Interview: Libertarian Pres. Candidate Jo Jorgensen

As we reported in June, the Libertarian Party kicked off its presidential election campaign in Tulsa, Oklahoma, following on the heels of President Trump’s campaign event the week before.

The Libertarian ticket headed by Jo Jorgensen also features Spike Cohen as Vice President.

Both have extensive experience in both technology and business, with Jorgensen having run software sales and consulting businesses and Cohen having run a web design firm for over a decade.

Despite the busy campaign schedule with daily events for both Jorgensen and her running mate, Jorgensen agreed to do a written interview for Tulsa Today, focusing on questions of technology, governance, education, and liberty.

Tulsa Today: What is your position on whether the social media companies are publishers, platforms, utilities, or a new type of entity, and how does this affect their regulation?

Jorgensen: Social media companies should be considered platforms because they should not have to police their users. The government should not be regulating what is published on those platforms, in keeping with our First Amendment-protected right to free speech.

Nor should social-media companies be forced to divulge private information about their users to the government. We must not violate citizens’ Fourth Amendment right to privacy.

Tulsa Today: How can we prevent government contracts from picking de facto winners and losers in the economy, especially in technology?

Jorgensen: When we lower government spending, and therefore reduce the volume of government contracts, political insiders will have less opportunity to pick winners and losers. Keeping that money in the private sector allows consumers to reward those who provide the best products and services, at the best price.

Tulsa Today: What are your policy ideas concerning current initiatives in state-sponsored technology surveillance?

Jorgensen: The government should keep its hands off private encryption. I oppose the so-called Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham, which takes surveillance to a whole new level. By creating a back door for the justice department to bypass encryption, it leaves the door open for hackers and scammers. 

The government has no right to violate our Fourth Amendment-protected right to privacy nor to compromise people’s security or privacy. I would veto this bill.

Tulsa Today: Does a high-tech economy cause problems for lower-income users?  If more and more technology is required for daily life, how do we keep people from falling through the cracks?

Jorgensen: Technology increases the standard of living for everyone. Over the last hundred years, the number of hours needed to earn a living has decreased by half, which gives everyone more time to learn new technology. 

Economic opportunity leads to better understanding of technology. Removing government barriers to starting a business or entering a profession will give low-income people more jobs, where a lot of technical training takes place.

Tulsa Today: What are your views concerning home education?  

Jorgensen: The government should never stand in the way of parents who want to home-school their children. 

Tulsa Today: Should education policy be uniform across the 50 states or should it be dealt with at the state level? 

Jorgensen: I don’t think devolving control to the state level goes far enough. I think educational decisions should be made at the local level by parents, teachers, and students. 

The educational needs and desires of people living in rural Appalachia are different from those of people living in downtown Manhattan. 

As president, I will end the federal Department of Education; that will result in lowering the cost of school. The red tape imposed on local schools by the DOE costs far more than the 10 percent of funding these schools get in return. Lowering the cost of education means lowering the need for property taxes.

Tulsa Today: What are your thoughts concerning Common Core in education?  Is the attempt by states to unify education standards a good thing or a bad thing in both theory and practice?

Jorgensen: Top-down government mandates such as the Common Core State Standards Initiative and the No Child Left Behind Act have failed. When we end centrally planned government education, then parents, teachers, and students will have a wealth of choices for schooling and other forms of private-sector education.

Tulsa Today: How do you fix the morass of college education?  Could the government help by finding alternate means of qualifying for jobs than 4-year degrees for government positions?  How else might a Libertarian reduce costs for ordinary people trying to launch their kid into the world?

Jorgensen: First, we must downsize the federal government so the demand for education will come more from the free market than from government bureaucrats who impose educational requirements that aren’t needed. 

The largest impediment to gainful employment is the occupational licensing laws imposed at the state level. There is no reason to require hair braiders to spend a small fortune on commercial cosmetology schools, except to benefit the schools and to protect existing hair salons from competition. The same principle applies to dozens of other trades and professions, including government contracts.

As president I will work to remove federal barriers to competition.

Tulsa Today: In the modern era of bad reporting and fake news, how should an ordinary person find out the truth of a situation?

Jorgensen: Get your news from libertarian sources: libertarian media outlets, campaigns, social media, and think tanks. Never patronize only left- or only right-leaning outlets. Listen to different points of view.

Tulsa Today would like to thank Jorgensen and the campaign staff for their time for this interview.

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