Are libertarians Republicans? Some think not
by Roger Hines
March 24, 2013 12:00 AM | 2596 views | 17 17 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cobb County GOP Chairman Joe Dendy wasn’t ambiguous in a Marietta Daily Journal article March 12. He stated unequivocally that libertarians want control of the county party.

A businessman and former Vietnam War Army captain, Dendy is a lifelong Republican. He contends that state Rep. Charles Gregory (R-Marietta) and Oleg Ivutin, who received 102 votes for chairman at the recent county convention, are not Republicans. According to the article, he also claims that Gregory, Ivutin, and other Ron Paul supporters have infiltrated the party because they cannot achieve success through the Libertarian party.

These claims deserve consideration. They also raise legitimate questions that could provide context for the dispute. For instance, what are the differences between Republicans and libertarians? Why are so many youths and young adults drawn to the libertarian view? Why don’t Gregory, Ivutin, and Ron Paul jump squarely into the Libertarian Party rather than straddling two parties?

Responding to Dendy’s claims, Rep. Gregory wrote in the MDJ on Thursday, March 14 that “the near entirety” of Ivutin’s supporters have never been affiliated with the Libertarian Party. Gregory never said that he and Ivutin’s other supporters weren’t Libertarians. Most people who vote Republican and Democrat don’t actually identify with those two parties either, except when they enter the voting booth, so with that remark Gregory was a bit crafty.

All political parties have a philosophical foundation. Republicans have always championed Jefferson’s love of personal liberty; Democrats have always leaned toward Alexander Hamilton’s views of a strong central government. But where on this spectrum do libertarians stand? What or who is their philosophical foundation? Whom do they read and quote?

Her name is Ayn Rand, guru of America’s growing number of 20-something and 30-something Libertarians. Unlike most anti-statists, Rand was an atheist and a vicious one at that. To her, reason was the only absolute. Born in 1905 in Czarist Russia to a middle class Jewish family, Rand was 12 when the Bolsheviks took over her native city, St. Petersburg, forcing her family to leave the city.

From this experience, which brought her family poverty and hunger, Rand developed a hatred of Russian tyranny and of authority in general. In 1926 she immigrated to America and became a writer. Universities normally disregard her books, but this hasn’t kept teens and young adults from discovering her bestsellers, “The Fountainhead” (1943), “Atlas Shrugged” (1957), and “The Virtue of Selfishness” (1962). As all of her books illustrate, Rand’s credo, in her own words, was “fanatical individualism.”

Resisting the tag “Libertarian,” but embracing its tenets, Rand promoted what she called “rational selfishness.” Some of her most famous disciples are former Federal Reserve System Chairman Alan Greenspan, Fox Network’s John Stoessel and Ron Paul.

With Rand’s prolific writings and the youthful excitement she generates, why haven’t Libertarians been able to build a viable party? This question is relevant to Dendy’s argument. In the 3/12 article, Dendy referred to “the mentality of this generation,” and to “the young guys” who have come into the party. Since two of his county officers are very young men, and since every county party committee contains very young adults, the chairman could not have been arguing against the inclusion of young people per se, but against young people who don’t hold Republican views.

Most likely, Libertarianism appeals to youth because of its Rand-like, libertine views on pot (legalize it), abortion (ignore it), marriage (make no laws whatsoever concerning it) or national defense (ignore Iran). Not exactly Republican positions.

At the recent GOP convention, I was pleased to meet Gregory and Ivutin. I expressed to Ivutin my admiration for his personal victory over Soviet tyranny and his entrepreneurial success in America. His achievements notwithstanding, his characterization to me of Chairman Dendy as an exclusionist was false.

Republicans desire and must have young people, but Republican young people, not Democrats, Greens, or libertarians either, if what they are after is an existing structure they can’t build themselves.

Dendy would be on solid ground to argue that before one runs for leadership, he should stack some chairs, make phone calls for candidates, help serve some barbeque and not just show up at the county convention to challenge those who have been doing all the grunt work. Oh yeah, it’s nice if those seeking to lead a party would support that party’s nominee for president.

Socialists generally attach themselves to the Democratic Party, and oh, have they influenced it lately! Since Republicanism has a libertarian strain, libertarians see an opportunity for attachment also.

I say, “Come one and all to the party, but don’t bring stuff that people at the party don’t eat, don’t tell the host that you intend to take over his house, and don’t ask for leadership you haven’t earned.”

