Guest post contributed by Scott Cosenza, Policy Director for One Generation Away
Gary Johnson wasn’t in the first presidential debate of 2016, and, as a libertarian, I’m happy about that.
It makes me happy because every day Gary Johnson is out there being listened to, he damages the chances for liberty to take hold in the minds and hearts of Americans. He is either ignorant, as I suspect, about the principles that animate support for Libertarians™ amongst those of us who are libertarians, and why those are important, or he just doesn’t care. In either case his candidacy is unacceptable.
In fact, Johnson a) did answer “a basic question about the crisis in Aleppo, Syria,” and b) did so not with a “surprising lack of foreign policy knowledge,” but with a sensible, clear approach to the Syria crisis that acknowledges both the specific geopolitical situation and serves as a cogent critique of the usual US foreign policy stance that has wrought Hell across the world since, let’s say, the McKinley administration.
Making a Murderer caused many who saw it to seriously question, if not abandon, one of the convenient fictions that most Americans believe—that, in the unlikely event we get arrested for a crime we didn’t commit, all we have to do is explain ourselves and the system will quickly realize that it made a mistake. After all, only guilty people hire lawyers.
Writers like Frédéric Bastiat, Albert Jay Nock, Murray Rothbard, and Franz Oppenheimer have made the invaluable distinction between the state and society, and between the political means and the economic means.
But there is a more subtle distinction that needs to be made, especially in the American context.
Americans usually refer to the thing properly called “the state” as “the government.” It’s unfortunate for clear thinking about politics that these two terms have, through long use, become interchangeable.
I understand why most Americans—especially those who were alive at the time and had been devastated by the pain and confusion of war—aren’t really interested in pushing past the simplistic myth of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that has been preserved and propagated in textbooks, speeches, and movies through the years in order to look honestly at the facts.
But I’m disturbed and ashamed that most American Christians—including my former self—also refuse to question this myth.