We don’t endorse candidates — we just critique them

Freedom Communications newspapers, which include this one, do not endorse political candidates.

The practice dates to the company’s founder, R.C. Hoiles, who developed a political philosophy of small “L” libertarianism that advocates limited government, respect for the individual, free markets, free trade and property rights.

Hoiles fearlessly criticized powerful institutions and practices that many take for granted — public schools, taxation, government borrowing — and stood up for civil liberties and free speech and practice of religion.

He believed, simply put, that the newspaper’s endorsement of a candidate amounts to an endorsement of a political system that too often is a concentrated application of force, wielded by a majority or a party or an incumbent to deny an individual’s freedom rather than protect it and enlarge it.

And, a candidates’ future behavior is hardly predictive — even if the candidate has a track record of votes and a well-articulated philosophy. Who would have guessed that the George W. Bush of 2000 would become the biggest government expansionist and spender since LBJ?

And, when a newspaper endorses, it to some degree can become invested in that candidate and his or her success. Does an endorsement make the institution less critical of the candidate when he or she wins? It might.

For all those reasons, we do not endorse candidates, but we do hold their stated values and issue positions up to the political values we write about on our editorial pages.

That’s the focus of the profiles we’re publishing today.

We hope they may give voters some glimpse into whether individual freedom will advance or retreat under a certain candidate.