Few people know what a libertarian is. They know there is some kind of political nature behind it, but generally have no clue who or what libertarians actually are.
I contend that the political ideology of libertarianism is a lot more common than most Americans realize. It is especially becoming more and more evident in our generation because many conservatives hold tight to their conservative fiscal views, but expand their social beliefs.
Libertarianism is “the belief that peace, prosperity and social harmony are fostered by as much liberty as possible and as little government as necessary” according to the Institute for Human Studies at George Mason University.
Essentially, they believe in what I call the “screw-off” approach toward government or the more commonly known principle of “laissez faire.” They believe in low government regulations of the economy, smaller government, less government spending and lower taxes that usually describe conservative ideology. On the flip side, they are more supportive of liberal social policies such as marijuana decriminalization, the “right to an abortion,” prison reform and gay rights.
Again, for emphasis, they believe in “hands-off.” So the core belief of less government intervention in the economy also extends to less government involvement in our social and personal lives.
Do you believe in lower taxes, gay rights, pro-choice for abortion, gun rights, religious liberty, less “red-tape,” and less government spending? If so, you might just be a libertarian. From my own conversations with fellow college students, this belief is a lot more common than many would realize.
There are many reasons why few people express themselves as libertarians. The first being a lack of knowledge on the political ideology classification. The second being, our two-party system strangles out third parties. The only person in the last century to truly challenge the status quo was Ross Perot in 1992, who won 18 percent of the popular vote.
People fear that voting for libertarian candidates or registering as a libertarian is a waste of a vote. Honestly, with not being able to vote in primaries in closed primary states like Pennsylvania, that belief makes sense and is 100 percent relatable.
Regardless, libertarians exist in greater number than many perceive. According to the libertarian national party, the number of registered libertarians had surged 92% in the past 10 years, although they only represent .54% of registered voters in the 2018 election.
The political party itself may not be big and it may never actually have real political power, but the ideological belief is more real and prominent than ever. Despite this small voter registration number, CNN noted in a 2011 continuing poll that key libertarian indicators increased almost 12% since 1998.
If your core political beliefs reflect these socially liberal, fiscally conservative beliefs, then you very well might be a libertarian. Based on my own experience and national trends, the libertarian belief is more legitimate than many perceive it to be.
Don’t be afraid to vocalize your opinion, registered libertarian or not, because it certainly appears that libertarianism is more real than ever.