Gary Johnson Gears Up for a Run

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Politico profiles the former New Mexico governor.

All the anti-war of Ron Paul (drug and overseas), plus he’s pro-immigration and comes off less crankish and has less baggage than Paul. As governor, he vetoed more bills than all other governors combined.

Also, the guy climbs mountains and runs ultra-marathons.

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41 Responses to “Gary Johnson Gears Up for a Run”

  1. #1 |  John Wilburn | 

    Not to tinkle in anyone’s Maypo, but why would any rational person believe that this guy will be different? Didn’t Obama campaign and get elected on the “Change We Can Believe In” platform? Has anyone honestly seen any viable change?

    The system is impregnable. The only method that it will allow, is “More Of The Same,” which has gone on and gotten progressively worse thru every administration since Washington.

    “And what country can preserve its liberties, if its rulers are not
    warned from time to time, that this people preserve the spirit of
    resistance? Let them take arms.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  2. #2 |  Duncan | 

    Well Congress just did away with the Barr Amendment, and medical cannabis is coming to DC as a result. Right now I’ve got a man crush on Barack as a result, and I want to beat you up for bad mouthing him!

  3. #3 |  Harry B | 

    Hey John, Obama’s voting record showed without a doubt beforehand that he was same old liberal politics.

    As for this gov., i don’t know much about him.

  4. #4 |  Mark S. | 

    I watched him speak via web at the alternative convention last presidential election cycle. As Radley said, all the polish Paul lacks with a far more accepting platform.

  5. #5 |  Andrew | 

    I wonder if the Tea Partiers will accept a pro-drug, pro-immigration candidate (like the article suggests he could emerge as) when they could easily just accept what they are given (the moron from Alaska).

    I, for one, would donate to him. He’s got a great presidential name too. I’m sure there’s some movie were President Gary Johnson was at the helm (not that I think there is such a thing as a ‘presidential name’ but, I hope you get me…).

  6. #6 |  perlhaqr | 

    I’ve been hoping Gary would run since he was getting ready to leave as Governor. I was hoping that if nothing else, at the time, it would be hard for the media to ignore him on the drug issue. That at the very least, he couldn’t be ignored in the debates.

    Of course, that was before I saw how the media managed to ignore Ron Paul, so I’m slightly less naieve, now.

  7. #7 |  Henry Bowman | 

    To Mr. Wilburn (commenter # 1), who asks why anyone would believe that [Johnson] would be any different: because Gary Johnson has a very good track record, that’s why. He was a twice-elected governor in a state where both houses of the legislature were completely dominated by patron Democrats, and he was unwavering in his opposition to their desire to spend, spend, and spend more. The Democrats in the state, especially the lefties in Santa Fe, absolutely loathed Johnson, but he persevered. When Johnson left office, the state has a budget surplus. After about 7 years of Big Bill Richardson and his wanton spending, the state is in serious financial trouble.

    Johnson managed to piss off the War Party Republican Party establishment in his second term with the truly innocuous suggestion that certain drugs be (in his words) de-criminalized. He’s is at heart a libertarian, but he recognizes the simple fact that there is no way to get elected by running as a Libertarian.

    My best wishes to Gary Johnson.

  8. #8 |  Kevin | 

    yeah no more drug war or wars for empire abroad sounds great but what is so wonderful about a flood of illegals (or legals who care not to assimilate)into our country?

    Frankly, I see America’s problems as being too deep and wide to come out of the current mess by voting.

    ……and this notion of Ron Paul not being ‘presidential” speaks volumes about the lack of maturity of the average voter….something i thought a site like this would be less inclined to espouse. Childish to think that it is all about the nice smile (as you lie) or promise the moon (and cant deliver) time to grow up and vote for the candidate of substance (even if he is not a terrific orator with a stylish haircut) not the panderer of the month.

    Then again, Radley recently said he “liked Bill Clinton” so wtf? seems to be a real disconnect in the terms of logic.

    In turn this is causing me to withdraw from any of it. Ignorance and confusion abound even here. Sad.

  9. #9 |  ClassAction | 

    Well, what’s great about illegal immigrants is that they are heroic civil disobediants defying evil government actions – namely, the coercive restriction of the free movement of peoples inconsistent with private property rights. In a free society, people “assimilate” into the dominant culture to the extent that they want to. If humanity ever wins its internal struggle against its authoritarian impulse, “illegal” immigrants will be regarded much as we now regard Henry David Thoreau, Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Tubman, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, etc.

