Seeking Common Ground _ A Fussion of Conservatives and Libertarians

The responses to the recent post here titled Ron Paul Votes Against the Safety of Our Troops and yesterdays post titled The Primary Campaigns are Getting Interesting were very enlightening to me. I think they are worthy of further discussion.

First a couple of observations about the discussions on the two posts linked above. Libertarians are uniformly enthusiastic and united in support of their candidate, Ron Paul. Conservatives, on the other hand, are not united or all that enthusiastic about their candidates. Bob Mack left this comment yesterday: “The worst thing about any pool of candidates for political office is that one of ‘em is going to win.” And that pretty much sums up the dilemma for conservatives.

Another observation I made, and this might surprise the libertarians, is that conservatives “seem” to be a bit more flexible than the libertarians. By that I mean a significant percentage of conservatives have indicated a willingness to support Ron Paul if they continue to find reasons not to support the any of the other candidates. From the libertarian commentors, I don’t see any flexibility.

And that brings me to the subject of today’s post. I strongly believe that, for the benefit of both groups and for America, conservatives and libertarians need to seek out common ground and join forces so that together we can turn this ship of state around and hopefully avoid the terrible disaster that the Obama administration is leading this country toward today. As I said the other day, the two groups are stronger together than apart.

If we are to find common ground, we must first try to understand what are the primary differences that keep us apart. Last night, The Classic Liberal, came back and made what I consider to be the best defense of the libertarian point of view. You can read the entire comment by going to the first link above and scrolling to the bottom of the page. For now, I want to share part of the comment for purposes of discussion. The Classic Liberal sees the crux of the problem that some conservatives have with Ron Paul are Paul’s principles on war and the use of military force to impose America’s will on other countries. Here is some of what he had to say:

Principled … Do you teach your children not to be principled? Is being an unprincipled Christian something to aspire to? Is a lack of principle the key to success? Why, then, do we praise politicians for lack of principle? Isn’t it fair to sa that’s what’s got us into this mess?

Conservatives have to make a choice: Foreign wars or domestic economic recovery coupled with more liberty. No candidate offers both. They can’t. It’s impossible. We get one or the other. The choice is yours.

and

Nobody, I repeat, nobody could successfully conquer the United States. Period. The logistics are mind-boggling alone. The only way Sharia or communism or any of that crap takes hold in America is from within.

I think The Classic Liberal has put his finger on the most import difference between conservative and libertarians. So let’s talk about this.

Some libertarians seem to be of the opinion that they are principled but conservatives are not. I would ask libertarians not to think of conservatives as  knuckle dragging war mongers. We are not. Most if not all conservatives were against our involvement in Libya. Most conservatives feel we did have to go after the Taliban in Afghanistan but that we completed our mission a long time ago and it is time that we bring our troops home. Conservatives have been split on our involvement in Iraq. Conservatives do believe there is waste and corruption in the military-industrial complex. We could probably even agree that we don’t need as many troops deployed around the world as we currently have. But yes, conservatives do believe that our country does have valid reasons to be concerned about our interest in the world.

Maybe I can boil down the concern that conservatives have with a Ron Paul President, or any other libertarian President, into these questions. How can Americans be comfortable that a Ron Paul President would protect America from nuclear first strike from a rogue nation like Iran? Would Ron Paul’s principles allow him to authorize a preemptive first strike against Iran if the need arose? Conservatives are not worried that Iran or any other country is going to conquer the United States. I believe that Ron Paul believes in a strong national defense force. But, defense can mean the use of preemptive force and conservatives want to know if a libertarian coud do it or would a libertarian only be willing to respond after the US had already been attacked?

So, if the above adequately describes the primary difference between conservatives and libertarians, is there any hope for finding common ground? I think there is.  Joining forces has far more advantages than disadvantages, in my opinion.

John Scotus of the Tree of Mamre blog, also made a comment on my Ron Paul/Troops post. John apparently wanted to say more but didn’t want to start a fight here at Conservatives on Fire so instead he wrote his own post the next day on why Ron Paul would be a mistake as President. Both conservatives and libertarians should give this article a read.  In referring indirectly to my post, John had this to say:

One point in particular was about having a libertarian-conservative coalition to defeat Obama. This is essentially the fusionist idea advanced by William Buckley and Barry Goldwater in the early 1960s, and adopted by Ronald Reagan and most people in the GOP in the 1980s. It was a winner then, and is a winner now.

By libertarian-conservative coalition, and specifically fusionism, the idea was that the government should be conservative on most issues, such as national defense and social concerns, but for the most part should simply leave people alone. Thus, the strongest and most complementary aspects of conservatism and libertarianism would be combined…

I wasn’t aware of this fusionnist idea tha t John refers to but I sure do like it..I would like to see the Libertarians elect as many  congressmen and senators as they can in 2012. Then by joining forces with the conservatives (not the Republicans), we could go a long ways toward putting this country back on the right track.  We could solve our monetary and fiscal problems that are ruining this country. Together we could begin the process of changing our government back to something much closer to what our Founders had in mind. I, for one, would be willing to compromise on our area of difference in order to move forward  on those issues where we are in agreement.

Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?

Update: John Scotus has provided some links on fusionism:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/219790/fusionist/flashback
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/204866/libertarians-under-my-skin/jonah-goldberg
See also
http://www.ideasinactiontv.com/tcs_daily/2007/02/hayek-and-fusionism.html

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45 thoughts on “Seeking Common Ground _ A Fussion of Conservatives and Libertarians

  1. Yes, I am inflexible. The solution is not in electing another statist and hoping things change.

    I am sick of defending Ron Paul’s “no killing, no money for wars” policies like somehow that is a bad thing. We can no longer afford to be the world’s police. Some may have noticed the slight problem we have with all of that war financing … but we are bankrupt. That ain’t going away soon. And wars cost a shitload of money. Even the private ones. Like Libya.

    Now, I think we debate a moot point. This country will never elect Ron Paul. Instead they will find another BS artist, some perceived centrist, perhaps Perry or Bachmann, and nominate them. I’m not interested in any more comingling of the DNA one party pool. I am also supremely confident that virtually anyone will be able to run against Obama and win. This dude, like Richard Nixon, just never lets me down. I really think Obama is that stupid. Until then, it’s Gary Johnson for me.

    1. So, I guess this means you would be all right with a Ron Paul presidency even if he allowed a nut case to strike America first with a nuclear weapon? Or am I reading too much into your comment? i didn’t ask you to defend Ron Paul’s principles on war. I asked a question that is on the minds of many conservatives in the hopes that a libertarian might assuage our concern.

      1. Let me state this. If anyone thinks they can prevent a first strike by striking every country with that potential- you are insane. if the Norks fired today…all we can do is fire back.

        So Jim, please tell me what hard and fast criteria/checklist is available to the GOP for determining which foes to eliminate and which ones to keep.

        By focusing on this issue, you ignore the hundreds of other issues that Paul would be good on. If this bothers you guys, don’t support him. Let’s just have more FED, more debt, more government. Perhaps we can use our intuition…to identify this perfect person…not unlike the 52% that brought us Obama.

      2. Okay, I don’t not why you guys keep wanting to change the scenario. I never suggested we should make preemptive strikes against every country that has nuclear arms. Let me try this a different way. You, Brian are President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Suppose that as President you are receiving reports on a daily basis the that the nut cases in Iran are planning something big. Then one day you are woken up at mid-night and informed that Iran is planning to attack the US in twenty-four hours. You are convinced the information is creditable. Do you as a libertarian wait for the attack to begin before taking action or do you take preemptive action in the hopes of reducing or eliminating the the number of missiles that they can fire? One doesn’t need to be insane, Brian, to ask these types of questions.

  2. The problem with government is that it’s run by people and people often have their own best interests in mind. Thus, the war-making apparatus, like most anything else, will have both a good side and a bad side, the bad side being the use of it to enrich people with interests in… well, becoming enriched by it. On the other hand, the argument that the United States can’t be conquered assumes that no harm can come to America unless there is an invasion of our land mass. Would America be as prosperous today if North America was isolated between Nazi Europe and Imperial Asia? Or if we were isolated and surrounded by communist Europe, Communist Asia, and Communist South America? Given the idiocy of our energy policy, will our prosperity be unaffected by a nuclear Iran holding Middle East oil hostage? Look at the effect a faltering European economy is having on us… American interests don’t stop at two oceans and the Northern and Southern borders.

    That said, it can’t be impossible, with a government that is committed to REDUCING its size and influence to start dismantling the aspects of the military that are corrupted, just like we need to start dismantling the aspects of the banking system that are corrupted. Cutting the bloat is necessary in every aspect of government, and the bloat tends to be where the corruption is.

    Where we agree is the need to seriously address the size of government, influence of government and the consequent spending of government. If we can get serious about that, serious like a libertarian, serious like true fiscal conservatives, the fallout–the INTENDED consequence–can be to eliminate the bloat and corruption.

    I stick to my theory expressed previously: We need to run the most conservative person we can run for president who can win, and simultaneously elect as man true reformers (true fiscal conservatives, true libertarians) to the congress as possible and pull the president to the right if we must (and I’m betting we must).

    A very hopeful sign that I think all readers of COF will appreciate: http://danieljmitchell.wordpress.com/2011/08/30/good-news-americans-are-increasingly-hostile-to-the-federal-government/

  3. I just posted over at my place a hash-out of the money and support for various things like Shariah law and the muslim threat. Ron Paul doesn’t want nuts to have nukes. That’s just ignorant. His position is not a bit different than the rest of them, only the rhetoric is. Is the conservative argument that we occupy Iran? How else are you going to be sure madmen don’t have nukes? If you think along those lines, there are a lot of nukes out there, how do we be sure more madmen don’t have nukes? This line of thought can definitely lead to world totalitarianism and those of us who study the history of the banksters, this is an old technique to gain control.

    The fusion of Buckley and Goldwater you mention was what happened when the modern conservative movement (neocon) hijacked the traditional conservative anti-war position. Most people don’t realize that Bill Buckely was once a CIA operative and worked for the right-wing side of Elite Establishment Inc. Most people also don’t realize that traditionally, conservatives have advocated a small military and free trade with nations, and not overturning foreign governments. In Orwell’s world, this is considered “isolationism”.

    Not using the military to fight for the banksters interests goes all the way back to WW1 when Charles Lindbergh hashed all this out. It continued when Gen. Smedley Butler warned of the storm clouds forming in his hallmark work, War is a Racket. Goldwater continued the tradition when it came to the Vietnam police action. He was gaining tremendous support, which worried the Establishment, especially Nelson Rockefeller.

    1. As I said in my post, I think most conservatives are in favor of less US involvement in other parts of the world.
      No one is suggesting an occupation of Iran. Don’t put words in my mouth, please. Israel didn’t need to occupy to destroy their nuclear capability and neither would we. But, neither you or Brian answered my question on what you think Ron Paul would do if his military advisers warned him that Iran or some other country were planning an imminent nuclear attack on America. It is a fair question to ask. If libertarians could satisfy conservatives that Ron Paul would do his best to protect America with force if necessary in the case described, it would go a long way toward bringing the two camps closer together.

  4. Unfortunately Ron Paul gets most of his support because Conservative/Republicans are just as statist as the left. It’s intrusive nanny-state big government under the name “compassionate conservatism.”

    Yes, I think we should be conservative on most issues and libertarian on more (just leave us alone guys okay?)

    Never happen. The two major parties are both committed to the State.

  5. The sad truth is, the nuclear genie is out of the bottle. In the coming decades most nations on earth will develop some kind of nuclear technology. We can’t apply a preemptive doctrine to the entire world. All we can really do is follow the cold war doctrine of assured mutual destruction.

    1. Agreed. The genie is out of the bottle and the cold war doctrine is fine up to a point. My question is : what should a president do if he has creditable information that, in this example Iran, was planning to strike us? Does a Ron Paul or any other president wait until the strike happens and then retaliate or does he strike first?

  6. I’ll be blunt, i don’t trust the hardcore libertarians, and i mean the ones who would end up running the joint if we all vote for them. They’re very intransigent and i often see more similarities between them and the western left than with us Conservatives.

    I don’t know if all of them are like that, but given their stances on abortion, foreign policy and gay marriage, voting for them would be like voting for obama, shudder!

  7. what you think Ron Paul would do if his military advisers warned him that Iran or some other country were planning an imminent nuclear attack on America?

    Paul would want to “Declare the war, go fight, win it, and get out of there” [04/09/10].

