Yesterday afternoon, good friend of the site, The New American Media’s Brian Engelman, hosted a special edition of his “Agree to Disagree” program in order to interview Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Gary Johnson. Brian was kind enough to pass along some of my questions as well as one from fellow Lions of Liberty writer John Odermatt. I wanted to push Governor Johnson a bit on some core libertarian values.
My questions for Governor Johnson were as follows:
“Do you believe in the non-aggression principle?”
“Do you believe the government has the right to tax its citizens for merely living within it’s borders?”
“Do you believe you have a chance to win? If not, what is the purpose of your campaign?”
“Who is your favorite libertarian author?”
John also had a question on drug legalization:
“Your stance on legalizing Marijuana is well documented, but I’m curious to know the ideology that leads you to this result. Do you believe that an individual own their body and the government is overreaching by attempting to dictate what an individual ingests? Would you legalize all drugs?”
The full interview with Governor Johnson can be listened to here:
While I’ve certainly questioned some of Gary Johnson’s libertarian credentials in the past, I was pretty impressed with him in this interview. He answered most of our questions fairly well, and it seems like he’s refined some of his positions and certainly sounded more libertarian than in other interviews I’ve heard him in the past few months. While the Lions of Liberty aren’t endorsing any candidate in the 2012 Presidential Election, I do believe that out of all of the options, Governor Johnson would certainly be the best, and it’s not even close. Of course, the system is designed so that most people will never see him as a viable option, and will therefore most likely vote for whomever they perceive as the “lesser” of the two evils from the Obama-Romney double-headed monster.
My biggest issue with Governor Johnson in this interview was his seeming contradiction on the question of taxes. In response to my question ““Do you believe the government has the right to tax its citizens for merely living within it’s borders?”, Governor Johnson clearly states “No”. However, earlier in the same interview he advocated replacing the current tax code with a National “Consumption” (.ie. Sales) Tax. This would seem to contradict his answer to my questions on the government’s right to tax a citizen merely for living within its borders. One could argue that a sales tax only taxes the person for buying something, not “living”, but if anyone can explain to me how someone can live inside a country and never make a purchase of a product or good I’d love to hear it. Now one may argue a national sales tax would be better than a national income tax, but of course that wasn’t the question.
As we’ve said countless times in the past, liberty will never prevail simply through the ballot box. Only when the hearts and minds of the masses begin to think differently about the role of government and start to understand the philosophy of liberty will we begin to see greater societal change. Of course, that’s what we aim to do here at Lions Of Liberty.
If one does feel the need to vote, it would surely be better to vote for someone that can’t win and therefore can’t do any harm via the State. Gary Johnson is correct when he states that his positions most closely resemble those of Ron Paul, and if one feels the need to vote for whatever reason, I’d have a hard time recommending a better candidate out of the current crop.
Is that a passive endorsement?