Yes, I did name my essay here after the Walter Russell Mead essay about the Tea Party’s takes on American Foreign Policy. I am not of the Tea Party, but the taste of it I can get anonymously has inspired me to give the political clade I most identify with a shot at being analyzed in foreign policy.
Libertarians started to differ from each other during the Cold War, in particular the 1950’s decade AD of human history. This was in reaction to Conservatives replacing the Old Right Non-intervention with endorsement of military engagement abroad.
This divide between libertarians against pacifism and libertarians for pacifism became the very most obvious to people [before internet existed] in 1969 with the physical confrontations within a convention hosted by the grassroots PAC Young Americans for Freedom. After this, pacifist libertarianism became very popular during the entire history of the 60’s and 70’s Vietnam War. The US Libertarian Party was founded in 1971 out of opposition to the Vietnam War and to the New Right’s militarism in addition to its top priority being the restoration of the Gold and Silver Standard of the US Constitution’s Article 1 Section 10, a priority that I myself share with the USLP.
Only two years later, 1973, a camp was founded within the Libertarian Party called the Libertarian Defense Caucus, or Libertarian Defense Camp, and was the very first “I’m No Pacifist!” group within libertarianism, though no word was truly well-known for this kind of libertarian yet. This caucus still exists today and the best-known National Security Libertarian camp on Earth.
During the Raegan year of 1985, the Ayn Rand Institute was founded on the ideology of Objectivism and this Institute’s stances on foreign policy came to be inspirational to the Strong-Military libertarianism of the LDC. The LDC though would become a Non-partisan Independent organization instead of a Libertarian partisan very quickly as the pacifist libertarian sentiment would soon become anchored into Libertarian Party platforms for quadrennial elections.
In the year of 1991, some Libertarian Defense Campers at the time went to the Republican Party to establish the Republican Liberty Caucus, a libertarian organization that is not strictly pacifist but primarily unilateral on foreign policy and military affairs, in order to give Strong-military libertarianism a new home. This new ‘Republican Liberty Camp’ quickly became far more popular than the original Libertarian Defense Caucus or the Libertarian Party in general!
Frail-Military libertarians, such as the Libertarian Party, reacted to the September 11th 2001 Terror conducted by Al-Qaeda and sponsored by Saudi Arabia by blaming America first for every aspect of the attacks, from the lead-up to the aftermath. Strong-military libertarians like the LDC and RLC ended up being wildly popularized as “Neolibertarians”, sometimes spelled with a dash between “neo” and “libertarian”, after this event and during the following subsequent events:
- The rise of the “South Park Libertarian” aka “South Park Republican” trend among teenage and early-twenties aged Americans from 2001 through 2003
- The creation of the internet in the late 1990’s earlier and use of it by Republican Liberty Campers in 2002 to create the official RLC website
- The increase in South Park Libertarianism’s trendiness in 2004 by the movie “Team America: World Police”
- The fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in 2003 and fall of the Taliban regime in 2001
- The unification of Conservatives, Populists and Libertarians into a grassroots PAC called the Tea Party movement in 2009
- The divide of the Tea Party libertarians on foreign policy into those who are moderate pacifist and those who are self-evidently far from pacifist in 2011
These days, with roughly 11% of America’s 322 million person population [36 million people] being libertarians, there are two main trends within the libertarian ideology. While both groups share a hostility to social and cultural conservatism and a hostility to fiscal and economic socialism, and therefore also a mutual support for permissive societies and laissez faire economy, they differ on foreign policy. The groups are Dovish Libertarians and Neo Libertarians, the best known think tank fueling the former being Cato Institute, while the best known think tank fueling the latter is Ayn Rand Institute. Both of these foreign policy libertarian clades generally oppose monetary foreign aid, generally favor unrestricted free trade, and generally oppose military multilateralism, on top of generally favoring freedom of movement [aka ‘right to travel’] for all Americans. When waging a war, both groups generally favor making unconditional surrender the US military’s goal and putting the US military’s emphasis on short and decisive retaliations, plus both groups vastly oppose long and invasive occupations with redemption of foreign regimes as goal.
People like Ron Paul, Ron’s son Rand, and Gary Johnson; fit into this first category. Dovish libertarians typically reject American Exceptionalism and are usually supportive of US military spending cuts. These are also the libertarians who are very likely to look at diplomatic negotiation as the long list of first options to go with before going to war when faced with a State Sponsor of Terror endangering US interests like free trade and right to travel. Usually dovish libertarians only want military force used from the get-go when Americans are directly attacked on American soil. This is the clade who typically believes that Open Immigration is the most likely border policy to bring mutual respect between nations. Dovish libertarians are the faction of Libertarianism who oppose the War on Terror; and at least in my view; most of them, the only exception I know being Rand Paul [NOT Ron though], stand for American retreat, defeat, frailty, weakness, appeasement, surrender and pacifism; things that have proven in history to bring nothing but opportunity for Authoritarianism, Collectivism, and Social-regressive Anti-science tyrants and terrorists to flourish and expand with giant success. When waging a war, the Dovish libertarian typically seeks to wage a self-crippling war that puts extensive limits on how the US military can conduct their battles. Telling them what they can and cannot target in the way of enemy property, among other limits. In a Pew Research essay called “In search of libertarians“, these are the ones who say that “We should focus more on domestic problems” and that “US efforts abroad make Earth worse”
People like the very young, late-night-cycling, caffeinated metalhead I know myself as; fit into this latter category. We typically embrace American Exceptionalism with contrasts between US history and other nations’ histories as evidence to prove our points. We neolibertarians are the libertarians in that Pew essay who usually give the opposite answers, from saying “It is best for America to be active in the World” to saying “Problems on Earth would be worse without US efforts abroad”. Averaging the rates we make up about 45% of the libertarian demographic or 16 million Americans, while Dovish libertarians make up 50% of the libertarian people, or 18 million Americans. Most of us favor applying Thomas Jefferson’s “Empire of Liberty” theme to diplomatic discussions with foreign politicians. We also are typically in favor of something called “Big Stick Policy” when dealing with how to prop up US national defenses. We are the libertarian faction of supporting the War On Terror, typically our criticisms of it are ideas of how it can be fought better and made to last a lesser amount of time. When Intelligence gathers evidence that a foreign regime is a State Sponsor of Terror, especially if the terror they sponsor is a threat to any of our real friends [fellow OECD members, fellow Capitalist Democracies] or to the US, most of us favor drone striking, aquatic striking, sea striking and/or infantry striking the aggressing regime’s infrastructure, military, civil service departments, and resources into such oblivion as for the regime’s nation’s population to draft an unconditional surrender to us. Many of us, including many of my fellow Libertarian Defense Campers including me, typically applaud foreign nations like Israel and even China and Russia for committing themselves to brutally fighting State Sponsors of Terror and the militias sponsored by SST with weapons like Flamethrowers. In fact, I think I may commit some future posts to this site of mine to praising any nation with a commitment to Ending ISIS for their commitments to this goal.
Well, this is about all I have to say about libertarian people like myself on the issue of libertarian perspectives on foreign policy. Thank you all for reading this,