June 24, 2016

Brexit: Hated by All the Right People

1200px-Flag_of_the_United_Kingdom.svgAs global equities markets tumble and gold soars, the world outside the United Kingdom tries to make sense of just what our British cousins did last night. There are many narratives. UKIP Leader Nigel Farage is calling it “our independence day.” U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump says it’s a precursor to his own election in November. Many opponents are dismissing it as a racist backlash against immigrants and refugees.

Maybe it is a little bit of all those things. Maybe it is something else completely. Whatever else it may represent, one thing is undeniable for opponents of central economic planning, giant international bureaucracies and global crony capitalism: Brexit is hated by all the right people.

One doesn’t have to be an expert on European politics to instinctively understand that if the governments, the central banks and all their connected crony capitalists are howling there will be Armageddon if you do X, it is virtually always in your best interest to do X.

And howl is just what they have been doing, with a nonstop campaign to scare the daylights out of British voters should they consider withdrawing their consent to Brussels. As MEP Daniel Hannan pointed out, they haven’t been unwilling to just make things up in their desperation to intimidate the people into a Remain vote.

As an American, I can’t help thinking about George W. Bush’s scare-tactic speech to convince Americans to support TARP back in 2008. Public outrage had sufficiently worried Congress to vote against the bill the first time around. Bush’s speech, littered with many of the same pseudo-economic canards thrown at British voters today, convinced enough Americans to relent that Congress eventually felt safe ramming it through.

This time, it didn’t work.

For those dismissing the vote as the kind of “nativist” bigotry they say inspires the Trump movement in America, there is that inconvenient other little fact that the UK is the second largest net payer in the EU, next to Germany. Critics of the EU predicted, long before the rise of Nigel Farage, Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen, that the EU would fail when the net payers grew tired of subsidizing the net payees. British citizens just confirmed their prescience.

Ironically, the “nationalist” movements sweeping across the West are the precise opposite of nationalist movements in the 20th century. Then, nationalism was a centralizing force, antagonistic towards local government. Now, it’s a decentralizing force, taking economic and political power away from larger political units and returning it to relatively more local ones.

What it is not is necessarily a conservative, liberal or libertarian movement. Individual nations and even the local cultures within them have myriad visions for what they believe society should look like. The Trump movement longs for traditional conservatism, with its protectionist tariffs, government-funded infrastructure and restrictive borders. The secessionists movements in Vermont and Quebec, Canada sought to create socialist societies. And the “Texit” movement, well, they just want to be Texans.

Neither will Brexit be a panacea for all British ills. It is likely they will make mistakes in the short term, like most secessionist movements have in the past, including the Americans in 1783. But it will be Britons making their own mistakes and living with the consequences, something they have now demanded their right to do.

Whatever Brexit ends up looking like in the short and long terms, one can’t help remembering a night 27 years ago, when the people in a city in Germany decided they’d obey their masters no longer and knocked over a wall. Oh brave new world, that has such people in’t!

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

What Gary Johnson Should Have Said About Legalizing Heroin

maureen-morella-cnnIn one of the more predictable moments from last night’s CNN Libertarian Town Hall, Gary Johnson was confronted by the mother of a young man who ingested a single line of heroin and was disabled for life. Jacob Sullum has already weighed in on what Johnson should have said from a libertarian perspective, but his thoughtful and informed piece is still too verbose for a political campaign.

Libertarians like to make fun of “sound bites” and slogans, but if they ever want to win an election for dog catcher, much less President of the United States, they need to face the reality that people stop listening and stop reading when the answer is long and developed. Here is how Gary Johnson should have answered:

“Ms. Morella, I am very sorry to hear about what happened to your son. It’s a tragedy. But I have to tell you the truth, even though it’s not what you came here to hear. What happened to your son may not have happened if heroin were legal. Here’s why:

When drugs are illegal, they’re sold by criminals who have no business address. You can’t sue them if they’re negligent or prosecute them when they willfully defraud you.

Reactions like your son’s usually occur with what’s called a “hot load,” meaning there was another substance mixed with the heroin. If the heroin he ingested were sold by a legitimate business in the light of day, there would be an immediate investigation. If the product had dangerous ingredients in it or otherwise wasn’t what the package said it was, the owner would be sued. If it were discovered he did it intentionally, he’d be prosecuted.

