America's political landscape is changing. Specifically, the paradigm of choices is completely redefining itself. In the past, we became accustomed to the two choices being Democrats and Republicans, left and right. With the young generation of millennials, however, interest in that debate is subsiding. Disenchanted with both sides, their debate is between libertarian-anarchists and statists. And that's how it should be.
The recent vote that failed to defund the NSA is a good case in point. Although the proposal failed, the fact that it was close tells us how contentious the issue is. More meaningful, however, is the party-switch that happened in this vote. Supposedly small-government Republicans voted against the proposal and supposedly large-government Democrats voted for the proposal. This isn't new, but millennials are beginning to understand the meaning: the two parties have merged and there is no viable alternative.
For too long, our national debate has depended on these two dinosaur parties that haven't truly represented anyone in America for decades. Put another way, these parties have, together, come to represent our contemporary statist party. This is most strongly evidenced by Obama's aggressive, Bush-like foreign policy and the NSA scandal. People are beginning to see the two parties as one and as being concerned with the maintenance of the state itself more than the preservation of the rights of its citizenry.
Enter the libertarian-anarchist. This breed of political thinker, while not new, is emerging stronger than ever before. Whether they reference the Constitution or not, they believe that the size of the government is the key issue. The statist parties take it for granted that the government will continue to grow, steadily, and they want it that way. The libertarian-anarchist takes a page of social policy from the traditional Democratic playbook, a page of fiscal policy from the traditional Republican playbook, and a phrase of foreign policy from Washington's Farewell Address (you know, the one about avoiding entangling alliances).
But our system doesn't leave a lot of room for third parties. We are reaching a point where we will need to decide if we are willing to let the two-party stranglehold remain. The advantage that millennials have over previous generations of third-partiers is that they can talk to each other. The right-leaning libertarian millennial understands the left-leaning anarchist millennial and vice versa. This solidarity will be key in taking control of the process and making politics represent the current generation, instead of plodding along in a fear-gripped, American-supremacist, unipolar kind of way.
In terms of foreign policy, the split between the statist and the libertarian-anarchist is severe. The statist desperately clings to hard American power, fearful that if we let our grip off of the trouble spots in the world, our enemies (who, supposedly, have always and will always exist, and supposedly hate us for our freedom) will erode our ability to affect events in the world. The libertarian-anarchist view is more moderate, acknowledging the agency of countless people around the world and that the U.S. is but one country among many. The libertarian-anarchist has a more "live and let live" mentality, with the assumption that our "enemies" will lose their grievances with us once we start acting more respectfully.
Unfortunately, however, this newly emerging debate is inter-generational, not intra-generational. Relatively few millennials are overly enthusiastic about the traditional parties; it's the older generations that still hang their hat on them. This is why it will be a matter of time, perhaps too much time, before the libertarian-anarchist voice's prominence aligns with the public support for it. Ron and Rand Paul are just the beginning, though.