Libertarians sure are mysterious

Interesting item from Emily Esfahani Smith – Washington Times:

If youve ever observed a group of libertarians at a bar — perhaps discussing objectivism, the Second Amendment, or marijuana, all with reverence — then you know that they are a species of political being unlike the rest of us.

But they are an important group to understand this election cycle, as topics such as the economy, the size of government and entitlements take center stage and “Atlas Shrugged: Part II” opens in movie theaters nationwide. According to Gallup, libertarians make up about 20 percent of the electorate — and they are a vocal and influential minority, as the tea party movement has shown.

The ascent of the “Atlas Shrugged”-loving Paul Ryan to the Republican ticket is another indication that the libertarian movement may be in the midst of its political moment.

But what exactly do libertarians believe?

Psychologists Ravi Iyer, Spassena Koleva, Jesse Graham, Peter Ditto and Jonathan Haidt set out to answer this very question in the largest study of libertarians to date, “Understanding Libertarian Morality,” published recently in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

After surveying nearly 12,000 self-identified libertarians, the researchers determined that libertarians have a set of moral values that are distinct from those held by ordinary conservatives and liberals…

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