Conservatism Vs. Libertarianism

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This debate between Ann Coulter, an outspoken conservative, and John Stossel, an outspoken libertarian, is interesting because it’s a proxy for the rift in the Republican party today.

I don’t like Ann Coulter, because it seems she can’t discuss issues without being combative in a way that undermines her credibility, but as someone who lists on his Facebook profile that I’m “conservatively libertarian,” I was intrigued.

I thought these comments from Coulter, in response to questions about why conservatives ought to be concerned with who people marry (gay marriage) and what substances they ingest (drug legalization), were informative:

Right now, I have to pay for, it turns out, coming down the pike, your health care. I have to pay for your unemployment when you can’t hold a job. I have to pay for your food, for your housing. Yeah, it’s my business!

What Coulter is arguing is that because we are all forced to pay for each other’s health care, etc., etc., that’s justification for the state to micromanage people’s lifestyles.

I’m sympathetic to that argument, but isn’t that an argument against collectivist policies instead of for nanny statism?

Instead of compounding the problem of big government by reacting to big government policies with more big government policies that restrict our freedom, why not just oppose the original big government policies?

Which is hard to do when the anti-big-government movement is fractured by people like Coulter.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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