    Paul’s view on war is no different than his view on self-defense. If your neighbor is coming to get you with bad intent, it is within your natural rights to stop him by any means necessary. If you’re worried that somday, maybe, the guy down the street might possibly threaten you, even though he has done nothing more than call you names … If you kill him and his family by bombing his house, you are the criminal. This is basic natural law and Christian morality.

    Words have meanings. Paul is a non-interventionist. Look up the definition of the word “intervene” and take it from there. I too believe there is potential in fusionism, but we have to start by speaking the same language.

    Because we can’t hash out all of our differences here, let’s cut to the chase. The real, most significant difference between libertarians and conservatives is, our view of the state.

    In a nutshell …

    I hate the state. Being that its only tools are theft and violence, it is an immoral institution. It may be better to live under some state more than others, but none the less, a state is a state is a state. That said, while I may have loyalties to family, friends, and community, I have no loyalty to the state. The state is antisocial. “We” are not the state. The state’s politicians and bureaucrats lie. All. The. Time. And like all regimes throughout history, it thrives on creating fear.

    Politics is not Democrats vs. Republicans, but the People vs. the State. Patriotism is local and often pits one against the state. The flag the state flies cannot absolve it of wrongdoing. Neither can intentions. By any objective standard, the US federal government is far more tyrannical than King George III ever was. I don’t trust the fedgov one little bit.

    War … The odds of one of us dying in a “botched” SWAT raid is greater than one of us dying in a terrorist atack. A US federal government agent molested my 69-year old mom at the airport, yet no Muslim has ever caused her harm. Who steals half my income? Who infringes my natural rights? Who flies drones over my cities? Who spies on me? Who is the enemy again?

    Instead of seeking restitution for 9/11, the state used it as an excuse for a giant power grab. In all of history, lack of government power has never been a legitimate problem. Power corrupts. Absolutely. Power attracts the worst of humankind. As the federal government and especially the executive branch confiscates more and more power, America and American society continues to decline.

    Seeking to punish and get restitution from the perpetrators of 9/11 would have been a worthy and rightful cause. But that never happend. They spent thousands of American lives and trillions in treasure seeking a permanent utopian revolution. Grand schemers with grand designs. How many broken families and orphaned children did those thousands of dead soldiers leave behind? Kirk, Nisbet, and Weaver were right. War destroys society. War breaks families and creates licensed immorality. War is not the protector of the people, but the health of the state – an antisocial institution.

    So there’s our difference. As I see it (and maybe I’m wrong), conservatives identify with the state and expect it to provide them “leaders.” Libertarians see the state as the enemy of civil society and social institutions, and the idea of a political “leader” scares the crap out of them.

    How do conservatives view the state?

    I agree that fusion is an important concept to be nurtured, but we’ve got to deal with the root of the problem instead of clipping at the branches. We have to find some common philosophical ground before getting to policy. Something tells me that in your gut, you feel where I’m coming from … and perhaps even agree.

    I hope this helped. Maybe we should do some back and forth between our blogs ???

    1. Dag-gum, CL – Nobody says it quite the way you do!

      I would also like to go on record that if I had to choose between dying at the hands of a Muslim for being an infidel or getting shot over 70 times by my government as happened to Jose Guerrna, I would choose the former. Maybe because I know that the latter is way more likely.

      It’s Orwell’s world and communication is hard because words mean different things to different people. Francis Schaeffer spoke about the duality of words in Escape from Reason.

      As to what Ron Paul would do if he had intelligence that Iran was definately getting a nuke ready, he would issue a letter of Marque and Reprisal for the group involved – blow them to smithereens and come home. End of story. There would be no occupation for contractors to win lucrative bids on, etc.

    2. Thank you again, CL. I knew if I waited long enough someone would give me a sane answer. I can’t speak for all conservatives but I find your answer very helpful. I’m not sure conservatives view the Stat all that much differently than you do. I am curious how you differentiate between social institutions and the state. Your suggestion for some back and forth is most welcome. I would enjoy that. Thank you..

      1. CL is right. I cannot help but think I have made that distinction one hundred times at least Jim. Really? Do you think Ron Paul, knowing an attack is imminent is going to sit idly by? Of course not. No man, regardless of politics will do that. Reagan said it long ago…government is not the solution….government is the problem.

