I wish I could start over as an 18 year old at this point in time. Young people have an exciting future ahead if they continue to rebel against powerful States and gain control of and actively form their governments. Information is so plentiful today that even State-run schools can't keep people ignorant and submissive.
Never before in the US has the public thought so little of those in government, and this is a good thing, because governments are out of control all over the world. There's a nascent, global, liberty movement, and I suspect that young people from around the globe will increasingly resist government control over their lives. There's too much to do in today's world to spend your life mindlessly following dumb government rules and regulations. The potential for a grand new age of innovation, creativity and production is real (although it looks bleak presently, it doesn't have to be this way), but first governments have to be limited so that they work in service of the people, not against them.
I hope that the liberty movement is built on the premise that they can't achieve what they set out to achieve if governments block the path. I also hope the liberty movement, especially in the US, is not derailed by political correctness. I wish I could remember who recently wrote about young, American libertarians falling for the social "issues" of progressivism -- I'd give him credit. The author said that young libertarians don't need to adopt all the popular causes when general principles will do. The popular, modern, liberal/progressive causes of environmentalism, gay rights, women's rights, and so on, create social division when they are politicized and used as political weapons. Libertarian principles are mostly concerned with political principles -- limiting government power, allowing economic liberty, establishing a foreign policy of strong defense and non-interventionism regarding the affairs of other nations.
I hope young libertarians realize that once government is limited, society can deal with social problems in the free market of ideas. Most of the current popular issues are manaufactured to make one party or the other look bad -- however, most eveyone wants clean water and air -- most eveyone accepts that gay people deserve to be treated with dignity and the same compassion shown toward any fellow human being -- most people respect and value women and don't believe they should be treated as second class citizens -- most people want to help those in need -- most people believe that the color of a person's skin shouldn't dictate how they're perceived and treated -- most people believe in equal treatment under the law -- most people don't think that wealthy business concerns should receive special treatment by government -- most people want peace and equal opportunity for all. It'd be a mistake for young libertarians to divert their attention to special interests when their general principles cover the violation of rights more comprehensively. Many young progressives or neocons or social cons want to protect certain rights from violation while allowing the violation of other rights they don't consider important, or they want to protect the rights of those who share their worldview while violating the rights of those with whom they disagree. Progressives haven't shown any consistency when it comes to basic human rights, and neither have many neo-cons or social conservatives or other political factions except a relative handful of libertarians and limited government conservatives and a few liberals like Glen Greenwald.
For the young libertarian, it's enough to promote the separation of government from the issue of marriage. There's no need to fight for the legal recognition of gay marriage. Government shouldn't be involved in who chooses to form a relationship bond and call it marriage. Government, nor any group, owns words. If two consenting adults or three adults or five adults choose to live together in a mutally agreed upon relationship arrangement and call it marriage, who's business is it but the adults involved? If two Christians of the oppositie sex want to get create a relationship bond based in their religion and call it Church-Sanctioned Marriage, then they are free to do so. It's not the responsibility of government to regulate and define marriage. Young people are hopefully deeply insulted by the statist premise that we're all incapable of working out social problems among ourselves.
It's ridiculous to go around screaming equal pay for equal work as if you and your group alone value the work of women and think it's just for a woman to receive equal pay if she does work that's equal the work of a man. I don't know of anyone who disagrees with this. A young libertarian should take a principled position rather than pretending a righteousness that's manufactured. The young libertarian should be more concerned with how government intervenes in the decisions of business, and the unintended consequences it causes, rather than finding more things to regulate. Society can handle employers who discriminate. If consumers refuse to do business with bigots, then bigots go out of business. If a business owner violates a basic, Constitutional right, then we have a court system to settle the dispute.
I can see where the temptations are great for young libertarians to lean toward progressive, special interest, politically correct issues, but this is how classical liberals first capitulated to the State and embraced interventionism and, thus, libertarianism was created to begin with. I know conservatives, liberals and progressives will disagree with what I've written, and even some who consider themselves libertarian will disagree, but libertarian principles aren't squishy. Too many libertarians are drifting left to the progressives or right to the neo-cons, and too many are looking for political advantage for a "great cause" -- if the next generation is to build a real liberty movement, then they have to understand liberty and integrity. It'll do no good to capitulate to the State like many classical liberals did in the early 20th century, embracing interventionism for ostensibly grand reasons. Interventionism always has good reasons, according to those who seek to control you.