The United States is in the midst of an economic recession that some experts say could be more than cyclical. While institutional, mainstream media continue to insist that the U.S. economy is on the rebound, these same mainstream media now also admit the U.S. dollar is in a long-term decline.
In the face of current economic challenges, the Republican Party in the United States has seen the rise of the Tea Party, a decentralized movement which promotes a strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution, reduction of taxes and spending, fiscal solvency, and a general call for upholding personal liberty.
Tea Party Values Not Yet as Developed as Libertarian Values
Many of the Tea Party’s values are also held by those who hold libertarian values, although libertarians have had more time to flush out exactly what they believe. The Tea Party shares some common goals with Libertarians (e.g. prices should be stable), but has not yet come to the same conclusion that achieving such goals would require (e.g. allow competing currencies or end the Federal Reserve).
The Current Republican Party
While many Republican Party members claim to be fiscally and socially conservative, when it comes to specific issues, most Republican Party members hold values that ultimately lead to more government and less personal liberty. In that regard, the solution to issues viewed as problems by the Republican Party leads to the same outcome as solutions to issues viewed as problems by the Democratic Party: bigger government.
For example, many Democratic Party members believe the government should be responsible for providing free or affordable health care and education to citizens, which means government must grow in size and expand its role. While Republican Party members might not agree with free health care and education, those same Republicans would likely believe the U.S. government should continue to spend more on defense than all other nations of the world combined. Increased military spending also means government must grow in size and expand its role.
Libertarians support personal liberty and a minimal role for the state. Libertarians believe in voluntary, peaceful interactions between individuals, and so generally oppose compulsion and the use of force (except in cases such as self defense).
Will the Tea Party Adopt Libertarian Ideals
Republican Party members such as congressman Ron Paul and former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson hold distinctly libertarian values, and are infusing the Republican Party with notions of liberty, personal responsibility, peace, and sound money. These figures are bringing traditional values that were once cornerstones of the GOP back to the forefront.
What remains to be seen is if the Tea Party will continue on its course of voicing general opposition to the status quo in the Republican Party without calling for the discussion and adoption of more specific solutions.
A very relevant indicator on the direction of the Tea Party and the degree libertarianism will play in its future will be to monitor which current un-official Tea Party movement leader (e.g. Rand Paul, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann) grows in prominence and becomes the generally-accepted spokesperson for the Tea Party movement.
Sources: mises.org, lewrockwell.com