There’s a lot of talk these days about a split in the republican party on the horizon. On first examination that split seems to be coming between the conservative and moderate (establishment) wings of the party. On closer examination this isn’t the case. It’s actually a three way split. There is a growing libertarian wing of the republican party that is dissatisfied with both other wings, and the triangle is completely reciprocal. This leaves the republican party endlessly shooting each other in the foot.
Conservatives find libertarian social policies unacceptable. Libertarians think conservatives are busybodies, and the “moderate establishment” don’t make anybody happy because they talk limited government but promote big government.
We need a place to start because this divide is exactly what makes progressives salivate, and progressives are totally unacceptable to all three. So what do all three groups have in common and at least claim to be for? Well they all claim to want small government, but it seems to me they want small government the way they want it. Social issues are an anchor placed around the neck of both conservatives and libertarians. The progressives use that anchor to the detriment of both wings by using them as a wedge to split an otherwise conservative voting block.
Whether conservatives and libertarians can form a consensus and coalition either inside or outside the republican party remains to be seen. To do this both sides have to realize where the driving forces come from that divide. Conservatives have to recognize the pressures to inject social issues into politics coming from their pulpit may not be in the overall best interest of their political future, and libertarians will be forced to realize that the views they hold on social issues are of and come from progressive influences within their ranks. From the professors podium right to their ears.
There is pragmatic middle ground to be had and it can come under a fiscally responsible limited government umbrella that doesn’t require anyone to compromise principles. Lets see if we can figure it out.