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more evidence for the libertarian chic hypothesis

I recently suggested that conservatives like to associate themselves with the libertarians because it looks cool, even if these groups believe very different things. There is more evidence that the conservative/libertarian fit is bad. From an article about a survey done by the Public Religion Research institute:

Sixty-one percent of libertarians do not identify themselves as part of the Tea Party, the survey showed. About 7 percent of the adult population is consistently libertarian and that includes 12 percent of those who describe themselves as Republicans.

“There’s largely agreement on economic issues – the gap is in how libertarians approach social issues, ” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, which conducts an annual “American Values Survey” on political and social issues.

And:

Libertarians are more opposed to government involvement in economic policies than those affiliated with the Tea Party and Republicans overall, the survey found. For instance, 65 percent of libertarians were opposed to increasing the minimum wage, while 57 percent of Republicans overall supported it, the survey found.

Ninety-six percent of libertarians oppose President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare restructuring compared to 89 percent of Republicans.

But nearly 60 percent of libertarians oppose making it more difficult for a woman to get an abortion, while 58 percent of Republicans and those affiliated with the Tea Party favor such restrictions, according to the survey.

More than 70 percent of libertarians favored legalizing marijuana, while about 60 percent of Republicans and Tea Party members opposed such a move, the survey found.

An important tension worth exploring.

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Written by fabiorojas

August 13, 2014 at 12:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. I may be missing something, but in what way is this evidence of the “libertarian chic hypothesis”? All the PRCI data show is that conservatives and libertarians aren’t all that aligned on a number of key social issues. I don’t see anything in the data suggesting that a bunch of conservatives are out posing as wannabe libertarians.

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    Jim H.

    August 13, 2014 at 3:04 pm

  2. We libertarian hipsters shrink from the “conservative” label, at least as a political descriptor (cultural issues are another story). A left-liberal colleague once described me as an “honest conservative” — probably the only category-busting label he could think of as he was unfamiliar with libertarianism. I’d use Hayek’s preferred term, “Old Whig,” if it generated more than blank stares. (Hayek’s famous “Why I Am Not a Conservative” is good reading.)

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    Peter Klein

    August 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm


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