The Death Of Libertarianism? - Liberal Resistance

The Death Of Libertarianism?

By Michael Jay Tucker

There’s an interesting article over in The Washington Post by Fareed Zakaria, The Reagan revolution is officially over. In it, Zakaria analyzes the departure of Paul Ryan and concludes that “the exit of the Wisconsin Republican … symbolizes a broad shift that has taken place within the party. It marks the end of the Reagan revolution.”

Basically, he says Ryan represented the GOP of Ronald Reagan, that is, a business-friendly, indeed, almost libertarian party “advocating free markets, free trade, limited government and an enthusiastic internationalism that promoted democracy abroad.” But now, he says, that’s over. There’s a new GOP in town, and it is interested in macho toughness on an international level, isolationism, the repression of uppity minorities and women, and an anti-immigrant, anti-foreigner domestic policy.

The line that interests me the most in the piece, though, is as follows, “Libertarianism, it turned out, was an ideology with many leaders — Republican senators, governors, think-tankers — but very few followers.”

If true, then that is an extraordinary thing. For as long as I can personally remember, libertarianism was the up and coming ideology of the Right. It was the creed of all those of rebellious nature…whether Ayn Rand-reading high school students or Neo-Conservative scholars reacting to the excesses of the 1960s…from the early 1970s right to the present.

But, now, it seems that ideological groundswell was more show than substance. Conservatism accepted libertarians into its ranks because they provided a youthful energy and an intellectual vigor that the movement otherwise lacked. However, for the real Right, it was only a marriage of convenience. Or maybe even less than that. Not a union at all. Ayn Rand was the mistress, but never the wife.

The real Right was committed to other things entirely—like race, and nationalism, and, xenophobia, and most of all, abiding resentment and deadly hate.

All rather sad.

I wonder what they will do, the libertarians, now that they’ve found they were never really wanted…

Only used.

And now discarded.

Without a backward glance.