Ms. Morella, no one in America is concerned that when they buy a bottle of gin, there is going to be foreign substances in it that are going to kill them. But they used to be. Know when that was? When alcohol was prohibited. They called it “bath tub gin” and tragedies like your son’s occurred all the time when only criminals could sell alcohol.

There is absolutely no difference between alcohol prohibition then and drug prohibition today. Your son’s tragedy is the 2016 equivalent of what happened to people drinking bath tub gin.

Prohibiting alcohol also led to the rise of heavily armed, violent gangs like Al Capone’s. You don’t see sellers of alcohol today behaving like Capone. Do you know why? Because that’s not how business is conducted in the absence of prohibition.

You said, “Can you people in positions of power please get rid of the drugs?” I’m the only politician who is going to tell you the truth. No. We’ve had a war on drugs for decades and there are more drugs now than ever. It’s a little like the government war on terrorism. Is there less terrorism today than fifteen years ago or more?

What we can do is stop subsidizing criminal drug dealers by taking away their legitimate competition. If you want someone to tell you what you want to hear about drugs, I’m sure Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be happy to do so. Their parties have told you they’ll get rid of drugs for fifty years. If you want the truth, the only way to make America safer is to end prohibition and allow all drugs to be sold like alcohol.”

The answer above is chock full of sound bites. Sound bites become headlines. That’s how you get your message out to 315 million people.

It also answers the woman’s question, something Johnson’s rambling answer failed to do.

This is the way Gary Johnson has to start answering questions if he’s going to take any advantage of the opportunity the Libertarian Party is being presented with during this election. Hopefully, his debate coach is listening.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Trump confirms he’s a Hamiltonian; invokes Lincoln’s protectionist fallacies

GOP-2016-Trump_sham1-725x483Is Donald Trump reading this blog? If so, he’s not grasping that Trump Isn’t Hitler; He’s Hamilton and Reality Check: Trump’s Platform is Identical to Lincoln’s weren’t meant to be supportive of his mercantilist economic ideas. Maybe that’s on me, the writer.

Regardless, Trump invoked both Hamilton and Lincoln, starting at about the 10:30 mark, during a speech yesterday. He quotes Lincoln saying, “The abandonment of the protective policy by the American government will produce want and ruin among our people.”

Like all protectionists, Trump seems to have no idea about the concept of opportunity cost. He posits that tariffs on foreign imports will bring back manufacturing jobs, which he says “the nation” desperately needs. But it never occurs to him that when millions of Americans buy sneakers made in China for $100 instead of sneakers made in America for $200.00, they create other jobs with the $100 they save.

Trump’s speech confirms several of the arguments I make in my latest book. One can draw a virtually straight line from the Federalists, through the Whigs, to the Republicans. Obviously, there are nuances over such a long period, but the core tenets of protectionism, crony capitalism and central banking never cease to be the foundation this house is built on.

More importantly, these are the core tenets of true conservatism in the British-American tradition, since  before the dawn of the industrial revolution. You can call Trump a lot of things, but “not a real conservative” just doesn’t hold water. Free markets, individual liberty and limited government are classical liberal ideas that have only resided within the conservative movement recently and have never been very welcome. That’s because they are all anathema to the conservative worldview that any change, from within or without, threatens to break the barriers between society and man’s dark nature.

The creative destruction of the market, the free movement of labor, capital and goods, and Jefferson’s libertarian principle that the government should be limited to “restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement” is the opposite of conservatism. That’s why Hamilton feared and loathed Jefferson; that’s why Trump fears and loathes the free market. He’s a true conservative, like Hamilton, Lincoln, Coolidge, Hoover and the rest.

 

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Tom Mullen, Jeff Deist, Jason Rink and Mary Ruwart on the Tom Woods Show

Tom Woods hosted a roundtable discussion on the Libertarian Party in 2016 and the pros/cons of Johnson/Weld. Listen here!


TOm woods

 

 

 

The only effective active shooter plan: Shoot back

gun free zonesWednesday’s  Buffalo News print edition features a front page piece by News Staff Reporter Gene Warner entitled, “Everyone should have a personal plan to survive in case of ‘active shooter.” As one might expect from this far left wing, Hillary Clinton mouthpiece, the ‘personal plan’ recommended by Warner’s full-page word blizzard leaves out the most effective, proven plan for dealing with an active shooter: shoot back.

