Rick Santorum, after his recent wins in Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri; appears to be the GOP frontrunner. If you look at Santorum’s record and rhetoric, he would appear to be the  best fit for the Republican Party. Indeed, it is almost hard now not to imagine a scenario where Santorum is not the nominee. However, if the GOP decides to nominates him, it will put an end to the fiction that the GOP is a limited government party. It will also put an end to what is left of the conservative-libertarian alliance.

Santorum is the only candidate running for president who is openly hostile to libertarianism. Santorum’s record is abysmal on fiscal issues. He voted for the Medicare prescription drug entitlement, No Child Left Behind, numerous earmarks and pork barrel projects, voted against NAFTA and is generally opposed to free trade. His proposals on foreign aid have won praise from Bono, the rest of the Third World poverty pimps, and their allied Tranzi NGOs. The Sweater Vest also wants to maintain a tax code that is riddled full of deductions and loopholes rewarding selected constituencies, instead of proposing a simpler system that is fairer to all.  Rick Santorum, far from being the next Reagan, appears to be a compassionate conservative in the mold of George W. Bush. Finally, Rick Santorum last summer in a speech declared war on libertarians.

In a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg last summer, Santorum declared, “I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.”

This begs the simple question, why should we libertarians be politically aligned with people who hate us? If the GOP nominates Rick Santorum, it is a signal to libertarians that their votes and support are not wanted by the Republican Party. What I would love to know from my conservative friends is how they plan on defeating Barack Obama without us?

Conservatism and libertarianism are political cousins spawning from the common tree of classical liberalism. The first split was over the French Revolution when Thomas Jefferson was a supporter and Edmund Burke warned that the French Revolution was going to devolve into mass murder and tyranny because the revolutionaries were trying to remake French society. History proved Edmund Burke right in the end. Long story short, Edmund Burke is considered an intellectual father of Anglo-American conservatism and Thomas Jefferson is a major libertarian influence. While at the same time, classical liberals still proudly claim both men. Indeed classical liberals understand that conservatism and libertarianism really need each other. Conservatism needs the ideals of liberty in addition to just defending tradition whereas libertarianism need the respect of tradition and the historical perspective that conservatism offers to moderate its own excesses. It’s an alliance that has generally worked since the Cold War, with some exceptions.

However, as conservatives have decided that libertarian ideas are no longer welcome, we’re seeing the rebirth of conservative statism, aka compassionate conservatism. Conservatism is more interested in waging culture wars against what they see as the “secular progressive agenda” than restraining the size and scope of government. Indeed, conservative statists want to expand the government to “promote the family” and “rebuild American industry” among other goals. Basically, they want to engage in the same social engineering they decry progressives for doing.

The best institutions for defending and rebuilding the family and marriage, promoting fatherhood, and indeed rebuilding the basic moral fiber of the nation; which the Financial Crisis has shown is very weak, is the church and civil society in general. These are private institutions that are not subject to the corrupting influences of politics and government. Indeed, these goals are so vitally important that conservatives and libertarians alike should resist transferring them to the same government that screwed up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and screws up Amtrak and the Postal Service. Finally, these ideals and goals should be universal goals and in a pluralistic society, government cannot be the moral conscience of the nation.

Rick Santorum by his words and deeds has shown he cannot be the president of all Americans. Ultimately, you have to accept the way things are, not that way we want them to be and with that in mind, he is too divisive and too narrow minded to serve a pluralistic society of many different religious beliefs and cultures. By rejecting the impulse to limit his potential power, he proves himself to be every bit of a social engineer as Barack Obama is. There is no way libertarians can support a Santorum candidacy and there is probably no way libertarians can ever trust conservatives again if he is the nominee. That ultimately means, there is no way libertarians or conservatives will ever have influence on government again.

Choose wisely my Republican friends, choose wisely.

Advertisements