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Libertarian conservatism: Wikis


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

United States Representative Ron Paul has been described as combining libertarian and conservative small government ideas.[3] Ronald Reagan often is quoted as saying: "I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism."[4]



Anthony Gregory has written that right-wing, or 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"; 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] Conservatives hold that shared values, morals, standards, and traditions are necessary for social order while libertarians consider individual liberty as the highest value. Libertarians who remained concerned with limiting the state but preserving cultural values may call themselves conservative libertarians in contrast to libertarians who seek to increase their lifestyle choices.[7]

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.[8]

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."[9]

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)."[10][11]

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."[12]

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. ^ Cathy Young, Enforcing Virtue: Is social stigma a threat to liberty, or is it liberty in action?, review of Freedom & Virtue: The Conservative Libertarian Debate, Reason, March 2007.
  8. ^ Vance, Laurence (January 29, 2008). "Is Ron Paul Wrong on Abortion?" (in English). Retrieved 2008-07-01.  
  9. ^ DiLorenzo, Thomas. "Constitutional Futility". Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  10. ^ Johnsson, Kenny. "Do You Consider Yourself a Libertarian?". Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  11. ^ Rockwell, Llewellyn H.. "What I Learned From Paleoism". Retrieved 2008-07-02.  
  12. ^ Nelson Hultberg, True Conservatism vs. Neo-Conservatism, Americans for a Free Republic web site, December 20, 2006

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