Robin Goodfellow provides a rather detailed explanation for why he feels we will see a radical poltical re-alignment by 2010. His piece is worth reading in its entirety, but his thesis is that, while two party systems tend to find a centrist equilibrium, right now both parties are grossly out of synch with the general public which, in Goodfellow’s view, is libertarian:
I predict that by 2010 the big political issues will be drug legalization, gun rights / control, big government vs. (truly) small government (with the difference in proposed sizes being in the neighborhood of a factor of 2, if not more, and a similarly dramatic difference in proposed levels of government power and regulation), public vs. private services (especially K-12 schools), and probably a renewed debate on immigration (namely, how much we should allow). That’s just a guess, but I am very confident that a major “axis shift” is in the works. It’s bound to be quite interesting times politically for the next few years.
While I share his desire for most of these things, this is just wishful thinking on his part. There is zero evidence that the public at large is libertarian, let alone that it will suddenly get energized to make this coup happen. Indeed, all indications are that we libertarians are in the vast minority: the public consistently votes for politicians who promise to give them free stuff and constantly demands more and more governmental action for even the most minor public policy matters. Witness the current spate of legislation to stop e-mail spamming and telemarketing.
While I hate it, most Americans want government to be much, much bigger even than it is now. Socialized medicine, for example, is almost upon us; we’re just doing it in baby steps rather than one giant one. While I predict we’ll eventually liberalize our laws on matters of sexuality, I do not see the day of widespread drug legalization any time soon. I’d like to see it, but there is virtually no momentum in that direction, save for maybe medical marijuana. “The era of big government is over” was just one of the lies Bill Clinton told us.
(Hat tip: Bill Quick)