Warner’s advice isn’t necessarily bad, but it only applies in a specific environment: the so-called “gun free zones” where all mass shootings in recent history have taken place. Orlando was no exception. Florida law prohibits firearms to be carried in any establishment serving alcohol.

The News writer trips over himself to avoid dealing with the obvious: active shooters aren’t able to commit mass shootings in places where the right to bear arms is respected because they get shot themselves.

That somewhat invalidates Warner’s assertion that workplaces face “the dilemma” of balancing an open environment with more stringent security measures. It’s only a dilemma when one assumes there is not a third alternative – to allow employees and/or visitors to carry personal firearms if they choose to.

To deny that this would have saved lives in Orlando last weekend is to sever all connection with reality. Certainly, the perpetrator would have killed someone, probably multiple people, even if some of the patrons were armed. One cannot expect even trained professionals to react before a single victim is shot.

But this man shot over 100 people, killing 49. If even 5% of the several hundred people in that nightclub were armed and reasonably proficient civilians, they would have put him down before he reached anywhere near that number.

No argument against this scenario holds water. Would the environment have been more dangerous with 8 or 10 people returning fire in a crowded club? No. Certainly, they may have hit innocent bystanders while shooting at the perp. But we’re talking about a body count of 49 with an unarmed clientele. Do the math.

The politicians and media currently demanding the government “do something” about Orlando would like to make the entire nation, including your home and all public spaces, “gun free zones.” In other words, they want to create the same conditions everywhere that allowed a single shooter to open fire on hundreds of people with no expectation of resistance.

The right to bear arms is not just some academic principle to be debated in an auditorium by professors. The right to bear arms is inextricably tied to the right to life itself, which is not the right not to die under any circumstances, but specifically the right not to be killed by another person. The only way to exercise the right to life here in the real world is by defending yourself against someone trying to kill you.

Denying individuals the right to bear arms eliminates their ability to exercise their right to life in a world where bad people are going to get guns, even when the law prohibits them from doing so.

In the wake of the tragedy in Orlando, we’ll hear much about a “national conversation” that “we” have to have about “sensible gun control.”

Allow this writer to translate that sentence. “We” means politicians and their media mouthpieces. “National conversation” means a nonstop, multi-media attack on the right to bear arms. “Sensible gun control” is about increasing the restrictions on gun ownership as part of the long, incremental march towards banning them entirely.

The Buffalo News is just the local affiliate of this massive political force which wants to control all aspects of your life, from the way you educate your children to the way your run your business to the people you choose to associate with to the amount of water in your toilet. Since many Buffalonians innocently rely on this left wing propagandist for all of their news, let me pose a few questions it’s safe to assume the Buffalo Pravda won’t:

  1. How many lives would have been saved if guns weren’t banned in Florida bars and at least a dozen or so (possibly more) patrons of Pulse were armed?
  2. How do the actions of less than a dozen “active shooters” justify infringing the rights of 315 million other people who haven’t shot anyone?
  3. If an individual is legally denied the right to own a gun and is subsequently killed by a home invader or even a criminal in a public space, do those who prohibited his or her gun ownership have some responsibility in the wrongful death?
  4. Why don’t the lives saved in Philadelphia, Plymouth, Spartanburg and Atlanta by civilians carrying guns matter? Why are “we” willing to sacrifice their lives in the name of “gun control?”
  5. Why are all of these shootings occurring in “gun free zones?”

The writers at The Buffalo News don’t have to agree with gun proponents, but the failure to even acknowledge the existence of another point of view is further proof that what this publication is selling isn’t news; it’s propaganda. Maybe it’s time they had some healthy competition. Take the survey the below to let us know what you think.

 

Does Buffalo need another voice on politics besides the Buffalo News?

Yes
No
I don’t know

Survey Maker

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Buffalo News Political Coverage Belongs in the Fiction Section

clinton valentineToday’s Buffalo News print edition features five articles on the Hillary Clinton campaign, including a front page, feel-good piece about how Clinton’s (almost) nomination has inspired other women. The News also chose to run a Politifact piece that endorses Clinton’s criticism of Trump’s trade policies, a criticism this writer happens to agree with.

The other three pieces could at best be described as neutral/supportive, although one questions whether the media has been too quick to pronounce Clinton the nominee. Nothing in these or any other recent articles the News has run on Clinton, outside of reader letters, can be described as remotely critical. This despite a large constituency within her own party that views Clinton as wholly-owned by Wall Street and a war hawk.

