Come, I will conceal nothing from you: while I am friendly to a lot of libertarian ideas, I am not hard-shelled about it. I am no Lsyander Spooner or Benjamin Tucker. But I do know enough about the subject to know that, say, I was name-dropping some of the old-time thinkers there that the modern anarcho-capitalists like. In other words: I at least know what a modern Libertarian looks like.
I dunno if Robert Sarvis can say the same.
I can only imagine, therefore, that the better-informed voters in Virginia have been somewhat perplexed by Robert Sarvis, for in recent weeks he appears to have been doing his level best to give the impression that his party label is incidental. In a recent Reason interview, Sarvis explained that he was “not into the whole Austrian type, strongly libertarian economics,” preferring “more mainstream economics” instead. The candidate expanded on this during an oddly defensive interview with MSNBC’s Chuck Todd, in which he seemed put off not so much by “strongly libertarian economics” as by libertarian economics per se. As governor, Sarvis told Todd, he would be hesitant to cut taxes, unsure as to how he might “reduce spending,” and open to indulging the largest piece of federal social policy since 1965 by expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program. I am generally a critic of the tendency of small-government types to try to purge their ranks of those deemed sufficiently impure, but I must confess that this interview left even me wondering whether Sarvis is in need of a dictionary.
Charles goes on to note that Sarvis favors putting chips in people’s cars so that they can be taxed for their mileage. Let me repeat that: ROBERT SARVIS WANTS TO PUT A CHIP IN YOUR CAR SO THAT YOU CAN BE TAXED FOR YOUR MILEAGE. Let’s switch now to Ben Domenech for that:
…[Sarvis] endorsed more transportation taxes, too – including higher gas taxes and instituting a vehicle-miles driven tax in the state.
That last position is particularly nonsensical to me: a VMT, which generally requires a government GPS to be installed in your car to track your miles driven, is about the most anti-libertarian transportation tax you can think of – even those radical libertarians at Brookings think it’s a bad idea, and it was one of the potential bad ideas in McDonnell’s transportation plan that got killed over it: “The biggest concern may be privacy. Eighty-six percent of area commuters would oppose having a GPS device installed in their car to track their miles, according to a study by the Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board released last week.” Big government technocrats may like such steps, but I cannot think of a single coherent libertarian case for such an invasion of individual privacy.
The bottom line is that if you live in Virginia, you have a choice: Republican Ken Cuccinelli, who actually does want to reduce the government’s influence over the state economy, or Democrat Terry McAuliffe, who does not. Voting for Robert Sarvis merely helps McAuliffe win, and – this may be more important – you won’t even get to feel pro-liberty when you do it. Unless, of course, you think that the feds putting a chip in your car to track your movements mileage is somehow pro-liberty.
I mean, how the heck can even take the Libertarian Party of Virginia seriously if they run candidates who want the feds to put chips in people’s cars?
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Yup, Ken Cuccinelli is pro-life and anti-gay marriage. Probably not fond of the marijuana, either. He also DOES NOT WANT TO PUT A CHIP IN YOUR CAR.
PPS: Ken Cuccinelli for Governor of Virginia. …Sayeth the social moderate.