Gary, I-quit-smoking-pot-to-run-for-president, Johnson is just another fake libertarian miseducating the public.
If you ask Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson what it means to be a libertarian, he will say “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” Another way of putting that is half Republican and half Democrat.
David Boaz of the CATO Institute describes true libertarianism this way:
“Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each person’s right to life (including the unborn), liberty, and property – rights that people possess naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have themselves used force – actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.”
The role of a libertarian in politics is to maximize freedom and minimize government. While being fiscally conservative (if defined as being for lower taxes and lower spending) is something a libertarian should support, it still misses the larger point of the philosophy.
But Johnson is not even fiscally conservative. He is a big government liberal.
A quick rundown on Johnson’s fiscal record as governor: when he entered office the state budget was $4.397 billion and when he left it was $7.721 billion. Johnson claims to have balanced the budget each year, which isn’t impressive by itself because the state constitution mandates it. But thanks to some off-budget gimmicks, Johnson actually was able to run deficits. James Spiller of National Review notes: “In fact, Johnson inherited a debt of $1.8 billion and left a debt of $4.6 billion, a rate of increase unmatched by the 22 governors in either party who have filed for presidential primaries in the past two decades, with the exception of Governor Tom Vilsack (D., Iowa) in 2007. During every year that Johnson, as he says, balanced the budget, he added to the debt.”
Johnson’s fiscal policies also apparently include government-funded prizes for science and paying U.N. dues, two things he brought up during the recent debate hosted by TheBlaze and moderated by Penn Jillette.
Johnson thinks that social liberalism is essential to libertarianism. In fact, it is in opposition to the philosophy.
Johnson’s embrace of social liberalism reveals him to be not a libertarian, but an authoritarian, which are qualities today well-represented by the Democratic Party.
Like Democrats, Johnson is in favor of legalizing only marijuana. Libertarians are in favor of all drugs being legal. Like Democrats, he is in favor of government-sponsored gay marriage. Libertarians oppose government involvement in marriage. Like Democrats, he believes that businesses must cater (literally-he believes Jews should be forced to bake Nazi cakes) to anyone and everyone. Libertarians believe in freedom of association and freedom of conscience/religion. Like Democrats, he supports tax payer funding for Planned Parenthood and abortions. Libertarians oppose government subsidization of private organizations. Like Democrats, Johnson is in favor of gun control. Libertarians oppose restrictions on gun ownership.
The more I read about Johnson, the less libertarian I realize he is.
Recently, Johnson affirmed his true beliefs when he selected former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his running mate, another self-described libertarian who also erroneously believes the philosophy means “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” In particular, Weld is proud to be pro-LGBT and pro-abortion, two hallmark positions of social liberalism.
Jesse Walker of Reason listed some anti-libertarian positions held by Weld, including support for an assault weapons ban, eminent domain, and foreign intervention, and summed up Weld as “more of a moderate “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” type, with “fiscally conservative” as defined by liberal Massachusetts standards and with “socially liberal” defined in terms a Michael Bloomberg could embrace.”
Conservative Review also notes Weld’s full support of EPA regulations and affirmative action. In addition, Weld endorsed Obama in 2008, Romney in 2012, and Kasich in 2016 before linking up with Johnson.
At the LP convention, Johnson defended his pick by proclaiming Weld “the original libertarian.”
A chorus of boos then rightly rained down on him. Weld is no Ron Paul. Neither is Johnson. In fact, Bob Barr is more libertarian than Johnson and Weld.