Gallup reports, "At least half of Americans since 2005 have said the federal government has too much power, whereas in the three years prior to that, Americans were more inclined to believe federal power was 'about right.'"
Welcome to the 21st century, in which a majority of Americans seem dissatisfied with the role of government. Gallup notes elsewhere that even unpopular government outfits such as the CIA, Homeland Security, and the Federal Reserve pull higher approval ratings than the IRS, of which just 27 percent of Americans have a highly favorable view. Only one of nine agencies rankes had a "net positive" score over 50 percent (the Centers for Disease Control). Read more.
So what happens when negativity toward government becomes the new normal? In The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, Matt Welch and I argued that widespread dissatisfaction with partisan politics (as evidenced by massive declines over the past several decades in party affiliations) would be followed by motivated people routing around politics and creating ad hoc, single-issue interest groups that would start pushing back on government power. School choice, the Tea Party, pot legalization, gay marriage, the effort to stop SOPA/PIPA—all support the idea that when the gap between the general progress in our commercial and cultural lives and the general lassitude in the areas dominated by politics (education, health care, retirement) gets too great, all hell will break loose. People get pissed and pissed people create the change they want to be (hmm, that sounds familiar), whether they're given permission by the powers that be or not.
What say you, Reason.com readers? Are we on to something? Or just on something?
Related: Newest Reason-Rupe Poll says about 20 percent of Americans qualify as libertarian based on views of economic and social issues.
Watch a video summary of the results with Emily Ekins and me.