I just read an article by YouTube blogger and FreedomWorks policy analyst Julie Borowski who’s one of my favorite libertarian thinkers. She mentioned a panel for CPAC this year called “Can Libertarians and Social Conservatives get along?”. Here’s a segment of what she said.
Can libertarians and social conservatives find common ground?
It’s important to define what it means to be a libertarian. Libertarianism is solely a political philosophy that deals with the role of government. Generally speaking, libertarians want the government out of both economic and personal affairs. Libertarians believe that government has no business telling anyone how to live their own life.
A popular misconception, or stereotype, is that libertarians are just morally bankrupt pot smoking Republicans or “low tax liberals.” But libertarians are far too diverse for such simplistic pigeonholing. Some libertarians are personally socially conservative. Others are personally socially moderate or liberal.
She did mention conservatives and libertarians have much in common on economic matters and increasingly on foreign affairs even. But when it comes to social issues there’s sort of I’ll put as awkward conversation. Sometimes may even become hostile depending. Now on matters of abortion, I have little complain about with traditional conservatives. The fetus is a human being with the same constitutional rights and liberties. The matter is much more complex in libertarian circles, but that’s another subject of another time.
Now the matter gets gears with both traditional conservatives and civil libertarians: family and societal matters.
Some libertarians may agree with social conservatives on the moral problems America faces. The difference is that libertarians do not call for more laws. If the “solutions” social conservatives are proposing lead to bigger government—you can count libertarians out.
Take for instance, government outlawing drugs. Social conservatives have historically supported drug prohibition. While nearly all libertarians advocate for drug legalization and/or decriminalization.
Does that mean that all libertarians endorse drug use? No, it does not.
Libertarians simply believe that the government should not punish peaceful people who put substances into their own bodies. Many libertarians think using drugs is unwise and dangerous.
But isn’t being able to make dumb decisions part of freedom? Aren’t the concepts of personal responsibility and facing the consequences of one’s actions simply part of being free?
Another reason libertarians oppose the War on Drugs is the cost to taxpayers. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world—more than half of its six million prisoners are in jail for drug convictions, with 80% in for drug possession.
That is very convincing an argument that must be considered. The state when it becomes involved with personal matters generally degrades things fast. Which us to a subject both sides get their gears moving on: same-sex marriage.
Another perceived issue of disagreement between libertarians and social conservatives is gay marriage. Most libertarians ideally want the government completely out of marriage (some are pro-gay marriage laws as long as government is in the marriage business). While social conservatives generally want the government to regulate marriage in order to preserve its sanctity.
Libertarians certainly have different views on marriage and homosexuality. But unlike many social conservatives, they do not believe that the government should be involved in something so deeply personal. Libertarians certainly don’t want the federal government being involved, as groups on both sides of this issue have often lobbied for.
Why does marriage necessarily need to be between a man, a woman—and Uncle Sam?
Can libertarians and social conservatives ever get along? It depends. Both groups could begin to focus on what they have in common more than where they disagree.
A good start would be to stop looking to government to validate our personal beliefs or solve every problem.
I couldn’t have said it better and I’m happy that this debate finally has legs in my own Oklahoma. A State Representative Mike Turner has filed a bill that would effectively end government marriage licensing and recognition in Oklahoma. U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of MI is also in favor of divorcing marriage from the state. I don’t want the state to entangle itself in my personal matters such as that of marriage. And frankly neither should be gay couples. Government makes things worse for everybody.
For as many disagreements as there is, libertarians and traditional conservatives can’t dismiss one another. A handy thing would be to converse in friendly manner over disagreements. I wouldn’t mind seeing Brian Brown, Tony Perkins, Ryan T. Anderson, Rick Santorum, Nick Gillespie, Matt Welch, David Boaz, Austin Peterson and others having a friendly conversation over what they agree and disagree on and how to move forward. Certainly wouldn’t hurt to try. I recommend reading the whole Julie Borowski column here: http://rare.us/story/can-libertarians-and-social-conservatives-ever-get-along/
If you want to contact me, email is or there’s twitter.com/JGcountry01. Thanks for listening.
PS: How do you do that thing of formatting words of another article and how do you form direct links? Help would be appreciated.