Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Republicans Should Embrace Libertarianism

Republicans in the 2012 election cycle are overwhelmingly rejecting Libertarian ideas, going so far as to side with the media in declaring them 'outside of the mainstream'. By and large, the buzz words of the new era of the GOP are "Conservative" and "Tea Party". A simple look into the usage of these terms better illustrates how the GOP has strayed so far from its principles, and why the GOP needs to embrace what it once was.

The 'TEA Party' was a movement started out of the libertarian ideas of sound monetary policy, focusing on ending or auditing the federal reserve and reducing or eliminating the income tax. The Tax Day Tea Parties held in April of 2009, where the TEA Party was birthed, the acronym 'TEA' was used for 'Taxed Enough Already'. The name Tea Party was then created as an historical reference to the revolutionaries of the late 18th century in the American colonies. As such, the Tea Party founding was one of fiscal libertarianism. However, the growth in popularity of the TEA Party and the usage of the Tea Party by the GOP as the crutch to get it out of the 2008 slump muddied the message and the Tea Party became nothing more than an active wing of the GOP establishment. Nothing more.

So the focus needs to be placed on the other buzz word - Conservative. When discussing 'Conservative Candidates', the media and the GOP as a whole is talking about Social Conservatism. Social Conservatism is the deeply held belief in the traditional structure of social issues; Marriage is between one man and one woman; Abortions are immoral; Religion is a key tenant in moral character. To be a Social Conservative is one thing, but to legislate as a Social Conservative takes on another beast all its own... and THIS is why the GOP is distancing itself from Libertarianism.

A Social Conservative will believe in a traditional marriage as an important piece to social structure, child rearing, etc. This is a great belief to have. It can be argued that it is morally upright to follow the Judeo/Christian norms and to embrace the traditional family structure. However, Conservatism begins to conflict with Liberty when Morals are Dictated or Legislated.

The Libertarian may believe the same as the Social Conservative, but voting and leading as a Libertarian they will ensure that the government and the multitude of people do not impede the Natural Right for a person to peaceably pursue happiness. They may not agree with the lifestyle, but they will defend the right for the same-sex couple to live an alternate belief from the Social Conservative crowd.

The power struggle between the left and the right has largely become about legislating morality and less about what is right under the Constitution and the Natural Inalienable Rights endowed by our creator.

The Republican Party used to be the party of smaller government, less intrusion, less taxation. The New Republican Party, instead, dictates morality, forcing a way of life (Social Conservatism) onto a people who simply do not share the same beliefs. It is this constant thumping that has caused the important message of the GOP to be lost in the fray - Less taxes, less government, less spending, strength of nation. The Republicans should embrace their Libertarian roots and stop trying to legislate morality, lest they desire to remain the lesser extreme of the Democratic Party.


  1. True liberty could be defined as "it's okay for your worst enemy to do something you absolutely hate, right in front of you".

    Or, in Thomas Jefferson's words, "It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg." He was referring to religious freedom, but the principle is the same. As long as you're not hurting anyone else, then do as you please.

    This concept is so scary to modern society that they don't recognize the Founders' actual attitudes, when confronted with them (see Ron Paul, for example).

    The Republican party, as you so ably pointed out here, is neither about "freedom" nor "liberty". Just another flavor of nanny-statism.

  2. Hi Steven,

    I have been following your blog for a few years now but I have rarely commented. I am a former Republican and the type of person who I believe you are making this call to. I have to disagree with one of your premises that government should not, or is even capable of, legislating anything that is anything other than moral. Every law is a statement of right or wrong. The very concept of "Natural Inalienable Rights endowed by our creator" is a deeply moral one. Did my creator endow me with the inalienable right to enter into a same sex marriage? I don't think so and neither did the founders of this republic.

    Rev Paul, I have heard that quote by Thomas Jefferson before. However Thomas Jefferson did not speak for all of the founding fathers and there was, ahem, a diversity of opinion on this topic. How about this quote:

    "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."
    -- John Adams

    As for me I am through with voting for the "lesser of two evils." I suppose that all I have left is to bitterly cling to my religion and guns.


  3. I could not agree more! If the party does not embrace libertarianism it will simply cease to exist. I am more convinced than ever that the Republican Party will not survive on its current course.

    It is getting tiring seeing the GOP ridicule those of us who want a limited constitutional government. I always assumed I would want my children to serve in the military like me, but with never ending wars I no longer feel that way.

  4. I guess Glenn would argue in favor of slavery since the founders of this country supported it and believed that "the creator" wanted it as well.

    Totally with you, Steven. Republicans need to embrace libertarianism or risk their demise in the long run.