Sullivan’s been praising Ron Paul and his awesome youth movement for months now. But now he’s sad to learn that Paul’s youth movement was once a “good ol’ boy” movement that used to make fun of “welfare queens,” yankees, and “homos.”
Ron Paul only appeals to Sullivan because he’s a gadfly who shares Sullivan’s (au courant) view that the Iraq War is a mistake. As with Bush, whose “compassionate conservatism” once appealed to Sullivan’s gobbeldy-gook moderate views, Sullivan’s romantic sentiments will soon be dashed by some expression of a genuinely conservative viewpoint by Paul, such as his opposition to civil rights laws. At that point, expect Sullivan to return to his tried-and-true modus operandi: hysterical denunciation of yet another heart-breaking politician who has the temerity not to agree with him on everything.
I predict libertarianism will always be a fringe movement. Because people that care about the liberties it embraces today–drugs, abortion, gay rights–also believe strongly in social equality. And people that believe in social equality are by definition people that think discrimination is a great evil; it’s hard to sustain the deontological embrace of complete freedom (outside violence) when one’s view of liberty would permit a great evil. Thus Sullivan’s liberalism trumps his libertarianism, and we’ll see something similar from most other left-libertarians. This was the basic historical trajectory, incidentally, of Classical Liberalism.
Conservative-leaning libertarians may well stay libertarian, but they have a more abiding substantive reason to do so and will continue to form the base of practical libertarian voters: They’re in society’s productive class and don’t like the government taking their money to subsidize disorderly parasites. Of course, as men of a conservative bent, they won’t lose any sleep over gay marriage or other social innovations supposedly required by doctrinaire libertarianism.