However, my lament is not that libertarians outnumber conservatives (though that does cause me concern) but rather that our collective failure to understand what constitutes a conservative philosophy or worldview is preventing us from increasing our tribe.
While not the subject of his post, this sentence from Joe Carter's introduction to a series of posts on conservatism caught my eye. While I have frequently heard libertarians lament that in the uneasy alliance between libertarians and conservatives, that the conservatives had them quite outnumbered, I don't remember ever hearing a professed conservative express concern about being outnumbered by the libertarians.
This makes me wonder about terminology. How, exactly, should these terms be defined? Self-identification, comparison to some "standard" of conservative or libertarian thought, or something else entirely?
Certainly, in the blogosphere prominent self-identified libertarians seem to vastly outstrip prominent conservatives. However, in America as a whole I somewhat doubt, based solely on my own experience and observation and no research whatsoever, I doubt that this would be true. (Although this analysis of one poll, indicating that only 20% of people polled purported to even recognize the term libertarian, would tend to back me up on this.)
Of course, how people identify themselves and even how some others ID them is hardly dispositive. I've certainly seem some people refer to themselves as "conservative" whose actual political beliefs would more than strain the definition of the word. For that matter, I seem to recall some leftist (No, I'm not going to try to find the link. Just too lazy.) calling George Bush a "radical libertarian" right after the 2004 election. (That probably rates as one of the most absurd things I've ever heard, but there it is.)
Still, I wonder how many others would take the position that "conservatives" are outnumbered by "libertarians"?
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