Interesting results from a Pew Research survey:
More than four-in-ten independents (44%) react positively to the word “libertarian,” while 32% have a negative reaction. Democrats are nearly evenly divided (39% positive, 37% negative). However, Republicans on balance have a negative impression of this term (44% negative, 31% positive).
In many ways we’re actually competition for Republicans and try to hold them to their principles and slam them when they don’t live up to them. But Republicans don’t like us on the social side of things
Commentators, from the left, of course, draw other conclusions:
The notion that Republicans are libertarian is ludicrous. They stick their noses into our bedrooms, into our doctors’ offices, into churches. They demand the roundup of people who don’t look like them. They whine about Miranda rights and due process. They are more concerned about the rights of big energy conglomerates, than they are about the rights of people to enjoy long walks on pristine beaches. They whine about true independent and free media that doesn’t validate their ideology. They freak out about anyone who doesn’t believe in their god, or worse, in any god at all.
For the American Taliban, “liberty” means their ability to impose their beliefs and lifestyle on the rest of society.
So of course they would react negatively to the word, since they equate it with libertinism. For a movement predicated on imposing its mores on the rest of society, this is obviously deeply offensive.
On some level, I think this is correct, but that certainly doesn’t mean that Democrats or liberals are any more receptive to libertarian ideas than conservative Republicans, or that it’s time to resurrect the absurd idea of a liberal/libertarian fusion.