Reason editor-in-chief Nick Gillespie and Reason contributor Matt Welch have a piece on the rise of libertarianism at the Washington Post. And Gillespie is one of several people quoted in a Washington Times article on the same. From the WaPo piece:
In April 2006, the Pew Research Center published a study suggesting that 9 percent of Americans — more than enough to swing every presidential election since 1988 — espouse a “libertarian” ideology that opposes “government regulation in both the economic and the social spheres.”
They also look to Ron Paul’s success as an indication of increased popularity of the libertarian ideology.
I predicted this years ago. It’s a no brainer, really. How can an ideology that condones guns, dope, and porn while condemning taxes not catch on, especially with youth? It’s certainly a more attractive ideology than one that advocates high taxes and makes people feel bad for driving cars, eating meat, and shopping at Wal-Mart. Gillespie and Welch again:
College kids (a key bloc of Paul’s support) have seen no recent evidence that the GOP has anything to do with libertarianism. Yet there’s no reason to believe that Democrats will do anything useful about the government intrusion that so many young people abhor: the drug war, federal bans on same-sex marriage, online poker prohibitions, open-ended deployments in Iraq.
Indeed. And while many (most?) libertarians would disagree with me about various uses of the government to regulate big business or the environment, I think we can agree that the government’s intrusion into certain businesses – namely the porn, booze, prostitution, gambling, and recreational drug industries – have damaged both civil liberties and the economy. In 2002 I worried about the inevitable rise of libertarianism, concerned about their general lack of concern for the poor and marginalized. But in these days, with wars waging on against popular opinion and an ever expanding police state, I can’t help but welcome this new libertarian era.