The British Youth Are Classical Liberals


Credit: London Stereoscopic Company/wikimedia

A recent article from The Economist highlights the fact that the British youth are classical liberals, being more socially tolerant and less likely to support increased welfare spending than their elders. Not only are young Britons more liberal than their elders, they are also more liberal and entrepreneurial than their peers in Europe.

From The Economist:

Young Britons' broad liberalism, their suspicion of state interventions of most varieties, not only contrasts with the views of their elders. It also makes them unusual internationally. Britons between 15 and 35 are more relaxed about the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and cannabis than are young people in the EU as a whole. Another Eurobarometer study conducted in 2011 showed that Britons in that age group were more likely to have set up their own business than their counterparts in any other large European country.

Unfortunately for young Britons the current political system offers no party that is sympathetic to social liberalism and a smaller state. The Labour Party is led by a self described socialist and the Liberal Democrats, the product of a marriage between the Liberal Party (a party that was actually sympathetic to classical liberalism) and the Social Democratic Party, remains committed to the European Union, "fairness," and investments in green energy.

The Conservative Party remains divided on social issues and is hardly sympathetic to a limited government when it comes to economics, despite their rhetoric. Some British libertarians have been misguidedly attracted to the eurosceptic United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). I have written before about how UKIP are not a libertarian party. The then-chairman of UKIP's youth wing responded to my criticisms of UKIP. This was before he was kicked out of the party for supporting gay marriage and his opinions on drugs.

Although politics offers few options for British classical liberals the Economist article highlights the fact that some young Britons of the classical liberal persuasion seem keen on the fan of "ruled based anarchy" and current mayor of London, which could make what happens within the Conservative Party in the next few years very interesting and certainly worth keeping an eye on.