So I watched Gary Johnson’s livestream from Sacramento on Facebook, and I went into it hoping that I could be persuaded to support Gary Johnson. I hope on an almost constant basis that I can have it shown to me that my issues with Johnson have been blown way out of proportion and that he isn’t really as bad as I think he is. Three days until the election seemed the perfect time to give him one last chance. I just want you to understand the context, because I did want to be convinced. Of course I want to be convinced. The Libertarian Party is practically in love with Gary Johnson–still–and I sincerely doubt that he’ll be going anywhere, and suspect we’ll be dealing with him again in 2020. It would certainly be great if I could at least tolerate this guy.
Of the speakers, Brando Eaton nailed it. He spoke of libertarianism, and it was wonderful. He spoke of the positivity, about how we should all be free to be ourselves, and how we should never hide who we are. I wholeheartedly agree. Brando stated that he is new to libertarianism, and I suspect that, as he explores it further, he will look back on this day and regret that he favored Johnson.
Listening to Gary Johnson speak makes it clear that he is not a great orator. This isn’t inherently a problem; not every politician is going to be a Martin Luther King, Jr. or a Barack Obama. Johnson trips over himself a lot, fumbles around a lot, and hearing him prepare to launch into why our country isn’t a democracy was absolutely painful. He fuddled around for a few seconds, trying to collect his thoughts, and something became very, very clear–inescapably clear.
Gary Johnson sounds like a pot-head. Worse, he sounds like someone who has smoked way too much weed in his life.
I know this is going to make marijuana advocates angry. Look, I’m against the drug war. I think it’s cute that you want to legalize marijuana, but I think you’re fundamentally missing the problem. That marijuana is outlawed is a symptom of the illness, not the illness itself. If you legalize marijuana, you are basically giving someone cough syrup to treat the coughing that is caused by their lung cancer, while ignoring the lung cancer. You could make the argument that before we treat the lung cancer we have to get the coughing under control, but I would point out that if we treat the lung cancer we will, by extension, get the coughing under control.
The drug war is the problem. Given how ubiquitous marijuana is–yes, it will help a lot of people to legalize it and to release non-violent offenders. But cocaine remains illegal. MDMA–one of the best things ever synthesized–remains illegal. We’re still picking and choosing our substances, forcing our morality and standards onto others, and telling people what they can and can’t do. And, again, you could say that repealing prohibition against marijuana is the first step on the road to legalizing all drugs, but I would reply that…
You’re full of shit to make that argument.
No one has made any moves whatsoever to even discuss the eventual legalization of all drugs. Even if we totally and completely legalize marijuana, it will do nothing to end the drug war. Why do I say that? Well, look around. Alcohol has been legalized, and the drug war persists. Taking one drug or another out of the drug war will not end the drug war. Allowing people to drink alcohol has done nothing to help the legalization of marijuana, to further the legalization of heroin and foxy, to pave the way to the eventual legalization of methamphetamine. Taking one drug off the list will do nothing to eliminate the list.
It was dismaying to hear Johnson speak about the legalization of marijuana and to hear the crowd’s loudest roar of the evening. I don’t mean to be harsh here, but… Who cares? If you’re over 25 and you’re still smoking weed regularly, then you need to re-evaluate your life. Look, man, I’ve been there. As I said, I consider MDMA to be the greatest of mankind’s achievements. I’m not exaggerating when I say that. From 18 to 21 or 22, I did a lot of drugs and smoked a lot of weed, though I always avoided blow, crack, meth, and heroin.
But there comes a point when it’s time to put the bong down.
So let’s make this clear–inescapably clear. Being for the legalization of marijuana is not the same thing as being against the drug war. Ron Paul was against the drug war. He stood on a Republican stage and advocated the legalization of heroin in New Hampshire, and he explained that we don’t need the government telling us not to do drugs. This is not in any sense what Gary is doing, or what Gary intends to do. Gary wants to legalize marijuana, not end the drug war.
And this is why people accuse us of being pro-gay, pot-smoking Republicans. It’s what Gary Johnson sounds like.
