Comments: Vote Today

Mike Burris? That guy still owes me money!

Posted by Robert the Llama Butcher at November 9, 2006 08:12 AM

Sam Johnson? Other than cutting taxes, the man's record on everything from spending and subsidies to civil liberties and victimless crimes makes him the antithesis of what I would expect a libertarian to support.

John, I'm going to ask a question in a rude format, not because I want to score points or be hurtful, but because it is the clearest way I can raise my question: Is it possible that your libertarianism is not so much based on libertarian ideals, but instead on finding a "principled" justification for your dislike of taxes?

Posted by Jeffrey Goldberg at November 16, 2006 08:46 PM

Jeffrey, I don't really think the question was all that rude. My vote for Johnson was realistically based on the assumption that the Democrat would be the greater of two evils, and the Libertarian was not one I could support. I have met Rep. Johnson, and he is a genuinely pleasant and humble person, who also happens to have endured and survived torture at the hands of communists. Pretty much a hero by any definition in my book. That helps offset the disappointing 47% score he got from the Club for Growth on the up-or-down votes on 19 pork projects.

I would love for more Republicans to oppose the war on drugs, especially at the federal level. Unfortunately, the Democrats with whom I side on general matters of social issues (gay marriage, abortion) also want to use the clumsy machinery of state to force citizens to pay for them. I support stem cell research of all kinds and oppose the "pro-life" opposition to embryonic stem cell research and human cloning, but that doesn't mean I think the taxpayer needs to foot the bill for the research.

And sometimes the Libertarians field absolute loons that I just cannot support. The Democrats remain too much in favor of activist government on all fronts to earn my vote. Politics is messy, and I rarely feel very good about the choices I can make.

I keep hoping for a neo-Whig or neo-classical-liberal party to form.

Posted by JohnL at November 16, 2006 10:50 PM

Certainly it's fair enough treating Representative Johnson as the lesser or multiple evils. But you did initially say that he was "one of the few candidates that I feel really good voting for."

Personal character, and being a hero, certainly counts for something. But be careful of double standards, many people who support such heroes are also happy to vote for draft evaders.

As you note his dealings with pork and all of the social issues, puts him extremely far from the libertarian position.

Of course one can argue that stem cell research along with other subsidies should be eliminated, but that is not his position at all (he wants to increase subsidies to the oil and gas industries). Instead it is an example of the worst kind of abuses of government interference.

As you know, I'm not a libertarian, but consider myself a neo-liberal. But I think we all would like to see the public and politicians better understand the benefits and power of free choice and markets. Since seeing the news yesterday, I've been searching the house for my copy of "Free to Choose". I wish more people would read it.



Posted by Jeffrey Goldberg at November 17, 2006 10:33 AM