Monday, July 30, 2007

RE: A Libertarian War in Afghanistan?

Over on Lew Rockwell, Walter Block continues his discussion of why the wars in Iraq, and even in Afghanistan, cannot be justified on Libertarian grounds. He gives the following scenario:
The problem we face in making sense of these horrible events is bias. We are all naturally biased in favor of "our" side: Americans in favor of their fellow citizens, and foreigners on their own side. In an attempt to obviate this, let us no longer speak of groups such as the United States, Al-Qaeda, Afghanis, Iranians, Iraqis, Arabs, Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, etc. Instead, let us attempt to look at this matter through less jaundiced eyes, in a more dispassionate manner.Accordingly, let us speak not in terms of the above categories, but instead, for simplicity’s sake, of A and B.

Let us posit that A begins our little drama by murdering 5 of B’s children. Now, the just thing would be for B to capture A, and to subject him to the full penalties provided by law for such an outrage. However, B does something very different, and totally unjustified. He murders one of A’s children. Why so few? Let us stipulate that A is much more powerful than B, and that the murder of only one of A’s innocent children was the "best" he could do.

Assume, that even though A is more powerful than B, both are so well entrenched that justice will not easily be meted out to either of these murderous scoundrels. So now what? What insights does libertarian theory afford us in this context? Several conclusions may be drawn, I think.

One, neither party should be encouraged to invade the territory of the other. To do so, given that both are strong enough not to be brought to the bar of justice, would only mean the senseless killing of still others, neighbors of A or B, whichever is the victim of subsequent hostilities. However, if we take a God’s eye point of view, and entertain the contrary to fact conditional that one but only one of these nefarious characters can indeed be punished for the murder of the others’ child(ren), then it is clear that A must be brought to justice. There are two reasons for this. The minor one: A killed far more innocent children than did B. Major reason: A was the first to engage in murder; in the street vernacular, he "started up." B is no saint. He, too, spilled innocent blood. But he retaliated, he did not begin. There is surely a lower rung in hell reserved for those who begin such dastardly chain reactions than those who "merely" follow suit.
I would like to add another party to this. Suppose, for a moment, that "A" is a more complex entity. Suppose that A actually retains C, paying C for representing him in certain circles, and for defending him from violence. C was actually the one that murdered five of B's children, and A was quite unaware of C's depredations (probably negligent in his oversight). When B murdered one of his children, he was understandably quite upset about it.

However, suppose A kept his head, and tried to find out why B would do such a ghastly thing. C simply insisted B was an unstable psychopath, but A did some investigating, and discovered C's murder of B's children... done in A's name. What would A be most justified in doing?

I think probably the smartest thing A could start with is terminating C's services, even offering C up for justice for the initial murder of B's five children. As to what should be done about B's murder, A should either pursue legal avenues against B himself (NOT retaliate against B by killing yet another child).

The real world extrapolation of this is a thorough electoral revolution on the part of the United States. The American People may be guilty of negligence, but we are not, as a whole, responsible for the acts our elites took upon themselves to instigate. For this reason, the Terrorists are as wrong to engage in their indiscriminate attacks upon regular people as B is, in the previous scenario, to attack A's child for what he perceived as A's act. However, we must not forget that it was the established political elite that started this whole thing.

Ron Paul, to the best of my knowledge, is not a member of this political elite. Unlike every nominee of the major parties for at least the past two generations, Ron Paul is not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (nor is he a member of Skull and Bones, of which BOTH major party nominees in the 2004 elections were a part). He consistently votes "No" on legislation not authorized by the Constitution. He successfully challenged a potential Democratic switchover in the Republican primaries, taking on the Republican National Committee's attempt to promote said Democratic switchover (details here). Even George W. Bush himself (then governor of Texas) supported Greg Laughlin, Democrat incumbent, against Ron Paul!

Voting for Ron Paul is, I believe, the closest realistic equivalent to rejecting C's services in favor of someone else. Vote for Ron Paul.

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Anonymous said...

Tarvok buries pro-Ron Paul articles without reading them first.
Read before bury.
Bad Tarvok.

Tarvok said...

I do what, now? If you get this, please identify yourself, so I can find out what you're talking about. I digg just about every pro Ron Paul article I find... and yes, I read, and enjoy them, before I digg.

Let me know what articles I have buried, so I can check on that. I'd hate to find out that some kind of "bug" in Digg's system is counting diggs as burries, or worse.