Thursday, February 20, 2014

Sorry, Republicans, the illusion is gone

Usually the accusation comes from liberals or progressives, that somehow in some undefinable way libertarians are at least allied to conservatives, and at worst are merely a minor variant of the same basic ideology. Even then, it is only the less experienced and less informed liberals and progressives who make that accusation, the rest having found out otherwise and relying on the very lame joke that a libertarian is a conservative that wants to smoke pot.

As a side note, why is it never "a democrat that likes money"?

There are still those who try to compare the two, but after the 2012 Republican National Convention there should be no doubt left of the distance between the two. The way the mainstream Republican Party treated Ron Paul and his delegates showed clearly and effectively that Republicans want nothing to do with those of the libertarian ideology.

Some will protest at this point saying that an unjustified equivocation is being made here between conservatives and Republicans. The problem is, if a large majority of people who self-identify as conservative also self-identify as Republican, and if a large majority of people who self-identify as Republican also self-identify as conservative, then the equivocation is not at this end.

So conservatives, as represented by the Republican Party, do not want the company of libertarians. This has been true for many years, but the 2012 convention established it beyond any doubt. Moreover, it was at that convention where it was announced formally that Representative Paul Ryan would be the Vice Presidential candidate, in a move that was supposed to mollify supporter of Ron Paul. Here are the positions of supposedly libertarian-leaning Paul Ryan:

He voted Yes on TARP.
He voted YES on Economic Stimulus HR 5140
He voted YES on $15billion bailout for GM and Chrysler
He voted YES on $192billion additional anti-recession stimulus spending
He voted YES on federalizing rules for drivers licenses to hinder terrorists
He voted YES on making the USAPATRIOT Act permanent
He voted YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant
He voted YES on authorizing military force in Iraq
He voted YES on emergency $78Billion for war in Iraq and Afghanistan
He voted YES on declaring Iraq part of the War on Terror with no exit date
He voted NO on reducing US troops out of Iraq starting in 90 days
He voted YES on limited prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients
He voted YES on providing $70million on Section 8 Housing vouchers
He voted YES on extending unemployment benefits to 59 weeks
He voted YES on No Child Left Behind
He voted YES on Head Start Act

So then why is this unexpected attack coming from the other direction? Justin Amash, who should know better, is saying the two ideologies are the same. Not just similar, not just allied, but actually the same. Although Justin Amash is better than the average Republican, he should know better than to make this basic mistake.

It is because, after so thoroughly alienating libertarians, the argument that libertarians should line up behind whatever statist candidate the Republicans are offering has become little more than a bad joke. People aren’t buying that argument. Even progressives are having a tough time explaining what mysterious appeal the current Republican Party should have to libertarians. On top of that, Senator Rand Paul is making things harder for the Republican Party to attract libertarians by endorsing Senator Mitch McConnell over a primary candidate endorsed by the Kentucky Republican Liberty Caucus. Every so often Rand Paul realizes he’s alienated too many libertarians and makes a token gesture to say “don’t worry, I’m still with you.” Then he alienates them again.

The gulf between conservatives and libertarians has become starkly visible. It is visible because the Republican Party has made it visible. So if there is going to be any way to pull the wool over the public’s eyes, it has to come from the Republican Party as well. That is where the recent remarks by Justin Amash come in. Perhaps he actually believes what he said, making him a distinct minority within the Republican Party if so. Otherwise he is trying to recreate a shattered illusion.

Even progressives are having a problem pretending that libertarianism is a strain of conservatism. This is creating a real problem for both the major parties. As long as the Republican Party keeps shunning, insulting, and suppressing libertarian views, supporters of the Democratic Party cannot say that libertarian views belong in the Republican Party. The illusion, shared by both, is shattered.

So Justin Amash is saying the two are the same in spite of them not being the same.

Not only are libertarians consistently against war, not just against it when the wrong person is in office...
Not only are libertarians against the drug war...
Not only were libertarians in favor of gay marriage before the progressives were...
Not only were libertarians in favor of interracial marriage before the progressives were...
Not only do libertarians want to legalize prostitution...
Not only are libertarians even stronger in defense of the 1st Amendment...
Not only do libertarians oppose every single instance of police abuse that libertarians become aware of (which in this day and age can lead to outrage fatigue because these instances are far too common)...
Not only do libertarians want to slash the military budget...
Not only are a super-majority of libertarians pro-choice...
Not only are libertarians opposed to business subsidies...
Not only are libertarians opposed to business bailouts...
Not only are libertarians opposed to corporate welfare...

The real gripe that conservatives and progressives have with libertarians is that libertarians won't admit that libertarians are conservatives.

3 comments:

faeriejems said...

Excellent article, Jason!

Gary Tarbell said...

Here here!

Jonathan Jaech said...

Best wishes to the RLC, Ron Paul and similar Republicans. That said, the Republicans have been the party of authoritarian statism since the days of Lincoln. There has been almost no difference in political philosophy between the Democrats and Republicans since the early 20th century and rise of central banking. It will be impossible to change this so long as the general public is willing to accept central bank notes as currency, because the neoconservatives in both parties are backed by the same central bankers.