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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Libertarians & War
    #3244408 - 10/11/04 08:25 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

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Libertarians & War

by Harry Browne

May 3, 2003

I've been surprised by the number of libertarians who have supported the war against Iraq.

The two principal arguments I've heard from libertarian war-supporters are:

1.

Saddam Hussein is a threat to the U.S. We must remove him from power before he attacks us or gives weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

2.

We libertarians should be the first to support the liberation of the Iraqi people from a cruel dictator.

The Threat

With regard to the first argument, supporting a politician's pre-emptive attack violates virtually every principle underlying libertarian thought ? the simple truths that are taught in Libertarianism 101.

For example . . .

1. Non-aggression: Most libertarians believe you shouldn't initiate force against someone who has never used force against you. Force is to be used only in self-defense ? not used just because you don't happen to like someone, or because someone doesn't like you, or because he might become dangerous in the future, or because some third party has attacked you and you want to prove you're not a wimp. The same principles must apply to our nation ? that it shouldn't use force against a nation that hasn't attacked us.

2. Credibility of Politicians: The idea that Hussein posed a substantial threat to America is based entirely on claims made by the Bush administration. When did libertarians start believing anything politicians say? Politicians routinely lie about fictitious budget surpluses, "budget cuts," drug matters, crime statistics, and almost anything else. Remember the old joke?:

"How can you tell when a politician is lying?"

"His lips move."

The Bush administration has already been caught in numerous falsehoods concerning Iraq:

*

claiming Iraq was consorting with Al-Qaeda (refuted by the CIA),
*

saying Iraq was acquiring aluminum tubes to make nuclear bombs (refuted by scientists and UN inspectors),
*

producing satellite photos of alleged chemical-weapons sites (that on-the-spot investigations proved to have no chemical weapons),
*

citing mobile chemical-weapons labs (that turned out to have no chemical weapons),
*

giving worthless leads to UN weapons inspectors,
*

claiming that Iraq was seeking enriched uranium (citing documents that turned out to be crude forgeries),
* referring to a British dossier as evidence (a dossier that turned out to have been plagiarized from a 12-year-old thesis written by a college student),

. . . and much more.

Even if none of these falsehoods had come to light, libertarians should always be skeptical of any claims made by politicians.

3.Government doesn't work: The federal government has devastated what was once the best health-care system in history, it is trashing our children's schools, its Drug War has pulverized the inner cities, it has left chaos in its wake in Afghanistan. In fact, you'd be hard put to think of a single government program that fulfilled the rosy promises made for it.

So why would you think the promises of Iraqi freedom and democracy will be fulfilled? This is the same government that's messed up everything else. Just because "national defense" is Constitutionally authorized doesn't mean the government will handle it effectively.

The Defense Department is nothing more than the Post Office in fatigues.

And beating up a third-world country after disarming it isn't something any self-respecting country should put on its r?sum?.

4. Power will be abused: The President has been given tens of billions of dollars to spend on Iraq as he chooses. Do you assume he'll use it wisely, without a hint of corruption?

The FBI and other law-enforcement agencies have been given enormous new powers to jail people without warrant and hold them without trial or legal counsel. Do you assume they will employ these powers only against America's enemies?

Do you really want to give government one more excuse to expand its size, its power, and its intrusions into your life?

5.Government programs never stand still: Every other government program has turned out to be far more expensive, far more intrusive, and extend into far more areas than proposed originally. Why should this war prove to be an exception?

Do you really think the regime-changers ? after tasting the blood of innocents and the praise of the media and the citizenry ? will go back to bickering about farm subsidies and school-lunch programs?

Or will they look for more "monsters to destroy" (as John Quincy Adams put it)?

6. Government is politics: Whenever you turn anything over to the government, it ceases to be a financial, medical, commercial, educational, or human-rights matter, and becomes a political issue ? to be decided by whoever has the most political influence. And that will never be you or I.

Why should military matters be any different? Should we be surprised that companies like Bechtel and Halliburton have already received hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to rebuild Iraq without competitive bidding?

