FLORIDA, December 24, 2012 — Libertarianism is making its way into the mainstream, and Wayne Allyn Root is one of its best-known voices.
The last few years have seen this once a marginal philosophy attract widespread interest. From the rise of the Tea Party to Ron Paul’s good showing in this year’s Republican presidential primaries, there can be little doubt that liberty-oriented politics are on the upswing.
All the while, commonly used phrases such as “conservative” and “liberal” are becoming increasingly subjective. What might have been popularly defined as left-of-center yesterday could be hard-right today, and vice versa. A sign of our very changing times, perhaps.
Wayne Allyn Root is a veteran entrepreneur and pundit. He makes no bones about stating his opinion on some of today’s most controversial issues. Despite being the Libertarian Party nominee for vice president in 2008, he endorsed Mitt Romney this time around and joined the GOP.
In this first part of our discussion, Root explains about the increasing appeal of libertarianism — specifically what sort of libertarian ideas tend to resonate with people. He also tells us about his perspective on the differences between liberalism and conservatism.
Joseph F. Cotto: Support for libertarian politics has been rising in the American mainstream as of late. What do you believe is the cause of this?
Wayne Allyn Root: I’m a combination Libertarian and conservative. I call myself a REAGAN Libertarian. I believe fiscal conservatism can be sold and we can still elect a Republican President, Senate, and House - but only if politicians stick to their principles and proudly/loudly defend and define fiscal conservatism, pro business, pro capitalism, pro free market principles.
But we will not elect Republican conservatives who say they believe in small and limited government, yet support Big Brother in our bedrooms. Or more specifically say they do not support exceptions to abortion because of rape, incest, or a mother’s life in danger. That will NEVER again be electable in the United States. Period. On social issues I’m a common sense moderate Libertarian. I want government out of my bedroom and boardroom.
So yes, I think that brand of “Libertarianism” that is defined as fiscally conservative and socially moderate is rising. The Libertarianism mixed with conservatism. But “pure” Libertarianism is going nowhere. Unless you feel getting 1 percent of the national vote is an achievement? I don’t. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. The candidate that gets 1 percent of the vote isn’t part of anything. He or she is unfortunately powerless and anonymous. I want a seat at the table. I want to change the direction of America. If you are conservative or Libertarian that needs to get done inside the GOP. I have rejoined the GOP, the party of my three heroes: Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and Congressman Jack Kemp. The party that today still has a few of my heroes like Rand Paul, Jeff Flake and until a few days ago, Jim DeMint (to name a few).
Cotto: In American politics, labels have been overused to the extent that terms such as “conservative” and “liberal” are now essentially meaningless. Why do you suppose that this happened?
Root: I’m not sure what you mean by “meaningless?” I think liberal and conservative have very important meanings.
“Liberal” stands for bigger government (at least when it comes to fiscal issues), bigger taxes, bigger spending, bigger deficit and debt, more entitlements, support of unions and government employees, an obsession with punishing the private sector, punishing business owners, weak on illegal immigration, seeing socialism more favorably than capitalism, radical environmentalism, support for teachers unions and shutting down school choice, taking our guns away, supporting government-run healthcare and refusing Tort reform, anti-American exceptionalism, at times a seeming hatred towards Israel, while being weak towards Muslim extremists and terrorists out to destroy our nation, running an economy for the “Big 3”- fairness, equality and social justice. “You didn’t build that” sums up the Obama school of liberalism.
“Conservative” is far from perfect. Often Republicans are too weak on much of the above, often they compromise their principles, often they become “Democrat lite,” and I’m not always in love with their social issues … But …
For the most part I stand polar OPPOSITE on every belief or policy attached to the “Liberal” list above. And so should every Libertarian. If you want smaller government you may not be happy with Republicans, but you should be disgusted, sickened and fearful of Democrats like Obama. Where they are headed is clear: SOCIALISM.
So to me, and to most Americans, there is a pretty clear difference between “liberal” and “conservative.” But are there areas of common ground and compatability? Sure. On a few issues the Tea Party shares something with Occupy. We both dislike and fear big government. We both dislike corporate welfare and cronyism. We both hated the bailouts. We both dislike foreign aid and military adventurism. But our solutions are so far apart, we might as well live on different planets.
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