Libertarians and the Presidential Election

Reason has an interesting symposium on the presidential election in which various libertarian writers and political commentators give their presidential picks. In sharp contrast with Reason’s symposium during the 2008 election, there is almost no support for Obama. While many libertarians endorsed Obama four years ago, very few are willing to do so today. I myself thought that McCain was the lesser evil in 2008, and I believe that most of my 2008 concerns about Obama have been vindicated.

Not surprisingly, none of the Reason contributors are enthusiastic about Romney either. But many of those who compare the two major party candidates seem to consider Romney the lesser evil. I made a similar case in this post.

Many of the symposium participants say they will vote for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson. I agree Johnson has many virtues. His positions on most issues are clearly superior to Romney and Obama’s from any libertarian perspective. The real question about Johnson’s candidacy – ignored by most of his Reason supporters – is whether the Libertarian Party is actually an effective vehicle for promoting libertarianism. Libertarians may be better off working within the two major parties and/or outside of party politics altogether. I have been skeptical about the LP’s effectiveness for a long time, and so far I haven’t seen much evidence that things have changed.

UPDATE: I wrote this post before noticing co-blogger Jonathan Adler’s post on the same subject. I am going to leave this post up, because it makes some points that Jonathan didn’t.