This week, both Learn Liberty and We Are Libertarians posed the question, “Why are you a libertarian?” We used the hashtag #wearelibertarians on Twitter, whereas Learn Liberty used Tumblr. The other difference is that they specifically asked the younger generation, whereas we asked everyone.
It really isn’t a hard question to answer. The simplest response is that we are, for the most part, screwed.
My generation faces a very large lack of jobs. If we can find one at all, it isn’t likely to pay the large student loan debt. Debt which, I might add, was not necessary for previous generations. We are of course told that we must accept this lot and that it’s our fault. Just like it’s our fault that we are dumber than previous generations despite the school reforms made by previous generations. Oh, and we are apparently really entitled and selfish. Because we were the ones who decided to load up on credit card debt and constantly air of “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” Right.
We also aged right into the post-9/11 conflicts. Many in our generation were sent over hoping to fight for good, and yet ended up being a bit of the bad guy. Many have been scarred by PTSD, military rape, and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. The veterans in my generation have a hard time finding jobs and paying for all their bills. We dn’t want yet anther war, and our representatives on both sides keep dragging us into it. We thought Obama would be different; we were wrong. Some of us who are now liberty-loving are so not because we didn’t value liberty before, but that we were disillusioned that our representatives actually believed it, too. And with what seems to be an inevitable war with yet another foreign country on the rise, we’re sure of the fact that our representatives don’t represent us now more than ever.
We grew up with the sense that yes, we could do anything. We also grew up with entertainment via cartoons, movies, and television that inspired us to change. We have less respect for authority than previous generations, in part because of the internet and the equalizing power it gives. We have access to more information than ever before, and we’re not waiting for someone to hand it to us.
Of course, other things that previous generation subjected us to made us better Americans. Our “liberal” media and education system taught us to value diversity and multiculturalism. We learned that it was OK to be different. We learned to value ourselves and the people around us. So in that respect, the more tolerant to LGBT generation was created by the less-than-tolerant parents. We are as a generation more passionate about social issues than our parents. Life is more important than stuff, and we see it every day.
We are also an activist generation. The world saw it with the occupy movement, even if t turned to chaos. And the world mocked the movement, as if protesting against the corporate takeover of our government was a waste of time. As if all our problems could be solved through hard work and gumption and less entitlement. We engage in Facebook politics and are probably more involved that we are expected to be. We believe we can change the world and we make it happen, especially through citizen journalism and social media.
The left and the libertarians are growing, whereas the right is shrinking. The left is growing out of the sense of compassion for everyone. This is something libertarians can tap into if we stop talking like Republicans. The right is losing out because people want consistency. We don’t want war or intrusion into private morality. We want government out of small business but we don’t want corporate destruction to buy our politicians, either.We want freedom, minimal government that is also representational, and policy that makes sense and is based on sound economic research…not on a holy book or a good intention.
So yeah. It’s no wonder we’re swinging libertarian. We want solutions, not bumper sticker politics. And libertarianism offers it.