For Those Thinking of Voting for Gary Johnson . . .


You are only working to help re-elect Barack Obama, as Randy Barnett points out. And helping Democrats is not good for the cause of liberty:

It was a Democratic Congress and president who gave us the federal takeover of the health-care industry that will bring us closer to a Western European-style social democracy. All four Democratic-appointed Supreme Court justices voted to uphold ObamaCare as constitutional, with four Republican-appointed dissenters.

Are Democrats better than Republicans on personal liberty? Neither has been great on that score, but Democrats have been the bigger disappointment. When I took the medical-marijuana case to the Supreme Court in 2004, I got zero votes from the left side of the court while garnering the votes of Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Clarence Thomas and Sandra Day O’Connor. And President Obama’s Justice Department has reneged on his campaign promise to refrain from going after medical-marijuana dispensaries.

Neither party wants to question the futile and destructive “war on drugs.” But Republicans have been much better on free speech in recent years. With respect to economic liberty, the Environmental Protection Agency has restricted land use throughout the nation and would do more if not stopped. Dodd-Frank has amped up restrictions on financial services.

Libertarians need to adjust their tactics to the current context. This year, their highest priority should be saving the country from fiscal ruin, arresting and reversing the enormous growth in federal power—beginning with repealing ObamaCare—and pursuing a judiciary who will actually enforce the Constitution. Which party is most likely to do these things in 2013?

Citing the Republican Congress under George W. Bush, some libertarians contend that divided government is best for liberty. Yes, divided government is good for stopping things (until some grand deal is made). But divided government won’t repeal ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank or give us better judges.

As a libertarian-conservative, I am naturally sympathetic to many of the issues libertarians hold dear. But Gary Johnson is not going to be president of the United States. Either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is. And if you live in a state that can make a difference in the Electoral College, and you vote for Gary Johnson instead of Mitt Romney, you may as well be giving your vote to Barack Obama. There are no two ways about it.

There are 7 comments.

  1. Moderator
    BlueAnt: Sooner or later, we are going to need to hash out the tactical voting vs principled voting issue. Ricochet seems a good place to have that argument.

    I don’t know if you saw, but I had a couple of posts on the member feed about how principled, non-consequentialist, libertarians should vote. Here and Here. There’s a lot of confusion about who Johnson is.

    I’m not particularly concerned that the OWS affiliated libertarians represent a huge portion of the bigger tent. There’s a lot more Rand Paul style libertarians. Of course there are divisions with people not of their sect, just as every other sect in the party has divisions with outsiders, but they don’t seem likely to be as big as, say, the Buchanan issue. There are more members of the Constitution party than there are of the Libertarian party, and Goode’s lot are even more Republican than Johnson’s. Those splits reduce the electoral power of liberty and of the Constitution, but not insurmountably, if we win. If we lose, we’re electorally toast anyway.

    • #1
    • November 6, 2012 at 1:18 am
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  2. Inactive

    There are so many flaws in this argument.

    For one thing, any one vote is very unlikely to be decisive. So you can’t blame any one person for an entire outcome, multiply determined, whatever way that person votes.

    You can say, of course, if a bunch a people you single out don’t vote this way, this will happen.

    But this is very different from telling each and ever person, in a group you prefer to single out, that it is their duty to vote this way individually, they way you want, because if they individually don’t vote that way, then bad things are bound to happen. They are not bound to happen, because the individual vote is not decisive.

    Beyond that, the barely disguised belligerence of such exhortations creeps me out.

    And why blame some voters–a segment you happen to pick out, and who see as existing to do your bidding–for not playing ball if all the candidates suck?

    The choice between the lesser of two evils is still evil.

    • #2
    • November 6, 2012 at 2:16 am
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  3. Member

    Aodhan,”And why blame some voters–a segment you happen to pick out, and who see as existing to do your bidding–for not playing ball if all the candidates suck?”

    I don’t blame libertarians for voting libertarian. I do blame them for voting for Gary Johnson for reasons I have expressed several times in other threads. It just seems to me that in National elections not choosing a candidate closest to your values from one of the two major parties makes your vote totally ineffectual. The chances of a Democrat or a Republican winning a National election are 100%. The real way to change that is to develop local and state libertarian infrastructure. Elect congresspeople. How many libertarians are currently in the US Congress, five or six? Can someone please name them? Libertarians seem childish in wanting to start from the top down instead of the ground up. What would a Libertarian President do without any Senators or Representatives pushing his programs in Congress. I know you L folk feel fervently in your own validity, as well you should, but I cannot see your point. Go out and build something, then we can talk.

    • #3
    • November 6, 2012 at 8:05 am
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  4. Inactive
    Pejman Yousefzadeh Post author

    If Romney is short in Ohio by a handful of votes that went to Johnson, that’s going to matter. I know the chances of that are low, but this is a close election and see Florida, 2000.

    • #4
    • November 6, 2012 at 8:30 am
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  5. Member

    I guess everyone agrees that those of us of Libertarian bent in CA and other non competitive states are free to vote conscience?

    • #5
    • November 6, 2012 at 9:10 am
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  6. Contributor

    If your goal is to make sure a guy with an R after his name wins no matter what then I agree.

    But that’s not my goal.

    If we give the R our vote no matter who the man or what the issue, then conservatives are reduced to the equivilent of the Democratic black vote, and we will suffer the same consequence as they do for not holding those they vote for accountable. 

    An automatic vote from the base is the easiest to ignore.

    • #6
    • November 6, 2012 at 10:52 am
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  7. Member

    Sooner or later, we are going to need to hash out the tactical voting vs principled voting issue. Ricochet seems a good place to have that argument.

    I hate to make a dire prediction, but no matter who wins on Tuesday, there is going to be a serious libertarian rift within the Republican party. Having the “End The Fed” crowd pitch in with the Occupy movement was the first indication of trouble. The 2012 GOP convention, with how the Ron Paul delegates were treated, is the visible starting point for the inevitable rift.

    The GOP needs to rebuild its coalition, and the libertarians need a practical home for their minority ideology.

    • #7
    • November 6, 2012 at 12:57 pm
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