Why libertarians oppose imperialism

by Justin Raimondo
April 15, 2015
Antiwar.com

Why should advocates of limited government support a non-interventionist foreign policy?

This web site was founded some 20 years ago by libertarians perplexed and disturbed at the sight of ever-expanding government power over every aspect of our lives. Why, when government expansion has been proved again and again to be detrimental to society, has its growth continued and even escalated? Indeed, I asked this question in the first sentence of my 1991 book, Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [second edition 2008]: “After a decade in power,” I wrote, as the Reagan era ended, “why has the conservative movement failed to make a dent in the growth of big government?” The revered Reagan, whose sacred memory is ritually invoked by Republicans – even by libertarians such as Sen. Rand Paul – actually increased the size and scope of the federal government, and expenditures went through the roof. There was little consolation to be found in the fact that the rate of increase merely slowed.

David Stockman, Reagan’s budget director, who tried to make some inroads on the Leviathan State, fingered the cause of Reagan’s failure in the cold war ideology that was one of the central props of the Reaganite coalition. In his brilliant book, The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, Stockman identified the fly in the conservative ointment:

“Within days of Reagan’s taking office, the White House made a historically devastating mistake by signing over to the Pentagon a blank check known as the ‘7 percent real growth top line.’ This massive injection of fiscal firepower nearly tripled the defense budget from $140 billion to $370 billion within just six years. More importantly, it fueled powerful expansionist impulses throughout the military-industrial complex at exactly the wrong time in history.”

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