There are also five articles on Trump, including the Politifact article. Four of the five are negative. One is neutral, a reprint from Bloomberg News which reported Trump “distanced himself from his own fundraising estimate of $1 billion.”

Even this article could be construed as an attempt to cast a negative light on what Trump’s supporters consider a positive – that he’s not bought off by powerful special interests, as many on both the right and the left believe of Mrs. Clinton.

There is nothing in the Buffalo News that remotely suggests Trump might be better on foreign policy than Clinton, who has a lot to answer for regarding her role in the chaos raging throughout the Middle East and now spilling into Europe. Neither would readers of solely this paper know Trump set a record for votes in the California primary on Tuesday.

This is what passes for reporting on the 2016 presidential election in Buffalo’s only newspaper.

Make no mistake, this writer has no problem with a newspaper being biased. All media are biased and always have been. But there is a difference between bias and severing all connection with reality. Anyone relying on the News for their understanding of national politics might as well go to the fiction section of the nearest public library.

Full disclosure, I won’t be voting for Trump or Clinton in the November elections. I plan on voting for Gary Johnson.

Buffalonians reading this just started making owl noises, because in the fictional Buffalo News universe, neither Johnson nor the Libertarian Party exists. A search on the paper’s website yielded no headlines – ever – mentioning the candidate’s name, despite Johnson polling in double figures in three polls before his nomination and 16% in the latest poll in Utah. Even the left-leaning Washington Post describes the Libertarian Party as “so hot right now.”

Now, I’m just spit-balling here, but in a year where the candidates in both major parties have record-high negative ratings, wouldn’t a presidential ticket featuring two former two-term governors (of New Mexico and Massachusetts, respectively), nominated by the only third party with ballot access in all fifty states, be at least newsworthy enough for its existence to be acknowledged?

Not to the Buffalo News.

That’s not bias. That’s misleading the public. And it’s a disservice to the good people of Buffalo, who may not be receptive to the messages of campaigns other than Hillary Clinton’s, but certainly have an expectation that their only newspaper will acknowledge they exist.

Unlike Mr. Trump, I would never support any legal action against the News, no matter how poorly they serve the public. As a libertarian, I truly believe in free speech. I don’t even support libel laws if a newspaper outright lies (which I’m not suggesting is going on here). I believe the market can sort this out, when it’s allowed to work.

So, maybe it’s time the Buffalo News had some competition. What do you think? Let us know in the online poll below. Who knows? Perhaps an alternative is waiting in the wings (wink).

Does Buffalo need another voice on politics besides the Buffalo News?

Yes
No
I don’t know

Survey Maker

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Reality Check: Trump’s Platform is Identical to Lincoln’s

Publication1Donald Trump’s criticism of Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel is only the latest of his positions decried by the Republican Party establishment. They’ve opposed him throughout his campaign for his protectionist stance on trade, his immigration policies and his hostility towards the First Amendment, among other things.

All of this has been decried as “not conservative” and contrary to the party’s principles. Ironically, the so-called “Party of Lincoln” doesn’t recognize in Trump’s platform all the basic elements of Lincoln’s.

American’s tend to see history as a struggle between heroes and villains. Lincoln has been placed firmly in the hero category because of his widely misunderstood Emancipation Proclamation and for winning the Civil War. But when you get past the slavery issue, what’s left of Lincoln’s politics sounds a lot like Trump’s. They didn’t change significantly from the time of Lincoln’s first political speech:

“Fellow-Citizens: I presume you all know who I am. I am humble Abraham Lincoln. I have been solicited by many friends to become a candidate for the Legislature. My politics are short and sweet, like the old woman’s dance. I am in favor of a national bank. I am in favor of the internal improvement system, and a high protective tariff. These are my sentiments and political principles. If elected, I shall be thankful; if not it will be all the same.”

Lincoln was then a member of the Whig Party and it was a coalition of former Whigs and abolitionists that formed the Republican Party in 1854. And while there is no reason to doubt Lincoln’s personal opposition to slavery, it was Henry Clay’s “American System,” a repackaging of Alexander Hamilton’s platform, that defined Lincoln’s politics for most of his life.

Politically, the alliance with abolitionists allowed proponents of protectionism, internal improvements and a national bank to achieve the electoral success that had eluded them since 1800, when Jefferson’s victory rang the death knell of the Federalist Party.

