Matt Welch On Liberaltarians

Former Reason writer Matt Welch gives three reasons why he thinks a libertarian-liberal alliance wouldn’t amount to anything:

1) There’s rarely such a thing as a libertarian in local politics (where most politics are practiced), because it’s awful hard to grant favors (or jobs) to either labor or business while cutting the size of government.

Generally true, I think. Every now and then, you hear the LP touting about a Libertarian being elected to a Water Board or some such other local government body, but, for the most part, Libertarian success at the local level is even more dismal than it is at the national level.

2) Self-described libertarians over the age of 40 who don’t belong to the Libertarian Party (which is to say, most of them) are overwhelmingly likely to consider the GOP their default home, because of taxes, the memory of anti-communism, and hatred of all things McGovern/Carter (even though Carter was arguably the greatest deregulation president … though that’s a rambling essay for another time).

Well, I’m not over 40 but this is certainly true of me. All of my problems with the Republican Party notwithstanding, I just can’t see myself voting for a Democrat any time in the foreseeable future. That party has been so co-opted by socialism that any hope they’d be palatable to someone who believes in free markets seems slim indeed.

3) Libertarianism just ain’t that popular to begin with.

By which Welch means that the left doesn’t need to worry about gaining libertarian support. Sadly, I think this is true as well.

Related Posts:

Should Libertarians Leave The GOP ?
Brock Lindsey’s “Liberaltarianism”
F.A. Hayes On Conservatives vs. Classical Liberals

  • Eric Dondero

    All these people pushing the “libertarian Democrat” idea need to answer one question:

    How is it that more libertarians were elected to public offices at all levels this year running as Republicans?

    Four libertarians were elected as Governors alone: Palin in AK, Sanford in SC, Crist in FL, and Otter in ID. That’s a record!

    At the precise time when the Republican Liberty Caucus (libertarian wing of the GOP) is more organized, has more influence, and has experienced more success than ever before, some libertarians want to throw in the towel?

    Ron Paul is a former Libertarian Party Presidential candidate. He is now a Republican Congressman from Texas. Show me please the Democrat version of Ron Paul?

    List of elected libertarian Republicans at

  • Eric Dondero

    Let me humbly disagree with you on your assertion that Libertarians only get elected to Soil & Water Boards. That’s Libertarian Party, NOT Republican Liberty Caucus.

    The RLC regularly elects its backed candidates to offices at all levels. There’s hundreds of libertarian Republicans now serving in public office. Complete list at

    And incidentally, my friends in the Libertarian Party occasionally do have some successes. Sara Chambers is a Libertarian and just won for Juneau City Council in Alaska. And the LP just elected a guy named “Firecracker” to the Ocean View School Board in California.

    So, they too have some good wins every now and then.