Diving into this, the only way I can start is by stating the kind of libertarian I am.
– Laissez faire capitalist
– Moderately pro-Israel
– For cutting defense spending by 70%
– Registered Republican
– Vote Republican in about 80% of elections
– Not an ancap (well, for the most part)
I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012, and with the fall of Rand Paul and the rise of the GOP unmentionables, I’ve found myself in a spot where I just sit waiting for the third party candidates to come on down. I do this with absolutely no hope of a win, but I do this holding out for a respectable candidate to properly illustrate the ideology of libertarianism and show serious experience to get them taken seriously in national media.
With that in mind, I must say that the Libertarian Party is very rarely an example of this.
From the used car salesman like Wayne Allyn Root, to the endless spree of whack house 9/11 truthers, to the genetic unmentionables; the LP has always found itself as the home of the people who got the promotion at Walmart, felt good about themselves and went home to their mothers going “Gee mommy, I’m so happy! I’m going to seek the LP nomination.”
In examining the newest candidates joining the LP ranks, I got to see the next guy bragging about his blue vest saying “Assistant Manager”, and his name is Austin Petersen.
As a point of departure, it’s important to note I really do not hate Austin. In fact, I agree with him on about 99% of issues.
Sometimes I feel he is strong in interviews and can, at least, debate with the same level of skill as Jeb Bush (which could be taken as a compliment or insult, depending on your perspective).
I don’t mind his stance on the NAP (the non-aggression principle) and actually agree with him for the most part.
I like The Libertarian Republic website despite its overuse of ads and tendency to publish clickbait articles.
I also don’t even care how he has the haircut that of a 13 year old boy from 2002, since, well, at least it’s better than the Trump cut.
This is just about the fact that at the end of the day, he’s a nobody, even by the Libertarian Party’s standards. Despite the fact that LP candidates are usually aware of their status as nobodies, Petersen seems to take the celebritarian label and use it as a badge of honor. This badge of honor affords one the unique position of being less well-known than a child killer, but likely more well-known than a child molester. This meaningless label simply implies that within the libertarian community, you may find someone who recognizes you from your online presence at a Students For Liberty conference, shake your hand, and continue to go about their day.
Now, to be fair, Austin isn’t the only one guilty of this. In fact, of the LP candidates running, he’s easily the third most well-known person in this race, sitting behind Gary Johnson and John McAffee.
Petersen is far better than Steve Kerbel, who I really have never heard of. Also looking at how Kerbel labels himself as “Entrepreneur & CEO @ Self-Employed” leads me to believe that he’s an Amway affiliate and is somehow making a name for himself on a website made in 1994, promising all the Libertarians free ponies that dispense crack rock.
He’s far better than Marc Feldman who visibly just doesn’t understand public policy, and has no basic speaking skills at all.
He’s far better than Joy Waymire who just strikes me as either a villain in a Scooby Doo episode, or someone who can hook me up with some really great LSD.
In a field of about nine libertarians seeking the nomination at this moment, I’d say for me he sits at about third to fifth place. He’s nowhere nearly as preferable as Johnson or McAfee, though, and is about even with some of the other candidates.
Why do I regard Gary Johnson and John McAfee as more preferable? Johnson is the one I’m supporting, and I think he’s just a million times stronger than Petersen as a candidate under the Libertarian banner. To keep it easy, I’ll just make it a list:
He’s actually qualified. When Johnson was 41 years old he had a construction company with 1,000 employees which did all the New Mexico offices for Microsoft. He was elected Governor of New Mexico in a landslide, beating the three term incumbent. Austin, at age 35, has a blog.
He was an amazing governor. He walked into a centimillion dollar deficit and walked out with a billion dollar surplus. On regulatory policy he vetoed almost all new regulations passed by the legislature. In the liberal New Mexico, he saw the state go from having the most state employees per capita to about the 30th highest in eight years. He was the first Republican governor, ever, to support the legalization of marijuana. He granted casino access to Native American reservations. He cut taxes fourteen times. He walked out of office getting praised by Democratic congressman Tom Udall, who openly called him one of the best governors the state ever had. He worked across the aisle and did great things while governor.
He’s far nicer than Austin. I’ve known Johnson for five years, having volunteered for his campaign at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. I have spoken with him on the phone, I have emailed him, and I’ve met him two dozen times. I even got him to come on as an advisor to a startup my father ran in medical marijuana, which he was nice enough to come to New York and break bread to discuss plans for.
When I once noted on Facebook that Austin was not qualified to run, he did not even attempt to rebut my argument. Instead, he acted immaturely by Googling me, stalking me on Facebook and LinkedIn, making fun of an interview I did on RT when I was 16, and even questioned how I get along with women. Instead of acting like a decent person and saying “I am qualified for these reasons:”, he just carried on like a child.
Gary did fantastic in 2012. He actually received more than double the votes that Bob Barr received in 2008. He was the first Libertarian candidate to break a million votes, the first one to break 0.5% of the vote in three election cycles and first to break 1% of the vote in three decades. That’s a massive improvement. Should the hope be to do even better? Of course. With that said, the LP with Michael Badnarik and Wayne Root has shown what happens when vane candidates like Austin Petersen join in.
Gary Johnson simply has a greater financial ability over Austin. Gary can write a check for half a million dollars, and while not doing it with ease, he can actually do it. He can also put those resources and friends to good use, which was evident in him getting to third place during the 2011 CPAC straw poll.
