Phillies: “Libertarians are not conservatives”

From the Phillies 2008 campaign:

Libertarian Presidential candidate George Phillies today condemned claims that the Libertarian Party is a right-wing conservative Party. “Libertarians are not conservatives,” Phillies said. “It is an act of fraud, a violation of our party’s statement of principles, to lure conservatives to join by lying to them. Claiming our party is ‘true conservative’ is dishonest, and will wreck our party.

“Yes,” Phillies continued, “there are issues where we agree with conservatives. There are also issues where we agree with progressive liberals. For voters: If you agree with us on issues you care about, please vote for us. If you think you trust our candidate, please vote for him. No matter if you’re liberal or conservative or populist, we’d love to have your vote. But I’m not going to lie, just to get your vote.

“We real libertarians have a challenge,” Phillies said. “Some conservatives pretend to be Libertarians. Fifty years ago, conservatives claimed states had a right to keep persons of color from voting. Conservatives were wrong. Now, conservatives claim states have a right to keep women from having abortions. That claim is the same old racist Jim-Crow states’ rights doctrine. It’s still wrong. Our Constitution’s 14th Amendment makes things crystal clear. If Congress isn’t allowed to do it, neither are individual states.

Phillies urged fellow Libertarians to be prepared. “Yes, we have challenges. But we’re up against the Bush Republican War Party, and that’s a huge advantage. Just don’t let conservatives take over our party. America already has two conservative parties, Republican and Constitution. We shouldn’t become the third.”

32 Responses to “Phillies: “Libertarians are not conservatives””

  1. Hugh Jass Says:

    Phillies once again backs the federal leviathan to attack states’ rights. The irony here is that decentralization is the cornerstone to liberty. While Jim Crow laws and abortion bans are not favored by libertarians, that is up to the state Libertarian Party to oppose.

  2. G.E. Says:

    Phillies just doesn’t get it.

    It’s not about states having “rights.” It’s about the federal government NOT having the right, delegated power, or authority to PREVENT the states from making laws.

  3. Freelancer Says:

    Contrary to popular opinion among constitutional and political scholars, including our courts for the past sixty or so years, the 14th Amendment shouldn’t be interpretted in the way which Mr. Phillies implies.

  4. Dave Williams Says:

    So if I believe that;

    A.) The military should be utilized only in an emergency and held in reserve until needed solely for our nations defense, a ‘conservative’ rather than ‘liberal’ approach to the use of our forces…I’m not a Libertarian?

    B.) Our gov should be as small as possible, with very little taxation & entitlements, & the budget should be balanced, with spending only where/when needed, a ‘conservative’ rather than liberal approach to the use of our money…I’m not a Libertarian?

    C.) ‘Social Tolerance’ is good for our society, but since I’m a DEF-CON & a FI-CON, I ‘must be’ a SO-CON…so, I’m not a libertarian?

    From wiki:

    “Polls indicate that 10 to 20 percent of voting-age Americans have libertarian views, with “libertarian” being understood as agreeing with conservatives on economic issues and with liberals on personal freedom.”

  5. Dave Williams Says:

    So who is lying to SO-CONS (I would assume that’s the conservative leg of the three leg ‘Reagan coalition’ milk stool of which you refer.) and hoodwinking them into becoming LP members?

    Anyway, aren’t most of the SO-CON folks who are leaving the GOP going over to the CP or the AIP, etc?

    Is this an attempt by you to educate SO-CONS on the difference between the LP & other parties, and to steer them in that direction? If so, why are you not giving the same ‘heads up’ to the Marxists? Is it because you, as a left-wing libertarian, hi-jacked the LP for leftist use and want to exclude the center-right?

  6. Eric Dondero Says:

    Phillies is right on one thing. We are not Conservatives. But he’s confusing the terms.

    We are most definitely Right-wingers. Conservatives and Libertarians make up the “Right-wing” of American politics. Socialists and Fascists make up the Left-wing.

    We are historically tied to our Conservative cousins. Nothing can or will ever change that.

    I would remind Mr. Phillies that the Libertarian Party itself was founded by the former State Chairman for the Colorado Young Republicans. It was not a Democrat who founded the LP.

  7. Robert Capozzi Says:

    Who’s saying Ls are conservatives? This is much ado about nothing.

