Column: The future of the GOP

I often refer to myself as a “Ron Paul Republican,” simply because Ron Paul seems to embody most of my political beliefs.

Cutting taxes and government spending, establishing a national defense rather than a national offense, respecting individual rights to bodily autonomy and many other principles originally attracted me to the outspoken Republican representative from Texas. Paul’s influence, however, holds much greater implications for the future of the Republican Party.

Following vast GOP losses in the 2006 and 2008 elections, the party seemed to face a sort of identity crisis. Should we move to the middle, as Arizona Sen. John McCain so famously claimed to do? Should we run to the right, in imitation of the Reagan Revolution of the 1980s?

It seems to me that the solution is not to run simply to the right or the left, but to go in an entirely different direction.

Generally speaking, both the left and the right are guilty of some level of hypocrisy. Conservatives, who often lament over expanded government spending and new federal programs, are content to spend billions (or even trillions) expanding federal programs overseas through wars, nation building and increasing foreign aid to politically favorable countries, all while encroaching on individual liberties through legislation like the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, the PATRIOT Act and countless others.

Liberals tout their support for civil liberties yet constantly seek ways to increase government control in every individual decision, from healthcare to education and even down to organic food choices, all while increasing taxes and business regulations, thereby stripping individuals of their economic freedom.

The “new Republican” must see the inherent hypocrisy in both the left and the right, and reject it. If Republicans are to be against expanding federal programs domestically, they should also oppose expanding them abroad.

If Republicans respect individual liberties, privacy and property rights as they claim they do, they should also seek to lessen government involvement in personal matters such as marriage. Freedom cannot come piece by piece. It is a single concept and must be defended at all times. Young people recognize this, and the GOP is following suit.

If the GOP hopes to move forward, it must take a note from Paul, whose popularity among young voters has earned him notoriety within Republican circles. Paul was only the first in a new series of Republicans who defend freedom from all sides.

Kentucky Republican Senate candidate Rand Paul, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, and Connecticut Republican Senate candidate Peter Schiff (among other libertarian-leaning candidates) have all come to the surface as a new, exciting face for the GOP.

Many younger Republicans, fed up with the dead arguments of their neo-conservative predecessors, can find a bright and energizing future within the pro-liberty movement while sticking to their Republican roots.

A truly free society is possible, and the “new Republicans” are in line to make it happen.

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