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Seven principles of good government : Gary…

Seven principles of good government : Gary Johnson on liberty, people and… (2012)

by Gary Johnson

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In Seven Principles of Good Government, Gary Johnson describes the principles he lives by and how he applies them in his governing philosophy. The principles are reality, honesty, focus, execution, communication, courage, and integrity.

Gary Johnson is the former two-term governor of New Mexico, and his record in that capacity is extremely impressive. In a state that votes two to one Democratic, he ran as a Republican and won (when the Republican Party itself told him he had no chance)---then, won reelection by a landslide in a race against the popular Democratic mayor of Santa Fe. And he pulled off this second feat despite being extremely disliked by the state legislature, who nicknamed him "Governor Veto" for his refusal to sign into law anything they passed which he deemed not to be in the state's best interest. In fact, he vetoed 750 bills, probably more than the other 49 governors at the time combined. He also used the line-item veto thousands of times, cutting pork out of bills that might otherwise have some merit. As a result, when he left office the state had a budget surplus, without raising taxes (in the state's longest period without a tax increase in its entire history) and in fact reducing taxes by $123 million annually. He also shrunk the size of the state government, leaving it with 1,000 fewer employees (without firing anyone). He learned this "common-sense business approach to government...Best product, best service, lowest price" from his experience growing a one-man, door-to-door handyman enterprise into one of the largest contracting firms in New Mexico with over a thousand employees---and comparing their records, you can see that he applied the lessons he learned as a businessman to the problems of government much better than Romney did. Given the state of the federal government today, what we desperately need in Washington right now is, as Johnson writes, a "President Veto".

But what is Johnson's political philosophy, and what are his positions on the issues? "In two words: limited government." (Again, this is in stark contrast to both the major party candidates, who stand for unlimited government control over practically every aspect of our lives.) "Overall," Johnson writes, "I think I view big government in the same way that the novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand did---that it really oppresses those that create, if you will, and tries to take away from those that produce and give to the non-producers." He credits Atlas Shrugged as the source of his political philosophy, so those of us who would like a candidate influenced by Rand's philosophy have found one in Johnson (as opposed to Romney's running mate who has unfortunately and incorrectly been associated with her ideas).

On the economy, he writes "Free markets and limited government are the foundation of prosperity." He would actually cut spending (unlike Romney/Ryan) by 43% immediately, starting with Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare (which are unsustainable and without cutting which there can be no serious attempt to reign in runaway government spending). He would abolish the IRS and eliminate the personal income tax, corporate income tax, and capital gains tax, replacing them with the "Fair Tax", a national consumption tax. He would repeal Obamacare (and not just replace it with his own slightly different version, like Romney): "Government has never managed any segment of the economy successfully. To expect that it can do so for health care---one of the largest segments---is insanity. Nowhere is it more important that the best possible services and products be available at affordable prices than in the area of health. Government simply cannot fulfill that mission. Rather, real competition, freedom to innovate and a working marketplace will provide Americans with the health care they want and demand." He is in favor of strong national defense, but not neoconservative "nation-building": "We must not...confuse non-intervention and an end to nation-building with isolationism. The use of key strategic alliances, such as our relationship with Israel, can enhance our economic and national-security interests, while saving American tax dollars." Unlike the other candidates, he takes civil liberties seriously and opposes the Patriot Act, etc. He is pro-immigration and would work to facilitate as much legal immigration as possible without undermining national security. He opposes the war on drugs and advocates the immediate decriminalization of marijuana. He supports a woman's right to terminate her pregnancy, and holds marriage equality to be a Constitutionally-guaranteed right. In short, on every major issue he is in favor of genuine liberty, and has practical ideas for how to implement it.

But I think the most important consideration in choosing which candidate to vote for this election is their character. And, as you can already tell to some extent from what I've said above, Johnson's is (unlike the others) impressively principled. He is a producer, a mover, a doer. Even in his personal life, he doesn't just talk about what he wants to do...he does it. He's a fitness nut who cycles, runs 100-mile marathons and triathlons, and has climbed the highest peaks on most of the continents (so far)---he reached the summit of Everest just weeks after breaking his back in a paragliding accident (how hardcore is that?!).

But above all else, he is honest. That is so refreshing, almost unique, among politicians today, that for that reason alone, even if I didn't agree with him on most of the issues as I do, Gary Johnson has earned my vote. Consider that, read this book and check out his website, and decide whether it doesn't deserve yours, too. ( )
  AshRyan | Sep 23, 2012 |
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