Since the 1950s, the modern conservative movement has been marked by “fusionism”—a mix of various groups, most notably traditional conservatives and libertarians. For the next fifty years a conservative Christian and a secular libertarian (or vice versa) could often find common ground by considering how liberty lead to human flourishing.
But for the past decade a different fusionist arrangement has been tried (or at least desired) which includes progressives and libertarians. Brink Lindsey coined the term “liberaltarians” in 2006 to describe this uneasy alliance. Ten years into the experiment, the results have been less than impressive.
There were many reasons why the alliance was doomed to fail, but the most important was that libertarians tend to desire intellectually and political consistency in promoting a freedom agenda while progressives tend to be highly selective in their love of liberty.
Not to be too uncharitable, but urban progressives, for instance, tend to favor liberty only when it benefits urban progressives. This is especially true when it comes to government regulations. As Aaron M. Renn explains,