Did you really think this war would be fought with no regard for political gain or abuse?

7. You don't control the government: You can look at the previous six items and say you would have handled some things differently. But who asked you?

No one.

And no one ever will. You don't make the decisions.

The politicians use your support as endorsements for them to fulfill their objectives, not yours ? in their way, not yours.

That's true for health care, education, regulation ? and it's true for military matters.

In Sum . . .

Government is force, and libertarians distrust force.

They know it will be abused, they know force won't produce the results promised for it, they know politicians will lie about the exercise of force, they know force will eventually be uncontrollable, they know that power is inevitably abused, and they know that no government program achieves its purpose and then goes quietly into the night.

On every count of libertarian principles, we should demand that the use of force against foreign countries be reserved for response to direct attacks ? not to be used for "regime change," not for "democracy-building," not for pre-emptive attacks, not for demonstrations of strength.

Freeing People

The second argument offered by libertarians is that we should do anything we can to free other people from a brutal dictator.

I won't even deal with the fact that most of our knowledge of Hussein's brutality emanates from the U.S. government ? hardly the place a libertarian would look for unbiased, authoritative information about anything.

I'll also ignore the point that, while condemning Hussein's brutal dictatorship, the U.S. government is aiding dictatorships in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Pakistan, and many other countries. We shouldn't be surprised if we're told someday that we must go to war against those dictatorships, to free the people our tax dollars are helping to enslave today.

Let's deal instead only with the idea that we have a responsibility to free people in other countries.

Is it your responsibility to enter someone's home and beat up the man you believe is abusing his wife?

Is it your responsibility to go into a dangerous section of your city and protect people from drug gangs that engage in drive-by shootings?

You might say the Drug War breeds those gangs and shootings, and thus you're working instead to end the Drug War itself ? rather than trying to alleviate the symptoms of it.

Why then wouldn't you be working to end the causes of the profound anti-American sentiment that has swept the globe and provoked terrorist acts ? rather than trying to alleviate the symptoms by supporting the attacking of Iraq?
Responsibility

The answer to the question "Is it your responsibility?" is simple: that's for you to decide.

Each of us must choose for himself what he feels responsible for. If you believe you have a duty to help those fighting for Iraqi freedom ? perhaps even to go fight yourself ? you should be free to make that choice, and no one should get in your way.

But what gives you the right to make that choice for others?

Why should you have the power or moral authority to decide which countries I must free, which countries warrant extracting money from me by force, which dictatorships warrant provoking terrorist attacks that put my life at risk?

And what libertarian would believe that George Bush should have that moral authority ? plus the power to compel all of us to obey that authority?

You will face the consequences of your acts and I will face the consequences of mine. But George Bush won't face the consequences of his acts; you and I will. Is that the way it should be according to libertarian principles?

I think not.

And thus there is nothing George Bush can say that will make me believe I should put my faith in him to decide how many innocent Iraqis it's okay to kill, how many countries it's okay to attack and invade, how many Americans it's okay to put at risk, or how many libertarian principles it's okay to violate.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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InvisibleGreat_Satan
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244696 - 10/11/04 09:34 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)



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Offlineallmakescombined
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244719 - 10/11/04 09:41 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Extremist. As I expected.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: allmakescombined]
    #3244777 - 10/11/04 09:52 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Troll. As I expected.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlineallmakescombined
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244790 - 10/11/04 09:55 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Troll?

Whatever, ss7...

I honestly think you've lost your mind since you've become a Libertarian. Quit whining about it.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: allmakescombined]
    #3244801 - 10/11/04 09:58 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Quit whining about what? You're the one who popped into my thread to make a derogatory comment about me.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlineallmakescombined
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244823 - 10/11/04 10:03 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Actually, that comment was directed towards the article you posted.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: allmakescombined]
    #3244834 - 10/11/04 10:05 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Well, if you're addressing the article, it would be nice if you actually had a point to make.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlineallmakescombined
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244846 - 10/11/04 10:07 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Well, my feelings on the article is that it represents basic libertarian philosophy, which happens to be fanatical and extreme in my humble opinions.


