Someone’s Libertarian Future

Ron Paul is mostly libertarian. A lot of young folks love Ron Paul. A lot. Some are called Paulbots and if you question any aspect of the good senator from Texas’ philosophy they bury you under a pile of arguments. There’s nothing worse than a new convert to anything. I speak as one who has made that mistake in numerous other areas. So to summarize: Ron Paul = mostly libertarian, lotsa young ‘uns <3 Ron Paul. Okay, with those broad, unsubstantiated generalizations firmly in place, I'd like to excerpt a post from Patrick Deneen which he excerpted from himself. It has been bothering me since I read it a few days ago.

What the data also demonstrates is [not only an increase in libertarian toleration, but] a keen and intense emphasis on the self. Today’s students simultaneously urge toleration toward others, but also expect to be left alone. Their overarching emphasis upon individual achievement–particularly in the area of career advancement–suggests that the message of “toleration” and “diversity” seamlessly co-exists with a self-centered focus on material success and personal lifestyle autonomy. At risk is a cultivated belief in civic membership, a sense of shared fate and even forms of self-sacrifice…

I fear that we are not ushering in a utopia of toleration and sensitivity, but one of indifference and self-absorption. Today’s young people have deeply absorbed the lessons that have been taught them by their elders. Do we truly think a civilization can persist when it teaches its young that the most important thing in life is indifference toward others and that the means to happiness is earning the most money?

Couple this with the fact that this generation is the one raised with iPods and TVs in bedrooms rather than family rooms and houses with large bedrooms and small general living spaces and I’m kind of nervous. It all fits together a little too nicely. That whole ethic of “its okay as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else” fits right in there too.

I don’t think the future is all that bleak though. You never know how these things will play out in the long run and if you take a larger view of young folks, there are a lot of liberals who just love to get all up in your business. Hard to tell which way the pendulum will swing as these 20 something ages and have children of their own. Still, the thought bothers me because it seems plausible.

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