Thursday, September 06, 2007

Conservatives and Libertarians

It's strange how so many libertarians in Britain think of themselves as uber-conservatives. Sean Gabb writes about the "Quisling Right", for example, as though by failing to advocate ideas they have never ever advocated, conservatives are somehow betraying their own political tradition. But by failing to be libertarian, conservatives are no more quislings than leftists who are not libertarian. Conservatism has always tended to be protectionist, attached to censorship and prescriptive about what it sees as morality, especially that derived from religion. Even the apparent attachment to the free market that some conservatives show often reduces merely to an advocacy of unfree market tactics that are perceived to be of benefit to the conservative personally.

The divide is more obvious in the USA, and has become clear in microcosm on the conservative, anti-Jihadi blog Little Green Footballs. One of the contenders for the Republican candidacy, Ron Paul, is a pretty strong libertarian. This has led him to adopt a "get out of Iraq" policy, something that is logical for a libertarian. And lgf hates this.

See here, for example, where an online poll was closed because news of it reached a Ron Paul supporting forum and people clicked through to vote.

UPDATE: For the record, Ron Paul is wrong. A disengagement now would cost a lot more lives in the future than staying the course.

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