A.J. Dellinger has a revealing article over at Salon about why so many members of Generation Y are enamoured with Ron Paul and libertarianism. It is a rather confused piece, and that is to be expected. Apparently, Generation Y is irreligious, permissive on drugs and social/cultural issues, wants to end foreign military intervention, return to the gold standard, have a zero-percent income tax, and universal healthcare. Supposedly this is some new combination of personal responsibility and libertinism, but really, this just looks like a nicer version of the hippie-turned-yuppie ideals of the 1980s.
I don't understand why this worn out, failed philosophy is still attractive. Dellinger probably overstates how popular Gen Y libertarianism is, but I think there may be some truth to his article. It reminds me of the South Park Republican concept from a few years ago, which was used to describe the beliefs of socially liberal/economically right-wing young people. While I suppose it is a consistent ideology, I find it rather silly, especially because it does not grapple seriously with the question of power, outside of simply mocking powerful institutions.
By contrast, the Europeans seem to understand the issue of power with more seriousness and clarity, given their reactions to austerity and the realization that many of the European Union states are no longer fully sovereign and that national governments can be toppled and replaced with neoliberal "technocrat" administrations. Libertarians, in their blanket condemnation of authority, end up without a serious theory of power. Simply reciting the magic words "liberty," "freedom," and "personal responsibility" isn't going to cut it.