chapter  3
Dissent of the Libertarians
WithSeth Offenbach
Pages 26

During the Cold War, the conservative movement viewed itself as the leading anti-communist group in the United States. During the Vietnam War, it was one of the leading pro-war groups in the United States. However, a large segment of the libertarian movement disapproved of the Vietnam War. The libertarian ideology, which was steeped in laissez-faire capitalism and rugged individualism, and partially inspired by Ayn Rand, helped Barry Goldwater win the 1964 Republican presidential nomination. When Goldwater lost the 1964 presidential election to Lyndon Johnson, most conservatives began putting their energy into supporting the Vietnam War. Libertarians, however, did not. This chapter explores how the anti-war right, which was led by libertarians, helped to fracture the conservative movement and led to an ideological crisis within the movement.