Rand Paul

HuffPost: "The Libertarian Moment Is Alive and Well…"

"...regardless of Rand Paul's campaign." You got that right, brother.


Over at the Huffington Post, Tom Mullen makes the case that the libertarian moment—a concept first developed and elaborated on by Matt Welch and me at Reason—is alive and well despite Rand Paul's flagging campaign for the presidency. He writes:

Anyone who believes the presidential election is a barometer of how libertarian America is becoming doesn't understand libertarianism and isn't paying attention to what's happening in the real world.

Mullen is right. As Welch and I have always stressed, the libertarian moment is a fundamentally pre-political phenomenon partly because politics is a lagging indicator of where America is going at any given point in time.

The libertarian moment is a shift in mind-set as well as material conditions. It's about 

comfort with and demand for increasingly individualized and personalized options and experiences in every aspect of our lives. More and more choices in everything are busting out all over the place and such change is even coming to those areas still controlled by relatively top-down governmental edicts (education, health care, retirement).

In his HuffPost article, Mullen skims over various trends and developments that augur the libertarian moment: Gay marriage is not legal simply because of a Supreme Court decision but because of a shift to live-and-let-live principles regarding sexuality; a majority of Americans want to end the war on pot; the sharing economy's poster children, Uber and Airbnb, are wildly popular both for the specific services they deliver and the possibilities they represent; increasing numbers of people are OK with gun ownership and skeptical of unchecked police authority; and on and on. Mullen argues:

The future will be even more libertarian than the present. Technology and the marketplace are threatening to render centuries-old government institutions largely irrelevant. What meaning will trade regulations have when 3-D printers disrupt the manufacturing industry? What will the who-will-build-the-roads crowd say to libertarians when hovercraft technology reaches its full market potential? How will the Federal Reserve control the economy when Bitcoin or its successors reaches theirs?

It's not all good, he rightly notes, but the signs are far more encouraging than not. There are miles to go before we sleep, of course, and politics will be the last part of American life to change. Mullen concludes by implying that Rand Paul's early success was not a cause of the libertarian moment but an effect of it.

Rand Paul's campaign may very well rebound. It may not. For the future of libertarianism, it really doesn't matter. The marketplace is leading the libertarian revolution, as it always has. If Rand Paul wants to get back on the train, he should forget trying to sound like a mainstream Republican and dance with the libertarians who brung him. They are the future, with or without him.

Read the whole piece here.

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  1. First Salon and now Huffpo.

    Not only is Rand toast, but the Libertarian Moment is apparently over as well.

    Well, fuck.

    1. They’re scare-mongering, of course, but the more they publicize us the better it is for us.

      And I’d settle for a growing awareness of and acceptance of libertarian principles, as opposed to some confetti parade libertarian moment.

      1. THIS.

        But I don’t trust them to honestly present libertarian principles (“selfish/greedy/SOMALIA!!!!).

      2. Just wait until they talk about the “war within the party” and have a good long interview with Invictus.

      3. Wait a minute.

        The homotarians DON’T want a confetti parade???

        1. Confetti shooting guns!

    2. I think we are forgetting the old rule in regards to how the left and right treat libertarians.

      When out of power they love libertarains when in power they hate libertarians.

      All this reflects is the left now perceive themselves as being out of power.

    3. The fake christianofascist infiltration movement is over with. That’s a good thing. They can return to the Prohibition Party, and we can repeal campaign subsidy laws and get verifiable ballots.

  2. Society is becoming more liberal*, the government is becoming more authoritarian, except in a few areas. Technology is making the government matter less in a lot of ways, but there’s still the problem of a gigantic bloated ball of non-consent in DC making itself the center of our lives. I’d like to feel as optimistic as you, but I’m just not feeling it.

    *Is anyone else growing to hate the word “libertarian”? Lately it grates on me in exactly the same way as when I hear a Limey say “aluminium” or “orientated”. Fucking socialists, stealing our word, making us use extra horrible syllables.

    1. Libertarianism- a great philosophy with a shitty name.

      1. The alternatives are WAY worse. Nixon caused a Niagara of federal money to subsidize the entrenched looter parties, and the disease has spread to other looter kleptocracies. Still, I expect voters to come around when their family members are taken to Room 101.

