Saturday, February 13, 2016

Post-Paul presidential politics

Rand Paul Is Out — But Libertarianism Is Finally Mainstream - - Matt Kibbe:

February 10, 2016 -  "As someone who left a perfectly respectable day job last year to help elect Rand Paul president, I need to find the upside. I have finally emerged from my post-Iowa fetal position to offer some observations on what liberty voters, and libertarians generally, should make of it all.

"First off, I endorse the view, ably represented by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch, that Rand’s failure to win the Republican nomination in no way signals the end of the 'libertarian moment.' Politics is a lagging indicator of social change, and the measure of a social movement is better taken upstream from voter turnout.

"As for Iowa, let’s at least hat tip the effort. Rand Paul bested four establishment Republican Governors including Jeb Bush, placing a respectable fifth place with 4.5 percent of the vote.... Paul beat them all after being excluded from the Fox Business debate just a few weeks earlier. I’m going to call that a comeback—one small step for mankind, another bigger step for the future of liberty.

"Why? Because Rand has seeded another generation of liberty-minded young people, much like his father did in 2008 and 2012. When I was a kid, there was no broad social movement for liberty like we see today. Rand juiced the build-out of this community simply by being on the presidential stage, by offering a compelling alternative to the establishment’s failed foreign policies, and by speaking about civil liberties and the failures of mass incarceration to new audiences that few Republicans have been willing to engage with....

"I spent time on the ground talking to voters at events across Iowa.... It was clear to me before a single vote was cast that Trump had poached key parts of the broader Ron Paul coalition of 2012. More disconcerting, a number of Rand’s student activists were telling me stories about young people, energized by Rand’s 'libertarianish' message at university campus rallies, ultimately caucusing for Bernie Sanders.

"It’s good to be fundamentally skeptical of Washington insiders, to have a deep distrust of politicians and their motives. Say what you will about it, a self-avowed crony capitalist and a white male septuagenarian career politician have best tapped into this ethos....

"All of this rage against the machine is a healthy awakening against the injustices of 'the system'.... But being anti-establishment isn’t nearly good enough. Trump’s self-absorbed vision of untethered presidential power is not a step up from Barack Obama. And socialism, even of the 'democratic' variety, is still all about concentrating power (and the implied threat of violence) with Washington elites.

"We are in the midst of a fundamental paradigm shift that has broken the singular power of the two-party duopoly.... Libertarians are now mainstream, no longer relegated to basement book club arguments about the moral failings of 'minarchism.' Our values offer a serious alternative to both right wing and left wing statism....

"People, particularly young people, now live in a radically disintermediated world where we curate virtually everything for ourselves; new music, news sources, better ideas, and even spontaneously-emerging communities built on free association and shared values. Top-down political institutions, like almost everything else in our post-internet society, are bleeding power and control. Information, knowledge and power are shifting back to the end user. This disruption is an opportunity, a window to connect with a burgeoning generation of freer people who take self-determination as a given. We no longer accept authority as is—we Google it, using information and facts to challenge the status quo. Empowered consumers have broken the backs of record company moguls, mainstream media monopolists, taxi medallion hoarders, and even the Bush Family dynasty.

"The hearts and minds of young, socially connected Americans are very much up for grabs. Registered independents have become the fastest growing political block, making up a larger plurality than either Democrats or Republicans in 44 out of 50 states. Talk about a libertarian moment. The individuals that comprise this Á La Carte Generation are environmentally programmed from birth to curate their very own reality, one that is more personal, and more free."

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