Jacob Hornberger Answers IPR Readers

IPR readers submitted questions for 2020 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Jacob Hornberger (website).

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.

15 thoughts on “Jacob Hornberger Answers IPR Readers

  1. Richard Winger

    Jacob Hornberger seems to feel that the Libertarian presidential vote will be at least 1%, but it has always been below 1%, except for 1980 and 2016 (although 2012 was .99%).

    1976: Roger MacBride .21%
    1984: David Bergland .25%
    1988: Ron Paul .47%
    1992: Andre Marrou .28%
    1996: Harry Browne .50%
    2000: Harry Browne .36%
    2004: Michael Badnarik .32%
    2008: Bob Barr .40%

  2. Kevin

    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.

    (Me) That was not my question. I didn’t claim that no interventions initiate force, but here you appear to claim that all interventions initiate force. How do you know that all foreign policy interventions initiate force? Is this a matter of fact or principle or both? If fact, have you studied all interventions and determined they all initiate force?

    If you saw someone initiate force in an armed robbery, would using force against the robber necessarily initiate force?

  3. Kevin

    If you oppose all military interventions, does that mean you favor the abolition of all militaries? What if a foreign power does not agree, retains their military, and attacks the US (which would have no military under your theory)?

  4. dL

    If you saw someone initiate force in an armed robbery, would using force against the robber necessarily initiate force?

    The analogy of foreign military interventionism to armed robbery prevention doesn’t work. The analogy that would work is comparing the involuntary funding of military interventionism via taxation to armed robbery.

    Side Note: I’m wondering how Bjornson squares his agoraphobia(because of possible pandemic viral contamination) w/ his love of endless revolving overseas troop deployments. The troops are an obvious vector in any contagious pandemic.

  5. Kevin

    I do not favor tax funding for any government function.
    User fees and sale of gov’t assets will have to suffice.

    I didn’t mention the “pandemic” which I view as overstated and I don’t favor the draconian measures now practiced, though I think some border controls justified.

    The trend for many years is toward increased mechanization of military services. We now have the power to intervene with minimal risk to US soldiers. Some missions are riskier than others. That;’s why bank and armored truck guards are paid so well.

    What Hornberger implies or states, is that intervention = initiation of force. That is not supported by dictionaries, and is part of a private language put forth by Rothbard. “Intervention” simply means, to take sides in a dispute.

    The origin of the non-interventionist philosophy was explained in Maine’s classic, Ancient Law.
    After the introduction of Christianity to Europe, there was a fusion of cultures resulting in a great deal of confusion. In this way of thinking, the sovereign is viewed as a proprietor who owns all the territory of his domain. Thus, to depose him–by invasion, revolution, or coup–would violate his property rights.

    To propose the unilateral abolition of the US military is a reductio ad absurdum. If merely implied, that amounts to deception. If openly stated, that amounts to comedy.

  6. Chris Powell

    I find Mr. Hornberger’s response to my question about the North Carolina primary very disappointing. He did not win that contest, No Preference won with 33% of the vote compared to Hornberger’s 9.6%. When comparing the results in North Carolina to those in other states there is no reason to believe that what the Hornberger campaign did there made any difference at all and to see the candidate falsely claim victory undermines any argument of benefit that didn’t show up in the vote totals.
    I asked for an evaluation of the campaign’s effort, not self-promoting puffery. If we as a party are going to get better at the business of political campaigns we need to see frank and honest leadership from the top regarding failures as well as successes. That’s not what Mr. Hornberger’s answer contains.

  7. Robert Hansen

    “My interests, competency, and passion have always oriented toward national issues rather than state and local issues”

    Not certain why his answer sticks in my craw (wherever that is!) but it does. Perhaps he could have explained how he had “competency” in these areas if he’s never held elective office.

    I guess I’m tired in my old age of folks – and not just Libertarians – deciding one day they’ll run for President with no prior experience in elective office. If you think Trump has been completely unhinged in office, just think of the loopiness which could have come from a Ross Perot or Roseanne Barr administration!

