Name Calling

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Justin (Antiwar.com) Raimondo's suspicions that Reason is just a trade mag for the military/industrial complex will no doubt be strengthened by my Op-ed for the Beirut Daily Star attempting to delineate the competing strains of libertarian thought on the Iraq war.

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  1. Tim Cavanaugh wrote:
    “If there is one common denominator among libertarians, it?s a deep skepticism of both local and national government and a conviction that where government interferes in human affairs, it just makes things worse.”

    Right! Not to mention the inherrent unfairness in government intervention.

    “…how can you believe the same government knows best how to decide the future of a sovereign state…”

    Good question!

    The answer: “that any principled belief in liberty went hand-in-hand with a desire to see Saddam Hussein ? an enemy of human freedom if there ever was one ? overthrown with extreme prejudice.”

    is simply not consistant with libertarian principle (even, if it was only Iraqi freedom that was in play and not all the other “reasons” both addmited and ulterier) since it is the government thats taking the anti-Saddam action. So, we have the government taxing people to pay for this, not even for their own good, but because the state can force US citizens to support
    its judgment on how important Iraqi freedom is.
    Also, the government used “Iraqi freedom” as cover for ulterier motives such as a permenant presence in the region and support for Ariel Sharon’s regime. This is always a danger when the government is given this much lattitude in foriegn intervention.

    But we can still deal with dictators like Saddom as free citizens. See: “Reagans War” for an account of how private initiative was encouraged in the victory over communism. The governments intrusion in foreign affairs no dought has a chilling effect on private initiative in this area. Also, we would do well to stop the government from supporting overtly anti-freedom actions such as the Israeli occupation, which is a double trdgady since Isreal is a freer place then most of the Arab world (Dubie of the UAE is an exception) at least for its Jewish citizens that many Arab nations would do well to emulate, but this brutal US government financed occupation is a huge dissencentive.

  2. Well he thinks Nick Gillespie is cute

  3. so rick,
    should a private company have gone overseas to overthrow saddam?

  4. Only Americans have rights life, liberty and property, brown Iraqis shouldn’t since freeing people is done by several dollers per citizen. The same also went for freeing the slaves, do you know how much that cost in tax dollars? Meanwhile even though the Iraqis are free of a tryannical genocidal maniac, it was done for evil reasons so they would be better off under Saddams boot.

    Isreal is terrible! Do you realize in their occupation the Zionists have people get on busses and blow themselves up, splattering the brains of infants and shooting nails into the skulls of toddlers? They are terrible terrible people.

  5. so next stop north korea? or how about mr. mugabe?

  6. exactly, we can’t stop all child molestors either, so we shouldn’t stop any.

  7. hey stopping child molestation requires police to be hired with tax money, that is unlibertarian!

  8. the truck-sized hole you’re missing is that child molesters and people who aid them in the crimes (except for the catholic church, of course) are all still liable to the penalties of the law.

    this is obviously not the case with despots and tyrants. and i’m not suggesting that we should play worldcop either – but suggesting that the u.s.’s case against hussein’s regime was weak (or fictionalized, if you like) or that perhaps there were – gasp! – some ulterior motives at play or as stated above, was not in concordence with one person’s notion of libertarian principles is hardly endorsing the regime. and it’s certainly not making such blandly moralizing statements about good and evil – such is the true legacy of america’s christian heritage, if you will – both left and right are incapable of making cases for anything without bringing in good and evil, especially in cases where it doesn’t apply or against inanimate objects like drugs or mcdonalds.

    also, saying post-mortem “wow, look how fucking righteous and awesome we are” may feel good (if you’re the sort of idiot who says “we won!” after a game played by two professional teams they have no actual contact or connection with) but has not a good goddamn to do with the issue at hand.

  9. There are no “competing strains” of libertarianism on the question of the Iraq, or any other war: there is only the libertarian position, and the pro-war (non-libertarian) position.

    Tim Cavanaugh is a nice guy, who writes well, but I note that the piece in the Beirut Star he penned is a little vague: he refers to two different schools of thought, but the only individual representative of the pro-war school he can come up with is Ron Bailey, the science editor of Reason magazine. Not exactly Lord Acton.

    I also note that Cavanaugh disparages the Libertarian Party — typically, without giving any concrete reasons — bu the LP had the correct line on Iraq and can be fairly said to represent the libertarian mainstream on this question. Whether this is the reason why the LP supposedly “discredits” libertarianism, at least in his eyes, isn’t clear. But it seems a bit disingenuous coming from a magazine that has done more to tie libertarianism in with every cultural fringe group on record.

    The LP, for all its faults, has stayed true (for the most part) to its Rothbardian roots. More power to them.

    Reason supported Gulf War I, and, as I recall, cheered every Reaganite intervention: when National Review attacked the Cato Institute and Inquiry magazine for being a “pro-Communist” conspiracy against freedom led by “anarchists,” and accused Rothbard of being a “Leninist,” they wrote letters to NR saying, basically, ‘it’s all true — but not of US!’ I realize this is all Ancient History for Tim and the Reason staff, but if you’re going to write about alleged “divisions” in the libertarian movement over the War Question, it’s history you’d better learn.

    The Bailey-ite “spread freedom (by force of American arms) everywhere” school of thought has nothing to do with libertarianism as it has been historically understood: not a single libertarian organization of any importance supported the Iraq war, and libertarian thinkers and scholars have rejected it almost unanimously. To say, then, that there is a “split” in the movement over this question is completely false. The Donald Rumsfeld School of “libertarianism” consists, in reality, of those neocons who imagine they are being cool when they advocate legalizing “raves” — never mind that they’ve never even been to one….

  10. For a magazine that advertises itself as devoted to “free minds and free markets” it really should spend more time devoted to issues that threaten both the most.

  11. Rick,

    Wasn’t the Continental Congress a government? Mythology aside, the American Revolution was not carried out by independent actors, but under the banner (actually, under the banner!) of the United States. United what?

    United STATES

  12. You don’t think raves threaten our markets? What are you, on drugs?

  13. Worth,

    War, in my opinion, threatens both “free minds” and “free markets” more than any other state activity.

  14. which would make the iraqis the americans and the americans the french in this case.

    but, uh, what the fuck does that have to do with anything?

  15. There are quite a few pro-war libertarians. A few of them write for The Volokh Conspiracy. P.J. O’Rourke doesn’t usually call himself a libertarian, but he talks like one, and he’s a Cato buddy. Not sure where he stood on this particular war, but his book on Gulf War I was called “Give War a Chance.” Brilliant.

    I’m a pro-war libertarian, but I do admit that the anti-war libertarian argument exists. I just think it’s wrong. Raimondo is too much of an ass to even acknowledge that it’s possible to disagree with him.

    There is one thing that anti-interventionist libertarians have to answer: Why are freedom, limited government and rule of law only good for Americans? Aren’t these universal rights?

    Of course, I’m really a classical liberal, but I always thought “libertarian” was a good substitute term, since most people associate “liberal” with Ted Kennedy nowadays. Classical liberalism was (is) a radical, revolutionary theory, dedicated to human freedom. It’s a far cry from the “libertarianism” of conservatives who happen to like their drugs or would prefer lower taxes than the GOP would give them.

  16. justin wrote a long comment, so let me sum up:

    -all wars are unlibertarian (including the american war of independence)

    -tim only mentioned one pro-war libertarian, so there are no other pro-war libertarian positions

    -the LP has stayed true to dogma — this dogma says all libertarians are anti-war, hence the LP represents all libertarians

    -anyone who disagreed with rothbard is a poo-poo head

    -those organaizations that define libertarianism as anti-war denounced pro-war libertarians as non-libertarian, hence there is no split.

    -if you supported the war you are a neocon poo-poo head, cause justin said so.

  17. Mr. Raimondo’s statement that there is only one libertarian position on war misses the point.

    If we define the word libertarian in a precise manner, and we let the philosophical types pore over it to eliminate loopholes and inconsistencies, then there will be an objectively true answer to whether or not invading Iraq was consistent with libertarianism.

    But not everybody who calls himself a libertarian agrees on the same definition of the word “libertarian.” The fact that self-described libertarians frequently argue proves that point. So there are two ways to procede.

    1) Stick with a precise definition, and say “anybody who doesn’t agree with this but calls himself a libertarian is wrong.” Fine. That’s done all the time here. Case closed, no need to argue any more, right?

    2) Dispense with definitions and say “There are a lot of people who use the word ‘libertarian’ to describe themselves. They tend to agree on certain things, but there are some things that they argue about. The war exposed a split in this group of people.”

    The first approach looks at libertarianism as a philosophy. The second looks at libertarianism as a movement endorsed by a large number of people. Cavanaugh’s piece was analyzing the people who (rightly or wrongly) call themselves libertarian.

    One important thing emphasized by Cavanaugh is that the debate among self-described libertarians tended to focus on matters of principle. Is pre-emption every justified if (for the sake of argument) a threat is imminent? Is liberation of oppressed people by force ever acceptable?

    Clearly, the people who describe themselves as libertarians have similar concerns, even if they don’t always agree on everything.

  18. All parties are wrong here — the article in the Daily Star sucked — murky — poorly written.

    Raimondo is an idiot who is obsessed with a single issue — he would only like Reason if all it wrote about was foreign policy — drug war, never mind, welfare state never mind, etc. — he’s obviously insane — anyone who can muster a 150,000+ word op-ed on Soros and nickel mines in Kosovo or something a couple times a week is clearly out of his mind, anyone who can get beyond is 2nd paragraph of bad/conspiratorial writing is close to being insane. It’s too bad, antiwar could be a very effective instrument in the anti-war movement, now it is still effective but mainly at providing information — no action.

    Having said all that, the only libertarian position on the war is anti-war in Iraq — Reason never took a stand, very wishy washy unlike on most issues it covers — was this because of funders, the conservative hacks at RPPI, who knows — they should obviously take a stand against it now…as for reasons past – who knows, Raimondo has an irish grudge that will never go away and the political judgement of Rothbard (i.e. bad) siding with losers and culturally evil people like Buchanan, destroying SIL back in the early 80s, sour grapes and more sour grapes, nothing is ever good enough for him, especially if it is professional and well thought out — he needs to relax and find new work

    Peace,
    SPUR

  19. Dear Fuck Rothbard:

    You are not a neo-con, they are more intelligent than you. Most libertarians believe that a minimum of government is needed to protect the citizenry from harm and fraud, this would include policemen, though policemen with far fewer invasive powers than they have today. Since a libertarian nation would have drastically fewer laws than we have today, we would need a drastically reduced police force (saving tax dollars, yay!).

    As for the Gulf War II, libertarians are generally strict non-interventionists, at least as far as our government would be concerned. The government has no right to spend (steal) our tax dollars by sending our troops to a foreign land to free a foreign people, no matter how just the cause may be. Now the people who support such action are more than welcome to volunteer to do so.

    The point is Small Government with Limited Powers that Leaves Us the Hell Alone.

  20. “Most libertarians believe that a minimum of government is needed to protect the citizenry from harm and fraud, this would include policemen, though policemen with far fewer invasive powers than they have today.”

    And the Iraqis are not lily whit…sorry, American, enough to be protected from force or fraud?

    “As for the Gulf War II, libertarians are generally strict non-interventionists, at least as far as our government would be concerned.”

    So says dogma, but why does this not apply to stopping people of other skin col…sorry, nationalities, from being victims of force or fraud?

    “The government has no right to spend (steal) our tax dollars by sending our troops to a foreign land to free a foreign people, no matter how just the cause may be.”

    So foreigners don’t have rights? They are less than human? How is this different from spending (stealing) to have policemen in the US stop muggers?

    “Now the people who support such action are more than welcome to volunteer to do so.”

    Is this how police are funded?

    “The point is Small Government with Limited Powers that Leaves Us the Hell Alone.”

    …for lily white Americans only. Wow, sign me up for libertarianism!

  21. nm156,

    I should have perhaps clarified my comment better between “war” and a “just war.” The Revolutionary War was a just war in my opinion because the colonists were fed up with British control over them (although I think the government we live under today is many times more oppressive than the British gov’t was). Unless my interpretation fo the libertarian non-agression axiom is wrong, it is unjust to go to war unless directly threatened.

    JB,

    You sorta got what I was saying, but I think that war is the greatest evil and should only be persued if you are directly threatened. Also, this is sorta off subject, but the Civil War I believe is more complicated than you make it out and the south was justified in its succession.

    So no I don’t think all was is bad…just imperial wars that aren’t for self defense

  22. matt: Was it un-libertarian for the French to intervene in the War of Indpendance?

    In your opinion, was preserving the slaveocracy of the South was more libertarian than fighting a War that really did liberate the slaves?

    That your own personal defense is the only moral question in libertarianism, e.g. it is immoral to ask me to pay for police that might stop your sister from being gang-raped?

  23. anon at 315,

    If you can find in the Constitution where it says that we’re supposed to police the world and secure “rights” for people in other countries I’d love to see it.

  24. matt: See Article II, Section 2; Article 1, Section 8

    Morally, do you agree with:
    “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness — That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.”

    It is our duty to uspurp all tryants. The fact we don’t have the resources to do this everywhere does not remove our duty TO HELP WHERE WE CAN.

  25. dhex,

    My point was that the independence of the colonies, founding of this nation, writing of the Constitution, all of which are celebrated by libertarian, all happened under the direction of a government. Therefore, the argument that war is inherently unlibertarian because it is carried out by a government doesn’t hold water.

