Yes, You Do Have a Choice: Gary Johnson

Little is left but the formalities in our upcoming Presidential vote. Tuesday night, barring some screwball vote-counting scandal, we will know the winner. At this stage, the polls are too close to determine for sure the outcome. I can safely predict, however, that Gary Johnson will not win.

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian* candidate. He will enjoy a monumental moral victory if he garners even 1% of the vote. If he gets 5%, look for both liberals and conservatives to run into the sea and drown themselves.

No matter which side you are on, you should consider learning about Gary Johnson. He is different. As Governor of New Mexico, he used his veto power 200 times, more than the other 49 put together. Before entering politics, he started a mechanical contracting company and grew it to employ 1000 people. He supports gay marriage rights and despises the war on drugs. He advocates getting the US out of foreign wars that are not clearly in the US interest and he says it is not government’s job to bail out companies.

Every liberal can find something in Johnson to like. Every conservative as well. That does not mean Johnson is your man, and I don’t intend to convince you of that. Chances are, you have already decided for whom you will vote on Tuesday.

I would, however, challenge you with this: Is it just barely possible that Johnson sees the real problems we face better than either Romney or Obama? Obama’s vision for America is one of individuals as essentially wards of the state–except of course the businesspeople who make entitlements possible. They are more like slaves. Romney, like most Old Guard Republicans, loves government but doesn’t want to look like he loves government. He has several streaks of nasty social conservatism running through him as well.

If you consider yourself staunchly left or right, ask yourself why you put so much trust in government to right every social wrong instead of doing it yourself or tell people how to behave in their private lives instead of minding your own business. If you think that a vote for a libertarian is wasted, explain to me why you think our decades-long slide toward fiscal oblivion will suddenly end with the election of a Republicrat.

No amount of pretending will alter the fact that we cannot continue to live the way we are living. At some point, the sheer weight of entitlements will smother us in debt. Our civil liberties are being trashed by both sides and neither side seems to be able to explain why engaging in multiple foreign wars is a good idea. We citizens have been reduced to servicing (yes, I said it) big companies and big politicians. Time to get off our knees.

So don’t vote for Johnson. That’s fine with me. But at least take the time to look at his stand on the issues. You’ll be hearing a lot more from libertarians over the next few years. We are not strange, we do not hate others because they are poor or look different from us, and we are by no stretch of the imagination stupid. We just want to be free and we want the same for you.

We also think that given the chance, most of you would do others much more good by your own devices than by being taxed and having government do it. We like the rich–when their gains are honest. We don’t pretend to know who you should sleep with or what you should smoke. We think parents know better than teachers’ unions and state governments what is best for their kids. All in all, we are a pretty likable bunch when you get to know us for real instead of reading the scare stories Republicrats tell about us.

America can recover, but it will take reclaiming the strength and dignity of the individual. It will take more people like Gary Johnson running and succeeding. It will take brave people telling the truth to the Left and the Right. Johnson represents you more than you know. So don’t tell me you don’t have a choice. You do. Make it a good one.

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*I am a (little “l”) libertarian, a proponent of limited government. The word “Libertarian” (big “L”) denotes the political party, with which I am not affiliated.

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About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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