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LIBERALISM AND SOVEREIGNTY

Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek writes about liberalism:


One of the great tenets of liberalism the true sort of liberalism, not the dirigiste ignorance that
today, in English-speaking countries, flatters itself unjustifiably with that term is that no human
being is less worthy just because he or she is outside of a particular group. Any randomly chosen
stranger from Cairo or Cancun has as much claim on my sympathies and my respect and my regard
as does any randomly chosen person from Charlottesville or Chicago.
Boudreaux is correct in his view of liberalism. That is to say, what is now called liberalism is not
liberalism; it is a virulent strain of statism.
Boudreaux also states a (truly) liberal value, namely, that respect for others should not depend on
where they happen to live. Boudreaux embellishes that theme in the the next several paragraphs of
his post; for example:
[L]iberalism rejects the notion that there is anything much special or compelling about political
relationships. It is tribalistic, atavistic, to regard those who look more like you to be more worthy of
your regard than are those who look less like you. It is tribalistic, atavistic, to regard those who
speak your native tongue to be more worthy of your affection and concern than are those whose
native tongues differ from yours.
For the true liberal, the human race is the human race. The struggle is to cast off as much as possible
primitive sentiments about us being different from them.
The problem with such sentiments correct as they may be is the implication that we have
nothing more to fear from people of foreign lands than we have to fear from our own friends and
neighbors. Yet, as Boudreaux himself acknowledges,
[t]he liberal is fully aware that such sentiments [about us being different from them] are rooted in
humans evolved psychology, and so are not easily cast off. But the liberal does his or her best to rise
above those atavistic sentiments,
Yes, the liberal does strive to rise above such sentiments, but not everyone else makes the same
effort, as Boudreaux admits. Therein lies the problem.

Americans as a mostly undifferentiated mass are disdained and hated by many foreigners (and
by many an American liberal). The disdain and hatred arise from a variety of imperatives, ranging
from pseudo-intellectual snobbery to nationalistic rivalry to anti-Western fanaticism. When those
imperative lead to aggression (threatened or actual), that aggression is aimed at all of us: liberal,
liberal, conservative, libertarian, bellicose, pacifistic, rational, and irrational.
Having grasped that reality, the Framers did ordain and establish theConstitution in Order to . . .
provide for the common defence (among other things). That is to say, the Framers recognized the
importance of establishing the United States as a sovereign state for limited and specified purposes,
while preserving the sovereignty of its constituent States and their inhabitants for all other purposes.
If Americans do not mutually defend themselves through the sovereign state which was established
for that purpose, who will? That is the question which liberals (both true and false) often fail to ask.
Instead, they tend to propound internationalism for its own sake. It is a mindless internationalism,
one that often disdains Americas sovereignty, and the defense thereof.
Mindless internationalism equates sovereignty with jingoism, protectionism, militarism, and other
deplorable isms. It ignores or denies the hard reality that Americans and their legitimate overseas
interests are threatened by nationalistic rivalries and anti-Western fanaticism.
In the real world of powerful rivals and determined, resourceful fanatics, the benefits afforded
Americans by our (somewhat eroded) constitutional contract most notably the enjoyment of civil
liberties, the blessings of free markets and free trade, and the protections of a common defense
are inseparable from and dependent upon the sovereign power of the United States. To cede that
sovereignty for the sake of mindless internationalism is to risk the complete loss of the benefits
promised by the Constitution.