This unconventional election year underscores the merit of the third-party option.
With the advent of two unpopular front-runners and the rise of third-party candidate Gary Johnson, libertarianism has factored more prominently in this presidential election than in any other cycle in recent memory. Given the nature of voters’ pronounced concerns over the economy and the credibility and efficiency of the federal government, this is not surprising. Libertarianism is not just an alternative to two unpalatable mainstream parties. Instead of tinkering with details, libertarianism squarely addresses the shortcomings of politics as usual, while also offering an opportunity to reflect on first principles and the proper role of government.
Indeed, libertarianism is not (just) about being left alone, and in the context of the 2016 election cycle it is not (just) an alternative to a tired insider or an erratic outsider.
Indeed, libertarianism is not (just) about being left alone, and in the context of the 2016 election cycle it is not (just) an alternative to a tired insider or an erratic outsider. Rather, libertarianism offers a principled approach to political life. At its core lies the “non-aggression principle,” which rejects the initiation of force against others. Based on this principle, government is limited to the protection of individual rights, and leaves the rest to markets and civil society. If the government attempts to do anything beyond protecting rights, it will—by definition—violate the rights of some to benefit others.