This isn’t new ground for libertarian blogs, but apparently there is still a large disconnect between reality and perception. I don’t happen to have any illusions about this post actually changing that either, but I figured I needed to do something that didn’t involve a bell tower in an effort to curb the insanity.
Ron Paul, and most who describe themselves as libertarian, are non-interventionist. The perception by many is that we are isolationist. We are not, and there are very key differences.
First, isolationists are also the kind of people who want to block importation of goods. Most libertarians oppose efforts to limit imports. We believe in a free market, and part of that means we must compete with goods from outside of our shores. The truth is, Japanese cars made American cars better. Ford, GM, and Chrysler had to compete with the high quality and low cost, and American manufacturers produced better cars than they had in years. This is a good thing, and an example of why libertarians want goods imported.
Next, let’s look at the dreaded “outsourcing” of American jobs. Now, I hate calling up a tech support line and hearing a thick foreign accent saying, “Thank you for calling technical support. My name is ‘Bob’. How may I help you?” We all know his name probably isn’t Bob, but they somehow think they’re fooling us or something. So be it. However, American companies get better rates from call centers located outside of the United States, which lets them grow in other areas. That growth can lead to new jobs that pay better than the outsourced jobs that are now gone.
Are you pro-peace or pro-war? This is a question not only every politician should have to answer but also every American should ask themselves.
Most Americans would answer that question by saying that in their daily lives they are Pro-Peace and as a corollary they would agree that Force should only be used to defend a person’s life or Property. Why is it then when these same Americans, whose daily lives are built upon Peaceful interactions with their fellow human beings vote for politicians who are decidedly Pro-War?
Everyone around the world is just trying to live the best they can. That includes those folks in this country who not only advocate for Collectivism but also advocate for war. In this country the citizens who advocate for war overseas and “Obamacare” at home really believe that this is the best way to better their own lives and the lives of their families.
“To subsist to better one’s condition to bring up a family are not affairs of time, or place, or taste, or opinion, or choice, they are the daily constant and unavoidable concerns of all men at all times and in all countries” Frederic Bastiat
There are only two ways to gain what you desire in this world, that is from free and voluntary exchange or by appropriating it from others by force. Those who are Pro-Peace believe hat the best way for them and everyone else in the world is to improve their lot in life is through peaceful Free Trade. Those who are Pro-War believe in forcibly taking what another has produced by force or as Bastiat called it “spoliation” or “plunder”.
Just because you live in a country does that mean you’ve consented to everything the government of that country has done or is doing? When you say the pledge of allegiance are you pledging to uphold the ideals of liberty, peace and free trade or are you pledging your loyalty to an entity that lies, steals and kills on a regular basis?
Consent.(Synonym: Acquiesce): To give assent or approval
I’m sure you’ve hear of government resting on the “constent of the governed”. I think that is a theory created to justify the existence of tyrannts and our current over bloated, over regulating, war machine of a federal government. I like the phrase “acquiesence of the governneed” to more accurately describe what is happneing in this country. Most individuals including myuself acquiese to the power of the state and more accurately the power of the shifting majority whose only purpose is to extract wealth from some individuals and give it to others. If there was no government force or just extermely limited government force which stuck to the constitutional limits than ”consent of the governed” maybe applicable in that situation, because what man will consent to a government that lies to him, steals from him and can execute him if it deems appropriate at the drop of a hat?
While Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are poking at Mitt Romney over his advisors “Etch-A-Sketch” remarks, Ron Paul is running a new ad that notes how this gimmick is taking away from the real issues facing the country:
During George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats often complained that deficits were too high and that the national debt was growing out of control. Even Barack Obama, then a Senator from Illinois complained of the growing deficit. During a debate over raising the debt ceiling in 2008, Obama slammed Bush, calling the deficits under Bush “unpatriotic”:
The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents - #43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child. That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.
There is no denying that Bush was a big spender, not just on defense, but also domestic programs. However, Obama’s preaching hasn’t translated into any action. And now, just in his first term, the national debt has increased more than under Obama the full eight years of Bush, as CBS News notes:
The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama’s three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.
The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.
