A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I met Gary Johnson as he was traveling through Minnesota. I also promised that I would do a writeup regarding my throughs on the man that weekend, a promise I entirely broke. They say it’s better to be late than never show up so here are my thoughts on Gary Johnson based on that meeting (if you would like to file a complaint about my tardiness with this article feel free to send me money so I actually get paid for this blog, when I’m getting paid my consideration of what others want goes up).
For those who are in the dark Gary Johnson was running for the Republican presidential nominee but was even more shunned than Ron Paul. He’s now running for nominee of the Libertarian Party, which means he won’t become the president but he’ll be running in the least evil party that currently gets any kind of media attention (sometimes they’re mentioned at the 06:00 news block as a group of kooks who want to destroy the American way of life).
How can I describe Johnson? In short I would describe him as a good man. He is a politician but he’s the least offensive politician I’ve met in ages. Unlike most of his counterparts, Johnson appears to have little interest in controlling others and is actually willing to admit when he’s been wrong. Like Ron Paul, I would say Johnson is a politician for self-defense reasons. That is to say he wants to get into office in order to protect himself against the state by vetoing the attempts by other state agents to increase governmental authority.
Why run as a Libertarian Party candidate? The election system in this country is so rigged that it’s practically impossible for anybody not running as a Republican or Democrat to get into office. When asked about this Johnson stated he wants to spread the message of liberty. His argument was basically this; when you only have one man expressing an idea people will say it’s crazy, but when you have multiple people expressing an idea people will be more apt to listen. At the moment Ron Paul is the only candidate expressing an actual liberty message and Johnson wants to be the second candidate doing so. It makes sense and Johnson has no delusions about getting the presidency, but he wants to get federal campaign money for the Libertarian Party in the hopes of spreading the message further. I’m glad he’s grounded in reality, too often politicians become delusional and begin believing the malarkey they speak.
Where does he stand on the issues? No, not the real issues, the issues the average public actually argue about? Let’s start with the social issues. Johnson supports gay marriage, women’s right to choose, and legalizing marijuana. I don’t feel the first two items need any clarification but I do want to expand on the final item; Johnson was very straightforward about his support for legalizing marijuana but vague on legalizing other drugs. When asked whether or not he would support decriminalizing drugs beyond marijuana he mostly ducked the question by stating drug usage needs to be viewed as a health issues instead of a legal issue and we need to start with marijuana because that’s the drug most people support decriminalizing. I was not impressed by that answer, it’s a convenient way to copout of actually giving a straightforward answer.
What about other issues, issues that actually matter? Johnson stated he would support abolishing the Federal Reserve, wanted to bring all the troops home, and opposes all foreign aid.
Let’s talk about the fun issues, issues that are generally discussed solely in libertarian circles. I asked Johnson if, as president, he would individuals currently imprisoned for victimless crimes. One of my pet peeves is the punishment system currently implemented in the United States as it leads to the imprisonment of individuals who haven’t actually committed any crimes. Failing to meet government regulations; selling, possessing, and using drugs; and avoiding paying taxes are crimes that have no victims (the state can’t be a victim since you can’t steal from a thief). Surprisingly Johnson didn’t attempt to duck this question and very clearly stated he would pardon any person currently in prison for victimless crimes. Beyond that he specifically brought up individuals currently in cages because they failed to comply with government regulations. His statement on this alone put him far ahead of any other candidate besides Ron Paul (he has stated he will do the same thing).
Libertarianism, like any philosophy, has many different branches. Some libertarians are simply advocates of smaller government, some are strict constitutionalists, others are minarchists, and there even individuals who oppose the state in its entirety and openly refer to themselves as anarchists. As a voluntaryist I fall into the last category and firmly believe the ultimate goal of libertarianism should be the complete abolition of the state. Needless to say I was taken by surprise when Johnson, without being prompted by any other questions or statements from the audience, dropped the ‘A’ word. What is the ‘A’ word? Anarchism. In politics anarchism is the dirty word, it’s is the word to always avoided using, it is the thirteenth floor of the political tower.
During his speech Johnson thew political caution to the wind and actually stated that the eventual goal of libertarianism is anarchism. I had to do a double take on that and asked him if I heard correctly, did he actually say he is supportive of the idea of entirely eliminating the state. Although he did hem and haw a bit by saying a stateless society was not possible in our lifetime but eventually stated support of the idea. That takes guts when you’re running for office (although not so much when you’re running as a candidate in the Libertarian Party) and I have to hand it to Johnson for brining up the ‘A’ word during a campaign speech (technically it was more of a conversation than a speech).
So Johnson is a libertarian through and through. But this is a gun blog so the obvious question many readers are likely to ask is if Johnson is pro-gun or not. Yes, Johnson is pro-gun. I asked him if, as president, he would be willing to work on abolishing federal regulations regarding firearm ownership and he flat out said he would. Obviously such a feat can just be done by the waving of a magic wand so I asked him if a piece of legislation were put on his desk legalizing the unrestricted ownership of suppressor would he sign it and he said absolutely. Furthermore he also signed one of my friend’s loaded Springfield XD magazines, which I thought was a nice touch (I started a fad).
As the race appears to be nothing more than Obama vs. Other Obama the only real pro-gun candidate on the ballot is likely to be Johnson. If you support gun rights your only option will likely be to vote Johnson. I know most gun owners will vote for Romney after buying into the bullshit that voting for the “lesser” of two evils will somehow protect gun rights but I can’t help people who are unwilling to learn. If you go to vote and want to vote for gun rights check the box next to Gary Johnson.
The last thing I want to mention is the fact Johnson is actually human. What I mean by that is he admits when he feels slighted and when he’s made mistakes. Another attendee of this meeting asked Johnson if he felt slighted during the Republican debate where the moderator asked who, of the onstage candidates, each candidate would select as vice president. Johnson said Paul was his pick whereas Paul refused to answer the question. Most of us who support Paul felt he slighted Johnson there and it was refreshing to hear Johnson admit he felt slighted as well. It’s rare to hear a politician actually admit to having feelings, perhaps because most of them are cylons. The other thing Johnson expressed regret over was signing several pieces of legislation when he was governor of New Mexico. While the legislation he signed appeared to have good intentions he saw how those laws twisted and fulfill the desires of other politicians. Admitting mistakes is something politicians almost never do, once again it’s likely because they’re cylons.
Overall I admit I really like Johnson, he’s a good man and I would actually have no regrets voting for him. Although it’s unlikely I’ll actually vote in November if I do it’ll be for Johnson (unless Hell freezes over, unicorns becomes a real species, and Ron Paul gets the Republican nomination).