More Libertarian/Conservative Marriage Spats


Pejman Yousefzadeh and two-time LP presidential candidate Harry Browne are feuding over the much-discussed of late question of whether a successful libertarian/conservative marriage is possible; Yousefzadeh's first round here, Browne's rejection of the sacred bond here, and Yousefzadeh's latest retort here. A bit from that one:

In response to my citation to Ronald Reagan—who said that "the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism"—Browne caustically remarks that in his opinion, Reagan did not do a good job of living up to conservative and libertarian principles while President. But Browne's rejoinder is, in fact, a non sequitur. Even if one assumes arguendo that Reagan did not do a good job of living up to conservative and libertarian principles, that does not translate into a valid argument against a finding that libertarianism and conservatism have a great deal in common as sociopolitical philosophies. Browne's argument is akin to telling a friend who extols the health benefits of exercise that because that friend only exercises two days out of a week, his claims about the benefits of exercise are undercut.

But what Browne's comments re: Reagan do speak to is the idea that, in any politically significant way, the Republican Party has been about as useful as the Libertarian Party in furthering vital libertarian goals in real-world terms: not at all. And if a marriage with conservatives is not to result in real political victories for libertarian philosophy–and where else is that supposed to happen but in the Republican Party, in this libt/con marriage vision–then what's the point, again?