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Offlineunbeliever
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: allmakescombined]
    #3244850 - 10/11/04 10:09 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

I wouldn't say that libertarianism is necessarily more extreme than any other given political philosophy. However, I would say that like religious fundamentalism it is more dangerous when it is applied in an extreme fashion and that also it attracts people inclined towards extremism. Just my opinion.


--------------------
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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: allmakescombined]
    #3244853 - 10/11/04 10:10 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

It is "extreme" in the sense that it is outside the mainstream, but this does not mean it isn't a good idea.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlineallmakescombined
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: unbeliever]
    #3244862 - 10/11/04 10:12 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

The thing is the most extreme Christian fundamentalists in the states (Seventh Seal Christians, and True Christians) have no power over domestic issues. On a foreign scale, the Religious Right rules supreme, which is why Israel has always been backed by the US.


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Offlineallmakescombined
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244867 - 10/11/04 10:13 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

It's extreme because it doesn't adapt to currently persisting situations. It's not flexible. It doesn't evolve, as I see it.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: allmakescombined]
    #3244874 - 10/11/04 10:15 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

That is absolutely incorrect. It takes power from the government, which is rigid and inefficient, and puts it into the free market, which is far more flexible.


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"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Offlineallmakescombined
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244878 - 10/11/04 10:16 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

That is absolutely incorrect.




You're starting to sound like luvdem.  :sad:


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Anonymous

Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3244972 - 10/11/04 10:38 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

1. Non-aggression: Most libertarians believe you shouldn't initiate force against someone who has never used force against you. Force is to be used only in self-defense ? not used just because you don't happen to like someone, or because someone doesn't like you, or because he might become dangerous in the future, or because some third party has attacked you and you want to prove you're not a wimp. The same principles must apply to our nation ? that it shouldn't use force against a nation that hasn't attacked us.

is harry browne suggesting that private citizens be permitted to own nuclear weapons and VX gas?

if so, he's followed the foundation of libertarianism to its logical conclusion.


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Invisiblesilversoul7
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: ]
    #3244974 - 10/11/04 10:39 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:

mushmaster said:
1. Non-aggression: Most libertarians believe you shouldn't initiate force against someone who has never used force against you. Force is to be used only in self-defense ? not used just because you don't happen to like someone, or because someone doesn't like you, or because he might become dangerous in the future, or because some third party has attacked you and you want to prove you're not a wimp. The same principles must apply to our nation ? that it shouldn't use force against a nation that hasn't attacked us.

is harry browne suggesting that private citizens be permitted to own nuclear weapons and VX gas?

if so, he's followed the foundation of libertarianism to its logical conclusion.



Read the other article by him that I posted. I think he is saying something like that.


--------------------


"It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong."--Voltaire


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Anonymous

Re: Libertarians & War [Re: silversoul7]
    #3245140 - 10/11/04 11:16 PM (12 years, 5 months ago)

he's strayed to far into the "attempted anarchy" end of the spectrum (as identified by the mushmaster chart) and the proposal would actually be inimical to individual rights.


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Offlinehound
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Re: Libertarians & War [Re: ]
    #3246198 - 10/12/04 04:05 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

Quote:



is harry browne suggesting that private citizens be permitted to own nuclear weapons and VX gas?





He wasn't suggesting anything of the sort in that article IMO. Maybe he has suggested that in the past, I don't know.


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Anonymous

Re: Libertarians & War [Re: hound]
    #3246629 - 10/12/04 10:41 AM (12 years, 5 months ago)

"Most libertarians believe you shouldn't initiate force against someone who has never used force against you. Force is to be used only in self-defense ? not used just because you don't happen to like someone, or because someone doesn't like you, or because he might become dangerous in the future, or because some third party has attacked you and you want to prove you're not a wimp."

this suggests that private citizens should be permitted to acquire and possess nuclear weapons and fully armed fighter jets up until the point where they initiate force against someone.


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