Top 5 Reasons It’s Okay for Libertarians to Criticize Gary Johnson

4. Criticism Helps Gary Johnson to Understand the Issues.

Sometimes Gary Johnson ends up on the wrong side of an issue because he does not quite understand what is at stake. If we don’t correct him, then he might very innocently support the wrong position. For instance, he might see that coal miners are losing their jobs in Kentucky and want to help, but he might be unaware that it is government regulation that is causing unemployment and the demise of the coal industry. Or he might think that a “carbon fee” would be a good solution, but he might not quite understand what carbon is, in what way it is related to coal, or what the difference is between a tax and a fee.

When people buy coal to heat their house, they are paying a fee to the coal producer for the most important element in coal: carbon. When people buy a diamond, they are also paying a fee for carbon. But when people pay the government for their right to purchase, sell, or consume coal and diamonds, that is called a tax. If we don’t tell Gary Johnson these things, he might never know. But perhaps because some very brave libertarians did tell Gary Johnson the facts about the coal tax — that is, the carbon fee — he has changed his position. Like pressure on a piece of graphite, our criticism is changing Johnson from a lump of coal to a diamond. Constructive criticism is good.

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