    The obvious problem tho is that the LP doesn’t have a deep farm team of elected officials who could take that next step upward. Glancing at the list just now of LP elected officials, we’re really heavy on parks boards, water districts, and the like. If I had to take a wild guess at the one who represented the greatest number of constituents, I might pick Jeff Hewitt, a County Commissioner down in Riverside County CA – that’s a big county! But even then, it’s a huge step up from County Commissioner to the Presidency. So what do we do in the meantime? It seems like the only choices have been folks with no experience at all, or rejected Republican retreads who want to be big fish in our little pond because they can’t survive in their old pond anymore. I’m not sure either is a workable answer – but unfortunately, figuring out what is a workable answer is above my libertarian street cred…. I haven’t held a party office since color TV.

  8. dL

    I didn’t mention the “pandemic” which I view as overstated and I don’t favor the draconian measures now practiced, though I think some border controls justified.

    Is this the same Bjornson who wrote back in March that
    travelling by airliner and going to a hotel where travelers gather, is dangerous; and this is so not because I say it must be so but because of the nature of the virus and how it is spread.

    and who commented on Knapp’s blog
    http://knappster.blogspot.com/2020/03/update-my-libertarian-national.html
    The physical conventions should end, in part due to the virus. Instead, digital conventions.

    I checked the IP addresses of the comments. By golly, it is the same Bjornson.

    We now have the power to intervene with minimal risk to US soldiers.

    20 years in Afghanistan and 17 years in Iraq. Certainly not a minimal risk in terms of perpetual rolling deployments.

  9. Kevin

    My question to Hornberger didn’t mention the pandemic. I have many ideas which are not that relevant to foreign policy. My question was ideological and the pandemic was not closely related. What is your point? You could as easily have brought up my opposition to marriage licensing or my views on climate change.

    Yes, I happen to believe the pandemic is real, and spread by social contact. Do you seriously dispute that? Church services in-person have generally stopped, and for good reason. Is the LP more stupid than churches? Perhaps, but again, my question didn’t pertain to the pandemic.

    I’m not with the Time Police. I don’t necessarily endorse all that has happened, including all the ways in which the US wages war in Afghanistan. Not all interventions have to follow the same pattern as previous or present wars.

    For instance, if the US wanted to topple the Iran regime, that could easily be done with few or no boots on the ground. We have drone technology, and could do to Iran what Iran did to Saudi Arabia. This is the 21st century.

  10. Kevin

    Here is a more pointed question for Hornberger: does he advocate the unilateral abolition of the US military? If not, what would he have the US military do, if not intervene? Do parades, perhaps?

  11. Wolfefan

    Opposing military intervention doesn’t logically lead to the abolition of a military force and I don’t see how anyone can seriously suggest that it might.

  12. dL

    My question was ideological and the pandemic was not closely related. What is your point? You could as easily have brought up my opposition to marriage licensing or my views on climate change.

    Actually, climate change would be related here if you used to this forum to promulgate the view that climate change was a serious threat to humanity but nonetheless insisted with your support of US planetary militarism, given that the US military is the single biggest CO2 polluter. Now, I’m not aware of your views on climate change, but you have used this forum to advance the view that the threat of pandemics is such that the LP should nix all physical conventions going forward. In my view that is a severe overreaction, but apparently not severe enough in your mind to mitigate your enthusiasm in the slightest for planetary military occupation, despite the obvious vector such would serve in spreading an infectious pandemic. These novel coronoviral outbreaks appear to be a decennial phenomenon. So, yes, the question is related.

    Yes, I happen to believe the pandemic is real, and spread by social contact. Do you seriously dispute that?

    No. I’m disputing whether you actually believe it, given that are you still riding your “let’s bomb some more muslims” obsession in the middle of a pandemic.

    Not all interventions have to follow the same pattern as previous or present wars.

    They invariably do.