  10. #10 |  Chris Mallory | 

    Culture matters. Replacing the once strong Anglo Saxon culture that built America with the culture of the Peon and the Jeffe will mean we all lose our freedom.

  11. #11 |  ClassAction | 


    It’s true! I mean, we all know that culture is completely immutable and transmits directly along historically racial lines. Where would we be without such prominent Anglo-Saxon libertarians as the Vikings, King Richard I, and the modern English surveillance state?

  12. #12 |  Henry Bowman | 

    The problem with Gary Johnson’s position on immigration is simply the welfare state: unimpeded immigration really is not compatible with the welfare state. We see the results in both Britain and France, though in France the problems seem to be exacerbated by lots of open racism. The ropes that bind welfare and open immigration need to be cut. Of course, the welfare state is also a problem for those already in the country.

  13. #13 |  John Wilburn | 

    To Mr. Bowman – nearly everyone who ended up in the White House had a “good track record” prior to being elected president – even (believe it or not) George W. Bush…

    You’re right, no one running as a Libertarian has any hope of being elected president. Does this mean that if America decides it wants a woman president, Mr Johnson will start wearing a dress?


  14. #14 |  ClassAction | 

    It’s strange. You would think that the fact that the free movement of peoples consistent with private property rights is INCOMPATIBLE with a burgeoning welfare state would be a practical reason to SUPPORT the former.

    Of course, I’ve never bought the idea that it’s okay to forcibly prevent someone from moving into an apartment where the landlord wants to rent to them and prevent them from taking a job in a place where the employer wants to hire them — because some other wrong exists in the world. It’s not okay for me to beat up, detain, and expel my neighbor because he accepts TANF, or unemployment, or food stamps, or works for the federal government, or voted for Obama (or McCain, for that matter). And it’s not okay for the government to do the same to people just because they might, potentially, in the future, do any, all, or none of those things.

  15. #15 |  PW | 

    I agree that Johnson’s prospective entry into this race is a good thing. That said, we as libertarians need to overcome our propensity to form a circular firing squad every single time a candidate from our wing enters a high profile race.

    This happened during the Paul campaign last year, when otherwise sensible libertarians shunned him despite 99% agreement on the issues because he was deemed ideologically “impure” on a single issue such as immigration, or because they had some obscure internecine war going on behind the scenes with some other libertarian faction. Regardless of these minor differences, libertarians ALL need to wake up and realize that the greater part of the American public does not give JACK SHIT about what the libertarian philosophy of property rights has to say about immigration policy, or if a candidate is friends with Lew Rockwell, or if he was perceived to have secretly intimated an endorsement to Bob Barr over Chuck Baldwin. To the greater majority of the American public and certainly to the media, libertarians are just that – libertarians, a small outsider group on the periphery of the political establishment.

    And they don’t know or even give a damn about any of our internal squabbles.

    Until we figure that out and put aside the internal garbage that plagued the Paul campaign and dozens of others before it, our electoral fortunes will continue to be what they always have been: absolutely zero.

    Fortunately I believe Gary Johnson recognizes this. And a few here may have forgotten that while they were squabbling over Paul’s libertarian ideological purity, GARY JOHNSON ENDORSED PAUL despite their (very minor) political differences that caused some other libertarians to shun Paul. And I have no doubt that if Johnson declares and mounts a credible campaign in 2012, Paul would happily return the favor of an endorsement.

    The question to the rank and file libertarians though is this: will you? Or would you rather spend another election cycle in a blog war with Bob Barr or Lew Rockwell that nobody in the real world even cares about?

  16. #16 |  PW | 

    “unimpeded immigration really is not compatible with the welfare state.”

