Roger L. Simon

Are we all libertarians now?

Analysis of the latest Gallup Poll by the Cato Institute tends to indicate that a lot of us are at least sympathetic to libertarianism, more so than we may be to traditional conservatism and (especially) liberalism. Of course most people don’t know what libertarianism really means. I have enough trouble with liberal and conservative myself. But the Cato folks explain that Gallup put it this way: If you tell people that “libertarian” means “fiscally conservative and socially liberal,” 44 percent will accept the label.

Well, the answer to my headline question is then “No, we’re not.” But it may be that plurality of us now are. There is a message in this for the Republican Party: No Rick Santorums, please. Keep the government out of our pocket books and out of our bedrooms.

And there is a message (or a warning) to the Democratic Party as well: Barack Obama is manufacturing libertarians – not Democrats and certainly not liberals.