Libertarians are not conservatives.


The conservative Heritage Foundation has published a policy study opposing the decriminalization of marijuana. In short, the war on drugs is probably the most egregiously wrong, wasteful, and harmful policy of the United States over the past 40 years.  By any standard – ethical, practical, historical, etc. – the drug war is a complete failure.

The fact that Heritage supports state control of certain substances comes as no surprise.  What is interesting to me is what this says about the state of modern conservatism.

Which leads me back to a common theme on this site: libertarians are not conservatives.


======== sez: Libertarians and conservatives have many economic arguments in common. And just as many not in common.

The primary difference is that a Libertarian expects you to be wholly responsible for self: with others, to others, from others. A Libertarian is incredibly individualistic. What does not harm another should generally be allowed. Libertarians are generally willing to defend your rights when no one else will, and even when it disagrees with their own perspective.

Conservatives, in our modern day usage of the word, are best thought of as traditionalists, almost tribal in their belief system. Their focus is family, faith, and group. Their values are generally shared and the individual is held responsible to the group. Your rights are secure just so long as your rights or actions do not conflict with their own, and if they should then you become "the enemy".

Neocons are not really conservative in either the libertarian or conservative sense. They can be but a neocon is more likely to belong to the school of thought called 'American Exceptualism' and have no problem with America being the world's cop. That does not translate well or reliably as belonging to either the libertarian or conservative camps.


1 Comment

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One response to “Libertarians are not conservatives.

  1. A good observation about Libertarians. Don’t hurt other people or take their stiff, mind your own business, and speak up when others violate these simple principles. Life is short… Every person should be have the right to live it as they see fit. While Libertarians listen to all, “we” do not like to be told what to think, do, or say.

    For the record, the Students For Liberty are sponsored by the Cato Institute.

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