By Arvin Vohra
Earlier this week, the editor of The Libertarian Vindicator published an article entitled “Vermin Supreme is What’s Wrong with the Libertarian Party”. He argued, essentially, that allowing Vermin Supreme in the presidential debates ruins our credibility as a political party.
The test of free speech is not whether you allow popular speech, but rather if you allow unpopular speech. When the U.S. allows Nazis and anarchists to speak without fear of government prosecution, we show the world how dedicated we are to free speech. Nazi speech isn’t good. But the fact that there are no laws against it is good. (Anarchist speech, obviously, remains the best speech that can possibly exist.)
Libertarians believe in open debates. Cynics have suggested that we don’t actually believe in open debates, but simply want to be included in the debates. They have argued that our insistence on open debates is entirely self serving, not based on principle.
Vermin Supreme is living proof that we are serious about our principles, that we are serious about open debates. There is no political reason to include him. That is the whole point.
Credibility, by definition, means trustworthiness. Credibility doesn’t come from wearing a suit or going to a famous college. It comes from saying what you mean, and meaning what you say. It comes from standing for the principles you claim to believe in.
I believe in open debates for the same reason I believe in free speech: in open discussion, the best ideas, rather than the most entrenched ones, rise to the top. I don’t agree with Vermin Supreme’s ideas. I’m not sure that he does either. That’s fine. I believe that, in open debate, my ideas will rise above his. I’m not afraid of his ideas; I’m not threatened by his views. My ideas can defeat his ideas without any help. I don’t need someone to keep the scary boot man away. I can handle his ideas just fine.
I hope to be the 2020 nominee. If I am, the Democrats and Republicans will agree on only one thing: Keep Arvin Vohra out of the debates. When they do, I’ll go after them in the uncontrollable courts of social media and public opinion.
And when their paid lackeys say, “Well, you’re no different, you’d do the same in our shoes,” I will look them in the eye, point to every debate that invited Vermin Supreme, and tell them, “Yes, we actually are different. Yes, we mean what we say. Yes, our principles matter. And no, we wouldn’t do the same in your shoes.”