“Internal improvements” was the language of the time for what we now call “infrastructure.” Prior to Lincoln’s administration, most roads and other infrastructure were privately funded and built. Both the Federalists and the Whigs had lost elections for sixty years largely for promoting government infrastructure and high tariffs. With Lincoln’s victory and the subsequent fifty-year dominance of the Republican Party, that trend completely reversed.

Lincoln ran on and executed his plans to subsidize railroads and other infrastructure. Trump wants to do likewise. Lincoln ran on and executed his plans to raise tariffs significantly in order to protect domestic manufacturers from foreign competition. Trump also wants to do likewise.

Trump has been criticized as dangerous to the First Amendment because of his continual attack on the press and threats to “open up our libel laws” as president and sue reporters who criticize him. Lincoln had him beat; he threw reporters in jail, just as the Federalists did under the Sedition Act during the 1790s.

While the issue of a central bank has been settled since 1913, it is noteworthy that Trump has lined up with libertarians in supporting an audit of the Federal Reserve. But he has given no indication he opposes its existence.

But what of Trump’s most controversial position, to deport 11 million illegal aliens? Certainly, Lincoln never supported anything like that, right?

Wrong. Until the day he died, Lincoln supported and actively sought to execute a rather bizarre plan by today’s standards, but widely supported at the time, called “colonization.” Promoted since the early 18th century, the idea was to free the slaves and then subsidize their emigration to Liberia (created for expressly that purpose), the West Indies or South America. Colonization was yet another Whig plank Lincoln inherited from his political idol, Henry Clay. In Lincoln’s own words,

”I can hardly believe that the South and North can live in peace unless we get rid of the Negroes. Certainly they cannot, if we don’t get rid of the Negroes whom we have armed and disciplined and who have fought with us, to the amount, I believe, of some 150,000 men. I believe that it would be better to export them all to some fertile country with a good climate, which they could have to themselves.”

In fairness, Lincoln was a supporter of foreign immigrants, opposing the anti-immigrant Know Nothings. But on the charge of racism, Lincoln has far more to answer for than Trump. Trump has repeatedly separated his professed admiration for people of other races with his staunch opposition to illegal immigration. Lincoln made no bones about his view that black people were inferior.

The media and Republican Party leadership has characterized Trump’s campaign as a departure from both the Republican Party’s principles and conservatism itself. In reality, it’s exactly the opposite. Trump’s platform not only represents a return to the founding principles of the Republican Party, but to the long held positions of conservatives in the British-American tradition.

Laissez faire markets and open borders have always been positions traditional conservatives staunchly opposed as a threat to the order and stability their entire philosophy is centered around. The Republican Party was born advocating tariffs and higher government spending. It has never changed those policies in practice, despite free market rhetoric in recent decades.

Trump’s success should come as no surprise. His economic ideas have had the support of truly conservative voters since the days of Alexander Hamilton. That’s why it is a somewhat futile exercise to look for a “true Republican” or a “true conservative” who departs significantly from Trump and can win. Voters seeking free markets, small government and individual liberty should look to Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party instead.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

Muhammad Ali Was No Draft Dodger; His Stance Against War Was Libertarian

220px-Muhammad_Ali_NYWTSAmerica awoke today to the sad news that boxing legend Muhammad Ali has passed away. And while the overwhelming majority of public remembrances will be praiseworthy, there are still those who have never forgiven Ali for his refusal to comply with the military draft in the 1960s. Even his archrival, Smokin’ Joe Frazier, resorted to calling Ali a “draft dodger.”

Ali took some controversial racial positions early in his career, some of which he regretted later in life, but the charge of draft dodger is completely unfounded. Ali never dodged the draft; he opposed it, accepting the legal consequences without any attempt to evade them. He didn’t flee to Canada or enroll in college to obtain a deferment. From the moment he learned of his induction, Ali stood firmly in the proud tradition of civil disobedience, saying “just take me to jail.”

And while Ali cited his religion as the chief basis for his objection to the war, most of his statements were firmly rooted in the libertarian principle of non-aggression:

“Why should me and other so-called ‘negroes’ go 10,000 miles away from home, here in America, to drop bombs and bullets on other innocent brown people who’s never bothered us and I will say directly: No, I will not go.”

