Civil Liberties Surge?

Over at Cato @ Liberty, the think tank's Executive Vice President David Boaz chews on the various recent polling data indicating what he calls a "civil liberties surge." Well worth a read (especially the reminder that "some 30 states have constitutional bans on gay marriage, limiting the opportunity for progress in most of the country"). Here's the conclusion:

The "shift to the left" that we seem to observe on economic policy is depressing to libertarians. But that's mostly crisis-driven. When the results of more spending, more taxes, more regulation, and more money creation begin to be visible, we may see the kind of reaction that led to Proposition 13 and the election of Ronald Reagan at the end of the 1970s. Meanwhile, this cultural "shift to the left" is far more encouraging. And don't forget, at 90 days into the Obama administration, Americans preferred smaller government to "more active government" by 66 to 25 percent.

Here's Boaz on the reason.tv Talk Show debating whether or not we're living in a "Libertarian Moment."

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.

  • ||

    But that's mostly crisis-driven.

    Doesn't mean it won't do permanent damage.

    Meanwhile, this cultural "shift to the left" is far more encouraging.

    Whatever. As far as civil liberties goes, gay marriage is trivial sideshow compared to the war on drugs. Until I see real progress on the WOD, I will try to restrain my enthusiasm.

    And don't forget, at 90 days into the Obama administration, Americans preferred smaller government to "more active government" by 66 to 25 percent.

    A significant fraction of these proto/quasi-libertarians voted for Obama. I seriously doubt they have had a 180 degree change of heart, so I can only conclude they are lying. Or stupid. Either way.

  • ||

    "And don't forget, at 90 days into the Obama administration, Americans preferred smaller government to "more active government" by 66 to 25 percent."

    So what. Americans also are by huge margins against gay marriage, gun control, and global warming bullshit. Yet, our political leaders contineu to shove that very bullshit down everyone's throat. Polls really don't mean a lot.

  • Xeones||

    so I can only conclude they are lying. Or stupid.

    There are plenty of otherwise good, intelligent people who really do believe that politics is a binary, zero-sum game, and if you're not for the one you're de facto for the other.

  • ||

    It's time for another "tax revolution". Let's start in California.

    Proposition 13, take two:

    Limits state spending to $100 billion/year (approx 2004 budget).
    Limits state spending growth to 2%/year.

    _All_ spending.

  • ||

    Supporting social freedom without economic freedom is just an academic exercise in arguing what color shackles you should have to wear.

    (The statement is also easily reversible and should be washed with dark colors. NO BLEACH. Tumble dry cool only.)

  • ||

    When the results of more spending, more taxes, more regulation, and more money creation begin to be visible, we may see the kind of reaction that led to Proposition 13 and the election of Ronald Reagan at the end of the 1970s.

    I think it is arguable that Ronald Reagan won in 1980 because of the Iran Hostage Crisis (October Surprise or no). But so what, does the Reagan era represent a time when real federal spending decreased?

  • ||

    There are plenty of otherwise good, intelligent people who really do believe that politics is a binary, zero-sum game, and if you're not for the one you're de facto for the other.

    We learned our lesson with the generous help of Ralph Nader. This country would be a lot better off if he had decided to pox both houses from the sidelines.

  • Orange Line Special||

    Libertarians shouldn't "wait for the reaction". In order to effect real change, they need to make things even worse so they can get better after the reaction. What libertarians should do is support MassiveSubsidies (especially for crooked businesses) and MassivePublicSpending, even if they need to import ProTaxVoters to do it.

    Libertarians are winners!

  • robc||


    There are plenty of otherwise good, intelligent people who really do believe that politics is a binary, zero-sum game, and if you're not for the one you're de facto for the other.


    Good, sure. Intelligent, not so much.

  • ||

    robc-

    Good? Not so much either. If you support Obama or the democrat party or the ADL or AIPAC or Israel or affirmative action or hate crimes/speech legislation, you are many things, but good is not one of them.

