(This was written as a personal statement to the members of the Republican Liberty Caucus, of which I am Chairman. I’m sharing it here on Blogcritics because I believe it has value in explaining the organization to a broader audience.)
I consider myself to be socially conservative in my personal beliefs. I’m not about to marry a man, encourage my daughter to have an abortion, picket a military recruiting office or smoke marijuana. But I am also a libertarian, so I do not believe in using the power of government to force my values on other people. I hope and believe that as a group the Republican Liberty Caucus shares this perspective, and that our members understand that like the Republican party, we are a “big tent” with room for anyone who agrees with our core principles of limited government, free markets and individual liberty.
The RLC is not just a bunch of Libertarians who got tired of the bickering in the Libertarian Party. Many of us are long-time Republicans who are inspired not by Ayn Rand or Murray Rothbard or the modern gurus of the libertarian movement, but by the fundamentally conservative belief in liberty which descends from enlightened conservatives like Edmund Burke and the founding fathers and was reinforced by the great leaders of the Republican party like Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan.
Reagan described his own philosophy of government as libertarian; he saw no conflict between his libertarian beliefs and his personal moral principles. Like many Republicans, he understood that there are separate spheres for the political and the personal. The RLC operates in the political sphere and is not in the business of advocating for or against any moral belief held by any individual. While it is true that we do not believe that it is the role of the federal government to legislate morality, that also means that as a group we do not advocate or oppose any position on personal moral, religious or social issues. There are other groups, both inside and outside the GOP, which address those issues quite well without our help.
The RLC has many members whose personal values tend towards the socially conservative, but they still share a belief in the principles of limited government, free markets and individual liberty. We welcome them into our chapters because their beliefs do not conflict with our core principles. By the same measure, we also welcome members whose personal beliefs tend to be more socially liberal. If we have differences on some social issues we can put those aside because it is more important to work together on the larger issues which we share in common.
Our nation is in peril and our most precious rights are threatened. Government is out of control and must be returned to the principles on which it was founded. Achieving this is the mission of the RLC and if it is your mission, then that should override all lesser issues; we ought to be able to find common ground and work together because none of us will be able to live the way we want — whatever our personal social and moral beliefs — if we are no longer free.Powered by Sidelines