On October 28th, an op-ed by Daniel Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University was sent to me. The title: ‘The Libertarian Party Reduces Liberty’. In the article, professor Klein makes it apparent that he identifies as a libertarian and he seems to makes a logical argument that the Libertarian Party takes votes away from the Republican Party, thereby reducing the amount of elected pro-freedom politicians. Since the Republican Party is significantly more pro-freedom than the Democratic Party, argues Klein, the existence of the Libertarian Party is detrimental to the primary goal of its members. The author pleads with libertarians to work within the Republican Party instead of helping Libertarian Party candidates play spoiler and handing elections to the Dems. Klein mentions that if Ross Perot had not run as an independent candidate for president in 1992 – and hadn’t received 19% of the vote – Bill Clinton never would have beaten George H. Bush.
Is the Republican Party pro-freedom, though? Is it realistic to believe that we libertarians could ‘work within the Republican Party’?
Before I explain why the Republican Party is far from a pro-freedom entity, I must state for the record that the Democratic Party is an authoritarian, socialist, anti-American party that seeks to eradicate the concept of freedom from humanity. I hate modern leftism with a passion. Modern leftist ideology seeks to destroy freedom, individuality, independence, families, capitalism, and peace. Here’s why I disagree with the esteemed professor, though: The Republican Party is largely indistinguishable from the Democratic Party, especially over the past few decades. In order to prove this point, I could simply remind you that despite disagreeing with (and campaigning on platforms directly opposed to) around 95% of Obama’s policies, the 100% Republican federal government has done very little to reverse the most damaging leftist policies employed by Obama (infinite wars, spending, domestic surveillance, government planning of the economy) despite controlling the government for the past two years.
Yes, the Republicans cut taxes (though the individual income tax was barely decreased and it is only temporary). Yes, Trump kept the perennial presidential promise to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Yes, Trump returned some of the land that Obama stole from Utah. And yes, Trump withdrew from the meaningless Paris Climate Accord and repealed the Orwellian ‘net neutrality’. And the ACA individual mandate seems to be gone, which is fantastic news. But Trump is Trump. As most Americans realize, there may literally be nothing consistent or predictable about him, and many Republicans in Congress openly disagree with his decisions – especially his pro-freedom decisions. (Yes, I am aware that nearly every Republican with an upcoming election is attaching themselves to Trump’s coattails in order to win reelection.
Republicans claim to support individual freedom. After two years of 100% control, they have kept marijuana as a schedule I controlled substance – the designation that makes its very possession in any amount a crime, and a designation that explicitly states it has “no medical use” and a high risk of addiction, both of which are foolish notions that everyone knows to be wrong.
Republicans claim to support conservative fiscal policy. Yet, spending continues to rise at the ridiculous levels that they have been rising for decades. The Republican House, Senate, and President continue to give billions of your dollars to just about every foreign nation on Earth. Trump and the other fiscally conservative Republicans plan to steal money from you and borrow money in 2019 in order to give $28,000,000,000 to other nations throughout the year. Wasn’t Trump supposed to be all about ‘America first’?
Republicans love talking about how much they support the natural right to keep and bear arms and how the 2nd amendment guarantees that the government could never take away that right. Surely, Republicans would not be the ones to introduce gun control bills in the US House and US Senate, then. Right? Wrong. In addition to sponsoring and pushing for bump stock prohibition, increased background checks, and ‘red flag laws’, Congressional Republicans immediately poisoned the ‘concealed carry reciprocity act’. (Which I predicted would have zero chance of ever passing when Trump first mentioned it on the campaign trail in 2016) Republicans were successful in killing the bill that would have allowed those permitted to carry firearms in their home state to travel across the US.
Think about it: Ideologically, how different is McConnell (the Republican Senate leader) from Schumer (The Democratic Senate leader)? If you follow politics as closely as I do, you know that they could almost be ideological twins.
Surely, the Republican politicians who represent ultra-conservative states support freedom, right? Wrong. Very wrong.
Make no mistake; there are Republican candidates who support freedom. There are very few Republican nominees who support freedom, though. It turns out that primaries are not what they appear to be. Long before the primary ever occurs, leadership of each party generally chooses their nominee. Due to legal and strategic influencers, parties hold primaries to ‘choose’ a nominee. Party leadership uses their money and power to guarantee that their candidate wins the primary. Sometimes, party leaders simply refuse to allow pro-freedom candidates to appear on the primary ballot (this is generally accomplished by suing the candidate and challenging the petition signatures, thus delaying the candidate long enough to keep him out of the primary.
President Trump is not totally pro-freedom, either. Technically, he is going to pass more gun control than Obama did, since he already directed the ATF to reclassify ‘bump stocks’ as illegal/controlled items. Trump is also an avid supporter of red flag laws. A few months ago, the Republican President famously said “I like to take the guns first” before getting a warrant or conviction or otherwise proving that a gun owner is mentally unfit to own a firearm. Trump also does not seem to have any inclination to curtail welfare and government manipulation of the economy.
