Tuesday, May 24, 2016

GOP Roots Not Libertarian

And the parting on the Left
Is now parting on the Right
and the beards have all grown longer overnight
--The Who

Heard today that "the Republican Party needs to return to its libertarian roots." The Republican Party was not rooted in libertarian principles. The GOP was rooted in Hamilton's Federalists which became the Whigs. Its platform was the American System--a collection of interventionist policies designed to consolidate power in centralized government. The first Republican Party president, Abraham Lincoln, nailed those planks into his platform in 1860.

Instead, it was the Democratic Party of Jefferson founded in 1800 that more closely resembled what we know today as libertarian philosophy. Its anti-federalist motto was 'that government is best that governs least.'

As Rothbard recounts, the libertarian roots of the Democratic Party were extracted by the progressive movement nearly 100 years later.

Although the current political landscape might suggest the GOP as slightly closer to libertarian ideals than the Democratic Party, it is a mistake to think that the Republican Party was grounded in libertarian roots.

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