Libertarian Nathan Larson will be running for Congress in Virginia’s 1st district. He has been endorsed by his district party and certified for the November election, where he will face incumbent Republican Rob Wittman and Democratic challenger Keith Hummel.
Interestingly, Politics1 lists Larson as the candidate of the Virginia Independent-Green Party and says he’s an “ex-Libertarian Party activist.” Larson’s Web site outlines a wide range of positions that are much more in line with hardcore libertarian philosophy than the Green Party platform, as he calls for preservation of the environment through the establishment of private-property rights, the separation of school and state, and the privatization of Social Security, which he also says should be optional.
Privatization is a key theme of Larson’s campaign. Virgina’s 1st district is in the Washington, D.C. area, which was recently recognized as having the second-worst traffic congestion in the country. Larson has a libertarian solution to this problem his constituents deal with every day: He proposes auctioning off the Interstate Highway System and rail systems to private investors.
“Traffic congestion affects the daily lives of millions of Virginians,” Larson says. “Solving this problem will give people more time to spend with their families rather than sitting in gridlock. Property values in the 1st district will rise as more neighborhoods are brought within reasonable commuting range of DC. Drivers will spend less money on gasoline because they will be cruising along at 55 mph rather than idling in traffic. Public transportation will benefit from privatization as well, because rail and bus systems that are poorly operated will be subject to hostile takeovers and bankruptcy, which would put them under new management.”
Larson believes transportation privatization can also help curtail eminent domain abuses. “The private sector is adept at finding creative ways to assemble parcels of land needed for construction projects. For instance, shopping mall developers often hire dummy buyers to purchase land without revealing the true purpose of the acquisition, which would prompt property owners to hold out for a higher price. It is also customary, in the absence of eminent domain, for utilities to plan multiple possible routes for a new road, pipeline, or power line, and obtain bids from groups of landowners possessing the contiguous parcels needed for each route. A deal is then made with the first group of landowners to offer an acceptable price. These types of solutions are far superior than a system where government coercively seizes land for road construction, in most cases offering the landowner far less money than what the property is worth to them.”
Larson also says that removing all restrictions to immigration will create more American jobs. In his opinion, many voters find this logic counterintuitive, but it is true nonetheless, Larson says. He cites data showing that immigrants are nearly twice as likely to start businesses as native-born citizens, and points out that Google, Yahoo!, and Sun Microsystems were all founded by immigrants.
Larson, a CPA, works as a software engineer for a small government contractor. He graduated in 2003 from George Mason University, one of the most libertarian institutions in academia, which is where he became convinced of the merits of libertarianism. He plans to run a very active campaign.
Larson says he hopes his candidacy can be a stepping-stone to a future run at a more winnable office. He reasons that a high-profile campaign for Congress will bring new libertarians into the fold better than an initial run for local office could.