Many libertarians are sharply divided over the national Libertarian Party’s nomination of two former republicans, Gary Johnson and Bill Weld for president and vice-president, respectively. Some, like me, say it’s a continued betrayal of the party’s principle of non-aggression, as Johnson and Weld are not taking principled stands on the issues. Nor are they even broaching the subject of non-aggression, the principle to which they signed their names in order to join the party in the first place, which says, “I do not support or advocate the initiation of force to achieve political or social goals.”
To others, like Free Keene blogger Rich Paul, the watering down of the message is seen as a way to promote libertarianism in the hopes that people will see Johnson and Weld’s campaign and learn more about the principle of non-aggression on their own.
It’s a disagreement that has split the libertarian party for much longer than just this campaign season. Sadly, the pandering pragmatists have been winning for a decade-or-so, and have nominated unprincipled people like Bob Barr, Bill Weld, and Gary Johnson, when the party used to put forward principled, true libertarians like Harry Browne and Ron Paul. Browne and Paul explained the principles and ideas of liberty, whereas Johnson and Weld won’t even broach the subject. Their campaign is about them, not libertarianism.
Thankfully, the tide is turning in the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire. First, the party’s delegates to the national convention this year were some of the only delegates to NOT vote in favor of Johnson/Weld. Then, more recently the party overwhelmingly voted in principled doers Darryl W Perry and Rodger Paxton into the chairman/vice chairman roles.
Now the LP of NH’s executive committee has made an unprecedented move and voted to censure Weld for donating money to Chris Sununu, the republican candidate for governor here in New Hampshire:
Since the gubernatorial race is pivotal to ballot access retention in New Hampshire for the Libertarian Party, it is a betrayal for Bill Weld to give money to our direct competitor, money that will be used in direct contravention to the money spent by the national Libertarian Party and the Libertarian Party of New Hampshire to achieve and retain our ballot access.
It’s refreshing to see the long-languishing Libertarian Party of New Hampshire finally getting active again and making a stand for the principles that have been long lost on the national LP. Kudos.