By: Kate Boyle

One of the hottest topics at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this year in D.C. was the difference between conservatives and libertarians on social issues. It was evident that there are factions within the Republican Party and they are desperately trying to find a way to come together.

Libertarians are notoriously known for “being so far right they’re left” because of their liberal stance on social issues. Libertarians themselves suggest that it isn’t about being in agreement with a particular issue, it’s about not wanting the government to stick their nose where they don’t belong.

At CPAC during one of the panel discussions, Dr. Paul Kengor, a political science professor from Grove City College, stated that the difference between libertarians and conservatives has to do with freedom. Libertarians want the freedom to make decisions without government interference and  “conservatives believe in order,” Kengor states. “It’s never just freedom; it’s freedom and order and faith is the buffer between the two.”

His statement was met with enthusiastic applause from the audience and other conservative panelists agreed. They furthered his point by saying that family and church have provided a buffer between the people and the state when the state threatens our morals. Katherine Mangu-Ward, editor for “Reason” magazine and the libertarian on the panel, suggested contrarily that the people need to draw a line between what one’s morals are and where it’s appropriate for the state to get involved.

Freedom of conscience, however, seems to be an issue libertarians and conservatives can agree on. The right to freely exercise one’s religion, a foundational element of the Bill of Rights and nation as a whole, is not up for debate.

One of the most imperative issues facing our country is a misguided moral compass – but that does not mean all hope is lost. Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, stated that it would be “wrong to capitulate on social issues.” He pointed to the progress being made against abortion, reminding the audience how conservatives were told for years it was a losing battle.

We at the Pennsylvania Family Institute invite you and your church to join us in standing strong for the things that matter most – the so-called “social issues” – sanctity of life, marriage and family, and religious freedom.