    For instance, if the US wanted to topple the Iran regime, that could easily be done with few or no boots on the ground. We have drone technology,

    You are going to need a better “for instance” than that. The US assassinated Soleimani last year with a drone attack. All that did was unite the entire Iranian population behind the mullahs. You are exploring the excess margins of mental delusion if you think the US is going to take down the Iranian regime with drone attacks. And it’s not a harmless delusion, Bjornson. That’s sociopathic derangement.

  13. Kevin

    “Opposing military intervention doesn’t logically lead to the abolition of a military force and I don’t see how anyone can seriously suggest that it might.”

    That is what a military does: intervene. Without the possibility of intervention, there would be no military function to do. A military that could not intervene, would be like a dentist who could not work on teeth.

    What do you mean by “intervene”? This is how dictionaries define the term:
    to come between disputing people, groups, etc.; intercede; mediate.
    to occur or be between two things.
    to interfere with force or a threat of force:
    to intervene in the affairs of another country.
    Law. to interpose and become a party to a suit pending between other parties.

    Rothbard has tried to distort the language. His proposed agencies of retaliatory/defensive force would be governments in fact, even if he does not name them by that term.

  14. Kevin

    So now dl is using the specter of virus to justify unilaterally disbanding the US military, on the theory that US forces could catch the virus from those they encounter abroad. Presumably, he would seal the US border on the same logic, to prevent cross-border traffic and prohibit Americans from engaging in tourism. However, the virus has already penetrated the border. His theory is so absurd, it had never occurred to me. But thanks for sharing your Rothbardian fantasy world.

    I’ve long opposed physical conventions, because they tend to filter out normal Americans, who might be reluctant to spend time and money on what amounts to a quixotic venture The 1000 or so who attend, are the tail that wags the LP dog, which purports to represent over a million libertarian voters. The conventions have become Alice in Wonderland freak shows. Now that the virus poses a health risk for large congregations, the absurd has become dangerous to health.

    Now dl purports to read my mind, concluding I don’t really believe the virus is spread by social contact, because (in his mind) wars are fought the old-fashioned way, with man-to-man sword fights and battle cries in close proximity to the enemy. I’d advise dl give ancient war movies a rest, and familiarize himself with drones that can attack abroad while controlled at a console in, say, Omaha.

    dl then renders his diagnosis that my belief in the effectiveness of drone warfare is a sociopathic delusion. The execution of Soleimani was the single most effective execution of a military mastermind since Admiral Yamamoto’s airplane was shot down. (during WW2). Apparently his theory is, if we attack the enemy’s leaders, that will enrage his followers. I imagine followers are upset, but on that theory the US could never attack anybody.

    The Iran regime is dependent on oil revenues to finance their subsidies to terrorism, construction of nukes, and plans for installation of Sharia law worldwide. Drones could generate an EMP (from electrical energy stored in capacitors) over their oil export facilities, rendering them inoperable. (Oil is not transported to market by magic carpets).

  15. dL

    So now dl is using the specter of virus to justify unilaterally disbanding the US military

    Nope, I’m simply arguing by analogy using your own logic. You used the specter of the pandemic virus to argue shutting down the LP physical conventions going forward. I simply used your premise to reasonably conclude that other viral pandemic vectors(like planetary military occupation) should likewise be given the nix. However, the starting premise is yours, not mine. I suggest you next time re -familiarize yourself with the method of the Socratic dialogue before assigning me the internal contradictions of your own position.

    I’ve long opposed physical conventions, because they tend to filter out normal Americans, who might be reluctant to spend time and money on what amounts to a quixotic venture The 1000 or so who attend

    You’re two generations in the rear view mirror to be pontificating about “normal Americans.” And long standing standing opposition to “physical conventions” just screams anti-social. Until recently, there hasn’t been any alternative. Even now, a virtual convention might be able to be poorly pulled off if you have a bunch money, infrastructure and logistics support behind it.

    dl then renders his diagnosis that my belief in the effectiveness of drone warfare is a sociopathic delusion.

    Yep.

    The execution of Soleimani was the single most effective execution of a military mastermind since Admiral Yamamoto’s airplane was shot down.

    Quod erat demonstrandum

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