Saturday, May 23, 2015

Social tolerance, mistrust of government increasing in U.S., polls find

The Libertarian Moment is Everywhere Around Us (Increasing Social Tolerance Edition) - Hit & Run : - Nick Gillespie:

"For the past 15 years or so, Gallup has charted how Americans describe themselves when it comes to social and economic issues.

"For the first time ever, equal percentages of us define ourselves as liberal and conservative on social issues.

"Even among Republicans, social liberalism is ascendant, with self-described conservatives dipping from a low of 67 percent in 2009 to just 53 percent now. The key issues driving the growth of social liberal views and the decline of social conservative views, says Gallup, are gay marriage and pot legalization. Support for both of those things has skyrocketed in the 21st century, with a velocity that is nothing short of stunning.

"I think you can safely add to these issues a more broad-based embrace of what Matt Welch and I dubbed the 'Libertarian Moment,' or 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).

"According to a composite index of libertarian views on social and economic issues developed by pollsters at CNN, something clearly is afoot. The pollsters look at whether people believe that government is trying to do too many things individuals should be doing and whether or not people think government should enforce a particular set of morals. In 1992, the index of libertarian belief stood at 92 points. It's now at 113 points. Virtually all surveys show trends of people thinking the government is doing too much, is incompetent or untrustworthy, or represents a larger threat to the future than big labor or big business.

"This is a major shift that the Republican Party has failed to acknowledge or understand. At the very moment that Americans are embracing skepticism toward government — long a rhetorical mainstay of GOP politics — the leaders of the party are often doubling or tripling down on all sorts of reactionary positions toward same-sex marriage, the drug war, immigration, and social tolerance more broadly. That's no way to win the future (WTF).

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