Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Sorry, Evan, You're Not a Libertarian.

Well, the hits just keep coming, don't they? This has most certainly been an interesting election cycle for me as a Libertarian. I've heard that that anti-immigration, anti-trade, anti-constitution, anti-capitalist Donald Trump is "more libertarian" than the party's nominee. I've heard that a doddering old socialist who, until very recently, was also anti-immigration, and remains very anti-trade and anti-capitalist was "more libertarian" than the party's nominee. Hell, I've even heard that soft spoken tyrant Jill Stein is "more libertarian" than the party's nominee. The latest knee slapper comes courtesy of the #nevertrump crowd and their great white hope, Egg McMuff... erm... Evan McMullin. McMullin, who lazily sauntered into the race so late in the game that he is only on the ballot in eleven states, is the latest fringe nitwit to play the "more libertarian than the libertarians" card, asserting that "If Gary Johnson were a real libertarian, I probably would not be in this race." The question is, though, can this former spook turned Goldman Sachs lackey really claim the mantle of libertarian? Well, let's find out.

To put it succinctly, the answer is "no." A quick perusal of McMullin's campaign website reveals that the man is in favour of the same sort of ever irresponsibly ballooning budgets that the military have enjoyed for most of my life, or at least most of the time that I have been paying attention to politics. Perhaps the most glaringly anti-libertarian aspect of McMullin comes in the form of his support for the Patriot Act, a law that has opened the door to myriad violations of constitutionally protected privacy rights. McMullin supports the continuance of America's ridiculous foreign policy of never ending military action, as well as Hillary's ridiculous Nu-Red Scare (Nu-Red Scare is a registered trademark of The Blank Page). Then there is the matter of tax policy. McMullin likes to castigate Johnson for his support of the imposition of a national consumption tax (a plan which also includes abolishing the federal income tax, the corporate tax, and the IRS), but what is McMullin's more libertarian than the libertarians alternative? Well.... it's to simply leave the current system in place, but just lower the rates a bit. Some Libertarian you are, Evan. While I am generally pretty cynical toward the whole "Fair Tax" thing that Johnson is pushing (I tend to favour a flat tax, personally, if you absolutely insist on having income taxation that is), it is a far cry better than McMullin's non-reform. And given the idea that it abolishes an entire government department and gets rid of the income tax, it's pretty damn libertarian. Evan does not support the legalization of marijuana. Not really a libertarian stance, my man. Evan favours increased border restrictions. Again, not very libertarian. I could go on like this, but you get the idea, folks. Granted there are some things I like about McMullin. He is in favour of free trade, he doesn't support farm subsidies, he supports decentralizing education, he favours increasing the amount of work visas available for high skilled aliens, etc., but it is not enough to make me write him in as my choice in an election where a libertarian is already running.

Then there is the issue of party nomination. Johnson received the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination from capital "L" Libertarians. We don't do primaries. We nominate our party's candidate at the convention. The good and bad thing about this is that any fool who is a Libertarian Party member can seek out the nomination. You don't need a billion dollar "war chest" or any of that nonsense. You show up to a state convention, you debate, the delegates vote. Lather, rinse, repeat until the LNC where the final nomination is decided by card carrying, dyed in the wool libertarians. We had a contentious convention season that saw an attempted conservative coup of the party, the endearing and hilarious antics of the late Marc Allan Feldman, and even a sort of doxxing of the party chairman by a sore loser. After the coup was put down, the laughs stopped, and the dust settled, the delegates picked Johnson by a large margin (even beating every political hipster's favourite pretend libertarian, Ron Paul, who drew an awesome .11% on the first ballot as a write in). As a guy who's been voting Libertarian for various offices since his first election in 2004, I think I'll trust the words and judgement of my fellow Libertarians more than I will the words and ill informed assertions of a former CIA spook. Evan is a symptom of a problem I first identified after the national convention ended and the temper tantrums started. To a conservative, the perfect libertarian is a conservative. It may have lost us some votes, but I am incredibly glad we didn't pander to these people. As such, we may not win, but maybe this year we can finally cross that 5% threshold.