused on ensuring a gold-backed currency and a return to the classical liberal thoughts held by many of the Founding Fathers of America. The Libertarian Party’s goal was, and is, to shrink government and return rights and liberty to the citizens of the United States of America.

“The only proper role of government, according to libertarians, is that of the protector of the citizen against aggression by other individuals. The government, of course, should never initiate aggression; its proper role is as the embodiment of the retaliatory use of force against anyone who initiates its use.” – Dr. John Hospers

A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy

The philosophy of libertarianism is rooted in texts from the Age of Enlightenment (1685-1815), such as the theories of John Locke (1632-1704), in his The Second Treatise of Civil Government, written in 1689 as well as the philosophies and writings of Thomas Paine (1737-1809), who wrote Common Sense in 1776.

In addition, the Libertarian Party has been influenced by many modern-day philosophers as well. The most notable of these philosophers is Ludwig von Mises (1891-1973) who wrote Human Action in 1949. His philosophies dominate the Libertarian Party’s economic platform, and his work was so influential the Mises Caucus formed within the party. After his death, the Mises Institute was founded in Auburn, Alabama in 1982 with the mission, “To advance the Misesian tradition of thought through the defense of the market economy, private property, sound money, and peaceful international relations, while opposing government intervention as economically and socially destructive.”

History of the Libertarian Movement (1972-2000)

The Libertarian Party has historically been the strongest third party in the 20th century. In 1972, John Hospers received 3,674 votes. In 1996, the presidential ticket of Harry Browne and Jo Jorgensen received 485,759 votes.

As the presidential election began to get started in 1976 there were serious doubts in the minds of conservative voters on the integrity of the Republican Party following the Watergate Scandal in 1972. The Libertarian Party become a place to vent frustration with government, and with their message for smaller government and personal accountability attracted many new voters.

The 1976 presidential ticket consisted of former state representative of Vermont Roger MacBride for president and California lawyer David Bergland for vice president. His campaign focused on issues, such as ending the Federal Reserve and returning to a gold-backed currency, as well as non-interventionist foreign policy. Democratic nominee “Jimmy” Carter spoke of being an outsider “untainted” by the politics of Washington D.C. while Republican nominee Gerald Ford focused on his ability as the chief executive, relying on his incumbent status to help carry the election in his favor.

By the end of the campaign, Roger MacBride and David Bergland had won over 172,557 votes, almost 170,000 more votes than the first ticket just four years prior and having ballot access to thirty-two states.

In 1980 the Libertarian Party hoped to capitalize on the moment of the previous year and nominated Ed Clark, who had received almost 378,000 votes in his campaign for Governor of California in 1978, for the presidency. David Koch, a successful businessman and vice-president of Koch Industries. The election began heavily contested.

President Carter faced immense backlash for his foreign policy in the Middle East and many Americans had deemed it improper for an actor to be president. The Libertarian Party and the Libertarian presidential ticket was seen as a viable third option. Although Reagan won in an electoral landslide, the Libertarian ticket received almost one million (921,128) votes.

The Reagan Administration proved to be very popular, and in the 1984 election, it showed. Former vice presidential candidate, now presidential candidate, David Bergland was only able to generate a quarter million votes.

One of the most iconic, although not the most successful, presidential runs of the Libertarian Party took place in 1988. Former congressman Ron Paul of Texas received the nomination and Andre Marrou, a former member of the Alaska House of Representatives, was nominated as the vice presidential candidate. The campaign Ron Paul ran was described by one reporter as a “Kamikaze Campaign” for being so dedicated to the issues while he stood, according to the journalist, “as much chance as I” at becoming president. Ron Paul focused on non-interventionist foreign policy, ending the Federal Reserve, getting the government out of education, and focusing on returning the American dollar to the gold standard. On top of these key issues, former Congressman Ron Paul made a pillar of his campaign the War on Drugs.

Although unsuccessful, the Ron Paul for President Campaign raised the campaign standard and redefined the Libertarian Party, highlighting the power and ability of a grassroots campaign as he raised over $2 million in donations.

