Antiwar Libertarians and Conservatives During the 1990s

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Here’s the follow-up to this article on the Old Right. This second portion is about anti-interventionism in the 1990s. Specifically, it surveys the critiques of antiwar libertarian and conservative writers of the time following the end of the Cold War and preceding September 11 when there was an actual debate of dubious outcome over the proper role of the US military in the world. This article may be helpful for students looking for some information on foreign policy debates during the 1990s or conservative and libertarian writings of the time. Many of the footnoted sources from conservative publications are only available in library stacks at sizable libraries. Notably, however, most of the libertarian sources are still widely available thanks to the Mises Institute and the web.

Obviously, the advocates of endless war won that debate (for now), but this document outlines some of the arguments coming from the dissenting side.

Some of this is pretty obscure stuff now, and younger readers will likely have never even heard of half the people mentioned. Pat Buchanan is still around, and remains one of the most sane conservatives on foreign policy matters. Few younger readers likely remember Samuel Francis. Although almost no one reads it anymore, Chronicles magazine, which is mentioned often in the footnotes here, was once indeed a somewhat influential publication. Today, ideological dissent among conservatives generally comes from The American Conservative. Some of the ideological grand designs advocated here, such as those of Francis, failed miserably, but almost all of the observations quoted here about American foreign policy and its consequences for Americans remain relevant and prophetic today.

Ron Paul is not mentioned at all here. During the 1990s, he was certainly not the household name he is now, and when writing this, I probably would have considered it the realm of pure fantasy that a Rothbardian antiwar candidate like Ron Paul could receive 2.1 million votes in a Republican primary, as he did in 2012.

Anti-Interventionism After the Cold War

1:52 pm on January 10, 2014
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