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News Link • Philosophy of Liberty

The Philosophy of Liberty Transcends Political Labels

• The Daily Bell - Shane Smith

I met wonderful people who identified as conservative, liberal, libertarian, anarchist, anarcho-capitalist, the occasional Objectivist, Constitutionalist, as well as others. But while identifying themselves by these labels, they held as their overriding value the ideal of liberty, an ideal that wasn't to be sacrificed at the altar of party politics or watered down or compromised for the sake of expediency. The way Ron Paul's supporters worked side by side, I believe, is evidence that the devotion to the ideal of liberty transcends all the various political labels that these individuals held before. His supporters understood the way in which labels can be perverted to signify their opposite, and therefore put less weight in what they called themselves than what they stood for.

For many, "conservative" has meant "to conserve liberty" or "to conserve the American heritage of liberty," especially among supporters of Ron Paul. The pre-Buckley Old Right that raged against the New Deal and US entry into the World Wars were in this sense "conservative." The same moniker, though, has been claimed by the myriad big government Republicans, who spout off about "traditional values" but care nothing for the principles of liberty when they block the path of what they deem appropriate government programs. That section of the political/predatory class that just happens to identify as Republican claims "conservatism" with no notion as to what it means for many ordinary Americans. Those that equate conservatism with liberty are thrown under the bus when Republican Progressives highjack the label, and rightly point out that, if a Mitt Romney or a George Bush is "conservative" then the term itself ceases to have meaning. The same goes with any political label: If it can be twisted to mean anything, what use is it? It is important to point out what has generally been meant by which label, but the tug-of-war can only go on for so long before the political establishment completely unmoors the label from its pro-liberty wharf.

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