It is a promising development for Libertarian presidential hopefuls who have been excluded from officially sanctioned debates. The Fox Business Network aired a presidential forum for three candidates of the Libertarian persuasion Friday night, moderated by prime-time host John Stossel. On stage: Likely nominee Gary Johnson, technology entrepreneur and cybersecurity guru John McAfee, and Austin Petersen, founder of Libertarian Republic, a free market news and opinion site.
“Isn’t it time we heard from the pro-freedom alternative?” Mr. Stossel tells Inside the Beltway.
The exchanges between the candidates were noteworthy when they squared off over religious liberty and discrimination.
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“I think that if you discriminate on the basis of religion, I think that is a black hole,” Mr, Johnson said. “I think you should be able to discriminate for stink or you’re not wearing shoes or whatever. If we discriminate on the basis of religion, to me, that’s doing harm to a big class of people.”
Mr. Petersen wanted to know, however, whether a Jewish baker should be required to bake a Nazi-themed wedding cake.
“That would be my contention, yes,” Mr. Johnson replied.
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“If you’re the only baker in town, it may be a problem,” said Mr. McAfee. “But no one is forcing you to buy anything or to choose one person over another. So why should I be forced to do anything if I am not harming you? It’s my choice to sell, your choice to buy.”
See a clip here.
Each Libertarian is clear about his own attributes.
“I believe I am the only candidate who can build a coalition of disaffected conservatives, reasonable Democrats, and independents, because I am the only pro-life and pro constitutional LP candidate running. I may be the youngest candidate in the race, but younger men than I founded this country, and it will be young people’s responsibility to save it,” says Mr. Petersen.
Mr. Johnson — who has enjoyed rising poll numbers and is knee-deep in major media appearances — ran for president as the Libertarian standard-bearer in 2012 and snagged 1.2 million votes. And he’s ready for more.
“I intend to offer Americans the alternative they seek. Liberty and the freedom to succeed are the real American values, and I’m running for president to restore those values, make America genuinely safe, and put an end to a tired status quo,” says Mr. Johnson.
“One of the few constitutionally sanctioned duties of the federal government is to provide for the national defense, and our government, in addition to being corrupt to the core, is woefully unprepared to defend our nation from the very real threat of cyberwar. And yet, at the same time, this criminal enterprise masquerading as a government encroaches on our personal freedoms at every turn, and that’s why I’m running for president as a Libertarian,” declares Mr. McAfee.
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