Jonathan Rauch: "a libertarian shift in values"

As Jacob Sullum pointed out on May Day, a new ABC News/Washington Post survey was the first-ever national poll to show more people supporting gay marriage than opposing it. At the same time, other fascinating new polling data is showing (among many other things) increased political non-affiliation, support for decriminalizing pot, and a desire to open up relations with Cuba. Comments Reason contributor Jonathan Rauch:

Here's something in the poll data which is revealing, if indirectly. Rising support for [same-sex marriage] is accompanied by increased support for legalizing illegal immigrants and decriminalizing marijuana—but also by a decline in support for gun control. A new poll from Pew confirms the turn against gun control, and adds that opposition to abortion is growing.

What does all of that have to do with gay marriage? Just this: It suggests that SSM is part of a libertarian shift in values—not a libertine shift or a flight from values altogether. The public increasingly rejects the claim that gay marriage harms a third party (as abortion does) or violates anyone's rights (as gun control arguably does).

Whole post here. Nick Gillespie and I on "The Libertarian Moment" here. Tip o' the hat to always-alert reader Ray Eckhart.


Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    This is great. Wonderful even. But I wonder how far we'll get with it before the $USD collapses.

  • ||

    The public increasingly rejects the claim that gay marriage harms a third party (as abortion does) or violates anyone's rights (as gun control arguably does).

    I'm pretty sure the "arguably" in that sentence is in the wrong parenthetical.

  • robc||

    I dont think arguably is needed in either parenthetical, but I do agree with RC, if its going to be in one, its in the wrong one.

  • ||

    Cue the fanatical pro-lifers (life begins at conception) and pro-choicers (a 8 month fetus is jus a blob of tissue that desrves no respect).
    ____________________________________________________________

    Libertarin folks need to win hearts and minds more than we need to win elections. Uncompromising positions doesn't work towards the goal of increasing freedom. Screaming that heroin should be legal (yeah it should, but that Ain't...Gonna...Happen) does nothing towards the goal of getting the government out of people's lives. It is counter-productive. Learn from the nanny staters' tactics, one piece at a time.

  • robc||

    J sub D,

    Learn from the nanny staters' tactics, one piece at a time.

    Wasnt the lesson from New Zealand in the 80s that incrementalism doesnt work in the opposite direction?

  • ||

    Wasnt the lesson from New Zealand in the 80s that incrementalism doesnt work in the opposite direction?

    Links, please?

  • ||

    The public increasingly rejects the claim that gay marriage harms a third party (as abortion does)

    Who's the third party in abortion? Mother, fetus/precious angel child/blob and ?

  • Xeones||

    SugarFree: mother/murderer/host, abortionist/murderer-for-hire/doctor, and fetus/precious angel child/blob.

  • ||

    X, OK. Still don't see a fetus as a "third party." That always seemed to imply someone hurt as inadvertent result to action.

    If I shoot you with a gun, you aren't a third party, that would be the guy I hit after the bullet passed through you. Legal people? Little help?

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Guns, gays, and marijuana? Pinch me, I'm dreaming!

  • robc||

    SugarFree,

    3rd party isnt literal. It means a person outside the decision making process. It could even be the 4th person.

    If I shoot you randomly (or as a murder target), you are 3rd party. If I shoot you because you pulled a knife on me and threatened to kill me, you arent third party.

  • ||

    robc,

    Ah, OK. I think I was having trouble with the whole defintion of the fetus-as-third-party. It seems to be intimately involved in the abortion process. Of course, the argument it is a third party would be rejected out of hand by the "it's a part of the mother until it isn't" mindset.

  • ||

    I can actually hear the christocons circling the wagons while chanting, "this will destroy america and her children!"

  • ||

    christocons

    People serving time in jail for wrapping public buildings in fabric?

  • John&Bobby&Jeb||

    A chicken in every pot, a fetus in every womb.

    See, we are still relevant!

  • ||

    Now let's see what polling suggests Americans think about libertarian approaches to the economy.

  • bubba||

    Now let's see what polling suggests Americans think about libertarian approaches to the economy.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    thanks.

  • LarryA||

    Who's the third party in abortion? Mother, fetus/precious angel child/blob and ?

    The father always seems to get left out of the discussion. But I'm thinking Rauch was referring to a third party harmed by a gay marriage.

  • ||

    If you look at the Nolan Chart, you'll see that libertarianism encompasses not just personal freedoms, but economic freedoms as well. I won't believe any of this "libertarian shift" until I see the public call for spending cuts. That's the key. No one is a true libertarian who doesn't want to shrink the size and scope of government. That translates to spending cuts. As in the government spends less money. Less not more.

  • ResLifeSucksEverywhere||

    In the spirit of Brandybuck et al., wouldn't a libertarian moment mean the public is asking, "Why the hell is government involved in marital recognition, at all?" Ask that same plurality, "Should the government sanction marriage, in any form?" I'm fairly certain it would be a quite unlibertarian result.

    It's far more illuminating to observe the means than the end, and I'm pretty sure the means of that 49% plurality sucks complete and utter ass.

  • ||

    People serving time in jail for wrapping public buildings in fabric?

    Belated LOL and props.

  • ||

    the article confirms my thought that citizens are leaning more to secular socialism, not libertarianism. Too many damn college kids backpacked around Europe.

  • ||

    People serving time in jail for wrapping public buildings in fabric? - SF



    No, but, if there were any justice, for letting lethal giant umbrellas loose.

    The umbrella project that the artist Christo once called "a symphony in two parts" has become a tragedy in two acts. On Oct. 26, a sudden wind uprooted a 485-pound umbrella in the Tejon Pass north of Los Angeles and struck Lori Keevil-Matthews, 33 years old, of Camarillo, Calif., crushing her to death against a boulder.

    Christo ordered the entire project of 1,340 yellow umbrellas in California and 1,760 blue umbrellas in Japan to be taken down "out of respect to her memory." But during the dismantling in Japan, a 51-year-old worker, Masaaki Nakamura, died when the arm of the crane he was operating touched a 65,000-volt power line. - NYT



    What's Christo's real last name, Cobblepot?

    Kevin

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement