What does freedom look like?
To Americans, the concept of freedom is easy: Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These words, inscribed on the Declaration of Independence, define the ethos of the “Land of the Free.” When Alexis de Tocqueville came to America to wonder at the up-and-coming nation, he praised the extensive forms of “self-government” he encountered.
It’s no exaggeration to say that if Tocqueville hopped in a time machine and arrived in today’s United States, his impression would be far different. The liberty he witnessed in the farm fields and small towns did not subside as America industrialized. The country is still home to a great deal of freedom. It’s just that the modern version of freedom is radically detached from what was once a well-ordered tradition of civic and familial obligation.
It was only a matter of time before libertarianism jumped the shark.
The childishly optimistic sect of the liberty movement is moving past pot legalization and gay marriage. Their detente with liberals resulted in a massive culture victory. Pot and sodomy are de rigueur in mainstream American culture, whether you agree with them or not. Those troglodyte conservatives can wipe their tears with white flags!
The next fight for libertarians lies in the traditional gender spectrum. Not content to keep politics within politics, the loud-mouthed revolutionaries are moving into the messy world of transgenderism. This is a huge jump from the philosophy associated with Adam Smith and Friedrich Hayek. Ayn Rand would be frowning in heaven if she didn’t think God put a damper on her ego trip.
In a recent Daily Beast column, Reason Magazine’s Nick Gillespie praises the latest American hero: Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner. Wait a second, you may say. Didn’t Jenner trounce the Soviets in the decathlon almost three decades ago? Why is he now the latest emblem of liberation?