Whither Libertarians?

Stephen Yearwood
2 min readSep 20, 2023
Photo by Vinayak Sharma on Unsplash

Libertarians have become the most significant single group in our politics (in the U.S.). Whether they continue to side with the Republican Party or not when it comes time to cast a ballot will decide our political fate.

In the past I have characterized libertarians as ‘Republicans who want to legalize pot’. The insanity that has engulfed that political Party has forced me to abandon that caricature. Libertarians are not lunatics — nor are they crusaders out to force all people to live their lives ‘according to the Bible’.

Libertarianism in this country has always been defined by two broad objectives: minimizing government and maximizing personal liberty. Historically, they have presumed that less government was the surest means of promoting more liberty.

The Republican Party has been keen to promote itself as the champion of liberty. It has always wanted ‘small government’ in the sense of less regulation of business by government. That has made libertarians and the Republican Party natural allies (even though that Party has also always sought maximal aid and comfort for business from government — a not-so-libertarian goal).

Of late, however, the Republican Party has become the Party of dictation. It has become the Party of using government to regulate the most private parts of every person’s life: gender and sexuality. Even more, with their crusade against ‘wokism’* Republicans are seeking to criminalize liberalism.

The question is whether libertarians will be willing to continue to vote for Republicans, knowing that to vote that way is to vote for the regulation of people’s private lives and even personal values.

Libertarians do not have to vote Democrat to make all the difference. They only have to abstain. They can effectively do that while still exercising their right to vote by voting for more libertarian third-party candidates or even by writing-in names of people who aren’t on the ballot. If they continue to vote Republican, though, they will be committing moral suicide.

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*‘Wokism’ is nothing but a means of forming a tangible target for these newfangled ‘conservatives’ in the ‘culture war’ they insist must be waged against anyone who believes differently than they do.

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Stephen Yearwood

unaffiliated, non-ideological, unpaid: M.A. in political economy (where philosophy and economics intersect) with a focus in money/distributive justice