George Will, easily the best conservative writer out there, penned a great colum at the Washington Post explaining why Republicans need to whining about proposed reductions in defense spending and withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan:
The U.S. defense budget is about 43 percent of the world’s total military spending — more than the combined defense spending of the next 17 nations, many of which are U.S. allies. Are Republicans really going to warn voters that America will be imperiled if the defense budget is cut 8 percent from projections over the next decade? In 2017, defense spending would still be more than that of the next 10 countries combined.
Do Republicans think it is premature to withdraw as many as 7,000 troops from Europe two decades after the Soviet Union’s death? About 73,000 will remain, most of them in prosperous, pacific, largely unarmed and utterly unthreatened Germany. Why do so many remain?
Libertarians are often accused of being isolationists who are unconcerned about the people of other nations. While it may be true that some libertarians are isolationists, most are non-interventionists — and the two words are not synonymous. Isolationism advocates complete disengagement from foreign affairs. Non-interventionism, on the other hand, embraces engagement with the rest of the world but rejects costly and counterproductive economic, diplomatic, and military coercion.
Thomas Jefferson summed up non-interventionism when he argued for “[p]eace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” These key components of non-interventionism are vital to the health of a free nation. Non-interventionism avoids the fiscal burdens of war and global policing as well as the collectivism that militarization so often inspires. But the components of non-interventionism enunciated by Jefferson also comprise a recipe for promoting liberty, democracy, peace, and stability abroad.
It’s no secret that the entangling alliances we’ve made with other nations have at times muted and even silenced America’s opposition to totalitarianism and authoritarianism. Our support for autocracies in Middle Eastern nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt is infamous and has put us on the wrong side of history. Moreover, alliances we have made in the past are now presenting threats to our own national security. Decades before we declared war on the Taliban in Afghanistan we were supporting them in their rebellion against Soviet occupation. Twenty years prior to presiding over the invasion of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld served as Reagan’s special envoy to express support for Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. A non-interventionist would argue that we should avoid entangling alliances both for the sake of our national security and in order to be a consistent advocate for liberty and democracy on the world stage.
As you can imagine, there wasn’t much in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address that would please libertarians. John Stossel notes that much of what the president said is in fact anathema to those of us that believe in limited government, and offers some of what he would have said if he were in Obama’s shoes:
Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.
But if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn’t just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.
We’ll start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a year. It’s insane to take money from states only to launder it through Washington and then return it to states.
Next, we’ll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves $41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department was created.
Then we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that can’t count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means agriculture subsidies, green energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so on. None of it is needed.
I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.
And we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It’s immoral to imprison people who do what I did and now laugh about.
Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.
Herman Cain, who exited the race for the GOP nomination early last month, announced last week that he would launch a bus tour in support of his gimmicky “9-9-9” plan, which was panned by several prominent conservatives, hoping that the push will lead to support in Congress:
The one-time Republican front-runner announced his “Cain’s Solutions Revolution” during a Fox News interview with Sean Hannity on Wednesday night.
“I started a new movement. The biggest comment I got when I ended my candidacy was to keep 9-9-9 alive. That’s what this is about, and I’m going to keep it alive with what I’m calling Cain’s Solutions Revolution,” Cain said.
“You have a bus,” Hannity interjected.
“Yes, sir. I have a bus with my picture on it,” Cain said, smiling, as Hannity displayed a photo of a vehicle that looked similar to the campaign bus he used on the trail until the day he pulled up in it at the early December rally in Atlanta when he ended his campaign.
The Atlanta businessman said he plans to “get commitments from members of Congress in 2012 before Election Day” and that the legislation is currently being drafted.
Cain also announced that he’ll be making an endorsement in the race on Thursday, January 19th — just before the primary in South Carolina. Given that he is from Georgia and is close to Newt Gingrich, you can probably guess who he’ll wind up backing.
They’ve been doing a series, “Exploring Liberty,” which explains various aspects of libertarianism. The first video in the series, hosted by David Boaz, offered an “introduction to libertarian thought.” The latest video, a lecture presented by Christopher Preble, explains our philosophy’s often misunderstood take on foreign policy and war: