Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The libertarian label is back in vogue

Or so says the Washington Examiner in Libertarian label in vogue even with Rand Paul’s opponent

Read more at the Washington Examiner:
. One part of the recommended read:

Back in the late 1980’s the word “libertarian” was verboten in the movement’s respectable quarters. It rarely popped up in the pages of reason magazine, the journal of “Free Minds and Free Markets.” The CATO Institute tried to rebrand the the “freedom philosophy” as “Market Liberalism,” a phrase the think tank’s strategists deemed more palatable for American mass political consumption. In similar book issued at the end of Ronald Reagan’s run, “An American Vision” outlining CATO’s wishlist of “Policies for the ‘90’s,” the word “libertarian” isn’t invoked even once in the entire book.

Only a few years before, the libertarian label was considered cutting edge, a badge of honor. Flattering profiles of the 1980 Libertarian Party ticket ran in mainstream magazines. New York magazine pinpointed the Ed Clark/David Koch ticket as the first splash of an trend sure to increase in influence as the decade progressed.

By the time of Ronald Reagan’s 1984 reelection landslide, movement leaders who sought to inject libertarian ideas into the mainstream political conversation were disassociating themselves from the label. Scarred by their purge from the Libertarian Party by the sometimes kooky absolutists and spooked by the electoral ascendancy of the Reagan Democrats - economic populists hostile to social libertarianism - magazine editors and think thank honchos were convinced that the brand name they embraced a few years before would scare off an America that had demonstrated that it remained wary of their creed.

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