Blogs > Liberty and Power > DICTATRESS OF THE WORLD

Jan 9, 2004 10:03 am


Sean T. Collins continues to be puzzled by libertarian anti-interventionism, writing in his blog:
... I think the American military should be used to depose tyrants and promote constitutional democracy. There's obviously got to be a priority structure, since we don't have the means or the manpower to fight the entire Axis of Evil plus the AoE Junior Auxilliary simultaneously, but generally speaking Gulf War II was in line with a foreign policy I was advocating during my wildest and wooliest collegiate Bush-hating days: Stop paying the bastards, and start ousting them. ... How leaving well enough alone in countries ruled by mass-murdering dictators is libertarian is something that continues to escape me ....
While this is a conundrum for Sean, it was not one for the proto-libertarians who founded the United States, who, as I'm sure Sean recalls, continually warned of"entangling alliances" and said that America should be a beacon of liberty to the world but the guarantor only of her own. By focusing only on the supposed good the U.S. can do abroad by overthrowing dictators left and right, I'm afraid Sean takes his eye off the ball. Even assuming the U.S. government is somehow better at installing democracies elsewhere than it is running its own, what happens on the home front while all of this nation building is going on? Well, we have a pretty good example right now: Americans get socked with the costs. That means either higher taxes or massive debts (i.e., future taxes). That means the human costs, the soldiers who die or are maimed and the families left behind or forced to care for disabled loved ones. That means increased"security" measures at home, providing very little security while eroding Constitutional rights.

So, I ask, what exactly is supposed to be libertarian about reducing freedom at home in order (maybe) to increase it abroad?

Of course, this is the best case scenario. It assumes that the U.S. actually can, in the long term, increase freedom around the world in the top-down fashion that Sean endorses. I doubt it.

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