Washington Post columnist and conservative stalwart George Will appeared on ABC to hail the rise of the libertarian wing of the GOP. The win by Senator Rand Paul at the Conservative Political Action Conference for the presidential straw poll was evidence that a healthy new discussion was leading to a more libertarian minded Republican party.
Paul’s speech at CPAC called for a more relaxed posture on social issues and lambasted bloated government spending on things like robotic squirrels.
George Will states:
“Republicans have been arguing — social conservatives and libertarian free-market conservatives — since the 1950s, when the National Review was founded on the idea of the fusion of the two,” he continued. “It has worked before with Ronald Reagan. It can work again. What I did see at CPAC was the rise of the libertarian strand of Republicanism, which has an affected foreign policy that is a pullback from nation-building and other ambitions aboard that they never countenance from government at home, and a sense of ‘live and let live’ with subjects such as decriminalization of certain drugs and gay marriage.”
Although George Will accurately feels the pulse of libertarianism that is infusing the GOP, he incorrectly defines our movement as some sort of restoration of fusionism. The new free market conservatives are not Reaganites economically. They are Hayekians. They sound the call for a restoration of the ideas of classical liberalism. They propose free banking and the rejection of John Maynard Keynes. These are people to the right of Milton Friedman. These are the new monetary radicals. The foes of the foolish, fiat, fractional, Federal Reserve. These are not your fathers cold warrior conservatives.
Will correctly notes our positions on gay marriage and drug legalization and gay marriage, but he only hints at out foreign policy, the most dangerous issue for libertarians to delve into. These libertarian republicans are not isolationist however. An attack by Bill Kristol expectedly came when he declared to Chris Wallace that libertarians like Rand Paul are to the left of President Obama on foreign policy. True isolationists are those who call for restrictions on trade like the Smoot-Hawley tariff which slashed international commerce and aided in creating the Great Depression.
The foreign policy issue is where the real separation from the Buckley coalitions in the cold war years appears. There is no comparison to the libertarian position on foreign policy unless you look into the history of true, conventional conservative foreign policy. It was held most closely by the movement behind a man known as Mr. Republican, Senator Robert Taft.
Taft was a serious contender for the White House, but was ultimately beaten by the former Supreme Allied Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, Dwight Eisenhower. Although Eisenhower went on to fight the Korean War, he ended his presidency with a stern warning to the American people. He issued a statement warning over the possible interference with our democratic processes due to the rise of a “military-industrial complex”. Eisenhower may have sympathized with Taft’s more cynical but realistic views on the ability for America to spread democracy by force.
A lonely memorial to the foe of Franklin Delano‘s New Deal resides on Capitol Hill today. Taft’s foreign policy legacy incomplete.
But today, libertarians with a keen understanding of foreign policy can help a famous-for-filibustering Senator pick up where one Senator Taft left off.
Rand Paul has declared he believes that we need to restore a more libertarian minded republic. If conservative activists are ready to reach out to libertarians and build a broad coalition, even reaching across to the left on certain issues, a Rand Paul presidency in 2016 could be the catalyst for a new Age of Liberty at home… and abroad.
Video below. h/t: Mediate: Length: 1:10