At Cato Unbound, Brink Lindsey (who earlier won fame for his interesting proposal for a liberal-libertarian political alliance), has a fascinating essay arguing that longterm historical trends favor libertarianism.
Lindsey makes a compelling case that both economic and social freedom have made significant advances over the last 40 years, and that both popular and elite opinion has gradually moved in a libertarian direction over that time. Obviously, Lindsey's analysis of longterm trends has to be weighed against the significant setbacks that libertarian causes have sustained during the Bush Administration as a result of Bush's disastrous big-government conservatism and the resurgence of old-style big government liberalism on the political left. I also have a few other reservations about Lindsey's arguments that I may detail in a later post, if time permits.
Nonetheless, I think that Lindsey is right to insist on the primacy of longterm trends over short-term ones. And I also agree that many libertarians are unduly pessimistic as a result of overrating the significance of recent events, a point I elaborated on in this post. For the reasons Lindsey describes so well, long-run economic and social trends favor libertarianism in significant ways. But we will have our work cut out for us beating back resurgent statism over the next few difficult years.