Roger Hines of Kennesaw is a retired high school teacher and former state legislator.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
April 30, 2013
Abortion, "ignore it"? . Most liberty Republicans I know are pro-life. Ron Paul certainly is.
Mark Wickens
March 25, 2013
Where did Ayn Rand ever describe her view as “fanatical individualism”?
Joseph Pond
March 25, 2013
Conveniently, the author left GOP darling Paul Ryan off of his list of Ayn Rand supporters~ of course, that would not support his absurd notion. I support Freedom for the people and smaller Government, simply put~ I would also like to see those with libertarian ideas support the Libertarian Party. It would also be nice to see a intelligent article in the MDJ on the Libertarian Party, and on libertarian philosophy, so that their readers could make informed opinions.
March 25, 2013
They are not.

The reverse is especially true.
March 25, 2013
If you're wondering why the Republicans lost the popular vote in 5 out of the past 6 presidential elections... if you're wondering why the Republicans only have the House through gerrymandering... if you're wondering why most party neutral political experts predict that the Republicans will continue to lose ground, all you have to do is read this article.
March 25, 2013
Do we think the founding fathers "earned" their dues in the eyes of the tyrants of the day?

Our Natural Rights on there whether those tyrants want it or not and we are "entitled" to from birth. Implying that some practicality should slow us down in our defense thereof is shameful! Not to mention that as much as one should apply the Golden Rule whatever the circumstance (young or old), time & work is not automatically a specification to be respected.

I don't respect the time or work that was used to infringe or others Rights & unfortunately there has been time & work within the Republican party to do just that.

That being said if we free ourselves from the chains of the party allegiance system those who want to embrace true morality don't have to see that as an intrinsic problem.
Lone Voice
March 24, 2013
libertine views on pot (legalize it), abortion (ignore it), marriage (make no laws whatsoever concerning it) or national defense (ignore Iran).

I don't think the author understands the Liberty view on any of these issues.

While some in the liberty movement want to have Pot legalized outright, I think the majority just want to Federal Government out of the drug business.

Regarding Abortion, Libertarians want to ignore it. Liberty Republicans want the issue to not be decided at the federal level, but to let states decide.

Concerning Marriage, both Republicans and Libertarians should both agree that the government has no business intervening in interpersonal relationships. Marriage has been since time began a religious institution which the US gov't only started meddling in about 200 years ago as a way to control slaves.

Liberty supporters feel Iran is only a threat to us because of our pre-emptive strike. If we leave them alone and focus on securing our borders they will be little threat from them.

Jeff Hines
March 29, 2013
For those of you having a hard time with this... Pot is not medicine. Abortion is murder. Marriage is between a man and a woman.
John K.
March 24, 2013
Mr. Hines,

Could you please tell me what Republicans stand for? I was under the impression they stood for constitutional government, low taxes, and minimal intrusion in our daily lives. What we are actually getting from the Republican party is unconstitutional wars, insane spending, and a government legislation of our morality.

You brought up Iran but didn't offer any solutions there. I'm guessing you think we should bomb Iran and Libertarians would probably be okay with that as long as you can get Congress to declare know, like the Constitution says it has to be done. But that probably wouldn't suit you because those pesky folks in Congress take WAY to long to decide on things and we need to be dropping some bombs! So on that issue we should sidestep the Constitution shouldn't we?

Mr. Jensen
March 24, 2013
If anyone wants to know what is wrong with the Republican Party, its sentiment like this.

"Not very smart" is the man who says he believes in Jefferson's ideas of personal liberty, yet discredits libertarians for supporting true personal liberty policies. He'd be a special breed of authortarian.... Socalist-lite if you will.

Harry Hagan
March 24, 2013
A terrific piece, as usual. I learned some things, and now see some things a bit differently; thanks!
East Cobb Senior
March 24, 2013
Roger, I commented on the article by Charles Gregory and tried to make the same points about earning acceptance and supporting the ultimate Party nominee. Almost without exception, the replies to my comment were hostile, demeaning, dismissive and defensive. They were very similar in tone and content to the comments posted to Joe Dendy’s article. One would have to surmise that the same individuals were involved.

What I find somewhat disturbing is a trend toward an attitude of entitlement among many of our younger generation. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard the statement “they think they should start at the top”. The idea of paying ones “dues” while climbing the latter of success seems to be an alien concept to all too many of our youth. I’m not trying to paint all our young with the same broad brush, but to make the point of, those that earn and have sacrificed have a much greater appreciation for what they have and where they are than those that simply were given. Whether this perceived attitude can be traced to “Baby Boomer” parents simply “giving” with little expectation of “earning” is open for debate and not the subject of the article.

