Lenz: Interesting Times Indeed

The time was 1936 and Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen had just been named the British Ambassador to China. As his memoirs have it, just prior to his departure from England to China to fulfill his role as the majesty’s representative, a friend told him of a Chinese curse,

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One can only imagine that had the framers of the United States Constitution lived to see the day when the vast majority of Americans were considering entrusting their government to either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, they would have drafted more strict eligibility requirements in order to avoid such interesting times…

Undoubtedly, they would be even more stunned to learn the only option with executive experience in running a government bureaucracy is currently trailing Trump and Clinton in the polls: Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson. James Madison nor Thomas Jefferson would ever have anticipated a political environment such as ours. One entirely devoid of principle, reason, or pragmatism.

Make no mistake, our next President, simply put, faces a gargantuan task. As if overseeing the world’s largest economy, military, and bureaucracy were not daunting enough for even the most qualified of candidates, the “lucky” winner of November’s contest faces a political media environment dominated by partisan news outlets with twenty-four hour coverage and fueled by profits via sensationalism.

All things considered, it is rather amazing we had as many candidates seeking the office of the Presidency as we did. Especially when one stops to consider the job is comprised of making decisions based on incomplete information, where errors in judgement have the most grave of consequences, and such errors will be subject to endless criticism by “analysts” looking to score cheap political points.

In hindsight, perhaps it is not altogether surprising the two major parties could only field The Donald and Hillary…

Yet in spite of the clear deterrents awaiting our next President, the American voter has an option with a well documented eight year track record of success leading a state where the opposition party held a two to one voter identification advantage: Libertarian nominee and former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson. While the average voter may not be as familiar with Governor Johnson as those who call themselves politicos, oddly it is the high information voter or “politico”, who has the easiest decision to make. How so?

A high information voter is someone well versed in public policy, well aware of the demands of the office of the Presidency, and well-attuned to both the U.S. and foreign political environment which awaits the next inhabitant of the office. These voters are well aware that the three major challenges awaiting the next president are:

1) Economy: Revitalizing a stagnant economy which is far too reliant on finance.

2) Foreign Policy: Carefully navigating a chaotic global environment where entire regions appear ripe for revolution and false promises of law and order in exchange for giving up human rights.

3) Institutional Trust: Restoring the broken promise of American blind justice by the legal system and repairing the broken bonds of trust between community members and their enforcement officers.

Economy

The American economy is stagnant. Traditional measures such as monetary expansion by the Federal Reserve and budget deficit fueled fiscal stimulus via government spending has proven to be ineffective in promoting the kind of economic and job growth Americans have come to expect from their formerly dynamic economy. The harsh economic reality awaiting our next commander in chief is one where the number of new businesses being formed and U.S. entrepreneurship rate has reached an all time low. Why is that important?

All U.S. job creation comes from businesses under the age of five. The next President faces an economic situation where young “would be” entrepreneurs are stuck, or barely climbing, the bottom of the corporate ladder in order to pay back their student loans. Rather than inventing new technologies like the Apple computer or Windows operating system in their parent’s garage.

Technological experimentation and breakthrough create the cutting edge industries our economy is dependent upon for new employment opportunities. When one considers the sclerotic entrepreneurship situation in the U.S. and the exhaustion of monetary and fiscal options, how can one vote in support of Hillary Clinton when her economic policies are a continuation of our existing situation? How can someone believe in Donald Trump’s freshly unveiled economic plan built on the failed Keynesian Gods of infrastructure spending and vanity tweaks to the U.S. tax code?

Does that sound like the hope and change voters can believe in?

No, however Governor Johnson’s plan of steady budget deficit reduction, radical tax code overhaul, and sound monetary policies that encourage saving and investment, rather than consumption, offer the type of rejuvenation the U.S. economy so desperately needs.

Foreign Policy

The current geopolitical landscape is an utter mess and entirely the result of intervention prescribed by the failed philosophy of Neo-conservatism. Within the academic sphere of foreign policy and international relations, Neo-conservatism operated as an unchecked monopoly. Starting with the creation of Nelson Rockefeller’s democracy exportation experiment in South America to prevent the rise of Fidel, Che, and other “Marxist” revolutionaries sympathetic to anti-imperialism and the common worker, the United States has doggedly pursued an agenda of intervention into the political affairs of our global neighbors.

The two questions which are rarely applied to Neo-conservatism are: To what end? And at what cost?

The United States did not invent the idea of foreign aid as a means of manipulation, but by God, did we ever bring it to the market on a mass scale. It is virtually impossible to find a nook or cranny of the globe where the U.S. has not offered dollars in exchange for unfulfilled promises by tyrannical dictators with innocent blood on their hands. The U.S. has propped up murderous dictators with promises of democratic reform, attempted to export freedom into the Middle East despite a single instance of success and in the face of pleas from an Arab world in opposition, and watched “strategic regional allies” like Saddam Hussein morph into uncontrollable despots Hell bent on world-ending nuclear war…

Rather than continue to intervene in parts of the world where foreign policy advisers claim the United States has a “strategic interest”, perhaps we should remove ourselves from the affairs of others? The hostile geopolitical environment is entirely of our own doing. If the United States wants to create a safer world for both its military and citizens, all that is necessary is minding our own business. In knowing that, which candidate is best suited to keep American citizens safe?

