Schulman's novels have twice won the Prometheus Award for
libertarian science fiction, and one of his Los Angeles Times
opinion articles was awarded the James Madison Award from
the Second Amendment Foundation. On Saturday's he's the West
Coast Co-Host of Cybercity
His full bio is at http://www.pulpless.com/jneil/jnsbio.html and
his personal website is at http://www.jneilschulman.com/.
This Libertarian Is Voting to Re-elect George W. Bush
Choosing the more libertarian...
[J. Neil Schulman] 10/28/04
you are part of a society that votes, then do so. There may
be no candidates and no measures you want
vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote
against. By this rule you will rarely go wrong."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, The Notebooks of Lazarus Long
I've called myself a libertarian since January 10, 1971,
when my mother, a diehard New York Sunday Times crossword-doer,
said to me, "Hey your favorite author's picture is in
the Times Magazine."
rushed over and sure enough there was Robert A. Heinlein's
picture illustrating an article entitled "The
New Right Credo--Libertarianism" by Stan Lehr and Louis
Rossetto, Jr., and I said to myself, "So that's what
the set-up in Heinlein's short story 'Coventry' is all about." I
already agreed with the libertarian philosophy. I just needed
a label for it.
Ten months later, in my first semester of
college, I started a campus libertarian group. A few months
later I began writing for libertarian publications. I've never
stopped being a libertarian activist or writer over the subsequent
I was one of the first to join the Libertarian
Party in New York when it was organized in 1973, and I was
one of the first to quit the Libertarian Party and oppose all
participation in politics in 1974. I was a non-voter from 1975
to 1990, registering to vote in 1991 after years of political
abstinence on the proposition that if voting was participating
in State violence, and I could carry a gun to use in violent
self-defense if necessary, then I could cast a ballot in self-defense
From 1990 forwards I've registered either
Libertarian or Republican, depending on whether there was anyone
in Republican primaries I needed to vote for (or against),
and I've cast my votes either for Libertarian or Republican
candidates, except in the 1992 presidential election in which
I voted for Ross Perot.
In the 2004 presidential election I will
not be voting for the Libertarian Party candidate, Michael
Badnarik. I will be voting to re-elect the Republican Party
candidate, President George W. Bush.
regard both Michael Badnarik and George W. Bush as decent men.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael
Badnarik on Cybercity Radio, August 28, 2004, and you can listen
to that interview here. [The
Badnarik interview is in Hour Two of that show.]
Nevertheless, there are two reasons I will
be casting my ballot for George W. Bush and not for Michael
Badnarik. The first reason is simple reality: Michael Badnarik's
prospect for being elected president is effectively zero. The
second reason is that George W. Bush is qualified to exercise
the executive authority of the presidency and Michael Badnarik
I realize that most libertarians vote for
president not with the intent of electing a man suitable to
execute that authority, but as an act of symbolic protest against
a government we have considered malevolent and intrusive into
our private lives.
When I believed in symbolic protests I refrained
from voting entirely, investing my energy in efforts such as
the 1976 Vote for Nobody campaign. If publicity was the goal,
CounterCampaign '76 was far more cost-efficient in spreading
libertarian philosophy than the Libertarian Party. For less
than $300 invested we achieved national exposure for our print
and radio ads, as opposed to the tens of thousands of dollars
the Libertarian Party spent for equivalent exposure that year.
I became a voter I gave up casting my ballot symbolically
in any race in which I believed my ballot
stood any chance whatsoever in effecting a preferable outcome.
Purists have told me for years that "the lesser of two
evils is still evil." I have learned to counter that argument
with one taught to me by libertarian author Brad Linaweaver: "the
lesser of two evils is less evil."
Let me make a better argument than even Brad
Linaweaver's clever response to this libertarian duckspeak.
Good and evil do not exist as Platonic ideals.
