Libertarianism was once about peace, love and understanding. It was about a world without borders, without property and without drug prohibition. But tragically it has since been hijacked by right wing fascists, who use the term to sell their oppressive and backward views as cool, forward thinking and liberal. There’s nothing liberal or open minded about a system that promotes tax cuts for corporations and refuses to treat undocumented immigrants as equal citizens. Gary Johnson is a grass roots, classical libertarian, who is taking the libertarian party back to its progressive roots.
Gary Johnson was rightfully outraged when an insensitive interviewer used the offensive term ‘illegal’ to describe undocumented immigrants. Open borders have always been a core principle of libertarianism, and those who believe in locking hardworking people out of our country are not real libertarians. Gary Johnson also believes in true free trade, enabled by free trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP. People who refuse to support these trade deals do not really believe in free trade. Free trade is about setting up a global system of governance that is able to resolve international disputes and help companies outsource work and import cheap labor. That’s true free trade, not the restricted system of tariffs and borders that many fake libertarians advocate.
Bill Maher also described himself as a libertarian before the term was stolen by the far right. Like Gary Johnson, he believes in a strong social welfare state, and sensible gun control laws, such as a ban on semi automatics and a no-fly list that allows the Federal government to stop potential terrorists from owning guns. He also believes in universal healthcare and that everyone has a right to a good education, food and a roof over their heads. He’s always been anti interventionist, but he rightfully points out that Trump is most likely to start World War III, not Hillary, and he therefore supports a Hillary presidency over a Trump presidency.
At its core, Libertarianism is about freedom. Freedom from work, freedom from rules, freedom from borders and freedom from risk, like gun crime and not being able to pay for healthcare. True libertarians believe that a strong government can provide us with these freedoms, but they also believe in getting the government out of the way when it comes to oppressive things like borders and policing the inner cities. Libertarians believe that mitigating risks which infringe on peoples’ freedoms, like guns, domestic terrorism and poverty, is a key role of government. More intellectual libertarians like anarcho-communists also question the validity of private property and the concept of ‘ownership’. Why should one person be able to ‘own’ something and prevent others from using it? Shouldn’t the world be accessible to everyone?
In closing, true libertarianism is not the right wing, conservative ideology that many would have you believe it to be. It’s actually a truly liberal vision for an equal and fair world, without risk, and without rules. We need to reclaim the term ‘libertarian’, and restore its true meaning.