  26. Matt: How do you explain the revolutionary war?

  27. yay! the ends justify the means! yay!

    there are plenty of baby murders to go around. why’d we pick these? especially after ditching the resistance – which would have been the morally justifiable thing to do, i would think – post GWI?

  28. “not a single libertarian organization of any importance”

    Do you honestly think that if every think tank and thinker that passed your libertarian purity test disappeared tomorrow, that the world would proceed any differently? The answer is that it would not, which makes it tough not to laugh at your use of the word “important.”

  29. that post was directed at fuck rothbard (which is an awsome name for a band, if i do say so myself) not you, joe. (in case that wasn’t obvious)

    i see what you’re saying now. plus i got to compare us to the french, so bonus points.

  30. “yay! the ends justify the means! yay!”

    If the ends don’t justify the means, what does? If no means (meaning, no action) can be justified, just WTF are we supposed to do?

    Try thinking and arguing, rather than parroting slogans.

    War is not inherently libertarian or unlibertarian. Many wars have not advanced or protected liberty, but some wars have been necessary to advance or protect liberty. Some wars have had the effect of advancing liberty even though that was not their purpose. In my book, anything that has the net effect of advancing or protecting liberty is libertarian.

    The campaign in Iraq is a necessary part of the war of self-defense triggered by the attack on the US on 9/11. Self-defense is surely a libertarian activity, and one that libertarians (as opposed to anarchists) agree is an appropriate function of the state.

    Reasonable minds can disagree about the timing and necessity of the campaign in Iraq, but it is a defensible part of a defensive war to root out terrorism and banish it from the world. I happen to think that the campaign in Iraq is part of a well-conceived and so far well-executed strategy towards that end, and thus that the campaign in Iraq is justifiable even under a narrow libertarian view of government and foreign policy.

  31. “so rick,
    should a private company have gone overseas to overthrow saddam?

    Posted by at August 22, 2003 01:48 PM”

    WELL, THAT’S THE WAY THEY DID IT IN ROBERT HIENLIEN NOVELS’, SO WHY NOT ?

  32. First, I love when people don’t have the courage to put their name by stuff they write.

    To anon at 352,

    Article I section 8 says nothing about invading another country (unless we declare war which we did not). Article II section 2 says the president is commander and chief (but says nothing about him ordering invasions of foreign countries without congress declaring war). Picking out a part of the Declaration of Independence and trying to apply it to international intervention is just dumb. I figured most people realized the DOI was an explanation of why we essentially succeeded from England, not justification for freeing the world. I gotta give you creativity points though, not many would try to rationalize our invasion of Iraq by quoting the DOI.

  33. Dumbass. Iraq didn’t attack us on 9-11.

  34. anon at 340

    The point about the French is an interesting one. I think it may have been unlibertarian on their part, but accepting their help I don’t think was unlibertarian.

    Like I said earlier, I think the evidence shows Lincoln didn’t give a damn about slavery. He used it as an excuse for the invasion. Is 620,000 dead soldiers and a few thousand dead southerner civilians an acceptable price to pay for keeping the south in the union?

  35. now hold up there RC. quite simply, if justifications given to the population for the war didn’t matter, as f.rothbard suggests, and expecting at least a modicum of honesty from elected officials is unimportant, then why bother with all the rigamarole like debate and all that funky crap?

    but more importantly there are many ways to accomplish something. just because something gets a goal, at least a short term goal, doesn’t mean the best way was followed, obviously. sometimes the ends do not justify the means, and in this case i do not think the net result will be more security for the american population – as much as i would like to see some sort of liberal social and democratic government/culture/society grow out of this in iraq. selective tyranny-hunting is fine and good for action heroes in the movies and the like but within the boundaries f. rothbard brought up, it means fuck-all. maybe i’m too crass or too cynical but i don’t think any politican wakes up with the intent of making the world safe for liberty for everyone, at least none that get elected. and certainly not bush. iraq made for a good and easy target, and was the obvious choice.

    i agree with you in terms of the question of war being libertarian or not being at the very least irrelevant (it’s more like political goth or not, really). i most certainly don’t in terms of the current iraq war being a war of (preemptive?) self-defense, but that’s another story.

  36. matt, if you’re going to use the outcome and not intentions to judge the downside of the Civil War (dead soldiers and civilians), then you have to use the outcome and not intentions to judge the upside (keeping the South in the Union AND ending the abomination of slavery in America).

  37. Mr. Raimondo’s ludicrous post notwithstanding, there is plenty of libertarian disagreement about Gulf War II, Gulf War I, the Reagan Doctrine, etc. Anybody who is actually familiar with the “important” institutions in the libertarian/classical liberal/free-market movement would know that. In most of these cases, including Reason back years ago (trust me, I remember the conversations), there was no official “position” on the wars or policies in questions. At Cato, most of the folks I’ve known recently have been more anti-war, but that didn’t used to be as true there in my experience — nor is their a unified view among the Cato staff. Ditto in other think tanks, national and state, libertarian and conservative, I might add. I personally know many people who consider themselves libertarians or libertarian-leaning who favored the war (I was one of them). I know many libertarians who opposed it. For the most part, the debate within the movement has been interesting, civil, and well-informed. I can’t say the same for some of the folks here who oddly define any action by government as “anti-libertarian” (anarcho-capitalists are a subset of libertarians only, and IMHO a small one). Sure, governments do lots of things they shouldn’t do and can’t do well. But using force against thugs is what governments exists to do. I think there is plenty of room to debate where that power and responsibility ends — the borders of the U.S. (at one point in time, I might ask, since Alaska is pretty far removed from me in North Carolina) or beyond? — and whether it was prudent to act in the particular case of Iraq.

  38. matt: fine you want a name, call be Bob. Maybe matt is your real name, maye it is not. Who fucking cares.

    1) Article II, Section 2; Article 1, Section 8 give the President the power to make war, granted he has Congress’s approval. This is exactly what happened in the Iraq War, so your legality argument is toast.

    2) The DOI passage I cited gives a moral argument that our entire system is built upon. It is moral argument, and is one valid at all times and in any context.

    3) How is it unlibertarian to do a libertarian action? The British were agressors, the French helped stop agression. Same with the Baathists and the US.

    4) You are saying that a false sentiment invalidates a just act. I disagree (you may want a reward in stopping a rapist, but that doesn’t make your action any less moral). Regardless of it was spoken by Lincoln, it was very clear to anyone at the time that the war was about liberty vs. slaveocracy.

    5) There are two libertarian threads here: That fighting Saddam was for self-defense and that fighing Saddam was for freeing others. The fact that there are TWO arguments would seem to make the case for war more valid, not less.

  39. ” For the most part, the debate within the movement has been interesting, civil, and well-informed.”

    in other words, everywhere but LewRockwell Land (where the anarcho-neo-confederates run free!)

  40. Did Justin ever find Ted Rall’s secret oil pipeline in Afganistan?

  41. joe,

    The intentions of the north/Lincoln in the Civil War were not to free the slaves…for example: Why did the emancipation proclamation only apply to the Confederate slave states and not slave states that stayed in the Union? Obviously, ending slavery was good (that goes withhout saying i think), but why was forcing the south to remain in the union a good thing?

    “Bob”

    1) Nowhere in Article II section 8 is the president given the power to make war. Congress does, and no, we never had a formal declaration of war.
    2)The DOI listed the grievences of the colonists and provided the reasons for their secession from the British empire. It isn’t valid in just any context you want to use it in.
    3)Iraq never agressed against the US. We were the agressors. And I doubt the Iraqi’s see us as liberator’s…more like occupiers.
    4)If you read many northern newspapers and editorials at the time, it was not “clear” the war was about freeing the slaves. Some even editorialized in favor of the war so the south could not escape paying a drastically disproportiate amount of the tariff. Northern abolitionists made up a very small part of the population, and many including Lysander Spooner, were against the Northern invasion.
    5)Our invasion of Iraq was not for self defense…this is almost laughable. Saddam didn’t even have control over most of his country, how could he threaten us? Of course he could have been a possible threat to Israel, which is probably why went to war…well that and oil.

  42. Yeah, the Revolutionary War, Civil War, WWII, the Cold War, and the Gulf War did nothing to spread free minds and free markets by establishing representative democracries, freeing slaves, eradicating genocidal totalitarians, stopping the spread of a whole other batch of genocidal totalitarians, and ending the rule of yet another batch of genocidal totalitarians.

    Whenever the free nations of the West are attacked, we should just lay back and let the Nazis, Soviets, or Islamonutters have their way. That’s a sure recipe for spreading freedom.

  43. 1) Congress granted the President the power “to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq, and (2) enforce all relevant United Nation Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.”

    This amounts to a defacto declaration of war.

    (http://www.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/10/11/iraq.us/)

    2) I never said the whole document applied, only the passage I cited. The moral underpinning of the DOI applies to all peoples at all times.

    3) If a thug is raping your mother, he is not agressing against a policeman or bystander. None the less, you have a moral duty to stop him. Iraq’s Baathist regime was agressing against its own citizens, as well as funding, training and maintaining weapons and forces that would probably be used against us. Let’s also forget that tryannical regimes in the region contribute to other problems.

    4) Fuck Spooner, loveable crank that he is. You paleos really live in a bubble! The Republican Party was abolitionist and they controlled many levers of power. Southerners themselves admitted that the war was about slavery. Like it or not but a vote for secession really was a vote for Slave-Statism. I personally find it disgusting that you neo-confederates dare call yourselves libertarians while defending that cesspool of human bondage!

    5) Ah yes, the “war for oil” and “Isreal is behind it” memes. You paleos are laughably uncreative with your propaganda. At any rate, there are probably dozens of self-defense reasons for why we went to war. Putting geopolical pressure on the Saudies, improving general climate of the ME, scaring the shit out of the ME thugocracies, stopping Saddam from funding terrorists that were undermining the peace process, the WMDs, the Al Queda connections, to have armies close to Iran and Syria. Not to mention freeing a people and toppling a tyrant. NOt that your dogmatic simplistic mind will process all of that. What is a dead gassed Kurdish child to a person who celebrates black children enslaved in Confederate chains?

    You should really think for yourself matt, not be manipulated by Lenninist liars like Justin and Lew Rockwell.

  44. It never ceases to amaze me how frequently the Civil War is debated on these forums, and how many different topics can drag us back to the Civil War. Did somebody solve all of our modern controversies while I was sleeping? I thought we had enough things to worry about without looking back 140 years for more things to argue about.

  45. R.C. Dean,

    I think what matt is trying to say is that war has great potential for evil. All of the instances of war you list had negative consequences that are often forgotten in the after glow of victory, including the dampening of liberty even in the “free” countries (Japanese-American internment in WWII for example). I don’t think this makes war an unmitigated evil that should never be pursued, but it shouldn’t be looked fondly upon either as a desired solution either.

    Having said this, I would agree that the Civil War, especially after it changed to a war to end slavery, was a just war. World War I became a just war when Germany invaded Belgium and amongst other things, enslaved 100,000 Belgians to work in industries in Germany . However along these lines the Spanish-American war cannot likely be described as a just war, partly because its results were not liberation for the people of Cuba, the Phillipines, but more tyranny (I guess that throws me in with the consequentialist philosophers like John Stuart Mill, but so be it).

    Whether the last Gulf War can ultimately be justified is in IMHO a decision that cannot be made now.

  46. I think you miss a more conceptual split between those who see libertarianism/freedom as always being anti-government and those with a broader view. Even in anarchy there would develope some organizing authorities to allow or disallow behaviors/activities in their venues which wouldn’t necessarily be geographical. When do those authorities qualify as government?

  47. I think what matt is trying to say is that war has great potential for evil. All of the instances of war you list had negative consequences that are often forgotten in the after glow of victory, including the dampening of liberty even in the “free” countries (Japanese-American internment in WWII for example).

    Internment is as common as dirt. “Relocation” was the thing. And Relocation wasn’t limited to Japanese-Americans. Nor was internment limited to Japanese.

  48. In a book I read from Feral House, the auhtor mentioned in passing that Reason published a lot of CIA propaganda. So maybe you guys are just a front organization. Of course, the author also seemed to think that every popular musician who’d been murdered in the past 50 years was a victim of a government conspiracy.

  49. “When do those authorities qualify as government? ”
    the definition of a government is that which possesses the monopoly on the legal use of force.

    to those who say failing to attack iraq would hold americans’ freedom from force or fraud higher than iraqi rights (and, despicably, presents it as racism not to) have the burden of answering these questions
    1. in the process of iraq war, were americans free from force (forced to pay for even if they opposed it) or fraud (WMD Jr Boulevard)?
    answer: non and no.
    2. in the process of the iraq war, are iraqis currently free from force (certainly not) or fraud (for an answer read “iraq: the first hundred days” the ludicrouslyy optimistic report from our pals in the government)

    therefore ti would appear that the iraq war actually violated the freedom from force and fraud on the part of both americans AND iraqis

    i prefer americans to be free but not iraqis to neither americans nor iraqis to ahve that freedom

    of coruse i like both having it better still

    but

    thats nto quite possible in a world where saddam hussein and l paul bremer live now is it?

    methinks you didn’t really read raimondo’s post, and inserted conspiracy theory and denunciations of the zionists into it because i saw none

    joe:
    matt, if you’re going to use the outcome and not intentions to judge the downside of the Civil War (dead soldiers and civilians), then you have to use the outcome and not intentions to judge the upside (keeping the South in the Union AND ending the abomination of slavery in America).”

    so you are saying that blacks had the rigths they deserved following the civil war?

    get real. slavery existed until 1960, it was called sharecropping. racial discrimination, too. about thew only noticeable lingering effect of the war of northern aggression seems to be that it was the turning point in the expanding powers of the federal government over the state governments and thus the end of federalism as a meaningful institution kin america.

  50. In a book I read from Feral House, the auhtor mentioned in passing that Reason published a lot of CIA propaganda.

    That would probably be Alex Constantine, who once accused me via e-mail of being part of a Nazi mind control conspiracy. God bless him.

  51. D Angelphone,

    Hmm, relocated and then interned in camps; forced sales of property was also common; the FDR administration lied to the Supreme Court in _Korematsu_ about the threat level as well (they “sexed up” their report in other words). And that similar things happened to German and Italian Americans doesn’t make the picture any brighter in my eyes.

  52. There is only one justification for the governments war on Iraq that is consistent with libertarian principle and that is if it had to be done to protect Americans i.e. Saddam was going attack us or he enabled others or was going to enable others to do so. There is no other libertarian justification. The government has no more right to force us to free Iraq then it does to force us to feed less affluent Americans or pay for Airline bail outs or pay for the Israeli occupation. The fact that when the government does these things they are usually unmitigated disasters and that the government is often the cause of the problems in the first place is extra to this point; just as its extra to this point that the government seems to have concocted whoppers concerning the WMD and the terrorist connections to Iraq.
    Iraqis and people every where should be free but
    it doesn’t follow that the government should force us to participate in attempts to liberate them.

    Look at the sad folly of the government’s foreign intervention. THEY helped build Saddam’s brutal regime! Now, how many people have died in destroying it?

    Things would be so much better and safer if we followed the council of the founders of our republic: not to let the government become involved in other nations affairs. War is the most radical transgression against this advice.

    “War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses.” – Thomas Jefferson

    And dangerous to liberty:
    “The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home.” – James Madison

  53. The cover story of the most recent New Republic mentions that the Reason foundation sponsored a tour of “anticommunist” rebel forces during the Reagan era, to try to solidify the relationships between the rebel groups and domestic conservative organizations like AEI.

    Any dirty Scaife money in your coffers? Be honest.

  54. Look, libertarianism doesn’t HAVE a foreign policy.

    Your foreign policy depends on which particular thinker influenced you the most. And they are widely diverging.

    I don’t think you can find any consistent foreign policy amongst libertarian thinkers – ie Rand versus Rothbard. But there is no denying that they are both DEFINITELY libertarian. And no one appointed Mr. Raimondo as the high-priest in charge of admitting people to libertarianism.

    Maybe in the future someone will come up with something we can all agree on.

    In the meantime, the best that the likes of Reason Magazine can do is to present the best argument both pro and anti war. It is possible to make convincing arguments for both sides starting from libertarian basic principles. Individuals can make up their own minds – there doesn’t need to be a party line. This sounds pretty libertarian to me.

  55. Jag:

    So, basically, you’re saying people might need to sort out potentially conflicting principles and examine them in light of the particular facts on a case-by-case basis? I thought there was some sort of orthodoxy that we could derive everything from, so we wouldn’t need to think for ourselves.

    Or, at least, judging from what I see on these forums that’s how it seems…

    (note: The above was sarcasm.)

  56. Jean Bart,

    What RC was saying, to pick up on your condescending tone if I may, was that if you take away our decisive action in the aforementioned wars, genocidal maniacs would have been left unchecked to detriment of humanity.

    I know you proceeded to give your approval to these wars nonetheless though your queasy prefacing deserved a response.

    And Japanese internment was not a direct result of the war but of the overwhelming prejudices of one man, FDR, and those that facilitated him, the Democratic party.

    Through the govt control of the press at that time and after such a ghastly attack on our territory, the populace could hardly be held accountable for not voicing more of a protest.

  57. Anon wrote:
    “so rick,
    should a private company have gone overseas to overthrow saddam?”

    It would be more libertarian i.e. “fair” if private interests had carried out his removal and probably with less blood shed as well. But remember the idea is that with out this massive US government foreign intervention and entanglements, it might not have been necessary. Remember, the government had a big role in building up the Saddam Regime.

    Useful Idiot wrote:
    “Only Americans have rights life, liberty and property, brown Iraqis shouldn’t…”

    Just because some say the GOVERNMENT shouldn’t do it (and probably can’t) doesn’t mean they are saying that it’s not a good thing to do. But this is this how things get twisted when the government is so pervasive in this area.

    “Do you realize in their occupation the Zionists have people get on busses and blow themselves up…”

    The sad point you’re missing is that average Israeli citizens are also victims of the occupation (in Israel this point is common to the debate) and the continued theft of Palestinian land under Sharon’s “Greater Israel” designs as they bare the brunt of the continued reaction against it. But Sharon continues to follow this disastrous course (sadly, backed by US tax dollars) in part, because he has made political league with religious extremists who demand it. For an account of the harmful effect of Jewish fundamentalism on Israeli polity (as well as very interesting Jewish history) see: “Jewish History Jewish Religion: the weight of three thousand years” by Israel Shahak. See also: “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel” by Israel Shahak and Norton Mezvinsky.

  58. I just want to weigh in here and say that all you pro-Isreal, pro-war liberventionists are NOT libertarians but are actually poo-poo heads. So nah nah nah, you stink too!

  59. Matt’s comment included the qualification, “in my opinion,” which seems to imply that other opinions are possible. Which is what Tim’s article is about. IMHO.

  60. Mike,

    No kidding Sherlock.

    Everytime someone disagrees with you, they need to post IMO or preface that they do not necessarily think that the government come and surgically seal your mouth shut?

    This is all nothing but the bantering of opinions and the adult population in attendance, when responding to my posts, need not preface their remarks with any puerile little bromides about “your opinion – my opinion.”

    Besides, your opinion stinks! Nah nah nah nah.

  61. Jean Bart,

    No apologies from me for FDR & company. Relocation was mandatory but the Relocation Camps were voluntary. They existed because the J-As had no place to go.

  62. Ray, could you post a link to pictures of the massive demonstrations the Republican party held in opposition to the internment of the Japanese-Americans? The ones with banners calling for racial equality and civil liberties?

    That was Taft’s platform, wasn’t it?

  63. ,

    Joe wrote:
    Rick,
    Wasn’t the Continental Congress a government? Mythology aside, the American Revolution was not carried out by independent actors, but under the banner (actually, under the banner!) of the United States. United what? United STATES

    The “Independent actor” aspect of our revolution can’t be fairly charecterized as “mythology”. See:
    “The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” by Bernard Bailyn and also: “Chronicals of the American Revolution”, by Hezekiah Niles, Edited by Alden T. Vaughan (great first person history in the latter volume.

    An interesting point. But remember our revolution was against our own government at the time, as the British Crown was our government then. Also, the Continental Congress didn’t have the coercive ability that our government has now.
    Could they force people to take part? Or force them to finance it? Also, I’m pretty sure we wasn’t the “United States” yet.

  64. “So you are saying that libertarianism says that if I sell you a pistol you can shoot me with it? DISGUSTING.”

    No, libertarianism says that the world would be a safer and more fair place if our government didn’t
    arm tyrants as it did with Saddam in the first place.

    “More than Japan, Germany and S. Korea received in direct miltary protection? Those bases cost money too, no?”

    I’m not sure, when counted that way which nations total is greatest but there is very good cause to cut off Japan, Germany and S. Korea as well as Israel.

    “How about ending the occupation and oppression of the Palistinians in Syria and Jordan?”

    There is no “occupation” of the Palestinians in Syria and Jordan?” But, Jordan has certainly oppressed the Palestinians. I don’t know how many Palestinians there are in Syria but it wouldn’t surprise me if they have been oppressed since Syria is an authoritarian dictatorship.

    “You know, the same nations that expellelled an equal amount of Jews during the Independance?”

    I don’t believe thats anywhere close to being true. Can you quote a source for that?

    “But noooo, Rick “blames ze jews.” ”

    Oh, of course, when your arguments are weak just
    try to play the “racist” card.

    “Money well spent if it kills pieces of shit that order attacks on civilian busses.”

    The huge majority of the deaths our government is paying for are innocent civilians. And also, the funding of the occupation keeps the cycle of violence going.

    “And who started the intifada? Are Isrealies blowing up busses full of children?”

    The intifada is a response to the occupation. The Isreali army is certainly killing Palestinian children.

    “… the pieces of shit running the PA/Hammas who planning the murder of Jewish children at innocent Palistinian children’s expense.”

    So, you don’t like the P.A. huh? Well, How about our government stops funding them?

    The balance of your comments are so incoherent and full of name calling that I don’t think they
    merritt a reply.

  65. Bob wrote:
    “…Rick quotes the Founders to support a murderous arch Murder-Statists such as Saddam Hussein…”

    If the founders (or people who held to their non-interventonist principles) were in “power” (I use the term gingerly since the founders were so distrustful of it) Saddam never would have recieved the US government assistance that he did.

    Remember the pictures of Rumsfeld chumming it up with the tyrant as he lays big bucks on him to help fight our then current Mid-east boogie man state: Iran?

    “…would he (Rick) be so worried about the minimal amount of aid that …Isreal recieves?
    Yeah that fucking .0001 cents that each Isreali recieves in US aid”

    Wrong!
    Israel, recieves more foriegn aid in total dollars and per/capita from the US government then any other nation. Over the years in excess of 100 billion dollars! The current aid would do much less harm if it was actually given to each Isreali but unfortunatly, most of it goes to the IDF (Israeli military)and much is used to enforce and expand the occupation. Our government stipulates that two thirds of it must be spent
    with US arms makers. Even if you care not an iota about Palastinian suffering (more Palestinian children killed during the most recent intifada then total Israelis) you should care for the suffering that this “aid” brings on common Israelis or at least listen to the arguements some of them make in opposition to to the US aid, Sharon and the religious nuts that form a base of his support in Israeli politics.

  66. Rick:

    Don’t want to get it a detailed back-and-forth with you (no time), but I was struck by this exchange you had with your interlocutor:

    “”So you are saying that libertarianism says that if I sell you a pistol you can shoot me with it? DISGUSTING.””

    “No, libertarianism says that the world would be a safer and more fair place if our government didn’t arm tyrants as it did with Saddam in the first place.”

    If you are suggesting that libertarianism would result in our government never arming tyrants, for any reason, then you are employing a definition of libertarianism that has no relevance to the real world. In the real world, even a free republic with minimal interest in overseas trade and foreign affairs might well find it expedient, when confronted with deadly enemies or serious threats to peace and security elsewhere that might reasonably result in severe military or economic consequences for us, to ally with less-than-savory states for mutual benefit. Thus we armed the Soviets to fight the Germans, the Chinese to fight the Japanese, and so on. And just as Britain’s enemies helped to arm the American revolutionaries, and thank goodness they did.

    In the Saddam case, the obvious U.S. goal in the early 1980s was to counter the influence of revolutionary Iran, which (it was judged) was a greater threat to peace and security in the region than Saddam’s Iraq was. One doesn’t have to agree with the decision to recognize that it was a tough one and that doing nothing would have risked some grave consequences.

    Perhaps your argument is that the U.S. shouldn’t perceive peace and security in the Mideast or anywhere else outside the 50 states of the union as ever relevant to its own interests. I don’t agree. Thomas Jefferson certainly did NOT share your point of view on this, as history clearly demonstrates. Nor do many libertarians (though they might well, and properly, question the wisdom of our past policy in this particular case). Please speak for yourself only.

    Also, whatever they are, Israelis are not tyrants. That debases the word.

  67. To the contrary, it is exactly the consideration of the real world (and fair play as well) that makes the case for libertarianism in foriegn relations:
    My point with Saddam and Iran is, with libertarian restrictions on interventionism in place, the scenario you recount that:

    “Iran, which (it was judged) was a greater threat to peace and security in the region”

    would not be any where close to warranting government action and (to get back to the real world) things would probably been much better had our government not helped enable his tyranny.

    “… a free republic… might well find it expedient, when confronted with deadly enemies..”

    If were actually having a real confrontation with deadly enemies then defense is more then just “expedient”. (but, the record of history shows that a more interventionist policy leads to more of these confrontations) but when:

    “..serious threats to peace and security ELSEWHERE…” is judged to be sufficient sanction for government action it actually INCREASES the chances for:
    “severe military or economic consequences for us”

    “…ally with less-than-savory states for mutual benefit. Thus we armed the Soviets to fight the Germans, the Chinese to fight the Japanese, and so on.”

    And look what happened, the government helped enable the two most lethal tyrannies in history.
    And look at all the “so on’s”, it would be comical
    except so many people have died as a result.

    “Perhaps your argument is that the U.S. shouldn’t perceive peace and security in the Mideast or anywhere else outside the 50 states of the union as ever relevant to its own interests.”

    I don’t have a problem with government “perceiving”, though their perception is often faulty, 🙂 as long as they don’t initiate force.

    (the) “Israelis are not tyrants.”

    I certainly agree. Although, the occupation and the Sharon regimes treatment of the Palestinians may be fairly characterized as tyrannical. And now, with Sharon’s implementation of Nazi style inter- marriage restrictions against the Palestinians on top of his favoring “Jews only” housing restrictions on government land (Overt discrimination against the nations 20% Arab population–It might even be law by now, I’m not sure) there is more then ample reason, even if you don’t have libertarian compunctions against foreign aid in general, to end the US taxpayer dollars to the Israeli government.

