Justin Amash Must Avoid Libertarian Party Temptation

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Conner Drigotas | @connerdrigotas

At 6 AM on July 4, 2019, the Washington Post published an Op-Ed by Representative Justin Amash of Michigans 3rd Congressional District in which he announced his departure from the Republican Party.

Amash said he has become “disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.” His sentiment is one that state houses across the country are echoing.

Read moreJustin Amash Must Avoid Libertarian Party Temptation

Meet the 2020 Libertarian Candidates

libertarian candidates, libertarian party, adam kokesh
Kevin Damato | @KevinCDamato

As the 2020 presidential election approaches, there is much talk about the boisterous and ever-growing democratic field. However, the 3rd largest American political party, the Libertarian Party, also has a primary ahead of them.

In 2016, former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson was able to garner small doses of media attention. However, the 2020 libertarian candidates seem rather unknown. Information on the candidates is limited, but outlets like Chris Spangle’s “We Are Libertarians Network” have done their best through their presidential candidate and debate series hosted by Hodey Johns.

Note that this is not a conclusive list of all candidates. Rather this is a short description of the most prominent figures who have announced their campaigns.

Read moreMeet the 2020 Libertarian Candidates

Justin Amash Should Run as a Libertarian in 2020

Jack Parkos | @j.ackp

Republican House Represenative Justin Amash has announced that he is not “ruling out” a bid for the Libertarian Party in 2020. “I would never rule anything out,” he said. However, he states that it is “not on his radar.” at the moment. This quote surfaced as he was speaking about the border wall funding issue. He believes that Trump’s emergency order for the wall is an unconstitutional measure. He also believes it could be further pervert the Constitution in the future.

Read moreJustin Amash Should Run as a Libertarian in 2020

The Republican and Democrat Agendas are Hypocritical

By Ian Brzeski | United States

Disclaimer: When I refer to Republicans and Democrats, I’m not talking about every single person who aligns with the Republican or Democratic party. Rather, I am talking about their platforms as a whole as well as their “leaders” and hypocritical followers.

Both the Republican and Democratic platform are hypocritical in every sense of the term. Whether it is their agenda or on specific topics at hand, they allow themselves to fall onto multiple contradictions and fallacies in their arguments. For example, Republicans and Democrats both display hypocrisy when it comes to the issues of guns and immigration. Republicans are quick to push their agenda against illegal immigration when an illegal kills somebody because, according to them, illegal immigration allows those who like to murder and rape people to enter the US. They argue that if we had stronger deportation measures and a border wall, then many individual citizens such as Mollie Tibbetts would still be alive. Democrats are quick to push their agenda for gun control when a shooting happens because, according to them, guns and gun owners are dangerous and often kill many people. They say how if we had more gun control, then many of the victims in the mass shootings would still be alive such as the students who passed in Parkland.

Republicans defend guns by saying that Democrats are just trying to push their agenda when a horrible tragedy such as a mass shooting happens. Republicans say it is vile and disgusting how Democrats would try to push their agenda on gun control instead of showing respect to the victims. They claim that it is a societal problem and not a gun problem. People kill people; guns do not kill people, and besides, people are just going to get guns regardless.

Democrats defend illegal immigration by saying that Republicans are just trying to push their agenda when a horrible tragedy such as the murder of a girl from Iowa happens. Democrats say it is vile and disgusting how Republicans would try to push their agenda on stronger borders instead of showing respect to the victims. They claim that it is a societal problem and not an illegal immigration problem. People kill people; illegals are not the only people who kill people in this country.

Republicans and Democrats make the same argument when substituting the word(s) “guns” with “illegal immigration.” Who knew that the majority of Republicans and Democrats are not that much different? They use the same argument on various issues. They even both bash each other on how they portray their stances. To an extent, the parties also fall subject to the slippery slope fallacy when describing how guns/illegal immigration are the causes of the death of various people.

The slippery slope fallacy is a logical fallacy that implies that a small action will lead to a much more significant action with enormous consequences. Saying that having less secure borders will lead to more murders is a solid example of this fallacy and the same goes for saying that the sale of firearms will lead to more murders.

Who is the Bigger Hypocrite?

Most Republicans are bigger hypocrites than the Democrats. They claim to support small government except for when it comes to:

  • The wall across the Mexican border
  • The Space Force
  • A stronger governmental police force
  • A massive military
  • Tariffs
  • Military parades
  • The War on Drugs
  • The War on Terror
  • Trump regulating social media
  • TSA
  • NSA
  • DEA
  • ICE
  • And many more

The only difference with the Republicans and the Democrats here is that they disagree with what should be funded by the government. For every government program defunded by Republicans, another government program is funded that fits the Republicans’ agenda. At least the Democrats openly admit that they are for a bigger and stronger government.

Democrats could just as quickly say the phrase “Taxation is theft,” and it would still have the same meaning when Republicans say it. Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans are the same; they are all pro-war and pro-big government hawks. Obama openly says he is against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and then proceeds to bomb more countries than any of his predecessors. The Republicans claim to be for smaller government and pro-life, yet when Senator Rand Paul introduces a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, the bill does not pass despite Republicans having the majority in the House and the Senate. Does this sound like a small government platform?

The fact of the matter is that the majority of the Republicans preach a pro-liberty position, but their actions and ideas say otherwise. However, not every single Republican is one of these establishment politicians. There are still few Republicans out there who stay true to their pro-liberty and small government agenda, such as Senator Rand Paul, Rep. Thomas Massie, Rep. Justin Amash, and Austin Petersen to name a few.

Stuck in the Same Cycle

Regardless of who is in charge, the government still become stronger, taxes and spending increase, and our national debt continues to grow. We have a “pro-liberty” president who keeps fighting the war on terror, keeps funding the war on drugs, has the notion that tariffs are good for the economy, and now wants to start printing money to get us out of our national debt. Nothing of recent has changed regarding the United States. Voting Republican or voting Democrat will be practically voting for the same person the majority of the time. Not voting for a third party because you are afraid that it is giving away a vote to the “rival” candidate may be one of the worst excuses to use because either way you are most likely voting for big government establishment hawks.

As a result of this two-party system and hypocritical nature of the parties, the government continually grows into a stronger, more coercive force that inhibits on our personal freedoms to make decisions for us. Thinking that voting third party is a waste is a dangerous ideology. We will never see a real change by always voting in these establishment candidates. We will have the same problems that we continuously complain about, nothing will get changed, we will continue to stay in the same cycle that we have been going through, and people are too blind to realize this.

Republicans and Democrats have the false sense that they are pitted against each other. There are other options out there, and people need to realize that. People need to stop voting based on parties and need to start voting based on principle.  Watch a debate between Republicans and Democrats, and it is easy to see that the discussion just turns into a name calling blame game. It is one of the most pathetic things a person could ever see. Their arguments have no real substance or conviction, and they always seem to attack the person as an individual and not their ideas.

“When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers” – Socrates

Republican or Democrat, it doesn’t matter. We are always going to be stuck in a never ending cycle if people do not stop blindly following party positions. It does not matter whether you identify as a Conservative, Progressive, Libertarian, or Socialist. Do your research and vote for who you think is going to bring about the most significant possible change to our crooked establishment system. Don’t vote for somebody based on their party or if they are a lesser evil, vote for somebody you believe in.

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2018 Has Not Been a Good Year for Libertarian Republicans

By Kenneth Casey | United States

On August 7th, former Libertarian Presidential Candidate Austin Petersen was defeated in his attempt to receive the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Missouri. Establishment Republican-backed Josh Hawley came out victorious as Petersen finished a distant third. Petersen’s defeat added onto what has already been a very tough year for libertarian Republicans.

