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(READY) Achieving Social Conservative Goals by Libertarian Means


Libertarians and social conservatives may sometimes disagree, but talk radio host Michael Medved cited how the pro-life cause has been advanced by libertarianism means.

Becky Lee, of Seattle, tries to position her Seahawks glasses so they will fit the Statue of Liberty while her friend takes a photo, Friday, Jan. 31, 2014 in New York. The Seattle Seahawks will play the Broncos Sunday in the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII football game in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren) AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

“One of the things the pro-life movement has achieved without changing law, without changing government, what the pro-life movement has achieved is cutting the number of abortions to the lowest point in 30 years,” Medved said. “How? By preaching and teaching and reaching people and convincing more people. It's the only social issue in which the support for a conservative issue, which I share emphatically, that support is higher among young people than among codgers like us.”

Medved was part of a panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference Friday that debated how social conservatives and libertarians can find common ground. The two factions are arguably the most activist of the conservative movement.

Medved also said that a third party was not the answer.

“I've been widely criticized when I talk about the large L Libertarian Party on my radio show as the Loosertarian Party because I see it as a quasi-religious death cult,” Medved said. “Once they leave that cult and actually join the American political system, they could make a huge contribution by emphasizing the proper small government, minimized government, libertarian means to achieving the goals.”

The panelist debated the issue of gay marriage, federalism and religious freedom.

“This is one of the geniuses of the American system is that we not only allow separation of church and state, but we allow for religious competition,” Reason Magazine editor Matt Welch said. “Our free market of religion to use a term that might sound crass, I think is a wonderful thing, which means churches are integral.”

However, Matt Spalding of the Heritage Foundation stressed that freedom must have moral underpinnings.

“The true fusion, the higher fusion, the true fusion of western civilization is what the Founders did themselves,” Spalding said. “That's to bring all these things together with a strong moral backbone and moral understanding of liberty with freedom. That's the source of fusion rather than bickering.”

Libertarians can be in many stripes, said Alexander McCobin, president of Students for Liberty.

“You can be a libertarian and not be a Libertarian Party member, or not be a libertine,” McCobin said. “Libertarianism isn't about certain policy positions or a justification of a political philosophy. You can be a Republican, Democrat, independent and be a libertarian.”

“You can be a Christian, Muslim or Jew and be a libertarian,” he added. “What it means to be a libertarian is a certain approach to a political philosophy, that principled liberty is the most important goal. There is a difference between a political philosophy and a personal lifestyle. You can be a social conservative and be a libertarian in terms of public policy. Just because you think people ought to act a certain way doesn't mean you want the government to require them to act that way.”

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