Libertarians had a golden opportunity in the 2016 election to give Americans a viable third-party option in light of the widespread unpopularity of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. All they had to do was nominate an actual libertarian ticket, but the Gary Johnson-Bill Weld ticket fails to meet that standard. Here are seven reasons the libertarian ticket isn’t very libertarian.
1. Weld thinks that a rifle can become “a weapon of mass destruction.” Weld said during an interview with Revolt: “The five shot rifle, that’s a standard military rifle; the problem is if you attach a clip to it so it can fire more shells and if you remove the pin so that it becomes an automatic weapon, and those are independent criminal offenses. That is when they become, essentially a weapon of mass destruction.”
He also said that “the problem with handguns probably is even worse than the problem of the AR-15” and called for banning those on the terror watch list from owning guns.
As The Daily Wire has explained here and here, it’s a lot more difficult to convert a semiautomatic rifle into an automatic rifle than people realize, and banning people on the terror watch list would deprive people of due process.
2. Johnson openly scorns religious liberty and freedom of association. Johnson believes it’s OK to penalize a New Mexico photographer for refusing to participate in a gay wedding and made the nonsensical analogy of shooting someone because of “freedom of religion.”
3. The debt increased massively during Johnson’s tenure as governor of New Mexico. It increased from $1.8 billion to $4.6 billion when he left office, which National Review‘s James Spiller notes is “a rate of increase unmatched by the 22 governors in either party who have filed for presidential primaries in the past two decades, with the exception of Governor Tom Vilsack (D., Iowa) in 2007.”
And yet, Johnson claims that he balanced the budget every year as governor. Spiller explains how this statement is highly misleading:
Johnson also claims to have balanced the budget every year, but what he means by this is that he complied with the New Mexico constitution, which as a practical matter prohibits operational spending deficits. New Mexico’s debt is required to be off the books, or at least off those books, in a separate “capital outlay” budget. This means that of course his operating budgets were balanced; New Mexico makes the alternative impossible. The capital outlays are considered “balanced” if it is believed that they can likely be paid for in the future, and rosy assumptions are permitted. It’s as if you or I claimed to be debt-free because our current account, which does not allow for overdrafts, had no overdrafts, despite our taking out ever more maxed-out credit cards and making minimum payments on each. In the sense that Johnson says he balanced the budgets, every president and Congress in history has passed balanced federal budgets 100 percent of the time.
Some of the spending initiatives Johnson engaged in as governor included dues for the United Nations (and Weld supports U.N. membership), a movie subsidy, and using government dollars for science prizes.
4. Weld supports eminent domain. Conservative Review‘s Rob Eno highlights a New York Sun article which paraphrased Weld as saying “the benefit to the public created by such private projects would justify the use of eminent domain” in voicing support for the “Atlantic Yards project in Brooklyn.” Eminent domain is not even remotely libertarian and is a detriment to freedom, as The Daily Wire explains here.
5. Weld backstabbed the Libertarian Party in New York when the going got tough. As Reason magazine explains, “Weld was going to be the great Libertarian hope in the 2006 gubernatorial race but then backed out of the party’s nomination when he did not also concurrently win the Republican Party nomination. People in the New York delegation here remember this incident like it was yesterday, and have vowed revenge.”
6. Johnson wants to fund the baby-dismembering Planned Parenthood. “I am opposed to cutting the funding or eliminating funding to Planned Parenthood,” Johnson said in an appearance on PoliticKing with Larry King.
Not all libertarians are pro-life, and Johnson certainly isn’t, but government funding to private organizations like Planned Parenthood are completely out-of-line with libertarian philosophy.
7. Weld seems to throw-in with the left-wing environmentalist movement. Eno points out that Weld supported higher smog standards from the Environmental Protection Agency and lobbied for an EPA rule that required two percent of Massachusetts automobiles available for purchase to be electric cars.