To start off with incumbents, three out of the thirteen Republicans in the libertarian-leaning House Liberty Caucus chaired by Justin Amash will not be returning to Washington at the end of the 115th Congress. The sole Democrat in the caucus is running for re-election. Idaho’s Raul Labrador decided to give up his seat for an unsuccessful run for governor. Jimmy Duncan of Tennessee has decided to retire at the end of his term. Duncan is the lone remaining Republican to vote against the invasion of Iraq in 2002. Lastly, Mark Sanford of South Carolina lost in a primary to a Trump-endorsed candidate.  for not being “loyal enough” to the president.

For newcomers, Shane Hazel was unsuccessful in his attempt to primary an establishment Republican in Georgia’s 7th congressional district by campaigning on the cause of freedom and limited government. Nick Freitas, the staunch libertarian Republican from Virginia, narrowly lost his primary to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate of Virginia to Corey Stewart, a nationalist who happens to be a hard-core Trump supporter.

The one victory I see from a libertarian Republican newcomer is held by Maine’s Eric Brakey, who won his primary to become the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate. However, he was uncontested in the primary.

With the departure of a few of the most liberty-leaning incumbents of House and defeat of other liberty-friendly Republicans, 2018 is not looking like it’ll be a good year for the libertarian wing of the Republican Party that went under significant growth after Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. Why is this?

There are a couple things you can point to as reasoning of libertarians not being so successful in the GOP this year. The first one is obvious, that the establishment of the Republican Party is not interested in helping libertarian Republicans get elected. Even when the only two libertarian-leaning members of the Senate, Rand Paul and Mike Lee, were first elected, they faced huge opposition from the establishment and had to rely on grassroots support. But the establishment of the party has always opposed candidates who were more liberty-minded and favored limited government. This isn’t exactly a new phenomenon.

In my mind, the biggest reason as to why libertarian Republicans haven’t succeeded in the Republican Party so far this year is the rising influence of populist and nationalist thought within the GOP which has grown in the age of Trump. Although not all of Trump’s policies have fully embraced represented the growth of those ideas within the party, some policies and some of his rhetoric have helped the rise. Specifically speaking, his calls for protectionism in trade and anti-immigrant rhetoric to go along with the support of spending bills such as the $1.3 Trillion Omnibus Budget has increased popularity for such policies within the party. Because of this, many candidates running under the Republican Party banner this year have embraced Trump’s positions on these issues and those who do not usually find themselves being declared an enemy of the president’s politics to many of his supporters and in many, it ends up hurting their chances of winning within the GOP.

As mentioned above, libertarian ideologues who make the decision to run under the Republican Party are always seen as non-establishment candidates, and usually face challenges from the more mainstream, establishment faction of the Republican Party. In the last four election cycles, candidates labeled as non-establishment within the party usually earned the label by being more libertarian in ideology and by being supportive of limited government and acknowledging the government getting bigger is caused by both Democrats and Republicans.

In this year’s midterms, it seems as if the definition for a non-establishment Republican has shifted – more and more candidates labeled non-establishment are named as such because they rail against the establishment by supporting right-wing populist policies in contrast to the mainstream ideology of the Republican establishment.

This has left libertarians politically homeless within the Republican Party – as both right-wing populists and establishment-friendly Republicans are vastly unlike and don’t represent libertarianism well whatsoever.

Maybe the Republican Party was never interested in liberty when they elected libertarian Republicans such as Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and Rand Paul. Massie expressed similar beliefs in comments to the Washington Examiner back in March of 2017: “All this time, I thought they were voting for libertarian Republicans. But after some soul searching I realized when they voted for Rand and Ron and me in these primaries, they weren’t voting for libertarian ideas — they were voting for the craziest son of a bitch in the race.”

Massie’s comments seem very true at this point in time, it appears as if Libertarian Republicans have not been successful in this year’s midterms because the “craziest son of a bitches” in Republican primaries this year have not been libertarians in the age of Trump.

Despite this, I am confident the liberty movement will be long-lived even in times of trouble. But this does leave the age-old question open as to whether libertarian ideologues should even bother running in the Republican Party if they can only win when they’re considered the craziest candidates in the race.

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