by Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.
Since we are near a major election cycle and since statism – the idea that the State ought to control everything – is being taken up by the Marxist / Nihilist Left and has all but destroyed freedom in the United States, more and more rational people seem to be turning towards the Libertarian candidate (Ron Paul or Gary Johnson). Their argument against the Conservative / Religious Right is that this, too, has been given a chance and we have not secured more freedom and the Right does not speak in terms of freedoms for the most part, so we need an alternative. The problem with this line of reasoning is that the term “freedom” is not a magical incantation that will bring it about just because it has been spoken by this, that, or the other candidate. In order to secure freedom in the United States it is necessary to clearly articulate what freedom means and why a proper government is necessary – and the Libertarians, throughout their history, have failed to do this in terms of principles and broad guidelines that will set the proper course for government. It is not enough to be anti-government, one must be pro-freedom. Cutting a few government programs is quite insufficient.
Fundamentally, freedom means the freedom to live one’s own life without the interference of force against oneself integrated with the idea that man can only live by reason (an understanding of existence). It is only reason that is a proper guide because it is only by the use of reason that one can grasp the necessities of having proper values in order to sustain one’s life. If one understands the terms correctly, this means the morality of pursuing one’s rational happiness and the freedom to do so. The means of being free to pursue one’s rational happiness in a social context is the idea of individual rights, best articulated by Ayn Rand in her essay “Man’s Rights.” But this is not the same thing as doing whatever one pleases so long as one does not initiate force, which is the mainline argument of Libertarians. Whim-worshipping – doing whatever one feels like doing – has no grounding in reason since emotions are not tools of cognition and just because one feels like doing it does not mean that doing it is in fact good for oneself. The proper role of government is to make it possible for one to live one’s life by banning the initiation of force in a social context as a hard-line principle backed by reason and a rational understanding of man based upon man’s factual nature. And, by and large, Libertarians drop this entire context and simply appeal to the anti-government sentiment that is out there after many failed policies of the past hundred years. One does not hear an argument for freedom by the Libertarians. They typically speak against this, that, or the other government program and state that it is not the role of government to be involved in these areas of life, but they give no reasoned argument in favor of their position.
Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are no exception to this identification of the Libertarian mind-set. It is claimed that these two actually do understand the issue of individual rights, they just don’t articulate it because it is too long and involved an argument, and we live in a world of sound bites and the American people are just not ready to hear it (as presented in their speeches and on their websites intended for a large audience). But this means that they have explicitly given up reason in favor of appealing to the emotions of the American public, leaving the argument from reason on someone else’s side and not on the side of freedom. I see this as the primary reason Libertarians only get a small percentage of the vote when they run for major political offices, like the President of the United States. I have made an appeal to the Gary Johnson candidacy to become more articulate regarding the rational foundations of freedom several months ago, and have heard no reply and have not seen any articulation of freedom on his official website. This most definitely comes across to me as a man who has given up on reason and makes only appeals to emotions, something one of his long-term supporters actually came out and told me on FaceBook. So, I’m sorry, but this is not the way to bring back freedom in the United States, and I will not vote for a candidate who is not for freedom in terms of principles that are based upon reason.
This particular election is a referendum on Marxist Nihilism, best expressed by President Obama’s, “You didn’t build that!” statement against individual initiatives and the pursuit of rational values. What we need is someone to beat him – get him out of office – so this country can recover from his nihilistic and destructive policies. I would love to have an actual pro-freedom and pro-individual rights candidate to vote for, but as I have explained above, this is not to be found in candidates who give up reason in the name of whim-worshipping and anti-government appeal. A vote for the Libertarian candidate – either Ron Paul or Gary Johnson – is not a vote for freedom properly understood. At a minimum, the Conservatives at least understand sound economic principles and argue in favor of economic freedom or the free markets. Hence, I think the only viable candidate to vote for who can actually win and states some explicit pro-freedom principles (even if only limited to economic activity) is the Romney / Ryan ticket.