Hornberger, the founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation, is the current leader in contests won and votes obtained in the nonbinding 2020 Libertarian Party presidential primaries. He was previously a Libertarian presidential candidate in 2000 and ran as an Independent for US Senate in Virginia in 2002.
Below are the questions (with a link to the specific reader comment before each) along with Hornberger’s responses:
IPR Reader: How do you think you have derived categorical non-interventionism (in foreign policy) from the non-initiation of force principle?
Jacob Hornberger: By killing, maiming, injuring, and torturing people with invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, coups, sanctions, embargoes, alliances with dictatorial regimes, foreign aid, and assassinations, the U.S. government is initiating force against people.
Reader (comment has since been removed): Should transgendered athletes be allowed to compete against women in female sporting events and take the place and potential scholarships from women athletes?
Hornberger: The private owners of the event should be free to make that determination. If people don’t like it, they are free to boycott the event. That’s how differences are resolved in a free society.
Reader: If you were President at this time how would you respond to the China Corona Virus Pandemic?
Hornberger: Do everything possible to immediately achieve a total free market in healthcare, which would have meant no shortages of essential medical supplies, including tests, masks, and ventilators and the widest possible ambit of the healthcare industry to freely deal with this crisis. Announce an intention to pardon everyone who was charged with violating any rule, regulation, or prohibition of the Center for Disease Control, the FDA, and any other federal healthcare agency. Ask Congress to immediately all governmental involvement in healthcare. It is the centrally planned, controlled, and regulated socialist healthcare system that is a major cause of the high death toll in the coronavirus crisis.
Reader: Will you be seeking Warren Redlich’s endorsement?
Hornberger: I don’t have any plans to but I would welcome his support.
Reader: What is your opinion about how the Libertarian Party should nominate a presidential candidate this year? By in-person convention or some other way?
Hornberger: The ideal is an in-person convention. Maybe the coronavirus crisis will have dissipated by then, but it’s not worth risking people’s lives for the sake of holding an in-person convention. An online convention would be a second-best choice. The Massachusetts LP did a fantastic job doing that with their state convention. A third alternative is to have the Libertarian National Committee take the votes of the delegates and ratify the results of the vote.
Reader: What is your strategy to maximize vote totals while at the same time building up the Libertarian Party in terms of supporters, members and financial contributors?
Hornberger: Running a Republican-lite campaign that orients toward reform of the welfare-warfare state would be the safe way to go and would no doubt garner us 3-4 percent. Big deal. I don’t think that anything to really celebrate after 49 years of effort. Playing it safe also has a little or no chance of getting a big payoff. I say, let’s roll the dice and run a bold, exciting campaign based purely on libertarian principles — a campaign of principle for the party of principle. It’s true that we could conceivably fall back to 1 percent but, on the other hand, with boldness comes the chance of big payoff. I say let’s go with the chance of a big payoff. If we hit, that would inevitably have a positive impact on down-ticket Libertarians and membership in the LP.
Reader: What are your thoughts on the Libertarian Socialist Caucus of the Libertarian Party, would you be open to letting them have positions in a hypothetical Hornberger Administration?
Hornberger: If they mean socialism in the sense of government ownership of the means of production, or central planning, or coercive redistribution of wealth (i.e., welfare-state programs), I don’t see how they reconcile that with a genuine free-market, private-property, limited-government society. If by socialism they means voluntary communes with mutually agreed-upon sharing, then that is entirely consistent with a free society.
No, because a Hornberger administration would be committed to abolishing all welfare-state departments, agencies, and programs. There wouldn’t be any jobs for them.
Reader: Is it accurate to describe your political philosophy as “paleolibertarian”?
Hornberger: No. I would describe my political philosophy as pure libertarianism.
Reader: You made a point of campaigning for the primary in North Carolina. The results would not seem to indicate that what you did had a measurable impact on the vote. How do you evaluate your efforts there and if you feel like what you did was beneficial how are you measuring that benefit?
Hornberger: I believe that my activist campaign in North Carolina helped me to win the North Carolina Super Tuesday primary. A win is a win. I also believe it helped me to win the straw vote at the North Carolina state LP convention. Moreover, I don’t believe that Joe Biden has the black or Hispanic vote locked up. If I were to win the LP presidential nomination, I would point blacks and Hispanics to the blog section of website (jacobforliberty.com, which details my fight in the North Carolina LP primary against the racially bigoted drug war and the deadly and immoral war on immigrants.
Reader: While the concepts of public property, public goods, and nations exist, is it wise for a nation to allow for the unhindered use and exploitation of its limited public property and public goods by those who are not a part of that nation? Is it moral for a nation to allow and encourage the unhindered use and exploitation of limited public property and public goods without the complete consent of the nation’s members?
Hornberger: The problem with government-owned property is that it is difficult to arrive at solutions that are not arbitrary. That’s why we need to work to privatize most governmental assets (excepting such things as courts, police stations, legislative halls, etc.)
I have no problem with denying welfare benefits to foreigners, but it would only seem fair to exempt them from the taxes that fund such programs.
If government has public goods, we should never permit that to manipulate us libertarians to abandon our principles. If we do that, we become like Democrats and Republicans. We also would have a difficult time reconciling such an abandonment with the LP’s motto, “The Party of Principle.”
But in other areas, such as the courts, the roads (which should be privatized), and law enforcement, the government should not have the power to discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, or any other reason except age (e.g., juvenile courts, driving age, etc.). In these government-owned areas, I believe that everyone should be treated equally.
Reader: Have you ever given any thought to running for a local office where your chances of winning might be greater? Or do your only runs for Senate and President indicate you prefer the strategy of running up-top in order to “make a statement”?
Hornberger: No. My interests, competency, and passion have always oriented toward national issues rather than state and local issues — e.g., foreign policy, the welfare state, immigration, healthcare, the Federal Reserve, the national security state, the drug war, gun control, and others. My aim is not to “make a statement” but rather to achieve a free, healthy, prosperous, peaceful, and harmonious society in our land through the application of libertarian principles.