    2. Aluminum was discovered by a Brit. He first called it “aluminum” and we Americans dutifully followed suit. Then he changed his mind and decided “aluminium” fit better with the other elements, but we Americans got cranky and refused to change.

      1. If he wanted to preserve the “-ium” suffix, WHAT THE FUCK WAS WRONG WITH “ALUMIUM”???

        1. He was a nitrous addict, so, there ya go.

      2. That’s how I have to say it now for people to understand. Al – yoo – minium .

      3. So much of American English is actually how the British used to speak. They are the ones that changed, not us…

    3. At the state level, a lot of things are going our way. Civil asset forfeiture reform, MJ legalization, curtailing draconian sentencing, police reform is getting pushed. Charter expansion. Federal spending seems to have flatlined, for now. Another 2009-level recession would put more wind at our backs. I hope the state-level goodness trickles up to the federal level.

      1. “our way”

        Oh, are those all events from your Province of TimHortonStan?

        1. Further proof that even Canadians don’t want to be Canadian.

          But seriously, I just don’t understand what’s to be gained by keeping up the act.

          1. I don’t understand why you pretend to be edgy either.

    4. The first time I heard “aluminium” being used was watching the first Junkyard Wars. I couldn’t figure out what the fuck they were talking about…

      1. +1 Valve

    5. “gigantic bloated ball of non-consent in DC”

      I rather like that.

    6. Given that there isn’t enough difference to be arsed with fighting over it, I expect you could both share the word with nary a complaint from anyone.

    7. Yes, “libertarian” is pretty crappy. “Anarchist” is better.

      1. It is, but that was co-opted long ago by morons who believe that property is theft.

      2. It is, but that was co-opted long ago by morons who believe that property is theft.

      3. It is, but that was co-opted long ago by morons who believe that property is theft.

        1. What the fuck? How’d I manage that?

          1. The squirrels don’t take kindly to people calling them morons.

            1. Or they love it….

          2. A fucking tri-squirrel! Congrats Warty!

          3. Possible contact bounce on the microswitch in your mouse. Clean it, switch the batteries, or get a new mouse. For me, the third option’s the only one that has really worked well…

      4. But anarchism is anti-life.

        1. All religions are anti-life.

    8. Liberal is what we are, in the tradition of Jefferson, Douglass, and Bastiat.

    9. Yes, “libertarian” is kind of struggling as a brand. We need something else, but what.

      I’ve recently stopped using “libertarian” and instead simply say “I don’t know what’s best for others.”

      1. How about “free”? Doesn’t work as a noun, but excellent as an adj.

    10. Objectivism is already taken. Sorry.

  3. Speaking of Puff Ho, I love it when SJWs eat each other.

    1. I’ll admit, I was hoping for a more … interesting link about eating each other.

      1. I don’t think even the most die hard hetero male with round-the-clock lesbo porn fantasies would want to see that.


        1. They would all watch it, then complain how boring it was. But they would still watch

        2. “the most die hard hetero male with round-the-clock lesbo porn fantasies “

          ….Yippie Kai-Yay, Motherfucker

        3. You misunderstand. I was waiting for SJW Cannibalism stories. That would have made my day.

          1. The chicks on this board are pervs, keep that in mind.

            1. Wait, Hamster, Riven, Nikki, Kristen, Lady B, IFH are all pervettes? This is a more interesting place than I thought.

              1. Dirty minds, all of them.

                1. I was hoping for a bit more.

              2. Hamster is a woman?

                That explains everything!!!


                Stupid smelly girls, humph.

                1. She used to be a gerbil. Then she got promoted.

                  1. Gerbil of Gloom?

      2. I don’t know man, a bunch of feminists have been pissing themselves. Or maybe you’re more into that now.

    2. The very first thread of comments is awesome:

      Laura Schantz ? UAB – The University of Alabama at Birmingham
      Good feminism is intersectional. Those shirts are NOT good feminism.
      Like ? Reply ? 68 ? 21 hrs
      Julie Bibb Davis
      I agree — and FWIW, Streep said she wasn’t a feminist. The while thing is, at a minimum, tone deaf.
      Like ? Reply ? 8 ? 19 hrs
      Kirk Augustin ? Web Developer at Finity Communications
      Of course the shirts are intersectional. Do you think it implied slavery was good for anyone, even if a different race?
      Like ? Reply ? 7 ? 18 hrs
      Racoon Nik ? RA at Passavant Memorial Homes
      Kirk Augustin theres always some white guy that wants to rush in an say there is nothing wrong here.
      Like ? Reply ? 52 ? 17 hrs

      1. See, the white guy has nothing of value to add to the conversation, given that he has neither a vagina, nor an ancestor who was owned by another person.