    I’d say it’s even more fundamental than the simple existence of welfare, and as a result it is a real quandary for libertarians. Immigration is a paradox not because of the “welfare state” but because of the STATE itself. And so long as the state operates in its present form, an open immigration policy will inevitably produce two things:

    1. The imposition of concentrated costs on high-influx immigration spots, with comparatively diffuse benefits across the nation. Stated another way, the economic “benefits” of immigration are usually realized in lower consumer prices attained through cheaper labor. These prices diffuse across the country insofar as the Wal-Mart in rural Maine has virtually the same prices as the Wal-Mart on the Texas border. The “costs” of immigration – both welfare and in the social infrastructure (firefighters, police, schools, public transportation and roadways, public hospitals) – are realized locally though at the point of rapid population growth from an immigration influx. So rural Maine gets the benefit of cheaper stuff with virtually no population influx to strain its local government services, whereas the border town in Texas has to build schools, roadways, buses, public clinics and hospitals, and hire more firefighters and police (well, they technically don’t “have” to hire more police but we all know that cops perpetually request higher budgets that NEVER get denied and there’s no better justification for it than population growth). The result: diffuse economic benefits that are probably a net positive for the whole country, but very high and concentrated costs that are probably a net negative for the area hit hardest by the illegal immigration influx.

    2. A growing political class that derives expansion of the state from racial identity collectivism. I’ll be frank – it is no secret that the U.S. Democratic Party’s current position on immigration is motivated primarily by a desire to make a perpetual voting constituency out of comparatively impoverished and predominantly Hispanic individuals. That alone is NOT a sufficient reason to oppose all immigration, but it is a political reality we must recognize and account for in the immigration debate. It is also a political reality that the left wing actively and aggressively fosters collective identity politics built around and indeed defined solely by a person’s race, ethnicity, skin color, sexual preference, religion or other demographic attribute. They also use and seek to mobilize such groups, when they are successfully constructed, in a way that is consistent with and identical to the old marxist bourgeois/proletarian divide – i.e. to prop up the collectivist state as its dependents. It is disgusting and patronizing that they do it, but a reality nonetheless and a frighteningly successful one, as evidenced by the propensity of a great many voters in this country to cast their votes SOLELY on a candidate’s race and to vote monolithically as a racial group for a single political party rather than as individuals evaluating candidates on a case by case basis. One need look no further than the 95% straight ticket Democrat voting patterns in the African-American community, or a similar voting behavior in the Hillary/Obama primary to recognize this reality and to recognize that it is premised upon a consciously fostered sense of racial group identity collectivism – one that is every bit as anti-individualist and insidious as the old white supremacist “solid south” Democratic block of the 1920’s or 50’s, only flipped in reverse.

    The great paradox with the current immigration debate is that Hispanic migrants are being targeted by these very real and very insidious “racial identity” tactics on the collectivist left, and they do it by casting the immigration debate IN THE TERMS OF THE WELFARE STATE and thus making it such that being anti-welfare is also being anti-immigrant, and being pro-immigrant is the same as providing welfare assistance.

    The root problem of all of this is thus not the “welfare state” but the state itself, and its inherent propensity to suppress the individual for the collective. In this case the collective goals are (1) economic (a diffusion of benefits to those who do not bear the costs of immigration) and (2) racial (Hispanic identity politics fostered by a political party that wants to use immigration to supply the votes it needs to perpetuate and expand the state). But if you’re looking to immigration policy and the “welfare state” as the issue, you’re only touching upon the tip of the iceburg.

  17. #17 |  PW | 

    #11 – The “culture” of English-inspired government is nothing to be proud of for obvious and self-evident reasons. It is built around a faulty assumption that man is capable of effectively governing himself, and that government is even capable of doing “good.” The reality is that government and liberty are opposites – inescapably so.

    That said, it is both naive and dangerous to suppose that culture is not a part of the immigration debate, because several government-minded participants in that debate enlist the concept of culture to further their statist objects. For the right, as you correctly hint, immigration is portrayed as an assault on western or anglo-saxon culture, and used to justify an expansion of the police state that currently sits upon our borders.

    You neglect an equally insidious use of culture on the left though, where immigration is cast in terms to consciously foster collective racial identity politics among immigrant populations, also with the goal of expanding the state via their eventual voting bloc. In this sense, the “culture” of racial identity takes on an identical role to the left that the class identity groups did in Marx.

    Neither side is right in the immigration debate as a result as neither position is premised upon the rights of the individual.

  18. #18 |  ClassAction | 


    That’s an interesting re-writing of history. Being “friends with Lew Rockwell” sounds a lot more innocuous than say, writing, or allowing to have been written and published (potentially by Lew Rockwell), racist screeds in his political magazine. But I guess that’s the nature of spin, though.

