Single Issue Survey: National Security and Foreign Policy

Advocates for Self-Government Comments

Our latest Single Issue Survey asks a series of questions related national security and foreign policy…

  • How much national defense do we need?
  • Do we need a draft, or should military service be voluntary?
  • What limits should we place on presidential war-making?
  • Must the U.S. sometimes support foreign dictators?


The missiles are aimed at the sky at sunset. Nuclear bomb, chemical weapons, missile defense, a system of salvo fire.


The psychology of political values

Jonathan Haidt has provided compelling evidence that political values are psychological in nature. Different personalities have different values. 

These differences present little problem in our daily interactions, except maybe in social media where we don’t have to confront people face-to-face. But…

Things change when it comes to voting  

Most Americans LOVE to use voting and legislation to make other people obey their psychological preferences and values. Electoral politics becomes a war of all against all. 

But is the world really be better off when we’re all forced to march in lockstep?

Some people think so. But they also tend to engage in caricature. They take the worst characters from the other side and pretend that everyone in the opposing camp is like that. 

  • Everyone on the Right is supposedly a racist who wants to impose feudal serfdom on the lower classes 
  • Everyone on the Left is supposedly a communist in hiding who wants to expropriate the rich and then hang them.

In reality, there are very few people who want any of these things!

Most people share similar goals. They want children educated, the nation defended, the weak cared for, and everyone to prosper. Individuals simply disagree about the best means for achieving those goals. 

Should we favor using voting and legislation to impose one approach on everyone who disagrees? Or should we use peaceful persuasion and voluntary cooperation to promote our values among those who agree with us, and who want to work for our shared goals? 

We favor… 

The path of peaceful persuasion and voluntary cooperation

We reject arrogant aggressive politics. We favor a diverse society where diverse views and values compete to provide solutions. We believe it is possible for psychological liberals and psychological conservatives to be at peace with each other. And we think libertarianism could help with this. That’s because…

You don’t have to stop being liberal or conservative in order to be a libertarian!

You can make a new, harmonious choice, instead: Peaceful persuasion and voluntary cooperation instead of state coercion. 

The Steelman

It will also help to steelman rather than strawman the views of the other side.

When you caricature the other side you are creating a strawman that you can easily hate and defeat (if nowhere but in your own mind). On the other hand, when you create a steelman version of your opponents’ views you are dealing with their strongest arguments. 

We are trying to do exactly that with our Single Issue Surveys. 

We present the best argument we can think of for each point of view, and then let people choose which arguments they like best. Often there will be a mixture of Left, Right, and Libertarian views. This helps to show that there are many ways to make common cause, instead of always waging endless political war with each other. 

Our latest Single Issue Survey covers national defense. We hope you will take the survey. 

Do we do a good job of steelmanning each side? And where are you in your own views? Do you want to impose your views on others against their will, or do you embrace a Human Respect philosophy? Here are the first few questions we’re asking…

National Security and Foreign Policy

  1. How much national defense do we need?
  2. Do we need a draft, or should military service be voluntary?
  3. What limits should we place on presidential war-making?
  4. Must the U.S. sometimes support foreign dictators?

Take the survey

Take our latest survey on National Security & Foreign Policy to see who you align with most on the political map.  Plus, you can now compare your answers to discover how other people who have taken the survey think.


Take the Survey!


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