(From the One-Minute Liberty Tip section in Volume 19, No. 13 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)
“Intervene globally, lose freedom locally.” — Robert Higgs.
I’ve long written about the importance of soundbites and pithy sayings in getting people to consider libertarian ideas.
I saw this phrase at the Facebook page of the great libertarian writer and scholar Robert Higgs this week, and I think it is brilliant.
In just five words Higgs sums up arguments that many people have written whole books about.
An interventionist foreign policy leads to many domestic evils, as the Founders realized. Among them:
- “Blowback” when angry residents of other countries retaliate
- Restrictions on freedom of the press
- Repression of public dissent
- Government surveillance and loss of privacy
- Loss of other civil liberties
- The militarization of local police
- Restrictions on travel, both internally and abroad
- Domestic political strife
- Massive taxes and subsequent loss of economic opportunities
- Higher prices for domestic goods and services
- Interruption of trade
- A poorer country, as economic resources are diverted to war
- Destruction of families, as more soldiers are sent overseas to police the empire
- Expansion of domestic political power to deal with the consequences of interventionism
…and so on. You can no doubt add more to this list.
Higgs’ wonderful and insightful little phrase contains all that. It reworks a familiar phrase — “Think globally, act locally” — into a powerful mind-opener and conversation starter. It gets your listeners thinking.
“Intervene globally, lose freedom locally.” I love it.
It’s a great addition to your collection of soundbites on liberty. Use it in conversations. Be prepared, of course, to expand on the topics it raises, including those I’ve listed.