Debate: Libertarianism vs. Conservatism

August 3, 2017

Libertarians and conservatives alike claim to be advocates of individual liberty, limited government, and free markets. In some policy spheres, these shared values lead libertarians and conservatives to similar conclusions about public policy. As a result, popular political discourse often conflates libertarianism with conservatism, and proponents of “fusionism” go so far as to regard a libertarian-conservative alliance as being both natural and politically useful.

However, the differences between the two political philosophies are at least as significant as the similarities. On matters such as national security and foreign policy, immigration, criminal justice, drugs, surveillance, marriage and the family, and the role of religion in public policy, libertarians and conservatives often clash with one another.

Despite whatever similarities they may have, libertarianism and conservatism are substantially different political philosophies—so which one provides better answers to today’s most important political questions?

We invite you to a debate about the two political philosophies and their associated policy implications. Interns from the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation will go head-to-head to answer the question: Is libertarianism or conservatism the superior political philosophy?

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