Are Libertarians Part of the Conservative Movement?
The American Enterprise Debates

Video

Post Event Summary

Since the creation of "fusionism" in the 1960s by Frank Meyer, conservatives and libertarians have maintained an uneasy and at times contentious alliance. United in their efforts to stop government growth domestically and combat Communism abroad, conservatives and libertarians were able to put aside any differences to strengthen their stance against their common ideological enemies. However, as these two movements have changed over time, each side has sought to untangle its identity from the other.

But what differences exist between the two? In the February installment of the American Enterprise Debates series, co-sponsored with America’s Future Foundation, Reason magazine's Matt Welch argued that conservatives fail to hold the line on government spending and imposing social policies that infringe on individual liberty, the original focus of the American experiment. He added that Republicans are turning more to libertarianism now because they are no longer in power. AEI's Jonah Goldberg countered that while conservatives may fall short in performance, the definition of an American conservative is someone who desires to protect America's limited-government tradition. The two were able to come together in the end to say that whether conservative or libertarian, Americans should unite today to defeat the strongest threat to liberty, posed by America's crushing debt burden.

Event Description
In the next American Enterprise Debate, cosponsored with America’s Future Foundation, AEI Fellow Jonah Goldberg will argue that libertarians are part of the broader American conservative movement’s push for limited government. Matt Welch, editor in chief of Reason, will counter that libertarians offer a unique understanding of political life that makes libertarianism incompatible with conservatism. America’s Future Foundation Executive Director Roger Custer will moderate.

 

 

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About the Author

 

Jonah
Goldberg

  •  


    A bestselling author and columnist, Jonah Goldberg's nationally syndicated column appears regularly in scores of newspapers across the United States. He is also a columnist for the Los Angeles Times, a member of the board of contributors to USA Today, a contributor to Fox News, a contributing editor to National Review, and the founding editor of National Review Online. He was named by the Atlantic magazine as one of the top 50 political commentators in America. In 2011 he was named the Robert J. Novak Journalist of the Year at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). He has written on politics, media, and culture for a wide variety of publications and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. Prior to joining National Review, he was a founding producer for Think Tank with Ben Wattenberg on PBS and wrote and produced several other PBS documentaries. He is the recipient of the prestigious Lowell Thomas Award. He is the author of two New York Times bestsellers, The Tyranny of Clichés (Sentinel HC, 2012) and Liberal Fascism (Doubleday, 2008).  At AEI, Mr. Goldberg writes about political and cultural issues for American.com and the Enterprise Blog.

    Follow Jonah Goldberg on Twitter.


  • Phone: 202-862-7165
    Email: jonah.goldberg@aei.org

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