When forced by events to deal with international problems, taft brought with him the deeply held and carefully formulated political philosophy reviewed in the preceding discussion. He believed that the primary purpose. Foreign policy, in light of which all specific policies must be considered, must always be to protect the liberty of the people of the United States (Taft 1951, 11). For example, he opposed new military outlays or international commitments when he believed they would increase the overall level of government expenditures enough to threaten the viability of the free economy. The secondary purpose of foreign policy, subordinate for Taft only to the defense of liberty, was the maintenance of peace (Taft 1951, 1112). He abhorred war advantages and consistently sought to avoid. Involvement in war if possible.
A new law was needed, in Tafts judgment, both to restore the balance between unions and management and to protect the rights of individual workers against union leaders (Kirk and McClellan 1967, 10931; Patterson 1972, 35266). Tafts Libertarian Foreign-Policy vision, because of his leadership role within the republican Party (which was no less real during those periods in which he did not occupy a formal leadership position within the party taft felt compelled to master a broad range of issues outside. In particular, although his primary interests lay in domestic policy, he felt an obligation to take a leadership role on foreign policy as well, given the importance of such issues. Involvement in World War ii, the shape of the postwar order, and the korean War. As Taft said in a speech to the. Chamber of Commerce in 1951, people have accused me reviews of moving into foreign policy. The fact is that foreign policy moved in on me (qtd. In Patterson 1972, 474).
Legislation should never discriminate by singling out identifiable groups for privileges or punishments. This evenhandedness is the principle of equality under the law. Adherence to this principle of equal treatment of all individuals, regardless of their wealth or power, is the only reliable defense the weak can have against the strong (hayes 2001, 18189; Lowi 1979, 298). Tafts commitment to equality under the law is exemplified by his primary legacy in domestic policy, the taft-Hartley act of 1947. In contrast to many republicans, taft accepted labor unions as essential features of modern capitalism. He insisted on the right to strike, and he sought to minimize government intervention in unionmanagement relations. At the same time, he believed that the government had to act to assure equal justice under law. The national Labor Relations Act had specified unfair management practices without providing any corresponding list of unfair union practices, and the national Labor Relations board had favored unions over management.
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Within a civil association, governing is recognized as a specific and limited activity; not the management of an enterprise, but the rule of those engaged in a great diversity of self-chosen enterprises (oakeshott 1991, 429). Because individuals pursuing their own ends inevitably impinge on others doing likewise, absolute liberty is undesirable, and some restrictions on individual freedom of action may actually increase effective liberty (Kirk and McClellan 1967, 6768). Taft articulated this vision of the role of government in a debate with. Smith dream in 1939: government has been generally conceived to be a keeper of the peace, a referee of controversies, and an adjuster of abuses, not a regulator of the people, or their way of life, or their business and personal activities (Smith and Taft 1939. Equally important, in Tafts view, within a properly functioning civil association the states power over its citizens must be circumscribed by the rule of law (hayek 1973; oakeshott 1991, 42534). Under the rule of law, all laws exhibit two qualities (hayek 1960, 1973; hayes 2001, 17475).
First, all rules governing the behavior of citizens and government officials are as clear and specific as possible. Where rules are unambiguous, citizens can understand easily what the rules are and know the consequences of violating them. They can take such rules into account as they pursue their own individual purposes and activities. Moreover, clear and specific rules minimize the arbitrary exercise of power by limiting the discretion available to government officials as they enforce the laws; hence, we have in the classic phrase a government of laws, not of men. Throughout his career, taft consistently opposed grants of broad discretionary power to administrative agencies, and he viewed the growth of the federal government under the new deal and fair deal as giving rise to a new system of policymaking by pressure groups that elevated the. Second, under the rule of law, all laws are impersonal, applying equally to everyone.
Religion is not the only basis for purposive associations, however; a society becomes a purposive association any time it defines itself in terms of some common enterprise, whether that enterprise be the promotion of economic efficiency, the spread of democracy throughout the world, or the. Taft rejected all such visions because individuals can never really be free within a purposive system inasmuch as their actions must always be instrumental to the achievement of the common purpose. By contrast, within civil associations no common purpose unites people into a shared enterprise. Rather, people are free to pursue their own individual purposes as long as they do not interfere with the rights of others to do likewise. The social order is spontaneous rather than planned or directed (hayek 1973; Horwitz 2001). The bases for association here are territorial boundaries and a commonly accepted set of rules governing people as they pursue happiness in their own individual ways (oakeshott 1991, 45457).
By this reasoning, we are Americans not because we have particular values or common goals, but rather because we live within the territorial boundaries of the United States and pursue our own individual strategies for attaining happiness subject to the constitution and laws of the. Taft certainly viewed the United States as a civil association rather than a purposive association. To taft, a free economy was the natural corollary of a free society, and his desire to preserve economic freedom led him to oppose a variety of domestic and foreign policies promulgated by the roosevelt and Truman administrations, including the steady growth of federal spending. A free economy, however, was desirable primarily because it was founded on liberty. The normative case for the free market ultimately rests less on its potential efficiency in allocating resources than on the way it orders relationships among citizens. Within a free-market economy, transactions are purely voluntary, and relationships among individuals are based on mutual consent rather than on power (Knight 1982). That free economies outperform socialist economies was important to taft, but it was nonetheless a subsidiary benefit. Taft saw that increases in the general standard of living empowered individual Americans in a variety of ways, thus adding to their effective liberty (Kirk and McClellan 1967, 13239; Smith and Taft 1939, 1321). The role of government within a civil association is necessarily limited, in distinct contrast to its role in a purposive association.
