Big L, little l : L(i)bertarian Decoded

Big L, little lI hang out on Twitter a lot. I am stating the obvious, as that is how many of you came to read this, but for those who aren’t addicts (yet), Twitter has become one of the best places for Conservatives to meet and converse with other Conservatives. I have met, online and in person, some people who have become political allies, some amazing people who I know will be lifelong friends, and some who have enlightened me in many ways. Twitter has, overall, been an incredibly positive experience for me.

As I dove headfirst into the political realm of Twitter, I was also exposed to the different ideas and practices of “Conservative”. Interestingly, we all seem to get along in a social situations fairly well, despite our different applications of the word.  As speculation and conversation about a potential 2012 field of Conservative Presidential candidates becomes more and more the focus of my Twitter followers and following, I have noticed something new happening: We conservatives are fracturing the recently formed coalition right down an easily seen set of lines. RINO, NEOCON, Libertarian, Classic Liberal … all generally to the right on at least fiscal issues, are dividing in the face of choosing a stance in regards to the current GOP held Congress and what to look for in a 2012 nominee.

This concerns me because we need to rekindle and grow that unified front we had during the 2010 Congressional elections even more in the next nineteen months. We need to figure out what our greatest achievement can be in the scheme of the problems our Nation faces together, and unite behind that goal. We need to not add dynamite to the fissures between us.

I consider myself relatively informed on the current state of fiscal issues and many social issues. I am a realist in practice and an idealist in goals. That contradiction has placed me somewhere between Big L and little l. Oh , didn’t I mention that I am a L(l)ibertarian? Yep. Without question, without a doubt. I am a Ll. What, exactly, does that mean?

Libertarian Party

I am a registered member of the Libertarian Party , which sort of fits me into the Big L group. Big L Libertarians believe in a limited governmental role and is specifically laid out in the Libertarian Party Platform. So, on the surface, I agree with the entire platform. I agree that government has its place, and that place is very well laid out already. I don’t think the Platform is idealistic anymore than the Constitution is idealistic. With me so far?

On to the little “l”s. libertarians believe in the same program as Libertarians. There aren’t any great disagreements about the Rights of Man. The difference lies in the view of the Libertarian Party by libertarians. That’s right, they see the Party as often ineffective and just another part of the System ( completely unintentional Matrix reference)  that hands a government entity too much control. libertarians would privatize everything, and the only real role of the “government” would be contract enforcement, and it would be handled by private companies in contract with the citizens they represent.

So, how am I personally an L(l)ibertarian? I support an extremely limited government in cases of national security, a lack of involvement in personal decisions, and the end of income and property taxation. I support the Libertarian Party platform, and I am a registered Libertarian. I do not, however believe that the current incarnation of governance is the way to guarantee the Rights laid out in our Constitution. I firmly believe in a true free market system of trade and that the rule of majority is just an excuse for placing power into too few hands. I believe that individuals are, or can be with a little less to rely on, perfectly capable of making decisions about how to live their own lives and that the vast majority will actually try to make choices that don’t intentionally infringe upon the common sense rights that were laid out by the framers of this, the GREATEST nation on earth.

.. maybe I am a little more idealistic  than I should be … is that really a dividing characteristic to my fellow Conservatives?

“I am. I think. I will.” ~ Ayn Rand – Anthem



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Michelle Ray (twitter: @GaltsGirl)

Michelle Ray is the host of In Deep on CDN Radio, Social Media Director for Conservative Daily News, and can be found on Twitter as @GaltsGirl

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  1. Right on Michelle. I find myself clooser to the big L than the little l. Interesting how misunderstood we libertarians are. I’m glad you wrote this and hope more can understand us.

  2. Most interesting, Michelle. I have been calling myself a small (L) libertarian for many years, for what appears to be the opposite of your distinctions. I consider the Libertarian Party to be the uncompromising dogmatists, so involved in internecine squabbling that it will never be an effective force in American politics. Trying to organize such staunch individualists is akin to herding cats. I attended one meeting about 15 years ago and never went back.

    I know pragmatism is anathema to libertarianism; but I am unwilling to allow my ideals to prevent me from influencing and making common cause with conservatives, in our existential battle with the Marxists and Jihadists, who wish to enslave me. E.g. I think drugs should be legal for many very good reasons; but I suppose that since I don’t use them, and understand the irrational fear conservatives have for their potential pernicious effect on their children, I am more than willing to postpone that issue for a later time.

    This permits me to propagate ideas about Liberty, in minds that otherwise slam shut at the mention of the Libertarian Party or its candidates. Perhaps incorrectly, but nonetheless effectively in discourse with conservatives, I equate small (L) libertarians with most of our Founding Fathers. This resonates with them, and over the last few years I have perceived a remarkable acceptance of libertarian thinking by conservatives becoming Constitutionalists.

    To me, that is a huge step in the right direction, which the Libertarian Party itself does not seem to deserve much credit. I have long said that if the drug issue is removed from the table, I can make a libertarian out of most conservatives in five minutes of conversation. Anecdotal evidence has confirmed that proposition to my satisfaction in the past few years. ◄Dave►

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