Cathy Young on Ron Paul, Libertarianism, and Foreign Policy

Young, a libertarian herself, explains why she is very uncomfortable with Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy. I suspect the column reflects the views of many other libertarians who appreciate Ron Paul’s long record of defending individual freedom, but wouldn’t want him anywhere near the Oval Office because of his foreign policy positions, among other things.

What I think many libertarians of my acquaintance, including Young, would like is for the U.S. to adopt a less interventionist foreign policy more cognizant of the limits of government competence and the dangers of unintended consequences, without coming anywhere near adopting the sort of Chomskyite critique of U.S. foreign policy that sometimes emanates from Paul, and even more so some of his “left”-libertarian supporters.  Unfortunately, save poor Gary Johnson, who couldn’t even get into the debates, the GOP field this year has offered a choice between an even more bellicose and interventionist foreign policy, and Ron Paul. (George W. Bush’s opposition to “nation-building” sounded pretty good to many libertarian ears in 2000, but the follow-through, shall we say, left something to be desired).