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Ron Paul doesn’t speak for all of us

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2007

A great big thanks to Randy Barnett for informing the readers of the Wall Street Journal (and OpinionJournal.com) that not all libertarians subscribe to a "blame America first" foreign and national security policy virtually indistinguishable from that of Dennis Kucinich. The war against Islamofascism is, as Barnett spelled out quite even-handedly, a subject about which libertarians disagree:

Many libertarians, and perhaps most libertarian intellectuals, opposed the war in Iraq even before its inception. They believed Saddam's regime neither directly threatened the U.S. nor harbored or supported the terrorist network responsible for Sept. 11. They also feared the risk of harmful, unintended consequences. …

Other libertarians, however, supported the war in Iraq because they viewed it as part of a larger war of self-defense against Islamic jihadists who were organizationally independent of any government. They viewed radical Islamic fundamentalism as resulting in part from the corrupt dictatorial regimes that inhabit the Middle East, which have effectively repressed indigenous democratic reformers. Although opposed to nation building generally, these libertarians believed that a strategy of fomenting democratic regimes in the Middle East, as was done in Germany and Japan after World War II, might well be the best way to take the fight to the enemy rather than solely trying to ward off the next attack.

Naturally, the libertarians who supported the war in Iraq are disappointed, though hardly shocked, that it was so badly executed. …

Still, there are those pro-invasion libertarians who are now following the progress of Operations Phantom Thunder and Arrowhead Ripper. … They hope this success will enable American soldiers to leave Iraq even before they leave Europe and Korea, and regain the early momentum that led, for example, to Libya's abandonment of its nuclear weapons program.

These libertarians are still rooting for success in Iraq because it would make Americans more safe, while defeat would greatly undermine the fight against those who declared war on the U.S. They are concerned that Americans may get the misleading impression that all libertarians oppose the Iraq war–as Ron Paul does–and even that libertarianism itself dictates opposition to this war. It would be a shame if this misinterpretation inhibited a wider acceptance of the libertarian principles that would promote the general welfare of the American people.

What he said.  

 

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One Response to “Ron Paul doesn’t speak for all of us”

  1. Walter in Denver said

    It’s a big jump, intellectually, to get from ‘against the war’ to ‘blame America first.’ One can be anti war, and even be critical of past US foreign policy, without taking an anti-American position.

    Let me try an analogy. Suppose I buy an expensive business suit, and a nice leather briefcase to match. Then I add a Rolex and Italian dress shoes, and go wear all of them on a midnight stroll through the worst part of town. Imagine that (naturally) I get mugged. Who is to blame? Of course the muggers would be to blame. Give them all lengthy prison terms.

    But I would still be an idiot if I did those things. That’s U.S. foreign policy. One can have the moral high ground and still do stupid things.

    It’s rather facile to dismiss criticisms of the war as ‘blame America first’ arguments.

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