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April 05, 2005

LIBERTARIAN -- JUST ANOTHER WORD FOR NUTHIN' LEFT TO LOSE? That was my thought when reading this post by Patrick Hynes, who suggests that libertarians and small-government conservatives should be worried about a "crackup" as they might lose their influence with the Republicans if that happened. I guess I'd feel better if I saw, you know, some evidence of that influence lately . . . .

But I think this is more whistling in the dark. It's certainly true that the Libertarian Party is trivial. But libertarian-leaning Republicans and independents are far more numerous, and have less reason to stick around given that their agendas aren't getting much attention. What's more, if libertarian-leaning conservatives line up against the Republican agenda, it's likely to worry swing voters far more than if criticisms come only from the usual suspects of the left.

Hey, I think I'm offering good advice to the Republicans, but they should ignore it if they want -- just like the Democrats have ignored all the good advice I've given them. And they're doing fine! Right?

For a more cheerful view, read this David Brooks column.

And to all those who are snarling at libertarians for daring to raise these issues, I'll just quote James Taranto: "By contrast, fewer people have come to call themselves liberal in part because liberals are eager to cast out heretics. . . . Developing a political majority is a matter of addition, not subtraction, and the GOP's openness to a variety of viewpoints is a strength, not a weakness."

Let's just hope that's not a past-tense statement now.

UPDATE: Related thoughts here.