Every election, philosophical libertarians are faced with a conundrum: should we vote for principle/stay home or vote for the lesser of two evils. Democrats tend to be better on personal liberty issues and Republicans tend to be better on economic liberty issues. Occasionally you find the odd “moderate” that seems to be bad on both sets of issues. At least then we have something to vote against.
I am supporting Ken Cuccinelli for Governor in 2013. I found this decision easy, but my hope is that philosophical libertarians will take a strong look at Cuccinelli.
I worked for Ken Cuccinelli as an attorney for the first four years of my career up until he took office as Attorney General. During that time I was exposed to many aspects of his life: his law career, political actions, and his family. I have had uncountable private conversations with Cuccinelli about his beliefs and actions.
What follows is my take on his beliefs vis-a-vis libertarianism. Unless I attribute the statement directly to him, it is merely my understanding. I will point out a few tidbits that he has not hidden, but are not known in a widespread fashion.
Principled stand on the Second Amendment
Most people know that Ken Cuccinelli is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment. What most people do not know is that support for gun control polled well above 50% in his Senate district, and he knew it was the case. In three elections there he did not waiver in his support of the Second Amendment despite knowing it was a dangerous position to take politically. He was repeatedly elected on principle and stuck to those principles. Libertarians tend to worry that Democrats and Republicans will abandon their libertarian leaning principles upon election. Cuccinelli does not.
Opponent of the overreach of police powers
Whether it is search and seizure, the rights of the accused, or dare I say, the death penalty, Cuccinelli repeatedly falls on the side civil liberties. Cuccinelli was constantly seeking to reduce the ability of localities to spy on citizens, whether it be through warrantless searches or traffic cameras. He supported restoration of voting rights to released felons. He knows all too well that our criminal justice system, despite its general effectiveness and a great many honorable public servants, sometimes falls short of doing justice. Cuccinelli personally took up the cause of the 27 year wrongfully imprisoned Thomas Haynesworth. To the press and to casual observers this appeared to be an aberration. To those of us who knew Cuccinelli, none of this surprised us. This is one of the reasons why Cuccinelli has such a dedicated base of followers.
Defender of the First Amendment
Ken Cuccinelli was lead counsel on a major case seeking to invalidate a law passed by the General Assembly that restricted the free association of political parties. This lawsuit originally entitled Miller v. Brown, successfully invalidated a restriction on how political parties can nominate candidates.
Cuccinelli’s religious beliefs
Cuccinelli takes a lot of flak for his stances on abortion and gay marriage. Cuccinelli believes that life begins at conception and deserves protection in the womb. He does not want to prevent access to contraception, but he does not consider abortion, chemical or surgical, to be “contraception.” This is identical to the position of Ron Paul, a supporter of Cuccinelli. Ron Paul reached his conclusions, in part, from being a practicing obstetrician. Cuccinelli does not take this position lightly.
Cuccinelli is opposed to state sponsored gay marriage. He does not believe in “criminalizing blow jobs.” It would take 500-1000 words, perhaps more, to explain the appeal of the ruling invalidating Virginia’s anti sodomy law. In short, the Attorney General’s brief submitted to the 4th Circuit en banc, and the Supreme Court both fully acknowledged in writing that the law cannot constitutionally ban sexual activity between consenting adults. It is my strong belief that the tide of public opinion and the court system will overtake his positions in the next 5-10 years.
If your feelings on one or both of these issues control your vote, please vote your conscience, just please remember not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
The final take
Cuccinelli, in the end, believes that the greatest minority is the individual and the protection of individual liberties is the primary purpose of government. Civil liberties, economic liberties, and constitutional freedom are the baseline for Cuccinelli. In the end, Cuccinelli is the strongest pro-liberty candidate to run statewide in Virginia with a reasonable chance of winning in modern history. He is not the lesser of two evils, he is a good that is worthy of your consideration.
Please get out and vote on Tuesday November 5, and no matter your take on Cuccinelli I look forward to working with all liberty minded individuals in the future.