the appeal of libertarianism in the USA

British journalist Edward Luce reports that libertarianism is popular among the youth of America.

Robert Nozick, the late US libertarian, smoked pot while he was writing Anarchy, State and Utopia. He would applaud the growth of libertarianism among today’s young Americans. Whether it is their enthusiasm for legalised marijuana and gay marriage – both spreading across the US at remarkable speed – or their scepticism of government, US millennials no longer follow President Barack Obama’s cue. Most of America’s youth revile the Tea Party, particularly its south-dominated nativist core. But they are not big-government activists either. If there is a new spirit in America’s rising climate of anti-politics, it is libertarian.

On the face of it this ought to pose a bigger challenge to the Republican party – at least for its social conservative wing. Mr Obama may have disappointed America’s young, particularly the millions of graduates who have failed to find good jobs during his presidency. But he is no dinosaur. In contrast, Republicans such as Rick Santorum, the former presidential hopeful, who once likened gay sex to “man on dog”, elicit pure derision.

Edward Luce, “The tide is rising for America’s libertarians“, Financial Times, 13 January 2014.

Continues at the link above. Mr Luce (born 1968) is FT’s Washington columnist. He is author of Time To Start Thinking: America and the Spectre of Decline (Little, Brown, 2012), published in the USA as Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2012).

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