When the US Turned Imperial: The Libertarian Angle

May 24, 2016—On this episode of The Libertarian Angle, Jacob Hornberger and Richard Ebeling of the Future of Freedom Foundation, before carrying on with their series on World War I and II, cover the Spanish-American War of 1898.

“While we were victorious over the Spanish in the war, they had conquered us,” Ebeling said, “because by entering this war and seizing territory like Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, a protectorate over Cuba at that time, annexing the Philippine islands. The Spanish had conquered us, not on the battlefield, but in the ideological and the philosophical battlefield of America transformed into an imperial country, rather than a country of peaceful intercourse with others, while being concerned primarily with freedom at home. That was a watershed war, when you look back over the last, let’s say 150 years or so.”

“There was also a giant transformation of the United States, especially in the 1930s under the New Deal,” Hornberger said, “and much of that, I think, is rooted in World War I, especially this mindset of treating domestic policy as akin to going to war, because people have this sense of ‘oh, we’re going to war against poverty’ or ‘we’re going to war against depression’ or the War on Drugs and stuff. It’s this militarist mindset that if we can just collectivize the resources, mobilize the man power, we can beat this great depression, this economic crisis.”