    Call Ls liberal conservatives, conservative liberals, a bit of both and then some…whatever.

    Must be that Barr and to a lesser extent Root have broad appeal to some conservatives. Great! If conservatives vote for Barr as a protest over McCain with no intention of joining the LP, that’s helpful.

    Ultimately, I’m still praying for Barr/Gravel.

  8. Ronald Monroe Says:

    The only conservative party is the Constitution Party, Bush and McCain for sure are not conservatives.

  9. Stefan Says:

    Seems like Phillies want to go the road of exclusion, and not inclusion. With such a stance, the LP has not much chance going over the the 0.5 % bar.

  10. Hugh Jass Says:

    Phillies is in no position to bully candidates about purity. He’s pro-global warmism, pro-fed, anti-immigration, anti-trade, pro-state marriage, and anti-secession.

  11. Thomas Paine Says:

    Coming from GE Smith, a guy who has made political conversions and changed philosophies more than his underwear, I’m not impressed with his ability to analyze complex situations.

  12. Jerry S. Says:

    Phillies isn’t a dummy, friends. He is trying to win the nomination. He has to point out the flaws (in his opinion) of the people ahead of him for that nomination.

    After hearing the debate today, there’s no doubt Phillies could represent the Party. You and I may disagree with him on a lot of things, however the LP could do much, MUCH worse than Phillies. Root compared himself to Barry Goldwater and Phillies comes to end the debate and names some of Goldwater’s lifetime accomplishments and just twists a knife in Root showing he (Phillies) is actually closer to Goldwater than Root. Now Root called for troop removal from Germany, Japan and I think Korea. He toned down any gung ho talk. A MAJOR improvement for him ! He did a good job overall. Christine Smith overshadowed Ruwart and showed she is a much better candidate than Ruwart at this point. I fell for the hype,(?) Ruwart isn’t even a good candidate as of today. She could get better, but there seems to be no fire in her belly. Gravel did as well as anyone and much better than some. You aren’t elected a U.S. Senator unless you can talk in front of a crowd.

    Gravel, Smith, Phillies and Root are ready for PRIMETIME, they want the nomination and could represent the Party, IMO

    If Barr doesn’t have the fire in the belly he needs to stay on the sidelines !

    For you who missed it, when asked what were the goals they had or what were the expectations for their campaign in 08 if nominated.

    Phillies said he would make no predictions, it was up to how much support he was given, but definitely to build the Party. Root: 1 to 2 million votes, but would build the Party over the next eight years. Jingozian 5 to 7 % of the vote, That’s right that’s what he said.(?) Smith wants to share the message with millions of more Americans. A major outreach to women and even the poor in the inner cities. Ruwart had some vague talk of reaching out to Ron Paul and his supporters, who MIGHT support her if not now then MAYBE someday ?!? Gravel : I’m running to WIN ! LOL Mike doesn’t have a decade to build anything, he’s going for the White House NOW

    Overall judging 6/16, Four of them are ABOVE average candidates and the LP should be glad to have them. Everyone needs to remember there are alot of spots on the Nolan chart for libertarians to land and all six in the debate today would fall in that quadrant. There is certainly room for these six in the LP… It was close between the top four - 1.Gravel 2.Smith 3.Phillies - Root 5.Ruwart 6.Jingozian

  13. G.E. Says:

    Dondero - Libertarians and conservatives did indeed constitute the “right wing” of the 1930s and 40s. But those libertarians and conservatives did so in OPPOSITION to the LIBERAL-LEFT NEW DEAL FOREIGN POLICY that you embrace.

    A half-generation before that, though, and libertarians constituted the left wing along with socialists, communists, and anarchists. The “right” consisted of liberals and conservatives.

  14. G.E. Says:

    The G.E. Smith conversion history: From liberal (before anyone here ever knew me) to CATO libertarian (2005 through mid-2006; 18 months) to Lew Rockwell libertarian (mid-2006 through present, almost one year). Other people go through similar conversions, but they do it in private. That’s the only difference here.