        1. Uh, you’re forgetting all the Gauls who were enslaved by Romans, the Celts who were enslaved by Vikings, etc.

          1. -1 Slavs.

      2. Good feminism is intersectional.

        By the transitive property, then, Feminism is never intersectional?

      3. The genius Mark McConville* says: “I think it’s probabl7y fair to say that Frederick Douglass would have disliked Meryl’s t-shirt”

        *not the improvisor and musician from SuperEgo

    3. Roger Ebert once commented on a new bullshit edition of Huck Finn that had all instances of “nigger” changed to “slave”, and said, “I’d rather be a nigger than a slave.” I remember there was outrage, I can’t remember if he showed his belly and did the whole phony apology ritual.

      1. Interesting – I gotta find out what happened.

        1. Of course Twitter doesn’t black out words. That graphic was provided by HuffPost, to avoid offending its millions of readers who have never seen the word Nigger in print. If you look carefully, you’ll see that Huff’s web wizards made the block just a teeny tiny bit transparent, so you can see the word dimly peeking through. This reminds me of the wet T-shirts worn by the troubled starlets that HuffPost features with such unflagging dedication. I applaud their daring in not blacking out “****.”

      2. He seemed to have lost his edge towards the end, understandably. But I loved reading his reviews in the 90’s, early 2000’s. He could be very funny and insightful

        1. He was a good guy. I miss him.

    4. I like all the outrage directed at one another,, but I don’t understand any of it.

    5. “Id rather be a rebel then a slave”

      OK now i am pissed.

      “It is better to rule in hell then to serve in heaven”

      How and why would you ever butcher Milton’s quote?

      1. Because the concepts of heaven and hell are fanciful fairytales that don’t apply to human interactions, whereas rebel and slave are actual things that people have been with regard to the dominant power structures in their lives.

        1. ….

          And atheists wonder why everyone hates them.

          1. And maybe, just maybe, they conceived of that quote without consulting the office copy of Inferno first.

            1. Paradise Lost you dullard!!!

                1. The south will rise again!!

                  1. You Maniacs! You Blew it Up! Damn You! Damn You All to Hell!

          2. The superstitious cannot think in terms of concepts, and are reduced to hating rational individuals for the heresy of thinking for themselves.

    6. I like the idea that living under the state is slavery, unless you can vote. Children and some felons are slaves! Now we’re getting somewhere.

      It’s an inspirational quote by a white woman, promoting a film about some white women. Yes, it is ridiculous to get bent out of shape. Once again, there’s the question: what should they have done? There is no winning move for them other than not to play. They can’t recast an historical part or change the quote.

      Bah, why bother complaining about this, when there are pictures of Romola Garai to look at.

  4. ? Only a mo-ron wouldn’t cast his vote for Don….ald…Truuuuump!


  5. Damn right. The statists can win all the votes they want, they still can’t win the fight with reality.

    I’ve seen the odd article about hoverboards but assumed it was clickbait about vaporware. Is there anything to this? That would be awesome.

  6. Wait a minute, is HuffPo using libertarian as a positive?

    1. That officially means the libertarian moment is over with – or they think “we” can be co-opted.

    2. If that doesn’t tell you libertarianism is safely dead, and no threat whatsoever, what would?

      1. A 0.01% voter share?

    3. That’s what I thought. WTF

  7. The moment also includes a bakery owing $135,000 to a couple for not baking them a cake so maybe it’s a collective societal moment and not an individual’s moment.

    1. Let’s hope Nick is right that “politics is a lagging indicator.”

    2. And cops extracting revenue from minor victimless offenses, “sex offenders” being zoned out of populated areas entirely, college students pressured into becoming informants, black teenagers subjected to rough rides, raw milk and cannabis businesses getting raided, etc.

      But that one gay marriage example is the offense that comes to mind.

  8. The Republican frontrunner actually once said this:

    “We’re losing badly the war on drugs, You have to legalize drugs to win that war. You have to take the profit away from these drug czars.”

    And none of his opponents have attacked him for it yet.

