time to time articles appear on the Internet urging Republicans
and Libertarians to come together, put aside their differences,
recognize their common interests, and form a coalition to fight
those awful big-government liberals who are destroying America.
Have you noticed that such suggestions always seem to come from
Republicans, and not from Libertarians? And that the solution is
always that Libertarians should join the Republican Party, not that
Republicans should join the Libertarian Party?
Yesterday, one such article – "Saving
the Marriage: Conservatism and Libertarianism" by Pejman
Yousefzadeh – appeared on the Tech Central Station website. Mr.
Yousefzadeh recognizes that some real differences in philosophy
divide conservatives and libertarians, but he believes we should
unite in order to fight big government, our common enemy.
He says that "via the creation of a Libertarian Party, libertarians
have prevented themselves from gaining influence in either the Democratic
or Republican parties." And he says that "if libertarians
wish to enhance their political strength, they should find a natural
home in the Republican Party."
Of course, if we’re to put aside our differences to save the marriage,
it means that we Libertarians must give up our foolish notions and
adopt Republican positions. The Republican Party isn’t about to
let its scrawny little spouse dictate policy.
So what does that mean? There are three major differences between
Republicans and Libertarians:
1. Republicans attempt to prohibit personal choice and responsibility
– using government to prohibit drugs, considering black-market violence,
drive-by shootings, and law-enforcement corruption as worthwhile
prices to pay for a failed attempt to stamp out drugs; using government
to "defend" marriage by prohibiting marriages between
the wrong kinds of consenting adults; using government to bring
religion into the court room; using government to stamp out smut;
and making government the proper means by which to stamp out abortions
– although no one can seem to remember offhand a single government
program that actually achieved its mission.
2. Republicans wage aggressive wars to get what they want
– considering, for example, that it’s okay to
snuff out 100,000 Iraqi lives (men, women, and children) and
the size of the federal government dramatically as worthwhile
prices to pay to pursue a dream of Middle East peace and Arab democracy
that has one chance in a hundred of coming true in our lifetimes.
spend taxpayer money like drunken sailors – considering
it to be okay so long as the money goes into Republican projects,
rather than those "socialistic" Democratic projects.
So let’s tote up the score: Libertarians are expected to drop their
opposition to big government prohibiting personal responsibility,
big government waging expensive and insensitive wars, and big government
wasting taxpayer money. And we’re expected to do this so that we
can unite with Republicans to fight our common enemy – which is
My head hurts.
Yousefzadeh winds up his plea for political marital bliss by quoting
Ronald Reagan, who said "libertarianism and conservatism are
traveling the same path." However, Yousefzadeh fails to mention
that Reagan’s path was to increase the size of the federal government
by 68%. I don’t seem to remember traveling that path.
to think of it, just what common interests are there between
Republicans and Libertarians?
We Libertarians are continually reminded by Republicans that Libertarians
have little to show for their efforts – that we have very few electoral
victories and none that are significant. So why are we wasting our
time in a party that obviously can’t win?
Well, one reason we don’t win much is because Republicans have sided
with Democrats (rather than siding with Libertarians) to quash third-party
campaigns via ballot-access laws, campaign finance laws, reporting
laws, creation of a two-party debate system, and the use
of taxpayer money to finance Republican and Democratic campaigns.
So if we can’t lick them, should we join them?
Absolutely not. If there weren’t a Libertarian running for president
every four years, there would be no one in those election years
proposing ways to get government out of our lives. If there weren’t
Libertarians running in local races, there would be no one in those
races speaking out against big government.
Maybe Libertarians don’t win electoral races. But those races often
provide the only opportunities for Libertarians
to appear on radio and TV to inform Americans that we don’t
have to have a country in which government continually gets bigger,
nosier, and more oppressive – and that we don’t have to have a government
that is continually making war against someone.
It would seem that Libertarians have a lot more "political
strength" fighting their lonely battles for what they believe
in, rather than by abandoning their principles and supporting Republicans
like George Bush and the drunken sailors in Congress.
We Libertarians don’t have Battered Wife Syndrome. We believe it’s
better to be single and free to be ourselves, rather than trying
to save a marriage in which the spouse is continually unfaithful.