Gary Johnson: the leader the Libertarian Party needs, or a sellout and a fraud? No, neither of those two options is either right or wrong. However, how you answer that question is very revealing about your brain type. Yes, I know individualism trumps all, that truth is absolute and all that fun stuff… but the reality is, your opinion on Johnson and the way he has conducted his 2016 presidential campaign is highly reflective on how you’re wired.
DISCLAIMER: Other than actual research on brain styles influencing political views down below, this is all personal opinion based on first-hand experiences. We’re all different and have our own motivations for our choices and views, so don’t get enraged if you disagree.
The libertarian brain
As much as we’d all just love to assume that we come to our political views because we’ve landed on the one true path, as it turns out, we’re largely wired for our philosophy. Studies show that a certain brain type is attracted to libertarian ideas. Such a personality is a tried and true nonconformist, caring little for allegiance social institutions like God and country, much like liberals. However, like conservatives, they tend to score low on caring about fairness in the sense of equality of result, focusing on equality of opportunity. Next, true to the stereotype, libertarians tend to be the most emotionally masculine of any political group, scoring high on systematizing and low on empathy. Yep, they’re a bunch of hard-headed, cold-hearted bastards. Comparatively speaking, that is.
Finally, and most importantly, socialization: libertarians are the most individualistic. The positive side of this is their propensity towards self-reliance and making up their own damn mind about things rather than following the herd. The downside? Not working well with others. Because libertarians tend to value altruism and relationships so little, building a community, or coalition, is much more difficult. And it’s not just that it’s harder for them, they also just really don’t care. That last bit is important to this year’s election.
The typical libertarian brain hates Gary Johnson
According to the psychological profile detailed above, your usual libertarian has an axe to grind with Gary Johnson. His stances are watered down to the point of statism. He’s boring, calm, inarticulate about the ideas, and lacks the passionate spark Ron Paul’s speaking style had. And, worst of all, he doesn’t present a clear, ideological picture of what libertarianism is supposed to be about. Libertarian anger and frustration against Johnson, in my experience, tends to revolve around a sense of betrayal for the ideology. He isn’t a fiery and academically accurate spokesperson for libertarian ideals. That’s why he’s a devil.
The atypical, or “new,” libertarian hates Johnson
Now let’s move on from libertarian weirdos to more “normal” people. Newer Johnson supporters from more mainstream political backgrounds have no problem with the way he’s presenting himself this campaign season, and a smaller contingent of the old guard also exhibits this tolerance. That’s because, while many subscribe to the exact same ideology as the hardliners, they value vastly difference attributes for a public figure. His stances on the issues aren’t a problem because they have an actual chance of being implemented while still remaining a step in the right direction. His vernacular and case-by-case approach to applying the philosophy of liberty to policy issues isn’t a sell-out, it’s selling less government in a way that people will actually buy it. He isn’t a bold orator for the sacred principles of liberty, and thank god for that! The last thing the liberty movement needs is another angry old man scowling while yelling out niche buzzwords that no one cares for. It’s about time someone came along who made us look like normal, reasonable human beings so we can grow our coalition and actually win something for once.
Gary Jonson is the anti-Ron Paul… and that’s okay
You see, the truth about Gary Johnson is that he’s the opposite of Ron Paul, and that’s actually the best thing about him. I’m a huge, lifelong fan of Dr. Paul, and I respect his committed struggle for my freedom so much that I can barely think about it without tearing up a little bit. Many of us wouldn’t be here today without his impressive life’s work. But let’s finally be honest about one thing: he was an awful politician. That was part of his appeal. He spent generations in Congress without any significant legislative victories, got completely shut out in all his failed presidential bids, and then just quit. But he inspired a movement of hardcore, passionate liberty lovers like myself to tirelessly carry on the struggle. He was a bad political leader, but a wonderful ideological messenger. And he knows that, which is why he quit politics and started a think tank. Gary Johnson, on the other hand, managed to become a popular governor in a state with a hostile legislature and still get things done. He presided over a historically high Libertarian Party presidential turnout in 2012, and is poised to fare far better this year. That’s because he’s a better politician than Paul, which is kind of the point of running for president, the highest political office in the country. Johnson is fulfilling a vastly different role than Paul, but both of them have the exact same end goal: more liberty.
Gary Johnson’s detractors are absolutely correct: he’s no Ron Paul, and he fails to excite the ideological fervor that the good doctor stirred up last election cycle. However, at his own mission, that of pushing libertarian ideas further into the mainstream while building a much broader coalition of supporters and strategic alliances, Johnson’s success rate is far higher than Paul’s. Just as the “feeling” brain shouldn’t discount Dr. Paul’s ideological achievements because they don’t personally value that contribution to the movement, the “thinking” brain shouldn’t scorn Gov. Johnson’s achievements in coalition building and “de-crazying” the movement’s reputation. We already had someone who aimed for perfect liberty and lost, now there’s a chance to go for increased liberty and win. In that sense, Paul is the perfect and Johnson is the good… and we all know about not making those two into mortal enemies.