Brad Miller

Difference Between Conservatives and Libertarians

In Liberty, Taxes, True nature of the State on August 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm

Conservative Talk Show Host Illustrtates how Big Government Grows under Republicans

I used to call myself a Conservative. Now I fancy myself an Advocate of Liberty, one who advocates for my own Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property and the right of everyone else to the same. Some people call this the Freedom philosophy, Libertarianism or another way to say it is that I am a Radical Individualist. I belive that I am a unique entity and no one has a right to “govern” my actions unless I violate the Natural Rights of others.

A lot of Conservatives claim to support individual liberty but fail to understand that any time the State is called upon to “govern” how someone chooses to live their life that individual’s Natural Rights are violated.

Today I was listening to conservative talk show host who said something today that highlighted the difference between the conservative ideology and that of Libertarians.

A caller was talking about his idea for ending Social Security. The guy was nervous but I thought he got his point across but I think the host missed it completely. The caller said that his plan to end Social Security was to first  pay people back what they paid into the system, secondly honor the commitment to keep payments going to folks already on it, and then end the Social security program all together. His main point was that he was not a fan of Social Security. He did not have time to articulate why the Social Security program like the other entitlement programs violated individuals’ Natural Right to their Life, Liberty and Property. He didn’t get the chance. The host  was pressuring him to get his point out because he was up against a break but curiously had time to take a call about Sarah Palin after he got the guy  off the line.
Before the host ended the call he actually said that he agreed with the caller but what he said next makes me think he really didn’t. He said that the caller’s plan was similar to Paul Ryan’s plan which he supports. He went on to explain that the Ryan Plan pays out to people already on Social security then the plan allows those under 50 to own and invest their retirement but the government will still force them to save!!!

That last qualifier illustrates where the host and the caller ideologically part ways. How can anyone who wants to live free accept the premise that the State can force you to save? If the State can force you to save they can tell you how to spend all of your income.  What is the premise behind this idea that the government can dictate how individuals spend their money? It assumes that individuals if left free to exercise their God-given right to their Life, Liberty and Property are not capable of taking care of themselves and that the State must intervene and make decisions for them. How is that premise any different from the one that spawned the Welfare State?

That is why it is always important to check your basic premise and the basic premise of others. One side believes in the basic premise that individuals have a Natural Right to their Life, Liberty and Property and the other side does not. They believe that the State can determine what “rights” individuals have.

If someone chooses not to save that is their choice. When they get old and are destitute that will be a lesson to those around them that saving for retirement is probably good idea.

Private charities have existed long before the Welfare State and would do a far better job helping the poor and sick than any bureaucratic humanitarian could ever do. The more of a person’s income they are “allowed” to keep the more charity spending they would do. The individuals in the U.S. already give a ton of cash to charity just think what would happen if everyone kept 90% or even 100% of their income?

When the State intervenes in the life choices of individuals everyone suffers. When people are free to live, to choose, to invest, to invent and  to meet consumer demand without interference everyone benefits. It is the “Spontaneous Order”  Hayek wrote about. Prosperity comes to all when individuals are free to spend and save the fruits of their labor as they see fit. If you accept that the State has some role to play in how individuals do that then you do not believe in each individual’s inherent inalienable Natural Right to Life, Liberty and Property.

This is the dividing line between those who believe in the Freedom Philosophy which can be summed up as “anything peaceful” and those who on the Right embrace the concept of a coercive powerful central government that is “okay” as long as it is forcing people to live as they see fit. This is the same “Fatal Conceit” that all collectivists share.

I am an advocate for a Stateless society in which private individuals and entities enter into voluntary exchanges without external coercion. Until this day I advocate for the immediate ending of the Social Safety Net,  ending the wars and bringing the troops home, and lowering federal taxes to 10% or less which would then only be used to fund the  National Defense ( under 100 billion a year) andto pay off the debt.  After the debt is paid off I don’t see why the National Defense could not be providedfor  like all other services through private entities.?

I believe that most conservatives want to be free and it is our job who Advocate for Liberty to help them see that by embracing the Coercive State to accomplish anythingt limits the freedom of everyone.

And That’s My Take




  1. Conservatives and liberals are both interventionists when it comes to how people live their lives. Example: Conservatives in some cases want to dictate who you can marry. Liberals want to dictate how much of our money we get to keep.


  2. Libertarians are right about almost everything. They want government to stay out of our pockets and out of our personal business. Conservatives don’t want to be in our pockets either. Liberals do, because it’s not “fair” for rich people to hold all the assets and wealth of a nation, which liberals claim that they do.


  3. Even though I oppose prostitution on moral grounds, sex work should be legal in my opinion. In It Is Dangerous to Be Right When the Government is Wrong: The Case for Personal Freedom, Andrew Napolitano has a chapter that talks about the fact that we own our own bodies. He also speaks of the fact that taxation is theft, that we should have the right to spend our own money. He speaks of the right to be governed by laws with moral limits. He speaks of the fact that we should have the right to sound money. Since our dollars are not backed by gold or hard currency, they are essentially worthless pieces of paper.


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