Social Conservatives are the Worst Thing to Happen to Libertarianism

Ron Paul provided libertarians a potential political strategy. The idea was simple, overwhelm the Republican Party with libertarians and use it to spread libertarian ideals. Although I know I will receive protests from libertarians still participating in Republican politics I feel safe in saying that this strategy has not only failed but has backfired miserably. By associating libertarianism and Republican politics the gateway (to Hell) was opened for social conservatives to filter into libertarian groups. While social conservatives have always been involved in libertarianism I don’t believe it was to the extent that they are now. Furthermore the public association of libertarianism and the Republican Party wasn’t there.

I don’t blame Ron Paul or libertarians who entered Republican politics (of which, regretfully, I was one of). There was no way to know how the strategy would work out until it was tried. However the toll paid for the mistake has been high. Libertarianism is primarily concerned with the principle of non-aggression. Non-aggression leads to voluntary association. Voluntary association simply means any individual or group of individuals is free to associate or not associate with any individual or group of individuals they choose. You can begin to see why social conservatives find libertarianism appealing. It is a philosophy that allows them to associate with their echo chamber while discriminating against anybody they dislike.

Unfortunately the influx of social conservatives has also tainted libertarianism with racism, homophobia, transphobia, religious discrimination, and other forms of bigotry. None of these are inherit in libertarianism but neither are they prevented. But when somebody outside of libertarianism sees a self-proclaimed libertarian declaring Muslims the enemy of all humanity or homosexuals sinners deserving of eternal damnation that reflects poorly on those of us who aren’t bigoted assholes. This is made worse by the public connection between libertarianism and the Republican Party, which has a notable history of bigotry.

The effect of this is that people often assume I’m a bigot when I say that I’m a libertarian. It pains me that I often have to clarify that I don’t discriminate against Muslims, homosexuals, bisexuals, or transgender individuals when I mention that I’m a libertarian.

Now that I’ve bitched publicly about the damage I believe social conservatives have done to libertarianism I want to make a proposal. Since I’m a libertarian this proposal is made with the understanding that individuals are free to ignore it without consequence. But I would like to see libertarians utilize voluntary association to disassociate with people who express bigoted ideals and loudly shout them down when they start spewing their ignorant bullshit. In other words make it well known that they’re not welcome in libertarian circles. This is the only way I see libertarianism being able to divorce itself from the filth that social conservative have infested it with.

While voluntary association certainly allows bigots to be bigots that shouldn’t be the main draw. The main draw of voluntary association should be the absence of coercion.

2 thoughts on “Social Conservatives are the Worst Thing to Happen to Libertarianism”

  1. This is hardly new. In the ’90’s I was involved with an expressly libertarian supper club in Seattle. This monthly event, as well as LP meetings, drew a steady stream of curious out-migrants from the Republican party. Most were in the process of shedding social conservative or warmongering ideals. We featured speakers on social issues – prostitution, police accountability, ACLU. We did get some good activists that way. Those that were offended apparently disappeared. There will always be people with misconceptions about what the word means – telling them what it means to YOU is probably more effective than driving off those who might be in transition. That said, if the LP has a ballot line in your state, it’s important to discourage or Primary outsiders who want to use the LP as a public forum for crackpot ideas.

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