Saturday, July 02, 2016

From the Archives: William Weld cites Hayek’s ‘Constitution of Liberty’ as libertarian inspiration

Publisher's note: This article was originally published on on May 28, 2016, during the Libertarian Party's national convention in Orlando, Florida.  The publishing platform was discontinued yesterday and its web site is scheduled to go dark on or about July 10, 2016.  I am republishing this piece in an effort to preserve it and all my other contributions to since April 2010. It is reposted here without most of the internal links that were in the original.

William Weld cites Hayek’s ‘Constitution of Liberty’ as libertarian inspiration

William Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts who is seeking the Libertarian Party’s nomination to be the vice-presidential running mate of former Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico, spent Saturday morning and early afternoon meeting LP convention delegates one-on-one and in small groups, asking for their votes in Sunday’s balloting.

Weld and Johnson together took questions from a sometimes skeptical audience upstairs from the convention floor, where a debate over changes in the party platform was going on. Johnson invited “hardball questions” posed to him and Weld, and fielded them enthusiastically.

Media attention
After the Q&A session in the Johnson campaign suite, the two former governors waded through the crowd of delegates in the exhibition hall of the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, chatting with delegates even as they were surrounded by a scrum of reporters, TV camera operators, and radio microphones. Johnson had pointed out that at the LP convention in 2012, there were 20 requests for press credentials; this year, he said, there were more than 250 such requests, indicating an unprecedented level of interest by the news media in the Libertarian presidential and vice presidential nomination contests.

Governor Weld spoke briefly with the Charlottesville Libertarian Examiner about how he came to be a libertarian, what he accomplished in office in Massachusetts, and how he plans to help build the Libertarian Party as a vice presidential candidate in 2016.

Weld discovered he was a libertarian in law school, he said, reading Friedrich Hayek’s books The Constitution of Liberty and The Road to Serfdom.

“I had been thinking about the size and role of government ever since reading political philosophy at the college level but I would say that thinking crystallized with those two books in law school,” he explained, eventually leading to his formulation that “the government should stay out of your pocketbook and out of your bedroom.”

LGBT equality
As governor of Massachusetts, he said, “I most certainly did make the government smaller and less intrusive than it otherwise would have been.”

One policy area in which he is most proud, he explained, was in the expansion of the rights of gay and lesbian citizens. He pointed out that he had appointed Margaret Marshall, a refugee from apartheid-era South Africa, to a seat on the Massachusetts Supreme Court. Marshall eventually wrote the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, which acknowledged that the Massachusetts constitution forbid discrimination against same-sex couples in terms of marriage rights, and the law could not prevent lesbian or gay couples from marrying.

“I was pushing gay and lesbian equality in office in the early ‘90s when no one else was touching that,” Weld said. Consequently, he added, “marriage equality is now the law of the land, largely as the result of a judicial opinion written by a woman that I appointed. So yeah, we got there -- two decades later but we got there.”

Growing the Libertarian Party
When asked how he plans to use his candidacy to promote and build the Libertarian Party, Governor Weld said that he had “told Gary one thing I very much enjoy – this is, if nominated, if Gary and I are nominated – one thing I really enjoy is fundraising, particularly at the national level. I think the Libertarian Party can be helped by that.”

He added that he also plans to campaign alongside other Libertarian candidates for public office, whether for Congress or state and local offices, to help them win recognition and election.

“My intention,” he said, “is to try to help down-ballot candidates as well as ourselves.”

The Libertarian convention will hear nominating speeches for presidential candidates this afternoon (Saturday, May 28) and the vote for both presidential and vice presidential candidates is scheduled to take place by noon on Sunday, May 29. The convention continues with Libertarian Party business through Memorial Day on Monday, May 30.

Suggested Links

Gary Johnson optimistic about Libertarian nomination prospects, praises Weld
Libertarian Party chair Nicholas Sarwark predicts ‘epic’ national convention
Civil liberties lawyer John Whitehead recalls Beatles' social, political impact
Libertarian Party praises Virginia legislators for anti-NDAA bill
Gary Johnson presidential campaign racks up endorsements

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