Record numbers of Americans are embracing a libertarian, non-interventionist, Ron Paul-style foreign policy.
That’s the startling, but very welcome, finding of a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center in conjunction with the Council on Foreign Relations.
Fully 52% of Americans — a solid majority — now say the United States “should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.” Just 38% disagree with that statement.
Pew sums up: “This is the most lopsided balance in favor of the U.S. ‘minding its own business’ in the nearly 50-year history of the measure.”
Yet this is in no sense “isolationism” or a desire to detach from the rest of the world. The same poll found that “Even as doubts grow about the United States’ geopolitical role, most Americans say the benefits from U.S. participation in the global economy outweigh the risks. And support for closer trade and business ties with other nations stands at its highest point in more than a decade.”
Says Pew: “Fully 77% say that growing trade and business ties between the United States and other countries are either very good (23%) or somewhat good (54%) for the U.S. Just 18% have a negative view. … Two-thirds (66%) say greater involvement in the global economy is a good thing because it opens up new markets and opportunities for growth.”
What Americans clearly seem to be yearning for is a return to the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, perhaps never better expressed than in Jefferson’s March 4, 1801 inaugural address: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.”
It is libertarians who have, almost alone, taken the lead in arguing for embracing Jefferson’s advice, and this exciting new poll finding is yet another indicator of the fast-growing influence of libertarianism in American politics today.