As of late, it appears that these two groups have somehow been divided, with the centrists joining the liberals and the libertarians joining the conservatives, but I have always seen them as two sides of the same coin.
Before I begin, I should define my labels, just so there is no confusion. Many political disputes revolve around semantics. Labels are often more trouble than they’re worth. Libertarians are those that wish freedom from an encroaching, meddlesome government, and generally this also means they wish government would spend relatively little. Centrists are those that wish for stability, wish for smooth functioning in government, try to find the middle ground to make as many as possible happy, protect minority opinion groups from being dominated by other minorities, and focus on pragmatism and real-world data.
Why centrists should join libertarians: The less the government regulates, the less there is for us to fight over. The less the government funds, the less there is for us to fight over. If the government did not issue marriage licenses, we wouldn’t be debating whether to issue them to homosexuals, and the conflict would vanish. If the government did not fund our schools, we wouldn’t be debating whether to teach evolutionism or creationism with taxpayer dollars, and the conflict would vanish. Those who wish for less vitriolic rhetoric and bad behavior would do well to find a compromise to settle the dispute. What better compromise is there than to let each go his/her own way while we each run our own lives and stop trying to run everyone’s? One-size-legislation fits few.
Why libertarians should join centrists: For too many decades, the left and the right have taken turns dominating us (and each other). Rather than canceling each other out, they have each rammed through new controversial measures by slim majorities. If instead they required supermajorities and agreement from all opinion groups (except of course for the tiniest of fringes), only the best and most accepted measures would pass. In practice, this should mean that only a very few measures will go through, only a very few and probably very limited agencies will be created, and funding will only be necessary for a very few items. Those who wish for a limited and relatively small government would do well to support arrangements (whether legal or merely customary) that require supermajorities for the passage of legislation. Also, with centrists in charge, libertarians will be sure to at least have a seat at the table.
Why libertarians and centrists should join each other: There is strength in numbers. A unified movement of centrists and libertarians will be a formidable force to use against the left and right. They are natural allies. Whether they form a third party or not, they would do well to at least coordinate their activities.
Libertarians are often seen as being impractical, but to a libertarian, liberty is the practical alternative to failed government programs. Centrists are often seen as being to quick to accept bad compromises that only serve the other side, but part of compromise is making sure the other side compromises as well. There is no compelling reason why we can't work together.
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Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.