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►