LPPA 2022 Governor Candidate’s Final Election Op-Ed

The Libertarian Party made waves in national headlines last week when Arizona Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate, Marc Victor, dropped out of the race and endorsed Republican Blake Masters. Inside the Libertarian Party there were those who considered it a sensible political move and those that considered it betrayal. It remains to be seen if it will have any real effect on the election Tuesday.

The Governor’s race here in Pennsylvania may come down to the wire, and those that support me may cover the spread between my opponents, Democrat Josh Shapiro and Republican Senator Doug Mastriano. After what happened in Arizona, some have approached me wondering whether I would take similar action by dropping out and endorsing Senator Mastriano.

They point out many things the Senator and I have in common, such as a strong commitment to the right of medical autonomy, the right of personal defense, the need for parents to have a choice in their children’s education, the need for personal economic freedom, and the desire to build strong communities that support each other without State intervention.

Despite these similarities, my answer to whether or not I will suspend my campaign and throw my support behind Senator Mastriano is “no”, and I feel a responsibility to explain why.

Libertarians do not believe that vices are crimes. In order for a crime to occur there must be a victim. The State making personal choices such as drug consumption illegal only creates more criminals, breaks apart families, adds to the bloated prison population, and makes those activities far more dangerous through the creation of black markets, designer drugs, and cartels. Giving the State such control over our personal decisions takes away our natural freedoms and makes our state far more dangerous.

On top of this State-created problem, we live in an increasingly powerful police state. We’ve lost our local community police where an officer we know on a first-name basis brings our children home safe and sound. It’s been replaced by a paramilitary force that instead throws our children in jail and forever changes the course of their lives. There are plans in place to further cede authority to federal law enforcement and further militarize our police. We need to reverse this trend, not strengthen it.

We live in a time in which global war is in each day’s headlines. Fueled by heads of state, they play with the lives and futures of our children in order to benefit their military-industrial complex. More conflict means more weapons means more contracts means more money. For decades we’ve engaged in endless war resulting in the loss of millions of lives, the destruction of families, the untold mental anguish of our soldiers, and the loss of dignity in our relations with our fellow man. The Libertarian Party is a party of peace, prosperity, and freedom. War destroys all three. We need to reverse course, and we must end the unnecessary deployment of Pennsylvania’s National Guard by passing Defend the Guard legislation so that our sons and daughters cannot be deployed without a proper and constitutional declaration of war.

Finally, how many of us are truly satisfied with our leaders, with the choices we have come election day, and with the accountability, or lack thereof, our elected officials hold? A great part of this is due to the abject lack of competition in our political process. President George Washington warned strongly in his farewell speech about the dangers of a two-party system. Our election process has become akin to reality TV, and more become disenfranchised each year. With greater competition comes new ideas, more choices, and stronger accountability. Taxpayers are forced to pay for primaries for the Republicans and Democrats while other choices are excluded, and state election law creates more barriers for other choices like greater signature requirements. Our dissatisfaction with politics would significantly change overnight if the playing field was leveled and we all had more potential leaders to choose from. The Libertarian Party is the third largest in the country and plays a pivotal role in ending our political nightmare.

If Senator Mastriano wins on Tuesday, I hope he is successful in all the ways he seeks to increase Pennsylvanian’s freedom, choice, and autonomy. However, I must stay in this race because the health of our entire political process depends on more voices and more choices for Pennsylvania. I call on everyone, Libertarian or otherwise, to vote their conscious Tuesday, to remain engaged no matter the outcome, and to consider supporting initiatives to end the stranglehold the two major parties have on our election process and help bring more integrity to its outcomes.

In Liberty,

Matt Hackenburg

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