There has been a number of high profile Local Republican leaders that have claimed that Libertarians are not Republicans. So I think this issue deserves further discussion. Can a Republican be a Libertarian? I’m going to tell you what I think, but what do you think?
State Rep. Kelley Packer, R-McCammon, told the Idaho State Journal last year that “Tea Party groups have tried to infiltrate the Republican Party because of its size and organization. But we have not let that happen. We have sent a message that if you’re Libertarian, form your own party. We are Republicans and we plan to stay Republican.”
Mrs. Kelley Packer informed us that the Bannock County Republican Party has told the Tea Party to get out of the Republican Party and form your own Party. The Tea Party folks didn’t infiltrate the Republican Party. Most of them have been voting Republican their entire lives. And many of them are older than Kelley Packer and have been voting Republican since before she was born. Kelley is also wrong when she says everyone in the Tea Party is a Libertarian. That isn’t true. There are tons of Conservatives in the Tea Party. Sure there are Libertarians too, but what does that matter? The Tea Party Patriots is a well-known grassroots organization that is very Conservative.
Mr. Dakota Bates, made an interesting claim a number of weeks ago in an Idaho State Journal article. Mr. Bates said that the Republican Liberty Caucus “is a Libertarian movement that wants to be both Libertarian and Republican, and it just doesn’t work that way.” This statement by Dakota Bates is absolutely untrue. I am the chairman of the Bannock County Republican Liberty Caucus and I don’t even consider myself to be a Libertarian. I have always identified more with Constitutional Conservatism. Mr. Bates has known me for years, he should know this. Dakota Bates, the chairman of the Bannock County Republican Central Committee should probably be informed that the Republican Party is an umbrella organization that accepts all the various wings of the Republican Party. There is a moderate wing, establishment wing, Conservative wing, and a libertarian wing of the Republican Party. All of these various wings make up the Republican Party. We are an umbrella party that accepts all the various wings. Mr. Bates, there has been a libertarian wing of the Republican Party since before you were born so I find it more than a little disconcerting that the chairman of my party would suggest that libertarian Republicans aren’t real Republicans. You are joking right? Just for your information you should probably know that not everyone in the Republican Liberty Caucus is a Libertarian. Our caucus is also made up of Conservatives. The Republican Liberty Caucus attracts Conservative and Libertarian Republicans. All of us are Republicans and we vote Republican. We are registered Republicans. The Republican Liberty Caucus is Republican. Dakota Bates, apparently nobody has ever told you that Ronald Reagan said Libertarianism is Conservatism.
In a Dec. 14, 1975 interview with 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace, Reagan discussed his political philosophy, saying that “the heart of my philosophy is much more libertarianism, than.” Mike Wallace then interrupted, “Well, that’s the fashionable word these days, I guess. A conservative is no longer just that, he’s a libertarian.”
Reagan continued, “It always has been. How do we call a liberal? You know, someone very profoundly once said many years ago that if fascism ever comes to America, it will come in the name of liberalism.”
“And what is fascism?” Reagan said. “Fascism is private ownership, private enterprise, but total government control and regulation. Well, isn’t this the liberal philosophy?”
“The conservative, so-called, is the one that says less government, get off my back, get out of my pocket, and let me have more control of my own destiny,” he said.
The Republican Party would have been compelled to kick Ronald Reagan out of the Republican Party if we listened to people like Mr. Bates and Mrs. Packer during the 1980’s.
I guess Ronald Reagan should have been booted from the Republican Party because he wasn’t a “real Republican.”
Ronald Reagan also once said, “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals — if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”
I didn’t say it, Ronald Reagan did.
Conservatism is indeed a form of Libertarianism. Conservatism is just another variation of Libertarianism. This is something that Ronald Reagan understood. This notion that there is no room for Libertarianism in the Republican Party is utter nonsense. Ronald Reagan promoted the idea of a big tent Republican Party for a reason. Libertarians should be welcomed into the big tent. Those who are trying to boot Libertarians out of the Republican Party obviously do not believe in Ronald Reagan’s big tent. So, can Libertarians be Republicans? Of course they can, and I’m thankful to have them in the Republican Party.