    The fact is, Ron Paul was a “less than ideal” candidate for any number of important reasons. It’s not worth starting a 100-post comment war over (since we managed to do several of those during the last primary cycle), but suffice it to say, and while I DO NOT AGREE with every single characterization I’m about to put forward, I do think that eminently reasonable people could look at Paul’s history and decide for themselves that: he’s a racist, he’s homophobic, he’s dead wrong on immigration, he’s dead wrong on abortion, and he subscribes to a radical judicial philosophy that in practical effect would allow States an enormous ability to severely infringe on the natural rights of its citizens from everything from access to contraceptives to private sexual conduct in the home (ie: his stated opposition to Lawrence v. Texas).

    Obviously, you could debate the virtues of any of these positions until you are red in the face, but taken as a whole, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for any particular small-L libertarian voter to take a look at the above and say: No thanks, I’ll pass.

  19. #19 |  PW | 

    And if you want a perfect example of the silly self-defeating internecine disputes that have made libertarians 100% electorally nonviable for all of modern American political history as referenced in #15, please see #18.

    For all the hyperbole and phony moralism of that post aside, the fact remains that Ron Paul was better on libertarian issues than 99.999% of all other Republican and Democrat candidates in the 2008 race. No less than Gary Johnson – the person being rightfully identified as our best shot in 2012 – recognized that and wrote a glowing endorsement of Paul for President. It’s truly sad that other self-identified libertarians could not do the same then, and likely will not be able to do the same again for Johnson over some other silly perceived ideological dispute if he runs.

    It also speaks to the complete irrationality of some of these people…

    “Ron Paul is dead wrong on immigration and his association with Rockwell looks bad…so I’m gonna vote Fascist and go with Rudy Giuliani!”


    “Ron Paul isn’t 100% behind gay marriage…so I’m gonna vote Marxist and go with Barack Obama!”

    Can somebody please explain to me in what universe either of those propositions are anything short of batshit insanity?

  20. #20 |  Andrew | 

    Or, perhaps the libertarians who refused to vote for Paul were thinking:

    “Ron Paul isn’t even hitting 75% on the issues I care about, so I’m not going to vote.”

  21. #21 |  PW | 

    And yes, I know multiple “libertarians” who shirked Paul in the primaries (or Barr in the general) over some quibbling internecine stupidity and cast their votes for people like Giuliani, McCain, and Obama.

    Perhaps in a very distant stretch of an argument, one could justify voting for McCain (the status quo of Bush) as the best strategic chance we had of halting the greater evil of Obama (everything bad about Bush plus a lot worse on the government spending).

    But Rudy Giuliani? Or Barack Obama?

    It’s sheer batshit insanity, and any self-described “libertarian” who voted for either is as much to blame for the current sordid state of our government as the most flaming left wing communist or police state right wing authoritarian.

  22. #22 |  PW | 

    And speaking of the aforementioned batshit insanity, I’m wondering if any of the following “libertarians” would like to reflect on their choices last year, because crow is certainly on the menu tonight…

    “If the polls in my home state are close: Obama” – Peter Bagge

    “Obama. The Republicans must be punished and punished hard.” – Ronald Bailey

    “I plan to vote for Obama mainly because he is not a Republican and not John McCain, who is temperamentally unfit to be president.” – Bruce Bartlett

    “For not a single “liberal” reason, I am voting not only for Obama, but for the GOP to be utterly spanked and sent into exile” – David Brin

    “Barack Obama. All my life I’ve been waiting for a black president; Obama’s not monumentally unqualified, and his solid-if-boring book at least had some unkind words for teachers unions. Also my kids like him.” – Tim Cavanaugh

    “Barack Obama, for two main reasons: The Republican Party, which has jettisoned its best inclinations and indulged its worst for the last eight years, richly deserves exile from the White House, and 2) because he shows an intelligence and temperament that suggest he will govern more pragmatically than ideologically” – Steve Chapman

    “Barack Obama, since he’s a genuine leader, with a good program for cleaning up Washington, and will be very good for business.” – Craig Newmark

    “Barack Obama, because he most exemplifies Reason and Free Minds (sorry, the country is in no mood for Freer Markets). The contrast between his discernment and eclecticism and the Republican ticket’s impulsiveness and idiot populism is vastly more important than any differences in their adherence to libertarian first principles.” – Steven Pinker