  68. “Thomas Jefferson certainly did NOT share your point of view on this, as history clearly demonstrates. Nor do many libertarians”

    I think most libertarians do. Could you please expain: “Thomas Jefferson certainly did NOT”

  69. Bob,

    You’re “de facto” declaration of war was nothing more than Congress abdicating its Constitutional responsibility to declare war as Jacob Hornberger discusses here:

    http://www.fff.org/comment/com0308k.asp

    And labeling Raimando and Rockwell “Lennist liars” is pretty low even for you.

  70. “Saddam never would have recieved the US government assistance that he did.”

    So you are saying that libertarianism says that if I sell you a pistol you can shoot me with it? DISGUSTING.

    “Israel, recieves more foriegn aid in total dollars and per/capita from the US government then any other nation.”

    More than Japan, Germany and S. Korea received in direct miltary protection? Those bases cost money too, no? But they are not Jewish…

    “The current aid would do much less harm if it was actually given to each Isreali but unfortunatly, most of it goes to the IDF (Israeli military)and much is used to enforce and expand the occupation.”

    How about ending the occupation and oppression of the Palistinians in Syria and Jordan? You know, the same nations that expellelled an equal amount of Jews during the Independance? But noooo, Rick “blames ze jews.”

    “Our government stipulates that two thirds of it must be spent with US arms makers.”

    Money well spent if it kills pieces of shit that order attacks on civilian busses.

    “Even if you care not an iota about Palastinian suffering (more Palestinian children killed during the most recent intifada then total Israelis)”

    And who started the intifada? Are Isrealies blowing up busses full of children? Show me one fucking palistinian Ghandi and maybe I would care more about the pieces of shit running the PA/Hammas who planning the murder of Jewish children at innocent Palistinian children’s expense.

    Rick, you are a fucking appoligist for murder-statism. But I suppose if I am anti-Murder-State and anti-Slave-State I am a “neocon” anyway, since being libertarian now means you must be anti-United-States.

    If you are “mainstream libertarian” then count me out of your pathetic movement.

  71. What is more bullshit: That Rick quotes the Founders to support a murderous arch Murder-Statists such as Saddam Hussein or murderous killers of innocent (yet Jewish or Kurdish) infants and toddlers? So I sell you a pistol, this gives you right to fucking blow my toddler’s brains out?

    If it it was his son or daughter that had his/her brains shredded by a piece of shrapnel or a bombthrown nail or poision gas, would he be so worried about the minimal amount of aid that (Jewish) Isreal recieves?

    (http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=34057)

    Yeah that fucking .0001 cents that each Isreali recieves in US aid is justification for a dude to blow himself up on a large piece of civilian transport.

    Paleos such as Rick are cowardly pieces of shit.

  72. Justin Raimondo wrote:
    “There are no “competing strains” of libertarianism on the question of the Iraq, or any other war: there is only the libertarian position, and the pro-war (non-libertarian) position.”

    “or any other war”? Wouldn’t a war on an entity or nation that attacked us be at least more libertarian (just) then the Iraq war? Was not the government justified in counter attacking Al Qaeda? Not that the Afghanistan campaign was nessasrily justified but wasn’t some kind of counter attack? Now, I hasten to add that I believe that there is heavy evidence that if Justin Raimondo (and most libertarians) were having their way with regard to our governments foreign policy i.e. reduced to, at most, a much, much more modest one, 9/11 would never have happened. But, the question is still valid.

  73. joe,

    Wasn’t the Continental Congress a government? Mythology aside, the American Revolution was not carried out by independent actors, but under the banner (actually, under the banner!) of the United States. United what?

    Actually, neither the Continental Congress nor the Confederation Congress was a government. Neither had any direct legislative authority over the American people. In twentieth century terms, it was a treaty organization (with subordinate joint military command) created by sovereign states–much like NATO and SHAPE headquarters. The only authority Congress had was over its own administrative departments. It issued commands to the Continental Army and Post Office, ordered dusbursement of funds from the Treasury, and so forth. But it could only recommend that the states pass domestic legislation, even regarding the definition of treason, punishment of counterfeiting, etc.

    All the war powers exercised by the Continental Army were delegated by the states. In fact, they were exercised directly by the states before the Continental Army was created in June 1775. Starting in the fall of 1774, after the assumption of the royal government’s functions by the Massachusetts Convention, the revolutionary government of that colony took over direction of the militia, magazines, etc. And in the spring of 1775, as an invasion attempt became more likely, the Massachusetts convention took steps to create a standing army of up to 30,000. Other New England states followed suit.

    Lexington and Concord were fought entirely under the authority of the Massachusetts colonial government; Bunker Hill was fought under a joint command of the New England states.

    Massachusetts initiated the Revolution and fought its first battles on her own sovereign authority, and then asked for fraternal aid from other states in the diplomatic assembly known as the Continental Congress.

  74. Rick:

    OK, I’ve got a spare moment, so we will do the to-and-fro.

    Where to start?

    First, a general point. Libertarianism certainly prohibits or restricts “interventionism” in the economy, personal life, etc. These are cases where the government is infringing on the rights enjoyed by private individuals to conduct their business and their lives as they see fit. To apply this reasoning to military action against tyrannical states abroad is just silly. There may well be prudential reasons for a free republic not to engage in military action overseas — indeed, there are often prudential reasons not to do so — but there is no moral principle that prohibits it. That’s what properly limited governments exist to do: to use physical force to stop aggressors and thugs. The debate is about whether that power and authority should be used beyond our borders. I think there are cases in which it is in our interest to do so — particularly when foreign tyrants threaten our citizens abroad, the freedom of navigation, the freedom to trade, or the freedom of a large segment of our fellow human beings.

    BTW, that’s what Jefferson thought, too. “Shores of Tripoli” and all that. Plus, he thought it proper (and so do I) that the U.S. expand to encompass additional territory, territory previously not within the constitutional authority of the government, so as to spread liberty and safeguard America’s own borders and interests.

    OK, on to specifics.

    You apparently question whether the U.S. should have armed the Russians against Hitler and the Chinese against the Japanese. Sure, there has been a little of revisionist thought about these decisions. I find the issue interesting in an academic sense. However, I think that Roosevelt’s policy was a good one ultimately handled badly. That is, the Western Allies should have been more willing to confront the Soviets at the end of the war. The Brits and Americans should have been willing to take their weary nations into additional conflict so as to keep millions of Europeans from living in communist despotism.

    But I know others disagree, in that they believe that their libertarian principles must stop at the water’s edge.

    On China, very little of our aid when to the Reds, if that’s your implication.

