John Monds isn’t a household name. He hasn’t held elected office, nor has he been a reality TV host, actor, or peanut farmer. However, just a few years ago, he did the unthinkable for a Libertarian. He received over a million votes in what wasn’t even a national race. He did so by offering thoughtful, libertarian solutions while focusing on the next step of a journey, rather than what a Libertopia might look like.
If you’re a Libertarian looking for an academic absolutist, you might want to check out my interview with Hornberger. If you want a crass comedian going for the jugular, you may want to check out my interview with Whitney. If you want someone to make the case that we should go directly to dissolving the government with no intermediate steps, maybe you could check out Kokesh, who made a video responding to some of my questions in an article about a now increasingly unlikely possibility of an Amash run, where you can also read the words of Behrman who’s entire on-message schtick is pointing out that “Taxation is Theft”. If you want a candidate who’s earned media attention is achieved through talking about ponies, zombies, and time travel while wearing a boot on his head, there’s always my friend Vermin to consider. And of course, far and away leading the pack in experience is Lincoln Chafee.
Compared to these personalities, Monds is more reserved, and in many ways more thoughtful. He doesn’t approach non-libertarians in a condescending way, and lacks pretension without sacrificing principles. He’s certainly more humble than most Libertarians I know who think they should run for the highest office in the land. The following are some excerpts from our talk the other day:
TLR: Most people who live outside Georgia probably haven’t heard about you. Who are you and why should you be President?
JM: I’m a married father of four, been married for 22 years. My background is in banking and finance, got a degree from Morehouse College. Born in Detroit, spent about half my life up there and the other half in the south. For the past 20 years, I’ve been a homeschool parent, and primary teacher for our four children, who’ve done very well.
Why should I be President? Well, like in any of the races I’ve run, what I’d like to implement–my message and the direction I’d like to see the country go in–qualifies me to present myself to the American People as the future leader of this country. I think that’s the most important thing about anybody running for offices: what would you like to do and make happen?
TLR: You mentioned having a background in banking and finance. What are the most important lessons you learned about monetary policy? And as President, what changes to the current system might you push for?
JM: Monetary policy? I would say real money is important. I think the Federal Reserve has ruined the value of the dollar. I’d love to see it ended. You know, whether Congress is ready to go along with that, I doubt it. But it’s something that I would definitely bring to the forefront, the fact that the value of dollar has been destroyed. And that’s hurting everybody in the country.
TLR: You’ve advocated eliminating Social Security FICA for those workers that choose to opt out of benefits? Would you include both the worker and the employer portion of that tax?
JM: Absolutely. The whole system needs needs to be eliminated. And the question is, how do we get there? It shouldn’t have been implemented in the first place, but we have to deal with what exists now. And that’s the type of help I would like to have, bringing in the finest economic minds around the country and saying “Hey, how do we get rid of this program, whether it’s phasing it out over time, or…” But having it continue as is, is doing nothing but adding to the bankruptcy of the country.
TLR: You bring up a good point about phasing out things and dealing with the situation as it currently exists rather than some libertarians, who might just want to go from A to Z without anything in between. If younger workers choose to opt out of Social Security, how could the government best fund the program for those on or nearing retirement without their contributions–given that they’ve got a relatively reasonable expectation of, and plan their lives around getting benefits they’ve paid into?
JM: Some of the solution may be using actuarial tables, you know, set a date. Maybe for life expectancy, and actually buy people out of the program. You have to look at where all the funds would come from and how we would do that. And that’s why you need the finest economic minds, give them a framework of telling them what to work on, and then having them come up with how do we go about doing that. But that may be one way… we start with the the highest age groups in the program, and then work our way down as far as having benefits paid in a lump sum and removing them from the rolls.
TLR: You’ve described yourself as a moderate libertarian, which is a label sometimes used to describe my beliefs as well. The most common question I get when I say so is, there is no such a thing. How would you answer that?
JM: Well, I don’t remember where that quote came from but… I would call myself a big “L” Libertarian, and even, may even be lumped into the category of ‘radical’. And the reason I say that is because believing in freedom today is a pretty radical idea. I believe in freedom. And I believe that is the direction–the empowerment of the individual–is where we should be going. And that’s in all phases of life.
TLR: You’ve spoken about ending the drug war. Under the Drug Enforcement Act does the President have the power to unilaterally reschedule or de-schedule substances on it without congressional action?
JM: That’s one of the things that I’m researching. All the powers of the Presidency that can be used unilaterally, and I don’t have an answer to that right now. But if it is possible to reschedule without using Congress, that is something I would definitely do. I have to get more information on that. But there’s a lot of things the President can do unilaterally, that can be implemented day one. And those are kind of the things that I’ve been concentrating on.
TLR: You’ve promoted the idea of ending the DEA. Is that agency the worst legacy of Nixon?
JM: Ah, man, I don’t know if it’s the worst. He did a lot of bad things. But the drug war, the escalation of the drug war, itself is horrible. It’s not just the DEA. I mean, it’s all that goes along with it. So… getting off the the gold standard. I wouldn’t compare those two. But both of those things, to me are very bad and been very destructive to the moral fabric of the country.
TLR: Absolutely. You’re speaking my language right about now. You were you were born in 1965. What were the best and worst Presidents of your lifetime, and why?
JM: The best and worst? To me, they’ve all been pretty horrible. And the reason I say that is because of the direction that the country has been going in. I mean… it seems to be they’ve progressively gotten worse over time. It seems like they’re outdoing each other as they come into office. And so it’s not that anyone has been better than the other, because it keeps… You know, it’s really hard to describe how horrible all of them have been.
He and the Libertarian Party wish to reverse course on that direction, and the LP will choose their nominee to make just that pitch at their national convention at the end of May.
John Monds hasn’t held public office, hasn’t run a Fortune 500 company, and isn’t famous. He’s not even that great of a public speaker. He’s just a nice, normal guy who’s got some good ideas on policy, realizes his own limitations, and maybe we’ve all been conditioned to think that’s not enough for far too long.
Maybe we’ve got enough career politicians and narcissistic celebrities and pretentious pontificaters and bullshit artists who have been lying and messing things up while looking down at us for longer than we’ve been alive. Maybe what we have now is worse than if we simply got behind more people that were people rather than personas.