As public trust in government hits record lows, libertarian positions on major policy issues are booking record support across the board. Polls show solid majorities of Americans agree with the liberty perspective on:
- foreign policy (mind our own business),
- nation-building (unwise),
- warrantless mass surveillance (illegal, immoral, and just plain creepy),
- domestic drone use (bad idea),
- the national debt (it’s a big problem),
- federal spending (waaaay too much),
- the Federal Reserve (audit it),
- health care (DC isn’t competent to handle it),
- government welfare (inefficient and not helping),
- the drug war (legalize marijuana),
- food choice (don’t mandate nutrition),
- marriage (let the couples decide),
- Congress (passes too many laws and the wrong kinds of laws),
- and our government in general (too big and burdensome).
Now, this isn’t to say that the majority of the country is libertarian. We know that’s not the case (about a quarter are). But it is to say that we have a fairly unique consensus on the libertarian policy agenda, broadly speaking. Sure, the consensus for much of this may be more moderate than we libertarians would like (e.g. just auditing instead of ending the Fed; legalizing only marijuana instead of ending the whole drug war), but can any other major political perspective boast such comprehensive majorities on foreign, economic, and social policies alike? I don’t think so.
It’s also worth noting that in the polls which show a trend direction on these issues, overall movement typically is in a pro-liberty direction, as are generational differences (generally, younger people are more libertarian than their elders).
Certainly the import of this collection is not to be overstated, but nonetheless I find it a hopeful set of data — and a welcome antidote to last night’s speech.
Note: With two exceptions from 2011 (I had trouble finding more recent polls on those subjects), all of these majorities are from 2013 (mostly December) and 2014.
Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL.Published in