Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
August 9, 2022

Libertarians might be the Republicans’ last hope

By AGASTYA MONDAL | November 29, 2012

Believe it or not, the Republican Party used to be the party of liberty. From its roots in Jefferson’s democracy until Eisenhower’s presidency, the GOP actively saw the significance of free markets and free people. Jefferson saw the importance in freedom of the individual and recognized that the individual must play a vital role in a functioning democracy. He actively criticized unsustainable debt and warned that tangled foreign alliances would lead to global distress.

Throughout the nineteenth and the twentieth century, the Republican Party maintained this platform. Eisenhower applauded civil rights efforts and advocated against discrimination, while maintaining a fiscally sound government.

So what happened? What turned this rational, liberty minded party into the party of draconian regulations on morality, fanatic military interventionism and status quo big government? Nothing of the modern day Republican Party resembles its roots. With a national platform that blatantly defies the Constitution, discriminatory social policy and irresponsible fiscal policy, the modern Republican Party has completely abandoned the principles that once made this country so strong.

It comes as no surprise that this year’s election devastated the Republican Party. In a near-landslide victory, incumbent President Obama showed that the people are not ready to accept the current state of the Republican Party. And who can blame them? The GOP’s position on same-sex marriage, drug policy and immigration reform unsurprisingly appeal to very few.

While the Democrats do have serious flaws, they were the clear choice when it came to human rights of American citizens in this unfortunately binary political system. Arguably even more important than the national outcome were local and state initiatives.

With gay marriage now legal in nine states, the American people are slowly recognizing the absurdity of denying people fundamental rights because of personal beliefs. Unfortunately it is also clear that Republican officials are not ready to accept this message of personal freedom. The Republicans continue to cling to radical social conservatism, which in this modern era will turn out to be extremely unsustainable.

Nonetheless, there may be hope for the Republican Party. The libertarians, so-called “Ron Paul Republicans,” are one of the fastest growing sectors of the Republican Party and will certainly be some of the biggest key players in determining the future of the GOP. Labels aside, these individuals fundamentally believe that returning to Jefferson’s vision for America will lead to the most peace and prosperity.

Unsurprisingly, though, this group has not had a pleasant history with the modern Republican Party, as RNC officials essentially stripped Ron Paul of his primary votes during this 2012 election cycle. Numerous independent analysts have stated that the libertarian vote could have given the Republican Party a much better chance of winning the election. However, these extremely principled individuals refused to vote for a party with a national platform so contrary to individual liberty.

If the Republicans plan on winning future elections, they must consider adapting their platform to sway the libertarian vote. Given its current platform, it seems unlikely that the Republican Party will readily revert to its roots. However popular movements and pressure from local initiatives may ultimately pressure the GOP’s national platform. Will the Republican Party ever embrace the message of liberty? It’s hard to say definitively, but it may be their last hope.

Agastya Mondal is a freshman Biomedical Engineering and Applied Math double major from Pennington, N.J. He is a staff writer for the News-Letter.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The News-Letter.

News-Letter Special Editions