Does the common definition of isolationism make sense?

Statist Isolationism
War is not a form of relationship. War is a form of isolation.

Libertarians commonly use these words…

  • Interventionist: People who use military violence to intervene in foreign countries.
  • Non-interventionist: People who refrain from using military violence to meddle with others.

Statists routinely describe non-interventionists as isolationists. This strongly suggests that statists view military violence as a form of relationship. How odd. In reality…

War is the absence of relationship!

Even if we assumed, contrary to the facts, that politicians mainly intervene to protect the victimized weak against the predatory strong, it doesn’t follow that…

  • Such violence is a high form of relationship
  • Those who refrain from war are somehow isolated from the world

Is Switzerland isolated because it refuses to join foreign conflicts? Of course not. Switzerland is a crossroads of travel and trade, the highest forms of cultural engagement.

It should be perfectly obvious that…

  • Military violence is not a form of relationship
  • Trade and travel are forms of relationship


  • Those who favor peace, free trade and free migration reject isolation
  • Those who embrace war while opposing free trade and free movement are embracing isolation

Said differently…

  • Statists are isolationists because nearly all of them want to control trade and travel, and most have a bias for war
  • Only libertarians favor full cultural engagement

Strategic advice: Libertarians should…

  • Make a habit of speaking about and opposing statist isolationism
  • Advocate cultural engagement as the preferred form of international involvement

Jim Babka

About the Author

Jim Babka

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Jim Babka is co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and President of, Inc. He’s an author and former talk show host.
Previously, he was the President of, Inc., defending free press rights all the way to the Supreme Court. He and Susie are the proud, home-schooling parents of three teenagers. He enjoys theology, UFC, target practice, and Tai Chi.

Perry Willis

About the Author

Perry Willis

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Perry Willis is the co-founder of the Zero Aggression Project and Downsize DC. He was the National Director of the Libertarian National Committee on two occasions, and ran two Libertarian Party presidential campaigns. He has an extensive background in marketing and fundraising, and has ghost written direct mail appeals for numerous luminaries, including Karl Hess, Ron Paul, Charlton Heston and Harry Browne.

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Show Comments 3


    1. We’re suggesting less military action combined with more free trade and immigration. That would make us more like the Swiss than our current policy.

  1. Even federalist leaning Founding Fathers warned against a standing army (military). Today this would mean closing all foreign bases and turning over the military to the states. I would hope the people would force the states to disband all but voluntary civilian militia.

    Foreign aid is intervention in politics in the name of aiding the poor, but in fact it hurts the poor, as Food First found out when they did a study decades ago.

    However, these two evils (threats to freedom), are just symptoms of authoritarianism, as is taxation. Remove the faith in force, the worship of a monopoly of violence/morality, and a civil political paradigm may emerge.

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