Gary Johnson did amazing in the Republican primary. He ran with an established libertarian candidate already in the race for president from Ron Paul. He ran in the GOP primary being pro-choice, pro-pot, pro-amnesty and pro-logic. He’d say global warming is real, God should not be mentioned in politics, George W. Bush was a fiscal train wreck and the other things that even Ron Paul couldn’t really get himself to mention. But he also did things libertarians wouldn’t like, and that came from pragmatism to benefit libertarianism. That fact is this: America can’t just withdraw 700 bases overnight. America can’t just end the Federal Reserve in the blink of an eye. America can’t just go against the established Civil Rights Act. In these regards, Gary held the more pragmatic position, over Ron. Despite all of this, he still did considerably well. He made received more media attention than George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Rick Santorum and Martin O’Malley did in the 2012 campaign cycle. He also after his second debate performance made a short term surge reaching about 6% in several polls, and also becoming the most Googled man in America. It was a tough battle, but given his stances and the time, he did well.
He is a true libertarian who wants to be more pragmatic on the issues. He does this, but somehow always gets this unfair criticism from the LP as being ‘not libertarian enough’ or whatever. Despite the fact that he is originally from liberal New Mexico, he will get attacked for supporting the Civil Rights Act, but Rand Paul can make a total 180 on an issue as big on Israel while being from a right-wing state and no one cares. Gary is 100% libertarian and represents fiscal conservatism, social freedom, open borders and pragmatic non-interventionist foreign policy.
With all of this, I’ll end my pro-Gary Johnson list at seven, staying with Johnson’s seven principles of good government.
Getting back to Austin, I want to point out that he’s not a bad guy, but simply isn’t good enough to represent the libertarian movement on this level. He really isn’t. He’s a blogger in the south with a joy for pissing people off and this tendency to think having someone at a libertarian conference recognize him makes him an awesome person. And well, he can become an awesome person. He can become worthy of being the LP nominee. He can become someone people actually know and discuss outside of political junkies on the Internet who have some stupid fight comparing Cato to Mises.
The idea that the Libertarian Party ‘needs’ him to assist with rebranding, or that he can help ‘fix’ libertarianism with a better grasp on the media, is nonsense. His site, while by no means bad, is sort of generic and just like every other libertarian site you see on the Internet. He keeps claiming he can grow the movement from creating more viral and better content, but despite running for several months now hasn’t done anything original or remotely viral. Where are the animated videos showing statistics on why his views are right? Where are the videos of him going to Iowa and knocking the doors of Trump or Bernie supporters to troll them into why they should back him? Where is him battling an evil Hillary Clinton dinosaur in a rap battle that teaches politics and economics? It doesn’t exist. It won’t be made. Him as the LP nominee won’t do anything besides continue very poorly done videos he barely edits and post on his Facebook. It’s junk!
For Austin: run for Congress, state senate or something else as a Republican, win and later on seek the LP nomination. Justin Amash, who was younger than him when he won his first congressional race, has achieved a ton of things and made a great name for himself while not really being much more qualified over Austin when he initially ran.
So the ultimate advice? Stop participating in a race where you just seem to troll people and actually get out there and help the libertarian movement!
The last time I “debated” Austin online about whether or not his campaign is a joke, he tried to call me out personally without ever defending himself. He mocked a performance I made in an interview about five years back, he mocked my physical appearance (I would say I am far better looking than he is, anyway) and seemed to somehow bash my career despite the fact I’m a decade his junior and likely have more money than him personally.
Allow me to give a basic life rundown about myself to save him from having to Facebook stalk me again for personal shots:
– Born in Soho, New York
– Raised in Catskills
– Bought Bitcoin in 2011
– Did some work with the Seasteading Institute
– Did my first startup, Streable, which raised seed capital, had several betas developed and failed due to a variety of factors. I take no shame in the failure of that project, but proud I made it that far.
– Worked in financial projects briefly with a couple of failures and some successes. Nothing that great, but I am happy overall with the experience I gained.
– Dropped out of college to pursue being an inventor and entrepreneur
– I currently hold two granted US patents and currently have three more pending
– I currently am the founder of a startup called Pivot Foods LLC where we are working on a new product in the food space which I have filed two patents on, and I have raised seed capital to develop. My website is shitty if ever up at all, because I’m seeking to license the product and just making it slowly as kind of the classic shitty placeholder. I’d be happy to show you the product myself if you signed an NDA.
– I currently live in Manhattan, but previously lived in Astoria.
– I am 5’11, 160 pounds, 14 biceps and not one of those genetic unmentionable libertarians you’d normally see online.
– I probably have a higher body count over yours, but anyone living in New York City can achieve that in about 20 minutes in the Meatpacking District (will take you there sometime if you’d like).
– My hair is nicer.
With that I end this article and give you tons of free ammo to mock with.
In the meantime, thanks everyone for reading and I’ll say this about Austin: his blue vest could say ‘Trainee’ and I’d still vote for him over Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Bernie Sanders, Jeb Bush and maybe even Ted Cruz. This article served to simply show how I believe his campaign is a joke, and why you should back Gary Johnson.
* Editor: the text above has been reviewed for readability, but not content. The opinion(s) reflected therein are those of the author, and not of the BeingLibertarian.com website or Being Libertarian LLC.
This post was written by Charles Peralo.
The views expressed here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect our views and opinions.