My below response was published as a letter to the editor was published in The DC Examiner on Feb. 21.
To the Editor:
Chris Malagisi created two distinct categories of libertarians in his article “A call to true Conservative-Movement Libertarians” (DC Examiner, 2/17) but fails to use precise definitions in his categorizations. The author’s first mistake is incorrectly labeling followers of Congressman Ron Paul, no doubt the modern leader of the libertarian movement, “neo-Objectivists” and classifying them as radicals. In fact, an objectivist is someone who adheres to the political philosophy of Ayn Rand, which includes five key elements — politics, of course, but also metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics.
“Neo-Objectivists” have nothing to do with Ron Paul followers or vice-a-versa. Dr. Paul’s following is so large and diverse that it would be difficult to appropriately categorize them, but certainly phrases like advocates of constitutional government, classical liberals, or liberty activists would be more accurate terminology. Modern objectivists would also object to the author’s use of the term to “Neo-Objectivist” to describe Ron Paul supporters because Ayn Rand’s supporters tend to be hawkish on foreign policy while Ron Paul and his followers are non-interventionists (not isolationists, as the author states).
Malagisi also uses the phrase “Conservative-Movement Libertarians” to describe advocates of individual liberty and limited government who are willing to work with other conservatives to achieve fusionist goals. “Conservative-Movement” implies that libertarian-minded members of a fusionist coalition with conservatives will put a movement ahead of the ideas that we know to be true. A more accurate phrase would be “Conservative-Libertarian Coalition” in which both conservative and libertarian ideas are contemplated, rather than just conservative ideas being implemented with libertarians along for the ride.
The author butchers his definition of the word liberty, at least from the perspective of libertarians. We view liberty as the ability of individuals in a society to live their lives as they see fit so long as they are not harming others.
If the author wants to include libertarians in his coalition, he should put in more effort to understand some of the most basic definitions of the terms that define our beliefs. Further, he should not exclude the most passionate activists in modern politics — the people he incorrectly labels “Neo-Objectivists”, supporters of Congressman Ron Paul.
If politicians in any conservative-libertarian coalition are simply going to use libertarian supporters to advance a liberty-crushing agenda, they will not be able to count on support from libertarians for long.
I say that as a libertarian who is more than willing to work with conservatives to advance liberty in our country.
Republican Liberty Caucus
Aaron Biterman is Vice Chairman of the Republican Liberty Caucus, a group of libertarians working to change the direction of the Republican Party to respect individual rights, limited government, and free markets. He is an advisory board member to the Northern Virginia Tea Party and currently writes for The Tea Party Review magazine.