General Question

imsok00l's avatar

What are some economically libertarian socially progressive US politicians and/or potential presidential candidates?

Asked by imsok00l (108points) July 18th, 2014

Who are anti-isolationists also. I’m not American, just curious.

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25 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

None come to mind that meet all those criteria. Closest is Rand Paul, but he is an isolationist and opposed to security.

imsok00l's avatar

Zenvelo, and Rand Paul is also a social conservative.

It’s sad really that there aren’t enough politicians like that because according to the latest Pew study there are quite a few libertarian socially progressive Americans.

rojo's avatar

What about Gary Johnson former governor of New Mexico?

Jaxk's avatar

No such thing. Progressive is large government and lots of social programs (spending). conservative (or libertarian) is small government and few social programs (small spending). you can’t do both.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Jaxk “conservative (or libertarian) is small government and few social programs (small spending)”

Please explain how this is true and yet the last time the Republicans controlled the Executive and the Congress we saw a country that went from being TRULY fiscally conservative (our country was bringing in what we spent, plus a little extra to pay down the debt we owed), and switched to the largest deficit spending in the history of the country?

Conservatives and small government is a myth. Plain and simple.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Rand Paul? lol

I will give the Pauls credit though – they’ve been incredible at marketing themselves as something neither one of them actually are.

zenvelo's avatar

@gorillapaws Conservatives like small government to help others, but want a big government of them and their friends. Big military spending to their favorite contractors (Blackrock, Brown and Root), big infrastructure to their favorite contractors (Keystone XL, Koch Pipelines), big money for pharmaceuticals and hospital corps, but not for getting people healthy.

jerv's avatar

Socially Progressive… given that those who call themselves “Libertarian” in the US are often merely anarcho-capitalists who often have quite Conservative views on social issues (for instance, government should intrude into your bedroom and doctor’s office), I’d say you’re more likely to find a unicorn.

The closest you’ll get to what you are asking for is a fiscally responsible Democrat. There are those who would argue that no such thing exists either, but I tend to ignore the criticisms of hypocrites. However, none of those really fit the most common definitions of “Libertarian” I’ve seen; in fact, that term is often nearly always used to describe a certain socially regressive group.

@Jaxk You just proved that you are a modern Conservative rather than a traditional one like the Republicans of last century. There was a time when Conservatives actually supported some social programs since they actually had more loyalty to their constituency and to the greater good than they do currently. To prove me wrong, you would have to rewrite history and make supply side economics work, and to do so in a way that doesn’t increase the need for social assistance.

Jaxk's avatar


That’s easy to explain. Republican does not mean conservative. In fact that is what happens when you try to blend the two. Bush increased spending across the board. The prescription drug benefit cost us $50 billion per year.

Bush was Republican but not conservative.

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jerv's avatar

@Jaxk While technically correct in a financial sense, there’s no denying that W was conservative on social issues. Not rabidly so, but things like his pro-life position and opposition to LGBT rights definitely mark him as conservative.

Jaxk's avatar

Bush had some conservative views and some liberal. Just like the rest of us. Amnesty was another issue that got him into trouble. Fiscally, he was a long way from conservative. The whole problem with ‘socially liberal and fiscally conservative’ is that once you start piling on spending on social programs, you’ve blown the budget and fiscal conservatism is gone.

susanc's avatar

Lyndon LaRouche comes to mind but I don’t think he’s running for office.

susanc's avatar

You can find his advocates at any airport or, in my town, at a card table in front of the post office, haranguing people. And if you call his office back to ask not to get any more calls, here’s how the conversation goes:
You: Please put me on your Do Not Call list. Thank you.
Them: But… we have to save the country!
You: Please put me on your Do Not Call list. Can you do that?
Them: But… don’t you want to save the country?
You: Actually, no, I am a minion of Satan.
Them: Oh my god!!!
You: Please put me on your Do Not Call list or I will devour you with fire.
Them: Oh my god!!!
You: Today. All right?
Them: Yes! I’m doing it!
You (hangs up).

gorillapaws's avatar

@Jaxk “The whole problem with ‘socially liberal and fiscally conservative’ is that once you start piling on spending on social programs, you’ve blown the budget and fiscal conservatism is gone.”

I consider myself socially liberal and fiscally conservative. I view government spending like a company might view R&D. In many cases, spending yields a big return down the road. Spend money on government research and we get things like the Internet as a result. Some programs are boated bureaucracies, and they need to be either cut and replaced with effective solutions or reorganized.

For example, I’d much rather use my tax dollars to pay for a first rate education and after school programs for an impoverished inner city kid than spend a lifetime of tax dollars keeping him in prison for the next 70 years at tens of thousands per year, not to mention the loss to society that he could have contributed (including his tax revenues) plus (assuming he murdered someone) the loss of productivity of the person he murdered. Do a cost/benefit analysis on increasing his access to education and after school programs and choose what makes the most fiscal sense. In my mind, that’s a no-brainer, and the truly “conservative” thing to do is to support the “big government” programs.

If the programs aren’t having the intended effect, or are spending money frivolously then we should be ruthless about improving the programs, but not abandon the mission and decide to build more prisons instead. It should primarily focus on the return on investment. I’d like to see the Government Accountability Office expand and become more ruthless with finding waste/fraud/abuse and help eliminate redundancy and inefficiency in our system.

