Posted by: John Vandivier | September 25, 2012

"Is Gary Johnson Worth It?" With Other Deep and Philosophical Questions.

I was pleasantly surprised when a friend of mine posted this article to Facebook.

Who am I kidding. My friend is a stereotypical gung-ho libertarian. I was not surprised in the least that he posted such an article. On the other hand, it honestly was a pleasure to read.

The article got me thinking. Electing a new president is the perfect example of the intersection of economics, politics, religion and culture. As you, as a voter, create your list of pros and cons with which you will weigh each candidate against each other, you must ask yourself a very simple question with a very complex answer.

“What is good?”

The answer extends directly from your worldview. You might be a religious person who answers both simply and with conviction, “Whatever God wants is good, of course.” You might be a nonreligious person who answers with the conviction of liberty, “Whatever allows the greatest amount of freedom and happiness to the greatest amount of people.” Or you might get confused and fuck that all up.

Allow me to stop you right here if you are only reading in order to determine whether or not I like Gary Johnson. We’re going down a different path today.

Once you manage to define goodness, a gargantuan task itself, that belief proceeds immediately as an input into your other more complex thought processes and their outcomes, affecting every decision of what should or shouldn’t be preferred, until ultimately being expressed through action.

Your morality will affect who you vote for. It will affect where you shop. It will effect everything, and it will naturally reinforce itself over time without an exogenous shock to the normal psychological system.

In the process of these outward actions you will interact with other people.

The economy is simply the result of the collective decisions of a population about how they should allocate their finite resources. Politics is the ongoing decision by all members of society on how they should allocate authority. Both of these proceed from the collective morality, which is the accumulation and interaction of the individual moralities of all members of a population.

Our society focuses insufficient resources on improving its moral infrastructure. What a grave error! The moral side effects every aspect of our public life including the economy politics, and every other place where two or more people must agree. Are the great issues of our day, economic or otherwise, not all due to some sort of moral hazard or irresolution?

Consider this message an exogenous shock to your normal psychological system.

Don’t ask whether something is good for the economy before you support it. Don’t ask whether it’s good for your grandparent’s health or your children’s education. Simply ask “is it good?” If something is good in principle it must also be good in every application.

In conclusion, don’t compare presidential candidates this fall. Compare yourself. Check your morality. Commit to finding an accurate standard of what is right and wrong. If you can do that then voting for the right candidate will simply be an inevitable expression of such beliefs. A “piece of cake” so to speak.

Finally, here’s a video on Gary Johnson. Just so you don’t feel that I completely baited and switched you:

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