On Sept. 24, a writer on Buzzfeed by the name of Matthew Hurtt posted an article that claims to present 11 reasons why a “small-l” libertarian living in the state of Virginia should vote for Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli in the upcoming gubernatorial race. Let us explore how the 11 reasons are fallacious and sophistic.
1. Rand Paul endorsed Ken Cuccinelli.
Rebuttal: Rand Paul, by his own admission, is not a libertarian, so libertarians have little reason to heed such an endorsement. Thus, this statement is an argumentum ad verecundiam fallacy.
2. Ken Cuccinelli believes strongly in federalism and opposes federal government overreach.
Rebuttal: This says nothing of state government overreach. When the jackboot of statist oppression is on someone’s throat, it matters little whether it is a federal boot or a provincial boot. As this statement does not address the real issue, it is a red herring fallacy.
3. Ken Cuccinelli opposes eminent domain and strongly supports property rights.
Rebuttal: While eminent domain is clearly a violation of the logical right of property ownership, a government official whose salary is paid with taxpayer funds is receiving the proceeds of a violation of property rights, namely taxation. Cuccinelli does not advocate for the abolition of taxation, so he intends to violate property rights while in office. He cannot strongly support a concept which he violates. This statement is therefore false.
4. “Personnel is policy.”
Rebuttal: Any government policy is immoral because agents of the state will initiate force against anyone who peacefully disagrees with the policy and acts upon that disagreement. This is a violation of the non-aggression principle. From a moral standpoint, it matters not what government policy says, but that it says anything at all. As such, this is another red herring fallacy.
5. Ken Cuccinelli has made expansion of school choice a top priority on his campaign.
Rebuttal: School choice gives parents a choice between schools, but not a choice between curricula or the option of unschooling. The indoctrination of children by the state will continue under school choice. As this does not address the real issue, it is yet another red herring fallacy.
6. Ken Cuccinelli’s tax plan closes loopholes and lowers rates for families and businesses.
Rebuttal: That may be, but an election platform promise by a politician is not to be trusted, as there is no meaningful recourse if the promise is broken. Also, as taxation is a violation of property rights, it should be abolished rather than merely reduced. Cuccinelli’s plan is not even the boldest in terms of tax reduction among the three candidates.
7. Unlike many Republicans, Ken Cuccinelli opposes cronyism and won’t use the Governor’s Mansion to dole out political favors to Big Business.
Rebuttal: This is a claim about the future, which is unknown and unknowable until the future arrives.
8. Ken Cuccinelli believes states, not Washington, should decide whether or not to legalize marijuana.
Rebuttal: The logical right of bodily ownership is the most fundamental logical right. A corollary of this right is that no one has legitimacy to initiate the use of force against anyone else, also known as the non-aggression principle. For any government, whether state or federal, to make illegal the possession or consumption of any substance is a violation of the non-aggression principle. Cuccinelli’s position is therefore at odds with libertarian philosophy.
9. As Attorney General, Ken Cuccinelli used the power of the state to pursue justice rather than convictions.
Rebuttal: State power is inherently unjust, as it rests upon the initiation of force. To use the negation of a principle to pursue the affirmation of that principle is philosophically invalid. Wrongful convictions like that of Thomas Haynesworth would be less likely without a government monopoly on criminal justice.
10. Like us, Ken can sometimes be an awkwardtarian.
Rebuttal: This is irrelevant and nonsensical.
11. Ken Cuccinelli’s non-interventionist position on Syria.
Rebuttal: As the author admits, a state governor has no significant influence on foreign policy, so the inclusion of this statement is unnecessary and unilluminating.