Magazine article Politics Magazine

A Growing Force in Politics

Magazine article Politics Magazine

A Growing Force in Politics

Article excerpt

In politics, there are trends that are fleeting, trends that are mirages and trends that matter. In this issue, we focus on a trend that just might matter a lot: cultural libertarianism. But how it could change--and may already be changing--the political landscape is far from clear.

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Who to turn to for enlightenment? Well, a good start would be two journalists who are leading practitioners of this trend: Nick Gillespie, the editor of reason.tv and reason.com, and Matt Welch, the editor of Reason magazine.

The non-profit Reason Foundation, both a think tank and publisher, has been the leading voice for libertarians since its founding 22 years ago. With roots as varied as Friedrich Hayek, Ayn Rand and Barry Goldwater, the libertarian philosophy that Reason espouses has always attracted a devoted core of believers, rallying around the banner of individual liberty. Yet there have been few notable successes, other than on the local level, among those who run for office representing the Libertarian Party. And while this year's philosophical libertarian in the presidential race, Republican Ron Paul, managed to garner unexpected support and money, he was never a serious challenger for the Oval Office. So what's this talk of a libertarian trend?

Nick and Matt argue that politics is a lagging indicator of social currents, and the libertarian mindset that they say has taken root culturally (especially among young people) is one that no political party or aspiring politician can safely ignore. …

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