  15. Derek Says:

    We must remember that the Democrat voters in Florida and Michigan seem to be headed towards a dead end because both states aren’t coming up with a plan to have a re-vote. I was crunching some numbers and the number of voters both states have, with voters that didn’t vote in the primaries, is 3,718,409. That’s a little more than 3% of the voters in the 2004 Presidential elections. What does this have to do with Libertarians? These voters would be upset Democrats who might be willing to vote 3rd party to get their voices heard. We can try to swing these voters our side. I’m no expert on this but it’s just an idea and we need to try it.

  16. Alexander S. Peak Says:

    Mr. Dondero:

    I would say fascists are a subclass of socialists, that fascists and state communists make up the right-wing, and that free-market “capitalism” is inherently left-wing. If you had been in the French parliament during the revolution, would you really have sat on the right wing of the assembly?

    We are historically tied to our classical liberal cousins. Nothing will ever change that, Mr. Dondero.

    You note that the LP was founded by a former state chairman for the Colorado Young Republicans. What you fail to note is that the Old Right were never actually right-wing; that Albert Jay Nock and others who were considered right-wing radicals in the ‘30s were considered left-wing radicals in the ‘20s and prior; that the Old Right died in the ‘50s; and that the Republican party has since given up it’s left-wing views, except when it comes to their rhetorical (as opposed to actual) position on economics and the size of government.

    In modern American politics, both of the two establishment parties are slightly to the right of centre. They both reject free-market economics, personal responsibility, non-interventionism, self-ownership, and individual liberty.

    It’s common for the public to consider libertarianism to be neither left-wing nor right-wing, but rather an algamation of the best of each; and for outreach purposes, I’m fine with this conclusion. (Indeed, we tend to attract an equal number of disenfranchised voters from both establishment parties.) But historically speaking, this is not an accurate interpretation. Thomas Jefferson, Frederic Bastiat, Lysander Spooner, Albert Jay Nock, Ayn Rand, Murray Rothbard, and Milton Friedman were all, properly understood, on the left-wing—indeed, Bastiat, who was actually a member of the French parliament, sat on the left.

    It’s also common for the public to consider libertarians to be neither liberals nor conservatives; and for outreach purposes, I’m fine with this conclusion. But accurately understood, what we call “liberals” today are actually advocates of a philosophy known as democratic socialism. The classical liberals were free traders, opponents of the collusion between church and state, and willing to lead a revolution for independence. Their noble experiment, the constitutional republic, has failed—but was a noble experiment nonetheless. These are our kinsmen, not the conservatives, who steal libertarian rhetoric concerning the individual v. the state and concerning the need for deregulation and free markets, yet who govern almost no differently than the democratic socialists.

    It is not unreasonable for the American people to reject the charlatans in both of the establishment parties: the Democrat lords claiming to support the freedom of the individual, free speech, peace, and equality before the law, but yet who govern with a heavy fist; and the Republican looks claiming to support free trade and market forces, the right to earn money, the right to self-defence, but yet who govern with the same heavy fist. This is where we can come in, pointing out that we are not liberals in the modern sense of the word, or conservatives in any sense of the word, but are radicals for the freedom of the individual to live his or her life freely, so long as he/she does not infringe upon the equal rights of others.

    We offer a brighter future.

    Alex Peak

  17. Andrew Murphy Says:

    Alex, that was good stuff however, let’s not forget that Thomas Jefferson when confronted with Islamic jhidism, his response was not masochistic isolationism but to confront them head on. Also Jefferson was a big supporter of public education and inheritance taxes to “prevent dynasties”. Alive today, no doubt, he would be slammed as a “neocon” or a “leftie” by some libertarians.

  18. G.E. Says:

    Oh yeah, and there was that slavery thing, too.

    The Barbarie Pirates were not “jihadists.” And the conflict, which included constitutional letters of marque, ended with a treaty. Neocons don’t negotiate with “terrorists.”

  19. Dave Williams Says:

    “Neocons don’t negotiate with “terrorists.”

    Does ‘anyone’ ever successfully negotiate with homicide bombers?

  20. G.E. Says:

    Does that mean other countries can’t negotiate with the U.S.?

  21. Kris Overstreet Says:

    What Phillies said shows to me that he’s too idealistic and utopian for me to support.

    What the majority of respondents have said here has reinforced my decision to leave the Libertarians- especially the defense of the state “right” to enforce second-class citizenship.

  22. George Phillies Says:

    Jerry S.

