Should Austin Petersen win the Libertarian Party nomination this weekend, I will be voting for him in the general election.
After Ted Cruz threw in the towel, I began a lengthy decision-making process regarding the candidate for whom I’d vote in November. As a constitutional conservative, I had no one left in the race. Hillary Clinton is a radical Leftist, and Donald Trump, while on the Republican ticket, holds many positions with which I strongly disagree. More than that, Trump’s a populist candidate, and I cannot vote for a non-conservative populist.
Prior to this election, I’d never given any attention to the Libertarian Party. First, as a conservative, there was usually a candidate who–at least in some areas–held conservative positions. They were far from perfect, but I could hold my nose and vote for them. I’m looking at you, McCain and Romney. Second, most Libertarians tend to hold positions on key issues with which I disagree. Third, there was never a time I wouldn’t vote for the Republican candidate, regardless of any differences I had with their agenda, because I always saw them as the only alternative to the always awful Democrat.
That being said, I have never in my lifetime been an enthusiastic Republican. No candidate since Reagan has been a true conservative (and even Reagan had his faults). Between Hillary and Trump, I’m a man with no nation. Come November, I was simply going to write in Ted Cruz. Then I saw Austin Petersen.
As I watch Petersen debate the bumbling, anti-liberty Gary Johnson–the Jeb! of the Libertarian Party–as well as John McAfee, he outshines them both. He’s quick, intelligent, a strict constitutionalist, and surprisingly, pro-life. One of many reasons I’ve never even considered the Libertarian Party is because abortion is the issue that ranks highest on my “must agree with” list.
Above all of this, however, Petersen appears to be a man of conviction. In a recent interview with Glenn Beck, the following exchange occurred:
BECK: “[Conservatives] don’t trust the Libertarians on a few things. One of them is the right to practice my religion. It seems as though Libertarians just don’t like religious people. So, when it comes to a baker saying ‘I’ll make you doughnuts, I’ll make you cakes, I’ll make you anything, but I can’t participate in your ceremony because it violates my religious belief.’ Are the Libertarians going to do that? Because which one of them said the ‘Nazi Cake?’ Gary Johnson?”
PETERSEN: “I didn’t know that Governor Johnson held these positions when it came to freedom of association, and in the debates, we were talking about whether or not Christian bakers should be forced to bake a cake for a gay wedding. And he argued ‘Yes,’ that they should. So I kind of just threw out the line ‘Do you think a Jew should be forced to bake a cake for a Nazi?’ And he said ‘That’s my contention.’
I kind of laughed, and I thought ‘There’s no way he really believes this because he must not understand the law’…That’s more authoritarian than Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton…Everyone should have freedom of conscience.”
Petersen went on to tell Beck the story of how he lost his faith. He freely admitted that it never came back. But then he continued:
“I see the threat to religious freedom that is a threat to my freedom as well. So I will defend the rights of people even if I don’t agree with them–and that’s what it means to be a Libertarian. And that is controversial. And being a pro-life secularist makes no one happy, but I don’t care because I’d rather be honest…When it comes to religious freedom–religious freedom must be sacrosanct, and we must defend it for ourselves and everyone else. I don’t agree with you, but I defend your right to believe it.”
Beck responded perfectly:
“That’s the only time that defending somebody’s right matters. When you disagree. That’s when it counts.”
Would I prefer a Christian candidate? Sure. But being a Christian isn’t a requirement for the presidency. We don’t need a pastor-in-chief. What we need is a President who understands the Constitution, and will execute his duties accordingly. We haven’t had someone like that for decades.
Austin Petersen makes no bones about the fact that he personally disagrees with those who won’t bake cakes for gay weddings–as he mentioned during a recent debate–but he will defend religious freedom because the First Amendment, as part of the Constitution, is inalienable. Petersen feels this in his bones.
Austin Petersen isn’t just another alternative for those who won’t vote for Trump or Hillary, he’s someone about whom I can be enthusiastic. As I mentioned above, I have several strong policy differences with Petersen, and that’s okay. He clearly reveres the principles upon which our nation was founded, just as he reveres the Constitution in which those principles were made inviolable.
That’s what I want.
To the Libertarian delegates who are meeting this weekend, I urge you to choose Austin Petersen, because this November, I won’t vote for anyone else.
Here’s Petersen’s full interview with Glenn beck: