Libertarian party formed in Johnson, Lamoille County

Six men met in the basement of the Johnson Public Library recently to officially form both the Johnson Libertarian party and the Lamoille County Libertarian party.

The Sept. 15 meeting opened with introductions, followed by nominations for positions within the Caucus. Will Angier, the party organizer, was elected chairman. Henrique Cezar was nominated and elected as vice chairman. With the required offices filled, the party only needed to file the required paperwork with the Vermont Secretary of State office to be officially listed as a political party.

The viability of third party politics has grown over the last few years, leading people like these to take the necessary steps to validate their political existence on a local scale. According to the Libertarian party’s official website, the number of registered Libertarian voters has grown 92 percent since 2008, making it the third largest political party in the country.

Despite national growth, the Libertarian party in Vermont ranks fifth among the political parties with both the Progressive and Liberty Union parties claiming more registered voters. In the 2016 election, Libertarian Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson received just over 10,000 votes, roughly three percent of the entire vote according to the Vermont Secretary of State website.

So what exactly does the Libertarian party stand for?

“Among other things, we believe in the second amendment, LGBTQ rights, reducing government spending, voluntary taxation and an end to the drug war,” Angier said.

Among the differences among the Libertarian party and the Democratic and Republican parties is taxation.

“I find that there are legislative efforts on a bipartisan level that increase spending and therefore taxes,” Angier said. “Our national debt continues to climb at a rate of one trillion every year. If we default on our debt, the dollar collapses and so does the global economy.”

The Libertarian party, according to its official website, supports the theory of voluntary taxation. Under this theory taxes would be an option, not a requirement, and would cover basic governance and infrastructure maintenance, while private non-profits would be responsible for many of the social welfare programs typically funded by tax dollars.

Libertarians strongly support other individual liberties as well. They believe that a central government is necessary only to protect the rights of citizens. They champion against legislation that supports gun control, and they support the legalization of recreational drugs.

In regards to illicit drugs, the Libertarian party states that the use of these substances should be decriminalized, with more emphasis placed on addiction treatment instead of criminal prosecution.

Although this belief may seem radical, proponents point to examples such as Portugal, which has seen a decrease in crime nationally following decriminalization. Diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B and C have also declined rapidly according to SmartDrugPolicy, a Washington D.C. based nonprofit that seeks to analyze and reform American drug policy. According to the Libertarian party, the high cost of the drug war is yet another reason why prohibition simply isn’t working in America.

Angier, 27, has considered himself a Libertarian for most of his adult life. “I discovered Libertarianism in high school. After years of voting, researching, and observing the current political climate I had eventually come to the conclusion that at my core I was a Libertarian,” he said.

Everett Fryman, one of the men that attended the Caucus also came upon the Libertarian party at a young age.

“I became a Libertarian when I was 14 years old as a result of the coercive nature of the United States Government towards its own citizens as a result of their tax policy,” The 47-year-old kitchen assistant at Idletyme Brewing Company said.

Others in attendance, such as Cezar, an associate professor of Business at Northern Vermont University, came to the party later in life, but for similar reasons.

“I became a Libertarian because I believe in the Libertarian ideology; ideas like a free market and the protection of individual level freedoms. It’s closer to the government of our founding fathers,” Cezar said. “A lot of people are actually Libertarians and don’t know it.”

While six registered members are enough for the Libertarian party to register with the Secretary of State, Angier continues to recruit through a social media campaign, a developing website, and avenues such as Front Porch Forum. He says he is confident that as the word of the party spreads, more people will continue to register as Libertarians.

“I think enough people want a third option, and our platform relates to many Vermonters.” Angier said.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Johnson and Lamoille County Libertarian party can visit their website at