The Libertarian Party has done it again.
In Las Vegas this weekend, Libertarian Party national delegates nominated former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson as their representative to challenge Barack Obama for the Presidency, leaving Ron Paul as the only libertarian option left in the race.
To say the least, those that truly believe in the non-aggression principle are disappointed with the third largest political party's choice to challenge the statist status quo.
First, I should say that there are individual positions espoused by Johnson that many libertarians will agree with; marijuana decriminalization, dramatic reduction in taxes, and states' rights. But I contend that doesn't necessarily make one "libertarian", even if he is embraced by the Libertarian Party.
Furthermore, it should be understood that embracing the Constitution is not synonymous with libertarianism. If you aren't defending the non-aggression principle, you should probably call yourself something else, you aren't a libertarian. Though you can be a Libertarian based on their last two Presidential nominees.
I don't claim to be the arbitrator of everything "libertarian". But without question, the non-aggression principle stands as the benchmark for those seeking understanding of the libertarian position. But once again, the Libertarian Party nominates someone who doesn't share that belief.
The non-aggression principle states that aggression is inherently illegitimate, whether perpetrated by a common street thug or a government. It is based in the inherent fact that individuals own themselves, and have the right of undeterred self-determination.
Those that call themselves libertarian reject every compromise of that very basic tenant at risk of their own morality. It is the core at which libertarians can distinguish between those that would threaten or initiate violence to achieve their goals, and those that reject the use of aggressive force.
So, back to Gary Johnson and the nomination of Bob Barr before him, two men that have seemingly rejected that axiom on their way to the Libertarian Party nomination.
Gary Johnson thinks that the existence of Guantanamo Bay is swell, supports military tribunals (as opposed to due process), has very little understanding of a free-market economy (evidenced by his support of the fair tax), and complete ignorance of the Austrian theory of the business cycle in relation to monetary policy.
Bob Barr similarly rejected pure libertarianism when he supported higher protectionary tariffs, attempted to outlaw certain religious practices within the military, and stood against marijuana legalization.
Now, I cannot pretend to know the reasons for individual Libertarian Party members to nominate those that don't believe the same as they do; it could be that they feel Johnson/Barr were more "electable" or were "close enough", and thus deserving of their support.
Or, quite possibly, they simply do not believe that the non-aggression principle is worth defending.
It cannot be stated how much those that vehemently defend that principle are turned-off by the continual admonishing of that very basic belief system by the party claiming to defend their interests.
It is very disappointing to see the party shoot itself in the foot once again, and even more disappointing that there isn't a flood of individuals that hold the non-aggression axiom in high enough esteem who are willing to stand up for it at the national convention.
Now, all that said, libertarians are actually fortunate to have a stalwart and embattled libertarian still in the race for the Presidency. His name is Ron Paul and he is consistently amassing delegates on the way to a brokered convention within the GOP.
It is just a damn shame that the Libertarian Party seemingly cannot find someone willing to adamantly defend those same principles.
For more info on the proceedings: Gary Johnson wins Libertarian Party nomination