Thursday, December 04, 2008

Liberty on the Move?

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welsch examine the Libertarian movement and how far things have progresses in America since the party's founding in 1971. At that point, President Nixon was imposing wage and price controls on key sectors of the economy. But just around the corner was deregulation, free agency in sports, the beginnings of the computer age, including the Internet, and eventually the fall of Communist Europe. And while things may appear to a bit gloomy today, there is hope for optimism.

"We are in fact living at the cusp of what should be called the Libertarian Moment, the dawning not of some fabled, clich├ęd, and loosey-goosey Age of Aquarius but a time of increasingly hyper-individualized, hyper-expanded choice over every aspect of our lives, from 401(k)s to hot and cold running coffee drinks, from life-saving pharmaceuticals to online dating services. This is now a world where it’s more possible than ever to live your life on your own terms; it’s an early rough draft version of the libertarian philosopher Robert Nozick’s glimmering “utopia of utopias.” Due to exponential advances in technology, broad-based increases in wealth, the ongoing networking of the world via trade and culture, and the decline of both state and private institutions of repression, never before has it been easier for more individuals to chart their own course and steer their lives by the stars as they see the sky. If you don’t believe it, ask your gay friends, or simply look who’s running for the White House in 2008."

Their point is that free markets have been adopted nearly world-wide as the best way to organize the economy, and democratic government is generally seen as the least objectionable form of political organization. The Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom has seen only global increases in its ratings for over a decade now. Best of all, even if they've never heard of the term, the effect the Internet has had on world youth has been effectively, well, Libertarian. The world is becoming more free, more prosperous, and despite the best efforts of the radical Islamic movement, war and violence is actually declining globally.

The authors believe it is only a matter of time before the freedoms we are experiencing in economic and artistic matters express themselves in the form of politicla movements, and they could be correct. It is certainly an interesting take on current events and trends.

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