Are Libertarians Right-Wing?
In the last article I wrote for Being Libertarian, “A Libertarian Case Against the Death Penalty,” I noticed that quite a few people had some critiques about my work.
Some criticized the paper more intellectually while others seemed to be a bit more scathing and emotional in their remarks.
That said, nothing intrigued me more than the comments that disagreed with me – not on the issue of capital punishment – but rather on the part of the article where I briefly referred to the libertarian community as a right-wing one.
Allow me to explain why I did this.
To understand why the libertarians are, for the most part, right-wing, we need to first understand what it means to be a libertarian as well as what it means to be on the right-wing.
Typically, when people refer to the right-wing, they are referring to any ideology that insists upon preserving a hierarchy, tradition/culture, and economic freedom.
In this article, I will explain why it is that libertarians uphold each of these values and are thus on the right-wing spectrum.
Make no mistake, libertarians are certainly not conservatives; and when I say they uphold hierarchy, tradition, and economic freedom, I don’t necessarily mean it in a way that is identical to how mainstream conservatives do it.
Despite this, if we decide to stick with the strictest use of the term “right-wing” we can see that it is not entirely crass to say that the libertarians are a part of it.
Without further delay, let us first look at the hierarchy part of my argument.
Both the libertarians and mainstream right-wingers understand that hierarchy is inevitable and that different classes of people will always exist. Some groups will always be better off than others and both conservatives and libertarians understand and even appreciate this.
The sharp divide isn’t seen until one contrasts a libertarian to a monarchist—the latter of which, is sadly still apart of the right-wing. It is only then seen that libertarians appreciate hierarchy when one moves up in society due to wealth and capital, not armies and incestuous relationships with another member of the “blue blood.”
Let us now briefly look at tradition/culture.
Conservatives and libertarians are both strong proponents of maintaining tradition but they do it in completely different ways.
Conservatives and other mainstream right-wingers insist on maintaining (with force if necessary) their beloved Judeo-Christian or “old school” morals for society.
The sexual “revolution” in the 1960s is seen as an abomination and the allowing of new customs like gay marriage are seen as acts of degeneracy.
With Facebook pages like Earl of Grey, we see very easily that many from the mainstream (if you can call Earl “mainstream”) believe the modern world is a cesspool of human debauchery and indiscipline.
There are many libertarians who understand and even agree with many of the things stated above but there is one difference – libertarians don’t care!
You’ll see people like Ron Paul who have maintained healthy marriages for decades but will straight up not care about enforcing against acts like prostitution as degenerate as they may be.
How then are conservatives and libertarians similar with regards to tradition then?
Libertarians and their right-wing cousins are both adamant in upholding American culture – albeit two very different parts of the culture.
While conservatives are more concerned with maintaining the Christian/old-world culture of the US, libertarians are far more concerned with upholding the Constitution, freedom, and small government, all of which are parts of the original American culture – the one that defeated the British Empire – not the modern one that needs safe spaces and is calling for the abolition of free speech.
In a way, both libertarians and those from the mainstream believe that the modern US has fallen from grace, believing that it has strayed too far from its holiest book.
Whether the term “holiest book” refers to the constitution or the bible is still something that the two continue to squabble over.
Lastly, the mainstream right and libertarians all too often forget that they are both crusaders for more economic freedom. The only difference admittedly, is that libertarians tend to do a better job at keeping said freedom.
Even though conservatives are more likely to argue for a larger police force and a larger military, there is still something uniquely similar between themselves and libertarians that puts them on the exact same side of the political compass.
Both groups of right-wingers believe that an underclass of parasites will never do society any good and that many social programs must be curtailed or even eliminated for the betterment of society.
Furthermore, both groups seek to reduce taxes, eliminate the minimum wage, rent controls, and seek to do other things that simply make economic sense.
Overall, while the mainstream right and libertarians have their differences, they are still more similar than they are different. If we continue to stick with this general definition (that right-wingers hold up hierarchy, tradition, and economic freedom) then we can conclude that libertarians, for the most part, are a part of this agenda and community, for they fight for the same values in their own special way and focus.
* Christopher X. Henry has just graduated high school and will be attending the University of Toronto to study political science. He wishes to become a lawyer, writer, and politician and has taken up writing as a hobby for both Being Libertarian and his own blog and Facebook page, Freedom Papers.