Can Libertarians Survive Without Social Conservatives

Megan McArdle thinks not.  I agree.  The chief problem libertarians have is that we don’t get involved much beyond voting.  Social conservatives work hard for the candidates that support them, and they do great get out the vote efforts.  They are also reliable donors.  I agree that the Republicans need to embrace more libertarian ideas, but this notion that we can still have a winning coalition without social conservatives is bunk.

7 thoughts on “Can Libertarians Survive Without Social Conservatives”

  1. Part of the issue though is changing the social conservative’s views on how the government should work within its framework. Trust me, I’m a social con, big time, but I realize how harmful it is to use the government to try to push my views on people. THAT is where libertarians (of which I also am) should focus a lot of energy.

    I’m no fan of homosexuality, but you will NEVER see me vote for anything that harms the rights of the gay community, nor will you ever see me support any action that discriminates against them. Social conservatives need to realize that it is in their best interest to not try to push their views in through legislation because the very people who you give the power to do such things won’t always be the ones in power.

  2. I’d register as a “Libertarian Party” member if; every time I saw a Libertarian Party booth at a fair or what not, that it wasn’t a booth all about the legalization of pot.

    I’m sorry, I’ve got more important issues than pot. It’s not what I want my party wasting all of it’s time campaigning for.


  3. If, as you imply, there is no possibility of limited government, only a certainty of an interefering government with a choice over the personality of that interference, why should a libertarian prefer the Republican party’s proposed interference over the Democrat’s proposed interference?

  4. I didn’t say there was no possibility of limited government, only that our coalition can’t win without bringing along social conservatives. That doesn’t mean the Republicans can’t afford to bring more libertarians ideas into the tent. That also doesn’t mean that social conservatives can’t be sold on backing our principles. What I’m saying is, there are libertarians that don’t want anything to do with a coalition that involves social conservatives, and that none of them have a viable plan to replace those votes, without which, we don’t win.

  5. A commenter in Megan’s thread had this to say, which I think is useful:

    Back to the original post, it’s pretty much irrelevant who libertarians support. They’re a minute percentage of the electorate, and (at least as far as neolibs are concerned) their core competency is bitching and snarking as opposed to, say, building an effective political coalition (which would require them to sully themselves with ideological compromises).

    That’s the painful truth.

  6. Basically Libertarians are not passionate, they are more abstract. They are more likely to sit out a vote or vote for a third party.

    Social cons have passionate principles that they are willing to fight for; to man phone banks , go door to door, volunteer to campaigns and donate money. They work for candidates that follow their principles.

    Liberal do the same as social cons, they are passionate and fight hard for their candidates. That is why they are also sucessfull in getting candidates elected.

    Bush was not a small gov’t administration. He adopted liberal positions on Medicare and Agriculture bills and No Schools left behind. Conservatives supported him because of tax cuts the attempt to privatize social security and the big issue the fight against Islamic fundalmentatist that attcked the US and the fight in Iraq to change the middle east.

    Once the Iraq war is considered won, the fiscal conservatives had no overwhelming need to support the GOP. Obama was vagued enough the fiscal cons could convince themselves he was not a danger and to not vote for McCain. Plus Mccain lost fiscal conservatives on McCain Feingold a black mark against the first amendement.

  7. I don’t really mind having them in the party… I just wish we wouldn’t put them in charge, or let them be the main face of the Republican party that everyone sees, to the exclusion of traditional Republican values of liberty and independence. The intolerance of gays is one of my biggest gripes. We’re now the party of bigotry and intolerance–the equivalent of the Democrat party as it existed in the century before civil rights.

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