Shawn, fair enough if we're talking about things from a philosophical, rather than purely political perspective. I agree that Republicans can use a healthy dose of anti-statism. With that said, it's worth adding that there's a lot libertarians could do to gain more influence within the Republican Party. The reality is that politicians are primarily interested in winning elections, and the only way to gain influence is to convince them that you can help them win. Religious conservatives weren't always a major part of the party, but once they proved themselves a dependable voting bloc, willing to volunteer and turnout on Election Day, they won a seat at the table. Sure, they haven't gotten much of what they wanted, but they are surely better off than they would have been had they sat on their hands for the past several decades (if nothing else, look at Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts). In contrast, libertarians tend to be a cynical bunch not likely to get involved in the cheesy elements of bumper-sticker politics that dominate elections. They often brag about not voting or hold out hope for gridlock, which, at best, moderately restrains the rate of growth of government spending. As John pointed out, there are a lot of splits within libertarianism, so it's hard to think of them as a clear voting bloc. All of these are totally understandable reactions to contemporary politics and the statist Republican Party, but the real world result of this is that libertarians have not proven themselves a potentially active, loyal, voting bloc capable of swinging close elections. Therefore, a vicious circle ensues in which Republicans don't try to appeal to libertarians, and libertarians become more disaffected. Taking a more fatalistic view, I could see libertarians regaining influence once the looming entitlement crisis actually materializes. Just as neo-cons held more sway after 9/11 because they had a ready made philosophy well-tailored for the terrorist threat, libertarians are best-positioned to offer solutions to the entitlements mess.
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