Gary Johnson must refute birtherism

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.

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3 thoughts on “Gary Johnson must refute birtherism

  1. Thanks for getting my name out here, Chris. I believe that Gary Johnson will agree that I have a right to my own personal beliefs, and that those beliefs will not hinder his victory. Like myself, you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I’m just questioning. Whether I think the president was born in Kenya or in Hawaii is not an anti-libertarian matter. As a matter of fact, it’s my Constitutional right to believe whatever I wish to believe. Just as it is your right to publish whatever you like.

  2. Any candidate for president who wants to be considered viable (and sane) must reject the silly birther theories and other wacky conspiracy theories. At the same time, candidates can’t spend their time policing the odd or discordant views held by their supporters. This kind of “guilt-by-association” is a lose-lose for everyone involved.

    My suggestion? Gary Johnson should go on The Tonight Show or the Colbert Report and make fun of birtherism, maybe joking about how people have questioned his eligibility to run for president because he’s from a foreign country (New Mexico).

    • Fair point for most federal candidates. But two things in particular make Johnson’s campaign different: It is a very small network of people, making it much easier to sever ties with these theories; secondly, because there are far fewer representatives of Gary Johnson’s campaign at this point, their influence is more heavily weighted than that of someone, say, in the Romney camp. If the first person you hear mention Gary Johnson’s name goes on to complain about Obama’s illegitimate presidency in their next sentence, you’ll be immediately turned off with probably no one else within the campaign to explain that Gary doesn’t hold that view. We don’t want our fellow supporters giving Gary a bad name much like Ron Paul’s supporters have done. (I’m with you on the TV joke thing, though.)

      If the foundation is cracked, it must be repaired before you can build further.

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