    “Living in the District of Columbia, I see little reason to mar my as- yet unblemished record of nonvoting. But if I lived in Virigina or Florida, I’d be ticking the box for Obama —not because of any great affection for Hopey McChangeypants, but because I’m terrified of what happens to the Republican Party if eight years of military adventurism, unfettered executive power, and disregard for civil liberties aren’t utterly repudiated at the polls” – Julian Sanchez

    “I’ll be voting for Obama, because I think as a nation we’re about to descend into a pile of hurt, and I want someone who is smart, pragmatic, and not prone to temper tantrums working to get us out of it as quickly as possible.” – John Scalzi

    “I’ve got the luxury of a guilt-free, zero-impact vote in the District of Columbia, which I would cast for Bob Barr if he was on the ballot. Since he’s not, I’m voting for Barack Obama, the only remaining candidate whom I trust not to run the country (further) into the ground with stupid and erratic decisions, and who (miraculously for a Democrat) has run a less brain-dead, faux-populist campaign than the Republican.” – David Weigel

  23. #23 |  PW | 

    #20 – See #22. There were dozens of prominent and well known libertarians who voted for Obama for reasons that were entirely insane, naive, or both. They all boil down to one of the following:

    A. Bush/the Republicans deserve to be punished for governing as tax-and-spend socialists-lite…so I’m gonna vote for the communist!

    B. Bob Barr/Ron Paul/insert-your-candidate here is ideologically impure from a libertarian standpoint…so I’m gonna vote for the communist!

    C. Barack Obama is “intelligent” and a “pragmatist” and full of hope and change…so I’m gonna believe his rhetorical bullshit and vote for him anyway even though my better instinct tells me he’s a communist!

    (Note: to their credit, there were also many libertarians who (1) voted strategically for a lesser evil than Obama, (2) voted ideologically for someone like Barr despite his flaws, or (3) declined to vote at all. All three are respectable positions. But I stand by my assessment that voting for Obama was and remains nothing short of batshit insanity for any true libertarian)

  24. #24 |  ARCraig | 

    In what sense, exactly, was McCain/Palin a “lesser evil” than Obama/Biden? Short of Rudy 9/11, McCain was probably the most explicitly anti-individualist and pro-authoritarian of the GOP candidates in 08. He was 100% behind the Obama/Bush lurch towards corporatism, proudly sponsored one of the most heinously unconstitutional pieces of legislation of the past quarter-century, and for all Obama’s lies on being the anti-war candidate, John McCain is actively *pro-war*, as in he *likes* the idea of the US fighting more wars.

    A “libertarian” vote for McCain is just as indefensible as one for Obama.

    Johnson/Flake 2012!

  25. #25 |  Mattocracy | 

    Ron Paul and Bob Barr weren’t perfect candidates, but no one is. If you want a candidate to be 90%+ Libertarian before you’ll consider voting for him, just don’t vote and stop complaining about how shitty things are. Paul wasn’t perfect, but he was the best in my opinion. After him, it was Barr.

    I can go either way on abortion personally. Paul may not be the most gay friendly guy out there, but he sure as hell isn’t going to attack them the way neocons have. Same can be said for Barr. And I don’t think RP is racist in the least despite what Lew Rockwell may have penned in his name.

    I’m with PW. I’m so goddamn sick of the defeatist attitude of libertarians in general. I have been in the party for so long and all the purists want an Ayn Rand reincarnate and nothing less. I want the person who has the best chance of giving me more freedoms then they are willing to take away. If it’s a Republican named Gary Johnson, party affiliation be damned that’s who I’m gonna support until he’s out of the hunt. Same if it’s a Democrat.

    For so many libertarians, they believe that it’s either their perfect version of liberty or it’s no liberty. If that’s how you feel, you’re gonna get no liberty every single time. It’s ridiculous to expect perfection, but I believe that it is more than reasonable to want better than what you have without being labeled a sellout.

  26. #26 |  ClassAction | 


    Newsflash: Electorally, IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER who libertarians vote for, because there aren’t enough of us to elect a president. Our only choice is: Am I going to throw a symbolic vote towards a candidate that I don’t believe in? My answer: No thanks. (Actually, for Ron Paul, it didn’t matter – I’m not a registered republican and I live in a closed primary state, so I didn’t have a say.) The idea that some libertarian consensus towards a candidate could possibly have any influence on them being elected to the presidency of the US is a wild flight of fantasy. That’s not “defeatist;” it’s just the simple truth. It’s a numbers game, but numbers we do not have.