    1. He says a lot of things. Whether he ever means or even understands what he’s saying is an unknown.

      1. “He says a lot of things”

        You said only like a week or two ago

        “they hate us for our freedom”

        1. And I was right then and I’m still right.

  9. Hard to argue with a lot of this.
    Much of the focus here (H&R) is on politics, and that drives a lot of our lives. But the point is that libertarianism is post-political.
    Vaclav Havel theorized that the only way to achieve freedom is to simply live as if you were free, regardless of the political pressures. This doesn’t rise to the level of Invictus, but it equally denies the power of politics. And it has the advantage that it worked.

  10. I see Nick’s point, there does seem to be a great deal of changes that can, potentially, make life more free and less regulated (3d printing, constant internet access and communication, free sharing of ideas, bitcoin, and others) but I have a hard time seeing those in power letting go of their power.

    I really think that, before we have 3d printing everywhere, we will see governments trying to regulate and control who gets what ingredients. Sure, we have bitcoin, but governments are doing their damndest to kill them before they take off. Yes, free access to communication, but it is monitored. The perception of freedom is not the same as freedom.

    1. Yeah, right now, 3D printing is prohibitively expensive for the average person, but its cost has dropped substantially in the last few years, and will continue to do so. As it does, expect an all-out anti-3D printing campaign. Between the scare tactics from people afraid of homemade guns and the lobbying from manufacturing and retail, not to mention the people who just think every aspect of our lives needs to be regulated, I think the fight against 3D printing will be massive.

      1. There have been tens of thousands of 3d printers built and sold. The price points are plummeting incredibly fast. I doubt the war against 3D printing will be victorious in America let alone the world.

  11. “when hovercraft technology reaches its full market potential?”

    Oh fuck you and the imaginary hoverhorse you road in on.

    Never going to happen.

    1. Never going to happen. The FAA will never let it happen.


  12. There wasn’t any “libertarian moment” outside of two landmark victories.In most elections libertarian candidates got wiped out in any states in which the white population wasn’t a comfortable majority. 3D technology and sharing economy can be snuffed by out dem majority in big cities.

    You can’t have any sort of “moment” when majority of people don’t rise to your cause or you fail to elect people into positions of power. Reason is mostly piggybacking on policy achievements that were already cause celebre among the left and the right.

    1. “3D technology and sharing economy can be snuffed by out dem majority in big cities.”

      If that could happen it would have already.

  13. “What will the who-will-build-the-roads crowd say to libertarians when hovercraft technology reaches its full market potential”


    Um, while I am sure there is a market potential for hovercraft there is no way it ever makes roads irrelevant because they are too complex and fuel inefficient for personal use and even though they don’t require a nice well paved road they still would require “roads”.

    The one place I can think of a use for them is if you take some of those huge troop transport hovercraft the Russians have and use them as mid range transports, primarily over the ocean Strip out the military equipment to reduce weight and add in some luxury accommodations for a civilian transport.

    You could carry roughly 16 cars and 80 passengers or about 300 passengers from LA to San Francisco in about 7 hours, faster than a train (even a high speed one) or driving and comparable to flying once travel to and from the airport are accounted for.

    You could probably make profitable routes all along the California coast between various points, along the Boston – Washington Corridor and from Galveston through Tampa along the Gulf coast and then smaller hover craft would have some usefulness in remote areas as cargo vessels but that would be about their limit for commercial usefulness

  14. “Anyone who believes the presidential election is a barometer of how libertarian America is becoming doesn’t understand libertarianism and isn’t paying attention to what’s happening in the real world


    1. Mullen is right. As Welch and I have always stressed, the libertarian moment is a fundamentally pre-political phenomenon partly because politics is a lagging indicator of where America is going at any given point in time.

      I’m agreed GILMORE, disputing the notion that the LP is disconnected from politics by asserting the distinction between the one true libertarianism and politics in general makes INVICTUS seem more cogent by the day.

  15. The Libertarian Moment was fed into a woodchipper a couple months ago by butthurt members of the justice system.

    Politics are indeed a lagging indicator – but the Fabians have been saying that for almost 150 years.

  16. If the libertarian moment won’t come to you, might as well run to someone’s definition of the libertarian moment.

    1. between “The Last American Hero” and you, Sparky, I need to decide who’s going to be sacrificed to the ban-hammer in my efforts to tune out the mind-farts of AmSoc

      I’m leaning “socialist”, because no one should ever ban America. (places hand over heart). But I hate to see you go.

