December 01, 2004

Radley Balko's Cramped Libertarian Foreign Policy

After reading Radley Balko's recent TCS column defending Cato style libertarian foreign policy I felt he deserved a letter. I'm copying it below:

Here are a couple of facts on the situation of Islam for your consideration:

Islam has always had a tradition of dividing the world into two sections, Islamic territory, which must always remain Islamic and the rest of the world, which is under contention and must eventually be incorporated into the Islamic world.
Islam has a long tradition of military conquest, never meaningfully repudiated
Islam's accommodation for other religious opinion is dhimmitude, the second class status off "people of the book" who must be frequently, ritually humiliated as a condition of tolerance.
The price for renouncing Islam is death.
Islamic scholars are capable of writing judicial decrees and those judicial decrees have universal jurisdiction.

Nothing that I see in your TCS article ( or in anything out of Cato seems to come to grips with these facts which all predate the discovery of America, much less the founding of the US, much less any aggressive foreign policy sins we might have committed. Until your brand of libertarianism realistically looks at the world as it is, instead of some self-flagellating masochistic vision where we are mainly at fault, I submit that your strain of libertarian thought is due for a serious rethink because it just doesn't jibe much with reality. Any libertarian worth his salt should be able to see that these facts are recipes for aggressive war against liberty that eventually will come to our shores, our neighborhoods. The only question is when.

Closer to the 20th century, but still before the founding of the US, the present international political order started with the Peace of Westphalia to end the 30 years war. That system (westphalianism) is under assault, in large part by Islamists, many of whom operate under the Al Queda label. I think that there is much that libertarianism could contribute to a new, better, post-westphalian order. I don't see how your particular brand of libertarianism is productively coming to grips with this problem much less pulling its weight in ensuring that we don't fall back to the pre-westphalian dispensation. That would be a bloody resumption of ethnic and religious violence on a scale not seen since, well since the Peace of Westphalia.

Posted by TMLutas at December 1, 2004 11:11 AM