What Is ‘New’ In the New Bush Doctrine?

Toward the end of last month, there emerged from Important Places a statement of the strategic thinking of the Bush administration. Much was made of the document’s unilateralism and rhetorical embellishments. Further examination suggests that the chief novelty lies in the sheer nakedness of present US claims to universal rulership. Of course the United States … Continue reading “What Is ‘New’ In the New Bush Doctrine?”

The Ghost of Henry Cabot Lodge

I am not actually going to say much about Henry Cabot Lodge here. He is useful, however, as a symbol of one particular approach to U.S. imperial policy. Lodge was an influential Senator (R., Massachusetts), a crony of Theodore Roosevelt and other high-toned turn-of-the-20th-century Republican imperialists. He was thus one of the architects of what … Continue reading “The Ghost of Henry Cabot Lodge”

The Claims for Total War Revisited

According the numerous defenders of Total War, no means of breaking an enemy’s will can be forsworn under the conditions of modern warfare. The enemy includes every member of the “enemy society,” regardless of age, gender, occupation, etc. Any vestiges of 18th- or 19th-century practices which aimed at limiting the destructiveness of war and at … Continue reading “The Claims for Total War Revisited”

Liberventionism III: The Flight from History

There have been complaints that I have not named the “liberventionists.” I do not see the necessity for this, since I assume that readers of this website read widely. For the record, however, let us stipulate that liberventionists include at least the following: many Objectivists, the CATO Institute, several self-named “anarchists” writing on the web, … Continue reading “Liberventionism III: The Flight from History”

Liberventionism II: The Flight from Theory

I have previously discussed “liberventionism” in this space. By this newly-minted word I refer to the doctrines of those libertarians who find little wrong with the general trend of U.S. foreign policy, before – and especially – after 9/11, The Day When Everything Changed. To start with the last item, there is probably a good … Continue reading “Liberventionism II: The Flight from Theory”

Cracks in the Façade of the Civic Religion

It is very hard to get a clear reading on the present situation. Oh sure, there are those who write as if they know what is going on, but their commentary, on further analysis, can be seen to rest only on a wide reading of utterly conventional and predictable sources with "official U.S. party line" … Continue reading “Cracks in the Façade of the Civic Religion”

John Stuart Mill and Liberal Imperialism

In my last column, I told some of the story of Cold War liberalism. Today, I want to look at a similar phenomenon, one which might be considered a forerunner of Cold War liberalism. That phenomenon is liberal imperialism. The fact that there is such an historical category already suggests that “liberalism” was, from a … Continue reading “John Stuart Mill and Liberal Imperialism”

Cold War Liberalism:

In his new book, The Strange Death of American Liberalism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001), H. W. Brands sets out to answer the question: How did American liberalism fall on hard times? The question refers, of course, not to classical liberalism but to the kind of 20th-century liberalism that wanted a strong, activist central … Continue reading “Cold War Liberalism:”

Liberventionism Rides Again

A while back I coined the word "liberventionism" as shorthand for "libertarian interventionism." I take the latter to be something of a contradictio in adjecto. Nevertheless, there are those who claim to be, and have been seen as, libertarians, who throw themselves into the breach to support this or that initiative of the U. S. … Continue reading “Liberventionism Rides Again”