Is Ron Paul "Anti-American?"

| by Reason Foundation

By Jacob Sullum

In his syndicated column this week, National Review Editor Rich Lowry portrays Ron Paul as leader of the “'Blame America First' libertarians," because "he tends to bring any conversation back to the malignancy of US foreign policy":

This isn't an expression of an anti-interventionism so much as a smear. It goes beyond opposition to American foreign policy to a poisonous view of America itself.

Does it? Lowry is right that Paul emphasizes the anger and resentment aroused by unjustified American intervention in other countries, but I don't see how that amounts to "a poisonous view of America itself," unless you equate America with the worst excesses of its government's foreign policy. Paul consciously harks back to an earlier tradition that favored trade and other peaceful interactions, eschewed "entangling alliances," and reserved the use of military power for national defense. If that makes him anti-American, I guess George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were anti-American too.

I explained the importance of Paul's challenge to the GOP's mindless militarism in my columnyesterday.