One day in the hall at Fox News, Judge Andrew Napolitano chased me down and said, “Austin, you’ll never believe what just happened.”
“John Bolton just stopped me and said he wants to be on Freedom Watch. He wants to talk about how libertarian he is.”
My eyes shot wide open, “Huh? Arch-neocon Ambassador bomb-Iran-into-oblivion Bolton?”
“The one and only,” the Judge responded.
I scratched my head, “Alright, well… I guess I’ll book him.”
How does one define a libertarian? Ludwig Von Mises once defined liberty by explaining that “Liberty is always freedom from government.” Many libertarians today would most likely agree with that definition. But despite near universal agreement on this precept, there is never a dearth of disagreement on just who or who is not a libertarian. So if you asked someone to name a prominent libertarian, would Ambassador John Bolton come to mind?
To Bolton, libertarianism is about limited government that acts only within a constitutional framework. He says it’s a philosophy that he’s “very comfortable with,” for the reasons that he claims to agree with libertarians on nearly all issues of domestic policy, limited government, personal responsibility, and lower taxes. Still, in an interview on The Freedom Report, Bolton veers off the traditional libertarian viewpoints on issues such as the War on Drugs and foreign intervention.
Bolton believes that many of the problems that Americans experience with healthcare are due to government interference. He argues that a lot can be done for the less fortunate members of society without the need for an initiative such as Obamacare. “What if the government was as involved with food as it is with healthcare?” he asks, making the case that intervention into the sector would be as likely to cause food shortages as it does for medicine. It’s hard to disagree that Bolton is a libertarian on this issue.
But what about issues of war and peace?
The question we ask of Bolton is: how much national defense do we really need in order to protect our security? And how involved should the United States be in forging mutual defense treaties with nations such as Ukraine, Poland, or even Britain and France? Should we be spending American blood and treasure to defend our allies, even if there doesn’t appear to be any clear U.S. interests?
Bolton argues that you avoid a war by being strong, not by being weak, and that the policies of the Obama administration have given carte blanche to foes such as Russia to expand their sphere of influence in eastern Europe. The United States should be aggressively countering the moves of Russia in order to display our willingness to go to war, so that by appearing strong, we can avoid one.
Edward Snowden, James Clapper, Russia and Crimea, the War on Drugs and Obamacare. All these issues and more on today’s episode of The Freedom Report podcast featuring special guest: Ambassador John Bolton.