He's Got My Vote

Great piece from TNR on Gary Johnson, perhaps the highest elected libertarian in recent times, and candidate for President in 2012:

"That's the first sign you know you're a libertarian," he says. "You see the red light. You stop. You realize that there's not a car in sight. And you put your foot on the gas."
posted by Dave on 11.12.10 at 09:56 AM


He has my vote too.

M. Simon   ·  November 12, 2010 11:20 AM

Reminds me of an old joke I heard:

I was riding shotgun with a buddy of mine in his car at night in a rural area. Going down a road, the light ahead turned yellow, then red. Fred wasn't stopping.

"Red light. Hey, Fred, red light!" I started to exclaim, gripping onto anything nearby.

"Naw, 'sall right! Me and my brother drive these streets all the time. You don't have to worry about it." Sure enough, we go sailing through, and we're still in one piece. I slowly relax my grip, still feeling a little worse for the wear. Unfortunately, it's only a minute or two before we encounter another light.

"Fred," I begin, looking around worriedly for a cop car waiting to pull us over.

"I told you, 'sall right! Me and my brother always do this!" Sure enough, there are no sirens after we go through a second red light. Again, I try to relax my grip, sitting back in my seat. Another minute down the road, there's another red light. Thankfully, this one was stale, and it was a bit before we were at it when it turned green, so I was able to relax.

*SCREEEEEEECH* The seatbelt put a major hurting on me as Fred suddenly slammed on the brakes, throwing me forward. After wincing a bit, I told him in choice words what I thought of him, and asked what the hell he was doing.

"What do ya think? My brother could be driving tonight!"

Anon   ·  November 12, 2010 5:11 PM

The Republican primary debates are going to be delicious!

Contemplationist   ·  November 12, 2010 5:35 PM

He's got my vote too. Posts like this will help get the name recognition he needs.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 12, 2010 10:31 PM

Well with that simple statement Mr. Johnson proves that he has no idea what it means to be a libertarian or, in fact, to possess any basic sense of formal ethics. There is nothing libertarian about refused allegiance to rules - quite the opposite. It is impossible to have a libertarian society without adhering to universal rules of behavior. It is only through universal recognition of basic rules of behavior that human beings can maintain liberty. Such rules are not open to personal interpretation, to be followed only when and where convenient. By the act of running the red light, Johnson subscribes instead to a form of criminal anarchy. He has decided that he and he alone may decide how to behave while behind the wheel of a deadly hunk of metal at a street intersection which is not his private property.

The libertarian action would be to propose to all parties with a property interest in said intersection that after some specified hour at night the light be switched from red to flashing yellow. If by whatever manner said parties have previously agreed to settle such questions this proposal is adopted, than Mr. Johnson would have increased the liberty of all and harmed that of none. Instead he chose to simply take it upon himself to break a rule he didn't feel like following. This, again, is the action of a criminal - not an ethical libertarian.

A libertarian may well demand a say in who makes the rules. He may question and protest what the rules are. But to flaunt a rule, regardless of his personal opinion of it, merely because he doesn't feel like following it is not libertarian, it is criminal. It is to betray the equal social contract on which libertarianism depends and pretend that one is god.

Such an admitted criminal will never get my vote. People like Johnson give real libertarians a bad name. But then again, I refuse to vote for politicians.

ChevalierdeJohnstone   ·  November 13, 2010 3:10 AM

For the life of me, I am unable to see safely driving through a meaningless red light as "criminal anarchy," any more than deliberately failing to feed a parking meter.

Eric Scheie   ·  November 13, 2010 1:06 PM

It's not a requirement of libertarianism to question rules, but it helps =)

Ryan Waxx   ·  November 13, 2010 5:29 PM

One could at least argue feeding the parking meter serves some useful purpose. The red light in absence of traffic serves none.

Thomas Jefferson said citizens have a duty to disobey unjust laws.

Now, of course we can't all just go around disobeying rules willy-nilly, but in law there's a concept of "reaonsble person."

TallDave   ·  November 13, 2010 6:24 PM

Are there any pedestrians around?

Joseph Hertzlinger   ·  November 14, 2010 3:28 AM

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