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Sorry, Salon: The Libertarian Movement Is Not Fringe

By Elias J. Atienza

 

Oh, Salon. Where would we be without you? You offer something good with one hand and then offer something stupid with the other. With the 2016 general election approaching, your idiocy is growing.

First, the libertarian movement is not fringe. It’s true we have some crazies, such as the prancing fool who stripped naked. A lot of libertarians booed Gary Johnson when he talked about driver’s licenses, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the whole thing about coal and free markets. (And yes libertarians, the free market did bankrupt the coal industry. Stop crying about it.)

And yet those same libertarians couldn’t band together to nominate someone to their liking. Gary Johnson was the nominee. He is the face of the Libertarian movement right now. While many libertarians don’t think of him as libertarian, they still nominated him. Truly, if we were so fringe, we would have nominated Darryl W. Perry or Vermin Supreme. And yet we nominated Governor Gary Johnson.

You slam the Koch brothers for being libertarian. You admit they champion causes like gay marriage and others, and yet slam them for their free-market views. And yet, one of the brothers they slam has come out in agreement with Bernie Sanders, their argument falls apart. The government picks too many winners among big business and the corporate elite, as Koch points out in his op-ed in the Washington Post. Maybe deregulation and lower taxes would help out the poor, help out the downtrodden, and the helpless.

And I’m not even going to address your attacks on the 1980 LP platform.

Face it, libertarians are not a fringe force. Gary Johnson is polling an average of 8.5%, with the latest poll marking him at 11%. Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, and others are many faces in Congress who wield the libertarian brand. A Reuters poll last year found that 19% of individuals self-identified as libertarians. Nate Silver, the infamous data chief, found that while many people don’t call themselves libertarian, they hold libertarian views.

In all, libertarians cannot be called a fringe movement. If we were a fringe movement, Gary Johnson wouldn’t be known as a viable alternative to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. If we were a fringe movement, we wouldn’t have anybody in Congress like Amash or Massie. If we were a fringe movement, we wouldn’t be having this argument.

With 42% identifying as independent, I think libertarians will be good for a long time.

Like Gary Johnson says, “Where is that representation?”

We both think they are libertarians. Only time will tell.

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