Then he said that he wanted to end Washington gridlock. What? He may be the first Libertarian I’ve ever heard who wanted Congress to be effective. He wants the government to get stuff done. Again–what? This is directly at odds with the whole of libertarianism. Dude, we want the government to be gridlocked, because that means they aren’t screwing everything up.
He described the election as a 6-lane highway, with Clinton on one side and Trump on the other, and then added that the Johnson/Weld ticket is a middle path. And he’s not wrong. The Johnson/Weld ticket is a middle path. It is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It does take the small government ideas of the Republicans and put them with the socially liberal ideas of the Democrats. However, if the Republicans actually kept to their small government ideas, then they would also be socially liberal, because “small government ideas” mean they wouldn’t be using big government to force their morality onto others.
See why it’s pot-smoking Republicanism?
I have said in the past that Libertarianism is what would happen if Republicans actually practiced what they preach, and that is more true than ever. If you’re for a small government, then you’re automatically against using big government to force your morality onto people. Republicans, of course, are viewed in the eyes of the masses as for small government. We know this isn’t the case, and that they only want small government when it protects their morality, but most people don’t see it that way. Most people think “Small Government = Republicans.” And it’s true… If Republicans actually believed in small government, then they would be against using the government to force Christian morality onto everyone.
So… How is Gary different from a pot-smoking Republican?
There have been plenty of Republicans who have spread the message of small government, and even many who wanted smaller government than Johnson. I would suggest that Cruz’s government would probably be smaller than Gary Johnson’s, and I know that Castle’s would be–though Castle is a Constitutionalist.
I lost interest when Johnson’s daughter began talking about how hard her father worked. It was depressing. Why weren’t we talking about the stuff that Brando talked about? That is the message of liberty! That is the message that resonates with people. Ron Paul proved that. Instead, we got to hear what was almost certainly a lie about how they wake up at three in the morning and don’t stop until midnight.
Why isn’t the Libertarian Presidential candidate talking about how he dreams of a world where I am free to be me, where you are free to be you, and where no matter what you think of me, no matter what I think of you, we leave each other the hell alone if we don’t want to be friends. I dream of a world where we stop shouting at each other, where we agree to live and let live, where we accept that “I’m not hurting anyone. You’re not hurting anyone.” is all that matters.
That is the essence of libertarianism. You be you and do your thing. I’ll be me and do my thing. If our things overlap, great–let’s work together and build something positive. If they don’t, hey, no biggie, we can agree to disagree, which in itself is a positive thing. I don’t care if you’re a hard worker. I don’t care if you’re lazy. I don’t care if you smoke weed. I don’t care if you are gay. I don’t care if you are trans. I don’t care if you’re straight. I don’t care if you’re white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or anything else.
That’s what freedom is. It’s not about how hard of a worker our nominee is, or how hard he campaigns. It’s about whether or not he wants to stand up and tell everyone, “Hey! Start minding your own business, and leave everyone else alone.” If that is not the Libertarian candidate’s primary message, then something has gone very, very wrong.
Why isn’t that our message? Why is “Trump and Hillary are really bad, aren’t they?” our message?
We have such a powerful, positive, and beautiful message to share–one of freedom, of people laughing and smiling and getting alone, of people leaving each other alone, of liberty, of friendship and cooperation–and our presidential candidate is not saying a word about it. And even when our Vice Presidential candidate isn’t bending over backward to lick Hillary’s butt, he isn’t saying anything about this spectacular message.
Can’t we all just get along?
Yes. Yes, we can. The reason that we can’t is that we have this gigantic state that pits us against one another and gives other people a way to force their standards, views, and opinions onto us. This pisses us off, so we attempt to take the initiative and force our standard, views, and opinions onto them before they can do it to us. We don’t have to do it. The other people are not bad guys. They are not evil tyrants-in-waiting. They are not itching to destroy your freedom or to tyrannize over you. Just leave them be, and they’ll leave you be.
Then we can all relax, be ourselves, and freaking live.
Why isn’t this our candidate’s message?