  • Xeones||

    Intelligent, not so much.

    That's why i said "otherwise."

    LoneWacko, as usual, should shut the fuck up.

  • ||

    swilfredo parento-

    Agreed. I would add that personality certainly played a big role in that election. Can anybody doubt that as far as personality was concerned, Reagan just overhwhelmed Jimmy Carter? He was just a zillion times more likeable, bitch wife aside.

  • robc||

    Xeones,

    Im disputing their intelligence otherwise.

  • ||

    And don't forget, at 90 days into the Obama administration, Americans preferred smaller government to "more active government" by 66 to 25 percent.



    Perhaps it's just me, but I can't help reading this as, "A silver lining to bigger government is that the bigger government becomes, the more Americans will think that it's too big."

  • ||

    "Civil liberties surge?" Not when 95.4% of black folk vote for the brown skinned guy just because he's got the brown skin, it ain't happenin'.

  • Gimme Back My Dog||

    But that's mostly crisis-driven.

    So what? When this crisis passes, they will just create another one.

  • Beer-Swilling Dude||

    The gubmint should jus' let me alone . . But somebody need to make dat prick down the street stop doing . . . . . . . .

  • Xeones||

    There are many layers to a person, robc. Like an onion. People are complicated creatures (except for LoneWacko).

  • ||

    The "shift to the left" that we seem to observe on economic policy is depressing to libertarians. But that's mostly crisis-driven.>>
    ============
    That is incorrect.

    If one really takes the time to vet Hussein they will see that he is a Marxist/Communist. In fact he and his socialist/communist buddies in the government help create the crisis to begin with.

    The evidence is pretty conclusiive that Hussein is a communist. People are just in denial about it because they can't accept the fact that the U.S. has a Marxist sitting illegally as POTUS.

  • spambot||

    "sitting illegally at POTUS"

    Wow that gets the dumbass statement of the day award right there. But for giggles, how is he illegally President? I just have to know this.

  • Warty||

    The other thing about that thar Hussein is that he's oneathem a-rabs.

  • phalkor||

    Galt, you so crazy. Noami Klein was right about you.

  • ||

    I think that Obama would go Mugabe or Nkomo or Amin if he thought he could.

  • ||

    Warty-

    He may be 3/8 arabic, but AIPAC's got the pipeline to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

  • Zeb||

    "Hussein"? Are you fucking retarded, or do you just want people to think you are?

    He has been elected, its time to stop the underhanded campaigning tactics. Do you still think John McCain has a illegitimate black baby too?

    There are plenty of real things to criticize about Obama without persisting with this retarded race baiting and hyperbole.

  • ||

    It would be friggin' awesome if Obama turned out to be a secret Muslim. The freakout in America would be of Koranical proportions.

  • phalkor||

    I'm with you ProLib. Plus, if the super conspiracy crazies have to be right once, I'm pulling for secret muslim all the way.

  • ||

    If he were a secret Muslim and a secret Maoist, well, that would be perfect.

  • Zeb||

    It would be pretty awesome if he did turn out to be a secret Muslim.

    Reminds me of the Steve Martin bit where he said something like: Wouldn't you feel stupid if you died and went to heaven and saint Peter was there at the gates with a list of all your sins? "Oh, man in college they said this was all bullshit."

  • wingnutx||

    But that's mostly crisis-driven.

    It's less in response to a crisis than it is using a crisis as a fig-leaf to cram through everything they've always wanted.

  • ||

    """But so what, does the Reagan era represent a time when real federal spending decreased?"""

    Hell no. An 800 ship navy is expensive. So was wrenches, and toilet seats.

  • ||

    """It would be friggin' awesome if Obama turned out to be a secret Muslim. The freakout in America would be of Koranical proportions."""

    How many right-wingers would say I told you so? Oh the gloating.

    I would find humor in the Christians' new found belief in the separation of church and state.

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