I agree, Conservatives have a lot of trouble saying hello to libertarianism… but this isn’t anything new.
To Gillespie’s point, the socially tolerant component of the libertarian view is a stumbling block for many social conservatives. Unfortunately, Gary Johnson in his repeat refrain (fiscally conservative and socially liberal) is reinforcing what really is a misconception, there are almost as many socially conservative libertarians (I am one), we just agree with the socially liberal libertarians that force is not an acceptable means of promoting our views or achieving our political goals. That is, we are socially tolerant.
Issues like pro-life/pro-choice, LGBTQ acceptance in general, radical drug decriminalization (i.e. more than pot) etc… are going to scare away many social conservatives. There in lies the problem – poor logic on the part of the electorate.
To right-wingers, Gary Johnson’s embrace of “social liberalism” negates his pledge to “sign off on any reduction in the federal government.”
Just a reminder to the saints, the goal is hearts, not ground.
Even on the hottest issue for most evangelical voters, abortion… Johnson’s position is just mainstream, not radical. Certainly in the pro-choice camp, but not nearly as progressive as Clinton’s view on the issue. Trump, and the GOP going as far back as I can remember, is merely giving lip-service to the issue. No one except Clinton is calling for a real change in the status quo on abortion. I assume this about Clinton, I don’t even watch the issue politically anymore. I am waiting, science will force an unavoidable awareness and a need for an informed ethical argument on this issue soon.
And in the ‘what have you done for me lately’ category…
… what has the GOP done on this front. There was a video put out by an issues group calling OK politicians to task for limiting rather than eliminating abortion. I think it was part of what caused the boldest state legislature move in the pro-life fight yet. Fallin did not sign, but that was freaky, I didn’t know what to think – is Oklahoma seceding, what is going on… . I digress, but that was some bold shi-t. But in general, the GOP has just accepted the status quo and Roe v Wade.
The LP is almost split on this issue (slight advantage to the choice side). The LP Radical Caucus (primarily anarchist/voluntaryist/abolitionist) are for removing the LPs abortion plank altogether; allowing each member to define their own position in terms of libertarian principles. I would be happy to see that happen. My daughter, who is staunchly pro-life, would then consider the party as a potential political home.
Re LGBTQ issues, this one is going to be tough. As the author points out, Gary is not representative of many libertarians in this metaphorical showdown at the bakery and flower shop. He is, however, representative of the LP in his acceptance of gay marriage and a general positive regard for the cultural changes on this front.Gary Johnson would do well to listen to Justin Amash who provides excellent libertarian arguments regarding the issues as it regards the Maloney Amendment. Gillespie correctly notes:
“Amash’s full explanation of this issue and his vote is well worth reading—perhaps especially by the Johnson campaign, as it eloquently mounts a critique and embrace of antidiscrimination law and a defense of religious freedom at the same time.”
(The post is worth the read – especially by the Johnson campaign)
I, and many libertarians, think Gary is in serious error on this. Aside from any religious arguments or issues of discrimination, it’s even more core to liberty, my time, labor, and life cannot rightly be forced into any non-voluntray action or service for another. I think libertarianism and it’s view of property rights solves a lot of problems without bringing social-personal views into a matter. But the social issue has become tangled up in it. Despite Gary’s poorly defended position, I would argue the majority of LP members support free association and freedom from coerced service.
Conservative have a lot of trouble saying hello to libertarianism… but this isn’t anything new.
The electorate are not logical – they are emotional. Even with its non-conservative defaults, the LP equally supports the right to live conservatively. Fear of a libertine culture on the part of the social conservative is part of the problem. Politics does not lead, rather it follows culture. Even the large conservative political machine has lost any significant appetite for the culture war. The GOP has done little to stave of the advances of an increasingly lifestyle-agnostic and socially-tolerant culture. I would argue conservatives should think strategically; the LP will defend your right to act according to conscience.
I don’t see any way to overcome the resistance with minor changes to the LP – with the unlikely exception of removing the abortion plank altogether – that would open up a lot of social conservatives to the party. Until then, the socially conservative electorate will need to start thinking more logically – now that’s a Utopian dream right there!
What is new – in a time when they feel exposed, powerless, and they are looking desperately for a political ally, the social conservatives are left with very few political structures, with some access to power, under which they can hide and hope for a coalition to work toward their social agenda. I’ve said elsewhere, the culture war has been lost for the American Cultural Christian.