Monday, November 5, 2012

Gary Johnson: What I Like

The other day, I said I would post what I did like about Gary Johnson, the presidential candidate I did vote for, rather than what I didn't like about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.

It took longer than I intended, but as Horton the Elephant said, "I meant what I said and I said what I meant." So here goes...

*Civil Liberties-This is the absolute biggie. Our nation, from its very beginning, has emphasized the personal freedom of its citizens. In the aftermath of 9/11, various "anti-terrorist" measures jeopardized those freedoms our Founding Fathers fought so hard to attain, freedoms protected and expanded by the hard work and sacrifice of those who came later. The federal government has used its police powers to demand library reading records without a judicial warrant and detained an American citizen without trial. Although some of the most dangerous provisions have been recently struck down, others remain in place and the parts that were ruled unconstitutional might still return, as the Obama Administration has appealed. Johnson said he would not have signed the Patriot Act and the later National Defense Authorization Act that have threatened American liberties.

What good is defeating the Islamists of al-Qaeda whose demands go beyond the U.S. not having bases in the land of Mecca and Medina, all the way to demanding we convert to Islam and abolish separation of church and state if we end up becoming a police state at home?

*Free Trade-At different points in the past, I have praised Obama for supporting free-trade agreements with other nations like South Korea, Panama, and Colombia. I read a book in high school entitled The End of Globalization: Lessons from the Great Depression about the Great Depression and how tariff walls and despotic autarkic regimes like the fascists and Nazis made things worse. There's an adage, "If goods don't cross borders, armies will" and although that doesn't always hold true (people thought the First World War was impossible due to intra-European trading relationships), economic integration has contributed to the cooling of tensions between the United States and China that led to war scares in the late 1990s and things like the capture of a U.S. spy plane by the Chinese early in the Bush presidency. Johnson has strongly committed to free trade.

*Foreign Policy-To be perfectly blunt, war sucks. War is evil. War is dead men (and women), or mangled men and women whose lives will be diminished forever afterward. War is broken families. War is burned houses and cities. War destroys rather than creates. I shed no tears for Saddam Hussein and his two evil sons, but the cost to the United States of the Iraq adventure has been enormous, in terms of money, lives, and America's strategic position.

I am not so naive as to believe the outcome of beating our swords into plowshares will lead to anything but us plowing for those who don't, but that doesn't mean we should go looking for trouble. Bin Laden is dead and the Cold War is over and an interventionist foreign policy is something we are increasingly unable to afford.  It's time to re-evaluate our foreign policy priorities. Full-blown withdrawal from everywhere in the world is not practical--for starters, the U.S. Navy guarantees freedom of the seas for all countries--but there are plenty of areas where cuts can be made that leave us strong enough to deal with legitimate threats. Gary Johnson has explicitly stated he is not interested in picking a fight with Iran, which could turn into a bloodbath and strategic disaster.

*The War on Drugs-Let the record state I do not use any recreational pharmaceuticals. In fact, I do not even drink alcohol or coffee. However, the Drug War has jeopardized Americans' freedoms in various ways (asset forfeiture abuses are a biggie) and cost vast amounts of money. Drug arrests often set otherwise-harmless people on the road to becoming hard-core criminals. Prohibition of alcohol failed; why would doing the same for, say, marijuana, be any better? Johnson has advocated legalizing, regulating, and taxing currently-illegal narcotics. Legalizing and taxing marijuana would save billions of dollars and generate billions more in tax revenue.

I could post some more, but I have some more urgent projects I need to work on. Don't forget to vote tomorrow, or today if the lines aren't too long.


  1. My own reason for supporting him is his improvement to Veteran's Benefits and the like. His Civil Liberties stance won me over as well.

  2. His stance on striking down the Patriot Act and the National Defence Authorization Act would have won me over in a heartbeat were I an American. That's the kind of promise I'd like to hear my leaders make, especially concerning things like the useless drug war.

  3. What I've come to realize, based on my own observations of politics, is that what one promises and what one accomplishes are two very different things. I remember Obama being big on shutting down Guantanamo, but the attempt and, I'm sure, some nasty security briefings convinced him that security was more important.

  4. Re: Gitmo, the impression I had was that Congress refused to vote for any funds to move the prisoners anywhere or hold civilian trials for them.

    However, I think the idea to hold a civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Monhammed in New York City for 9/11 was scrapped because people thought it would be this horribly disruptive circus that could provoke violence.