Libertarians — Bah!

by John Derbyshire

Here’s Radio Derb’s take on the Gary Johnson candidacy, from last week’s broadcast. (Which, I’m sorry, never made it to podcast. This was entirely my fault. The office was closed on Friday, so I should have finalized the broadcast with the NRO webbies on Wednesday. I forgot about this.)

Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, has announced he will try for the Republican presidential nomination next year. Johnson announced this April 21st via Twitter, whatever that is.

There’s a lot to like about Johnson. He was a businessman and a wealth-generator before running for Governor in 1994 on the GOP ticket. He got elected and served two terms, the maximum under New Mexico’s constitution. He governed as a small-government libertarian, issuing a record number of legislative vetoes and leaving office with his state in a healthy fiscal surplus.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that like too many libertarians, Johnson is a driveling idiot on the National Question. Libertarians really need to drop their globalist fantasies and get to grips here.

I myself wrote the definitive article on this back in December 2006, title: “Libertarianism in One Country.” I am therefore just going to quote myself here. Quote from me, talking about libertarians and immigration, quote:
Their enthusiasm on this matter is suicidal to their cause. Their ideological passion is blinding them to a rather obvious fact: that libertarianism is a peculiarly American doctrine, with very little appeal to the huddled masses of the Third World. If libertarianism implies mass Third World immigration, then it is self-destroying. Libertarianism is simply not attractive either to illiterate peasants from mercantilist Latin American states, or to East Asians with traditions of imperial-bureaucratic paternalism, or to the products of Middle Eastern Muslim theocracies.
End quote. If Gary Johnson had read that article, he would be a wiser man, and a better presidential candidate. As it is, his recorded opinions on immigration are, not to sugar the pill here, infantile. Here he is being interviewed on the topic in November 2009, a year and a half ago.
Well, first of all, I support immigration …
Hold it right there, Governor. What the hell does that mean — “I support immigration”? It’s like saying “I support foreign policy.” Sure, we all do; but what foreign policy? This is the substance of politics.

There is no debate, to the best of my knowledge, between people who are for immigration and people who are against it. The debate is about what our immigration policy should look like.

I sometimes despair of getting people to talk intelligently about this. Just the other day, someone referred to me as, quote, “anti-immigrant.” Anti-immigrant? I am an immigrant. My wife’s an immigrant, too, and half our friends are immigrants. How in the name of Jehoshaphat am I “anti-immigrant”? Don’t words have meaning any more? Should I just throw out my dictionary?

My grandfather, according to family lore, used to drink a bottle of whiskey a day. I myself believe that drinking a bottle of whiskey a day is a seriously bad idea. Does that make me “anti-alcohol”? Grrr.

Anyway, back to Gary Johnson. More from that 2009 interview:
I think immigration is a good thing.
He likes it! He thinks it’s a good thing! No, this is not your four-year-old nephew talking, this is a bigfoot American politician, two-term governor of a large state. Lord give me strength to endure!
I’m opposed to building a wall across the border, which … We have built a wall across the border.
Yes we have. Across 129 miles of the border, which is to say, seven percent.
What we really need to do is we really need to make it easy for immigrants that are here in the United States to work in the United States.
Immigrants that are here in the United States are either here on visas that permit them to work (for example, an H-1 or H-2 visa), or else they’re not (for example an H-4 visa or an F-2 visa). So what’s the governor proposing — getting rid of all non-working visas? Or what? Does he even know? Does he even know the difference between an H-1 and an F-2? If not, why is he even trying to talk about immigration? Aren’t public officials supposed to inform themselves about public topics before they open their fool mouths?
I think that illegal immigration is really the issue. We need to make documentation of illegal immigrants as easy as we possibly can. There’re all sorts of ways we could do that, starting with the employer. Let’s make it easy to document illegal immigrants so that they become tax-paying immigrants.
So far as I can extract any meaning from that, it seems to be a call for amnesty and open borders. If the entire population of, say, Saudi Arabia wants to come and settle in Albuquerque, Gary Johnson is apparently just fine with it.

Good luck to you, Governor. I’ve put you down on my list of politicians I’ll vote for … when hell freezes over.

Sorry to have been a tad vituperative, but too many libertarians are, like Gov. Johnson, just missing in action on the topic of national sovereignty. They basically don’t believe in it.

Ron Paul, by the way, is an exception. On the NumbersUSA rankings, Paul gets a C-minus, but that’s actually not bad — the rankings are pretty strict. Michele Bachmann is only a B-minus. Paul ranks ahead of all the GOP ’12 hopefuls except Michele and Pawlenty (a C-plus).

If you think you can stand more of Johnson blathering cluelessly about immigration, here he was at National Review a few weeks ago. He seems not to know the difference between “infer” and “imply,” either. Libertarians — bah!

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