This is the final Libertarian Party Presidential debate between Gary Johnson, John McAfee, and Austin Petersen. It is moderated by Penn Jillette. The hosts are the Libertarian Party of Nevada and TheBlaze.
Governor Gary Earl Johnson is an American businessman and politician who is considering a run for President of the United States in 2016.
Johnson is a Libertarian, or classical liberal, as was President Thomas Jefferson. Like the majority of Americans, Johnson is more fiscally conservative than Governor Jeb Bush and more socially liberal than Secretary Hillary Clinton. Johnson believes in free enterprise, foreign non-interventionism, limited government, marijuana legalization, FairTax, balancing the budget, Second Amendment rights, civil rights, marriage equality, term limits, and abolishing the IRS, the Department of Education, the Federal Reserve, and many others.
Johnson attended University of New Mexico, was married to the late Dee Simms from 1977-2005, is the father of two children Seah born in 1979 and Erik born in 1982, and got engaged to his life partner Kate Prusack in 2009.
In 1976, Johnson founded Big J Enterprises, a one man handyman business, which he built it into a 1000 employee multi-million dollar company.
Johnson served as the 29th Governor of New Mexico as a Republican, in a 2-to-1 Democratic state, from 1995 to 2003. Johnson was known for balancing budgets and vetoing more bills than all other governors combined.
A lifelong health enthusiast and avid triathlete, Johnson climbed all seven of the Seven Summits including Mount Everest despite frostbitten toes. Johnson bikes extensively and abstains from all recreational drug use, caffeine, alcohol, and some sugar products.
In 2009 and 2013, respectively, Johnson founded “Our America Initiative” and “Our America PAC,” both focused on pro-liberty issues, as well as filing strategic lawsuits to allow general election debate access for third party candidates.
Johnson ran for President in 2012 as a Republican, but left the Republican Party when he received the Libertarian Party nomination. Johnson appeared on 48 out of 50 state ballots in the general election and received 1.3 million votes, or 1% of the popular vote, which was more than all other minor candidates combined. This was the most successful result for a third party presidential candidacy since 2000. It was the best showing in the Libertarian Party’s history by vote count.
Austin Petersen is the owner and chief executive of Stonegait LLC, a for-profit consulting firm specializing in photo and video services. Stonegait also provides executive consulting services for brands and campaigns.
Petersen is the former Director of Production at FreedomWorks and was an Associate Producer for Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show, “Freedom Watch” on the Fox Business Network. Petersen built Judge Napolitano’s social networks, boasting millions of clicks a month.
Petersen has turned The Libertarian Republic into a powerful online news source for the public, with an average of 1.5 million unique visits monthly. As a publisher and professional pundit, Petersen grew “The Freedom Report” podcast into a top audio news source, with an average of one million monthly downloads. As a creative content producer, business executive, and successful political organizer, Stonegait’s CEO has a lifetime of activism ahead, with decades of professional experience in a wide variety of industries.
His work has appeared in Getty, Reuters, the LA Times, NBC and Time Magazine. His famous “Toy Gun March” and charity fundraiser was an international news story, raising thousands for the U.S. Marines charity Toys for Tots and making a pointed statement, with a satirical twist, about the importance of 2nd Amendment rights.
He is also a frequent contributor on television appearing on Fox News, Fox Business, and on dozens of local radio shows. As a former male model and actor, Petersen appeared in Time Magazine for Microsoft’s 2005 infrastructure sales campaign, and represented designer 191 Unlimited’s premium summer fashion line. He also was a featured model for several couture bridal shoots, as well as appeared on major New York City-based soap operas.
Petersen made his feature film debut as an Executive Producer through Stonegait with the famous science fiction novel Alongside Night, starring Kevin Sorbo. As a product demonstrator and Toy Soldier at FAO Schwarz in Manhattan, Petersen moved from the sales floor to management in six months, and was again promoted to the corporate office’s buying team less than six months later. He even appeared on the Conan O’Brien show.
