Playing Off Libertarians Against Conservatives In The GOP Is Mostly Nonsense

The main reason conservatives don’t have much to fear from libertarians is that most of the real bad damage that libertarians could do were accomplished by Liberals long ago. From no-fault divorce to pornography to the repeal of laws against adultery much of our society is already libertarian in the worst ways.

While there are still a few areas where libertarian ideas could make state laws worse, many libertarians are ardently opposed to federal overreach and Big Government. That makes gives them a lot of overlap with conservatives, even Christian conservatives.

That’s why I thing this story on rising libertarianism is misguided when it tried to oppose Rand Paul to Ted Cruz:

Rather than promising an isolationist US withdrawal from the world, he touts a more moderate “non-interventionism”. Instead of pledging to end fiat money, he promises to audit the US Federal Reserve – “mend the Fed”, rather than “end the Fed”. Both find echo among the Y generation. So too does his alarmism about the US national debt. Far from being big spenders, millennials are more concerned about US debt than other generations, according to polls. They are also strongly in favour of free trade. More than a third of the Republican party now identifies as libertarian, according to the Cato Institute. Just under a quarter of Americans do so too, says Gallup.

All of which looks ominous for Ted Cruz, the Texan Republican whose lengthy filibuster against Obamacare last year lit the fuse for the US government shutdown. Mr Cruz, also a 2016 aspirant, leads the pugilistic wing of the Republican party that is prepared to burn the house down in order to save the ranch. Although also a Tea Partier, Mr Paul is cultivating a sunnier Reaganesque optimism that draws on the deep roots of US libertarianism. His brand of politics also strikes a chord with those who fear the growth of the US surveillance state – the types who view Edward Snowden (another millennial) as a hero rather than a traitor. Last year the US House of Representatives came within 12 votes of passing a bill to defund the National Security Agency. Mr Paul led the bill in the Senate. Next time they could succeed.

Obviously, only one person can be president at a time. But this writer is trying to paint huge differences where there are none–or at least they are not that big. If anything, this article has narrowed the difference between Paul and Cruz on matters of substance by downplaying Paul’s views on the Federal Reserve as an institution. Otherwise I highly doubt Cruz is any less passionate about the national debt than Paul.

Like Paul, Cruz is all about fighting back against government overreach. This story shows that Cruz continues to make a consistent stand:

“Liberty is under assault … in this country like never before,” Cruz said. “We have a president [who seems as though he] is going down the Bill of Rights trying to violate them one at a time.”

Cruz said that among Democratic leaders in Washington, D.C., he sees a “consistent pattern of lawlessness, the contempt for rule of law.”

And he said the Affordable Care Act is a mistake.

“This is not an issue about right or left. This is not an issue about conservative or Republican,” Cruz said. “To be honest, there ought to be Democrats lining up” in opposition to it.

“We need to repeal every single word of Obamacare,” he said, adding that other changes need to be made as well, including abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, auditing the Federal Reserve and repealing the Dodd-Frank Act.

“Auditing the Federal Reserve”—just like Rand Paul. Both these men seem quite promising to me. While voters might have to choose between them, I hope they will choose based on substance rather than style.