There’s something new goin’ down, and Orrin Hatch sees it

| April 15 2012
Christopher Cook

Okay, so today has become Libertarians and Conservatives Day at Western Free Press. So be it. A recognition of our shared core ideology and Enlightenment provenance, and an alliance against statism, may be the essential element in saving the Republic. I wholeheartedly and unreservedly call for such an alliance.

In three previous posts, I argue that point passionately, if not assiduously. Not only that such an alliance is necessary and rational, but that a move is already underway in that direction. Here is another piece of evidence that the change is in progress, and that there is a growing synergy of conservatism and libertarianism: Orrin Hatch has accused those creating a primary challenge against him as “radical libertarians”!

Hatch was first elected to the Senate in 1976. This year, major conservative groups announced their intention of defeating Hatch — who they deemed too moderate. FreedomWorks has reportedly spent at least $670,000 attacking Hatch this cycle.

But the long-time senator isn’t sitting on his hands. Hatch told NPR’s Howard Berkes, “These people are not conservatives. They’re not Republicans.”

“They’re radical libertarians and I’m doggone offended by it,” he said.

The wisdom, electorally, of challenging Hatch may be questionable, as suggested at Hot Air, but Hatch calling FreedomWorks and tea partiers “radical libertarians” is a small but telling reminder that change is afoot.

Hatch is wrong to say that FreedomWorks and tea partiers aren’t conservatives. They are. But they are also part of a new kind of conservative—one who far better understands his own core ideology, and who seeks to actuate that core in public policy and elections. That ideology is the classical liberalism of the European Enlightenment that informed the Founders when drafting the Declaration, Constitution, and Bill of Rights.

It is also the core ideology of libertarianism. Hatch may be lashing out in anger, but his statement shows that he recognizes that something new is goin’ down. We are on the cusp of change.