A Libertarian Moment in the US?

I think you’re seeing a growth of self-conscious libertarianism. The end of the Bush years and the beginning of the Obama years really lit a fire under the always-simmering small-government attitudes in America. The TARP, the bailouts, the stimulus, Obamacare, all of that sort of inspired the Tea Party. Meanwhile, you’ve simultaneously got libertarian movements going on in regard to gay marriage and marijuana. And I’ll tell you something else that I think is always there. The national media were convinced that we would be getting a gun-control bill this year, that surely the Newtown shooting would overcome the general American belief in the Second Amendment right to bear arms. And then they pushed on the string and it didn’t go anywhere. Support for gun control is lower today than it was 10 or 15 years ago. I think that’s another sign of America’s innate libertarianism.

This is from David Boaz, who is being interviewed by Molly Ball for the Atlantic. Read the whole interview. There is stuff on Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Marxism, the politics of welfare and some recent SCOTUS rulings.

There is a lot to be pessimistic about, but I can see a more libertarian US in 15 or 20 years, provided we do something about ObamaCare and Social Security. One thing we must be very vigilant about is the inevitable push for a more isolated society. Protectionist tendencies are probably going to get stronger if the economy continues to perform as dismally as it has been, and protectionism is the bane of prosperity and cooperation.