Munger for NC Governor--2008!!

Recording the campaign activities, events, and happenings of the Munger for Governor campaign.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Bruce Bartlett

Interesting piece by Bruce Bartlett on "Real Clear Politics" site.

For many years, those who consider themselves to be libertarians have been fairly reliable members of the Republican coalition. Although no libertarian would consider himself or herself to be entirely in agreement with either major party, they have historically sided with the GOP. But the relationship today seems more deeply strained than any time in the last 30 years, and a divorce may be forthcoming.

Basically, libertarians are allied with the right on economic issues and the left on everything else. They believe in the free market and freedom of choice in areas such as drugs, and favor a noninterventionist foreign policy. Consequently, someone who is a libertarian could prefer to ally with the right or the left, depending on what set of issues is most important to him or her.

I first became aware of the libertarian philosophy in 1969, when there was a big split in a college-based group called Young Americans for Freedom, which was supposed to be the right-wing alternative to the left's Students for a Democratic Society. The libertarians broke with those who considered themselves traditionalists -- conservatives in the mold of Edmund Burke and Russell Kirk.

...In the 1970s, the left was clueless about how to fix the economy. They had no idea what was causing inflation and insisted on dealing instead with its symptoms through wage and price controls. The left at that time was also highly sympathetic to socialism and often favored nationalization of businesses like the Penn Central Railroad when bankruptcy threatened.

The right at least understood that excessive money growth by the Federal Reserve caused inflation, and that socialism and nationalization were crazy. So most libertarians moved into the Republican Party, which then had leaders like Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, who spoke their language and had libertarian sympathies.

With the passing of the older generation of Republican leaders who were at least sympathetic to the libertarian message, a new generation of Puritans have taken over the party. They seem to want nothing more than to impose Draconian new laws against drugs, gambling, pornography and other alleged vices. The new Republican Puritans don't trust people or believe that they have the right to do as they please as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else. They want the government to impose itself on peoples' lives and deny them freedom of choice.

At the same time, the Iraq War has aroused the isolationist impulse among libertarians. Only a tiny number of them supported the war in the first place, and they have all now recanted. Moreover, Republicans have lost whatever credibility they once had on economics by indulging in an orgy spending and corruption, and by becoming very unreliable allies on issues such as free trade and government regulation of the economy.

Consequently, many libertarians are drifting back once again to the left, where they find more compatible allies on some of the key issues of the day. And a few on the left are reaching out to libertarians, or at least trying to open a dialogue where there really hasn't been one for a long time.

Libertarians probably don't represent more than 10 percent of the electorate at most and are easy for political consultants to ignore. But they are represented in much larger percentages among opinion leaders and thus have influence disproportionate to their numbers. Republicans will miss them if they leave the party en masse.

I'm not sure I have an answer. The Republicans are definitely NOT interested in someone of my views, and I disagree with nearly all of the economic and tax policies of the Democrats. Still, I suppose I could run for office with one of the state-sponsored parties, and see what happens.

In the meantime, though, I'm learning a lot as a Libertarian. And the fact is that I really do deeply believe in the party and its goals.



At 6:36 AM, Blogger Eric Dondero said...

Bite your tongue. You most certainly would find a home within the Republican Party.

Ever hear of the Republican Liberty Caucus which represents the growing libertarian wing of the GOP?

And for Mainstream Libertarians, which I believe you are

At 8:25 AM, Blogger Mungowitz said...

That's interesting; thanks!

I had not heard of either of those cites. I appreciate the info.

At 8:48 PM, Blogger DoorFrame said...

The Goldwater wing is alive and strong... led by Goldwater himself! Exhume Goldwater '08.


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