After a brief hiatus, Outright Libertarians is continuing its blogging series on Libertarian Party Presidential Candidates. This month, we are focusing on Austin Wade Petersen.
Austin Wade Petersen, age 34, is a businessman, online publication publisher, political commentator, activist, and self-described Constitutional Libertarian. He has reached particular fame among libertarians, having been Director of Production at FreedomWorks, Associate Producer of Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch, and a frequent contributor on television, appearing on Fox News and Fox Business, as well as dozens of local radio shows. Petersen currently owns and operates Stonegate LLC, a media and consulting firm, and publishers the online libertarian magazine, The Libertarian Republic, which has become a powerful news source for the libertarian community and beyond.
Petersen announced his intention to seek the Libertarian Party Presidential Nomination in September of 2015, and has since set the tone for the entire race. Petersen caused controversy after he published an article titled “Why I Am Not An Anarchist”, in which he argued that a minimal amount of force in society is necessary in order to protect natural rights. Given his position on force, Petersen is opposed to the Non-Aggression Principle, pitting himself against four decades worth of conventional wisdom within the Libertarian Party. Other Libertarian Party Presidential candidates have attempted to capitalize on this distinction by characterizing Petersen as a “celebrity candidate”, rather than a dyed-in-wool Libertarian.
Petersen is no stranger to the LGBTQ community. He has demonstrated for and provided Libertarian outreach at Pride events for many years. Petersen says that his political positions stem from his desire to be compassionate to all individuals, including our community. He admits that he is unfamiliar with some issues that are important to Outright, particularly trans issues regarding legal gender determination, but maintains that he is a strictly against government interference in the free exercise of the individual’s desire to self-identify.
Petersen received high marks on every other aspect of our candidate questionnaire. He applauds the recent SCOTUS decision on marriage equality, regarding it as necessary and proper for allowing individuals to pursue their own happiness. He does not believe that marriage should be defined or regulated by any government institution. He believes in the power of markets for promoting social change, and calls for the repeal of every victimless crime that impacts our community. Under his Presidency, Petersen would institute a policy in which Americans can privately sponsor refugees from countries such as Syria, where homosexuals are being persecuted and murdered. Through these policies, Petersen is hopeful that his Presidency can set the tone, not just for LGBTQ rights in America, but for human rights around the world.