Since joining FOX and beyond his departure from the station, Glenn Beck has reexamined his views on a variety of matters. Lately he has taken to referring to himself as a libertarian. This has caused a “more-libertarian-than-thou” backlash, with people stating Beck cannot possibly be a libertarian because of X or Y.
As a long-time Glenn Beck listener, I have witnessed how Beck’s views have shifted over the years. Once a supporter of the PATRIOT Act and foreign aid, he now admonishes the police state and even believes in cutting foreign aid to Israel. Glenn Beck stated that he wants the government out of marriage entirely. He has gone so far as to mention that the government should stop jailing people for marijuana offenses since there are more important issues to worry about. Beck even did a segment recommending the works of Hayek and Rand. This was long before Glenn Beck ever uttered the “l word”.
At the 2013 International Students for Liberty Conference, Alexander McCobin mocked the idea of Glenn Beck being a libertarian. In response, Beck used the words “Nazi”, “fascist”, and suggested that McCobin thinks he’s “God”. Beck was probably referring to the Nazi-esque element of libertarians asserting themselves as superior to others, the fascist-esque aspect of libertarians promoting an all-or-nothing ideology, and the “God”-like omniscience many libertarians hold as if they are the sole determiners of who is a libertarian and who is not.
In his rebuttal, McCobin stated that libertarianism is not related to economic conservatism or social conservatism. What is anti-libertarian about allowing for people to conserve their money and conserve their values, free from government interference? There is nothing anti-libertarian about believing the government is the biggest threat to the traditional way of life. Conservatives and libertarians both agree that the government is the enemy.
This back-and-forth has culminated in Glenn Beck inviting Jack Hunter and Zak Slayback to speak on his Blaze show. As a gesture of gratitude, Beck provided access to The Blaze so that Young Americans for Liberty members could listen to his discussion. Hunter and Beck dominated the conversation with an actual dialogue about the proper role of government. Meanwhile, Slayback interjected to say that conservatism and libertarianism are two entirely contrasting philosophies (Slayback even audibly sighed at one point). Though unable to articulate exactly where conservatism and libertarianism diverge other than a few strawmen, Slayback seemed content to state that libertarianism and conservatism are not alike.
Insulting individuals who are interested in becoming more libertarian, saying they need to repent for all of their past sins and worship at the altar of the One True Libertarian, is not a way to grow a movement. Oddly enough, Slayback and the Students for Liberty crowd have spent a lot of time appealing to the leftists, striving for a left-libertarian alliance. Rather than appealing to conservatives—probably because they don’t have the sexy beliefs to attract the “student” movement—Slayback and others have attempted to build an impossible bridge connecting the economic ignorance of liberals with libertarianism. Instead of realizing that conservatives share values with libertarians, and admitting conservatives generally tend to vote in more pro-liberty manners than liberals, the libertarian movement has decided to kick conservatives out of the secret, exclusive club. Some of the zealots in the witch-hunt against conservatives have even gone so far as to disown Rand Paul for endorsing Mitt Romney, attack Ron Paul for being a pro-life Christian, and smear Lew Rockwell for the paleo-conservative strategy. A man who literally came up with a strategy to get libertarians more viability has come under fire for attempting to give the movement prominence. Why? Because he has conservative beliefs and understood libertarians should align with conservatives.
Not only do the people in the libertarian movement need a major attitude readjustment, but they need to realize the survival of libertarianism and conservatism are intrinsically linked. Without a libertarian government, conservatism’s institutions cannot exist. Without conservatives in office, libertarianism does not stand a chance on the national stage. Libertarians and conservatives agree on the general philosophy of reducing the size and scope of the government. Libertarians and conservatives realize the economic problems that America faces are real. Libertarianism and conservatives understand that the government is the biggest threat to their liberty. Libertarians and conservatives both want the government to let them be in their affairs.
The libertarian movement has become an intellectual circle jerk in which people sit around getting off on how pure they are. Things as trivial as a person’s religious views, or being against drug usage, have become enough to disqualify someone from being a True Libertarian. Issues with absolutely no relevance to political philosophy have dominated, and personalities become more important than issues. The condescending, elitist behavior from libertarians surely proves that the students who have appointed themselves as the deciders of all things liberty have a lot of growing up to do. If libertarianism wants to succeed, the libertarian movement should welcome conservatives, especially mainstream conservative figures with large media followings, with open arms. A fighter for liberty is a fighter for liberty. Ultimately, you can’t win a war of ideas with an army of one.
Ashley, you said:
Conservatives and libertarians both agree that the government is the enemy.
Libertarians and conservatives agree on the general philosophy of reducing the size and scope of the government.
You couldn’t be more far from the truth with this statement. Conservatism is about maintaining the status quo, about retaining traditional values and morals, and about USING THE GOVERNMENT TO ENFORCE THEM.
Imagine, for a moment, Republicans winning all 535 House and Senate seats, and the Presidency. What do you think they would do with this carte blanche power?
Do you think they would work to repeal government intrusions into human rights? Would the border’s 100-mile-Constitution-free zone, established by Homeland Security?
