Liberty Hangout’s founder, Justin Moldow, recently published an article titled “There Is No Logic in Voting for Gary Johnson“. However, his reasoning for the claim is very flawed. While Gary Johnson is not the greatest candidate in the world, voting for him is logical, and there is no better alternative.
The four arguments he found from Johnson supporters that he refuted were:
- It helps spread the message of libertarianism
- He’s better than Clinton and Trump
- It will help end the two-party dictatorship
- It will help grow the Libertarian Party
I will explain how 3 of these commonly used arguments by Gary Johnson supporters have merit, and one has partial merit.
Refutation to Justin’s criticism of point #1: It helps spread the message of libertarianism
Justin claims that Gary Johnson’s positions on issues such as “baking the cake”, federally funding planned parenthood, equal pay for equal work, etc. make him a moderate rather than a libertarian. However, although these positions are contrary to libertarianism, the vast majority of his positions are in line with libertarianism. Johnson favors abolishing the income tax, ending the NSA, IRS, and legalizing marijuana, among other policies very consistent with libertarian principles.
Regardless of whether or not he is a “true libertarian”, him receiving the Libertarian Party’s nomination is a step in the right direction. It is very improbable that somebody will find a candidate that is 100% aligned with the positions they would like to see. In fact, Justin used the same logic to defend his support of Austin Petersen. He claimed that Petersen would be a step in the right direction, even though Petersen rejected the Non-Aggression Principle. In addition, Justin’s rebuttal to Johnson spreading libertarianism was simply a stab at Johnson’s positions rather than the claim itself.
Point #2: He’s better than Clinton and Trump
Justin’s main criticism of this point is that this popular claim makes Johnson out to be the lesser of three evils. I agree that it would be nonsensical to vote for a candidate if they were “an evil”, however I would not consider Johnson an evil. While he again has some anti-libertarian positions, neither him, Austin Petersen, or John McAfee were perfectly aligned with the Libertarian platform. The strides Gary Johnson plans to make upon being elected president are a step in the right direction towards liberty, and are significantly better than those of Clinton or Trump.
For example, neither one of them plan on legalizing marijuana, the income tax, or slimming down our outrageous defense budget. Gary’s positions that many deem not libertarian such as “baking the cake” are marginal compared to more important issues concerning the nation. The only alternative Justin proposes to voting for Gary is secession, which is far fetched. Even if a place such as Texas were to secede, it is unlikely that they would establish a free, voluntary, and stateless society, or even a minimal government. Even Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle, who claims he is more libertarian than Johnson, is not on the ballot in 50 states, so he is not the ideal carrier of liberty in the 2016 election.
Point #3: it will end the 2-party dictatorship
I will admit, Justin is correct that liberty can be spread in ways other than the Libertarian Party. One could vote for the Green or Communist Party and attempt to end the 2-party duopoly, yet the Libertarian Party is not only the best medium to spread liberty, but it is also the 3rd party with the greatest chance of becoming a mainstream party. In fact, if Gary Johnson happens to collect 5% in the election, the party would qualify for much more federal funding. I do not claim that the 2-party dictatorship would be ended by a vote for Johnson, yet it would certainly be a step in the right direction.
Point #4: it will help grow the Libertarian Party
Justin’s entire criticism of this argument is essentially that a vote for Gary is putting party over principle. While voting for party over principle is a ridiculous idea, a vote for Gary Johnson can remain consistent with libertarian principles. As I previously stated, Gary is not completely libertarian, as shown by some of his positions, yet his plans to tackle much larger issues than “baking the cake” in a libertarian and economically sound way is a step in the right direction if we are to spread liberty.
While Gary Johnson may not be the best best candidate in the 2016 presidential election, he is a step in the right direction, and there is simply no realistic alternative. I am personally not in love with Johnson, yet I believe there must be a compromise. A society with Gary Johnson as president would inevitably be more libertarian than the status-quo.