John Tate on foreign policy, gun control, and the Campaign for Liberty

John F. Tate of the Campaign for Liberty explains libertarian ideas on foreign and domestic policy.  Photo: Associated Press

FLORIDA, January 31, 2013 — National security and foreign policy are subjects on which libertarians are often criticized as isolationist or naively idealistic. How could a liberty-oriented foreign policy be described? Domestic issues such as gun control and illegal immigration have returned to the forefront of our national discussion. What is the modern libertarian outlook on these topics? 

The Campaign for Liberty is one of the best known libertarian organizations in American politics. In this second part of our discussion, John F. Tate, the Campaign’s president, discusses these issues and more.        

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Joseph F. Cotto: National security is a subject on which libertarians are frequently criticized for various reasons. From your standpoint, how might a liberty-oriented foreign policy be described?

John F. Tate: The federal government will often use war or other crises to infringe on the rights of Americans in the name of so-called “safety” and “security,” ultimately providing neither while actually weakening our defenses by deploying our fighting men and women across the globe as world policemen. Campaign for Liberty has primarily focused on combating the government’s variety of invasions on our civil liberties these past several years. America’s defense policy should be based on the Constitution, including going to war with a proper declaration by Congress. A constitutional foreign policy would keep America safe, while avoiding conflicts that pose no direct national security threat to the United States. Deter through strength and lead by example. 
 
Cotto: Domestic issues such as gun control and illegal immigration have returned to the forefront of our national discussion. How would you describe the modern libertarian outlook on such topics?

Tate: Campaign for Liberty opposes measures that restrict the Second Amendment rights of Americans, especially those that also pose serious privacy questions, such as allowing the government to access an individual’s mental health records before they can purchase a firearm. Immigration is a much more difficult topic, and our movement, like the rest of the country, is continuing to discuss how best to deal with this issue moving forward.  
 
Cotto: How was the Campaign for Liberty formed?

Tate: Campaign for Liberty was formed after Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign as a way to build on the success and energy of the campaign and continue promoting the principles of limited constitutional government. Dr. Paul asked me to try to see if we could create a national, grassroots organization that would become the leading voice for liberty activists at the local, state, and national levels. Since our founding, Campaign for Liberty has grown to over 500,000 members, and, in our humble opinion, has in fact become the leading voice of liberty activists who want to see changes made in our government.  
 
Cotto: What is the Campaign’s ultimate political goal?

Tate: Campaign for Liberty seeks to organize grassroots activists to promote limited government at the local, state, and national levels. Obviously our ultimate goal would be to effect change at all levels through our grassroots lobbying efforts so that the majority of our elected officials vote to restore our liberties, cut spending, decease the size and scope of government, and restore our Constitution.  
 
Cotto: During the years ahead, which path do you see the Campaign taking?

Tate: I see it continuing to grow as more Americans become fed up with the status quo and as C4L keeps mobilizing our large network of activists to take action and spread the liberty message. Campaign for Liberty will be on the frontlines fighting for constitutional government, defeating the statists’ schemes, and winning on liberty issues for years to come.



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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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