by Cody Quirk
An interview with Constitution Party presidential candidate, Darrell Castle, seems to have much of the minor-party blogsphere up in debate and argument over Mr. Castle’s claim that he is more libertarian then Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gary Johnson.
Therefore, this informed author views it as a necessary must to pick apart and refute Mr. Castle’s highly-questionable claim to even being ‘libertarian’, including his credentials, background, as well as the background of his political party -in comparison to the LP’s viewpoints on the issues and of libertarianism (small ‘l’) itself.
First off, this article right here on the LP’s website clearly shows where the LP and the CP platforms differentiate from each other, including social issues, the perspective on religion, and the role of religion in government as well, which some CP individuals and state affiliates do like to point out as well, albeit from their own viewpoint.
Granted, there is the matter of Gary Johnson’s own libertarianism and his adherence to not just the LP platform, but libertarianism in general. Now, while I am a Gary Johnson supporter, I do understand that Mr. Johnson is not exactly the perfect candidate when it comes to his manner of public speaking or his ideological beliefs, and I personally do not agree with all of his views and stances. Yet, that being said; 2016 is a presidential election year like no other; where disdain of the nominees of the major political parties (which this author considers to be the Twin-Evils of American politics), and sympathy, even outright support for alternative candidates and minor parties are higher then they have ever been in a long time; therefore the Libertarian Party alone has the realistic chance of far exceeding its 2012 vote total and breaking into the political mainstream in terms of new members, serious media coverage, better ballot access, more elected officials- including state legislative offices -and the potential of millions upon millions of dollars in federal funding… Should the Johnson/Weld ticket surpass the 5% threshold of the national vote.
But of course, being the largest, most organized, and active minor party in American politics currently; the interior of the LP tent in reality is a lot bigger then by first glance from the outside, and by those that do not understand the LP that well. After all, there are Libertarians that lean, or dwell on both sides of the spectrum, along with others that are moderate, or minarchist in their libertarianism -along with others that are radical or even outright anarchist in their ideology. However, when it comes to those of the conservative, paleolibertarian persuasion (of which this author identifies with the most); Darrell Castle barely, just barely fits perhaps a portion of that bill; even if he and his campaign website are careful about what issues they address, and how they address them.
When it comes to social issues, for starters, Darrell Castle could not be farther apart from libertarianism when it comes to the previous flash-point of legal same-sex marriage:
“The battle for marriage and western civilization in general is being fought between the American people and the proponents of same sex marriage led by the United States government. Same sex couples have aligned themselves with the government’s relentless assault on Christian civilization and western civilization in general…”
So begins a statement put out by the Constitution Party of Wisconsin’s back on march 26th of 2013, which was written none other then by Darrell Castle himself on behalf of the CPOW. That alone greatly contrasts with Gary Johnson’s stance on the subject and on general LGBT issues, of which is very much in line with the LP’s position on such.
In the concluding remarks in the same statement however, Mr. Castle additionally emphasized the religious and cultural aspects of traditional marriage too-
“…Marriage is ultimately not a legal question but a religious one, and therefore, if the President of the United States, all 100 members of the United States Senate, all 435 members of the United States House of Representatives, and all 9 Justices of the United States Supreme Court declare same sex marriage to be legal, it is still not legal. It cannot ever be legal because God has defined what marriage is and what God has declared to be illegal mankind is not empowered to declare legal. God’s definition of marriage is the only definition that ultimately matters…”
The quoted paragraph above, is also in line with another former CP candidate that without question is at the opposite end from where libertarianism stands when it comes to the subject of Church & State.
In addition, we also have Darrell’s podcast on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the case of Obergefell v. Hodges -which legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, and the ‘avenues of resistance’ that Mr. Castle elaborates on… Which certainly is not much of a libertarian thing to discuss.
Next on another social issue is the matter of abortion. Gary Johnson’s stance is also clear and largely in conformity with the LP’s official stance on the subject, of course. Yet like the issue of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights; Darrell Castle on the other hand, again takes the socially ultra-conservative stance on it, as he is opposed to even exceptions for rape and incest. And such a stance did end up earning him an endorsement from the Georgia Right-To-Life PAC, which is a known supporter of the Personhood Amendment, of which Mr. Castle is likewise a supporter of it as well.
And yet, the issue of personhood for the unborn itself is not in conformity with even pro-life libertarians, regardless. Which makes Mr. Castle’s position on abortion even more divergent with many pro-life LP’ers.
It’s also interesting to note too that various conservative-constitutionalist organizations, several newspapers, and even Mr. Castle’s own campaign are promoting him as the ‘Conservative-Constitutionalist’ candidate -or specifically, one that promotes their particular values instead of libertarian ones. Furthermore, his own campaign has stated:
“…Once again the American people must decide who they are. Are they people of principle standing on God’s promises, or cowards in the face of Hillary? This year principled people only have one choice. That choice is a Christian, pro-life, preserver of the Constitution and what most Christians say they want. Will they have the gumption to vote their conscience or fall back in lack of faith.
