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Ralph Reiland


I wrote a story (subscription required) for the print magazine a few issues back on what I called, perhaps a bit portentously, the “crisis in conservatism.” Reiland has written a comment on it for Liberty, which was a fun anarcho-capitalist bimonthly when I used to read it. His comment can also be found here.

In my article, I asserted that social conservatism had, in general, been an electoral asset for Republicans over the last generation, and that economic conservatism had, in general, been an electoral liability. Reiland accurately quotes me on these points and then adds,

That sounds like a call for more faith-based tax hikes, perhaps for more wars, because, as the president has explained, God wants men to be free. And domestically, that sounds like a call for more government flashlights in the bedroom and fewer dollars in our wallets. . . . So the answer is to dump libertarians and impose a statist social conservatism? Theocracy, anyone?

For the record, I’m not for “faith-based tax hikes,” whatever they are, let alone for “more” of them. While I don’t think that “dump[ing] libertarians and impos[ing] a statist social conservatism” would amount to “theocracy,” I’m not for it, either. I am for anti-statists taking a careful look at their actual political prospects rather than at what they wish those prospects were. But I am not surprised that some libertarians would respond to my attempt to do that by retreating deeper into fantasy.


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