Charles Peralo recently wrote an article titled, “Five Reasons to Love Bill Weld.” I wanted to take the time today to note the five key reasons — because, to my dismay, there are more than five — to hate Bill Weld, the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party.
1) He Adores the Obamacare Mandate
This one is mind-boggling and should come much to the chagrin of just about every libertarian. In an interview with Jen Rogers of Yahoo! Finance, he said, “I understand that if you want to cut costs, you’ve got to get more people in the system, so I always supported the mandatory feature there.”
I selected this one to be first on the list because it should be the most glaring of them. We can agree or disagree if sales taxes are coercive, for example, but I don’t think I’ll ever see a true libertarian say they love the ACA mandate. Forcing people to pay for a service is not libertarian.
He did say he was for “much more competition in the marketplace,” but that good sentiment gets crumpled and chucked out the window when you suggest that we should force people to have health insurance.
2) He’s Been Vocally Pro Gun Control
He’s come out recently with quite puzzling vernacular for a libertarian, or even a moderate Republican. Weld has said an automatic assault rifle is “essentially a weapon of mass destruction,” and that the “problem of handguns is probably even worse than the AR-15.” Nevermind that he’s said that people on terror watch lists shouldn’t “be able to buy any gun,” and that both him and Johnson are open to a discussion and policy proposal that would keep the guns out of possible terrorists.
The kind of verbiage we’re seeing from Weld on guns is far less than ideal, for a myriad of reasons. If we can ignore the problem with terror watch lists for just a moment: let’s talk about assault rifles. Weld posits that automatic assault rifles are essentially weapons of mass destruction, which is a roundabout way of saying they shouldn’t be in the hands of citizens. To libertarians, that should be a red flag.
3) Eminent Domain
Back in 2006, Weld believed that the use of eminent domain was “clearly okay” in the Atlantic Yard project in New York, and justified that position by saying that the “whole project is imbued with public interest […] A major public asset is involved there and it’s not simply an effort to increase the tax base.”
Utilitarian principles when applied to libertarianism are supposed to be about giving the most amount of liberty to everyone, which truly does the most amount of good for the most amount of people, rather than using eminent domain to meet the needs of public interest. Allowing the federal government to seize public property for public use because it is of public interest is not a libertarian ideal. Weld has not since clarified this position, and I doubt he intends to.
Simply put, Weld is okay with taking your property if it is of public interest.
There are three key problems with his stance on eminent domain: 1) Government action in something that should remain private – property. 2) Government seizure of said property. 3) Justifying the aforementioned government actions by suggesting that it serves the public interest.
Doing something just because it is of public interest does not make it justified, or morally right.
My fellow high school parliamentary debate colleagues will kill me for using this analogy, but it always fits:
It was of public interest to start and continue the enslavement of humans in America, but does that mean it was justified or moral? (Hint: it’s not).
4) Big-Government Acts and Visions
As the governor of Massachusetts, one can point out three key things that Bill Weld did that increased the size of government and its ability to regulate.
First, the environment. He passed the Rivers Protection Act of 1996 which deals with 9,000 miles of rivers in Massachusetts, he came out in 2005 in favor of massive regulations on the environment, and he recently came out in favor of the EPA’s electric car mandate and tighter, stricter smog limits.
Second, in 1995 he opposed the effort to eliminate federal affirmative action programs.
Third, he supported the 1994 $25 billion dollar bailout of Mexico.
In terms of vision, he has called for an FBI task force to try and combat domestic terrorism, and he has said that he likes Social Security and doesn’t plan on cutting it.
These things have one key thing in common — they are all pro-government-growth ideals and actions.
Weld seems to believe that the government growth in certain (well, many) cases are necessary. Yes, he wants to cut government out of a lot of things, and shrink government in a good number of areas, but there are a lot of things that he did and believed in that involved the growth of government.
5) Endorsements and Praise
Not to sound like I’m just a clone of Austin Petersen, but in 2008 Bill Weld endorsed Barack Obama. To further expound, he asserted that Obama’s “platform is outstanding.” This being a platform that was, at points, both for universal healthcare and Obamacare, and also re-raising taxes and adding payroll taxes from the rich, which in part would help fund Social Security. This platform also wanted to double foreign aid spending to $50 billion in 4 years, enforce cap-and-trade, subsidize “green” jobs, increase gun control, was pro-warrantless surveillance under FISA, and so on. The list goes on. It’s not like McCain or Bob Barr were great alternatives, but besides Nader, Obama was probably the last person you’d want to endorse if you want yourself to be thought of as a “libertarian.”
The Romney endorsement when Ron Paul and Gary Johnson were in the running isn’t as bad, and endorsing Kasich instead of Gary or even Rand seems a bit off to me. I suppose we could attack a Republican’s allegiance to their own party as un-libertarian, but I’m not going to spend time on that.
What’s more important also is his constant praise for Hillary Clinton, who is in no way libertarian, and who was a lackluster Secretary of State and has shown to be someone who is corrupt, and will most likely abuse her executive powers if given the chance. Weld also said he’d vote for Hillary if there were no libertarian candidate.
Would you vote for Hillary if there were no libertarian candidate?
Put simply, these are some key reasons to hate Bill Weld.
Remember, this is not an endorsement for or against the Johnson/Weld campaign. Just a look at things that Weld has said and done that contradict libertarian values.
I can agree with a lot of people that believe Bill Weld is a great orator, and conveys his position well. But, as you can see in the examples above, not all of the positions themselves are ideal, and that’s the first and most important step to being a solid candidate.
Nicholas Amato is a writer and contributor for Being Libertarian. He’s an undergraduate student at San Jose State University, majoring in political science and minoring in journalism.
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