Does the common definition of isolationism make sense?

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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

By Perry Willis & Jim Babka

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