The tendency of idealists to reject the good alternative, because
it is not perfect, is destructive of the achievable good. To
the extent that libertarians adopt the Platonic ideal of absolute
recognition of all our individual rights, rejecting any good
that does not meet this standard even if it's the best existing
choice, libertarianism reduces itself to just one more of the
many utopian cults that have appeared and disappeared throughout
have many ideological and policy disagreements with George
W. Bush. I find his "compassionate conservatism" far
too compromising with the institutionalized socialism in our
public policy. I vastly prefer the libertarian conservatism
of Barry Goldwater or even the National Review conservatism
of Ronald Reagan.
while I find George W. Bush not libertarian enough in his
domestic agenda, I find him a strong defender
of American values of freedom against the most serious threat
against our civilization since the Cold War: organized Islamic
crusaders who are willing to engage in systematic attacks on
innocent civilians and private property in a hegemonic attempt
to prevent free markets from carrying futuristic cultures into
their fanatically preservationist societies. The
War on Terror is a real war. It's a war against those who wish
to make their
past our future. It's a war against those who, in a competition
between our culture and theirs, have decided to use violence,
terror, and brain-numbing propaganda to prevent people - particularly
their own people -- from freely choosing our culture over their
W. Bush has correctly concluded that this war can't be won
by even the most draconian assaults on
our personal liberties in an attempt to create an impregnable "Fortress
America," and he has instead decided to remove the war
from New York City and Washington DC back to the region that
spawned and supports the Islamic crusaders. In the long run,
the only way to win is to go on the offensive, because no static
territorial defense is ever perfect or permanent.
The only serious opposition candidate to
George W. Bush is not Michael Badnarik but John F. Kerry, a
man whose entire career has been devoted -- in every possible
variant -- to eliminating the independence of the United States
of America in favor of the global hegemony of the United Nations,
two-thirds of which are one-party-rule dictatorships, theocracies,
If John F. Kerry is elected, he will work
relentlessly to further damage the independence of the United
States with submission to international courts, drawing their
power over us from treaties that give foreign totalitarians
power to control every aspect of our lives.
the most important difference between George W. Bush and
John F. Kerry is that George W.
Bush will not compromise with those international voices for
compromise and appeasement with Islamic terrorists in the defense
of American values of free trade and free expression … and
John. F. Kerry has spent his life doing so and can be counted
on to continue doing so.
Any American libertarians who don't think
they would be made less free by the United States submitting
to the World Court and the Kyoto Treaty are not worth arguing
That's not enough? George W. Bush has shown
himself to be a man of his word. Contrary to spin, Bush didn't
lie about Saddam Hussein's Weapons of Mass Destruction. The
500 tons of yellowcake uranium and 1.8 tons of refined uranium
that Saddam was holding onto showed that he was ready to resume
a nuclear-weapons' program as soon as he'd bribed enough UN
officials to get sanctions lifted. I'm happy that George W.
Bush was farsighted enough to spoil Saddam Hussein's desires
to upgrade from paying homicide bombers to blow up school buses
in Israel to paying a nuclear homicide bomber to blow up Times
And the last time I checked my notebook on
libertarian morality, it's not imperialism when you remove
a totalitarian dictator and turn the country over to its people.
It's liberation. George W. Bush is the liberator of Afghanistan
from the Taliban and Iraq from Saddam Hussein. That also should
be enough reason for libertarians to give him another four
his twenty years in the Senate, John F. Kerry never met a
gun-control bill he didn't eagerly support.
George W. Bush, in his first term as governor of Texas, legalized
civilian carrying of concealed firearms … and as president
not a single law harmful to gun owners has received his signature.
whatever you think of George W. Bush's economic policies,
is there anyone who's looked at John F.
Kerry's voting record as a United States Senator who believes
he will give us less government controls - less taxes and regulations
-- than George W. Bush?
Libertarians may continue to cast their vote
symbolically, by voting for a candidate with no chance of winning.
Or, if you're a conscientious objector to politics, you can
continue not to vote at all. Admittedly, George W. Bush is
not a libertarian by any absolute standard, and if you're afraid
that registering to vote will just put you above the radar,
you can continue trying to slip between the cracks, if that's
your idea of freedom.
if you think the President of the United States just might
have power that could affect your life sometime
in the next four years - if you take the State seriously as
a threat to your freedom -- you might want to consider shooting
off a ballot on November 2nd and voting for the president likely
to injure you less.
W. Bush is vastly more protective of libertarian values than
the other guy who might be elected
to sit in the Oval Office for the next four years.
President Bush is not the best of all libertarian
candidates in some theoretical contest where actually having
to be president doesn't count, but compared to John F. Kerry,
George W. Bush is without question the more libertarian of
the two presidents we will end up with.
why I'll be voting for him, and I urge you to do so as well. CRO