GOP should appeal to Libertarians

Last updated: 03/17/13 10:51pm


There has been much debate over whether or not the Republican Party should reform, and if it does, what should be the result of that reform. New Hampshire and the Free State Project offer an example of a possible end result.

Under the Free State Project, Libertarians from across the country are set to make a mecca to New Hampshire, settle there and take over its state and local politics.

New Hampshire’s state motto: Live Free or Die.

In an interview with Peter Robinson of the Hoover Institution and Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winner and libertarian economist, it was said that libertarianism is the desire to have “the maximum freedom for each individual to follow his own way, his own values as long as he doesn’t interfere with anybody else doing the same.”

For New Hampshirites, car insurance is optional, as are seatbelts and helmets for motorcyclists. State law prohibits the use of eminent domain for private use or private development, and no official permit is required to carry a firearm, either concealed or openly.

More to the point, New Hampshire is the tax haven Republicans have tried so hard to achieve elsewhere in the nation. The state only collects income tax on certain streams of investment income, which means most residents don’t have any state income tax liability, and it does not levy sales tax.

Grover Norquist, the leader of Americans for Tax Reform, drew the news media’s attention in 2012 over his no-new-taxes blood oath, which has been signed by nearly every congressional Republican. However, at the same time in 2012, candidates for the governorship in New Hampshire signed onto an equally anti-tax pledge almost without notice.

Gov. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., said she would not enact an income tax or a sales tax over her tenure. That was the promise she made before she was elected over her Republican opponent.

Libertarians only represent 9 percent of the American population, but in a poll conducted by Pew Research Center, 70 percent of that 9 percent said they would vote for a Republican in 2012.

An appeal to libertarianism would also add more coherence to the philosophy of the Republican Party. Many Republicans like Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have cited F.A. Hayek, another Nobel Prize winner and libertarian economist, as an influence. Yet they completely discount an important part of Hayek’s most famous treatise “The Road to Serfdom.”

As Hayek continually iterates, the threat of socialism is not only that it limits free enterprise, but that individual liberty is sacrificed as well. Individual liberty cannot be separated from economic liberty. It is inconsistent to insist upon low taxes, compare banking regulations to tyranny and support restrictions on the freedoms of others.

Gallup polls show a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization.

The Republican Party continually finds itself with pietistic positions that a majority of the public does not share. But with the Libertarians on board, it does have an opportunity to tap into a portion of the American electorate that as William Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts said, “wants the government out of your pocketbook and your bedroom.”

Published Mar 17, 2013 in Opinions

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