01 Oct 2016

Johnson Supporters Inventing Their Own Reality

Politics 8 Comments

I did some soul-searching recently asking myself, “Is it true what they say? Do I just go out of my way to tear down the best chance for liberty in this election cycle?”

And no, that’s not what I’m doing. In my professional outlets, I don’t engage in libertarian catfighting. I have a podcast (co-hosted of course) devoted to taking down Paul Krugman. I write books hoisting up Mises.

But, on social media and my personal blog, yes I am going to point out when I think people on “my team” are engaging in the same qualitative (not quantitative) behavior that they recognize as ridiculous when it’s a Hillary or Trump supporter doing it.

Case in point: I have seen lots of Gary Johnson fans respond to his latest flub with the following excuses (listed after the video):

(1) “The mainstream media is lying, as usual. It wasn’t a “brain fart,” give me a break.”

(2) “It wasn’t an Aleppo moment, lying mainstream media. With Aleppo, Johnson was admittedly off, but this was a case of a gotcha question that no libertarian should answer.”

(3) “Johnson did the principled libertarian thing. *I* don’t respect any foreign leaders, do you Murphy?!!”

OK, the only problem with the defenses above, are that Johnson himself:

(1*) Was in the process of saying he was having a brain fart (see :30 – :40 in the video).
(2*) Explicitly said he was having an Aleppo moment (25 seconds in the video).
(3*) Tried to name a foreign leader he respected (former president of Mexico), but blanked out on the name. Then said “FOX!” when his running mate rescued him.

But other than that, yes, it was a mainstream lie.

P.S. Johnson himself, afterwards, perpetuated this false narrative–sort of like George Costanza and the Jerk Store. So the one thing he had going for him–that he was a straight shooter who admitted when he screwed up–is now gone too.

P.P.S. For those of you mad at me for not jumping on the Johnson-Weld bandwagon, be honest with yourself: Did you ever think it was remotely possible that you would have to explain your guy saying this?

P.P.P.S. Of COURSE if I had to pick between President Johnson and President Trump, I’d prefer Johnson. But I don’t have that power, go figure. What I can and will do is point out when Libertarians are doing the same type of thing that they so easily recognize and ridicule in Trump supporters. (“Ha ha, look at them squirm and try to explain away the latest ridiculous thing he said!”)

8 Responses to “Johnson Supporters Inventing Their Own Reality”

  1. Bob Roddis says:

    Be thankful for small favors. At least Gary Johnson isn’t the equivalent of the Doug Kenney “Stork” character from “Animal House”. And he’s not from Rothbard’s “Space Cadet” cohort.


    Plus, his analysis of East Korea is excellent.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Heh that’s funny Bob. But I think in the analogy *I* would be the space cadet, complaining about the Johnson Team getting things done.

      • Darien says:

        But is the Johnson team getting things done? Worthwhile things, anyhow; sure, he’s sticking his tongue out on MSNBC and tarring libertarianism with his cock-eyed ideas about burqa bans, smoking bans, and cake mandates, but are they really growing the luberty movement?

        Color me surprised if any of these newfound “libertarians” support the party in 2020 when the mainstream choices are less toxic.

        • Bob Roddis says:

          Most people cannot remember if left and right mean liberal or conservative. No one but us will remember Johnson’s missteps. He clearly amounts to one big missed opportunity but I do not think his performance will cause any long term problems. And he doesn’t scare the ladies.

          Ron Paul could/shoulda run as the LP candidate.

          • Darien says:

            Oh, I agree; I don’t think any lasting damage will be done. I don’t see the Johnson crew, in fact, accomplishing anything lasting at all.

        • Bob Roddis says:

          I realize that this is hard to believe, but I meet few (no) people in the Detroit suburbs who remember Rothbard’s Space Cadet article from 1979 in Libertarian Review. That’s how many people will remember Gary Johnson and Aleppo.

  2. Bob Roddis says:

    For the next go-round —– I hate to upturn the apple cart, but we might want to think about our use of the terms “government” and “the state”. “Government” is fine under AnCap so long as it does not initiate force. I suppose that it just ain’t a “state” or a “government” unless it can initiate force. What we are proposing, in fact, is for such an institution to continue engaging in defensive protection pursuant to EXPRESS, EXPLICIT and ENFORCEABLE contracts. Everything stays the same except there will be no murder, rape, theft or pillage with private property and no lying with contracts. If it make average people more comfortable to call these institutions “governments” or “states”, it might make things easier to understand. The key is not the name used for the institution but its permitted functions.
    The “state” is like chili with hot peppers. AnCap is like chili without the hot peppers. It’s still chili.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Yes Bob, Nelson Nash sent me Nock’s book and since then I try not to mix the two terms up, although sometimes I do. See this old post.

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