Will Liberty Take Over the Republican Party?

We can hope that the Republican Party establishment will lose influence.

Liberty Risen

Most people talking about the rise or the promise of libertarianism in the Republican Party are Libertarians. But recently that trend has been broken by Former Michigan Republican Rep. Thaddeus McCotter. Daily Caller Managing Editor W. James Antle writes that McCotter is a genuine “social conservative.” He’s not a libertarian but he believes that the libertarians are the future of the Republican Party.

It’s a message McCotter has been spreading in interviews and to anyone who’ll listen. He’s even laid out his case in a smart book, “Liberty Risen: The Ultimate Triumph of Libertarian-Republicans, where he claims libertarians even have something to say to the Budweiser-drinking, boxer-wearing, pro-life, Boston sheet metal worker.

Most Republicans who hype the libertarian moment are libertarians themselves. Not McCotter. He is a Russell Kirk-quoting social conservative. “I’m not a libertarian,” he jokes. “I just play one on TV.” But while fellow social conservatives like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum slam libertarianism, McCotter believes the GOP will find a way to integrate libertarian activists who care about government surveillance the way it once assimilated evangelical Christians who cared about abortion.

“When I was still in Congress I noticed younger Republicans saying, ‘I am a conservative, but I’m libertarian on some issues,’” McCotter told The Daily Caller. “They hadn’t grown up with Reagan and seen how [conservatism] had worked. All they had seen was the decline of the Republican Party.”

“Now if you read your Russell Kirk, you can’t be both a libertarian and a conservative at the same time,” he added. “But America being what it is, you can be whatever you want.”

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? In my opinion, at the Federal level it could be a good thing as long as the Constitution is respected regarding the authority of states. If Libertarianism means appointing Federal judges who will overturn all state statutes against prostitution, then I think it would be absurdly bad. Also, I’m somewhat distrustful of millennials who talk about freedom because I don’t know if that means people get left on their own to make voluntary exchanges with other people, or if the Federal government is supposed to force people to hire homosexuals as if that is a correct understanding of “gay rights.”

If libertarianism means agreeing with court decisions that overturn accurate definitions of marriage in favor of fictional definitions that remove consideration of the sex of the people claiming to be married, then there will never be any peace between such “libertarians” and “social conservatives.”

But there may be hope.

The Libertarian Party won’t go away, he said, but libertarians who actually want to govern will do so as Republicans, like presidential candidate and former 12-term Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and Michigan Rep. Justin Amash.

Libertarian Republicans can come to an accommodation with social conservatives, McCotter said — note that all of the above libertarian GOPers are pro-life. Even when they disagree on the substance of a social issue, he argued they can agree federal judges shouldn’t be the final arbiters of morality. He also believes “the failure of the neoconservative movement and even some of the realist movement” and a “war-weary” country gives libertarians an opening on foreign policy by appealing to voters who want to “crush the terrorist threat there without creating a government threat here.”

The Democrats are obviously addicted to their kill lists, domestic spying, and their arming of terrorists. It would be nice to have the option of actually voting against such policies.

If the Libertarian influence brings that about, conservatives can be thankful.