A lot of people are saying that last week’s gotcha moment in an exchange between senate candidate Rand Paul and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow put a nail in the coffin of the libertarian-liberal alliance. The lefts alliance with libertarians over issues like gay marriage is, and always was, a facade.
The left’s rather unsurprising reaction to Paul’s logically consistent, even if politically unpopular, position indicates not only a contempt for limited and constitutional governance, but also their contempt for the American individual who they believe cannot be trusted to make the right decisions when it comes to issues of race. Liberal Democrats are looking to perpetuate the idea that Americans, and in particular white conservatives, are like a pack of ravenous wolves, frothing at the mouth at the prospect of overturning civil rights laws in order to return minorities to the status of second-class citizen.
The idea is preposterous of course. If any political movement launched a legislative attack on the 1965 Civil Rights act and subsequent legislation, it would be political suicide. However, for a group who at it’s core is interested in maintaining political power, the fear of this unlikely event spreads among minority groups is valuable.
Libertarians, who before finding a home in the Republican Party were a relatively nascent political faction, are now finding out that their positions run quite contrary to those liberals whom they once considered to be political allies on social issues. Race and class antagonism, being nearly omnipresent in the liberal political playbook, requires that leftist politicians and commentators continue to push identity based social engineering legislation. This legal positivism is antithetical to libertarian philosophy which contends that government intervention into the lives of individuals, no matter how well intentioned or politically popular, must be kept to a minimum.
The fundamental issue on which liberals and libertarians part ways is not the idea that a tolerant government should avoid enacting intolerant laws, like for example gay marriage bans or state institutionalized racism. This is something almost all liberals and libertarians can agree on. The fissure comes with the libertarian idea that legislating bans on individual intolerance are themselves acts of government intolerance.
The truth is that the alliance between big government liberals and small government libertarians was an illusion all along. On the surface, the two ideologies might appear to have crossover, but in reality they are miles apart.
PS Sorry the posts have been Rand Paul heavy as of late.