Many people, including myself, were in awe to see, not just one, but TWO Libertarians running for president this year in the Republican party. This is the Libertarian’s chance to really get their message across. Although Libertarian’s, Ron Paul & Gary Johnson have some fundamentally different messages. Neither one is better than the other (although I prefer Paul’s approach for me personally).
Many people who read this are already familiar with Ron Paul. They are familiar with Murray Rothbard, Mises, Hayek, Hazlitt, etc. Ron Paul’s views are deeply rooted in philosophy. He even said at one point that Ayn Rand was an influence on him as well. This approach is somewhat sophisticated. It’s intellectually stimulating. However, this also means that a lot of what Ron Paul says are over people’s heads. The problem with Paul is that when he speaks, he’s speaking philosophy. I enjoy it, however, there are people that don’t. There are people that:
A) Don’t understand philosophy or know Hayek, Rothbard, etc.
B) People that are just not interested in hearing philosophy. They just want a system that works.
This is where Gary Johnson fits in. He is not walking into the debates, speaking on radio stations, etc. speaking about Mises or Hayek. He is walking in talking about cost-benefit analysis. Are people getting back what they are putting in. He’s pointing out, from a “guy on the street” aspect, that out government programs don’t work. They don’t need more money, they just need the axe. Many people overlook Paul because they don’t understand what he’s talking about. Now Johnson is in the race and bringing a fresher look to Libertarianism.
The fundamental difference between the two simply stated is; Ron Paul speaks from a philosophical view, whereas Johnson speaks of a consequentialist viewpoint. The exciting thing is that both of them are running for president. Hopefully Johnson gets more time to shine. People who are not interested in freedom as a philosophy, will hopefully listen to Johnson and support freedom from a consequential standpoint.
I’d vote for Johnson before I’d vote for Obama. Sure, he’s try to slash social spending that I think is vital, but he’d also try to end the war on drugs, terrorism, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. If I’m going to have to choose between two imperfect politicians, I’ll choose the one who will do the least damage and the most good: in this case, Johnson.
This is the Devil’s Bargain that I think many of us on the Left are struggling with: do we vote for Obama and keep our social safety net programs intact, or vote for someone like Johnson, who will pull back from many of the most egregious and systematic offenses to Civil Liberties that Obama has refused to stop? In all likelihood, I will be voting for a 3rd-party candidate in 2012. But this is indeed a tough choice for all of us.
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