The Libertarian Party.

Conservatives are often called “extreme right-wing” by members of the Left.  I beg to differ.  The real extreme right-wingers are libertarians.  The Libertarian Party's website.

Republicans and libertarians agree on many points, and thus most libertarians vote for the Republican candidates in national elections, although the most recent Libertarian candidate for President, Gary Johnson, drew 1,275,000 votes in 2012.  Had they all voted for Mitt Romney, he still would not have defeated Barack Obama, who won by over 5,000,000 votes.  By vote count in the last presidential election the Libertarian Party is the third largest party, even though they only claim about 330,000 members.  They claim to be, and seem to be the fastest growing party in the United States.

Libertarians have made inroads among the young.  In the Republican primary elections of 2011-2012, libertarian Ron Paul did very well, often drawing over twenty per cent of the vote.  In debates, he often received loud applause from the audience.  Ron’s son Rand, like his father, is considered by many to be libertarian although he isn’t registered as one.  Fox News commentator John Stossel is libertarian.

Libertarians want absolute personal freedom. Any behavior is OK with them, as long as no harm is done to others. They believe each person is his/her own manager, and want government powers to be extremely limited.  They want no laws against drug usage, prostitution, or consenting sex among adults. Conservatives usually want some laws limiting those things. Libertarians want no military draft, and no government welfare – voluntary charity should provide for the poor. The two parties mostly agree on gun rights.  Libertarians believe that government should not define personal relationships such as marriage, and should not have laws for or against abortion. 

The urge for personal freedom isn’t limited to conservatives and libertarians.  Some on the Left have similar feelings, although big government by definition works against them, but Dennis Kucinic is one who has a touch of libertarianism.

Economically, libertarians and conservatives agree more than they disagree, however libertarians want to eliminate Social Security.  Conservatives want to reform it or replace it with a better system.  

Here are comments on the Libertarian Party from – Parties: The party has been divided for years between two fighting factions: a more purist/hardcore libertarian group and a more moderate "reform" faction. The hardcore group are uncompromising anarchistic-libertarians in the Ayn Rand mold. By contrast, the moderates are interested in focusing on only a handful of more popular issues (drug decriminalization, gun rights, tax cuts, etc.) in exchange for attracting a larger number of voters. Allies of the hardcore faction firmly held control of the party from the late-1980s until the moderates seized control at the 2006 national convention and gutted the party's original platform.

I have mixed feelings about the Libertarian Party.  The anarchist libertarians, in particular, are IMHO (in my humble opinion) nut cases.  During the primaries, when Ron Paul spoke, I thought he was totally irrational on some issues – I thought of him as “Crazy Ron”.  However, in principle they would be right if humans were perfect.  Most differences between conservatives and libertarians arise from the need to make laws to control bad, immoral and/or stupid human behavior, or distrust of government.  IMHO, Libertarian views just aren’t practical, or they conflict with Christian (or even Islamic) traditions and moral values.

All the above having been said, I think my own views have become somewhat more libertarian, after having been exposed to their ideas. However, I’ll never be in complete agreement with them.  For libertarians, things are either black or white.  They just don’t see shades of gray.