KABOOM! Gary Johnson Argues That His Ignorance Is A Virtue

Bite your tongue, Gary!

Bite your tongue, Gary!

I’m not going to include the traditional KABOOM! graphic of a head exploding, since the explosion that has evidently occurred inside Libertarian Presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s head is the issue here. Normally I wouldn’t care about a third party candidate and few others would either, but many voters who recognize how certifiably disgraceful the choices presented to us by the two major parties. They are desperately looking for an alternative. How nice, and timely, and opportune it would have been if the Libertarian Party had come through in the clutch and  nominated someone who presented themselves as competent, honest, and trustworthy! Unfortunately, it nominated Gary Johnson.

Asked on MSNBC to explain his twin failures to show that he ever reads the World News section (showing complete unfamiliarity with the epicenter of the Syrian disaster in one interview and not being able to name a single world leader  in another—he has yet to offer any explanation for his bizarre tongue episode), Johnson took another leap into weirdness. Instead of offering one of the excuses his supporters defended him with on Ethics Alarms and elsewhere (“It was a simple lapse;” “it wasn’t significant;” Trump and Hillary are so bad that he’d be a better choice if he couldn’t remember his own name…), Johnson came up with the head-exploding argument that it’s good for him to be ignorant. He really did., espousing this original theory to Andrea Mitchell

“The fact that somebody can dot the i’s and cross the t’s on a foreign leader or a geographic location then allows them to put our military in harm’s way,”

There is no way to spin this idiocy. What Johnson was literally saying is that it’s better for Presidents to be clueless about the rest of the world—you know, like Johnson; all the better to keep them from sending troops anywhere. To be fair, I have a hard time believing that even Johnson believes this. I suspect he may have been trying to use his gaffes to pivot to a classic libertarian talking point. Unfortunately,this is the classic libertarian talking point that disqualifies libertarians from serious consideration as national leaders—that, and their willingness to see what happens to society when teens can order up meth or heroin like a pizza. The ideological position that the United States must never use its military power to assist other nations in peril is disqualifying even without Johnson’s endorsement of geographical and geopolitical apathy as a tool of peace. The second a libertarian is elected President, Taiwan, Israel and whatever real estate Putin has his eye on might as well read up on Massada, for the end will be nigh, and the U.S. won’t be paying attention.

World War II always poses a problem for libertarians when they are advocating isolationism, and it would be especially fun to use that existential crisis to examine Johnson’s theory.

“Mr. President, the Japanese are killing and raping their way across Asia,  Hitler just took over France, and England may fall any minute. Meanwhile, he’s exterminating the Jews.

“I’m sorry, what? I have no idea who these people are or where they are, and don’t want to know. Get out.”

You find this to be an attractive scenario, do you, Gary?

Donald Trump may be the worst Presidential candidate this country has ever had, but Gary Johnson is the silliest. In another election, at a happier time, he would have been welcome comic relief. Unfortunately, this election needed someone competent. This isn’t funny.

20 thoughts on “KABOOM! Gary Johnson Argues That His Ignorance Is A Virtue

  1. Sigh…..you’re making this very difficult Gary. You had the easiest job in the world -!looking better than Hillary and Donald and you managed to muck that up. Maybe they should have nominated the guy who took his clothes off.

  2. Actually if your recollection of history was honest you would remember that USA was relatively isolationist at the beginning of the second world war. It wasn’t until pearl harbour that America declared war, something that Gary Johnson would also do.

    What happened to this being an ethics blog? This blog post has nothing to do with ethics and is merely a parrot of the attack pieces on Gary run into the press. Did you even watch the video?

    I appreciate you feel the need to justify your continued decision to vote for Hillary, but can we not have a post about the FBI agreeing to destroy documents and devices related to any of Clinton’s technical staff https://www.rt.com/usa/361601-fbi-destroy-laptops-immunity , instead of a repost of a standard Johnson attack piece?

    • America was dangerously isolationist, but fortunately had a President who risked impeachment to help Great Britain under the table (against the directives of Congress)and coordinate with Churchill until a provocation arose to get the US into the war. the fact that the US ultimately entered after being attacked doesn’t mean or suggest that it would have been anything but a catastrophe if the US had not come in when it did.

      You don’t think a Presidential candidate extolling the virtues of his own incompetence is an ethics issue? Find someone to explain it to you. It’s pretty obvious.

      The post has nothing to do with Hillary, and would be exactly the same if she wasn’t running. You have three strikes against you in this comment: Strike one, spinning WWII to suggest that it would have been anything but irresponsible for the US to let Jews die and two continents burn if we had been left alone; Strike Two is suggesting that noting the utter incompetence and dishonesty of a third party candidate who has proven himself to be as unfit as Trump, just in different ways isn’t proper fodder for an ethics blog, Strike Three is accusing me of writing about Johnson to justify voting for Clinton, which is already justified as the only way to prevent a Trump Presidency, Strike Four telling me what I should be writing about instead. Read the Comment policies: I write about what I choose to, when I choose it. Strike four, you lying jerk, is saying that the post is a “repost” of anything, or politically motivated in the least. It is good to know that some Johnson supporters are as incapable of accepting their candidate’s screaming deficits as Hillary and Trump supporters (I, having a brain and integrity, support none of the three), but otherwise your post is obnoxious, and you are banned. Five Strikes is more than enough. You’re OUT.