This writer has long argued the declaration of war power granted to Congress is not the power to start a war, but to declare that one already exists, based on the founding libertarian principle of nonaggression.

Ali’s principled stand cost him quite a bit at the time. He was stripped of his boxing title and sentenced to five years in prison. While he eventually won an appeal and avoided the prison sentence, he was indebted for years and reviled by a large portion of the American public.

Throughout it all, he maintained his stance, reiterating the non-aggression principle over and over as he toured America speaking against the war. Certainly, racial inequality was interwoven into his position and some of what he said was regrettable, including “my enemy’s the white people, not the Vietcong, the Chinese or the Japanese.” But while those words were rash, it’s not like he didn’t have a point.

More importantly, history has vindicated his principled stand against a war nearly everyone now considers a mistake. After invading a tiny nation that had never attacked the United States and losing over 50,000 U.S. soldiers, the United States left Vietnam to the communists, who quickly took over the entire country.

According to proponents of the war at the time, this should have led to a “domino effect,” wherein the rest of Asia and subsequently the world succumbed to the communist menace. Instead, communism failed on its own and the Vietnamese began adopting a market economy a mere twelve years later, as eventually did virtually every other communist nation. Today, Vietnam is a trading partner with the U.S.

A lot of very smart people defended the Vietnam War at the time and for a long time afterwards. Some of the most hawkish wonks still do. Imagine the lives and fortunes that could have been saved if they had just listened to a loudmouthed young boxer with a purported IQ of 78, who wisely articulated the eternal law of nature in opposing an immoral and unnecessary war.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

An Anarcho-Capitalist’s Case for Gary Johnson 2016

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In the strangest presidential election year ever, the surprises keep on coming. Some of them are pleasant, though, including the huge surge in attention being paid the Libertarian Party.

Four years ago, a little over 20 press passes were issued to cover its national convention. This past weekend, over 250 journalists joined a record number of delegates at a convention that made the 2012 RNC seem like “the dance of the living dead,” as Rodney Dangerfield would put it.

But just as the Republican and Democratic Parties are deeply divided this year, so, too is the Libertarian Party, for relatively the same reasons. The Party’s winning presidential ticket, Gary Johnson/William Weld, aren’t viewed as true libertarians by almost half of the party’s delegates. The cybersphere is replete with comments and blogs from hardcore libertarians saying the Libertarian Party no longer represents them, that it’s nothing more than Republican Party Lite, etc.

I believe they’re wrong.

For the record, I am an anarcho-capitalist, which I believe is the only way to be 100% libertarian. Since just before Lew Rockwell outed me in 2011, I have believed the only way the human race will ever really free itself is to reject the state completely, along with all its works, and all its empty promises. And I believe we will get there. Someday, people will consider government itself as much a barbaric anachronism as we consider state religions today.

But getting rid of state religions took 5,000 years. Libertarianism has only been around a little over 300. Anarcho-capitalism is even younger. This is going to take time and, in the meantime, the political process is one of many avenues to try to advance liberty within the present framework. Voting is a 15-minute commitment. It doesn’t cost anything in terms of time or money and doesn’t stop one from pursuing liberty in any other way, including agorism, civil disobedience (but I repeat myself), homeschooling, etc.

The Libertarian Party has nominated some of the greatest voices of liberty in the past half century, including Ron Paul, Harry Browne and Michael Badnarik. Neither Johnson nor Weld are nearly as purely libertarian as any of these giants, but they’re going to get far more votes. Dissatisfaction with Trump and HIllary is certainly one reason. But it’s not the only one.

Libertarians don’t want to hear the other reason, but I’ll say it anyway. Contrary to libertarian-ish (in rhetoric only) icon Ronald Reagan, government is not the problem. The electorate is. As a social media friend remarked, “If you want to find out how interested your neighbors are in individual liberty, just go to your local planning board meeting.”

The truth is most Americans in 2016 aren’t ready for an ideologically pure libertarian message. This is an electorate that is angry with Washington, D.C. for not doing more, not for meddling too much. Grassroots conservatives complain Obama has gutted the military and (gasp!) negotiated with Iran. Grassroots liberals believe markets are too free and corporations “run rampant.”

Thanks to Trump and Hillary, millions of these Americans are going to find the Libertarian Party for the very first time. If the first thing they hear is “abolish the police,” “close all public schools” or “disband the army,” (all positions this writer would support), they’re going to stop listening immediately, never to be seen or heard from again.

