Another full chapter of Libertarianism Today is now online for free — this one on why libertarianism is antiwar. This is my favorite chapter of the book, so I’m especially glad I could make it available through Antiwar.com.
Other parts of the book you can read for free online:
And if you want to read the whole thing, it’s on sale at a special low price for a limited time.
Last March, Anthony Gregory questioned if Barack Obama was already a worse president than George W. Bush, noting a long list of dubious accomplishments during Bush’s eight-year tenure. Prior to his election Obama was highly critical of Bush’s policy on torture and the holding of suspected terrorists indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay without trial. And one of Obama’s first acts after being sworn in as President was also one of his most dramatic: he signed an executive order banning torture and ordering the closure of Gitmo by 2010. It was hailed as a bold move to restore the country’s shattered image overseas and bring its prosecution of the war on terror in line with its values on respecting human rights.
What a difference a thousand days as Leader of the Free World makes.
During that time Obama has ordered the killing of an American citizen in Yemen, without due process, based on his alleged association with al-Qaeda. And in March he made an about-face on his promise to close Gitmo, instead reinstating the military tribunals and continuing Bush’s policy of detaining suspects without trial since they “in effect, remain at war with the United States.”
Now the Senate has granted Obama even greater discretion in arresting and indefinitely holding anyone – even U. S. citizens, despite its supporters’ claims to the contrary – suspected of terrorist activity, in approving a defense appropriation bill for 2012 that essentially expands the battlefield for the war on terror to anywhere on the planet, including U. S. soil. (The Senate rejected an amendment sponsored by Colorado Democrat Mark Udall and Kentucky Republican Rand Paul that would have stripped out the authorization for indefinite detention of terrorism suspects.) It is an unprecedented expansion of power for a president who campaigned on a promise to restore the country’s “moral authority.” Yet Obama is simply another in a long line of politicians making promises that could never be kept: it is impossible to regain a moral authority the American empire has never possessed.
Ilya Somin over at The Volokh Conspiracy, it seems, is no more a fan of Ron Paul now than he was four years ago. His criticisms remain about the same. This time around, though, he’s got a candidate to contrast Paul with in Gary Johnson. His conclusion? Johnson is a better libertarian than Paul. My first response to this was laughter. This is my second response:
To start, Somin nearly lost me in his first sentence when he suggested that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was even on the radar for libertarians considering voting. If anyone thinks a hypocritical drug warrior, who might be most charitably described as untested on foreign policy issues (and much less charitably described as a propagandist for the Empire), should even be in the running, then they should probably be disqualified from commenting on the question of who the most libertarian candidate is. All that said, we’ll give him the benefit of his doubts about Daniels for now and move onto his criticisms.
Ron Paul’s Unlibertarian Positions?
Somin claims that Ron Paul “has very nonlibertarian positions on free trade, school choice, and especially immigration.” He goes on to criticize Paul’s views on the Fourteenth Amendment. He doesn’t spell these criticisms out in this piece, but rather directs us to an older article from 2007. We’ll take each one by one.