Who are the crypto-libertarians?

Garry Reed's picture

Report from the liberterrain...

Lauro Garza, writing on his Texas GOP Vote blogsite, quoted Dallas Morning News reporter Wayne Slater calling Debra Medina a "Ron Paul libertarian." Garza then added, "Glad I'm not alone in my assessment of Mrs. Medina and her crypto-libertarian supporters."

The term crypto-libertarian pops up all over the politicosphere where everybody uses it but nobody bothers to define it.

Merriam-Webster Online defines "crypto" as: Hidden; not openly avowed or declared; a person who adheres or belongs secretly to a party, sect, or other group.

Meanwhile, a simple modern American definition of libertarian is: "maximum freedom, minimum coercion."

Which implies that a "crypto-libertarian" is a "secret freedom advocate."

Whether that's good or bad apparently depends on who's using the term. Google-hopping provides a multitude of not-making-these-up examples:

Crypto libertarian knuckleheads; crypto-libertarian utopia; crypto-libertarian pro-neocon ideology; crypto-libertarian legal fad; crypto-libertarian market force mystic; crypto-libertarian entity of glaze eyed Thatcherites; crypto-libertarian monarchist; crypto-libertarian hippies; squishy red-neck crypto-libertarian; crypto-libertarian socialist; crypto-libertarian jerks; libertarians are crypto-statists; crypto-libertarian Democrat; Bill Clinton's crypto-libertarian Third Way...

Garza, who clearly uses the term disparagingly, seems to know exactly what a crypto-libertarian is. He's made a cottage industry out of railing against them on his Conservative Latino Talk Radio podcasts:

Dec 14, "Conservatism and the Republican party infiltrated by 'crypto-libertarians.'"

Dec 28, "Lauro editorializes on the crypto-libertarian movement and its latest icon, Debra Medina of Texas."

Jan. 5, "Lauro exposes, identifies & attacks the 'Crypto-Libertarian' agenda in the Republican Party."

Jan 6, "Continued discussion & description of the 'crypto-libertarian' movement and its agenda."

Jan. 13, "Lauro discusses the crypto-libertarian movement and its isolationist/protectionist agenda of anti-immigration..."

Jan 28, "Lauro finalizes discussion of the losing line of political reasoning advocated by the crypto-libertarians."

Unfortunately, Garza, as so many others, has a problem identifying exactly what a libertarian is without the "crypto-" in front of it. Libertarians will doubtless be surprised that they are isolationist (they are noninterventionist) protectionist (they are international free-traders) and anti-immigration (they believe in the free movement of all peaceful people.)

How any of this makes Medina's supporters crypto-libertarians is uncertain. She hasn't hidden her strong libertarian principles while running for Texas governor in the Republican primary. Many Republicans support her because of her libertarian streak while many Libertarians support her in spite of her Republican Party affiliation.

The same goes for that other "hidden freedom advocate," Ron Paul.

Nothing seems to be hidden about any of it.

Defining Crypto-Libertarian

Mr. Reed - After reading Garza's article I was a little uncertain as to what exactly is a "crypto-libertarian."
In fact I was about to ask him to define the term but did not see a "comments" option on his page. He uses the term "Libertarian" as if it's a dirty word. He seems to be attempting to coin a phrase hoping the the meme sticks. Anyway- great job on this well researched article sir!

My definition of crypto-libertarian.

I regard government as a necessary evil; if you temporarily had a state of no government you would find yourself quickly under the thumb of a new government, something more akin to the maffia. For every supposed market failure the government claims to correct there is a hundred government failures it fails to recognize; for every cartel it claims to abolish there is a hundred cartels that are government creations.

Crypto-libertarianism as I define it is the belief that the best form of government is one which pretends to govern, but in reality is so completely bogged down and road-blocked that only the most broadly multi-partisan and consistently favoured ideas have any chance of getting traction.

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