Freedomist vs. Libertarian—A Debate challenge

[First published January 16, 2005] When I wore my heart on my sleeve as a youth, I was a democratic socialist, but in the early 1970s I gave up the socialism for democratic libertarianism under the hammer blows of von Mises, Hayek, and Milton Friedman. Libertarian is what I called myself until recently. I remain libertarian in domestic policy, which is to say the more domestic freedom from regulation, government control and taxation, and oppressive laws, the better up to a point. I am not an anarchist, but believe social justice means minimal government consistent with protecting and guaranteeing all have equal civil and political rights.

However, on foreign policy the libertarian, with some exceptions, is an isolationist, fundamentally opposed to foreign involvements and interventions. Let international relations also be free, the libertarians say, which means free trade and commerce, and freedom for other countries to do whatever they want with their people. Not our business.

On this, the libertarians are blinded by their desire for freedom, not realizing that everything, including freedom demands contextual qualification (should those with a dangerous infectious disease remain free, when they could spread it far and wide, killing maybe hundreds with it?). But their isolationism, libertarian are making the world safe for the gangs of thugs (called dictatorships) that murder, torture, and oppress a people, and rule by fear.

Not our business, the libertarian still will say, although his fundamental belief in freedom is being violated in the most horrible ways. By implication, his isolationism is declaring that since it’s some body else that’s suffering, not me, my loved ones, or my friends, it’s okay. But besides this basic human me and mine, it is also a blindness to his own welfare. For in an age of readily transportable biological weapons, such as anthrax, and nuclear weapons, no longer can a country like the U.S. sit back and ignore what goes on elsewhere in the production and derivability of such weapons. In the hands of those who hate the democracies and their libertarian values, democracies are too vulnerable. Now, involvement and intervention in the rapacious affairs of thug regimes is of necessity a protection of democracies, not to mention advancing human rights and the freedom libertarians praise. Quite simply, no thug regimes can be trusted with either the possession or the capability of producing such weapons.

So, then what am I. Why, a freedomist (ist is a suffix meaning a follower or believer in certain beliefs, such as in socialist or feminist). This is a belief in not only freedom at home, but unlike the libertarian, democratic freedom abroad. This is not only for the sake of advancing freedom for others, but also to protect our own freedom.

My libertarian friends have been upset with my defense of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I’ve gone conservative, they claim. One calls me a liberventionist (see link below).

Okay, lets debate it. A challenge. I will turn over a page on this blog to any libertarian who wishes to make a reasoned argument for isolationism, or from a libertarian perspective, an argument against our war in Iraq. I will respond in a page, and then the libertarian will have a page to rebut me.

Freedomist versus Libertarian. Whose up to it?

Link of Note

”War, Democide, and Liberventionism” (1/11/05)

By Anthony Gregory
“HYPERLINK “”Lew [ blog], it is indeed a huge disappointment to see Rummel on the dark side. I would never pretend to have anything on his excellent accomplishments in scholarship, however I have for a while had an intuitive skepticism of the ‘democide’ school of thought, especially as it relates to foreign policy.”

2 Responses to Freedomist vs. Libertarian—A Debate challenge

  1. Craig J. Bolton says:

    It seems to me that you probably never essentially gave up that socialist outlook. Previously you wanted the government to make people prosperous. Now you want the government to make people free. Sorry, that doesn’t work any better than government making people prosperous.

    Libertarianism and libertarians have never had the slightest problem with you and your friends going out and fomenting revolution in another country. There is a fine old tradition starting with Tom Paine of American libertarians doing exactly that. Consistent libertariansdoesn’t use terms like “harboring” and are entirely at ease with the weapons merchants of one nation supplying the revolutionaries of another nation or supplying a base for their operations.

    The problem arises when one seriously believes that, say, the federal government of the United States can “liberate” people elsewhere. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but the government of the United States is the principal enemy of freedom in the United States. Goverments have never liberated their own citizens, let alone the citizens of another nation. Only a people themselves can do that for themselves. One government liberating the people of another nation was the excuse for Hitler conquering Poland, for Stalin conquering Eastern Europe and for the U.S. conquering the Philippines and Iraq. As Orwell observed, sometimes freedom is really slavery.

  2. rudyrummel says:

    IN response to Craig Bolton:

    The basic difference between a socialist and a libertarian/freedomist is bound up in the concept of a spontaneous society. A socialist believes that the government can and should make the people prosperous, like making pancakes. The libertarian/freedomist believes people will become prosperous of their own accord when the government stays out of the economy and lets freedom flourish.

    But to help free people enslaved by a government is not a socialist policy anymore then is freeing people held hostage by terrorists. NOT by forceful intervention, in the case of countries, unless democide is widespread and continuous, but by pressure for democratic reform and human rights, and nonviolent help to enslaved people by covert means. Thus, the Western democracies ultimately freed the people of Eastern Europe from Soviet/communist rule.

    Bolton confuses actions with purpose and goals. Not all government actions are bad or socialist. When a government acts to assure human rights, as in protecting freedom of speech and religion, that is not socialism; when it acts in defense of its people against invasion, that is not socialism; when it uses is police power to catch and prosecute criminals, that is not socialism; and neither is a government helping to free slaves of another.

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