A Foreign Policy of Freedom

"Our experiment with foreign policy interventionism has failed, just as our experience with domestic economic interventionism has failed," Ron Paul said in 1982.

He said the same in mid-1990s.

"War, and the threat of war, are big government's best friend," he wrote only recently. "Liberals support big government social programs, and conservatives support big government war policies, thus satisfying two major special interest groups. And when push comes to shove, the two groups cooperate and support big government across the board — always at the expense of personal liberty. Both sides pay lip service to freedom, but neither stands against the welfare-warfare state and its promises of unlimited entitlements and endless war."

Excerpts from the forward by L.H. Rockwell, Jr. posted on 03.15.2007 to A Foreign Policy of Freedom by Congressman Ron Paul.

"May this treatise stand as an example of how to fight for what is right even when everyone else is silent."

Ron Paul has always believed that foreign and domestic policy should be conducted according to the same principles. Government should be restrained from intervening at home or abroad because its actions fail to achieve their stated aims, create more harm than good, shrink the liberty of the people, and violate rights.

Does that proposition seem radical? Outlandish or farflung? Once you hear it stated, it makes perfect sense that there is no sharp distinction between the principles of domestic and foreign policy. They are part of the same analytical fabric. What would be inconsistent would be to favor activist government at home but restraint abroad, or the reverse: restraint at home and activism abroad. Government unleashed behaves in its own interests, and will not restrict itself in any area of life. It must be curbed in all areas of life lest freedom suffer.

If you recognize the line of thinking in this set of beliefs, it might be because you have read the Federalist Papers, the writings of Thomas Jefferson or George Washington or James Madison, or examined the philosophical origins of the American Revolution. Or you might have followed the debates that took place in the presidential election of 1800, in which this view emerged triumphant. Or perhaps you read the writings of the free traders prior to the Civil War, or the opponents of the War on Spain, or those who warned of entering World War I.

The freedom to trade internationally is an essential principle. It means that consumers should not be penalized for buying from anyone, or selling to anyone, regardless of their residence. Nor should domestic suppliers be granted anything like a monopoly or subsidized treatment. Nor should trade be used as a weapon in the form of sanctions. Ron Paul has upheld these principles as well, which makes him an old-fashioned liberal in the manner of Cobden and Bright and the American Southern tradition. He has also rejected the mistake of many free traders who believe that a military arm is necessary to back the invisible hand of the marketplace. For Ron Paul, freedom is all of a piece.

Ron Paul's singular voice on foreign affairs has done so much to keep the flame of a consistent liberty burning in times when it might otherwise have been extinguished. He has drawn public attention to the ideas of the founders. He has alerted people to the dangers of empire. He has linked domestic and foreign affairs through libertarian analytics, even when others have been bamboozled by the lies or too intimidated to contradict them. He has told the truth, always. For this, every American, every citizen of the world, is deeply in his debt. In fact, I'm willing to predict that a hundred years from now and more, when all the current office holders are all but forgotten, Ron Paul's name will be remembered as a bright light in dark times.

We can't but be deeply grateful that Ron Paul's prophetic words have been collected in this book. May it be widely distributed. May its lessons be absorbed by this and future generations. May this treatise stand as an example of how to fight for what is right even when everyone else is silent. May it always be regarded as proof that there were men of courage alive in the first decade of the third millennium. May public and intellectual opinion someday rise to its level of intellectual sophistication and moral valor.

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