Austin grew up on a farm in the Midwest. He was born in Independence, and raised in Peculiar near a town called Liberty. Austin won Samuel French’s “Critic’s Choice” award for playwrighting a one-act dramatizing the events of 9/11. Graduating from Missouri State University with a degree in Musical Theatre, Petersen moved to New York City after graduation to a pursue a career in media. He currently resides in Missouri.
John McAfee was born at the height of World War II, a period during which the question of Freedom was being decided for the entire world. John has carried with him his entire life both the fraught energy of the period, and the budding optimism that followed it. Never one to rest on his laurels, he started out life by earning a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Roanoke College and never looked back.
Upon entering the workplace, McAfee’s innate talent as a programmer landed him jobs at some of the largest and most successful companies and institutions of all time. Working at NASA, Univac, Xerox and Lockheed Martin made for an impressive resume yet failed to satisfy the strongest drives of his human spirit. He constantly felt as if he needed to do more – that he had not yet found his calling.
Revolutionizing an Industry
While working at Lockheed Martin, McAfee received a copy of one of the first computer viruses. Studying this problem, McAfee’s natural sense of curiosity and his visionary outlook combined with his technological acumen and strong desire to help others. The result was McAfee Associates, vendor of the very first anti-virus protection system. Not content to just start a company, McAfee in reality had founded an entire multi-billion dollar industry.
This would not be the last time McAfee helped to pioneer a new industry and change entire paradigms. As the founder of Tribal Voice he developed one of the very first instant messaging apps. He continued on to start several more successful companies during his career, and has mentored countless others to similar success.
A Lesson In Corruption
In 2008, the financial crisis that destroyed so many lives and injured countless others also took its toll on McAfee. As with every other misfortune in his life, McAfee’s optimistic individualism compelled him to find even greater purpose, and he dedicated himself to the task of studying plants from the jungles of Belize in order to harness their medicinal properties for the benefit of all.
The jungles of Belize offer many tantalizing prospects to a student of science, but also threaten peril to those that refuse to conform to the mold. And while McAfee was aware that bribery and corruption was a major part of the culture there, even he could hardly be prepared for the level of depravity to which the government would descend. McAfee’s refusal to pay a multi-million dollar bribe led to his house being ransacked, McAfee being tortured, and his dog being shot while he helplessly looked on.
After this incident, McAfee did everything he could to expose the corruption of the government of Belize to the world. After again refusing a bribe he was not visited again, for in the calm before the storm the government was planning something much worse. What they were up to came into focus when one of McAfee’s neighbors was found murdered in the style of execution favored by government execution squads, and the government announced that they would like to”question” McAfee in custody.
Realizing this desire for the likely death sentence that it was, McAfee declined to be questioned and instead began a storied and dangerous adventure to escape Belize through Guatemala and, eventually, home to America. That story, with elements familiar to fans of both Jack London and Jack Kerouac, captured the public imagination and elevated McAfee even further into legend status. And through his blog and coverage in the media, we were all able to live The Great Escape along with him.
Returning home meant, for McAfee, returning to business. He had left Belize with nothing, and had literally to start from scratch. So again he built businesses, while at the same time pursuing a career as a prolific author and media personality. Many people would have looked back, taken a deep breath, and been content with a life full of achievement and adventure. Many, many people, but not John McAfee.
It did not take long once back in America to see that things weren’t right here either. Corruption, while less bloody, is as much a problem here as in Belize. The government, run by people that have made careers out of a desire to control others, has become insane. It had come to view the citizenry, free thought and real democracy as its enemies. And at the same time, it is blundering incompetently towards a technological future that it is ill-prepared for and that could spell the end of our society.
Something must be done. Taking a moment to reflect on where McAfee has been is an excellent reminder that he may be one of the only people alive that can lead us where we need to go as a nation. And as he meets more and more Americans on the campaign trail they are coming to see with their own eyes what the story suggests. More than just a businessman – more than just a smart man – McAfee is, in the tradition of rugged individualism and human courage that saturates the American Story, a Force.