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The growth of libertarianism

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Eugene posted on Wed, Jan 4 2012 1:55 PM

Walter Block says that in the sixties he knew all the libertarians in the world, since there were only him Rothbard and a few other fellows. Now there are tenths of millions who identify themselves as libertarians. Obviously a huge growth of the libertarian ideology occured. It looks like most of this growth happened after Ron Paul's campaign in 2008. Do you think that's correct? If not, then when did most of the growth occured, and why?

Thanks.

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There is no way that the number of libertarians has increased more in the last 3.5 years than it did in the 50 years before 2008.  The growth didn't occur at one point in time, its been happening steadily, though certain factors (Ron Paul, the internet, the Mises Institute, economic predictions) have increased the rate.

they said we would have an unfair fun advantage

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MaikU replied on Wed, Jan 4 2012 3:37 PM

Libertarianism started growing much faster after invention of the internet.

"Dude... Roderick Long is the most anarchisty anarchist that has ever anarchisted!" - Evilsceptic

(english is not my native language, sorry for grammar.)

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James replied on Wed, Jan 4 2012 6:00 PM

Over the course of the last decade, with the rise of the second-generation internet.  Youtube alone is probably half the reason.

Nothing about the message changed.  Ron Paul has been around saying the same things since the Medieval Warm Period, but most people only noticed him in 2007/8.

It's the printing press on crack.  It can't be controlled like TV and print media.  Not for lack of trying, mind you.

Non bene pro toto libertas venditur auro
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I don't think this is really true. I myself find that more and more think of libertarinism as the "base of all evil" currently. Well they are not right but they cry the loudest. Just a few counter-examples "Occupy Wallstreet" the party "Piraten" in Germany. All the parties currently in the Bundestag are going far more left then ever before. Just see also the different new laws like Obamacare, minimim wage. See the establishment of Guantanamo see the laws which limited the civil rights especially in the name of "fighting" terrorism. See the "adminration" of socialists countries like China.

Just see how much money is sunk in government these days. Do I have to mention all the debt avalahnces etc. No I'm afraid even liberalism is shrinking, and it takes with it the wealth of former times. The last 3 years were the most cataostrophic in regard to liberalism or  even libertarianism

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Friedrich Dominicus:

I don't think this is really true. I myself find that more and more think of libertarinism as the "base of all evil" currently. Well they are not right but they cry the loudest. Just a few counter-examples "Occupy Wallstreet" the party "Piraten" in Germany. All the parties currently in the Bundestag are going far more left then ever before. Just see also the different new laws like Obamacare, minimim wage. See the establishment of Guantanamo see the laws which limited the civil rights especially in the name of "fighting" terrorism. See the "adminration" of socialists countries like China.

Just see how much money is sunk in government these days. Do I have to mention all the debt avalahnces etc. No I'm afraid even liberalism is shrinking, and it takes with it the wealth of former times. The last 3 years were the most cataostrophic in regard to liberalism or  even libertarianism

 
My good man, you are absolutely right. I often joke Lenin is laughing his head off in whatever pit of Hell he currently is: after all it was he who predicted (correctly so) the European bourgeoise would bring about their own demise by supporting policies that would advance the cause of Socialism. The famous term "useful idiots" refers to them. Leon Trotzky went a step forward by boldly declaring "The last shopkeeper will sell us the rope we'll use to hang him". His prediction sounds less and less bold every day, as the middle class is steadily selling itself (and its children) into slavery, fooling itself into thinking it's a good deal indeed.
One only needs to look at the present EU leadership to see who really won the Cold War. The Soviet Union may have ended up "in the scrap heap of history" but the driving ideology behind it is alive and well. While the Chinese are slowly (and painfully) realizing the limitations of planned economy, Europe embraced it wholeheartedly. And since they don't understand what's going wrong they have become adept at scapegoating, just like Stalin when his "Five Years Plans" floundered. We still haven't seen show trials but we'll get there sooner than we may like.
 