Trump has mentioned that he loves eminent domain and his Attorney General, Jeff Sessions has instructed police departments to INCREASE the practice of civil asset forfeiture. Trump has personally encouraged police to be more violent and less gentle when dealing with suspects. He also advocated for a federalization of all police forces while on the campaign trail, and made very clear that he believes police should need less evidence and/or suspicion to incarcerate, search, and outright punish American citizens without due process.
Republicans support government-controlled education, just like the Democrats do. Republicans support government-controlled nutrition, exercise, business, zoning, law enforcement, and nearly every other authoritarian policy that the Democrats do. The difference? They are more likely to identify as religious, they pretend to be tougher on illegal immigration, and they pretend to support gun rights more than their opponents.
Regarding the electoral arguments that professor Klein makes in the op-ed: He mentions that Governor Gary Johnson should not run for US Senate in New Mexico because he is taking votes away from the Republican candidate. This type of logic is antithetical to liberty and individualism, since it assumes that every Republican candidate OWNS the votes of every pro-freedom individual, and that we are being bad citizens by refusing to vote for them. Additionally, New Mexico voters already rejected the Republican and elected the Democrat. Since Republicans can’t win in New Mexico, shouldn’t Republican voters all vote for the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson? A few years ago, the same voters elected Johnson to be governor for eight very successful years, during which he was one of the only politicians in US history to ACTUALLY support limiting the size and power of the government.
We are seeing a similar scenario unfold in New York. Current Governor, Andrew Cuomo is the Democratic incumbent and the Republican nominee is hardly campaigning at all and has not even shown his face until a few weeks ago. More likely than the NY Republican beating Cuomo is me winning the Mega Millions. Additionally, the Republican nominee does not support freedom. Larry Sharpe is the Libertarian nominee for NY Governor. He has been campaigning for over a year. He has raised and spent hundreds of thousands of dollars. He supports the utmost amount of freedom for every individual in NY. Sharpe has been energizing Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, independents, and non-voters to support his campaign. If you live in New York and believe in low taxes, the right to self defense, and the right to property, you align most closely with Larry Sharpe, not the Republican candidate. Since Sharpe has a much more broad appeal and more energized support base than the practically non-existent moderate Republican, shouldn’t the Republican drop out and back Sharpe?
This same scenario occurs in many states around the US. As I discuss in my article about the COS, very few Republicans in the US on any level actually want citizens to have freedom. Libertarians do. Libertarian leaders and politicians believe in real property rights and constitutionally limited government. Libertarians have so much distrust and skepticism for government (and all candidates in internal elections) that it is mandatory that ‘NOTA’ (none of the above) is an option in every single election related to Libertarian officers or candidates on every level. Meanwhile, the Republican leaders are busy anointing nominees for office before primaries even occur. So much for supporting the will of the voters.
Some may argue that the Libertarian Party has technically existed since the 1970s, and since it has yet to make substantial progress electorally, it is not worth supporting. Until recently, I believed this, as well. Here’s why I have moved away from supporting the Republican Party and why I find myself supporting the Libertarian Party more each day: Being that both major parties’ candidates prefer to debate only one opponent, the Republican and Democratic parties consistently do everything that they can to exclude Libertarian opponents from debates. As you might imagine, it is extremely difficult to win an election without participating in the debates. In New Mexico, Governor Gary Johnson (who is generally considered the worst orator in the entire libertarian movement) did participate in the debate for US Senate a few days ago. The TV station that hosted it polled over 3,000 viewers after the debate regarding who won. Gary Johnson came in just a few points below the Democratic incumbent and 39 points ahead of the Republican candidate.
Summarized in one sentence, this op-ed essentially admits that Republican politicians largely violate their own platform and work against freedom, and simultaneously plead with Libertarians to stop offering voters better pro-freedom candidates because they are taking votes away from the worse Republican candidates. This author is not the only Republican to recently go public with their resentment for the Libertarian Party. On his SiriusXM show, Sean Hannity has been begging pro-freedom voters in Indiana to stop abandoning the Republican candidate for US Senate in favor of the better Libertarian candidate, Lucy Benton.
I believe that it was actually Gary Johnson who said during his presidential campaign in 2016 something to the effect of: “Why don’t you help elect a Libertarian just once, and if you really don’t like freedom, you could go back to electing authoritarian Republicans and Democrats in two years.”
Since the 1860s, Republicans and Democrats have shared control of the US (and state and local) government. Under Republicrat rule, freedom in America has only diminished, taxation has increased infinitely, spending has increased even more, and the two parties have colluded against Americans more often than they’ve stood for constitutional policies. If you want to maintain the current trajectory, continue to support the two large parties. If you want more freedom than you have now, there is only one party for you: The Libertarian Party.