Gary Johnson: A Free-Trade Bernie Sanders?
By Myron Pauli
I’ve never limited myself to Republican and Democratic nominees since I cast my first presidential vote writing in Barry Goldwater in 1972. No regrets on rejecting the decent but too-leftist George McGovern or reelecting “the president!” that imposed wage and price controls, killed the gold Standard, increased domestic spending, installed OSHA and the DEA, expanded the war in Indochina, etc.
Trump, Cruz, Sanders and Clinton all have their bad points to me but the first three occasionally say things I agree with. Trump has the best understanding of national identity, Cruz had the most detailed domestic spending cuts, and Sanders may be best on foreign/military restraint.
As for Hillary: Like the old Supreme Court definition of pornography, I find her “utterly without redeeming social value.” I am not “in the tank” for anyone, so I listened with interest to the person I supported in 2012, Gary Johnson, at the Libertarian Party Debate on the Fox Business Network. Keeping in mind that the Libertarian Party’s own website says, “The Party of Principle: Minimum Government Maximum Freedom.”
So imagine my consternation when I heard Johnson say about the welfare state: “I want to support those truly in need.” Now, I have met libertarians who wanted to cold turkey everything immediately – stop Social Security checks to 85 year-olds tomorrow! OK, maybe too drastic to people who paid into the system. Others would phase out the Nanny State over 50 years. But I’ve never heard an answer in favor of the Welfare State from a “Libertarian” until now. And I heard Governor Johnson talk about states running Medicare/Medicaid as if he were Governor Kasich advocating a “more efficient” Welfare State.
Where’s the “Principle”?
Then came the old “force people to bake Lesbian-Nazi wedding cakes” issue. Certainly, one could distinguish between the Park Service, Amtrak, the utility company, or even an internationally held corporation like Starwood Hotels having less “freedom of association” than an individual – but Gary Johnson did not. He would apparently call up the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, Air Force, FBI, CIA, DEA, INS, and TSA to make sure you made that floral arrangement! OK – not the most cosmologically important issue, but where is the “Minimum Government Maximum Freedom”?
When John Stossel quoted Milton Friedman that open borders were not compatible with a Welfare State, all that Johnson had were platitudes about Mexico’s best coming here to do jobs that “Americans won’t do.”
Dear Gary – if we really had no Welfare State -– e.g. “Live Free of Die” — is there not a wage at which whereby Americans would “do” the work? I was almost tempted to ask whether one has to actually cross the border to be a citizen since libertarians are net-savvy, can’t we have Chinese, Pakistanis, Congolese, etc. just apply “on-line” to be a citizen and vote in our elections? If Trump goes overboard on “drug dealing rapists” or “terrorists,” Gary Johnson seems to think the rest of the world are all angels completely compatible with “American citizenship.” ZERO admission criteria other than “no criminal record” into a Welfare State Democracy.
Not only must the Bears admit Goldilocks but also house her, feed her, and bake her Nazi-Lesbo wedding cake! In fact, Gary Johnson said that the candidate he was closest to was Bernie Sanders and was pressing to get the disaffected Bernie voters when Hillary wins the Democratic nomination. That may be fine – but are these angry Bernie voters “libertarians,” or just a bunch of social-leftists protesting crony capitalism? From Gary Johnson’s website, there is nearly nothing on programs to cut compared with Cruz, and virtually zero for “socially conservative libertarians.” Johnson emphasizes more a “dope smoking abortion-lovers for free trade” than a more consistent Ron-Paul type libertarianism.
All in all, I still have my personal dilemma: Who to vote for on November 8th? I have a choice of rather flawed candidates and, if I do vote Libertarian, is that to be interpreted as a disgruntled Sanders-independent opposition to Madame Defarge? Do I go with the demagogic braggart Donald “Believe Me” Trump or Carpetbombing Cruz? Muddled Gary? Do I write-in Jim Webb or Ron Paul? Do I just oversleep and forget to vote?
Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.