The Libertarian Case for Mitt Romney

Courtesy of Brad Smith, who notes libertarian differences with Romney–which I especially share on the free trade front; Romney’s China-bashing has been deplorable in my view–but who also concludes (quite properly) that Romney is the best candidate by far of the two with a good shot at winning the presidency, and that, as a consequence, libertarians should refrain from voting for Gary Johnson.

  1. Daniel McDonald

    Should we take Romney’s China-bashing seriously? The cynical part of me wants to believe that he’s merely pandering for votes in the Midwest.

  2. PJS

    Oh wow!  Deja vu!  JamesOfEngland and I had this same conversation last night.

  3. Larry3435

    Gary Johnson voters are not libertarians.  They are stoners.  They are one issue voters who care about legalizing pot, and not much else.  Which explains why they are happy to throw their vote away by voting for Johnson.  The future of America and civilization is at stake in this election, and their response is, “Dude.  Chill.”

  4. Aodhan

    Libertarians should not vote for Gary Johnson.

    Libertarians should not vote. Period.

    To vote is to indicate support for the systematic violation of the non-aggression axiom.

    A government that taxes, regulates, and monopolizes necessarily violates that axiom in spades.

    Hence, a voting libertarian is arguably ethically confused.

    Only a statist can vote without openly betraying their principles.

    A statist believes in the right of the government to rule, that is, to legitimately force people to do their bidding in ways that would be plainly immoral for a private person to do, whatever the consequences.

    Now, statists disagree over how far that legitimate rule should extend, and over what it should extend. But they all agree such rule is legitimate.

    Accordingly, the term “libertarian” should arguably be reserved for those who reject the legitimacy of the rule altogether, or support it only in extreme cases.

    Yet the term is now habitually used to denote a statist with reservations.

    For example, many soi-disant libertarians approve of either coercing pacifists into financially supporting the military, or coercing wealth generators into finanially supporting the poor, but not both, and not neither.

    Or they support both to some degree, just unequally.

  5. Aodhan

    If the defeating Obama is so important, then why doesn’t Romney offer to legalize pot, to thereby soak up some Johnson votes, not to mention some Obama votes too?

    Shouldn’t conservatives enthusiastically support such an politically astute offer? Isn’t it a time for pragmatic sacrifice, at this critical historical juncture?

    No? Is that because there are more important things in life than merely beating Obama–like adhering  to moral fundamental principles?

    So it’s  just Gary Johnson supporters–whom you collectively impugn wthout qualification as mindless addicts–aren’t entitled to vote based on their own principles, because then, Obama might get in, right?

    Do you know what a double standard is?

    .

    Larry3435: Gary Johnson voters are not libertarians.  They are stoners.  They are one issue voters who care about legalizing pot, and not much else.  Which explains why they are happy to throw their vote away by voting for Johnson.  The future of America and civilization is at stake in this election, and their response is, “Dude.  Chill.” · 30 minutes ago

  6. Randy Weivoda
    Larry3435: Gary Johnson voters are not libertarians.  They are stoners.  They are one issue voters who care about legalizing pot, and not much else.  Which explains why they are happy to throw their vote away by voting for Johnson.  The future of America and civilization is at stake in this election, and their response is, “Dude.  Chill.” · 41 minutes ago

    Right.  And everyone who supported repealing Prohibition was obviously a worthless drunk.

    Perhaps a lot of Johnson voters see Mitt Romney as Barack Obama minus the class envy.  If Mitt Romney were a hard-core budget cutter and planned to close down a number of departments and return authority back to the states, he might be getting a lot of voters who are currently looking at Johnson.  The Republican party cannot choose big-government candidates and then be offended if libertarians don’t vote for them.

  7. BrentB67

    As soon as Fred Cole gets electricity back and James of England gets fired up this should be a most entertaining thread.

  8. liberal jim

    The oft repeated “hold your nose and vote Republican” argument.  [Redacted for CoC violation -- insulting a contributor].

  9. Fred Cole
    BrentB67: As soon as Fred Cole gets electricity back and James of England gets fired up this should be a most entertaining thread. · 33 minutes ago

    My power only went off for 15 mins.  I read the link the first time it was posted.  Color me underwhelmed.  

    It would take a lot of time for a point by point reply and I couldn’t do it in 200 words.

  10. Fred Cole

    I will say that taken as a whole, the argument amounts to “Obama is just worse on everything.”

    Not everything, but just about.  Some things they are equally horrible on.

    I don’t disagree with that argument.  It’s just not enough for me.  I’m not going to vote for the slightly less horrible of two evils.

  11. Frank Monaldo

    Libertarian Richard Epstein here at Ricochet suggests voting for the lesser of two evils if you live in a swing state, and reserve the protest votes to states where your vote will have less immediate consequence.

  12. Randy Weivoda
    Frank Monaldo: Libertarian Richard Epstein here at Ricochet suggests voting for the lesser of two evils if you live in a swing state, and reserve the protest votes to states where your vote will have less immediate consequence. · 9 minutes ago

    That’s what I’m doing.  If I lived in a state that Romney could carry, I’d give him my vote since Johnson cannot win and Romney is better on some issues than Obama.  But I live in a state that Obama is practically guaranteed to win, so I may as well give my vote to the candidate I actually want.

