The only third party candidate who is within shouting distance of being able to make it on the debate stage with Hillary and Trump is Gary Johnson. Maybe he will make it, and maybe he will not, but whether he succeeds there or not, a lot of Christians are looking around for some decent place to land. Could Johnson be that place?
It would be easy to dismiss him because he belongs to the pro-abort wing of the libertarians, but that issue isn’t that simple. If Johnson were a genuine libertarian—he is not—it could be possible for a conservative Christian to vote for him as a tactical move. What do I mean?
What would I do if a candidate pulled “the reverse move” on the life issue? We are accustomed to the usual shtick. Hillary’s VP selection, Tim Kaine, has said (as countless others have said before him) that he is personally pro-life, but that as a matter of public policy he wants to keep things as bloody as they currently are.
What would happen if a pro-choice Libertarian reversed this? Suppose someone said that they were personally pro-choice, but that, if elected, they would cut Planned Parenthood off without one thin dime, would appoint strict constitutionalists to the bench, and nothing but strict constitutionalists, and that his understanding of the Constitution was that states should have the full and untrammeled right to restrict abortions if they so choose. He would go live in another state.
That could be a consistent position for a Libertarian to take. The reason I don’t think a vote for Johnson along such lines would work is that he plainly does not understand how libertarianism works. And even if we had a consistently libertarian pro-choicer running, I am well past the point of wanting to triangulate my vote—I am not a good enough pool player to sink an eight-bump bank shot. I want a candidate who loves Jesus, and acts like it.
There is much to admire in principled libertarianism, particularly in the forms represented by Judge Napolitano or Rand Paul. But its perennial danger, and the one to which it has now succumbed, is the danger of turning libertarianism into libertinism, where the principles of economic liberty and free association go up in a haze of pot smoke. The current Libertarian ticket of Johnson/Weld is a statist joke. Johnson wants the state to have authority over conscience in the market place, religious liberty be damned, supports continued funding for Planned Parenthood, and Weld endorsed Obama and supported an assault weapons ban. In short, were Johnson and Weld to make their way to positions of authority, we would only find out what impact THC might have on policy prescriptions. I am not a libertarian, but I am more of one than the current Libertarian ticket.
We have had RINOs for years, and so it is only fitting that we now make room for LINOs—Libertarian in Name Only. That being the case, a tactical vote for the Libertarians—which is not a good idea anyway—would simply affect what side of the slippery slope we continue to careen down.