    Many thanks for the very kind words.

    For those of you who missed the debate, there were remarks referring to Barry Goldwater as a “right” Libertarian.

    So I reminded people of a few facets of Barry Goldwater’s life, such as leading the integration of the armed forces with the Air National Guard, bringing planned parenthood to Arizona, and suggesting—Goldwater was slightly more tactful—that the Christian right be kicked out of the Republican Party. If he were alive today, he would be a proud Libertarian—a ‘left’ Libertarian.

    Also, Congressman Barr was not there, and questions relating to his candidacy did not arise, so issues relating to his campaign were not exposed to the multitudes.

  23. G.E. Says:

    Kris - The state has no right to do anything at all. But the federal government does NOT have the right or the authority or the delegated power to STOP states from infringing on individual rights. You can’t just pretend it does because you want it to.

  24. G.E. Says:

    Oh, and by the way, under the Constitution, the states DO have the right to be religiously bigoted. But the Constitution is not the source of rights. Regardless, this is an issue of jurisdiction. I do not have jurisdiction to tell the people of Alabama or Mississippi what kind of government they should have. And the federal government most certainly does not have the “right” to exercise any powers whatsoever not expressly delegated by the states and the people to it under the Constitution or subsequently constitutionally ratified amendments—not the bogus 14th or activist court decisions.

    What don’t you understand here?

  25. Alex Peak Says:

    Mr. Murphy writes,

    Alex, that was good stuff however, let’s not forget that Thomas Jefferson when confronted with Islamic jhidism, his response was not masochistic isolationism but to confront them head on. Also Jefferson was a big supporter of public education and inheritance taxes to “prevent dynasties”. Alive today, no doubt, he would be slammed as a “neocon” or a “leftie” by some libertarians.

    The very fact that Jefferson owned slaves proves that he was, despite all his good ideals and very libertarian positions on many issues, just outside the libertarian movement. He’s good enough to label a classical liberal; and although I would argue that classical liberalism and libertarianism overlaps, Jefferson does not fall in both categories.

    His support for public education proves that, even if he did take the principled stance on slavery and thereby become a libertarian, he would still be in the classical liberal, overlap camp. He certainly wasn’t as radical as I am. (But that’s fine, because although I’m an anarchist, I’m also big-tent.)

    Regarding war, the libertarian position is simple: treat every individual as a sovereign individual, and only ever use force against those specific individuals who have initiated or clearly intend to initiate force. If Jack aims to impose an theocratic dictatorship upon you while Jane does not, and the bomb you set off kills both, you are guilty of murdering Jane and thus ought to be executed. If all you kill is Jack, then fine.

    I must admit that I have no clue where Jefferson would have stood on this.

    Mr. Overstreet writes,

    What the majority of respondents have said here has reinforced my decision to leave the Libertarians- especially the defense of the state “right” to enforce second-class citizenship.

    Libertarians don’t believe states can possess rights. We hold that rights can only be possessed by individuals, and the voluntary institutions they comprise. Nobody, not even fascists, claim that governments are voluntary institutions.

    Mr. G.E. writes,

    Kris - The state has no right to do anything at all. But the federal government does NOT have the right or the authority or the delegated power to STOP states from infringing on individual rights. You can’t just pretend it does because you want it to.

    Well, pretending for a second that the Constitution is legitimate, the federal government does have the constitutional authority to prevent states from enacting gun control laws. It also has the constitutional authority to prevent states from protecting enslavers from just punishment. Just to name a couple.

    Alex Peak

  26. Clark Says:

    I still don’t see any political candidates with the honest knowledge to talk about our stinking “money” seems just about every issue (most, at least) boils down to ‘money’..yet not a one of the LP candidates (and/or all the rest too) can answer even basic questions involving ‘monetary realism’..i.e. what is IT (precisely) we use as money?...who issues/creates IT? (precisely) is this accomplished? etc. ad nauseam..

    It seems obvious that if you’re going to work your cupcake chute about ‘the illion ‘dollar’ economy’ you ought to have some honest understanding as to the nature, origin, etc. of even one ‘dollar!’ (‘federal reserve token’ to knowledgeable folks)

    Certainly the likes of Republicrat Boob Barr is/are worse than clueless here!.. ;o)

  27. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    You write:

    “What don’t you understand here?”

