Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Memo to My Fellow Trump Haters: Libertarianism isn’t Republicanism

Now that Donald Trump has all but wrapped up the Republican nomination — and, with it, foreclosed any lingering claims that the GOP is the party of limited-government conservatism — a small cohort of notable Republicans have signaled that they are shifting their affiliation to the Libertarian Party. The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney, already leaning that way, tweeted that he’s making the switch and longtime Republican strategist Mary Matalin recently explained that she would “never vote for Hillary and never Trump means always liberty. Hence, Libertarian.”


If all that these converts see is a safe house where they can ride out the storm, they’re missing the point: The libertarian ideal and the Libertarian Party stand as reminders that neither of the two major parties is committed to the principle that individuals are superior to the state. And in this election year, if fear of a President Trump results in libertarianism morphing into Republicanism-lite, it would cease to serve that purpose. While I’m not active in Libertarian Party politics, as a small-“L” libertarian, I want no part of diluting this core principle just to boost electoral success.

But I get it. The GOP has been taken over by a know-nothing vulgarian. For Republicans still invested in their party’s traditional priorities — big military budgets, tax cuts and morality-based social policy — Trump’s ever-changing views on nearly every issue present a real dilemma.

Libertarianism, though, isn’t a subsidiary of Republicanism. Like Republicans, we want limited government, but we reject the corporate welfare of auto-industry bailouts, the military adventurism of the Iraq War and the interference with individual liberty represented by initiatives such as North Carolina’s H.B. 2 — all policies that Republicans embrace. Matalin, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, and other Republican expats surely believe in liberty as a concept, but her support for Bush’s big-government conservatism suggests that at heart, she’s a statist. Which is her prerogative. But it places her, and many other Republicans, at loggerheads with libertarianism.

Read the rest here. The comments are also quite interesting.

There is a lot about libertarianism that I really like and admire. My problem is that when you dig down you find that most of the hardcore libertarians are really closet anarchists. Sorry, but that is a bridge too far for me. An orderly society can't function without some sort of authority.

I guess I just have to accept that there is no perfect system for the organization of society and go with the least bad.


lannes said...

Trump is supposed to be the "hater", not you.

August said...

I tried using the term anarchist to describe myself for a while, like many who follow the Austrian school of economics do, but it is wishful thinking. Some like to say it just means no rulers, but that there are rules.

But the Austrians believe in private property, thus they believe, ultimately, in rulers. And they don't believe so much in rules; consider the antagonism to the modern state and its bureaucratic proliferation of rules.

Add in time, and you end up with those capable of owning property well tending to hold most of it, and telling those with less capacity think past next week what to do.

James the Thickheaded said...

I'm "trending" with Chris Hedges and though I don't think I'm a socialist, nor do I necessarily subscribe to the idea of "inverted totalitarianism" as the description of what went wrong, at least Hedges is closer to beginning the discussion with real questions. To wit, though the mess is a lot bigger than Trump, he's simply the most vulgar of the current lot.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

When has the Republican party ever been the party of limited government?

How do you have limited government in a diverse polity of 350 million people?

PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind? Medicare B? TARP? War Powers Act? 2016 Omnibus Budget? TAA/TPP?

The Republican Party is not even a conservative party, much less the party of limited government.