Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

May 21, 2013

Quote of the Day: Unequal Treaty Edition

by Stephen Littau

For those of you who have not seen this yet, there is a really important debate about libertarian/conservative “fusionism” at Cato Unbound. Among the essays responding to the lead essay authored by Jacqueline Otto is Jeremy Kolassa’s essay entitled: An Unequal Treaty.

Here is one excerpt from his essay explaining why fusionism has failed to deliver more liberty:

In her opening essay, Jacqueline Otto makes several points about where libertarians and conservatives converge. But notice the elephant in the room: social issues. At no point in her essay does she write about gay marriage, drug legalization, civil liberties, feminism, or even foreign policy or immigration […]

[…]

For libertarians, this is a question of the individual’s right to rule his or her own life. That is, after all, what liberty is about. For a conservative, society to a great extent rules a person’s life. It is not always a question what the individual wants, but of what is right for the community. The community, in turn, is built on centuries-old traditions. Allowing gay marriage would break these traditions, which is why most conservatives are denouncing it as rampant immorality. Viewed in this light, conservatives are really just the other side of the progressive coin. Both put the community in charge.

As long as conservatives wish to use the machinery of the state to enforce their moral code, fusionism will be doomed and the so-called progressives will continue to prevail. Alliances with conservatives need to be formed but we libertarians can no longer accept this unequal treaty, as Kolassa describes it (and quite accurately, I might add).

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  • MingoV

    This topic keeps recurring. I read about it on two different web sites last year, and now it crops up on Cato Unbound. We do not need to ‘gain’ influence by partnering with political groups with whom we disagree on 75% of the issues.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    I’m not as concerned with the social issues as most. I obviously come down on the libertarian side on those issues, and think some of the folks in the Republican party are backwards-ass bigots. But I don’t worry about that as much because demographics are going to win that debate for us. SoCon Republicans may hold up their bibles like their shit don’t stank, but the country is becoming increasingly tolerant, increasingly non-religious, and they’re already getting marginalized. Those folks now HURT the Republican brand, not help it. So they’re going to learn, and quickly, that they can talk a big game but they’ll never have the power to do legislate how they want.

    No, what concerns me is that Jacqueline Otto holds up conservative economic values as if the self-proclaimed conservatives actually ELECTED to office were interested in upholding them. Republicans weren’t interested in fiscal conservatism when Reagan and the elder Bush were in office, and completely abandoned fiscal conservatism when Bush-43 was in charge. They seem to be in favor of fiscal conservatism when a Democrat is in the White House, but never when their own party holds the Oval Office.

    Why should I be interested in a coalition with a party that disgusts me on social issues and only pays lip service to fiscal conservatism but doesn’t live up to their billing when they get elected?

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    I agree, the demographics will win the debate on the social issues no matter how much the SoCons complain. Personally, I don’t want to be associated with them any more than necessary.

    As for the idea of fusionism, I’m not in favor of fusing with a party but I’m more than willing to build alliances/coalitions with individuals of either party on an issue-by-issue basis. As far as broader coalitions are concerned, I might even favor teaming up with a Rand Paul, a Mike Lee, or a Justin Amash as there are quite a few issues they are right on (although, I’m a little concerned that Rand Paul is getting too cozy with the SoCons…he’s not nearly as principled as his father).

    The main thing is that we should never assume the GOP or conservatives are going to advance the ball in a pro-liberty direction even if they say the right things. It’s about their actions.

  • http://e-vigilance.blogspot.com ricketson

    Hi Stephen, this is related to a prior conversation we had (where I cannot comment anymore).

    You may be interested in this article, which has gained some attention in the mainstream press:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50563/abstract;jsessionid=5C607925ACA508C253F9B6F2C40B6422.d04t04

    Basically, they claim to have calculated how much of global greening is due to CO2 fertilization.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/ Stephen Littau

    Thanks for the link, Ricketson. BTW, I have no control over when the comments are closed.

  • http://e-vigilance.blogspot.com Ricketson

    No problem.
    I figured that the comments are closed after a set period of time in order to minimize comment spam. Have a good one.

  • http://thelibertypapers.org/ Brad Warbiany

    Correct. Comments are automatically closed after 30 days to reduce targets for spammers.

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