Where Do Libertarians Belong?
Thanks to reason for asking "Where Do Libertarians Belong?" (August/September). At least here in Arizona, the answer is not with the Tea Party, conservatives, or anyone who supports Sheriff Joe Arpaio's gestapo and the "show me your papers" movement.
If I have to choose an alliance, I have resigned myself to going left: It is easier to teach a liberal that rights are not entitlements than to get a conservative to define freedom in a way that gives the concept meaning and integrity.
Matt Kibbe's "freedom" has given us wars, religious patriotism, Joe Arpaio, and the immigration law. Under Jonah Goldberg's federalism, we give up all of America to majoritarian moralism and forget about individual freedom altogether. Conservative is as far from libertarian as liberal. At least the left is more honest about its agenda, which seems to flow from a sincere if misguided empathy rather than fear and hatred.
Jonah Goldberg parades the old canard that only on the political right can libertarians find serious economic libertarianism. Please. Republicans are always libertarians when they're out of office.
Matt Kibbe is correct about Tea Parties, at least as I have experienced them. In the Baltimore area, they're spontaneous and decentralized. Might there be some right-wing loonies among them, as Brink Lindsey indicates? Well, you could find some of those people right next to you in the produce aisle at your local Safeway.
Lindsey is correct when he says that merely clinging to the right leads us to very unlibertarian ground. Unfortunately, he implies that his political home collapsed with the alleged implosion of the Libertarian Party in the 1980s. He should look again. Here in Maryland, we Libertarians ran a nearly full slate for Congress in 2008, and we're doing it again this year. Libertarians do have a political home, and it's the Libertarian Party.
Libertarian Candidate for Congress, Second District
Does Brink Lindsey really think the same liberal forces that want to ban salt in restaurants are going to be fine with recreational drugs at the corner bodega? When was the last time a devout Catholic group demanded that the state intervene to ensure their ability to participate in a gay pride parade, and how do you think state officials would react to such a demand?
It's obvious that the fusion between conservatism and libertarianism still goes far beyond economic issues. At least as important as small government and low taxes must be the common principle of the freedom to be left alone, with like-minded family, friends, and communities, to do the things we want.
Santa Ana, CA
I take issue with a lot of what Brink Lindsey says—especially when he complains about "demonizing the other side" while describing the Tea Party movement and social conservatism as "raving, anti-intellectual populism…a brutish nationalism, as expressed in anti-immigrant xenophobia…dogmatic religiosity, as expressed in homophobia, creationism, and extremism on beginning- and end-of-life issues."
Nathan A. Benefield
Director of Policy Research