A Manifesto for Conservatarians

n_mj_cooke_130412-998x748This is fascinating. Two very good minds,thinking about the future. David Harsanyi of The Federalist interviews Charles C. W. Cooke of National Review officially about the latter’s book, but they get around some. Lots of good insight here, I think.

You can’t go far these days without running across someone describing themselves as a libertarian-leaning conservative. In his new book, “The Conservatarian Manifesto: Libertarians, Conservatives, and the Fight for the Right’s FutureNational Review’s Charles Cooke proposes a philosophical and political framework that fuses conservatism and libertarianism into a cohesive and effective political brand. The Federalist talked to Cooke about how divisions on the Right over issues like abortion, gay marriage, immigration and foreign policy can be overcome—and how conservatarianism might be the future of the Republican Party.

The Federalist: The fusionist idea has been bouncing around since the dawn of the modern conservative movement. How did you come to the idea of writing a manifesto for conservatarians?

Charles Cooke: The two halves of the title fit together quite nicely, I think. The conservation part is reactive. I have heard people since the Bush administration explaining routinely what they are not. Many did not want to be described as ‘conservative’ and many did not want to be described as ‘Republicans,’ but few were unwilling to go as far as to suggest they were ‘libertarian.’ You hear this a lot: people say, ‘I am conservative when I am around libertarians and libertarian when I am around conservatives.’ I wanted to find out who these people are and what they want and why they are confused. But I also wanted to offer my own explanations as to how they can co-exist and where I think they can go with these instincts and these ideas. And how the various factions on the Right could coexist.

The Federalist: Is there a politician out there now that embodies the philosophical outlook of conservatarians?

Charles Cooke: It’s a difficult question because there are so many factions on the Right, you can get a lot of traction by appealing to any one of them. As such, there doesn’t seem to one candidate who is fits the bill. The closest person is probably Rand Paul.

The Federalist: My sense of Paul too often betrays a paleo-libertarian instinct that, in the end, will probably turn off most conservatives that lean small “l” libertarian.

Charles Cooke: I agree. I think the connections to his father will also damage him. And, you know, it’s a good question but it some regards it misses the point. This is supposed to be a way of changing the minds of voters. The very notion that Americans would be putting all of our stock in one person in the executive branch is in and of itself a problem. Because that is how we now discuss politics.

The Federalist:  Most voters have a difficult time detaching ideas about process from specific policies. Liberals, especially these days, conflate policy and process because outcome is what really matters. Focusing on a single person is a lot easier for voters who aren’t generally very knowledgeable about specifics. So, I imagine, your argument is more difficult to sell than almost any other contemporary political philosophy, precisely because it is built on that distinction.

Keep reading Can Libertarians and Conservatives Coexist?: An Interview With Charles C.W. Cooke.

In many ways this is where I fit in to our political society, and it’s pretty much a traditional American stance; “Leave Me Alone!” Shouted at the top of our voices.


About NEO
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10 Responses to A Manifesto for Conservatarians

  1. The Day and Age of this loss of this conservatism has been at work for ages, especially in both modernity and now postmodernity! One cannot help but wonder if any of this so-called “free-mason” like desire for man’s so-called freedom really matters? Mere morally won’t cut it in this age! Only a biblical and spiritual renewal! God has no real interest in the political, at least not at this level! My take and belief anyway.


    • My point was with stuff like this…‘I am conservative when I am around libertarians and libertarian when I am around conservatives.’ This is just more political jargon, and simply does not help true conservative ethics and mindset!


  2. the unit says:

    This is what’s important to me.
    “Leave Me Alone.”
    Actually my comment was longer, too long. So self edited. Whatever my reasons to say it, anyone reading here knows and have your own. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      That’s the sound of America (and Americans) from the very beginning at Jamestown and Plymouth. The government is not, never has been, and never will be our friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO: And of course I know you are speaking of the American idea of the Federal Government here. But the whole aspect of the American form of government is some kind of balance between the Federal Government and the local and State Government, is it not? Does not the American Federal Government have the power to intervene in State Government? Like when JFK sent the Fed’s down into Mississippi over the issue of Civil Rights. But again, how far can we let the Federal Government push its way into our personal life and aspects of human freedom? Especially in the area of human freedom and religion! For example, can we ever really divorce or separate marriage from religion? But we already certainly have, with civil and legal marriage, and as we see now with both straight and gays! And now it appears the American Supreme Court will decide even the classic and religious nature of marriage, which can mean perhaps the marrying of the same sex? And of course the British have the same problem here! Indeed we have moved away from both Law and Religion, and certainly the Gospel and Sacrament in this aspect!

        Liked by 1 person

        • the unit says:

          Well Fr. Robert the fellow Gruber thinks we in America all wear over/coveralls with the button up back flap available to be undone at governments whim and fair use doctrine be instituted, physically. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Ike Jakson says:

    Good morning Nebraska

    It’s a very good and well-presented Post but I am concerned.

    I am fully aware that I am “from outside” and as such and with my experience as well as observation of history since the start of the Colonial period I have come to believe that Nations should stick with their own domestic affairs. This tongue in cheek observation comes with my love for the America I once knew.

    You have always had the best two-party system in the entire world with just the right size floating vote; that’s the way to share periods of governance between both major parties.

    However, with modern Liberalism gone awry and right off the track, can America afford any third Party risk of handing government to the Dems again? I know the Reps are not perfect right now but it seems to be the time to ensure a few Rep victories in a row and defeat the Dems to elect “the better of two known evils” rather than the Dems gaining ground and getting stronger.

    America is in my humble view at risk, and seriously so, if your elect the Dems again in 1916, not even to mention 1920 and 1924. You have to defeat the Dems and let them self-destruct before they become and African Party.

    Would love to hear what you think.


    Liked by 1 person

    • NEO says:

      Ike, my friend, you will not be surprised to find that I agree with you. America right now is very like it was, I think, in about 1773, or perhaps the late `1850s. It’s an armed camp waiting for a spark. I think you are right about the parties as well. I’m working two more in (even though I’ve somewhat sworn off politics (hard on my blood pressure). What the thrust is that our progressives have failed and that we don’t need a third party but to reclaim the Republican party. I have the Dems should do but, their party is a worse fit that the Republicans are. But I’ll think you’ll be reassured as these come out. I am, at least. We haven’t forgotten our basic prudence either.

      Liked by 1 person

      • the unit says:

        Yeah, here is old person still up thinking, and worrying, nearly midnight. We got patriots in a cage, soaked in accelerants, with a fuse leading up to it, with the true terrorist progressives ready to ignite.
        There have been conservative gains in the republicans for two election cycles, needs to keep going. Not going to cut off my nose to spite my face. Keep trying this way, not 3rd party way for me. We got special forces on the ground now, let’s get a ground swell behind them before they themselves become disillusioned and in a D.C. rut.
        Dang, I sound optimistic. It does take effort, the old Rosie the Riveter way, one two punch. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I caught part of this-smart guy.

    Liked by 1 person

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