Former Secretary of State and Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton? She is the embodiment of neoconservatism, so much so, Republican neoconservative patron saint, Bill Kristol, has publicly stated he would rather see her win over Trump. If there were any question as to whether intervening in the affairs of others makes Americans safer, perhaps one should ask the late U.S. Ambassador to Libya: Christopher Stevens….Stevens lost his life after it was discovered the U.S. was supplying arms to anti-Qaddafi and anti-Assad rebels in Libya and Syria out of the U.S. Libyan embassy.

To his credit Donald Trump has been refreshingly anti-interventionist during his pursuit of the Presidency. While he has advocated for “Bombing the Hell out of Isis and taking their oil”, he has also repeatedly advocated for scaling back troop commitments, even outright calling for the removal of all U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the primary issues with a President Trump in regard to foreign policy are not with his positions, but rather his temperament and ability to resist the calls for intervention by the neoconservatives within the Republican party. Credit must be give where credit is due, but the odds of less U.S. military intervention during a Trump presidency are quite low.

Governor Johnson, unlike Clinton or Trump, is the only candidate in the race with a long standing belief in non-intervention and in a party where he will not be beholden to the failed philosophy of neoconservatism. Whether it be an increasingly aggressive Vladimir Putin, China asserting its dominance in the South China Sea over Japan, or protecting Americans against Islamic State jihadists, Governor Johnson is the candidate best situated to navigate the choppy waters of the current geopolitical situation, as well as the most likely to keep Americans safe.

Institutional Trust

From the Ferguson riots to the inhumane suffocation of Chris Garner, it is clear police brutality and its militarization, as well as the ever apparent two class legal system belonging to those in the political class and those not, have captured the gnat-like attention span of America. Americans of all ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses simply cannot make sense of the rioting and burning communities brought into their homes via nightly cable news. Nor can they make sense of press conferences where the Director of the FBI puts on a fence-sitting performance worthy of Barnum and Bailey, in order to absolve the Democrat Presidential nominee of any wrong doing during her time as Secretary of State.

Truth be told, the only reason a candidate like Donald Trump is possible, is due to a collapse of institutional trust in receiving justice, remediation, and protection via the agencies and systems tasked with their blind enforcement. Trump promises law and order, but not through a commitment to blind justice, but by doubling down on a commitment to a misguided and error-prone system. America, it has been said, is

“A dream of justice that people have had for a thousand years.”

Yet even the most passionate adherent to our founding document’s idealistic beliefs, would be hard pressed to maintain that such is the case today. Our law enforcement agencies no longer seem capable of adequately fulfilling their obligation to protect and serve, and the cruel irony within the corruption of our judicial system, is that its biggest beneficiary is now the front-runner to lead it: Hillary Clinton. 

It is clear, Clinton is a product of the system and Trump wants to double down on such a system. How’s that for bipartisanship?

The mountainous task confronting the next President of the United States, on the matters of justice reform, protecting Constitutional rights and prioritizing access to those rights to all people without regard to race, color, gender, income bracket, or access to influence via political connection, is staggering. However, if there were ever a candidate for such a mountainous task, it would be Governor Gary Johnson, a man who has successfully climbed Mount Everest, as well as the rest of the world’s highest peaks.

As if that were not enough, Governor Johnson was also endorsed by the ACLU. An organization whose sole purpose is to uphold and protect the rights granted by the Constitution.

Governor Johnson at the summit of Mount Everest

These times are certainly interesting, but they need not be cursed. Curses have no place in a free and fair election, they exist only in the minds of the ignorant and ill-informed. The skeptical mind may be damning his or her existence during these interesting times, perhaps believing “How unlucky to be alive under a President Trump or Clinton?”. Yet it is the interesting nature of these times which has created a void in the mind of high and low information voters alike. These interesting times are libertarian times, these times created this moment, our moment, and our opportunity to present our party, philosophy, and candidate before the high society of the American electorate.

Does that mean Governor Gary Johnson will win? Maybe, maybe not, but in the most interesting of times, we have the most interesting of candidates.

The 2016 Presidential election is an interesting time, and for the two major parties the times appear to be a curse, but for Libertarians, it is QUITE the blessing. Enjoy it. Take the time to breathe in this moment. Tell your friends about Gary, make his case and make it well, and if we are lucky, we may continue to live during these interesting times.

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Greg Lenz is a reformed Conservative. I've slowly evolved my position from Conservative Republican to it's current status of Libertarian Republican. I'm aware people hate the Libertarian Republican label, but ultimately I'm a pragmatist. Economic issues are my primary concern therefore I do support Republican candidates from time to time (Rand Paul 2016). As of late, I find myself flirting with Minarchism. The writings of William F. Buckley, Ayn Rand, and Thomas Jefferson have played the biggest role in shaping my beliefs.

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