  8. I am in trouble Jim. I don’t think I have the fortitude to defend Paul for the next 15 months. I have probably written defenses on 10 websites this week. I wrote a novel on one site last night where there apparently was no limit on conjecture and slander.

    That’s why I am rooting for Johnson. I think he has the same ideals but has not built this polarized and derogatory anti-following that reaches fervor levels when Palin or Paul are the subjects. I really think Perot was the right guy at the right time. I believe that about Paul as well. Maybe Johnson can get some traction.

    1. I hate to throw a wrench in your “finally getting someone to say it” Jim, but the point of contention with Ron Paul isn’t that he wouldn’t defend the country if a threat was imminent, it’s that he said he’d let the threat develop… the same reason that a lot of people think Obama, and Bush before him (but Bush didn’t have the huge opportunity Obama had when the people were revolting in Iran) have allowed Iran to get too close for comfort. The reason mutually assured destruction worked with the Soviet Union is that they were not suicidal. The same can’t be said for the theocracy that rules Iran. Soviet leaders realized that dead is dead. Radical Muslim leaders think that death is life… complete with a rockin’ sex life!

      I’m not saying I know what to do, but keep in mind that one of the big problems in Iraq is that the Iranians have made things as difficult as they could. Perhaps taking the head off of their government would enable a population that apparently yearns for some freedom to generate their own civil society… at least they wouldn’t have anyone like Iran pulling out all of the stops to screw it up, ’cause they’d be gone.

      Regarding our lovely government… Please read the article I linked to above. The one good thing that’s coming out of the Obama presidency is that people are souring on the idea of big government. I hated Bush’s “compassionate conservative” line. Conservatism is naturally compassionate because it provides freedom and opportunity. It looks to community for help for the downtrodden, not needing big government. I understand the frustration with big government Republicanism… but I think that day is quickly passing. Between what we’ve observed in Europe, and what we see happening here, I think people, including many Republican leaders, are getting the clue.

      1. I did read the article, Pat. Thank you. As I just responded to Brian, the issue is one of where to draw the line in the sand. Many people use the words conservatives and Republicans interchangeably. Of course, that is not true. Just like many libertarians, we conservatives use the Republican Party as a vessel to promote our ideas.

    2. I do sympathize with you, Brian. Paul backers are forced to defend him because he dose not defend himself. He says things and people are left to interpret what he means. I find so much to respect about libertarians and this post is an honest attempt to bring the two groups together for a common goal. The problem I see so often is that libertarians often use the same tactics with conservatives as the liberals do. They come at us with a holier than thou attitude. I think The Classic Liberal understands where I was coming from on the use of military force issue. We simple conservatives want to understand where Ron Paul would draw the line in the sand, which is always a debatable point. There is, it seems, a long way between where President Kennedy drew the line with the Soviets and where a President Paul would draw the line with Iran. That difference is worthy of debate, in my opinion.
      I hope you don’t give up on Ron Paul. He is developing quite a following and many conservatives are looking at him now because they are not happy with the other candidates. I’ve said before that it is too bad the it is not Rand Paul who is the candidate. Rand could voice the exact same positions as his father and do it in a way that didn’t set off alrms in the minds of the very people needed to vote him into office.

      1. [Paul] says things and people are left to interpret what he means.

        I would argue that there isn’t a politician in America who carefully details his thinking. He’s blatantly transparent. He’s written volumes. The problem, I think, is that he doesn’t fit within the narrow confines of the “left/right” dichotomy and furthermore, most conservatives get their info on him from quick soundbytes and his political foes.

        From an interview with Glenn Beck:

        GLENN: Now, and I think we differ on this a little bit. I think we should pound the bat snot out of anybody who you come over to our shores, you do something to us, we crush you. Then we leave. We don’t rebuild you. We crush you and then we leave.

        RON PAUL: The big question there is who did the attacking and who are you going to crush.

        GLENN: I understand that. I’m not talking about anything specific. I’m talking about if somebody comes after us, they hit us, we have evidence, we crush them and then we leave.

        RON PAUL: Okay. If a missile left Cuba and bombed New York City, we both would understand, yes, you go and you crush Cuba for doing what they do.

        Opposing the fedgov’s current foreign policy scheme doesn’t mean one won’t draw a line in the sand. Preferring America First foreign policy and/or Christian Just War Doctrine doesn’t make one a blind pacifist either. That stuff is just partisan hyperbole.

