Is a Conservative Libertarian Alliance Possible?

In a recent column on American Greatness entitled “The Choice Facing Libertarians,” I argued that libertarians ought to stop supporting third-party candidates and join our side in an effort to stand up to the Left. In response, writing for Reason, this was the substance of libertarian author Steven Greenhut’s rebuttal. He claimed that while conservatives and libertarians have been allies on many issues in the past, “now we’re like residents of different planets.”

Maybe. A lot of the issues that joined conservatives and libertarians in the past have not gone away. As Greenhut acknowledged, during the Cold War, conservatives and libertarians agreed on the dangers of Soviet expansionism. They differed on how much that justified empowering the American security agencies. They agreed to fight progressive assaults on property rights, but disagreed on some major details, such as making asset forfeiture a tool in the war on drugs.

How much has changed? Where there was the Soviet Union, now there is China. Where there was cocaine and crack, how there’s methamphetamine and fentanyl. These problems, which Greenhut cites as examples, are bigger threats today than they were a generation ago.

It is impossible to explore the growing rift between populist conservatives and libertarians without discussing Trump’s role. Are libertarians, like Never Trumpers, putting Trump’s rhetoric and style in front of his policies? Have they examined Trump’s policies in their entirety, or selectively chosen what they see as his major transgressions because they don’t like him? To explore that question, […] Read More