Which ideas are winning?
By Scott Sumner
In any given period of history, there is always a battle of ideas. Thus it’s interesting to think about which ideas are gaining ground in the 21st century. These groups seem to be winning:
1. Marijuana legalization advocates
2. Gay marriage advocates:
There is an equally dramatic increase in support for interracial marriage.
3. The New Atheists:
4. International trade advocates:
5. Immigration advocates:
On many other social issues, including gun control, abortion, and right to die, there has been no major shift in public opinion in the past two decades. However, the right to die polling shows an interesting drop in support followed by a recent recovery to 2001 levels:
Despite the big fall in religious observance, a large majority of Americans continue to believe in God, although the number has trended downward in recent years.
Is there an overarching trend that would explain all of this polling data? Something like secular cosmopolitanism with a libertarian streak? Utilitarianism? What do you think?
Could the internet be driving these trends? Perhaps having the entire world at one’s fingertips makes people more cosmopolitan.