Winning on Principle

Jeff Frazee
May 25, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Reprint from the first issue of Young American Revolution:

In 1969 at the Young Americans for Freedom national convention in St. Louis, a young libertarian activist stood up, declared the Vietnam War an imperialist adventure, and burned a facsimile draft card. Hysteria ensued.

Since that moment there has been a deep divide between the conservative and libertarian factions on the Right. Both have gone on bitterly to pursue their own interests, neither side making much of an effort to mend the broken relationship and work toward shared ends.

Three decades later, conservatives can claim great political success, but have stood weak at the knees on principle. Conversely, Libertarians can profess their longstanding principles, but cannot point to any significant political victory. Both movements have failed to limit the size and scope of government and protect our personal freedoms. Our country has only suffered for it.

As conservatives stare in the mirror searching for direction and libertarians ride high on the successes of the Ron Paul presidential campaign, now is the time to reconcile the past and forge a revived spirit of “winning on principle.”

Conservatives can no longer campaign for lower taxes, limited government, and personal responsibility then turn around and govern as corrupt big spenders in bed with special interests. This path has resulted in Democratic takeovers in the Congress and the White House. Long-term viability rests on sticking to principle and restoring the American ideals of life, liberty, and private property.

On the other hand, libertarians can no longer fight from the outside looking in. Saying, “I told you so” after losing elections year after year is no longer an acceptable excuse. Developing an attractive message, using the proper political vehicles, and supplying practical answers to mainstream issues are necessary now. Of course, this is not a suggestion to compromise on principle, but rather to shift tactics and get a better understanding of political realities.

Young Americans for Liberty is prepared to restore the split that occurred in 1969 and supply a future generation of leaders. We recognize that political success is only honorable if we stand for principle, and that liberty will only prevail if we win politically.

Jeff Frazee
Executive Director, YAL

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As a former neoconservative myself, I understand that perspective - conservatives come from a deep-rooted respect of tradition and a sort of "USA, right or wrong" attitude.

The problem I see with many Libertarians (even modern ones) is they respond with "the US is ALWAYS wrong" and proceed to overload the conservatives with every sin ever committed in the name of the US. Or, they resort to sensationalistic approaches that conservatives have never been susceptible too (while many of the hippies in the 60's were leftist in tendencies, their actions turned off conservatives to any legitimate calls for an end to Vietnam). Quite simply, conservatives do not like to have their errors thrown in their face and shouted back at them - no one does.

Neither approach is effective, and I neither is right.

Instead, Libertarians/Capitalists/Tea Partiers should approach the issue philosophically and logically. Accept the good as the good (our original devotion to constitutionally limited government) and join yourself with the conservatives by saying that their calls for a "free market" (even if they are not yet sure what it means) are completely correct.

THEN you can start making some logical extensions, gently but firmly - "If people have a right to their own body, how does their body not apply?" "If our government is supposed to protect our individual liberties, then why are they being taken away in the Patriot Act?" "If we should put America first, then why are we sending our men and women in the military to the desert or the jungle to prop up governments that aren't any better than the one's we replaced?"

Albeit, I moved this way through my own study,  but those were the questions I started asking myself, and I started reading toward my current stances gradually. It wasn't overnight.

This does work - I've seen plenty of conservatives and neoconservatives go for Ron Paul on the forums I take part in through patience and logic. 

BrianMUGA's picture

I don't believe it possible to exist without the necessity of government mandated education and a strong home defense. Taxes are necessary to accomplish this goal and a simple flat tax across all states  would accomplish this just fine.  The budget  would then be redesigned to meet the needs of the people then the states and then government workers.  Then we dissolve the Fed.  Thats a platform,  the us could I use some pragmatism. 

Zanzabarism's picture

I don't believe it possible to exist without the necessity of government mandated education and a strong home defense. Taxes are necessary to accomplish this goal and a simple flat tax across all states  would accomplish this just fine.  The budget  would then be redesigned to meet the needs of the people then the states and then government workers.  Then we dissolve the Fed.  Thats a platform,  the us could use some pragmatism. 

Zanzabarism's picture

It is obvious that conservator could change some aspects of the system economy but their recent history is actually quiet unprincipled. <a href="http://www.bucuresti-imobiliare.com">Cherrs</a>

Raducu's picture

It is obvious that conservator could change some aspects of the system economy but their recent history is actually quiet unprincipled. Sadra

Raducu's picture

It is obvious that conservator could change some aspects of the system economy but their recent history is actually quiet unprincipled. more here

dmains89's picture

Free healthcare for all!

From a superior European cousin.

LibertariansAreCunts's picture