Jeffrey Tucker on why voting for Gary Johnson matters

Jeffrey Tucker
Jeffrey Tucker

From Jeffrey Tucker of Liberty.Me on October 7:

“Do you remember when you were first eligible to vote? An adult, a citizen, at last! Finally the power to exercise influence over public affairs in the most direct way. So I voted. Then the returns came in. My guy won anyway, overwhelmingly. I didn’t feel vindicated. I immediately realized that my vote meant nothing. I wasted my time.

“I felt like a chump, and never voted again. I watch politics like a spectator sport, just to see what happens.

“To be sure, I never bought the claim that my non-voting was unpatriotic. I still have the right to complain about the results, same as with any condition of captivity. Nor do I think I have some moral obligation to participate. For me, it’s a practical issue. I have better things to do. I also don’t like the way democracy fools people into believing that whatever happens in government is their own fault.

“Neither have I accepted the argument that voting is somehow immoral – a point you often hear made in libertarian circles. If a thief asks for my opinion about whether he should rob me, and I offer it, that doesn’t make me complicit in the theft. I’m not morally compromised because I made some effort to change the outcome.

“This year is different. My vote can count for something in the general election. Through my own action on that one day, I can add slightly, just slightly, to changing the culture of politics in this country. It’s only one vote but it actually does make a difference. Vote totals, whether we like it or not, are widely seen as a measure of public opinion. Maximizing the number of people who pulled the lever for something completely different is one small way to make a statement.

“Plus, there is really no serious opportunity cost to voting Libertarian this year. It’s a toss up which of the likely winners of this presidential election would be worse for freedom. I have no dog in the main fight.”

“Johnson and Weld have been out working hard on the campaign trail. Every day, all day, they are making the case for freedom, cutting government, ending overpolicing, bringing peace to foreign affairs and immigration. If you listen to them, and try to listen from the point of a view of regular person as opposed to an educated libertarian ideologue, they have actually managed to make the case for liberty make sense.

“The polls show that they are drawing equally from Republicans and Democrats. They are the favorite among active-duty military. They are the favorites among millennials, which makes sense because they are the only candidates who seem to be in touch with current realities (whereas Clinton and Trump seem like leftovers from a bygone era). They are appealing to a diverse group: men and women, whites and blacks, Latinos and Asians. The ticket is helping to shed the impression that libertarianism is only for rich white men, and refute the preposterous claim of the alt-right that only white people love liberty.

“I’ve seen this in real life at rallies. They are growing each day and much larger than what the media reports. And I’ve been so impressed at the quality and diversity of the people supporting this ticket. The ethos is hopeful, cheerful, constructive, and civilized. Love for liberty more than hate for something else is what you feel from the campaign. This ticket is attracting a wonderful demographic to the cause of liberty. If you are feeling down about our prospects for the future, these are wonderful events to attend.”

“Look at your state and look at the mainstream options out there for you. Is your vote going to matter, really? Do you really think there is that much at stake in whether Clinton or Trump wins? If not, consider adding your vote to a cause that could actually make a difference.”

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