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IPFS News Link • Philosophy: Libertarianism

What is a "Libertarian-Conservative"?

•, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The op-ed is about the appointment of Supreme Court justices and was written by Steven G. Calabresi, who is a professor of law at Northwestern University and a visiting professor at Yale Law School.

Calabresi's op-ed begins, "I'm a libertarian-conservative."

Now, what exactly is a "libertarian-conservative"? Neither Calabresi nor the Times defines the term. It's as if they presume that everyone knows what a "libertarian-conservative" is.

There is no doubt that Calabresi is a conservative. In fact, he served in the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He also advised Attorney General Edwin Meese. He wrote campaign speeches for Vice President Dan Quayle.

But why then does he describe himself as a hyphenated "libertarian-conservative?" We just don't know.

What we do know, however, is that several years ago, conservatives who were disenchanted with the conservative movement flooded into the libertarian movement and began calling themselves libertarians.

There was one big problem, however: In certain important areas, many of these disenchanted conservatives continued hewing to their conservative views. Even worse, they began prevailing on libertarians to abandon their libertarian positions and join up with these hyphenated "libertarian-conservatives" on important issues of the day.