Take military intervention. Conservatives are notoriously hawkish in their stance on military action around the world. At the core, there is a belief – on some level – that American military intervention is some sort of inherent responsibility for the United States. As the keepers of the torch of democracy, we must ferry our military world-wide to defend the seeds of democracy wherever they might be sown.
Libertarians take a far more balanced view of military intervention. They note the results our intervention has had over the last few decades as the U.S. has consistently left, while perhaps more democratic societies in its wake, far less stable societies that are rife with sectarian violence and religious extremism. That’s not to say Libertarians are isolationists – but they are far more hesitant to wade into conflict. And military action is just the tip of the iceberg in Conservative and Libertarian differences.
However, it has been correctly noted that this divide has had devastating consequences for the GOP. While Democrats have come out as a largely cohesive party, the GOP has been fragmented from within. Its own struggles over its vision providing fuel for the Left and generally making the GOP look lost in its search for its own soul and vision.
Going forward, if they are to win elections, they will need to focus far more on their common ground than their differences. At the end of the day, they must ask themselves who they have more in common with, each other or liberal Democrats. Paul put it rightly when he came to the Values Voter Summit with a message:
“Some seem to believe you must choose either liberty or virtue — that to be virtuous you can’t have too much liberty. That is exactly wrong. Liberty is absolutely essential to virtue. It is our freedom to make individual choices that allows us to be virtuous.” (Daily Caller)
Political science professor at the University of Kentucky, Steven Gross, recently remarked in an interview with the Blaze that Libertarians, such as Paul, while they might have slightly different ideologies, still overlapped with Conservatives on important issues. Conservatives might object to abortion on religious grounds, but Libertarians objected because they feel liberty extends to the unborn.
As a synopsis for one of the sessions at the Values Voter Summit reads:
“Our Founding Fathers gave us a system of limited government because they believed virtue and morality would restrain human passions. As Benjamin Franklin put it: ‘Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.’ Today we are seeing the confirmation of that wisdom.”
And that is a resounding theme in recent weeks as Libertarians and Conservatives try to mend fences and find commonality. It turns out that true liberty might be born of virtuous ideals. And true virtue might be forged by an unwavering commitment to liberty. Do you think common ground will strengthen both Libertarians and Conservatives? Let us know via Twitter or, better yet, follow events on Facebook.
Written by Mark Davis
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