A Conservative Retort to Liberaltarians
Friday, December 08, 2006 :::
NRO's John J. Miller (last seen chasing George Allen down the street with a dress) weighs-in on the "liberaltarian" idea. He's not exactly ready to give up on the shotgun marriage between libertarians and conservatives:
It's been said that each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, and surely there are tensions in the conservative-libertarian union. Before Lindsey joins hands with the socialists, protectionists, Wal-Mart bashers, and nanny-staters, however, I urge him to think a little harder and deeper about continuing to live with the devil he knows. Or does that make me sound too much like Russell Kirk?
No. More like a cliche factory.
Miller's rejoinder makes some valid points -- many of them having to do with the number of limited government ideas that conservatives and libertarians have championed over the years which became reality.
But looking over the list, some of them seem fairly recent creations -- like welfare reform and school choice -- while others, such as free trade, are much older, but with a far more checkered (conservative) past.
There can be little doubt that most folks who lean libertarian have found themselves more closely aligned with the GOP in recent years. Largely, this has been by default. The Democrats were hardly an alternative. Even now, I believe it's very, very difficult to find reason to make lasting cause with the Democratic Party, particularly as its current incarnation still appears almost reflexively anti-free market and decidely pro-government. No one who believes in limited government can really make a lasting alliance with either party, because neither party believes in limited government.
The best possible tack may be to work with both as necessary. If that sounds fickle, it is. But fickleness has its advantages -- particularly when both parties really only want power.
Make them work for it. And in doing so, make them surrender a portion of the power they seek. If that means casting one side or the other into a minority every so often, so be it.
Of course, this assumes that there are enough libertarian-leaning folks out their to make this happen. I'm not convinced this is so, particularly in Virginia and especially now. But I'm open to argument.
::: posted by Norman Leahy at 12/08/2006