There has been a lot of talk lately about Libertarianism in the Republican Party. Everyone seems to think that Rand Paul is a Libertarian like his father, Ron Paul is. However, most people who refer to Libertarianism don’t really know what that really means. First off, if one is a true Libertarian, then one has to decide if he is a Capitalist Libertarian or a Socialist Libertarian. There are wide differences between the two. For example, the Capitalist Libertarians advocate for laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights such as land, water, infrastructure and others. While Socialist Libertarians seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of means of production in favor of their common or cooperative ownership and management. Then of course there is the minarchists who seek to abolish the state as an illegitimate political system.
I think it would be safe to say that those who claim to be Libertarians in the Republican Party wouldn’t consider themselves as Socialist Libertarians. Nor, do I suppose they would be minarchists either. I believe we can safely say that they are firmly entrenched in the Capitalist Libertarian wing. Or, are they?
Libertarianism is based on the philosophy that individual liberty trumps government control. There are a lot of ideas that Libertarianism have that fall in line with the current batch in the Republican Party. There are also a lot of other items that fly in the face of true Libertarianism. True Libertarianism believes that individuals and corporations are best suited to handle all of the economic problems in the world. They believe that the government should play no role in business regulations. After all, the people who are running the businesses know best.
This includes banking regulations. Libertarians believe that all banks should be allowed to compete in anything they want. Even though they were the main cause of the 2008 meltdown. They believe that, although the ecology of the planet must be protected, they believe that the “owners” of the land are the best people to tend to it. They believe that the government cannot and should not regulate pollution emissions or energy production.
Of course they also believe in “free trade” uninhibited by government regulations. Oddly enough, they believe that people should be able to cross borders just like commodities. They do call for some regulation at the borders to keep out criminals or others who would do the country harm, but they don’t seem to believe that immigration for the sake of work should be restricted. Sounds like an open border to me.
Libertarians also believe that income taxes are illegal. They advocate for the elimination of income and corporate taxes and they want the IRS abolished. They don’t say how they plan to pay for their “limited” government, but definitely won’t be through income taxes.
Finally, they firmly believe that the government has no role in regulating wages or bargaining rights. They say that corporations have the right to bargain with unions or not. There should be no minimum wage law because it is the responsibility of each person to “negotiate” wages with the owners of corporations.
With all of this in mind, some current Republicans can call themselves Capitalist Libertarians. But, there is a whole lot more to Libertarian philosophy than simply economic issues. There are social issues as well. This is where the current crop of Republican Libertarians depart from the Libertarian philosophy.
For example, true libertarians believe that if a person wants to use what is now defined as illegal drugs, they should be allowed to do so. They want the “war on drugs” ended and all drug use made legal. They also firmly believe that what a person does with his or her body is nobody’s business but the person. This includes abortion. Libertarians believe it is up to the individual to determine if abortion is right for them. The government should have no role in allowing or disallowing abortion rights.
Libertarians also believe that consenting adults have the right to engage in sex or marriage with whomever they wish. They are for same-sex marriage and say that the government has no right to deny civil liberties to same-sex couples. All they want the government to do is recognize a marriage as a marriage regardless of who the parties are.
They are also against interventionist wars. They only want a military of sufficient size to defend the country against aggression. They are totally against intervening in foreign wars or troubles. Basically, when it comes to military intervention, they are isolationists. Let the world burn as long as it doesn’t affect us.
These are just some of the things that true Libertarians stand for. Problem is, that there are very few real Libertarians in this country. Like other groups, they like to cherry-pick the items they like and throw out the ones they don’t like. But, since Libertarianism seems to be a hot button in the Republican Party, more and more are trying to align themselves with Libertarian philosophies.
The number one person in the party that is acclaimed to be a Libertarian is Rand Paul. The only reason he is considered to be a Libertarian is because he is the son of Ron Paul. Ron Paul was probably as close to a real Libertarian as anyone I know. He even ran for president as the Libertarian Party candidate. But, lineage is as close to a comparison as Rand can get to Ron in terms of Libertarianism. Rand Paul is simply a right-wing conservative who is trying his best to masquerade as a Libertarian.
All you need to do is look at his speeches. He waffles back and forth on issues like a wind-blown leaf. First he is for immigration reform, then he is against it, then he is for it, and then he is against it. It is the same on every issue he talks about. Remember the “run and hide” gambit he did in Iowa? When a “dreamer” wanted to talk to him and Rep. King, Paul almost choked on his hamburger and ran away.
I actually feel sorry for the Libertarian Party. They have to stand on the sidelines and watch these con artists act like they are Libertarians when everyone who knows anything about Libertarianism realizes they are not. When it comes to economic issues like abolishing government regulations, privatizing public schools, eliminating departments like the EPA, OSHA, and the Department of Education, right-wing Republicans are similar to Libertarians. When it comes to social issues, the right-wing Republicans are totally opposite.
I think that whenever we hear about a Libertarian movement in the Republican Party, we only need to know that it is nothing more than a publicity stunt to gain ink. There is no Libertarian movement in the Republican Party. Like everything else, they are merely cherry-picking things they like and pretending to be something they are not. Maybe the acronym GOP should stand for “Grand Old Pretenders.”