Brian Doherty at Reason.com (excerpt):
John McAfee is the 70-year-old founder of the antivirus software firm that bears his name (though he has not been actively involved with it since 1994, and the company was bought by Intel in 2010). He’s also a colorful world adventurer who has been candid about his extreme exploits in everything from drug use (and sales) to private home antibiotic-tech experimentation.
He is also seeking the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party (L.P.), he announced last week via an exclusive story in USA Today.
Later in the piece:
Some are unconvinced the vibrant outsider is a true-blue Libertarian, pointing to parts of McAfee’s current platform that don’t match the general Libertarian vision of shrinking government across the board and restricting it to core functions of defense and adjudication, if anything.
McAfee on his website issues page discusses policies that imply expanding government spending, such as, under “education,” that “in the case of higher-education, we will work to make education attainable for everyone, regardless of income level or family income level. What’s more, the rampant student loan debt must be checked.”
His “economy” plank also seems unlibertarian when it hypes:
a large-scale public works program. This will focus on a few key areas. Initially, these public works will focus on physical infrastructure: the construction and repair of roads, bridges, highways, airports, etc. These initiatives will be pursued through two different avenues. One, we will fund and staff these initiatives through various federal programs. Second, we will offer states, counties, and cities funds to manage the programs on their own. This initial infrastructure push will provide a, relatively, quick way to stem unemployment.
Further down the road, we plan to introduce an IT infrastructure development program. In short, we will make a large amount of funds available to cities and townships to prompt wholesale implementation of smart grid energy programs.
As we have stated many times over, we see access to broadband as a fundamental human right.
McAfee is also a vocal supporter of “net neutrality” which most libertarian see as unwarranted government interference in the market’s functioning.
McAfee says that he understands these positions might not match Libertarian orthodoxy, but that “we have to be practical in life.” He tells me that, say, calling for cutting or eliminating Social Security will go nowhere because “a huge voting bloc” is dependent on it, not to mention “if you say you remove it, the people getting checks won’t vote for you and neither will their children and grandchildren” who don’t want to be responsible for them again.
He frames the public works program idea in our interview in terms of a solution to unemployment payouts and the welfare state, that giving people useful state jobs is both a better idea and more politically sellable than policies that could be perceived as “throwing people in the street to starve.” He thinks the way Libertarians have sold their positions in the past “scares people, and you can’t get more than one percent of the vote”—if you don’t offer solutions along the lines of public works government hiring, then no version of the Libertarian vision can succeed electorally “and you might as well go home.”