    Of course, the “race to the presidency” idea is a mistake, anyway. It’s a fantasy to think that if we just get the “right guy” that makes libertarianism sound appealing, then the electorate is going to fall in line. That’s not how things work. Any “libertarian revolution” has to first be a revolution in civil society. We are only ever going to get a libertarian president (or better yet, abolish the presidency) when we have done the legwork to convince a majority of people that libertarian ideas are in fact the correct ideas.

  27. #27 |  ClassAction | 


    I wonder – are you even capable of responding to a post without flagrantly mischaracterizing its arguments or being entirely facile? I’m beginning to doubt it.

    When it comes to certain issues before the Supreme Court, I would much rather have an Obama-appointed “living Constitution” Justice deciding the issue than a hypothetical Ron Paulian “strict constructionist,” because, NO LIE, Ron Paul thinks that the States should have the right to criminalize consensual homosexual conduct within the home. You can smarmily try to mischaracterize my position as being upset that “Ron Paul isn’t 100% behind gay marriage” – but that’s not my concern. My concern (on this issue at least) is about having the fucking gestapo knocking down the doors of gay people and hauling them off to jail, which, consequently, is pretty much what happened in Lawrence v. Texas. You may think this is some silly little “internecine dispute,” but that just makes you an idiot.

    Thankfully, on this issue at least, the Libertarian Party is miles ahead of Ron Paul.

  28. #28 |  Ben | 

    In a December 2003 article entitled “Christmas in Secular America”, Paul wrote, “The notion of a rigid separation between church and state has no basis in either the text of the Constitution or the writings of our Founding Fathers. On the contrary, our Founders’ political views were strongly informed by their religious beliefs. Certainly the drafters of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, both replete with references to God, would be aghast at the federal government’s hostility to religion. The establishment clause of the First Amendment was simply intended to forbid the creation of an official state church like the Church of England, not to drive religion out of public life. The Founding Fathers envisioned a robustly Christian yet religiously tolerant America, with churches serving as vital institutions that would eclipse the state in importance. Throughout our nation’s history, churches have done what no government can ever do, namely teach morality and civility. Moral and civil individuals are largely governed by their own sense of right and wrong, and hence have little need for external government. This is the real reason the collectivist Left hates religion: Churches as institutions compete with the state for the people’s allegiance, and many devout people put their faith in God before putting their faith in the state. Knowing this, the secularists wage an ongoing war against religion, chipping away bit by bit at our nation’s Christian heritage. Christmas itself may soon be a casualty of that war.”

    No thanks. No matter what the other 99% of his views are. Period.

  29. #29 |  Mark S. | 

    Ron Paul is the ying to Dennis Kucinich’s yang.

    Neither one will get to the White House because they lack the charisma, polish, and temperament necessary. Stand back for one minute and, if possible, watch the Republican Presidential debates as someone who is hearing Ron Paul for the first time. I think you will find he is caustic, divisive, and uses phrases and terminology often associated with crackpots. You may think he’s just telling the truth and standing up for what he believes but, in the end, there are ways to convey new, and perhaps radical, ideas without sounding like the crazy cat lady from The Simpsons.

  30. #30 |  PW | 

    #27 – Do you even know the real story of what happened in Lawrence v. Texas?

    It was NOT “the fucking gestapo knocking down the doors of gay people and hauling them off to jail” by any means. The statute that was challenged was a de facto dead letter in the law, and had not been enforced for many years before that case for a number of reasons. The most obvious of those is that it is generally UNCONSTITUTIONAL to randomly invade people’s bedrooms for reasons wholly separate and apart from whatever the law happens to say about sodomy. In other words, it was basically an impossible crime to witness unless it was occurring in broad daylight on a street corner (and if I am not mistaken, heterosexual intercourse in broad daylight on a street corner would be subject to criminal prosecution under other statutes…as it should be).

    The defendants in Lawrence knew this to be the reality in Texas at the time, but wanted to force an arrest under the statute as a basis for challenging it in court. So they staged the “crime” in a way that intentionally ensured a cop would enter a private residence when the two men were having sex.

