A problem for conservatism

Analysis 69 (4):620-630 (2009)
Abstract
I present a problem for a prominent kind of conservatism, viz., the combination of traditional moral & religious values, patriotic nationalism, and libertarian capitalism. The problem is that these elements sometimes conflict. In particular, I show how libertarian capitalism and patriotic nationalism conflict via a scenario in which the thing that libertarian capitalists love – unregulated market activity – threatens what American patriots love – a strong, independent America. Unrestricted libertarian rights to buy and sell land would permit the sale of all American territory by private individuals to foreign powers. Patriotic nationalists regard this as outrageous, but libertarian capitalists cannot refuse it.
Keywords Libertarianism  Patriotism  Conservatism
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