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Which ideas are winning?

Summary:
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

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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

Which ideas are winning?

2.  Gay marriage advocates:

Which ideas are winning?

There is an equally dramatic increase in support for interracial marriage.

3.  The New Atheists:

Which ideas are winning?

4.  International trade advocates:

Which ideas are winning?

5.  Immigration advocates:

Which ideas are winning?

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:

Which ideas are winning?

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.

Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment". In May 2012, Chicago Fed President Charles L. Evans became the first sitting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) to endorse the idea.

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