      • And do note: Azreal never dealt with the actual issue of the post, which was Johnson xtolling ignorance. Instead he attacked me from his very first sentence, thus indicating that Johnson supporters can be as infected by dnial and dishonesty as their Clinton and Trump counterparts.

      • Nobody wields the ban-hammer in as spectacularly entertaining a manner as you do, Jack. It’s one of the many things that keeps me coming back!

        Not only materials, but weren’t we also flying sorties across the channel before we were formally at war too?

        • Yeah. Anyone who for a moment suggests that the US should not have entered the war without being attacked or that it would not have eventually come in is being intellectually dishonest on one hand an incredibly obtuse on the other. I really don’t react well to having my integrity attacked by someone with no integrity, and reasoning attacked by libertarian purists, who have lost the ability to determine what reason is.

          • We were attacked because Hitler, et al, knew exactly what we were doing and wanted us to quit. WW2 was going to them til they made that huge error of awakening the sleeping giant. And Jack’s integrity, even though fiery, is pretty obvious.

  3. What was unethical to me was not Johnson’s isolationist strategy but his attempt to use his ignorance as a foundation for it. I would hope that such a strategy would be based upon a thorough knowledge of world political climates and then a decision to be an isolationist. The fact that somebody can dot the i’s on a military leader does not ipso facto mean they’re going to put the military in harms way. It could also mean that they intelligently choose to not put the military in harms way, based upon what they know. Gary’s position is that if you don’t have children you won’t abuse them. Well, I suppose that’s right – but can’t you have children and just learn how to raise them into productive citizens and caring people? Isn’t that an option? I would hope it’s an option to know something about world affairs and use the military prudently.

    Still voting for Johnson because, hey, what choice do I have? After last night, a kaine presidency is terrifying.

  4. As someone who has felt for a long time that we would benefit from having a viable third party, the Libertarian choice this year was particularly disappointing. No one needed a crystal ball to see what was coming up from the two major parties, and this was an historic opportunity for an emerging third party to capitalize on. Had they had the sense to have given us Weld/Johnson even, they could have been making a compelling argument that what the nation needed now was a political reset. With Johnson heading up the ticket, the Libertarians gave us the Gong Show instead. What a shame, what a monumentally wasted moment.

  5. Jack,
    “.. he has yet to offer any explanation for his bizarre tongue episode),”

    He doesn’t need to. It was a silly gesture he made to show that, according to him, he could say anything on the debate stage and still garner attention because he’s “different.” Please understand, I’m not defending the gesture, but it was silly and stupid, not “bizarre.” He did it in pursuit of making a (weak) point, but it’s not as though his mind suddenly went goofy.

    This isn’t even in the same league with the other two you mentioned. Those are disqualifying; this is just proof that he lacks charisma.


    • I never was convinced that the tongue gesture was voluntary, Neil. If it was, then he has to explain to me what he was communicating, and why he thought that was an effective way of communicating it. He has never struck me as a mad wag prone to pranks. What he did wasn’t funny, in part because he didn’t do it in a funny way, just a weird way. If I was directing an actor and he decided to deliver a line like that, I would ask, “WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT SUPPOSED TO MEAN, AND WHY THAT CHOICE?” In contrast, when Trump did his spastic reporter mockery, there was no question that he was clowning, or what his intent was. When Ronald Reagan was caught making a silly face in a public statement, nobody misunderstood what he was doing.

      • If it wasn’t voluntary, then you’re essentially making light of a disability or involuntary reflex. Either way, bad form.

        • Anyone who runs for President with disability that requires him to behave like a clown is irresponsible or deluded. It isn’t bad form to call attention to it, it’s mandatory. No, a Tourettes sufferer cannot be President, and if he runs, his illness is fair game.

  6. The sad thing is that this argument plays well to his base. I heard people (admittedly in the toxic stew that is Youtube comments) making the EXACT same argument after Stephen Colbert mocked Johnson for his ignorance and bizarre tongue gaffe. Responses to criticism of Johnson seem to fall into the exact same pattern of responses to criticism of his fellow traveler Ron Paul: either extolling the virtues of isolationism and decrying every other candidate as a warmonger, or using ad hominem attacks and calling anyone who disagrees with them as a sellout.

    Libertarianism COULD have come through in the clutch, if not for the fact that it is, at heart, a fatally flawed ideology that seems to attract the dregs of our political system, the people who are too young and naive to understand the realities of global politics.

    • “it is, at heart, a fatally flawed ideology”

      How so?

      In terms of “isolationism”?

      There is nothing in the Libertarian first principles that *compels* isolationism as a plank in the platform. The first principles, when a few are taken to an extreme in application can lead one to believe in isolationism, but I think that is really just the product of younger libertarians still coming out of a Left-wing oriented and controlled educational system (which is one reason leading Libertarians use that extremist plank — to draw the Left-addled youths towards them).

      Or fatally flawed on other points?

      • I don’t think you can make the argument that the leading Libertarians are merely using that extremist plank to attract voters, but don’t believe it themselves – we have to take them at their word, if only because we have no evidence for what they are actually thinking.

        I think the fatal flaw of Libertarianism is not isolationism, but its obsession with ideological purity, and I think that this is both a result of being such a small, nationally irrelevant party (they don’t have real power, so they don’t have to deal with the realities of power), and the reason they are still small and nationally irrelevant. Perhaps I’ve only dealt with the worst parts of the movement, but many libertarians remind me of the worst elements of the radical Left, in that many would rather let the world burn than compromise on their principles.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.