I am a libertarian. While I’m not as libertarian as many who hold that label, I am still much more libertarian than Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. And so is Gary Johnson.
The argument that my fellow TLR writer Lee Enochs lays out for not voting for Gary Johnson is that he is not sufficiently libertarian enough. His main point is that Johnson believes that the federal government would “force an individual state to perform gay marriages and punitively compel a Jewish baker to make a cake for an abhorrent Nazi.”
I agree with Rand Paul that marriage should be privatized and that all Americans have a “right to contract” as Paul writes. However, when it comes down to it, the individual states do not have the power to discriminate against their citizens. Marriage should be between two consenting adults and the state should not decide who can and cannot get married (with reasonable restrictions such as the age of consent and others). In a perfect libertarian world, there wouldn’t be such a thing as civil marriage and the whole enterprise would be privatized. But we don’t live in a perfect libertarian world, which is why we should make make gains wherever we can.
As I already wrote in support of Johnson, the whole Nazi cake thing is a sham. I agree with the notion that Jewish bakers shouldn’t be forced to service a Nazi wedding, but when you are a public business you sell your business to everyone, not just people you agree with. There’s a reason why churches don’t have to perform gay marriage in their chapel or women’s clubs don’t have to permit men. They are private entities. But if you open your business to the public, that’s a different story.
Judge Napolitano explains (article continued below):
If your only argument is gay marriage and Nazi cakes, you’re going to have a bad time in this presidential election. Gary Johnson is a not a perfect libertarian, but he is a libertarian. He has a proven track record as governor and as a libertarian candidate.
William Weld, on the other hand, is a mistake. He was a mistake to nominate. He’s less libertarian than Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and even Ted Cruz; but the delegates nominated him. I will not be voting for Johnson-Weld because of Weld; I will be voting because of Johnson.
Johnson is a libertarian. His commitment to less government, less foreign intervention, cutting spending, and other tried and true libertarian ideals is sufficient.
In the end, libertarian puritanism isn’t going to win the day. We need 5% of the vote in order to be taken seriously and it doesn’t help when fools strip at the national convention. People are free to not vote for Gary Johnson — I’ve always said vote your conscience. But if you can’t see past two issues where honest libertarians can disagree, then perhaps you should consider the rashness of your decision.
And if you want to vote for Donald Trump as a pragmatic choice to defeat Hillary Clinton, you’re going to have a bad time; they’re two sides of the same coin.