Given his [current RNC chair Priebus] performance and given the popular opinion that it is the social conservatism of the GOP that is having the greatest impact on its perception as a national party, it would only make sense that a libertarian Republican would be in a good position to challenge for national leadership. But just as we saw with libertarians Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, when given the choice between a libertarian Republican or an establishment or socially conservative Republican, the Republican electorate will always choose the latter.
It’s not only markets in capital and goods that should be free. It’s markets in labor, too. What’s immigration, at bottom? It’s a voluntary and peaceful transaction between employer and employee. Government interference in these many transactions is presumptuous, oppressive of individuals, and stifling of economic growth.
One hears, more often since Gov. Romney’s defeat, that the GOP regrets its recent, strident anti-immigration views. (Funny, too, that Reagan and Kemp, among others, would have rejected policies even half so restrictive as the ones that Romney and Santorum advocated in 2012.)
Whatever the motivation, it’s to America’s benefit if Republicans abandon their anti-market opposition to immigration.
For it all, libertarians can say that we were right a generation ago, right last year, and that we’re right now: free immigration is both morally and productively better than restrictive alternatives. If all the world were to declare otherwise tomorrow, we’d not be disproved.
Consider two brief videos on libertarianism. The first suggests that social justice and libertarianism are incompatible. The second holds that, if one considers social justice properly, there’s no contradiction at all.
Short, clear, informative, and both from Matt Zwolinski, as part of the larger Learn Liberty series.
Salena Zito writes of the libertarian leanings of the Tea Party, but omits ways in which they’re not libertarian at all (anti-immigration, pro-voting restrictions). What do you get when you’re half-libertarian? You’re a GOP faction, but no more:
Evidence of the Tea Party‘s waning passion is no more apparent than in the case of Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. The Republican rode in on the initial wave of Tea Party movement in a January 2010 special election to fill the late Ted Kennedy‘s seat, but he lost this year to Democrat and consumer darling Elizabeth Warren.
Only four of 16 Senate candidates backed by Tea Party organizations won in November.
Tea Party-backed House candidates fared better — among them, Republican Keith Rothfus of Sewickley, who upset Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., founder of the Tea Party Caucus, who narrowly won re-election. But her Florida counterpart, Rep. Allen West, conceded a messy race to Democrat Patrick Murphy.
“It‘s clear the Tea Party still has salience in American politics, or at least in the Republican Party,” said Sean Trende, senior elections analyst for RealClearPolitics. “It might be a faction — an unruly faction that‘s difficult to control — but it‘s still a faction at this point.”
There are lots of us: regardless of party label, about 15-18% of Americans have libertarian views. (The formal Libertarian Party may be small, but libertarians among the major parties and independents amount to about one of every six voters.)
Although other surveys put the percentage still higher, these proportions put libertarian-oriented preferences in the very thick of political and social life.
David Boaz explains how he and his colleague David Kirby calculated the number of liberty-oriented voters:
Henry Hazlitt, the noted libertarian economist and journalist, was born 118 years ago yesterday. Albeit belated, these anniversary wishes are gratefully offered.
Hazlitt’s works were many and diverse, but I don’t think he’d object to a summary of his thinking as an emphasis, consistently, on considering carefully the actual consequences of economic policies. (To this end, he introduced Bastiat to many who might not otherwise have read that great French author, through an introduction both simple and powerful.)
Far beyond advancing others’ works, Hazlitt uniquely illustrated why theorists were surprised when their programs came to nothing – or worse than nothing – through their own stubborn misconceptions.
Over at Daily Kos, there’s a review of election results suggesting Libertarian candidates provided the margin in nine major races.
LP candidates may have played a decisive role in other races, of course. Even more important than the role LP candidates may have played is the role that libertarian-leaning voters (of whatever party) undoubtedly played in far more races than these nine.
There was certainly significant movement in a libertarisn direction:
Ballot initiatives measure actual popularity of social movements, and the resounding victories last victories of ballot measures to approve the legalization of marijuana and to support gay marriage amount to a stunning shift in public opinion in favor of freedom.
Voters approved gay marriage in three states, Maine, Maryland and Washington, and defeated a ban on gay marriage in Minnesota. They approved legalizing the use of marijuana in two states, Washington and Colorado.
It was the first time that either issue had been approved in a state ballot referendum.
I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out ‘the plain truth of things,’” the Texas Republican said. “The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty”….
“A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold peoples’ beliefs and habits. A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.
A combination of left and right belies the notion that America is fundamentally still a center-right nation:
A more precise verdict would be that the majority of the country remains slightly right of center when it comes to supporting lower spending, decreased debt and smaller government. But America appears to have shifted left of center in allowing more liberal policies on drugs and the institution of marriage. So, left on social issues and right on economics. If you eliminated the desire to tax the rich, it would sound like we had a center-libertarian nation.
Although he received over a million votes – more than any candidate in Libertarian Party history – 2012 presidential candidate Gary Johnson professes ‘disappointment’ with his vote total, and is considering retiring from politics.
It’s a matter of perspective, one supposes: a million is still a large number, even in America.
Gillespie gives a quick – but representative – expression of libertarian thinking on where the GOP went wrong. There was much about which to disagree over Pres. Obama’s policies, but in the three areas Gillespie mentions, a decidedly more libertarian direction (truly smaller, less intrusive government) would have helped Republicans.
As for social conservatism, profound conservative opposition to liberal social policy isn’t going away. For it all, though, a political party during a long economic downturn should ask itself: what’s the leading issue before the voters?
There’s a fourth area where a few Republicans went wildly wrong, too: unbelievable theories about where Obama was born, his faith, whether he has a secret agenda, or that all the major state polls were somehow skewed in his favor.
It’s impossible to think that Goldwater, Reagan, or Kemp would ever have spent time on theories like those, or that they had anything like the opposition to immigration that’s now so powerful within the GOP.
I’ve no idea what the Republican Party will look like four years on. Republicans will craft a platform of their own design.
I do know what libertarianism looks like now, what it will continue to look like, and the positive outlook it offers all Americans.