Jim DeMint is No Friend of Libertarianism
There has been an interesting an important back and forth on this site over the issue of fusionism. Jeremy Kolassa made the case that little, if anything, has been accomplished by fusionism. In response, Jason Pye defended fusionism, citing a litany of conservative leaders and organizations that have been welcoming of libertarians and advanced libertarian policy.
I think both authors make well thought out cases and I think this debate is a healthy one. My post isn’t intended to weigh in on the general question of fusionism, clearly I am a believe in fusionism - though I recognize that there are times when fusionism is a loser for libertarians. Instead, I wanted to specifically speak to an individual that my friend Jason Pye pointed to as an example of a conservative leader who has offered an “olive branch” to libertarians: South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.
I respect and like Jason a ton (which you know always is going to preface a disagreement), but in this case Jason is simply wrong. Jim DeMint is no friend of libertarians - unless, of course, you toss out gay people or anyone else who cares about gay people from the libertarian movement.
Jason cited the Mike Huckabees and Rick Santorums of the world as responsible for trying to keep libertarians out of CPAC. Well the ugly truth is that Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have been down right welcoming compared to Jim DeMint - as it regards CPAC. Indeed, Jim DeMint officially joined a boycott of CPAC because of the inclusion of a gay group - GOProud - that I helped co-found.
Jim DeMint holds positions, as it relates to gay people, that are far far outside of the mainstream of American thought and absolutely anti-thetical to libertarianism. DeMint supports an amendment to the United States Constitution that would outlaw gay marriage, ban civil unions and federalize marriage and family law.
Demint has more than once stated that he didnt believe that gays or sexually active unmarried women should be allowed to be public school teachers (I wonder exactly WHO will be responsible for determining which unmarried women are sexually active? The TSA?).
How could you possibly have any claim to being a proponent of “limited government” if you believe in a government large enough to police which teachers are gay and which teachers are sexually active?
Indeed, Senator DeMint has gone as far as declaring that it is IMPOSSIBLE to be a fiscal conservative without being a social conservative. A statement that my friend Jason Pye wrote about on this site back in 2010.
There are plenty of conservatives that Jason cited who libertarians can and should work with to advance issues important to both conservatives and libertarians. Jim DeMint, however, is not one of those people.