Libertarian nominee for president Gary Johnson got a lot of heat recently for comments he made in 2011 about not having to worry about climate change because the sun was eventually going to destroy Earth anyway. So Johnson went on ABC’s This Week today to tell everyone to lighten up and explain his real solution for climate change: moving to other planets.
“Can’t we have a little humor once in a while?” Johnson told George Stephanopoulos when asked about his 2011 comments regarding the inevitable destruction of Earth by the sun. “And that is long term, plate tectonics at one point, Africa and South America separated... and I am talking now about the Earth and the fact that we have existed for billions of years and will going forward.”
“Look, what it points to also is the fact that we do have to inhabit other planets,” Johnson continued. “The future of the human race is space exploration.”
Libertarians, Commies, and every political persuasion in between have long looked to space as a new frontier for expanding their ideologies. In 1978 a Libertarian group made a fascinating film that showed how a free market space colony might work. But it’s typically those on the techno-utopian left who have advocated for moving to other planets in the face of dire environmental consequences or overpopulation here on Earth.
Comic strips in the Sunday funnies of 1959 called these expeditions “Space Mayflowers,” as they predicted that overpopulation might force Earthlings to venture out and inhabit other planets.
While Johnson’s long term goals may involve literally leaving planet Earth, he does seem to believe that at least modest regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency are important—a departure from many libertarian-minded folk who would like to see the EPA abolished.
“So no, we should be prudent with the environment. We care about the environment,” Johnson told Stephanopoulos. “Look, clean air... clean water... I think the EPA exists to protect us against individual groups, corporations that would do us harm—pollution is harm.”
So perhaps Johnson isn’t ready to board the Space Mayflower just yet. But it’s easy to see why some people have had a hard time taking him seriously as a candidate. When your immediate follow-up to “I was joking” is a comment about blasting people into space, voters just see you sticking out your tongue. That being said, Johnson is polling strongly in certain demographics, including having the support of the military. He’s polling with an astonishing 37 percent among active duty service members.
Climate change aside, if Donald Trump is elected president, you can bet that there will be plenty of humans stuck on Earth looking for ways to get blasted into space.