  13. Larry3435
    Randy Weivoda

    Right.  And everyone who supported repealing Prohibition was obviously a worthless drunk.

    I doubt it.  They were pretty reasonable people, which is why they got a supermajority to repeal prohibition.  Johnson will get a fraction of 1%  That, by the way, is also the answer to your question about why Romney doesn’t jump on Johnson’s positions.

    Oh, and Aodhan, there is a big difference between a libertarian and an anarchist.

  14. PJS
    BrentB67: As soon as Fred Cole gets electricity back and James of England gets fired up this should be a most entertaining thread. · 2 hours ago

    Spent last evening and a large part of today with JamesOfEngland.  He is ready to rumble!

  15. Fred Cole
    Larry3435

    I doubt it.  They were pretty reasonable people, which is why they got a supermajority to repeal prohibition.  Johnson will get a fraction of 1%  That, by the way, is also the answer to your question about why Romney doesn’t jump on Johnson’s positions.

    Oh, and Aodhan, there is a bigdifference between a libertarian and an anarchist. · 35 minutes ago

    After Larry’s comment in #3, idk why I’m even still following this thread.  And now, worse, I’m engaging.

    Two things:

    1. It depends who you ask.  Some people consider anarcho-capitalists to be libertarians.  Some don’t.  

    2. Gallup found there’s 50% support among the public for legalizing marijuana.

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  16. James Of England
    PJS

    BrentB67: As soon as Fred Cole gets electricity back and James of England gets fired up this should be a most entertaining thread. · 2 hours ago

    Spent last evening and a large part of today with JamesOfEngland.  He is ready to rumble! · 26 minutes ago

    He’s ready to enter a food coma. :-)

    PJS: Oh wow!  Deja vu!  JamesOfEngland and I had this same conversation last night. · 7 hours ago

    To be clear, the conversation last night was about a debate we watched on “would Jesus have voted Democratic”. The debate was one by the claim that he wouldn’t have voted for a major party (a proposition put forward by an OWS/ Socialist worker affiliated CofE cleric), with Democratic coming second, then swing voter, then Republican at about 7%.

    I thought that the Parable of the Good Samaritan demonstrated that Christ disdained those who preferred ritual purity to practical efforts to make a difference. To put it another way, within the structure of the parable, the LP voter is not my neighbor (although I should treat them as if they are).

  17. James Of England
    Fred Cole: I will say that taken as a whole, the argument amounts to “Obama is just worse on everything.”

    Not everything, but just about.  Some things they are equally horrible on.

    I don’t disagree with that argument.  It’s just not enough for me.  I’m not going to vote for the slightly less horrible of two evils. · 2 hours ago

    He’s pretty enthusiastic about entitlement reform, freedom of religion, prenatal murder, SCOTUS appointments, and taxes. Not all government reforms increase its size; sometimes it’s right, as here, to vote for the right guy rather than voting for the lesser of two evils. This is a theme found throughout the piece. Did you read it?

  18. James Of England
    Aodhan: If the defeating Obama is so important, then why doesn’t Romney offer to legalize pot, to thereby soak up some Johnson votes, not to mention some Obama votes too?

    Shouldn’t conservatives enthusiastically support such an politically astute offer? Isn’t it a time for pragmatic sacrifice, at this critical historical juncture?

    No? Is that because there are more important things in life than merely beating Obama–like adhering  to moral fundamental principles?

    So it’s  just Gary Johnson supporters–whom you collectively impugn wthout qualification as mindless addicts–aren’t entitled to vote based on their own principles, because then, Obama might get in, right?

    Do you know what a double standard is?

    You think that conservatives get everything they want in a candidate, election after election? McCain was the conservative ideal? Of course, not; every responsible adult in a democracy has to learn to compromise sometimes. I don’t know a single soul who liked everything about the last three nominees.

    For most Johnson supporters, the double standard is that they support Johnson, who grew government, over Mitt, who shrunk it, because they don’t like people who grow government.

  19. James Of England
    Daniel McDonald: Should we take Romney’s China-bashing seriously? The cynical part of me wants to believe that he’s merely pandering for votes in the Midwest. · 9 hours ago

    The difference between Obama’s China bashing and Mitt’s China bashing is that Mitt likes trade and wants more of it. China’s IP theft, and habit of engaging in de facto expropriations of American interests without compensation prevent US companies from taking part in some of the benefits from trade; Mitt would like to protect US investors in China.

    Obama slaps tariffs, such as the tire tariff, without using them as a tool to promote rule of law in China and thus encourage more trade, but rather in order to reduce trade and give handouts to unions.

  20. James Of England
    Larry3435: Gary Johnson voters are not libertarians.  They are stoners.  They are one issue voters who care about legalizing pot, and not much else.  Which explains why they are happy to throw their vote away by voting for Johnson.  The future of America and civilization is at stake in this election, and their response is, “Dude.  Chill.” · 5 hours ago

    If only this were true. Sadly, Johnson also gets a good deal of the low information vote; “libertarian” is an appealing enough brand to be worth a half percent, more than enough for him to Nader the election, and the media is keen to promote him over Stein, so some folks hear of him that way.