Saturday, September 8, 2012

Johnson vs. ‘Republicans(?)’

Over on Breitbart’s Big Government site there is a small piece extolling republicans not to consider voting for Gary Johnson.  It starts off ridiculously and only gets worse.  In the lead paragraph we have the author cautioning that as a libertarian “Johnson tends to see things in terms of black and white, and nuances are lost on him”.  Was there some multi-faceted, deeply nuanced and inclusive points of view on display in the Republican National Convention that I missed?  From this asinine starting position the intrepid defender of republican virtue lists out some of Johnson’s positions in an effort to convince ’republicans’ that the LP candidate is far too crazy and naïve to garner their support.  Let’s try and deal with as many of these as possible before our heads explode from the inanity:

  1. Torture: Gary Johnson is against torturing terrorists suspects, so you true-to-principles republicans should not support him.  That seems like a winning slogan doesn't it?: ‘BRING BACK WATERBOARDING, NOW!’  This individual paints all republicans, the supposedly re-branded party of limited government and constitutional protections and rights, as desiring to bring back all of the worst excesses of the War on Terror, making blanket statements about how these techniques kept us safe.  Is this Romney’s position?  Those people who are saying the liberty movement needs to line up behind Romney, are they selling this plank?  I have never understood this total disconnect in conservative circles between advocating limiting government on the one hand, while with the other entrusting government with the ultimate exercise of power: decide without trial a person is guilty of an offense and then subject them to torture to garner information, capturing more individuals to subject to the same in a continuous loop.  The people who continue to turn a blind eye to what this program was, who to this day are willing to advocate letting government make a decision like this need to reexamine their priorities.  Instead of listening to sunshine, blowhard pantywaists like Sean Hannity or Bill O'Reilly  they need to watch someone with backbone subject themselves to waterboarding (here) and ask themselves this question: what if they (they being the somewhat incompetent CIA or Military) have an innocent person on that table?  That is the risk you run when you blithely trade away limits on power in order for you to feel safe.  If that is the unquestionable republican philosophy now, let us all hope people of integrity forego their party affiliation and vote with their conscience.
  2. Military: The next few bullets deal with military spending and the constant and perpetual war and build-up for war against all present and future enemies.  Johnson wants to cut military spending by 43%.  It is quite true, and it is also true that cutting it by that much would mean we still spend more than all comers.  Who are we preparing to fight with this military?  We are $16 Trillion in debt and rising every minute, and we can not begin to address that if we do not address military spending.  We certainly will never dig ourselves out of this hole if we increase defense spending as Romney’s plan advocates.  Then there are the wars and the enemies we face, and Johnson’s answers about our present conflicts are supposed to disqualify him from true republican voter consideration.  He opposed the war in Iraq.  Is there anyone at this point who thinks that the war in Iraq was just the greatest thing we could have done, the best use of men, material and capital to keep America safe?  Al Qaeda has lost their stronghold in Afghanistan, mission accomplished.  Did the remnants of that organization and the Taliban escape to Pakistan?  Yes, yes they did, and because we spent so much time and effort in Iraq they were able to reassert themselves in Afghanistan.  But just because Al Qaeda is in Pakistan does that mean we perpetually occupy Afghanistan?  Do we meticulously place 50 or so infantry divisions along every square inch of the border to insure no bad guys ever cross the border?  If it is our intent to continue to bomb Pakistan with drones we can do that from Idaho, we need no presence in Afghanistan.  The place is the armpit of the Eastern Hemisphere, and 11 years, billions of dollars and thousands of lives has not changed that.  If we spend another decade, another trillion and thousands more dead you know what we would have?  The armpit of the Eastern Hemisphere with a nicer airport and public buildings.  Changing that country will not come about through military occupation, and we need to start realizing that.  As to Iran, we are to avoid Johnson because he does not acknowledge the existential threat they pose to the American way of life.  He cherry picks a quote so that Johnson says he will make sure Israel does not attack Iran.  What he says is that so long as Iran is not an immediate military threat he would try and keep Israel from attacking them, you would assume in order to keep the region from further destabilizing.  There is a problem here?  If they are not a threat, do not attack, and there is no clear consensus on how much of a threat they or their nuclear program poses.  If they become a threat?  For me personally, after 40 years of hearing how absolutely amazing the Israeli military is, why not let them do it?  Lest anyone forget, Israel has nukes, and on top of that every other country in the region does not want to see Iran have nuclear weapons.  Why not let Israel talk it out with the Saudis, Jordan, Yemen and all the other countries that secretly wish they would bomb Iran, come out and publicly work together towards that goal.  And before anyone gets all worked up about the size and power of the Iranian military, please remember that it a theocratic dictatorship whose command ranks are not necessarily filled with competent leaders and strategists, but sycophants for the regime, hence why armies like that historically perform so poorly.  As to the existential threat that China poses; the truly naïve position is to not acknowledge how blithering idiotic it is to advocate borrowing more money from China to pay for a military to combat a supposed future land/sea war threat from China.
  3. The Gays!: We can skip over the issue of the Occupy movement and get tot the truly scary part - THE GAYS MIGHT GET TO CALL THEMSELVES MARRIED!!!!!!  Reject Johnson dear republicans, for the Gays might jump out of the closet and threaten your traditional marriage with their fondue, bright colors and general fabulousness.  It is true that this is such an important issue to republicans that it is in the platform.  It is also true that there are many republican strategists, people who examine the long haul and can read the writing on the wall, know they are on the eventual losing side of this issue.  Why?  Because it is a non-issue.  You don’t like gay marriage?  Don’t have one.  Your religion defines marriage a certain way?  Jews can’t eat bacon, they don’t try and outlaw it for everyone.  You find gay people icky and unnatural?  Well, unfortunately all I have to say is T.S. Elliot, you don’t get to wield the power of the state or enshrine within the constitution a legal distinction between how people are treated because you don’t find their lifestyle choices palatable.  If this is your most important issue, the thing that defines your political core, then no, Johnson is not for you.  If on the other hand you are a republican who is sick and tired of the ‘black and white’ way in which the social conservatives dictate the direction of the party without any ‘nuance’ then maybe it is time for you to step outside of your comfort zone.

The long and the short of the article is that Johnson is the 2012 Ross Perot who just does not live in the real world; a world where we can ignore and even increase a $16 Trillion debt with increased military spending, perpetually occupying and bombing large swaths of world based on target information gleaned from people screaming for mercy in some dank dungeon, all while psyching ourselves up for WWIII with the Chinese.  If that is the standard M1A1 republican worldview, then  Johnson really is not for you.  If you have a slightly less insane and delusional worldview, then maybe exercising some critical thinking and decision making skills can show you that this idea of voting for the lesser of two evils means you are still voting for an evil.  If you were to take a test (here) that showed you a different candidate supported more of your positions overall then your ‘party affiliation’ dictated why wouldn’t you vote for them?  The truly crazy and naïve thing to do is to turn yourself over completely and unquestionably to one party, even when they stop speaking to or for you, instead of voting with your conscience.  Wouldn’t you rather, just this once, vote for something, rather than just against something?


  1. Excellent, thanks for bringing this article to our attention. The dominance of the two parties is the first in a long line of silly social constructs that needs to be abandoned if we are to reclaim our freedom.

    1. It gets even better, check out the front page to see a response to a weekend of Breitbart calling libertarians small, bitter little people for not jumping on the Romney train in order to save the constitution.