South Park Republicans
|God, guns, and freedom
|Starting arguments over Thanksgiving dinner
|Persons of interest
No connection to that South Park, unfortunately.
A South Park Republican is a term that began to circulate around the internet from 2001-2002. The term was popularized by the Brian C. Anderson book South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias, which was basically a long paranoid rant about how the "liberal media" was being defeated by new conservative media sources.
The term has come to have two definitions, with one being neutral and the other having more negative implications.
- A socially liberal/libertarian conservative. Basically a moderate libertarian, though many New Democrats come close to this as well.
- Someone who calls themselves libertarian but supports and votes for the Republican party because having low taxes is more important than having certain freedoms. It helps if the freedoms lost don't affect them personally. Alternatively, someone who calls themselves "libertarian" or something similar to distance themselves from the Republican party but holds positions that are nearly indistinguishable from the GOP.
The first definition is basically applicable to socially liberal Republicans such as Arnold Schwarzenegger or Colin Powell. It usually describes younger conservatives who are not very religious and may or may not also be Randroids/Paulbots. Despite being thought of as "reasonable conservatives", they are usually global warming denialists as well, and may attract chickenhawks too.
The second term is becoming more common because the
free market unregulated demand economy is becoming increasingly valued over social freedoms in much of the libertarian movement. For instance, the Koch brothers are libertarians, but deregulation and supply-side economics are more important to them than civil liberties, so they throw more money at the more socially authoritarian of the two parties. This mindset has never been uncommon in the intellectuals of the libertarian movement. After all, Milton Friedman and the "Chicago Boys" were willing to tolerate an even more authoritarian type government under Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, so long as he left the economy unregulated in his country. Sure, they would have preferred it if he wasn't a brutal dictator, but their love for unfettered markets outweighed their love of personal freedoms, to the point where they were willing to personally help the man run his economy. This mindset may be a result of thinking the "free" market will magically fix most of society's problems and everything will fall into place after it is established. In fairness, this attitude of admiring questionable leaders with certain economic policies can span across the entire political spectrum, but it's especially hypocritical coming from the group that claims it values liberties more than other ideologies.
The other group that tries to pass themselves off as libertarian but are more or less Republicans aren't as common among pundits as one would think, with many Republican pundits being fairly hostile to libertarians. Libertarians also tend to accuse those who aren't libertarian enough for their tastes of being "Republicans in disguise" or something similar. However, the Tea Party has been accused of basically being authoritarians disguised as libertarians.
South Park's response
When the show's creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone were asked about the term, they said they didn't like it. Their positions are basically libertarian, though when addressed with this. they try to say that they're coming from the "middle ground". Stone has said "I hate conservatives but I really fucking hate liberals", but he later backed away from this statement by saying that he was just trying to be "shocking" and that he regularly trolls people at Hollywood parties. Parker and Stone have gone on record basically saying that the main reason they burn liberals more than conservatives is because every other show and comedian are burning Republicans, so it would be like beating a dead horse. This was probably hardly the response Brian C. Anderson was waiting for.
It is worth noting that Parker is registered with the Libertarian Party and while the show is quite witty, the wacky libertarian bits have occasionally seeped through, especially on such issues as environmentalism (though it may seem that Trey and Matt have changed their mind on that subject).
Examples of the first type
- Andrew Sullivan, who coined the term.
- Colin Powell
- The Governator
- David Brooks
- Trey Parker and Matt Stone
- Milton Friedman
- Alan Greenspan
- John Hawkins: He doesn't try to pass himself off as a libertarian, but he has called himself a "South Park Republican" despite being a religious nut, social conservative, and transphobic asshole.
- Koch brothers
- Rand Paul: Though he'd probably form his own party if he could.
- Ron Paul
- The Tea Party