Why Young People Prize Freedom: Individualism, Charity, and Representative Government
Aaron Ross Powell, Tom G. Palmer, and Sloane Frost each answer the question “Why Liberty?” in this Cato Student Forum.
What is the role of government in society? Different answers to this question have important consequences. Such disagreement recently led to the partial shutdown of the U.S. government. Thinkers from Aristotle to the American Founders to Ron Paul have argued that a crucial role of government is to protect individuals’ liberty to pursue happiness. While other thinkers have challenged this view, deeming it simplistic or unambitious in its pursuits, the Millennial generation has widely adopted the mantra “live and let live.” These arguments about liberty imply other questions. What are the benefits of a political system based on liberty? What are the implications of limiting individual liberty in pursuit of collective goals, whether on the Right or the Left? And how will the appeal of liberty to young people change the way the world views government?