I do believe our future is in our young, but our young should not succumb to liberal academia propaganda and indoctrination that “education” is a total substitute for wisdom and experience. Education provides the foundation upon which wisdom and experience is gained, throughout life. If Messer’s Gregory and Ivutin and their supporters truly want to assimilate into the Republican Party and not simply use the Party as a surrogate or subterfuge for their libertarian orthodoxy, they should reach out to the leadership, participate and not simply castigate.

Contrary to their perception of non-inclusiveness, a label both the Democrats and the Ron Paul factions have tried to ascribe to Republicans, the Party does welcome new members and ideas. However, those that do wish to participate must understand, it is a Party of Principles; Smaller Government, Personal Responsibility, Lower Taxes, Strong National Defense and Equal Opportunity. It will not cede these to the ideologies of Ayn Rand’s “Rational Selfishness”, or the Liberal Democrats, “Universal Government Entitlements”, “Wealth Redistribution” and “Equal Outcomes”.

boomer skepticism
March 25, 2013
I think Baby Boomers need to take a long, hard look in the mirror before slighting the younger generation's sense of responsibility. The Boomers received the greatest inter-generational transfer of wealth in the history of the human race in the form of their parents inheritance, and are now presiding over the greatest inter-generational transfer of public debt in the history of the human race, as they slide off the rolls of the tax payer and into the role of Takers of social security and medicare - programs who's funding they've been loaning back to themselves in the form of debt funded tax breaks their entire professional lives.

The young have a right to be angry. They're just now waking up to the fact that it's not a class war, it's a generation war they didn't realize they were even fighting, and they've almost lost.
Chris Long
April 07, 2013
"the replies to my comment were hostile, demeaning, dismissive and defensive"...It's odd that you dismiss Libertarians, yet feel take on a victim mentality when called on it. Funny that a professed republican would employee decidedly "progressive" tactic of playing the victim.

& please explain the comments in your last paragraph. I would love to hear specifics on how inclusive the GOP is. Sure, you welcome new members, as long as they assimilate & subscribe to the GOP platform.

The GOP wants smaller government? You must mean, slightly smaller government than the expansive growth of government that democrats want? & lower taxes? Seriously? This again, must mean slightly lower taxes than the democrats want. & even if the GOP truly wants lower taxes, they make up for it with increased borrowing. Personal responsibility? Yeah, right, only if someone conforms to your ideas/ideals. & if you want to talk about "the liberal democrats "Universal Government Entitlements"", would you care to explain & defend the endless corporate subsidies & bailouts that the GOP pushes &/or supports? Strong national defense? This mighty be the biggest laugher of all. The GOP wants a strong INTERNATIONAL OFFENSE, which comes at the expense of a strong national defense. This is why we have expensive military installations and initiatives all over the globe. But b/c Libertarians would scale back (hopefully phase out) this international offense & ACTUALLY implement a strong national DEFENSE, GOP supporters (in a deliberate misrepresentation of Libertarian policy...again w/the "progressive" tactics) claim we are "isolationists". So, please enlighten us all as to the principles the GOP stands for that make it "a Party of Principles"? & while you're at it, check out the LP'll see right there on top that we are "The Party of Principle".

-- & PS, you shouldn't be so quick to right off Libertarians. Despite getting eventually getting swallowed up by the GOP machine, the GOP's God, Ronald Reagan, professed many Libertarian principles. Even while expanding government & the debt, he still spoke widely of Libertarian principles. Go visit his library--I have--and you will see Libertarianism everywhere. Many of his & Barry Goldwater's Libertarian principles formed the basis of what so many of today's GOP members love to tout.
March 24, 2013
Bravo Mr. Hines. I voted for Gregory over Judy Manning, who had become somewhat of an embarassment, someone who seemed to feel entitled yet who really didn't work on my behalf. So we have out of touch Republicans and the newcomers, who have not hung out a single sign for those running, who haven't addressed mailers, who can't even tell you who is who in the party, yet believe they can over run it by simply being there and talking loud. I'm still open about Gregory. The meeting I went to seemed full of talk about drones, which is hardly a local issue. I'd like to know more about his feelings on education and local issues, and less about those friends of his who hang on simply to hear him bash the Republican convention. He has a chance to legitimize himself and his followers, but ticking off Dendy and the old guard (translation: the people who've worked their tails off in Cobb) isn't the way to do it.
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