Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Classical Liberalism in One Country"

"Why libertarians can’t do foreign policy" explained by The American Conservative's Leon Hadar, former Libertarian Party shadow secretary of state — Freedom Means War.

I found Mr. Hadar's title and the blurb confusing because it was foreign policy that attracted me first to libertarianism as the alternative to neoconservative expansionism and neoliberal humanitarian interventionism. But the author goes on to clearly explain how "reducing the power and size of government—not managing America’s relationship with the rest of the world—remains the top priority of self-described libertarians." He notes that there were even "libertarian thinkers [who] rationalized the U.S. drive towards global hegemony in political-economic terms, arguing that creating an international system based on classical-liberal principles required a global power that had the diplomatic influence and military means to establish governing rules and institutions—think of the British Empire in the 19th century."

Countering this notion, Mr. Hadar reminds us of "the libertarian critique of Bush II’s military adventures: bombing and invading other countries without provocation not only runs counter to fundamental tenets of classical liberalism but also provides the state with more power to control the economy and violate the rights of citizens." He asks us to remember that "libertarians can only do foreign policy by working with other groups on the left and the right, including the members of the somewhat dormant realist wing of the Republican Party, traditional conservatives, and progressive Naderites."

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