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CPAC 2014 brings libertarians and the Christian right together

The Confederate is a the symbol of the great divide
The Confederate is a the symbol of the great divide
By Randy Pope

At CPAC 2014 Tom Minnery hosted a panel discussion, a loosely monitored debate, if you will, discussing whether libertarians and social conservatives can get along. As the discussion progresses the answer to that question was a resounding yes and no. They are two separate movements within the landscape of American politics, and they are largely finding their home in one of the two major parties after all.

There are issues that separate these two political movements and there always will be. They are two political movements with a large minority of voters. Neither political movement is going to achieve any success in the American political system all by themselves. The fact of the matter is both major political parties hate both of these movements. Just as obvious is the fact that these two political movements are absolutely aligned on a multitude of issues. The CPAC 2014 panel discussion made this abundantly clear.

Neither libertarians or the Christian right should allow the state to educate their children. Unfortunately the Christian right has largely come to view the state as the answer to the failures of the state run education system. It remains to be seen, but it will be a huge departure from libertarian principles if you do not find libertarians refusing to allow their children to be educated in a government education system, whether the state provides vouchers and/or charter schools or not. Libertarians should recognize that school choice is not dependent upon legislative action. When all libertarians and a significant number of the Christian right pull their children out of the government run schools you will see a unified move by the two groups to end the injustice of forcing those who are not using, and in most cases, do not believe in state run education, to fund said system.

The Christian right often argues that the state must be involved in the issue of marriage. The panel members at CPAC 2014 have some compelling arguments to make that case. They make the argument that the fact that marriage constitutes a contract that must be adjudicated if broken requires that the state has an interest in marriage. It could be that this argument is an argument for parents to be involved in the process of their children's marriage. It is true that some government must be set in place to adjudicate in the marriage of two individuals. The question the Christian right needs to answer is why must that government necessarily be the state. Could not a marriage covenant be governed by the church?

Both libertarians and the Christian right recognizes the need to cut the scope in which the state is involved in the lives of it's citizens. They can and will begin to form alliances to address this issue. There will certainly continue to be differences between the two political movements when it comes to how society should deal with moral issues like sodomy, adultery, in which one could include pornography, abortion and the like. On those issues they will part company. The fact that CPAC 2014 was able to open the discussion between these two powerful minorities makes it apparent that you will see victory on many issues due to collaboration between libertarians and the Christian right.