(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 16 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)
One of America’s most influential Republican leaders says that libertarians are winning big victories, creating new coalitions, and seem to be the wave of the future.
Grover Norquist is the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). His article “Beyond Rand Paul: The Libertarians Are Coming” at OZY.com begins this way:
“They’re no longer on the fringes. The libertarians are now officially mainstream. Proof? The New York Times Magazine [in its August article ” Has the ‘Libertarian Moment’ Finally Arrived?”] cites the popularity of Republican Sen. Rand Paul and opposition to American ‘boots on the ground’ in Syria and Iraq.
“But it’s much more than a moment. It’s the culmination of a powerful narrative building over the past 30 years in American politics. This is a movement — and it doesn’t live or die on the shoulders of one policy or one individual.
“What is notable is that regardless of whether an issue originates from the right or left, the side able to grab the mantle of liberty has advanced against all odds.
“So forget ‘moment.’ Think trend. And consider the once-impossible political shifts that have taken place over the past 30 years. The relevant dividing line is not right versus left or Republican versus Democrat but the expansion of individual liberty versus whatever and whosoever stands in the way.”
Norquist gives four examples of major libertarian policy shifts in recent years: support for freedom of choice in education, gay rights, marijuana legalization, and the right to keep and bear arms.
“These four radical, unthinkable expansions of individual liberty are not liberal or conservative, Republican or Democrat. All flow from the small ‘l’ libertarian, live and let live, leave us alone, ‘laissez-nous faire’ attitude. Four movements calling for increased individual liberty while their opponents explained — with hundreds if not thousands of years of tradition and history to back them up — that society should have the power to control behavior for the public good.
“One can see other issues that follow this trend. Uber against the taxi regulators. Airbnb. Lyft. Bet and invest on the side advancing liberty.
“A libertarian moment? No. A trend. A long-term trend with no obvious roadblock in sight.”