PostHeaderIcon Explosive Growth of Libertarianism

I have often claimed that if it wasn’t for the drug issue, I could make a small (l) libertarian out of most so-called conservatives in five minutes of conversation. My closing argument in such attempts is to ask, “Would you be willing to give up your desire to empower government to regulate the private non-violent moral behavior of others, if they would agree to keep their nose out of your business and allow you to live your life as you wish to live it, without interference from an intrusive government. Only the hard core religious fundamentalists fail to accept the wisdom of such logic.

Somewhere hereabouts recently I commented that the Tea Party movement was creating new libertarians. My evidence was anecdotal at the time; but I just stumbled across an interesting report by the Cato Institute entitled, The Tea Party’s Other Half, which confirms my suspicion. There are many interesting links therein, including some revealing graphs; but the encouraging part for me was:

One finding surprised me. While we know the word “libertarian” remains unfamiliar to many who hold libertarian beliefs, the word may be gaining traction. On surveys, most libertarians identify themselves as independent, moderate or, reluctantly, conservative. However, in our survey we included an option for respondents to self-identify as “libertarian.”

Surprisingly, 35 percent of respondents who hold libertarian views self-identified as such. In previous surveys, we’ve found only 2 to 3 percent self-identify as “libertarian” nationally. To the extent that Tea Partiers talk to their neighbors and friends, perhaps we will begin to see the word “libertarian” catch on. This would certainly be good news for the “libertarian brand,” and a possible trend worth exploring in future research.

Indeed! A sudden tenfold increase in nonpartisans self-identifying as libertarians is remarkable. Imagine what would happen if the news media stopped deliberately marginalizing or just ignoring libertarian thought and candidates. If the Libertarian Party could somehow be convinced to downplay the recreational drugs issue, it might attract enough non-Marxists from the Democrats and enough non-Fundamentalists from the Republicans to make themselves a serious player in the effort to return to Constitutional government. ◄Dave►

One Response to “Explosive Growth of Libertarianism”

  • Troy says:

    Dave,
    You have been quite busy while I was away on the Reason cruise. Perhaps I should stay away more?

    Having just returned from said cruise where my lady and I were part of the Reason group, I can tell you that what we need is an explosion of large L Libertarians.

    If anyone doubted that the GOP gains would lead to anything other than business as usual, surely now the fog is lifting. The budget cuts proposed by GOP leadership are every bit as trivial and as silly as those proposed by the administration.

    Clearly, this should be opening a window for major gains by the Libertarian Party, if we would only quit showing off our supposed intelligence and get a message that the masses can resonate with.

    I agree that our stance on drug legalization puts off many of the religious right who might otherwise join the cause, but, I think it goes deeper than that. True laissez faire economics means leaving each participant in the marketplace free to do as they think best for their own purposes. Such a system produces a virtual kaleidoscope of outcomes and far too many of us fear this. As a culture, we rely more on emotion rather than rational thought and this, in turn, leads us to desire more certainty in our affairs. This makes most of us easy prey for the spin-meisters who falsely promise such certainty.

    A major gain in the Libertarian movement will require a vast improvement in our currently dysfunctional education system. Libertarianism feeds on rationality, ergo the spread of the Libertarian movement requires the spread of rational thought. I do not see this happening so long as our “education” system indoctrinates our young to be mindless conformists who have no real sense of their own individuality.

    It is good to see you active in the blog again!!

    Troy L Robinson

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