Responding to charges that Gary Johnson is not a libertarian, Jeremy Kolassa notes that libertarianism isn’t as rigid as some think, particularly on foreign policy. It is this sort of philosophical polytomy that has given us the choice of two libertarians in the 2012 election, both from different factions of the liberty movement.
For many libertarians like myself, Gary Johnson offers a breath of fresh air from several themes popular with the Ron Paul movement, which is fraught with conspiracy theorists, anarcho-capitalists, and armchair economists who believe themselves to be experts on monetary policy after reading End the Fed. Views of this nature are detrimental to the growth of libertarianism and have tainted Ron Paul’s campaign, rendering it unacceptable to many mainstream voters. Thus far, Governor Johnson has done well to avoid these poisons.
Unfortunately, not everyone within the Johnson campaign agrees with this strategy. While it is certainly not a requirement that campaign staffers agree entirely with their boss, there are some views that must be repudiated for the good of the campaign. Birtherism – a conspiracy theory believing that President Barack Obama was not born within the United States – is one of those views. For this reason, Gary Johnson must immediately remove his Virginia campaign Co-Director, Juanita Billings, as she has revealed that she subscribes to this theory.
With the Republican nomination contest effectively decided and Ron Paul becoming progressively marginalize in partisan politics, Gary Johnson is set to be the standard-bearer for libertarianism in mainstream politics. For the good of his own campaign and, more importantly, the reputation of the ideology he now represents, Gary Johnson must have a zero-tolerance policy for birtherism. Johnson’s brand of libertarianism rightly focuses on the important issues affecting the country. He, and those of us that support him, must work to expatriate this and other similar conspiracies that dabble in character assassination and distract from the issues that will allow libertarianism to offer a viable, common sense alternative to the ideologies that currently dominate the discussion.