Friday, July 6, 2012

Say What You Want About the Tenets of Libertarianism, Man: At Least It's an Ethos

Writing here, Sarah Posner discusses Ron Paul's religious-conservative supporters.

Actually, libertarian religious conservatives aren't a new phenomenon. They aren't a 'new' addition to Ron Paul's base. They're the politico-religious tradition that Paul himself rose out of.

Before adding college students, geeks, Objectivists, and Rush fans to his base, Ron Paul's core supporters were from the junction between Christian Reconstructionism, Austrian libertarianism, and the neo-Confederate movements. His most prominent hires and supporters were from some combination of the three. Lew Rockwell was an Austrian neo-Confederate. Gary North was an Austrian Christian Reconstructionist. Chuck Baldwin was a Christian Reconstructionist neo-Confederate.

To an outsider, that seems like an unusual combination. But Christian Reconstructionists and neo-Confederates share one major feature with libertarians: the federal government prevents them from using their power in the way they prefer. And they're willing to rewrite both history and their own philosophy in order to hitch their wagon to a successful candidate.

I obviously object to Cato Foundation libertarianism on some fairly important philosophical grounds. But whatever else is philosophically wrong with that sort of Beltway libertarianism, it's at least underpinned by a consistent philosophical commitment to economic liberty. But Ron Paul's motley coalition of second-string tyrants has no such consistency: they're just waiting for the federal government to remove its boot from their neck so they can resume whatever sort of petty oppression they engaged in before they were prohibited from doing so.

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