The “L” Word
The “liberty movement” is a true coalition, a big tent political and philosophical movement, one that transcends party, my purpose in penning this opinion piece is to explore different aspects of the movement and the select groups of the coalition.
The liberty movement grew out of the ashes of the Ron Paul 2007 presidential primary, excited by a candidate that spoke unpopular truths on a national stage, hundreds of thousands of young grassroots activists had awoken to the principles of liberty as displayed by Ron Paul during the debates that he was allowed to participate in.
The bedrock of the movement is the philosophy of libertarianism: self ownership and the nonaggression principle. Alliances were made with other philosophies, everything from paleoconservatives to progressives have called themselves “Paulbots” and part of the liberty movement.
Ron Paul spoke often of the “remnant” of the old right, consisting of the Barry Goldwater, Robert Taft philosophies and paleoconservatives such as Patrick Buchanan. Driven to ground by the neoconservatives during the 1970’s and with mixed influence in the Reagan presidency, the remnant combined pragmatic populism, non-interventionism and the “Chicago Boys” economic vision.
Blue Republicans, Democrats, principled liberals and progressives, made a move to the GOP during the 2012 Primaries, derided by neoconservatives and social conservatives, these allies were attracted by the non-interventionist foreign policy of Ron Paul. It is ironic that the very foreign policy that conservatives said made Ron Paul unelectable brought in new members to the GOP. While many of our friends on the left have turned a blind eye to the degradation of civil liberties and prosecution of war under President Obama, the principled left has been without a home, some wandering to the Green Party, others turning independent and many joining the Blue Republicans.
Many social conservatives have found themselves with the liberty movement as well. The “Religious Right” seeks to use coercion in order to enforce their interpretation of the Bible to form a Godly nation. This theocratic authoritarianism can lead to one thing, tyranny, where the rights of the individual are second to a narrow interpretation of Biblical law. The social conservatives that have moved toward liberty have recognized that by setting a good Christian example, convincing others to voluntarily accept Christian doctrine and that by rejecting force, that their own religious liberties are protected by the limited government proposed by the liberty wing.
Now we come to the Libertarians – upon whom I bestow the honor of the big “L.” Libertarians are diffused among a dozen different nuanced versions of the same bedrock philosophy. There are libertarians, paleolibertarians, anarcho-capitalists, minarchists, mutualists, volunteerists, Austrians, Rothbard disciples, Hayek disciples, Friedman disciples, anarchists and Ron Paul revolutionaries.
Many are members of the Republican Party – part of a pragmatic attempt to infuse reason and tolerance into a party that has caved to radical religious fundamentalism, neoconservative hypocrisy and the philosophy of Keynesian-lite replacing free markets (these are the small “l” libertarians). They view the party as the best avenue to pursue their ideology believing that a political party, corrupt to the core with corporatists and warmongers is a vacuum, waiting to be filled with principled ideas and philosophy. The GOP establishment has labeled them hijackers, accusing them of wanting to take over the party. They aren’t wrong.
Libertarians with a capital “L” have no great desire for pragmatism, they scream from the din of conventional political wisdom STOP and are growing in voice. Many are too frustrated with the GOP and see it beyond saving, they decry the war on drugs, the bedroom police and have a healthy pro-choice population, they see the Republican Party as beyond saving and wait for what they feel is the inevitable collapse, awaiting for the day when it will not be façade of GOP vs. Dems, but liberty vs. authoritarianism.
The one uniting principle of all of these groups? To take over the world and leave you alone, to respect liberty.
Read more from Joseph Howe at LibertarianMafia.com.