Friday, September 5, 2014

A Guide to "Libertarians" for Bombing

Reason Magazine provides a handy guide to "libertarians" in favor of bombing (as long as it is Rand Paul ordering the bombing) and those against it.
Robby Soave writes:

Sen. Rand Paul's hawkish turn on ISIL surprised and dismayed some non-interventionists libertarians who thought the likely Republican presidential candidate's foreign policy views were closely aligned with their own. I agreed with my colleague Jacob Sullum, who wrote:..."given his sudden conversion and the weakness of the reasons he has offered, it is hard to take Paul seriously on the subject."

Having no idea if this reaction was common among libertarian folks, I posed the following question to a few prominent libertarian writers:
“Rand Paul recently articulated support for U.S. military intervention against ISIL. What’s your reaction?”
“Does this complicate the narrative that Rand Paul is a libertarian noninterventionist? Or is Rand Paul’s argument for the necessity of bombing ISIL ultimately persuasive?”
David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute:
He now believes that U.S. vital interests are at stake, and we should protect them with air strikes and other measures. I am not persuaded that any good will come of that, so I’m disappointed that Paul has come to this conclusion.
Rand Paul is not an isolationist. Hardly anyone is. He may not even be a noninterventionist... In this case I think his argument for intervention is unpersuasive..
RW Note: Boaz gets this correct. It is interesting that this beltarian is even distancing himself from Rand.
Jack Hunter, editor of Rare and a former advisor to Rand Paul:
Now some libertarians are quick to say Rand's a hawk, a neocon, or worse.
It seems to me he's proving that he is the realist he has always claimed to be. Libertarians can take issue with the senator calling for these specific interventions. They can argue over where lines should be drawn when deciding to intervene. But they cannot argue that Paul is reluctant to go to war...
RW Note: Well Jack, thanks for telling us that Rand is a "realist," but where do you stand on this? Don't wimp out on this important issue, We are talking bombing and killing here, Jack.
Mollie Hemmingway, senior editor at The Federalist:
I've always felt it's been a false caricature of libertarians that we could never support military strikes against terrorists or other bad guys...But speaking as someone who strongly opposed war with Iraq (but did, of course, support bombing Afghanistan), and as someone who thinks our model of nation-building instead of enemy-defeating is a fool's errand, here's why I'm at least open to hearing about a military response to ISIS. The group wishes to create a renewed Caliphate bent on aggressive military action against important allies in the Middle East as well as the United States, according to its stated goals. If you look at the course of history, you can at least puzzle out how this type of regime poses a threat to our self-government and how dealing with it now may be preferable to dealing with it when we're weaker and they're stronger in the years to come.
RW Note: Are you serious? ISIS is a threat to "our self-government"?
Justin Raimondo, editorial director of
There are 'no good options' in the region, says Paul, and in that he is exactly right.
RW Note: Justin, Wouldn't an antiwar position be a good option?
James W. Antle III, editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation:
a jihadist state is a genuine national security danger in a way Saddam Hussein's Iraq was not. I could potentially get behind the basic contours of what Paul has outlined—a limited U.S. role and support for the Kurds with most of the heavy lifting done by regional governments.
RW Note: Is that "heavy lifting" or "heavy killing'?
Sheldon Richman, vice president of the Future of Freedom Foundation and editor ofFuture of Freedom:
For a nanosecond I thought we might see a presidential contest between Dove Rand and Hawk Hillary. Obviously I was wrong.
Why did anyone think Rand Paul was a libertarian? During his campaign for the Senate, he said the label was 'an albatross around my neck.
RW Note: Well said Sheldon.



  1. Where Jack stands is that he intends on being Rand's waterboy.

  2. This comes just a few weeks after his excellent WSJ article. What a disappointing flip flop from Rand.