        The problem I see so often is that libertarians often use the same tactics with conservatives as the liberals do. They come at us with a holier than thou attitude.

        We feel the same way.

      2. You’ll have to forgive Brian and I. We have been enjoying our give and take for some time.

        “Opposing the fedgov’s current foreign policy scheme doesn’t mean one won’t draw a line in the sand. Preferring America First foreign policy and/or Christian Just War Doctrine doesn’t make one a blind pacifist either. That stuff is just partisan hyperbole.”

        Okay. That’s fair. But surely you realize that many people are left with the impression that Paul is a blind pacifist and Paul often does little to clarify his statements. These people who are misreading Paul are the very people that Paul needs to vote for him if he truly wants to win the nomination. Ron Paul is a very smart man and the people around are as well. So I have to assume they know people are misreading him. Why then doesn’t he do more to put his voting constituency straight?

        “We feel the same way.”

        Now that statement truly surprises me. I follow a lot of conservative bloggers and at least six libertarian bloggers. I rarely see conservative bloggers even mention libertarians. They do mention Ron Paul at times, of course. I for example subscribe to LewRockwell.com. There are three or four writers there I really enjoy reading. But, there are others there that constantly talk down to conservatives and not just the candidates.

  9. I agree Jim (of course I consider myself a social libertarian) I think that there can be a partnership between conservatives and libertarians and I think that is why most libertarians in the Congress are actually listed as Republicans (IE Ron Paul). The goal here is to beat the liberal ideology and if we can bind ourselves together and achieve that goal the country would be on the way to recovery.

  10. Conservatives have to make a choice: Foreign wars or domestic economic recovery coupled with more liberty

    This is a false dichotomy, a basic logical fallacy.

    Having said that, the larger point of being principled is a valid one, but when it comes to national survival, it is not the supreme principle.

    This is the problem with those who deal in absolutes. They make a fetish of some fine point and flame anyone who doesn’t bow down and worship it.

    The world is a dangerous place. We should not be invading other countries, and we should be minding out own business, but threatening to crush any enemy at the time and place of our choosing, and maintaining the ability to do so it not being a warmonger and is indeed compatible with domestic economic recovery and more liberty.

    1. This is a false dichotomy, a basic logical fallacy.

      The idea that you can have both foreign wars and domestic liberty has no historical basis or reference point. Looking at the short history of America alone, each war has grown the size and scope of government at the expense of American individual liberty. As Alexis de Tocqueville warned: “All those who seek to destroy the liberties of a democratic nation ought to know that war is the surest and shortest means to accomplish it.”

      More to the point I was making though, look at the available candidates. Show me one candidate who would both shrink government power (required for liberty) and continue pushing the current “benevolent global hegemony” (Bill Kristol’s words) scheme. Better yet, just outline theoretically how these 2 radically opposed ideologies can work in unison.

      We should not be invading other countries, and we should be minding out own business …

      Yet this is exactly what the fedgov is doing … attempting to build their grand utopian scheme of “benevolent global hegemony.” So I’m not sure what your beef with me is. Maybe it has to do with trust. You trust that the fedgov is trying to protect you from terrorists. I don’t. I believe their actions over the past 10 years prove they simply didn’t let a crisis go to waste.

  11. From what I understand, there are different Libertarian takes on foreign policy. Ron Paul is what’s popular today, and his idea of foreign policy is to not have a foreign policy. In the last debates he said that Iran should be allowed to go nuclear. I think Ayn Rand would have a very different answer, but that’s not where Libertarian thought is today.
    I said it here before, I think the American foreign policy should be make the world safe for trade. it doesn’t mean that we have a business in every remote corner of the Earth, or that we shouldn’t have our allies helping us out. I suppose it’s a conservative view, and I just don’t see how Dr. Paul can fit the bill. To me his foreign policy credentials are just as important as his domestic policy. Everyone else looks way better on foreign policy.

  12. Seeking Common Ground …

    The Old Right was a fiesty, polycentric movement which proved fusion can work before it was ever called fusion. I think it’s a worthy cause to fight for again.

