Conservatives And Libertarians: Let’s Stay Together (For The Kids)

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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The other week, I wrote about the growing libertarian-conservative divide — and about how Sen. Rand Paul is hoping to be a bridge between the two.

Indeed, there appears to be a growing discontent. Or, at least, social conservatives believe they are about to be thrown under the bus. For example, during a recent seminar hosted by First Things magazine, the topic came up, and as Rod Dreher notes,

“One commenter said that 2016 is going to be the year the Republican Party stiffs Christian conservatives. Another who is involved in elite conservative political circles said that the longstanding tension between libertarians and traditionalists within the conservative movement is breaking out into open contempt by libertarians against the trads. The libertarians have all the money, and are coming to believe they can win without the anchor of social conservatives.”

For the sake of argument, let’s assume there is a growing schism. In that case, this excerpt from Michael Wear’s column in the Atlantic should demonstrate why it’s still in the best interest of traditional conservatives and libertarians to find a way to make fusionism work:

“When Americans don’t have family to care for them, government must step in to provide those services. For instance, Matthew Zill at the Brookings Institution points out that state and federal governments spend billions of dollars each year to care for children in foster care—$9 billion through Title IV-Eof the Social Security Act alone. There are longer-term costs for children who grow up outside of safe, permanent families as well, including the $5.1 billion the government spends incarcerating former foster-care youth each year.”

This is perhaps the best argument for conservatives and libertarians staying together — that the breakdown of family inexorably leads to more governmental intervention. Whether you’re at First Things or Reason, it makes sense to focus on the family.

Matt K. Lewis