Ever since Kos posted his screed on Libertarian-Democrats an idea has been burbling beneath the surface of the political ocean. Why do the Republicans seem to have a lock hold on the libertarian vote? Placed side by side, libertarians disagree with Republican positions at least as much as Democrat positions. In some opinions, mine included, more so.
Previously, I wrote that libertarians fall into three camps. Time has caused a modification. Although I stand by my original thoughts on an ideological level, I believe in real world politics Libertarians fall in to two categories: The Financials and The Socials. Every libertarian believes in the core philosophy of smaller government in all areas is beneficial. The only difference in the two camps is focus.
The Financials focus on tax cuts, reducing regulations and free market at all levels of life. They are for privatizing social security, against any form of government health care, against the minimum wage and usually are flat taxers although there is a new breed of fair taxers. These philosophies line up perfectly with not only libertarain ideology but the public face of the Republican Party. Compared to some of the social positions of libertarianism, it's an easy sell.
Of course we all now know the Republicans were selling snake oil on financial restraint and their complete surrender to the social nannies is about as far from the libertarian ideal as you can get. The financials woke up one day and realized their sacrifice of the social to further the financial eventually left them with neither. In November, these libertarians made their displeasure known at the ballot box.
For years, as if a single hemisphere of the brain is completely absorbed, other than gun control, the Financials chose to downplay or completely ignore social libertarianism. However, they are not the only ones with brains half-sparking.
The Socials focus on pro-choice, privacy rights, and drugs. They tend to accept some government interference in business but are usually absolutists when "the man" tries to interfere with individual lives. Even to the point of pinning what many call the albatross of the libertarian party around their necks; legalization of all drugs.
Strangely, the Socials rarely associate with the Democrats the way the Financials aligned in the past with the Republicans. Although they agree with progressives on practically every social issue, gun control once again being the notable exception, the Socials perceive the Democrat agenda to be just intrusive as the Republican. For every nodding of the head on sodomy laws there would be an equal shaking of the head on every spawning of a new tax or social program. However, somewhat like the Financials, Socials suppress their pro-business instincts when individual rights are on the line. A Social might vote for an ardent supporter of the Fourth Amendment even if they know the candidate wants to require every business in America to provide workers with daycare, paid vacation and lollipops on mandatory breaks.
The issues of course go much deeper and can never be so easily distilled. I would never support lollipops for everyone and few Financials would stomach an absolute ban on abortion. Like any other polticial movement libertarians have many different shades and most have value. In the real world, a good example of a Financial would be Jason Pye. I present myself as an example of a Social.
Unlike outsiders in the Republican and Democrat parties for the last 30 years, we both are accepted in the ranks of Libertarians. There is room for all and we accept that our differences are not disloyalty but rather continue to advance the discussion.
Given the results of November, the voters are tired of talkers who do not listen. Libertarian electoral gains both locally and nationally indicate the masses are willing to listen to the outsiders. Even the ones with some "wacky ideas. Possibly because at least the outsiders listen back.
UDPATE: An emailer pointed out that the actions of the libertarian party are not always ones of acceptance and tolerance. It's a fair point, but I would note that if you look at any political movement close enough, you will find warts. But the warts of the Libertarians are rough spots compared to the explosive buboes of the parties in power.
UPDATE II: I've had some really good feedback on this post and I appreciate it. From another perspective, a North Georgia Democrat offers the point of view when a libertarian official converts to the Republicans for percived political advantage.