That has been a question raised: are disenfranchised conservatives, looking for refuge from the Trump storm, welcome in the libertarian party?
Craig Dawkins, a fellow blogger on his site “Liberty thoughts,” is not in any haste to welcome them in:
Conservatives don’t need a welcome sign. They need to embrace a new ideology that acknowledges the value of every human being and seeks to promote equality under the law, accepts differences in race, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, and to stop trying to use government to impose upon individual freedom. In short, they need to fully embrace the non-aggression principle (NAP).
So in the end this is quite simple to resolve. Conservatives should embrace the NAP and join the cause for liberty. But can they do that?
This seems to be a local manifestation of a larger debate. There are two ways of thinking within the libertarian party: either we should roll out the welcome mat to all for electoral success, with ideals and principles taking a backseat; or that the libertarian party should be a closed group only open to the rare individual who shares the exact views of the rest of the members.
I can understand both sides of the argument. It is essential to have principles and ideals. Or else, what is the point? But then, we must welcome the dissafected and disenfranchised or, again, what is the point? It seems libertarians have a bad habit of looking down upon anyone who isn’t quite libertarian enough.
It is a difficult proposition, I know. The party does not want to close itself off from political refugees; but then again, those refugees if they became organized could throw the party off it’s proper course.
But I don’t think we’re really all that far apart, ideologically, between the disenfranchised left, right, and libertarians when it comes to liberty issues.
In the excerpt above, Dawkins states that Conservatives “need to embrace a new ideology.”
It is one thing to be socially conservative. It is another to expect that the government to coerce and force people into compliance with conservative values. Such is the state of modern conservatism, but modern liberalism also expects the same out of government.
But conservatism does not really need to change ideology per-se, but rather look at things a bit differently. It is perfectly okay to remain socially conservative in the libertarian party, so long as you understand that it is not a function of government to make those personal morals and philosophies a matter of law.
Members of the libertarian party, old and new, have come to the understanding that no matter what we believe and practice in our personal lives, it is not up to us to dictate what others may do. That is true libertarianism. That is true conservatism, actually, though this is too often forgotten.
It is not proper to say that the Democrats have it right on social issues, and the right has it right on economic issues; in practice that has constantly been proved false. It is not proper to say that the libertarian party takes the good elements out of each party platform and dispenses with the bad; rather, libertarianism is a completely new (*) set of ideals above the typical spectrum of American party politics. But it can appeal to all those on that spectrum, because it is the ultimate compromise: Believe what you wish, practice what you wish in your own life; do not attempt to force it on me.
As for the other issues like the border, I genuinely believe we can come to a compromise on that, if we discuss it in a friendly manner, instead of resorting to accusations and name-calling.
Remember, conservatives that are even considering joining the libertarian party already have an aptitude for compromise. Otherwise, they would remain well entrenched in the collapsing GOP which will always peddle the old fashioned theocratic ideas, until the party fades away into oblivion. Let’s discuss, let’s chat about it; the liberty republicans, despite a couple of issues, are really not all that different from us.
We should make it clear that the libertarian party, no matter what the members may believe personally, will always stand for limited government at the end of the day. Social conservatism is not the problem, it’s using government to enforce it. I think many republicans making the jump into the libertarian party understand this.
The bottom line of all this is, simply, libertarians need to be a little more diplomatic when dealing with those that may disagree with us.
If conservatives really do need to accept a new ideology instead of just thinking of it a little differently, some prominent state libertarians are not helping to facilitate that, the way they conduct discussions. Quite the opposite, it is turning people away. These brash libertarians need to be a little more diplomatic; I know it is easier to call names when a contrary opinion is voiced, but it would be much more effective if we take care to explain why that opinion is contradictory to the ideals of personal liberty.
The name calling and high-horse attitude has to end if the libertarian party wants to not only expand, but fully convince people of the merits of the philosophy as a whole.
*I say “new” because it is only now being taken seriously, though the philosophy itself has existed for a very long time.