Former gov­ernor of New Mexico and 2012 Lib­er­tarian pres­i­dential can­didate Gary Johnson spoke to stu­dents and vis­itors in Phillips Audi­torium Tuesday evening.

Johnson’s visit was part of his Live Free Tour, a series of rallies hosted by college cam­puses across the United States and aimed at pro­moting eco­nomic and per­sonal liberty. Hillsdale College’s Clas­sical Liberal Orga­ni­zation spon­sored the event.

Johnson’s address included a mixture of life advice and policy pre­scrip­tions.

“Life is a journey, not a des­ti­nation,” he said. “Enjoy the ride.”

Johnson encouraged audience members to “determine what your passion is” and “take your expertise and apply it entre­pre­neurially.”

His posi­tions on eco­nomic and social issues were those shared by the Lib­er­tarian Party as a whole, empha­sizing the value of limited gov­ernment and per­sonal liberty.

Johnson rec­om­mended abol­ishing the Federal Department of Edu­cation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Reserve Bank. He also advo­cated replacing both the cor­porate and income tax with a single fair tax.

Johnson told the audience that the Social Security crisis was solvable through means testing and raising the retirement age. He acknowl­edged the need for a healthcare safety net, but argued that overall such enti­tlement pro­grams should be pri­va­tized.

The gov­ernor spent a good part of his address arguing for decrim­i­nal­izing mar­i­juana.

“I have smoked mar­i­juana,” he said. “What I found mar­i­juana to be was a much safer alter­native to alcohol.”

Con­cerning abortion, Johnson said the issue belongs with the woman. During the question and answer section in which a student probed him to defend his view, he asked the audience for policy pre­scrip­tions that would lessen abortion rates without crim­i­nal­izing a sub­stantial number of women.

In a brief dis­cussion of the Second Amendment, Johnson said the best way to prevent another Columbine was man­dating that all teachers carry handguns. Sim­i­larly, he rec­om­mended arming domestic airline pilots. The gov­ernor said he plans to obtain his own con­cealed handgun license soon.

Throughout the speech, Johnson often told stories about his past.

In college, he worked as a door-to-door handyman and later grew his business into one of the largest con­struction firms in the state. Johnson served as

Repub­lican gov­ernor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003. During his term, he signed 750 vetoes – a record that earned him the nickname “Gov­ernor Veto.”

As Lib­er­tarian pres­i­dential can­didate, Johnson received 1,225,000 votes, achieving his goal of cap­turing approx­i­mately 1 percent of the popular vote and making him the most suc­cessful of all Lib­er­tarian pres­i­dential can­di­dates in that regard.

Johnson main­tains that most Amer­icans are clas­sical lib­erals, a political position he defines as “being fis­cally respon­sible and socially respecting.” The gov­ernor embraced the clas­sical liberal creed, saying, “I don’t care what you do with your life as long as what you do doesn’t adversely affect my life.”

Outside of pol­itics, Johnson is an avid athlete. He climbed the highest peaks on four of the con­ti­nents, including Mount Everest. He also com­pleted the Bataan Memorial Death March, a 25-mile desert run in combat boots while wearing a 35-pound backpack. Johnson reg­u­larly com­petes in ski con­tests and triathlons as well.

Tuesday’s rally received gen­erous support from the audience. At least one lis­tener carried several “Gary Johnson” cam­paign posters. After the speech, sup­porters joined Johnson and his vice pres­i­dential running mate Judge Jim Gray, who also spoke at Hillsdale, for a post-rally party at Johnny T’s.

Clas­sical Liberal Orga­ni­zation Pres­ident junior Schuyler Dugle was happy with Johnson’s pre­sen­tation.

“Gov­ernor Johnson’s speech was less policy-ori­ented than I was expecting, but he did a great job,” Dugle said. “Although not everyone agreed with every­thing Judge Gray or Gov­ernor Johnson said, I think the event went a long way to reduce some stigmas against Lib­er­tarians.”