    Defendants John Lawrence & Tyron Garner recruited third accomplice Robert Eubanks, another of Lawrence’s lovers, to place a false 911 call about an intruder with a gun in Lawrence’s apartment (Eubanks even served 15 days in jail for making the false report). The cops showed up to an apartment with the door left intentionally open, walked inside looking for the reported intruder, and instead found Lawrence and Garner having sex. They were arrested, which is exactly what Lawrence and Garner wanted…because it gave them a basis to make the supreme court challenge they had been planning all along.

    Though it is indeed surprising given what we know about cops these days, there was absolutely nothing “gestapo” about what happened in that case.

    OTOH it is entirely fair to say that the cop was stupid insofar as he fell for the trap exactly as they intended, when simple common sense says he should have charged Eubanks for a false report and left it at that.

  31. #31 |  PW | 

    In fact according to a recent article on Lawrence v. Texas in the Michigan Law Review, before Lawrence there were “no publicly reported court decisions involving the enforcement of the law against consensual sex between adult persons in a private space” in the entire 143 year history of the sodomy statute.

  32. #32 |  Peter Ramins | 

    “vetoed more bills than all other governors combined.”

    That right there makes him head, shoulders and waist above the pack in my book.

  33. #33 |  ClassAction | 


    Your dishonesty is appalling. The law review article you reference is “The Unknown Past of Lawrence v. Texas.” It is readily available online. Although you selectively quote that there was “no publicly reported court decisions involving the enforcement of the law against consensual sex between adult persons in a private space,” you fail to to follow it up with the author’s contention that:

    “However, the absence of reported decisions does not mean that the Texas sodomy law was never enforced against private activity. Instead, perhaps because of the shame long associated with homosexuality and homosexual acts, defendants arrested and charged with violating the law routinely pleaded guilty to the offense, paid whatever fine was imposed, and hushed up about their convictions. (44) As a result, almost all of the uses and misuses by police of the Texas sodomy law (and of sodomy laws in other states) against private acts will never be known. They are lost to history because of shame and fear.”

    The author then recounts one case in which two men in a camper were charged with sodomy, but because the defendants were too afraid and ashamed to appeal, it died in Justice of the Peace Court and never became a “reported” decision. The author then recounts another case where a house full of homosexual men and transvestites that were dancing and kissing each other, were all arrested, thrown into a paddy wagon, and hauled off to jail, although they were ultimately never charged. The simple fact is, the Texas sodomy laws overturned by Lawrence were used to harass, intimidate, and imprison gays.

    Unsurprisingly, the article also sets out at great length to set forth what it believes to be the actual story of the case, casting doubt on the official police story as contradicted by other witnesses. As far as that goes, it directly contradicts most of your “narrative” of the event. Again, people should read the article as it would be too lengthy to cite anything of substance to contradict your highly slanted story.

  34. #34 |  PW | 

    #33 – So in short, ClassAction, you dismiss certain and clear statistical evidence that the Texas sodomy law was not often enforced by quoting the author’s self-admitted SPECULATION that the occasional and rare instance of enforcement may have gone unreported. I’m not buying it, as even JP courts where people were supposedly “shamed” into a guilty plea leave a record of the case.

    The fact that the author of that piece could find virtually no cases directly mirroring the circumstances of Lawrence (gay sex in a clearly private residence) is evidence itself that such prosecutions were AT THE MOST exceedingly rare and unusual. In fact, even the two cases you cite as comparable (the camper in a semi-public place, a state park, and the gay party that yielded zero criminal indictments) took place over 30 years ago.

    But why let little facts like that get in the way of your ridiculous hyperbole about “gestapo” storming into houses and arresting gay people at random in the pre-Lawrence days? According to your original comment you’d have us believe that Texas circa 1998 was no different than Nazi Germany.

    Yet if you look at the facts, that simply wasn’t happening – not in Texas and not anywhere else in the U.S. (and I believe that also qualifies you for the very same title of LIAR that you so casually fling around at others). Furthermore to suggest falsely that it was routine and regular, as you plainly did, is to trivialize and cheapen the actual victims of abusive police behavior, including gays who have been persecuted on other grounds.

  35. #35 |  PW | 

    Mark – While it is certainly true that Paul can come across as “caustic” or angry or unpolished I submit that this is not the disqualification to a major party’s presidential nod that you suggest it to be.

    My exhibit number 1 is the original Captain Queeg himself, John McCain.