      1. Such is the way of life in the times of this great libertarian moment. Maybe we will meet each other again one day if I ever change my handle.

  17. The “Libertarian Moment” is misleading in so many ways. People, as individuals, like consumer choices and more options. People as political animals, however, don’t understand how government and government policies stands in the way of those choices. Minimum wage won’t cause unemployment, they tell themselves. ObamaCare brings more choices to people, they tell themselves. There’s a huge conflict or cognitive dissonance between the personal and the political, as too many people don’t properly understand the relationship between the two.

    1. Okay, after reading the article, it’s hard to disagree with the author. We get so caught up in what government, politicians, bureaucrats, and LEO’s are doing that we forget how many people don’t bother to vote or get involved in politics. The non-politicos really do outnumber the politicos, and that is reassuring in some ways, even as I worry about who will become the next president.

      1. You should worry about what ideology writes the laws the President is required to enforce.

  18. If the libertarian moment is here, why do progtards keep telling me to grope Bernie Sanders?

    That is what “Feel the Bern” is all about, right?

    1. Typo, what they meant was Feel the Fern:


  19. The “libertarian moment” is merely a bunch of young hipsters with a massive sense of entitlement demanding certain sets of freedoms in the way they behave while being fully supported by the loving government in all significant matters financial.

    1. Pretty much.

    2. Having millenial children myself, this has been my experience as well.


    1. It ended when a SWAT team raided your dairy farm because they heard you were selling raw milk

    2. There are better ways to clear up a yeast infection. Or so I’ve heard.

    3. You only ran out of yogurt because manufacturers were busying themselves making 23 different types of deodorant

  21. A libertarian moment is a *concept*?

    Who knew!?

  22. According to Reason you can soon pay in bitcoin for a drone to deliver you marijuana. I’m not considering the libertarian moment over just yet.

  23. “Mullen is right. As Welch and I have always stressed, the libertarian moment is a fundamentally pre-political phenomenon partly because politics is a lagging indicator of where America is going at any given point in time.”

    I’ll buy this.

    Barry Goldwater failing to win the Presidency didn’t presage the end of that form of Republican.

    It presaged the rise of Ronald Reagan.

    Where’s we’re going isn’t necessarily about where we are, especially if where we are is seen through the lens of whatever Obama was talking about on TV last night. That sure as hell ain’t reality.

  24. Cafeteria Cosmotarianism.

  25. I do have a problem squaring where we’re going with common perceptions about capitalism.

    “Capitalism” has become a dirty word, and that’s pretty scary looking forward.

  26. “Mullen argues:

    The future will be even more libertarian than the present. Technology and the marketplace are threatening to render centuries-old government institutions largely irrelevant. What meaning will trade regulations have when 3-D printers disrupt the manufacturing industry? What will the who-will-build-the-roads crowd say to libertarians when hovercraft technology reaches its full market potential? How will the Federal Reserve control the economy when Bitcoin or its successors reaches theirs?”

    Anyone else feel Nick has been snookerred with this quote?

    That reads an awful lot like left wing sarcasm mocking us.

    1. I think Nick punted to 2020.

  27. Nothing attracts the faux-edgy, terminally obtuse, and perpetual grumpy like articles featuring the Libertarian Moment. We get it: you’ll wantonly misunderstand any concept so that you can bitch about something. Can you do it somewhere else?

  28. The concept may’ve been developed here, but I still don’t understand what a libertarian moment is. Under what circumstances do they occur, and are they as fleeting as the name suggests? Is a libertarian moment just an instant at which someone makes a decision that’s in some way libertarian as compared to other decisions the person might make? Can someone give an example of one? How often do they occur, as opposed to non-libertarian or anti-libertarian moments?

    1. I have a libertarian moment whenever I see LIB on the ballot. Now… if only there were a way to verify that our votes are counted the way we cast them…

  29. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……


    1. Now if that’s not a libertarian moment, I’d like to know what is!

  30. Paul is a good example for Republicans to follow. With his influence they might stay out of the dustbin of history for another couple of terms. Remember the Whigs!

    1. Paul is a principled guy but he’s not the best debater and I don’t know how well he would do with groups that never vote Republican. He might grab a bit of the younger voter support but who knows.

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