The 2016 Presidential Campaign has gotten underway with Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Hillary Clinton, and Marco Rubio announcing their campaigns to win their respective party nomination. The Republican field looks to be the more interesting primary until there is an actual challenger to the Hillary Clinton juggernaut, which may never materialize. In addition to the announced Republican candidates, it is likely that at the very least Jeb Bush and Scott Walker will join the race sometime soon (Ohio governor John Kasich is also looking more likely).
Credit: Gage Skidmore, Licensed under Creative Commons BY-SA 2.0
As a moderate libertarian/neoclassical liberal, I’ve been looking forward to a Rand Paul campaign for some time. Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns were a much needed challenge to the stale rhetoric seen in campaigns for the past 20 years. Finally hearing a Republican who opposed continuous foreign wars and pulverizing civil liberties was refreshing. Of course, Ron Paul’s challenging of traditional Republican ideas did not mean he was a moderate. Uncompromising might be a good euphemism. Exceedingly reactionary might be more appropriate. His ideological purity on most issues meant his campaign could never move very far beyond its own base. Not that I minded! But it would be interesting to see what a more moderate candidate could do. Continue reading →
An important criticism of both libertarian political ideology and practical policy is the lack of positive goals in international relations. Libertarians are often derided as isolationists, and even Ron Paul’s self-classification as a “non-interventionist” perpetuates the perception that libertarians can only talk about foreign policy in terms of “doing less”. But this criticism can be broadly rebutted on two fronts. The first is that the libertarian opposition to military engagement and advocacy for military reduction is not only a healthy and needed reality check, but ultimately better for our national security. The second is that there are other paths besides military power which should be emphasized, notably free trade, which policy in the past decade has largely ignored. I should note that my goals in this post are pretty modest. It is my belief that any foreign policy position labelled as libertarian would have difficulty finding mainstream acceptance, yet given these two moderate positions, I believe I can construct a foreign policy platform most ideological libertarians (and actually most Americans) would agree with. Continue reading →