  36. #36 |  ClassAction | 


    Hyperbole aside, you misunderstand the nature of the evidence that you’re citing. A “reported” case is not just any old case, of which there is a record. A “reported” case is one which has been published into a reporter. The overwhelming majority of cases, especially trial court-level cases (or Justice of the Peace Courts which exist in Texas) are not published in a reporter. This is true in any state. Your average DUI, for example, is not “reported”, even though any particular court may process thousands of DUI cases per year.

    In the case cited by the author of the article, in which the two men were charged and convicted of homosexual sodomy in Texas, that case was not a reported case, yet it still happened. Since the Texas Court system doesn’t keep track of how many people it arrested for violating sodomy statutes, there is simply no way of knowing. Your claim that it was a “dead letter,” however, is patently false.

  37. #37 |  PW | 

    #36 – If sodomy prosecutions were indeed as frequent and common as you seem to believe, then please answer me these questions:

    1. Why did the author of that article have to go all the way back to 1980 before he could even find one single case that even remotely resembled Lawrence (and even then not really, as it was in a semi-public place in a state park)?

    2. Why did the author have comparatively little difficulty documenting cases where the sodomy law was used to prosecute: A. sex in public (which is also illegal among heterosexuals, B. sexual assault (also illegal among heterosexuals), and C. sex with minors (also illegal among heterosexuals)?

    3. Why haven’t thousands of allegedly persecuted gays in Texas come forth in the post-Lawrence days to file similar suits or to have their convictions expunged, now that there is a court precedent stating unequivocally that they were wronged?

    The answer, of course, is simple: prosecutions of people in private residences under the Texas sodomy law were infrequent and few, if any at all.

    And your speculation that they simply were not reported because people were “shamed” or because records weren’t kept (not true, btw: everything down to the most minor traffic ticket is logged in computer these days and instantly available in any law enforcement database) is just that – unsourced, unverified, unprovable, and thus unreliable speculation.

  38. #38 |  TDR | 

    Wow, ClassAction, you sure do write a lot. That must mean you are smart. Or, at least that you think you’re smart. And since your name implies that you’re a trial lawyer (or that you want to be perceived as such), you undoubtedly DO think you’re that smart.

    Unfortunately, your arguments are so facile that it’s hard to know where to begin. Breaking the law does not inherently make you a “hero.” You cannot consider immigration laws the same as laws on slavery. Otherwise, you must not think too much of anti-trespass laws, ’cause, hey, you can’t tell me it’s your property because that would restrict my freedom of movement.

    And you don’t get to lob ad hominem attacks at Anglo-American history (or Western history in general) and, BAM, make it then seem like culture doesn’t matter. The philosophy of liberty, as entailed in libertarianism, DID primarily arise in Anglo-American history. You don’t get to try to cover the ass of illegals or undermine the importance of SOME shared cultural values by trying to cover over that fact.

    I take solace in knowing that there must be many, many other people like me in the world who can’t stand the stink of the words that come out of your mouth.

  39. #39 |  JOR | 

    “Breaking the law does not inherently make you a “hero.””

    “The law”, if we mean written laws here, is just a bunch of stuff other people say to do or not to do, or else they will (try to) throw you in prison or shoot you.

    Doing something a bunch of people say not to do, on pain of being thrown in prison or shot, doesn’t necessarily make you a hero. Or a villain, for that matter. It just makes you someone who defied or ignored a threat.

    “You don’t get to try to cover the ass of illegals or undermine the importance of SOME shared cultural values by trying to cover over that fact.”

    What cultural values do Mexicans lack (that Anglos possess) that makes them especially illiberal?

    Is it their willingness too work for rent from willing landlords even if the laws forbid it (keeping in mind that laws are just those preferences that lawmakers threaten to enforce).

  40. #40 |  JOR | 

    *to work for willing employers or rent from willing landlords. Also the end should have a question mark.

  41. #41 |  Jeffrey Quick | 

    “All the anti-war of Ron Paul (drug and overseas), plus he’s pro-immigration and comes off less crankish and has less baggage than Paul.”
    Shorter Balko: “He doesn’t offend Cato and the Reasonoids.”

    Don’t get me wrong; Johnson is a vast improvement over most. But the comparison should have been unnecessary… unless you’re admitting that Paul is the Real Deal.