Liberaltarians? I bet he thought it was a new word…
but I know better. That word wasn’t coined by Brink Lindsey of the Cato Institute, it was coined roughly 18 years ago by a very conservative friend of mine, in reference to yours truly. I’ve drifted right and he’s sounding more libertarian every year – and we still both vote Republican. Sorry, still no great divide, still no looming breakup of the GOP. Hopefully a big backlash in the next set of Republican primaries against the politicos who betrayed their rhetoric and lost the Congress, but that’s an internal battle. The idiocy of the argument that somehow libertarians true home is in the
Socialist Democratic Party shines through in this statement:
Libertarian-leaning voters started drifting away from the GOP even before Katrina, civil war in Iraq, and Mark Foley launched the general stampede.
These are libertarian-leaning issues how? Katrina? Private industry did a great job and the government didn’t, exactly as libertarians would predict. The only libertarian issue to be found here is that FEMA should be abolished, but that’s certainly not the message that the Democratic Party has been preaching on the matter. Mark Foley? Since when are libertarians against free speech and sex? Certainly the Foley affair (pardon the pun) is a perfect example of Lord Acton’s dictum regarding the tendency of power, but again that’s a matter to be solved by internal housecleaning in the GOP – Barney Frank running an escort service out of his apartment is hardly any better. (Or perhaps Foley just needs to issue a “really sincere” apology – the modern diluting of Jefferson watering the Tree of Liberty with the blood of tyrants is that we now water the lawn of the rehab center with the crocodile tears of tyrants.)
Arguably there’s a libertarian issue with regard to Iraq, but not one that represents a “split” in the conservative movement. Pat “Adolf” Buchanan, the grandfather of all paleocons, opposed the resumption of hostilities against the outlaw regime of Saddam Hussein. Sometimes even conservative politics involves strange bedfellows. The real irony is that the Iraq War is as defensible as any war ever fought on libertarian grounds; barring complete pacifism in the face of all evil, there’s no philosophically consistent libertarian argument against it. Any argument against it, other than one based on pragmatism – the bane of libertarians – would also have prohibited US involvement in World War II, World War I, the War of 1812 and, as far as I can tell, the American Revolution. So, while there might be a split among conservatives on the issue, it’s a split involving the practical question of costs and benefits of a military response to ongoing aggression with libertarians and “traditional” conservatives on both sides of the debate.
At best for Lindsey’s argument, some libertarian-leaning voters considered the Iraq War, fought with a volunteer army against a brutal despot whose country forfeited its sovereignty in an act of unprovoked aggression, such an important issue that they were willing to compromise their ideals on free speech, free press, free trade, low taxes, sound money and no involuntary servitude. Others considered free speech, free press, free trade, low taxes, sound money and no involuntary servitude so important that we compromised on higher government spending including increased spending in Iraq. Such is the sausage factory if you prefer freedom enhancing results to 2% at the polls for 35 years.