Speed Reads

Not So Fast

Rob Lowe hates government (but does it matter?)

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In a New York Times Magazine piece this past week, actor Rob Lowe seemed to reaffirm his libertarianism:

My thing is personal freedoms, freedoms for the individual to love whom they want, do with what they want. In fact, I want the government out of almost everything.

It wasn't always this way. Lowe's evolution from liberal Democrat (it was at the 1988 Democratic convention where a scandal nearly wrecked his career) to libertarian-leaning independent was decades in the making. As Taylor Bigler notes, Lowe discussed his political evolution at greater length a few years ago in the Guardian:

You know, there's that great quote: 'If you're young and you're not a liberal, you have no heart. If you're older and not a conservative, you have no brain.' I started out being a really, really liberal Democrat. [That changes] as you get older and you have children and you get more life experience. [The Guardian]

Friends of liberty should welcome converts, but whether it's Rob Lowe or Dennis Miller — or whomever — the downside of the trope about people becoming more conservative with age is that it is the young, impressionable fans who are most likely to be influenced by a celebrities' politics. (Jonah Goldberg has a point about young people being "frickin' stupid," but everyone concedes that youth sells.)

As much as I love the older, wiser Parks and Recreation Rob Lowe, the classic St. Elmo's Fire heartthrob Rob Lowe was much more culturally relevant. This, of course, is merely one example of a trend. And, as you can imagine, it's a constant headache for libertarians and conservatives who realize that youth sells and that politics is downstream from culture.