    On the Saddam example, the thinking in the 1980s was that if revolutionary Iran were to have defeated Iraq, seized some of its territory (particularly in the south), and then exported Islamist terror elsewhere in the region, the result would have been worse than it already was in much of the Mideast. Actually, in this case the Western tilting in favor of Iraq basically resulted in a stalemate in that war, which I gather was the goal.

    The basic problem here is that you believe that a libertarian America should never care 1) whether millions are subject to slavery or death elsewhere, 2) whether relatively stable and peaceful or relatively militarist and dangerous states control key economic assets or sit bestride key avenues of world trade, 3) whether freedom of trade and navigation is threatened, 4) whether instability in other lands might breed dangerous ideologies or terrorist groups, and 5) whether dangerous regimes arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction and then begin to blackmail us or dictate the terms of trade.

    Sorry, but these beliefs have nothing to do with libertarianism as a guide for the proper role of government. They are isolationist, rather nationalistic, and perhaps they are correct (obviously I don’t agree). But there is nothing inevitably libertarian about them. That’s the main point I was trying to make, which I notice you did not answer.

  75. John, you wrote:
    “You (presumably) think that a limited government has the right and responsibility to combat violations of peace and freedom within the domestic confines of the U.S., but never or almost-never elsewhere.”

    Yes, and in some cases “elsewhere” but these cases are only to be considered with the criteria of attack on Americans or their property or such attack seems imminent. Besides violation of libertarian principle, I believe that the record of history, including quite recent history, shows that a more interventionist policy increases the chances for such attacks and endangers American interests.

    “But there is no moral principle that forbids a free society from conducting military action”

    Surely, you don’t really mean that. Any government military action? The only government military action that is consistant with libertarian principle is that which is required to protect American life and property.

    “including, of course, preemptive action against a dangerous threat ”

    It has to be an IMMINENT ( and real of course) “dangerous threat”. The War on Iraq, for example, fails the test for a “just war” dramatically. And, with tragic result.

    Thank you very much for the exchange John. I found it interesting and stimulating. Take care.

    ly.

  76. the “ly” at the end of my post has no meaning. I think it was my cat…

  77. Kevin Carson,
    Thank you for sharing the interesting history on the American Revolution.

  78. Rick:

    We are talking past each other, which is a sure sign that it’s time to move on. My previous post and your latest one provide all the reader needs to evaluate our positions regarding specific examples.

    As to the general, here’s what you wrote:

    “John,
    The version of libertarianism you advocate is so narrow and different from the real thing that we would have to call it by a different name, perhaps “domestic only libertarianism” or some such. But, granting government the large latitude you do (in ways the founders of our republic would never countenance) in international matters often winds up “infringing on the rights enjoyed by private individuals to conduct their business and their lives as they see fit.”

    It is manifestly obvious to me that the term “domestic-only libertarianism” is a fair description of your position. You (presumably) think that a limited government has the right and responsibility to combat violations of peace and freedom within the domestic confines of the U.S., but never or almost-never elsewhere. My view is that libertarianism as a guide for government action recognizes no national or ethnic boundaries as to moral rights and duties. I’m not arguing for a libertarian crusade or world government. I think that prudence should guide, and constrain, our military actions. But there is no moral principle that forbids a free society from conducting military action — including, of course, preemptive action against a dangerous threat just as domestic law enforcement can so act with probable cause — against a foreign tyranny. That tyranny is not a legitimate, sovereign entity, and so there is no government “interventionism” in a libertarian sense here — unless you believe that all government actions, including monopoly use of force at home to safeguard peace and freedom, are off limits. If so, you are an anarchist, not a libertarian.

  79. John,
    The version of libertarianism you advocate is so narrow and different from the real thing that we would have to call it by a different name, perhaps “domestic only libertarianism” or some such. But, granting government the large latitude you do (in ways the founders of our republic would never countenance) in international matters often winds up “infringing on the rights enjoyed by private individuals to conduct their business and their lives as they see fit.”

    “…but there is no moral principle that prohibits it. (military action overseas) That’s what properly limited governments exist to do: to use physical force to stop aggressors and thugs.”

    It is the exact same libertarian principle that proscribes government from forcing me to pay for others food that also proscribes the government from forcing me to pay for military (or other involvement)in order to make the Iraqis (or the Tibetans or any other people) free or safe.

    “The basic problem here is that you believe that a libertarian America should never care…”

    No; that’s not what I believe at all. I believe the government should not be able to force others to act on ITS “caring”. (In the real world the governments international as well as domestic “caring” is often for politically connected special interests) In fact, in a libertarian America the caring would manifest itself in international issues with capitalistic efficiency as opposed to the welfare/warfare state approach.

    On to some of your examples:

    “whether millions are subject to slavery or death elsewhere”

    The government, on principle, should never force us to participate in remedying a situation like these. In the real world it is a policy of government intervention that has enabled or helped enable hideous tyrannies, such as Iraq, the Soviet Union, and Afghanistan, that have led these horrors.

    “whether relatively stable and peaceful or relatively militarist and dangerous states control key economic assets or sit bestride key avenues of world trade”

    Having the government able to take action on these types of concerns leads away from a capitalistic world to one of force and domination and history has demonstrated that then, we have produce more, not less “militarist and dangerous states”. Be careful, we do have unprincipled nutballs who have actually advocated stealing oil from despotic regimes for “national security”

    “whether instability in other lands might breed dangerous ideologies or terrorist groups,”

    If you think government should have sanction to take action on this type of concerns you are really countervailing libertarian principle but it is a hyper-interventionist government policy that actually has bred plenty of terrorism. Do you think 9/11 would have happened sans the governments intervention in the Mid-east?

    “whether dangerous regimes arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction and then begin to blackmail us or dictate the terms of trade.”

    Are you kidding? Do you think the long held conservative position, a mainstay of conservative politics really, (going all the way back to the founders) against pre-emptive attack is wrong? In the further light of the Iraq war?

    “I find the issue (the governments arming the Soviets) ( the government also gave them critical and huge financial support) interesting in an academic sense.”

    Now, of course it’s just an “academic” question as you say but if our government had followed libertarian principle at the time, they wouldn’t have enabled the release of the worst cancer in the history of humankind.

  80. Rick Barton wrote: It has to be an IMMINENT ( and real of course) “dangerous threat”. The War on Iraq, for example, fails the test for a “just war” dramatically. And, with tragic result.

    I believe the argument for war was that if a given threat were imminent, then that is not an acceptable risk to the American people and allies. So, why wait until the last second? That reminds me of scenes in western movies/shows om where there are two people in the street with sidewarms. The good guy waits until the other guy draws, he draws his own gun, just in time to either kill the bad guy or to shoot the gun out of his hand. This isnt a rational way of doing things in real life. The bad guy could be quicker on the draw.

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