As the Republican Party grows increasingly more ideologically diverse, several new factions and political labels have emerged within the party’s “big tent.” One such term, conservatarian, typically refers to someone who generally considers themselves fiscally conservative but socially liberal. This emerging school of political thought requires further definition.
Conservatarians notably reject Bush-style “compassionate conservatism,” and maintain that the modern Republican Party and mainstream conservatism have often supported bigger government and less individual freedom. While most hold traditionally libertarian beliefs, they disagree with libertarian positions on foreign policy and abortion. This synthesis bridges the gap between libertarians and conservatives, forging an ideology which holds individual freedom as its highest goal.
With respect to economics, conservatarians mostly favor pro-business policies while opposing the corporatism and favoritism both Republicans and Democrats in Washington foster by giving favorable deals to business allies. They believe in a free market system where the government does not decide winners and losers; where companies freely compete for business without government intervention or subsidies.
On social issues, conservatarians hold views that hew closer to those of libertarians than to traditional conservatives. They believe in legalization of marijuana and have no problem with same-sex marriage. However, they do hold traditional conservative viewpoints on abortion. The average conservatarian uses primarily science-based reasoning to argue for pro-life policies.
Finally, conservatarians are conservative-leaning on foreign policy and immigration. They believe in the conservative argument of peace through strength, advocating for a strong national defense. They’re not quite hawkish on foreign policy, but they also believe America should have a strong presence on the national stage. They believe in limited intervention, rejecting the libertarian position of wholesale non-intervention.
To sum up, conservatarians are a small-government, constitutionally obedient movement that advocates for individual freedom and limited federal governance. In the future, conservatarianism could help the Republican Party return to its roots as a party where liberty serves as a guiding principle.