Recently I was prompted by an anthropology student at the University of Washington to answer several questions about libertarianism. The exchange was great, and provided a means to clarify several things that have been otherwise muddled.
1. How do you define a libertarian?
To me a libertarian is someone who believes in a limited government, which provides basic needs that most people believe to be necessary but does not try to stuff ideology down the citizens’ throats, the freedom of the individual to become whatever it is they want to be and a free market that allows great deals of mobility and ingenuity.
2. What influenced you to become and/or remain libertarian?
I love this country (for the ideals it was founded on, not because of nationalism, regionalism or nativism), and when I entered college, it became very clear that other students and professors didn’t. A bit of a blanket statement, I know, but it’s relatively true. I found myself defending slanderous left-wing statements about this country’s history, and in that process I realized I was libertarian. Liberty is the foundation of American society and government, and even if they don’t call themselves such, I think most Americans who love their country and find it exceptional are libertarians to a certain extent.
While perusing Twitter the other day, I came across this story:
“Right-wing talk radio may have worn out its welcome, at least for now,” reports Crain’s New York Business.
A new Arbitron report shows Rush Limbaugh’s ratings down 33% from a year ago and Sean Hannitty down 28% over the same time period. Meanwhile, more centrist personalities — Don Imus in the morning and John Batchelor at night — were both up from a year earlier.
Admittedly, I don’t listen to much talk radio these days; but when I first read this story, one point that immediate entered my mind. That is that 2011 is not an election year; so I don’t know that is supposed to be a surprise or somehow shows that “right-wing” talking radio is in decline. The counter to that point is that the GOP presidential race is heating up, so listeners should be tuning in to hear what the talking heads have to say. Not really. It’s still very early on and no one seems very interested in the race right now. It’ll likely jump back up during the summer and into the fall and winter.
It would be interesting to see a comparison with an off-year to the previous election year. Maybe from that we can draw a reasonable conclusion. Or maybe we can look at how conservative radio shows are capitalizing on new medium, as Jeffrey Lord notes over at The American Spectator:
Limbaugh and conservative talkers Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are not only not losing their audience, as low-tech (or is that no-tech?) political critics are braying, the three are so far ahead of the communications curve that their liberal blogger and news outlet political foes are literally clueless even as the revolution unfolds right in front of them.
What mediums, exactly?:
Over at The Liberty Papers, Stephen Gordon has the story of what seems to be a report from the Department of Homeland Security entitled, Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, that targets some conservatives and most libertarians.
The report says (emphasis mine):