“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.” ~ Ronald Reagan
I believe that libertarians are simply the staunchest of conservatives. We want the government’s role to be limited more than any other faction, even more so than your average Republican. Where they often differ is the legislation of morality such as the war on drugs, gambling, and prostitution laws, etc.
From the time I was 16 and became interested in politics; largely thanks to Reagan, I considered myself a Republican. In recent years, I gravitated towards libertarianism. The distinction feels somewhat misplaced to me. because to me, they should be the same party. Ron Paul is and Gary Johnson was a Libertarian running as a Republican after all.
Someone dismissively referred to me as a “Paulbot” for saying I was libertarian. Never mind that my first choice would be Gary Johnson, not Paul. I believe Reagan was the best president in my 40+ year lifetime and probably the 3nd best president of all behind Lincoln and Washington.
A recent survey shows I’m not alone. Sadly, many in the Republican Party often talk about libertarians with the same dismissive attitude that the liberal elitists use to talk about conservatives, which is troubling. Just because we embrace libertarianism as Reagan sometimes did, doesn’t mean that we have no brain and cannot think for ourselves. Referring to us as Paulbots has no place in adult-like political discourse.
Stereotypes are the work of fools. Republicans AND libertarians should strive to be better than these figures, yet many on radio and TV sadly can’t be bothered to be better. We both promote personal responsibility, which is part of acting like an adult. So let’s lead by example.
“Paulbot” implies one is a mindless robot that agrees with whatever Ron Paul says. The insulting nature of this statement is obvious, and it’s arrogant and stupid to think you understand someone solely based on their party affiliation. I disagree with Ron Paul and Gary Johnson on more than one issue, but I don’t let it push me away from men who are the most like me, that are contending for the presidency.
The reason libertarians seem so fanatical is because we’re passionate about liberty, freedom, and the Constitution. We don’t believe government has the right to tell someone how to live their life, and we get upset when people try to take that from us. If I said I was going to take away your freedom, you’d get pretty passionate too.
The left isn’t completely stupid though, they rephrase these positions using words like fair share, regulations, and protections for the consumer. Republicans use phrases like public health, responsible behavior, etc. Sorry folks, it all means “government control and loss of freedom” no matter what you call it.
The Libertarian Party does have a platform on their website. I defy many of you to find a considerable amount in there that you disagree with. As a Republican, I used to dismiss Libertarians myself. After I read their platform, I couldn’t help but think, “Why are we fighting when we generally want the same things?”
Many people think libertarians are anarchists. It’s like saying all Democrats are socialists. While many Democrats champion social policies, few of them actually advocate making everything property of the state. Most Libertarians reject anarchy too, I assure you. It’s another incorrect stereotype that needs to be quashed. Judging the majority of a party by its fringe is simply irresponsible.
So with that being said, I’ve come up with Gary’s three roles of government that I think we all can agree on:
• The government should protect me from OTHERS that would do me harm, but NOT from myself.
• Do the things that need to be done for the common good (such as infrastructure), but ONLY if the private sector cannot or will not do it themselves due to a lack of financial incentive.
• Get the heck out of my way!
Most conservatives generally espouse those principles. Libertarians just emphasize the third one more, and adhere to them more strictly.
I understand that conservatives are often times religious, and things like gambling, assisted suicide, marijuana use, gay marriage, etc. are things they think people should not do. On occasion, we agree with you.
Gavin McInnes stated it perfectly on an episode of Fox News’ Red Eye when he said that just because we want to legalize it, doesn’t mean we endorse it. He’s right!
I personally think recreational marijuana use is irresponsible behavior. But it’s not the government’s role to protect that person from themselves. It’s a free country and you should have the freedom to be an idiot, irresponsible, and foolish, up until the point you become a danger to others.
Someone else said about gay marriage that opposition to gay marriage by a straight person is like someone being mad at you because you’re eating a doughnut while they’re on a diet. At some point, we simply have to recognize it’s none of our business how others live their lives as long as it doesn’t affect us.
Republicans and Libertarians should unite just as Romney and Paul seem to have done during the election by largely avoiding pot shots at each other, and realize that either is better than Obama. But please stop with the mischaracterizations of us being mindless anarchists. It’s utter nonsense.