Johnson/Weld has the potential to attract millions of new members to the Libertarian Party where they will be exposed to the far more libertarian views of most of its members. And no, this will not destroy the party or libertarianism as a philosophy, just as electing centrist Bill Clinton did not destroy the Democratic Party or the progressive philosophy. On the contrary, Clinton strengthened the party, paving the way for the far more progressive Barack Obama and the overtly socialist Bernie Sanders.

Perhaps a musical analogy would help. In the 1950s, white kids were discouraged from or forbidden to listen to black artists playing what was disparaged as “jungle music,” a.k.a. “rock ‘n roll.” Then, along came Pat Boone with a sexless, rather cringeworthy version of Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti.”

Despite Little Richard’s hilarious rant in Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll! about Pat Boone stealing his song, he admitted in a quieter moment that Boone’s whitewashed cover actually helped him, by introducing millions of white listeners to a style of music they may never have otherwise heard, at least at that time. Posterity reveres Little Richard as a founding father of rock ‘n roll. Pat Boone may be remembered for other things, but not that.

Gary Johnson might just be the Pat Boone of libertarianism for an American public subconsciously yearning for the real thing, but not yet ready to hear it.

Let there be no mistake. I disagree with Johnson on all of the same grounds as the hardest core libertarians. He’s wrong on bake the cake, in my opinion. I agree with Darryl Perry he’s wrong on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. And let’s be clear about what Perry and I disagree with: only Titles II and VII, which deny freedom of association to private individuals. Perry and I are both glad the federal government came in and crushed Jim Crow laws, “states’ rights” be damned.

Anyone who’s read my latest book knows I agree with Tom Woods: libertarianism is not “fiscally conservative and socially liberal.” It is a philosophy unto itself, with its own first principles. Woods and I disagree on the strategic value of a Johnson/Weld Libertarian Party Presidential ticket.

But let’s get some perspective here. If these are the worst of Johnson’s heresies against libertarianism, then I have to ask many of my fellow libertarians why they aren’t applying the same measuring stick to Donald Trump, whose only libertarian position is his noninterventionist foreign policy. Because of this alone, they’re willing to excuse Trump’s full-throated endorsement of NSA spying on American citizens, shutting down the internet, protectionist tariffs and promises to expand the military, if not to use it as often. Johnson is far more libertarian on all of these issues than Trump.

Even on foreign policy, Johnson is better. For, while both men agree the interventionist policy must change, both questioning NATO and the overseas military empire, Trump still promises yet another war, against ISIS. Johnson has made no such indication. Johnson told this writer he is willing to go “all the way” down the road of bringing U.S. troops home from overseas deployments, adding “something drastic needs to be done” with U.S. foreign policy.

The purest libertarians don’t believe there is any legitimate role for government, as Darryl Perry also pointed out in last weekend’s debate. Any involvement in politics at all evokes the old joke about the prostitute (Would you sleep with me for a million dollars? Sure! Would you sleep with me for $25? No, what do you think I am, a hooker? We’ve already established that. Now, we’re just bickering about price.)

If we’re going to pursue liberty through the political process at all, the only way to do so is to have a reasonable shot at winning. Even Ron Paul said that. That doesn’t mean selling out our principles. That nominating Gary Johnson is doing so is as hysterical an overstatement as the typical, neocon “Insert-Dictator-Name-Here is Hitler” meme.

As much as I abhor the left’s agenda, I am realistic about one thing: they’ve played it smart. The 20th century was as overwhelming a victory for progressivism as one could imagine. They didn’t achieve that by dogmatically refusing to support any candidate who parted with them on one or two issues. On the contrary, they got behind anyone who supported any of their positions, regardless of how ideologically impure the candidate may have been from their perspective.

It’s time for the Libertarian Party to play it smart, like the left has, albeit for different ends. The real world isn’t a think tank. Get behind Johnson/Weld and seize the opportunity pounding on your door. You have nothing to lose but your irrelevance.

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? Part One and A Return to Common Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America.

2016 Libertarian Party Nominee Gary Johnson Acceptance Speech

Garyjohnsonphoto_-_modifiedGov. Gary Johnson won the 2016 Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination on the second ballot with 55% of the delegate vote.

Austin Petersen was 2nd with 21%

John McAfee was 3rd with 14%

Johnson’s acceptance speech is below.