A friend of mine, a prominent fixture in the conservative movement during the 1960s and beyond, once told me that he attended a convention of the Libertarian Party. “It reminded me,” he said, “of the bar scene in the Star Wars movie.”
That one line captures the essence of the problem of Libertarianism as a political force in modern America. On the one hand, most elements of the Libertarian philosophy–the emphasis on the importance of individual liberty in opposition to the power of the state being the most significant–are entirely consistent with American Constitutionalism, and the three core values of the Tea Party movement. On the other hand, at the extreme, Libertarians can be very inflexible and unbending in their adherence to the sanctity of their principles. This tends to limit their ability to work cooperatively with others.
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