To begin with I should explain my usage of the term “neolibertarian”. It is used by a number of people to mean a number of things. The only definition of it I could actually find referred to an obscure issue regarding property rights. Something along the lines of whoever arrives at a piece of property first owns it. This seems pedantic to me so I have appropriated the term for my own use. In short I see a neolibertarian as a person committed to the nation-state, a classical liberal on domestic issues and an internationalist on foreign issues. This includes the use of military force to ensure the security of the nation, even through pre-emptive action.
Libertarians tend to favor a more isolationist foreign policy and have a strict interpretation of this quote from Thomas Jefferson’s first inaugural address: “Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none…”. My use of the term neolibertarian, and my own foreign policy view, is not a reaction to the 9/11 attacks. Even when I thought of myself as a libertarian I always favored strong defense spending and the protection of American interests abroad.
I consider the libertarian reading of that quote (borrowed from George Washington) inappropriate in today’s world where people can readily travel from one country to another, sometimes in a matter of hours. In addition, I don’t see anything in that quote that binds our hands with regard to the military. It turns out Jefferson himself, as President, ordered the U.S. Navy into battle with the Barbary Pirates of North Africa to protect American commerce in the region. The war lasted four years.
Nonetheless, many libertarians (the Noam Chomskys of the right) opposed our response to the 9/11 attacks and some went so far as to blame us for the attacks. I categorically reject any such characterization. I favor a muscular and aggressive foreign policy that includes pre-emption, either diplomatically or militarily. I favor strong and consistent defense spending. When we must go to war with a nation I favor Congressional approval and sticking around long enough afterward to see that a free country develops with a stable government, sound policies and a constitution that protects individual rights.
Regarding entangling alliances, I generally side with Jefferson as well. Some alliances are good and proper, such as NATO, which was used to defeat communism. Others, such as the United Nations and the newly-formed International Criminal Court, attempt to act like governmental institutions, are far removed from the American people and exist outside the bounds of our constitution. These I don’t favor.
You’ve probably noticed I titled this post “About This Site” and have spent the entire time talking about myself. That’s not by accident. This site will have a point of view and it will generally lean toward the views I’ve outlined above. I do intend to cover the news thoroughly and comment on most. You’ve been warned.
As for a simple description of my views, imagine Milton Friedman with an M16. That’s my politics.
On the issues:
- I’m a big supporter of the 14th amendment and see it as a major improvement on the federalism the Founders left us because it recognizes that the violation of individual rights by state governments is no less heinous than those same violations by the federal government. The 14th amendment has in practice applied the bill of rights to the states and I see that as a good thing.
- I tend to support the Constitution even when I find it inconvenient. One example is the death penalty. I oppose it on moral grounds, but the 5th amendment makes it clear that the government (federal or state) can take a life provided that due process is provided. To fix this it will have to be beaten state by state or by constitutional amendment.
- I favor fixing the environment when human health is at stake, preferably by market means such as cap-and-trade systems on effluents.
- I favor free trade in virtually all cases, even if it is unilateral. Economically it is the only sound policy. Tariffs and quotas tend to favor the politically strong over everyone else, making other products consumers buy more expensive.
- I’m a strong advocate of vouchers in education. Ideally, school districts would divide their education budgets among the pupils needing education (minus a small allocation to administer the program), hand the money to the parents in the form of a voucher and allow them to choose their own schools. Minimum criteria on basic subjects would be required.
- I favor strong and consistent military spending and I favor getting rid of pork programs that take from procurement and other needs.
- I’m opposed to all forms of corporate welfare, realizing that there is some latitude in what constitutes corporate welfare. By one count, killing corporate welfare would save around $80 billion a year. That goes for farm subsidies as well. Get rid of them.
- I generally dislike international institutions that threaten our sovereignty. The ICC is the most recent example.