Libertarian becomes a new normal

As we become less collectivist as a society, is libertarianism becoming the new normal?

by Douglas Carswell MP on 4 June 2013 10:12

The digital revolution is changing politics in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways. MPs are becoming more accountable. The two and a half party system is on the wane.  Out of touch pundits in SW1 are losing their ability to define opinion.

But, as I argued in The End of Politics and the Birth of iDemocracy, the web is reshaping political attitudes, too.

Our grandparents inhabited a world of post-war rationing. Until the late 1970s, they had to go on a waiting list to get a telephone. Until the 1980s, they needed official permission to take their own money abroad.

We now live in a world of spotify and Amazon. Endless choice and self-selection are becoming new cultural norms. Folk are not going to put up with having to meekly stand in line and put up with what the state gives them for much longer.

A national curriculum? Why not have a personalised curriculum for each child.  Digital technology makes in possible, practical and desirable. A stand-in-line-and-wait health service? Why not give patients control over their share of primary care money if they are not getting the care they need.

"Every successive generation is less collectivist than the last" says Ben Page of Ipsos MORI, reflecting on a latest British Social Attitudes survey.  Aye.

There has been a decisive fall in the number of people who support higher taxes to pay for public services. For a generation or more, British voters have tended to believe that government should redistribute wealth. Those days are coming to an end.

As mid-twentieth-century faith in Fabianism fades, libertarian ideals are going mainstream.

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