    The part where you completely forgot this:

    “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. ... The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

  28. G.E. Says:

    Tom - Yeah, except that amendment was never ratified. And even if it were (and it most certainly wasn’t!), the intent was to protect newly freed slaves, not to apply the Bill of Rights to the states, which is entirely illogical and a liberal invention.

    Alex - No it does not. The Constitution is a limit on the FEDERAL government, not the states. The idea that the Bill of Rights applies to the states is a liberal invention. The Bill of Rights are redundant, because all rights not denied to the states and the people are reserved to the states and the people, so there was no need to even have a Bill of Rights. Therefore, if you think the Bill of Rights applies to the states, then the entire Constitution does too, which is completely illogical. I think the Bill of Rights is an abomination, in fact, because it implies that the right to free speech is derived from the First Amendment, for example, etc. In reality, the Constitution already prohibited the federal government from banning free speech by virtue of the fact that it wasn’t empowered to do so in the body of the Constitution.

  29. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    Yeah, the 14th Amendment was never ratified, it doesn’t mean what it says, the Earth is flat, the moon landing was a fake and 9/11 was an “inside job.” Please call me about some real estate I think you might be interested in.


  30. G.E Smith the Capitalist Dove Says:

    No, Tom. There is no serious debate about the 14th amendment. It was NOT ratified. Even liberal historians admit to this. It isn’t like people’s fantasies with the 16th, etc. You’re exposing your ignorance if you insist the 14th was ratified—it wasn’t, at least not in accordance with the constitutional requirements for ratification. Don’t be arrogant here—do the research and admit your mistake. And secondly, what you read the amendment to mean is not important—it’s what the ratifiers (those of whom who did vote to ratify) understood it to mean that’s important. And regardless, there is nothing in that non-ratified amendment that even hints at the later “Incorporation” doctrine by which the Bill of Rights was applied to the states (this makes literally no sense—how could the 9th and 10th amendments, for example, be applied???). That was a much later liberal activist court decision.

    This is no conspiracy theory, Tom. Mixing ignorance and arrogance is a recipe for later embarassment.

  31. Thomas L. Knapp Says:


    Actually, there is serious debate about both the ratification and the meaning of the 14th Amendment.

    If the procedural issues (states ratifying under duress, states that rescinded their ratification having it counted anyway) bother you, consider this: The Constitution itself was illegal, since the Articles of Confederation declared their own perpetuity—the “Constitutional Convention” was a criminal conspiracy that began as a perfectly legitimate convention to propose amendments to the Articles and ended up overthrowing them.

    The “duress” problem, of course, has never been addressed. The rescission problem became moot at the time, when two additional states ratified, making the rescission problem in and of itself irrelevant.

    “Original intent” is seldom as pristine a standard as it’s made out to be. It’s absurd to assume that each and every one of hundreds of individuals voting “yes” on the same piece of legislation intend it to mean precisely the same thing as all the others voting “yes” on it.

    Now, if you want my honest opinion on the 14th, then my honest opinion is that it was not properly ratified and that the intent of the overwhelming majority of its supporters in voting roles was to ensure that former slaves were treated as equal citizens.

    Similarly, the intent of the overwhelming majority of the First Amendment’s church/state clause was to ensure that the Quakers, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics Methodists, Baptists, et al remained free to practice their religions unmolested. It would be absurd to say that this “original intent” means that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or the Pentecostal Church of God, or Hare Krishna, or any other denomination founded after the amendment’s ratification do not enjoy its protections, since they could not possibly have been part of the “original intent” unless the ratifiers could see into the future.

    The 14th Amendment had a discernible intent—and it set, in plain language, a firm standard. The fact that the ratifiers of the 14th could not foresee every possible implication or application of the Amendment does not mean that the Amendment doesn’t mean what it says.

  32. Andy Says:

    “G.E. Says:

    April 7th, 2008 at 1:01 am
    Oh, and by the way, under the Constitution, the states DO have the right to be religiously bigoted.”

    Actually, most - or maybe even all (I’ve read a lot of them but not all of them) - of the state constitutions limit the power of state governments and if followed, would prevent them from being religiously bigoted.

    Many people forget or don’t even know that state governments are limited in power by their state constitutions.

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