    I’ve been thinking about where to start. I don’t want a debate per se, but more of a discussion. Open and frank, but searching for that common ground. Sure, topics of debate will come up and be debated, but instead of fighting over “I’m right, you’re wrong,” I’m hoping we can focus mostly on “here’s how I see it, does that make sense to you?”

    I’m going to start with a post about why I stopped calling myself a conservative. I used to be one of your guys. Hopefully my journey will help shine some light as we look for places to build a bridge.

    1. I like the primes you laid out for a discussion and look forward to your post. I’m sure you recognize that I am not on your intellectual level, CL, but I do have reasonably good sense and I hope I can contribute to the goal of seeking common ground.

  13. ConFire, you said, “conservatives seem to be a bit more flexible than the libertarians”. That is exactly right.
    Silverfiddle said, “…. with those who deal in absolutes. They make a fetish of some fine point and flame anyone who doesn’t bow down and worship it.” That is also exactly right.

    Between the two of you have defined the difference between Libertarians and Conservatives.

    1. CL, I followed the link and read your fine post. I left a lengthy response which supposedly did post but it wasn’t visible. I tried re-posting but always received the message that it was a duplicate post, which leads me to believe it did in fact post. I hope so. I opened your page from my blogroll, and your post doesn’t appear. The only way I can reach your post is through this link that you provided. I am a bit confused.

  14. I don’t understand why the question of “would Ron Paul act to defend us if there was an imminent threat,” keeps coming up. Paul has clearly laid out his thoughts on national defense. We would not commit our resources to intervene or interfere in conflicts between foreign nations (i.e., Libya). We would not commit our resources to targeting an impotent nation that poses no real immediate threat to this country (i.e., Iraq). We would respond with force to aggression against our nation, and we would act to thwart a credible and imminent threat being conspired against us. Paul has stated this position countless times. It just so happens to be the position Bush had when he was running for President in 2000 – look at some of his old interviews. Why has it become such a foreign concept now that the words are coming out of someone’s mouth other than Bush? I suspect this isn’t the real reason neo-cons don’t support Ron Paul.

    1. Hi, Mike. Thanks for coming by and sharing your thoughts. I think the question keeps coming in part because there are continually people who are for the first time taking an interest in and paying more attention to Ron Paul. Those who devoted followers of a given candidate aways know and understand more about their candidate than those who are just beginning to pay attention. Of course, there are those that just don’t like a given candidate including Ron Paul. There are others that like Ron Paul’s monetary and fiscal positions but don’t like his foreign affairs positions (often because Paul does not always clarify his positions well). This post was made in the hope that Libertarians would help with the clarifications and I am happy that many did just that.

  15. I started working on part 2 of “Toward a New Fusionism,” but it’s late and I’m tired. The comments are right there below the post. I tested it with 3 browsers and they all worked fine. Me no understand.

    While my next post doesn’t concern forein policy, I thought you’d be interested in this anyway:

    Constitutional Responses to Terrorism

    Ron Paul, January 20, 2007

    It has been over 6 years since the atrocities of September 11 were committed and there are still some very basic measures that need to be taken to bring the perpetrators to justice and make America safer. I have proposed legislationnto help with these efforts and will continue to fight in Congress for the safety and security of the American people.

    My legislation entitled the Marque and Reprisal Act of 2007 (HR 3216) makes the surgical strike option available to the President in our mission to capture Bin Laden. Our military has been pursuing him without result for far too long now, and it is high time ALL constitutional tools were utilized in the hunt for this dangerous madman. As an American it sickens me to know that Bin Laden and top leaders of al Qaeda remain at large and thumbing their noses at us, while we unravel the sacred fabric of our constitution out of fear. It is Osama Bin Laden and the perpetrators of terrorist attacks that ought to be afraid of us, not the other way around. The answers are found in the Constitution. We should boldly root out the perpetrators and not let them get away with their crimes against us. As the home of the brave we should use Letters of Marque and Reprisal to bring Bin Laden to justice.

    Also, we need to take serious steps to prevent terrorists from gaining easy access to targets on our soil … They should not be slipping through our doors so easily, using our immigration laws against us, and that is why I proposed the Terror Immigration Elimination Act (HR 3217) to toughen standards for VISAS from countries on the State Department’s list of terrorist sponsoring countries in addition to Saudi Arabia . Just as you decide who to invite to a dinner party in your home, we should be in charge of who we allow in this country, without apology.

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