Darrell Castle, the Constitution Party Presidential Candidate is owned by no one but God,is bold on the issues, and is educating the American people on what has been happening to them for generations. He believes in Biblical marriage, is opposed to neutral gender bathrooms in our schools and places of work/shopping. He hates war and sees it as a last resort, not an economic tool. Most importantly he believes in and fights for a return to The Rule of Law, where no one is too “high and lifted up” to be above it, and conversely, no one is too “insignificant” to be below it…”
Yep, that does not sound libertarian whatsoever; for one; a real libertarian in this country would never promote one religion over another, nor would they dare promote cultural/traditional (or formerly cultural) norms over individual liberty and personal freedom.
In addition, on a C-SPAN interview, Darrell further emphasized the difference between him and Gary Johnson, along with his political party and the LP:
“…WELL, THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENCES. I CAN GIVE YOU A COUPLE OF PRIMARY DIFFERENCES. THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY IN GENERAL SUPPORTS OPEN BORDERS. WE DON’T. WE SUPPORT SECURE BORDERS. I READ THE OTHER DAY WHERE THEIR MOST LIKELY CANDIDATE, GARY JOHNSON, HE IDENTIFIED HIMSELF ADS AN ECONOMIC CONSERVATIVE, BUT HE SAID THAT HE WAS IN FAVOR OF OPEN BORDERS, AND HE’S IN FAVOR OF ABORTION, WHICH HE PREFERRED TO REFER TO AS PRO-CHOICE. WE’RE NEITHER ONE OF THOSE THINGS. SO THOSE ARE TWO PRIMARY DIFFERENCES. WE DO HAVE SOME SIMILARITIES. I MEAN, HE SAID HE WAS AN ECONOMIC CONSERVATIVE. SO AM I. I TRY NOT TO LABEL MYSELF WITH THE TERMS CONSERVATIVE OR LIBERAL OR WHATEVER THEY MIGHT BE. I DON’T LIKE TO WEAR THOSE LABELS, BUT THERE ARE SOME DIFFERENCES LIKE THAT…”
This quote from him does not at all make him sound ‘more’ libertarian then Gary Johnson; in fact he gets it quite wrong on the LP’s standing on the issues of immigration and abortion. Furthermore, Mr. Castle perjures himself in addition here when it comes to Gary Johnson’s own stance on the issue of immigration:
“…Governor Johnson has long advocated a simplified and secure system of work visas by which willing workers and willing employers can meet in a robust labor marketplace efficiently and economically. Aspiring immigrants would undergo a background check, pay taxes and provide proof of employment.
Making it simpler and efficient to enter the U.S. legally will provide the greatest security possible, allowing law enforcement to focus its time and resources on the criminals and bad actors who are, in reality, a relatively small portion of those who are today entering the country illegally.”
And on abortion, Gary is not exactly as “Pro-Choice” as Mr. Castle likes to claim. Here’s an excerpt of Gary’s official position on that subject from his own campaign website-
“Gary Johnson has the utmost respect for the deeply-held convictions of those on both sides of the abortion issue. It is an intensely personal question, and one that government is ill-equipped to answer.
As Governor, Johnson never advocated abortion or taxpayer funding of it. He supported a ban on late term abortions. In his personal life the Governor believes in the sanctity of the life of the unborn.
However, Gov. Johnson recognizes that the right of a woman to choose is the law of the land, and has been for several decades. That right must be respected, and ultimately he believes this is a very personal and individual decision. He feels that each woman must be allowed to make decisions about her own health and well-being and that these decisions should not be dictated by the government…”
How sad is it that a lesser known presidential candidate in sheer desperation has to stoop to such inaccurate and untrue libel, even subtle libel, to try to dent or take away support from a better known and more popular minor party candidate that, unlike Mr. Castle, will be on the ballot in all 50 states before election day and does not limit his appeal to only a certain type of American voter, unlike Mr. Castle.
I could address more social issues here that would further do damage to Mr. Castle’s pseudo-libertarian image. However, what has already been discussed on these topics here are sufficient enough.
Moving onto the economic issues, Mr. Castle is quite careful to discuss selected subjects on his website that are a tad vague and inclusive enough for both libertarians and economic protectionists of the paleoconservative persuasion to agree on. Yet nevertheless, there’s no question that Darrell’s lack of classical liberal/laissez-faire/pro-free trade credentials (which constitute general libertarianism) are quite apparent. To reference again the above quote from Mr. Castle’s interview on C-SPAN; it is quite obvious that he understands very little of what an ‘economic conservative‘ is; instead, he appears to automatically assume that economic (fiscal) conservatism equates with Pat Buchanan-style protectionism, or economic nationalism -of which could not be laughingly further from the truth. Perhaps Mr. Castle should do better research in his spare time on economic definitions, along with economics itself maybe? Because he is most certainly not a fiscal conservative, or even an economic libertarian at that. Yet Gary Johnson is one, unlike Mr. Castle and most of all his Constitution Party; Indeed, Mr. Johnson is a genuine, though imperfect libertarian, and a true economic, fiscal conservative.
Therefore, Mr. Castle’s libertarian claims, of which have been proven here to have little to no foundation to stand on in terms of substance and honesty, is quite damming once they are scrutinized and exposed, therefore hurting the integrity of his candidacy even more then it already is with certain ballot-qualified CP state affiliates that refuse to place the Castle/Bradley ticket on their ballots for particular reasons.
In conclusion, when it comes to Mr. Castle’s false and fictitious claim of “being more libertarian then Gary Johnson” -the CP’s presidential candidate should in fact quickly drop that claim post haste or face being further discredited, along with owing Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party an apology.