The big problem with libertarian (or classic liberal, as Mises would have called them) ideals is they don't promise the Land of Honey and Butter. They don't promise magical cures and don't ride emotional waves (at least in most cases). People don't want someone who will say "Honesty and hard work will be rewarded". They want someone who will promise them to build a bridge where there's no river. Above all they want "social justice" which is nothing else than officially sanctioned envy and greed: why do you own more than me? You must share it with me, or else... Problem is, of course, they don't realize they are selling the rope that's being used to hang them. To pay present day pensions, present workers will be forced to work until the end of their lives. There will be no State pension, big or small, for who is now in his 30's or 40's. And if you have just entered the job market... may the Gods have pity on you. As taxes increase and regulation pile up it's becoming harder not only to create jobs, but also to increase capital investment. In an inflationary environment that means wages cannot keep up with prices. It means reduced standards of living. It means to produce the goods and trinkets consumers want at a reasonable price jobs have to be shipped to China and India.
I am sure people understand this at subconscious level but cling on to the illusion to milk the present system as long as they can. Problem is they aren't the ones milking the system but delusion and denial do strange things to the human mind.
Together we go unsung... together we go down with our people
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The establishment is going more towards left, but the number of libertarians is growing at the same time. So, Friedrich Dominicus, you're only half right.

-- --- English I not so well sorry I will. I'm not native speaker.
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Well, Google book trends doesn't help with this:

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=libertarianism&year_start=1800&year_end=2010&corpus=0&smoothing=3

 

Does anyone have actual numbers about libertarianism growth?

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Bert replied on Fri, Jan 6 2012 10:01 AM

The 08 Paul campaign did bring a lot of people to libertarian ideas, but it really depends how one defines "libertarian", because if this is the case I have to widen it to minarchists and anarchists.  I think Paul attracted some inconsistent conservatives and showed some faults, and a lot of Paul supporters aren't libertarians they just support him in the election because he's the best option.  I don't think it's out landish to say libertarianism has had a huge surge in the past 5-10 years due to some "marketing" techniques (Ron Paul is essentially "selling" it to anyone who's open to listen to what he has to say).

I had always been impressed by the fact that there are a surprising number of individuals who never use their minds if they can avoid it, and an equal number who do use their minds, but in an amazingly stupid way. - Carl Jung, Man and His Symbols
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Nothing helped spread libertarianism as much as the founding of the libertarian party because it got the ideas out there in the first place. IT caused a lot of people to shurk it off, but it also caused many who became libertarians to actual recognize the term in the first place. 

In recent years the internet has done a huge deal to bolster the size of people who are libertarians. There's a disproportionate number of libertarian cites, youtube accounts, PDF books, and the like running around the internet which are causing an increasingly large impact. The Ron Paul campaign has certianly bolstered the numbers of libertarians around, this much is undeniable. Indeed I've seen a ton of people around here say that the reason they are libertarians is because of the fact that they learned of it from the Ron Paul campaign.

On a side note I think that modern republicans are more responsive to the message of libertarianism than they used to be. With the full degree of free market rhetoric that the republicans are using, and the degree of support which they claim to the ideology of freedom these days, it is very hard to have problems with libertarianism, or to cover up the blatant inconsistencies in their ideology. 

At last those coming came and they never looked back With blinding stars in their eyes but all they saw was black...
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See, I'd love to think the internet is making libertarianism popular, only that Google Trends is destroying my fantasies:

http://www.google.com/trends?q=libertarian

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Re: google trends,

Those check newspapers, which is not where libertarianism lives.

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Oh, it looks like it catches some other things too (such as Youtubes).

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Well our problem is simple put. We don't want to rule and that makes us bad politicians I guess. So even if there are more of us around (which I'm not able to judge  really) it makes us the "crackpots". Maybe one joke could be how many Liberals have you tortured today....

It's not the Politicians that suffer under liberalism. It's liberals suffering under any shardow of socialism or even worse social market economy.

Really just look around what the last feast we could celebrate. The closest I'm aware of in the US is that someone like Ron Paul was third on an election. And the decison to re-introduce gold in Utah. The last think which we can really celebrate here in Germany was the rest for military service.

Just see how they torture us with all the fail-out packages. Hardly any liberal would have  voted for that and still here we are and the mess is  getting bigger by the second.

 

 

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BB replied on Sun, Jan 8 2012 11:15 PM

In 2008 Obama made made me a Republican and Sarah Palin made me a conservative. In 2011 the Republicans made me sick and Ron Paul made me a libertarian.

 

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