Former Libertarian presidential candidate and Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson lives his party’s philosophy of maximum freedom balanced with self-ownership. “The Libertarian Party is for all who don’t want to push other people around and don’t want to be pushed around themselves,” says the party’s website. Nobody would dare to push Johnson around—the five-time Ironman triathlete and Mount Everest climber already pushes himself further than most of us can imagine pushing ourselves.
While a well-known part of his platform is the legalization of marijuana and a more “European” approach to hard drugs, Johnson chooses to abstain from smoking, drinking alcohol, and using drugs recreationally. “[They are] an incredible handicap,” said Johnson in an interview with Slow Twitch Magazine, “but not for a minute do I think [they] should be criminal.”
Libertarian philosophy dictates that “each individual has the right to control his or her own body, action, speech, and property” and, with that right, the individual is responsible for his or her choices. Johnson’s lifestyle is consistent with these principles. His extreme hobbies—including 140-mile triathlons, climbing the tallest mountains in the world, and paragliding—keep him in fantastic shape, but, at the same time, he knows the risks of his choices and takes responsibility for their consequences.
In 2005, a serious paragliding crash left him with a fractured vertebra, six broken ribs, damage to the meniscus discs in both of his knees, a torn ACL, and pain in his shoulders, hip, and neck, and in 2003, he nearly died while descending Everest. “We’re at the top. Huge crash of ice, and under oath I would have testified that things were moving. It turns out nothing was moving, but there was a giant, giant crash. It felt like things were moving, and we thought we were going to die, and the crash stops, and minutes pass, and we’re still there and we scramble off of it and move on and nothing happens. But for two minutes, that was a very real two minutes that, holy shit,” Johnson said.
Johnson has climbed four of the famous Seven Summits, the highest peaks on each continent. “Three more to go,” he said in an interview with BQ during his run for president. He pondered whether it would be feasible to cross one or two more off his list during his term if he became present. “But I’ll still be young enough—67, 68—when I leave office to do the other three.”