Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘noninterventionism’

Noninterventionism Is Not Isolationism: The US Government Should Stop Arming Ukraine

Posted by M. C. on May 7, 2022

In his interview with Dave Smith, Colonel MacGregor yearns for “the kind of country that we were a hundred years ago, which in most cases, was interested in intervening to end conflicts, not with military power, but to offer its services as an objective partner, as someone who could bring two sides together and avoid a larger more destructive conflict“ Does this sound like isolationism and lack of compassion for our fellow man?

Daniel Martin

Libertarians, liberty-wing Republicans, and other opponents of nondefensive wars are popularly misconceived as having an “every man for himself” approach to both economics and foreign policy. Of course, this is patently false in both cases, but this piece will focus on clarifying the latter.

Local Libertarian activist Roy Minet, who has also written about the former, touched on the popular myth of isolationism in his 2014 LNP article: “Apparently, they call anyone who doesn’t support their various military interventions around the globe an isolationist.” I made this same point in my 2017 piece about how the isolationist label helped kill Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns. This conflation of noninterventionism with “isolationism” continues to squelch and distort the message of antiwar voices … which is particularly relevant given the current events in Ukraine.

The Libertarian National Committee recently sent out a mailer titled “No War with Russia.” It warns of the danger of entangling alliances and lays out a brief history of Russia and the US’s precarious relationship and the role the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has played in it. The prescription is noninterventionism because “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

A recent article on further explains how the state, along with its media allies, exhibits a pattern of concocting crises to perpetuate the power of this hammer: “What defines our present condition is how the moral panics are used to rally a civilian army that revels in the demise of the nonconforming opposition…. The Russia-Ukraine War is an easy lightning rod that the government and established centers of power in society can use to demonize Americans who hold the wrong view.”

This “wrong view” is often merely a more nuanced and contextualized view of the situation than what is found in mainstream legacy media. “The answer for why Americans pine for more war is probably complicated, but it’s clear that they generally hold simplistic views of the situation over there.”

Perhaps it is people’s resignation to the idea that the history and context of the conflict are too complicated to grasp that leads them to accept the simplistic narrative they are fed. Consequently, popular virtue signaling seems to be centered around criticism of Vladimir Putin and conceding nothing to him (even if this comes at the expense of Ukrainians themselves). But noninterventionism takes the sensible position that Putin is not our leader and that thus Americans can’t hold him accountable for bad behavior. Conversely, if we at least acknowledge the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s role in provoking this conflict, we can work toward holding our own leaders accountable and press them to create a more diplomacy-friendly atmosphere.

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Thoughts on Tyler Cowen’s “State Capacity Libertarianism” – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 13, 2020

Jeff Deist

George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen has penned a brief manifesto for what he calls “State Capacity Libertarianism” on the Marginal Revolution blog. In it he makes the case for libertarians to embrace “state capacity” in certain limited cases. You can read his essay here.

My initial responses, in no particular order, are as follows:

1. There is no political will or constituency for skillful technocratic state management of society. This is a pipe dream, once simply referred to as elusive “good government.” When do public choicers of all people give this up?
2. There is no third way between state and market, regardless of technology or material development. Futurism is bunk; the question before us today is the same as thirty, fifty, or one hundred years ago: who decides? Decentralization vs. centralization is the most important policy question.
3. Western states won’t give up their sclerotic regulatory, tax, central banking, and entitlement systems no matter how many flying cars or hyperloops we want. This reality will be a huge drag on science, infrastructure, medicine/health, and overall well-being.
4. The environmental movement will quash nuclear (especially after Fukushima), and the energy capacity vs. weight/cost issue will continue to plague electric cars/planes.
5. Left socialism, not libertarian futurism, is the rising tide across the West — and its constituency skews young. Adopting its pose, language, or ostensible goals won’t produce Singapore.
6. Climate change is not a problem or issue for anyone to solve.
7. The West can’t advance until it stops warring. War and peace won’t be solved technocratically, and true noninterventionism requires a painful rethinking of the hubris known as universalism. I thought technocrats believed in realpolitik?
8. Human happiness and prosperity depend on elements of civil society which libertarian futurists don’t like (faith, family, et al.). Hence the cheap jab at “Ron Paulism.”
9. We build “capacity” in society through profit, saving, and capital investment. Government makes this worse, not better, in each and every case.
10. Libertarianism simply means “private.” It is a non-state approach to organizing human society. It is not narrow or confining; in fact everything Cowen desires in an improved society can be advanced through private mechanisms.

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