In 1992 Ron Paul’s former running mate, Andre Marrou, took the nomination and continued the message of Ron Paul, but faced limited success as Americans flocked to Ross Perot, an independent from Texas who attracted over 19,000,000 votes.

Following the success of Ross Perot, the Libertarian Party knew that large success against the two-party duopoly was possible. Harry Browne received the 1996 presidential nomination. As a veteran, he pressed Bob Dole for claiming “My generation won [World War Two]” and his strong ties to the past and not to the future. When election time came he had attracted nearly half a million votes – losing votes to the popular Ross Perot who gained over 8,000,000 votes for the Reform Party.

In 2000, Harry Browne again took the nomination and ran a similar campaign to the campaign run in 1996. He won nearly the same number of votes but served a larger role.

In the controversy over the election in Florida, where Ralph Nader arguably detracted enough support from Al Gore to allow George W. Bush to win the state, the story in the state of Washington is often forgotten.

Harry Brown’s campaign attracted enough votes, alongside Pat Buchanan’s campaign for president, to swing the state away from George W. Bush and in Al Gore’s favor, ensuring the presidential nominee for the Democratic Party, Al Gore, took the state, winning him an additional 11 electoral votes.

As the century turned and George W. Bush took the White House, the Libertarian Party began to go through a reformation process.

New Age Libertarianism (2004-2012)

In the twenty-first century, the Libertarian Party began to reform its priorities in its platform. The reformation became highlighted in the 2004 Libertarian National Convention as it became the most contested presidential primary in the thirty-two-year history of the Libertarian Party.

The three leading candidates were Aaron Russo, Gary Nolan, and Michael Badnarik. Aaron Russo was leading in pre-convention polls for the nomination. He was running his campaign on criticizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and ending the War on Drugs.

Gary Nolan, polling second, focused his campaign on Anti-Bush doctrine. He planned to focus campaigning on his home state Ohio with the goal of swinging the state away from Bush and winning the state for the Libertarian Party. His platform consisted of repealing the USA PATRIOT Act, ending the war in the Middle East and bringing home the troops, while rallying against the income tax.

Going into the convention Michael Badnarik was predicted the least likely of the three major candidates to win the nomination. His campaign was built on the principles of laissez-faire economics.

With Aaron Russo in the lead, it seemed clear that the Libertarian Party was beginning to switch away from the Ron Paul Era of economic focus and begin focusing on social issues, with economic policy on the back burner; however, a surprise came at the 2004 Libertarian National Convention.

On the first ballot, the vote counts for the nomination were all within twelve votes of each other; with Russo gaining 258, Badnarik 256, and Nolan 246. On the second nomination ballet, Nolan was eliminated and surprisingly endorsed Badnarik. In the final vote for the nomination, Badnarik took the nomination 417 votes to 348 for Russo, with six delegates voting “None of the Above”.

Although the focus on economics continued in this election cycle, a focus on social issues was beginning to grow within the party. Badnarik began his run immediately, trying to build off the momentum of the convention, but he struggled at first getting the Libertarian Party on board, especially those who had supported Aaron Russo who felt “cheated” at the convention.

By election day, the highest poll for the Libertarian ticket was at 5%, a poll conducted in New Mexico. On election day Badnarik, who held high hopes, pulled in about 400,000 votes, only about 0.32%. Following the results, he pursued, with support from Green Party candidate David Cobb, a recount in the state of Ohio, which President George W. Bush had won by about 100,000 votes. If the recount had been “successful” then Ohio would have swung to be a blue state, and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) would have been president.

In 2008 the election became key as there was a rejection of the Bush intervention policies. Former congressman Bob Barr was nominated by the Libertarian Party to run for president. He held high hopes going into the general election as many conservatives were growing tired of the pro-war leanings of the Republican Party, and the dedicated hawk candidate John McCain (R-AZ). However, Barack Obama (D-IL) came out as a strong anti-war candidate and supported social liberty and Barr began losing support. He tried to shift focus towards an economic policy where he believed he held the edge over the other candidates, but the American people were more focused on issues regarding foreign policy, and Barr was only able to gain a half million votes come election day. As the election cycle wore down the Libertarian Party began to strategize for 2012.

