The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Spoiler alert?

This weekend, Gary Johnson, a former Republican governor of New Wexico, accepted the Libertarian Party nomination for the Presidency. And he made a statement that he “would rather die” than endorse either President Obama or Mitt Romney for president.

I am certain that part of this is rhetoric that is intended to ensure that Johnson is considered a serious candidate. And Johnson is, of course, a “more serious” candidate than most of the people the LP has put forth. An actual state governor in the past, he's actually better qualified for the Presidency than then-Sen. Barack Obama was four years ago. But let's face it. He has no chance whatever to be elected President. Nobody who was not a candidate of the two largest parties has even finished as high as second in a Presidential election since 1912 — and that was Theodore Roosevelt, a former President in his own right. Nobody else has finished as high as second since before the Civil War.

So Gary Johnson can only be considered a spoiler. If we had some system like approval voting in place, I might advise a vote for him to show support for the idea of libertarianism. But with our plurality system in place, a vote for Johnson simply takes a needed vote away from Mitt Romney, where it has some chance of ousting the current incumbent. And ousting the current incumbent is the first priority in this election.

In some ways, I probably am closer to Johnson's positions than to Romney's. (Not all: Johnson's libertarianism includes the very isolationism I condemned at the start of this month. And he embraces the Libertarians' desire to legalize illegal drugs.) But Johnson can't beat Obama. Romney can. And if there is any chance that Johnson draws enough votes away from Romney that Obama is re-elected, it will be a tragedy for this country. So I cannot look with favor on Gary Johnson's candidacy.

No comments: