Dr. Block has kindly given me permission to share here an email which I received a few days ago. I’ve deleted only the identity of the individual to whom the following was initially addressed, a portion unrelated to Dr. Block’s endorsement of Gary Johnson for President, and Dr. Block’s email and telephone numbers from his signature line (to avoid their capture by automatic spamming software).
Professor Block writes:
“Yes, Gary Johnson is more of a Reason and Cato “libertarian” than he is a Rothbardian one. And, yes, the former is vastly inferior to the latter. Let me urge you, nevertheless, to vote for Johnson-Gray rather than Romney-Ryan, even though Johnson, and Gray too, are not pure libertarians.
“After I jump up into the air, two things happen: the earth pulls me down, and I (very slightly) pull the earth back up to me. To even mention these two things in the same sentence is to commit some sort of formal logical fallacy, for which there must be a name.
“And that is the fallacy I think you are laboring under. Posit that Rothbard is a 100% libertarian, that Ron Paul is a 97% libertarian, and that both Johnson and Gray are only, say, 75% libertarians. But how do Romney-Ryan match up on this libertarian scale? Do they reach the 5% level? I’m not sure, but certainly no higher. So, here we have a 75% libertarian running against at 5% libertarian, and you’re wondering which one a libertarian should support? That’s almost like wondering about the gravitational pull I personally exert upon the entire earth. The perfect is the enemy of the good. I think all libertarians are morally obligated to support “good” libertarians such as Johnson-Gray, even though they are not perfect.
“I know both Johnson and Gray personally. Both are willing to at least listen to my type of (Rothbardian) libertarianism. Both are far too busy, now, to read books I suggest to them, but I have no doubt they will do so in future. So, to me, it is a no brainer as to who to vote for. If the LP ticket gets 5% of the vote, the LP won’t have to go though the Herculean task of getting on the ballot in 2016. If Johnson-Gray get 5% of the vote, particularly if this is more than the difference between the vote for Romney – Obama, even if only in a few states, the mainstream media will once again start talking about liberty, libertarianism, the LP.
Isn’t that worthwhile voting for them?
Walter E. Block, Ph.D.
Harold E. Wirth Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair and Professor of Economics
Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business
Loyola University New Orleans
6363 St. Charles Avenue, Box 15, Miller Hall 318
New Orleans, LA 70118