I also think it’s not fiscally conservative to allow companies to externalize their costs onto the public. Measures like carbon taxes allow for companies to offset the costs they bring to bear on the taxpayer. If you look at how expensive climate change has been to the American taxpayer (droughts, extreme storms, destruction of fish), it’s not only rational to force companies to pay for their expenses, but it is fiscally conservative for them to do so.

Jaxk's avatar


You make some reasonable points but it never works that way regardless of who is in power. Back in the 60s and 70s the US had the best educated population in the world. Now we struggle to even be classified with the rest of the western world. What changed? In 1979 we created the Dept. of Education as a cabinet level agency. Even if you don’t blame that agency for our downfall, you must admit, it certainly hasn’t helped. Yet we continue to shuffle more and more funding to it. We have the highest cost per student yet we seem to feel more funding will fix it. As for after school programs, the best afterschool program is a 2 parent family. Yet our welfare systems encourage single parent households. I won’t even get into the carbon taxes which do nothing except tax the middle and lower income households.

It would be wonderful if we evaluated our programs and promoted those that worked and scrapped those the don’t but it doesn’t happen that way. We have no more money and the interest on our debt is beginning to balloon, robbing us of the ability shift money to anything new. We have big government and it’s not working too well at the moment.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Look at what else changed. Supply-side economics took over, welfare shifted from low-income citizens to subsidizing corporations, education dollars have shifted to defense spending, population has grown in a faster-than-linear way resulting in far more students… no, there’s quite a few other things that had more impact than your favorite straw man. There’s some truth to what you say, but there’s also vastly more to it.

Also, low wages compared to cost-of-living promotes single/no-parent households, so allowing wages to fall behind inflation is unsustainable. Welfare barely pays enough to live on, so when that’s still more than employment pays, employers fucked up. Sure, there’s a few years where a few people see their income skyrocket, but the endgame is higher government costs (and therefore taxes), lower consumer spending on non-essentials (therefore profits drop), and just general financial irresponsibility as the future is sold to pay for the present.

Also, is it fiscally responsible to jack up spending even more on things other than social programs? Look at the money spent on failed military aircraft programs alone. But I guess it’s better to give over $100 billion to two industries showing record profits than $30 billion to extend unemployment, or the relatively small amount it’d take to make college tuition-free. I disagree; I consider some social spending to be an investment in our future. I don’t want us to be China; it wouldn’t be fair for a few rich people to be taxed heavily just so the poor majority can even eat, and it’d be worse for a rich nation like ours to not just allow, but promote the human rights abuses of just letting people starve, sicken, and die en masse. I see sustainable economies as superior to “fast profit“roads to ruin. I believe in human capital, and am not the type to double my income in the short-term at the expense of having no income at all and a huge pile of bills a few years down the road. You and I actually want the same thing whether you realize it or not; I’m merely looking at the true cost.

Jaxk's avatar

I’m completely lost by your point. It would seem that when discussing education, the dept. of Education would be a relevant point rather than a favored strawman. Supply side economics however seems totally irrelevant. We’ve spent almost $16 trillion on the war on poverty since Johnson and Obama has increased welfare spending by 42%. Hardly a reduction as you would have us believe. And our population growth is primarily immigration which liberals want to increase. Very costly but liberals can’t seem to recognize that fact.

I can’t correct all the erroneous stuff you post, there simply isn’t time. You really should research some of these things but I know you won’t.

rojo's avatar

You guys are always good for some thought provoking responses.

Thanks @jerv and @Jaxk.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk You always miss my point; often enough that it MUST be deliberate. You think there’s only one factor and refuse to think that maybe there’s other factors. You fail to see the relevance of the outcome of a policy you believe operates according to theory instead of according to historical fact. You blame those more liberal than you for everything.

Yes, Obama increased welfare spending 42%. Great talking point. Look at the rest of the economy, and beyond Obama though…if you can. When something is neglected long enough, it’s expensive to fix. Stop doing oil changes on your car and you’ll see what I mean. Or maybe you will refuse to see even after your engine seizes; that seems to be how you operate. So long as you continue to be completely lost by my posts, maybe you should consider not bothering to refute things you admit you can’t see or understand.

But we could get along so long as you concede the following;
1) Politics and economics are complex
2) Conservatives aren’t always right
3) Liberals aren’t always wrong
4) Politics and economics are definitely more complex than, “Conservatives can do no wrong while Liberals can’t do anything right”
5) Republicans now are totally different from Republicans 30–50 years ago

We really do want the same things, but you’re too defiant to see that either simply because you hate everything remotely Liberal more than you love free markets, profits, or humanity.

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hearkat's avatar

[Mod says] Let’s keep it civil, gentlemen. Insulting one another doesn’t prove your political points, nor does it make you look any better. Disagree without being disagreeable, please.

jerv's avatar

I think that we have pretty well demonstrated an issue with the current state of politics; more interest in attacks than in trying to find common ground. And given that the original question was about politicians that are at both ends of the spectrum at the same time, I’d say that such a politician is impossible. There was a time when differing viewpoints could be reconciled, but that time is now ancient history; the prevailing view (and, for one major political party, their explicitly-stated platform) is that compromise is weakness. With a divide that wide, anyone trying to espouse both philosophies would either go insane or be too moderate to get voted into office.

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