Libertarianism in the Modern Age (2012-Present)

In 2012 the upcoming nomination for president at the Libertarian National Convention was projected to be a toss-up between former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Libertarian Party Vice Chair R. Lee Wrights. Going into the convention, Gary Johnson was being seen as an unlikely choice. He was a former two-term Republican governor in the state of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. He had joined the Libertarian Party December 2011, just six months before the national convention after he failed to gain any traction in the Republican New Hampshire primary. On the other hand, R. Lee Wrights had been a member of the Libertarian Party since 2000 and had served for two years, prior to the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, as Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party (2004-2006).

Just as in 2004, the convention turned out to be an upset. Gary Johnson, on his platform of fiscal responsibility and social equality, won a surprising landslide victory at the convention, receiving 419 delegates (70.4%). Jim Gray, a California judge, received the nomination for vice president. The pro-immigration and anti-intervention ticket won considerable support as anti-war Republicans who could not support Mitt Romney voted Libertarian. Gary Johnson, on election day, made Libertarian Party history by receiving 1,275,971 votes.

Gary Johnson continued to fight for the Libertarian message and in 2016 sought to be renominated for the Libertarian presidential ticket. He was renominated in a landslide, gaining more than 30% more delegates than the runner-up Austin Petersen. Bill Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts, was selected as the vice presidential nominee.

The 2016 election proved to be pivotal. Gary Johnson and Bill Weld began speaking throughout America on the message of peace and prosperity, speaking to the people about pro-immigration policy, low taxes, balanced budgets, and more. In short, the campaign rested on the idea that the government should stay out of your wallet and out of your bedroom. Bill Weld ran a strong campaign under Gary Johnson, and together they received 4,489,235 votes for the message of peace and prosperity.

Leading to the 2020 Libertarian National Convention much is unknown, but it is clear that even if there is not another Bill Weld or Gary Johnson, the idea and message of Libertarianism will spread. As the message spreads and more and more people are informed of the principles of peace and prosperity, it is clear that the breakout year for the Libertarian Party is coming soon as momentum grows.


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Larry Sharpe Excluded from NY Gubernatorial Debate

By Ryan Lau | @agorisms

The New York race for governor has been a vicious battle thus far. Democrat incumbent Andrew Cuomo defeated challenger Cynthia Nixon in a recent primary. Now, he faces off against a number of opponents: Republican Marc Molinaro, Libertarian Larry Sharpe, Independent Stephanie Miner, and the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins. However, only Molinaro will get to debate live with Cuomo.

A Lack of Name Recognition

The Monday night move comes after a number of polls showed that the third-party candidates have very low name recognition. Specifically, a whopping 84 percent of voters had not heard of Larry Sharpe. Figures were similar for Miner and Hawkins, at 77 and 86 percent, respectively. Of the voters who had heard of Sharpe, one-third of them had a positive opinion.

As of now, polling shows a relatively secure lead for Cuomo in the state. In recent polls, he averages over 50% in the five-way race. In a strong second, Molinaro has a recent average of 35%. Most of the polls excluded the third-party candidates entirely, but in those that did not, none performed particularly well. Sharpe’s performance in a Gravis Marketing poll was the highest of the three candidates: even so, he received only 13% in this poll.

Prior Exclusion

Third parties, such as the Libertarian Party, have faced exclusion from debates in the past. Most notably, the 2016 Presidential debates did not feature Gary Johnson, who then launched a major lawsuit against the Commission on Presidential Debates. He and Green Party nominee Jill Stein later lost this case. Johnson now is running for New Mexico Senate.

Sharpe took to Twitter Monday, condemning the media’s decision to exclude the third-party candidates. He strongly believes that with fair coverage, he could win the race.

Monday night’s debate, which will be live on Tuesday night at 7 P.M. EST, is the only scheduled discourse between the two candidates before the election. Thus, Sharpe and the other third-party candidates have lost a key opportunity to increase their low name recognition.


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