Would they maintain the strict separation of Church and State, especially in places like public schools?
Would they fight for gay or polyamorous marriages to be legally recognized?
Would they fight Internet censorship?
Would they end extrajudicial drone killings by order of the President?
Would they close Guantanamo to help ensure that habeus corpus, the right to a speedy and fair trial and other basic freedoms were protected for everyone in American custody, and not just Americans?
Would they work to end Selective Service?
Would they pass a law to abolish the socialized healthcare program Medicare?
Would they balance the budget?
Would they fight corporate agri-giants like Monsanto?
Would they fight to end the Federal Reserve and return to a commodity-based currency, such as the gold standard?
If you think the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you’re living in fucking La-la land. And if you think the answer to all these questions is no, and you still think conservatives and libertarians are somehow natural allies, then you’re living in La-la land already and you just didn’t realize where you were.
Conservatives are not anti-government. They never have been. They are anti-progressive/liberal-governments. They are very much in favor of big, rightwing governments. Progressives and conservatives have far more in common with each other than either side does with libertarians, because they are both statists at heart. Conservatives don’t hate the government. They love it. They worship at the altar of the Presidency. Their favorite President is Lincoln, the guy who was willing to sacrifice 600,000 American lives to preserve the Union.
They aren’t pro-freedom. They hate freedom of speech. They’d first get to work passing laws to silence folks like Fred Phelps. Then they’d make critizing the president and troops during wartime a crime. Do you not understand that pro-freedom groups have had to fight tooth and nail AGAINST conservatives for the past 100+ years to protect our basic rights?
I would think the unifying argument for ‘Libertarians’, ‘Conservatives’ and other convenient labels; would be stop government spending.
Shut it off. Shut it all down. Otherwise, this country is doomed and all this quibbling over the boundaries as to who is what and what is important and what is not, will make no difference when the fall occurs because we will all be worried about scavenging for food in the ruins of this once great country.
Though I am usually against 1 topic voting, I am making an exception in this case. I would vote for extreme LEFT WING CRAZIES if they had as a platform to not only balance the budget, but create a federal surplus. Now mind you that is an oxymoron and would never occur, but anyone who knows me would instantly understand how extreme I view this problem
Where to cut? ALL free money handouts (no ‘worky’, no money):
All Social Security (Face it, its a bankrupt Ponzi Scheme)
All Medicare & Medicaid (same category as above)
All the up and coming ‘Universal Health Care’
All Food Stamps
etc… You get the idea.
So, how do you do this as cutting as all this ‘Cold Turkey’ will probably leave our Urban Libtard Centers in flames?
With the 28th Amendment:
“All persons over the age of 18 taking ANY form of government aid shall be declared a DEPENDENT of the State (thus the people) and will FORFEIT their right to VOTE for x years after the last payment was given.”
Accepting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Welfare, National Endowment of the Arts, etc… will ALL come under this Amendment (Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. We know that now. Its gotta go).
When the politicians no longer get votes for giving out free money, it will then fall under their own… conscience… to decide whether to expand these programs or not. But it will no longer be used to buy votes from the great unwashed.
In essence the Dependent Class become children again (which they are, by definitions absent of their age). Cared for by us. The Adults who pay our own way (What family out there allows their children to have a say in the financial policy of the parents running the home – besides the United States of America. Anyone? Anyone?)
True, though people will STILL have the option for free money,food, social and psychiatric help, I am certain that the new batch of politicians voted in will – out of the kindness of their …hearts… – will have the conscience to ensure that these newly forfeited non-voters will get the proper help they need (Well the Conservative politicans at least, but I am not so sure about the Liberals – though I must say they should be especially thankful that they are born non-voters, being that abortion only applies to the first 3 trimesters of dependency. At least, for now.)
Though the Democrat party may cease to exist if this Bill is passed, I am certain they may find work better suited for their mindset.
Like a … sheep herder or a Stock Yard foreman or a Cattle Car Cowboy or a Zookeeper for all those exotic and smelly specimens of the OWS subspecies that we have Free-Ranging in our country today..
(Though I posted this on Bill Whittles Fanpage, it really does apply.)
People will still get there ‘Free’ Stuff for a while, but it no longer is a power base – just like the unborn infants and adolescents under 18.
I’m certain that this madness will be quickly curtailed once the 28th Amendment occurs.
…and here’s a breakdown of the budget. compliments of Bill Whittle.
THE VOTE PUMP
Its funny how no politician breaks things down so simply. but when the truth is laid bare as stark and Bill does, it should leave anyone with the cold gut-level feeling of how bad things really are.
Your blog is quickly rising in my ranks. This addresses one of my biggest issues with the holier than thou libertarians… Need a little bit of open mindedness if we want the philosophy to grow. Crucifying those who show interest is no way to gain ground.
Cheers- keep up the good work.
Liberty for all
Very well said. I didn’t used to care for Beck but you make good points, and I’ve definitely noticed that he’s been more inclined towards libertarianism over the years.