Right-leaning libertarian. Liberty Republican. Buckley Conservative. Conservatarian. No matter what you refer to them as, the struggle is real for those who ideologically fit into both the conservative and libertarian camps. But what are those conservative-libertarians to do with no candidate and no political party?
During Turning Point USA’s Young Women’s Leadership Summit (YWLS), I started to notice a trend emerging among the ladies that I spoke to. “Hm… I don’t really consider myself a conservative…” many quietly expressed to me, “I’m actually more of a libertarian.”
This isn’t the first time I have noticed this trend, either. I saw it at the Conservative Political Action Conference for the past three years as well as at many Republican Party events.
Young Americans are feeling politically homeless as conservative-libertarians, or as I prefer to call them– conservatarians.
I surveyed the ladies at YWLS, hosted by the premier conservative organization, Turning Point USA. I expected all the ladies to be staunchly conservative, but to my surprise 13% of those surveyed identified as libertarians. And I would venture to say the number was actually a lot higher than that.
Often, the terms conservative and libertarian are only vaguely understood by those new to politics, such as those in high school or college. Through my interactions with younger conservatives at conferences and political events, I have realized that many more are a conservative-libertarian hybrid than they realize. But not all libertarian-leaning people prefer to identify as so because they are either ill-informed about the difference in terms or are turned off by the Libertarian Party and their candidates.
Many conservatives hold libertarian ideals. Here are some ways to figure out if you are a conservatarian:
Are you too conservative around libertarians and too libertarian around conservatives?
Conservatarians are often ostracized in libertarian circles because they believe in voting and participating in the political process, they have respect for law enforcement, or pride in their country. Conservatarians are also given side-eye in conservative circles for their position on marijuana, like ending the drug war and their hesitancy towards foreign intervention.
Were you a Rand Paul fan during the GOP presidential primary?
Paul was the perfect example of a conservatarian: he tried to work within the two party system, fiercely defended all civil rights, had the ability to work with both sides of the aisle on issues, and wanted to reevaluate all federal expenditure – including military. Hardcore conservative Republicans didn’t like Paul because of his foreign policy stances and defense of ones right to privacy, with regards to the NSA, for example. Devout libertarians didn’t like Paul because he “sold out” to the GOP and their leaders, or because of his stance on the refugee crisis.
So where are conservatarians to go? Should we throw our hands up and just call it quits, as I have been tempted to do many times through out this election cycle? There may not be a party that is strongly touting our ideas or a candidate, but we must continue to spread our message of liberty and working within the confines of the system we have now. I truly believe that the future of the Republican Party, or what ever parties survive this election cycle, is with the ideas of liberty.
So fellow conservatarians: don’t give up hope, there are way more of us than we realize. You don’t have to settle and vote for the lesser of two or three evils. The more we efficiently communicate and spread our message as well as help our fellow Americans to see how the ideas of liberty win, the more that our friends and neighbors will realize, as we have, that liberty resonates with everyone. Our ideas don’t end when the ballots are cast in November. We need to keep fighting the good fight– for liberty!