Behaviors Of Pim In Context
Although Taft exhibited both types of essay isolationism at different times, he was consistently isolationist throughout his career, and his underlying libertarian philosophy gave an overall coherence to his foreign policy even as he moved from one type to the other. Tafts Political Philosophy, throughout his political career, taft sought to preserve what he regarded as an American way of life in which the liberty of individual Americans would be circumscribed only by the rule of law. (For an especially clear and concise statement of this philosophy, see taft 1949.) Although he recognized the need to reform institutions and practices in order to preserve the core elements of the system he cherished, he consistently fought against New deal policies that he believed. (For the best statement of Tafts distinction between necessary reforms and radical New deal innovations, see taft ). Taft viewed the United States as a civil association, not a purposive association (oakeshott 1991, 43861). Within a purposive association, citizens are related to one another by virtue of their pursuit of some shared purpose, and they derive their identity as citizens from this common enterprise. The first purposive associations were religious, with the state assuming the role of guardian and promoter of orthodox beliefs; some nostalgic conservatives still view the state in this way (hayes 2002).
Taft was no backward-looking conservative. 3, on domestic issues, he sought to maximize individual liberty while minimizing relationships based on power and control. In the terminology of political philosophers, he saw the United States as a civil association operating under the rule of law. Although he recognized the need to accommodate change in order to preserve the institutions and practices he valued as truly precious, he regarded many new deal measures as radical rather than reformist and fought against the new deal wherever he found it to. His foreign-policy views were an extension of this same political philosophy to international affairs; he proposed that postwar international organization be centered around an international tribunal founded on the rule of law, establishing within international affairs the same regime he espoused in the domestic realm. In this article, i lay out Tafts political philosophy, then show how Tafts foreignpolicy vision grew out of this same libertarian vision and contrast that vision with Eisenhowers to make clear just what was lost when the republicans nominated Eisenhower instead of Taft in 1952. Finally, drawing on the work. James essay reichley (2000 i distinguish between altruistic and national-interest isolationism with respect to taft specifically.
engage his arguments seriously. Labeling opponents of administration policies as isolationists implied that they were naive, like ostriches with their heads buried in the sand, nostalgic for an earlier era in which the United States could hide behind the safety of two oceans and avoid involvement in international affairs. 2, in reality, however, none of the members of the isolationist wing of the republican Party ever believed it possible for the United States to isolate itself from the rest of the world, and so all of them accordingly rejected that label. Tafts foreign-policy views were neither naive nor nostalgic. To the contrary, his critique of internationalism deserved to be taken seriously and was vindicated subsequently on many points. Taft criticized the roosevelt/Truman approach to postwar international organization, correctly pointing to features of the United Nations that would prevent its serving as a real force for peace and equality under the law. He also challenged the Truman administrations assessment of the soviet military threat against western Europe, a threat that now appears to have been overstated consciously and deliberately to secure congressional support for the marshall Plan, universal military training, and an expanded air force (Berger 1967;. He anticipated correctly that a steady rise in defense outlays could lead to a garrison state and the erosion of civil liberties (Higgs 1987). Finally, taft was prescient in warning that even well-meaning internationalism would necessarily degenerate over time into a form of imperialism that would breed resentment against the United States around the globe, eventually endangering.
Dwight Eisenhower embraced and continued these internationalist Democratic policies during his two terms in office (195361 so his victory over Taft at the republican convention in 1952 represented a decisive rejection of the alternative foreign policy advocated by taft and other isolationist Republicans of that. The significance of Tafts defeatand the thesis of this mba articlewas well articulated by journalist Nicholas von Hoffman, writing in the midst of the vietnam War almost two decades later. Observing that Tafts critique of internationalism had been vindicated subsequently on almost every point, von Hoffman characterized Tafts foreign-policy vision as a way to defend the country without destroying it, a way to be part of the world without running it (qtd. In Radosh 1975, 147). Many of Tafts contemporaries dismissed him as an isolationist in foreign policy (for good examples, see schlesinger 1952 and Van dyke and davis 1952). Although subsequent scholarship has suggested that this characterization was highly misleading (Berger 1967, 1971, 1975; West 1952 taft was isolationist if isolationism is defined, following careful scholarship, as an attitude of opposition to binding commitments by the United States government that would create new,. Like many Americans of his era, taft did not welcome the intrusion of foreign policy and gladly would have let the rest of the world go its own way if it would only go without bothering the United States (Osgood 1953, 433). For much of his career, taft advocated what he called the policy of the free hand, whereby the United States would avoid entangling alliances and interference in foreign disputes. This policy permitted government leaders the freedom of action to decide in particular cases whether a sufficiently vital.
Thesis, and Dissertation Research
The foreign-Policy vision of Robert. Republican congressional leader Robert. Taft articulated a non-interventionist foreign-policy vision sharply at odds with the internationalism of Truman and Eisenhower. Although derided as ostrich-like, taft was prescient on several essays points, such as the structural weakness of the United Nations and the propping up of repressive regimes that would result from. Article, first elected to the senate in 1938, robert. Taft represented Ohio from 1939 until his death in 1953. Although Taft was defeated for the republican presidential nomination three times, in 1940, 1948, and 1952, he was universally acknowledged as the leader of the republican Partys congressional wing. Taft offered both a positive vision of international organization following World War ii and a prescient critique of the internationalist policies developed by Presidents roosevelt and Truman.