One of the more interesting discussions in currently raging in American politics is the debate over conservative-libertarian fusionism. It’s not exactly a new discussion, but rather one that has renewed interest among followers of both political ideologies.
As libertarian-leaning Republicans — including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) — gain influence in the party and appeal among independent voters, there is an increasing push for conservatives and libertarians to work together on areas of agreement. There has been resistance, of course, from some on both sides. Some prominent Republicans are resistant to some libertarian ideas that conservatives seem to be coming around on, such as restrained foreign policy and privacy issues.
While not a venue for libertarian thought, Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, told attendees at the Faith and Freedom Conference that Republicans should listen to libertarians:
“Something more is going on than your garden-variety government corruption, or even illegality,” Palin said. “As the left would say, this is shaping up to be a teachable moment. What’s going on says something fundamental about our relationship to our government.”
“The scandals infecting this city, they are a symptom of a bigger disease, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a Republican or a Democrat sitting atop a bloated boot on your neck, out of control government, everybody gets infected, no party is immune,” Palin said. “That’s why, I tell you, I’m listening to those independents, those libertarians, who are saying, it is both sides of the aisle, the leadership, the good ol’ boys in the party on both sides of the aisle, they perpetuate the problem.”
It’s not necessarily an endorsement of our views, though Palin did side with Paul’s approach on Syria rather than McCain and Graham. However, her comments are nod to the need to reach out to libertarians. Many see the need in the alliance and those who may still be skeptical, perhaps Palin, who is still popular among grassroots conservatives, can help sway them.
There will always be areas of disagreement, no one can deny that. But conservatives have a vested interest in working with libertarians to move policy in a limited government direction.