December 08, 2003

Hothouse Libertarians

Politically, I fall into the broad family of Libertarianism. As there is no particularly libertarian major party in existence right now in the US, this provides people like me with some practical electoral difficulties. They break down to the choices of sitting on the sidelines carping about "the violence inherent in the system" denying the system the legitimacy enhancement of my participation, voting straight ticket Libertarian party (who almost never win) or picking one of the two major parties and trying my best to improve it. Being a minarchist, and thus obsessed with the practical question of how much smaller can we get government, I often pick option 3 though in some circumstances actually voting libertarian makes sense. It all depends on whether voting libertarian in that particular election will conceivably swing the results and whether ballot access in future elections will be affected.

Why am I going through all this personal political opinion? It's important to the subsequent point of why I'm disagreeing with everybody else mentioned hereafter.

I don't have much of a beef with Glenn Reynolds because his contribution is almost entirely the link that set me off on this topic. He's wrong because he agrees with Professor Bainbridge but I can't say why he's wrong because he doesn't tell me why he so imprudently agrees with the good professor.

Speaking of Professor Bainbridge he's a bit nasty when he says The Mises Bloggers are Stark Raving Nuts. I agree with him that they are wrong but nuts? That's fighting dirty and unworthy of an academic. I'll come to the defense of Karen De Coster and agree that the War on Terror is false phraseology.

The fact that the worst of the non-integrating gap states that are the greatest threat to the current system also tend to be terror supporting states does not mean that our underlying cause is against terrorism per se. It rather is against the underlying problems that cause these states to grab onto the tactic of terrorism. The root causes lead to the poisonous branches of cults of nihilism that flower into the violence of terrorism. The problem isn't solved by merely clipping the flowers. They will merely come back. Clipping the noxious flowers is, however, necessary. This is where I part company with 'the Mises bloggers'. Karen De Coster's item ends with the following paragraph.

However, I'll never understand the leaners and their support of hegemony, war, and false phraseology such as the "war on terrorism." That's the stuff that separates the wheat from the chaff, and ultimately, freedom from chains.

In the first charge (hegemony) I think she's being unfair. I have no doubt that there would be no major tears shed amongst the leaners if France, Germany, Russia, Italy, China, and a dozen other countries were free of statism's grasp and giving the US economy a run for its money. Such a multipolar world of giants striving against giants in open, fair competition would be a good thing for the US even though it would destroy any thoughts about US hegemony.

The second charge (war) is as false a phraseology as the war on terror. War, like terrorism, is a tactic engaged by states to resolve various problems. Can war be justified? A war against tyranny can be, a war to defend yourself against aggression is also justified. The question really is which wars are justifiable and which are simply unjust.

The third charge (false pharseology of the War on Terror) is, as I stated above, true. The problem is that the falseness of the phraseology does not justify an anti-WoT position. The War on Terror is a propaganda statement and like all propaganda statements is crafted with a particular purpose in mind. If propaganda doesn't strictly conform to the truth the honest evaluater has to separate the kernels of truth from the obfuscation and misdirection.

There is an honest and proper case to be made in the practical world for the policies that are grouped under the War on Terror and which can be supported on libertarian grounds. You can't just say that there's a smidgen of falsehood in politics and stalk off to the side. That's hothouse libertarianism and while of theoretical benefit in maintaining ideological purity, it will serve us no good from the perspective of keeping the real chains that the islamists would put us all in.

In the real world, the Islamists are the bigger and more immediate threat. All those who would clap us in chains and take away our freedoms must be fought against but the ugliest and most direct threats should be addressed first. The fight against the excessive spread against security measures is a worthy one. But it is a fight that cannot destroy the tools necessary to defeat the Islamists, the Communists, and all the coming manifestations of the cult of nihilism.

Posted by TMLutas at December 8, 2003 12:16 PM