Libertarian conservatism

Libertarian conservatism
Fmr NM Gov Gary Johnson

Libertarian conservatism, also known as conservative libertarianism (and sometimes called Constitutional libertarianism or right-libertarianism), includes political ideologies which meld libertarianism and conservatism. Frank Meyer, a co-founder of National Review has called this fusionism.[1][2]

United States Congressman Ron Paul has been described as combining libertarian and conservative small government ideas and showing how the Constitution defends the individual and most libertarian views.[3] In 1975, Ronald Reagan stated, "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism" but some libertarians criticize Reagan for unlibertarian policy positions.[4] Many libertarian conservatives, like Congressman Ron Paul and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson , affiliate with the Republican Party and consider themselves libertarian Republican.



Anthony Gregory has written that conservative libertarianism "can refer to any number of varying and at times mutually exclusive political orientations." He listed some as being "interested mainly in 'economic freedoms'"; following the "conservative lifestyle of right-libertarians"; seeking "others to embrace their own conservative lifestyle"; considering big business "as a great victim of the state"; favoring a "strong national defense"; and having "an Old Right opposition to empire." He holds that the issue is not right or left but "whether a person sees the state as a major hazard or just another institution to be reformed and directed toward a political goal."[5]

Freedom & Virtue: The Conservative Libertarian Debate, edited by George W. Carey, contains essays which describe "the tension between liberty and morality" as "the main fault line dividing the two philosophies."[6] According to Carey's collection, conservatives hold that shared values, morals, standards, and traditions are necessary for social order while libertarians consider individual liberty to be the highest value.

Laurence M. Vance wrote:

Some libertarians consider libertarianism to be a lifestyle rather than a political philosophy... These "lifestyle" or "cosmopolitan" libertarians, some of whom – to the detriment of their cause – are condescending, pompous snobs, are not content with personally and culturally conservative libertarians (like Ron Paul) tolerating diversity; they want them to likewise celebrate depravity. They apparently don’t know the difference between libertarianism and libertinism.[7]

However, Edward Feser emphasized that libertarianism does not require individuals to reject traditional conservative values.[1]

Thomas DiLorenzo wrote that libertarian conservatives (or "libertarian constitutionalists") believe that the way to limit government is to enforce the United States Constitution. DiLorenzo criticized them, writing, "The fatal flaw in the thinking of the libertarian/conservative constitutionalists stems from their unawareness or willful ignorance of how the founders themselves believed the Constitution could be enforced: by the citizens of the free, independent, and sovereign states, not the federal judiciary."[8]

Lew Rockwell described the period when he and others advocated what they called "paleoism", which was "short for paleoconservatism (known for its alleged isolationism and heartland-style defense of localism) and paleolibertarianism (a term I used to distance Old Right libertarianism from the branch that cared nothing about stopping federal consolidation and US imperialism)."[9][10]

Nelson Hultberg wrote that there is "philosophical common ground" between libertarians and conservatives. "The true conservative movement was, from the start, a blend of political libertarianism, cultural conservatism, and non-interventionism abroad bequeathed to us via the Founding Fathers." He said that such libertarian conservatism was "hijacked" by neoconservatism, "by the very enemies it was formed to fight – Fabians, New Dealers, welfarists, progressives, globalists, interventionists, militarists, nation builders, and all the rest of the collectivist ilk that was assiduously working to destroy the Founders' Republic of States."[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b Edward Feser, What Libertarianism Isn’t, Lew, December 22, 2001.
  2. ^ Ralph Raico, Is Libertarianism Amoral?, New Individualist Review, Volume 3, Number 3, Fall 1964, 29-36; republished by Ludwig von Mises Institute, April 4, 2005.
  3. ^ Mafaldo, Lucas. "The Conservative Case for Ron Paul". Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  4. ^ Inside Ronald Reagan, a Reason magazine interview with Ronald Reagan, July 1975.
  5. ^ Anthony Gregory, Left, Right, Moderate and Radical,, December 21, 2006.
  6. ^ George W. Carey (Editor), Freedom & Virtue: The Conservative Libertarian Debate, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 1998. ISBN 1882926196
  7. ^ Vance, Laurence (January 29, 2008). "Is Ron Paul Wrong on Abortion?" (in English). Retrieved 2008-07-01. 
  8. ^ DiLorenzo, Thomas. "Constitutional Futility". Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  9. ^ Johnsson, Kenny. "Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?". Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  10. ^ Rockwell, Llewellyn H.. "What I Learned From Paleoism". Retrieved 2008-07-02. 
  11. ^ Nelson Hultberg, True Conservatism vs. Neo-Conservatism, Americans for a Free Republic web site, December 20, 2006

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Libertarian Party (United States) — Libertarian Party Chairman Mark Hinkle Founded December 11, 1971 …   Wikipedia

  • Libertarian Party of Canada — Active federal party Leader Katrina Chowne[1] …   Wikipedia

  • Conservatism in the United States — For related and other uses, see Conservatism (disambiguation). Part of a series on Conservatism …   Wikipedia

  • Conservatism — This article is about conservatism as a political and social philosophy. For other uses, see Conservatism (disambiguation). Part of a series on …   Wikipedia

  • Libertarian Republican — A libertarian Republican (LR) is a person who subscribes to libertarian philosophy while typically voting for and being involved with the United States Republican Party. Their views may also differ from Libertarian Party members.… …   Wikipedia

  • Libertarian socialism — Part of a series on Libertarian socialism …   Wikipedia

  • Libertarian Democrat — Part of a series on Libertarianism …   Wikipedia

  • Libertarian Movement (Italy) — For the Libertarian Movement, see Libertarian movement in the United States. For the Movimiento Libertario political party of Costa Rica,, see Movimiento Libertario. For the traditional Italian Anarchism, see Anarchism in Italy. Movimento… …   Wikipedia

  • conservatism — An everyday notion meaning to ‘preserve’ or ‘keep intact’ which has, at least in Europe and the United States since the nineteenth century, come to be associated with a set of political principles. The major problem in defining the concept is… …   Dictionary of sociology

  • Conservatism in Canada — Part of a series on Conservatism …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.