What a Mess: Conservatism and Libertarianism
This article is part of an ongoing series exploring the tensions between, coalitions within, and futures of conservatism and libertarianism. We are looking at ideas that divide conservatives and libertarians, as well as ideas that bring them together.
Last week I made a confession:
Social conservatives accuse me of being too libertarian, libertarians accuse me of being too socially conservative. My political affiliation on Facebook used to be "free-market capitalist," but then I changed it to simply "freedom." A libertarian friend of mine once told me that I just don't like labels that have any "meaning," which might make me a Type 4, according to Mr. Carter's typology—a Christian who is really a conservative, but doesn't like the label conservative.
I said that "The differences between conservatism and libertarianism are details through which I have been sorting for years," and I resolved to dedicate my Tuesday column to the tensions between, coalitions within, and futures of conservatism and libertarianism.
We are going to look at ideas that divide conservatives and libertarians, as well as ideas that bring them together. We are going to look at arguments for fusionism, and listen to voices who vote for separation. We are going to read interesting books, talk to key people, and throw in some cultural commentary along the way.
People have to ask these questions. I have to ask these questions, because asking these questions is taking a risk with what I believe. It makes some of my most closely held ideas vulnerable. Guest writing for SingleRoots.com on the topic "career and adventure" I said:
There is something about risking everything that builds character. I am a better person, with more flavorful experiences, and more deeply held convictions than I would have otherwise been if I didn’t take that risk. [You'll have to read the post to find out what risk I was talking about!]
You're right—it sounds so messy. It's going to get uncomfortable, and we'll probably get all turned around—like spelunking through a creedal cave with speculative stalactites of philosophy bearing down on us and skeletons of our ideas scattered about. Writing expert Jeff Goins says that this is good:
Often, we want to wait for perfection before pursuing our craft. We want to clean the desk before going to work. To empty our inbox before we begin writing. But often, this is just stalling.
If we’re waiting for perfect, we’re kidding ourselves. Life is messy. And if we’re going to do meaningful work, we’re going to have to enter the mess.
So let's enter the mess that is going to be this column. If you are interested in the areas of conservatism and libertarianism, please join the conversation. You can leave a comment with a question or an idea below—there are already some great ones on post "On the Right Side of the Schism."