4 Principles for a Libertarian National Security Plan

My latest Daily Beast article is titled, "Four Principles for a Libertarian National Security State." The question I seek to address is what sorts of policies might help keep Americans safe from terrorism without destroying the  protections to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Here's a snippet:

 “An internal inquiry into the misstatements...found that no one at the NSA understood how the entire call-tracking program worked,” says Politico, which quotes an unnamed source who explains, “There was nobody at NSA who really had a full idea of how the program was operating at the time.”

This is as outrageous as it is dispiriting (and predictable). But a dozen years after the 9/11 attacks ushered in the global war on terror, there’s no reason that we should have to live in fear of our government’s efforts to keep us safe and warm. Here are four basic principles that should inform what might be called a libertarian national security state. That is, one that helps to protects us without routinely transgressing constitutional guarantees to privacy, due process, freedom from illegal searches, and the right to be left alone.

Read the whole thing.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Louis Cypher||

    Here are four basic principles that should inform what might be called a libertarian national security state. That is, one that helps to protects us without routinely transgressing constitutional guarantees to privacy, due process, freedom from illegal searches, and the right to be left alone.

    Does libertarianism = constitutionalism? From the list you give, it makes it sound like they are one and the same. It was my understanding that libertarianism was basically do your thing, but don't hurt others doing it.

  • ||

    Constitutionalism is a flavor of libertarian minarchism. Though some so called constitutionalists don't seem very libertarian to me.

  • Louis Cypher||

    Though some so called constitutionalists don't seem very libertarian to me.

    That is the feeling I get from hanging out here at Reason. It seems that just because it is constitutional doesn't mean it is libertarian.

  • anon||

    Especially if you're listening to the SCOTUS opinion on what's constitutional.

  • anon||

    #4 has no basis in either really... but otherwise, constitutionalism and libertarianism just happen to coincide on the other 3.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Right to be left alone"?

    That's funny.

    The Collective needs to know what you've been up to. It's for your own good.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    no one at the NSA understood how the entire call-tracking program worked

    That's so no single person can undermine the program by blabbing to those traitors in Congress.

  • anon||

    That's so no single person can undermine the program by blabbing to those traitors in Congress the American citizens.

    ftfy

  • John||

    Target the bad guys sounds good until you understand that if you knew who the bad guys were, you wouldn't need any intelligence. You would just go arrest them or kill them or whatever.

    This entire article is a collection of question begging and meaningless platitudes. Legal authority is not optional. No kidding. But what should that authority be? Transparency? Okay, but even Nick would admit that you can't make everything you do available to the public. You don't do that in law enforcement investigations. The cops don't have to say "we are investigating John Do for drug dealing". They can keep that a secret until they make an arrest. So how much "transparency"? That is the whole question.

  • Steve G||

    A valid "national security plan" would hopefully be based upon some knowledge of Robert Pape's work, ie they hate us not for our blue jeans and coca-cola but for the fact we are on their soil, period. They then bomb us more, making us put more people on their soil to fight them, then they bomb us more, etc, etc.

  • John||

    Pape is a naive idiot. They hate us because we are big and we are convenient. People whose ideologies lead to misery have to have an enemy to exist. They hate us for their own reasons. Pape is a typical narcissistic Western who thinks the entire world acts in reaction to us and just cannot comprehend that the rest of the world might have their own reasons for doing things. It is utter fucking nonsense. And it is totally counter factual. The biggest recruiting grounds for Islamic terrorism are places like Western Europe and Saudi Arabia and Egypt places that we don't occupy. If this theory were correct, Iraqis and Afghans would be coming to the US to blow themselves up. And that has not happened.

  • Steve G||

    Some of Pape's best source material in forming his thesis is the words of bin laden and others and they make it pretty clear why they are doing what they do. And then Pape actually goes about backing up his claim w/ statistical analysis of suicide bombers. Hardly nonsense.
    "big and... convenient"? That's your thesis? Wow, strong. I would agree that their ideology and repressive culture makes for an anger-prone population, but we've certainly given them many reasons (drones, occupation, torture, etc) to radicalize vs go in a more secular direction.
    ...and they did come to the US to blow themselves up, it's commonly known as 9/11 around here. They haven't made any significant follow-ups since they realize there are softer US targets closer to home.

  • Alien Invader||

    Some of Pape's best source material in forming his thesis is the words of bin laden ...

    Yeah, and bin Laden is an incredibly reliable source of info, as well know he'd never-ever lie to anyone.

    If he said so, it must be the gospel truth.

  • Acosmist||

    Why would it be based on falsehoods? Noble lie?

  • Alien Invader||

    Nick, good job on trying to cast things in the positive. The whole libertarian movement needs to do a whole hell of a lot more of that. Everybody knows what we don't like. Nobody knows what we'd really like to see instead. We come off as a bunch of nihilists, so guess why we get ignored?

    More of this please, all around the table. You want people to become more like us, more sympathetic to us? We have to sell it. Which we do a lousy job of in general.

    If I'm allowed to make a suggestion, it would be great to see a whole forum, a whole series of articles/threads/etc, aimed at the very purpose of discussing, debating, and coming up with positive ways to make government work better, along the lines of how we'd like to see it done.

    The world is not that simple a place. We really have a lot of work to do before we're going to sell the limited government idea to the mainstream.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement