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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14746/libertarians-must-never-warm-to-the-warfare-state/

Libertarians Must Never Warm to the Warfare State

November 24, 2010 by

Libertarians must realize that just as, for them, liberty must be the highest political end, in the same way, peace and the avoidance of mass murder must be the highest end of foreign policy. Fuzziness on this topic is intolerable. FULL ARTICLE by Murray N. Rothbard


Maxime November 24, 2010 at 9:21 am


Even if I enjoy reading a text on Mise with comments about Quebec. I don’t understand the purpose of this old article this morning… These are old facts. I wasn’t even born in August 1977. Sometimes I read Reason and I don’t find that they are so interventionist.

Maxime, Quebec

J. Murray November 24, 2010 at 10:29 am

Age is irrelevant. This article is just as true today as it was then.

Jim November 24, 2010 at 12:45 pm

“For it is not the function of any state, including the United States, to right the sins of the Decalogue, to spread fire and devastation in order to bring freedom around the globe — as we murdered countless Vietnamese in the name of their “freedom.”

Brilliant. This part of one paragraph sums up the last 9 years. It is the excuse of bringing freedom through force that has precipitated the last decade of increasing state intervention in both the personal and economic spheres. Fear of terrorists, fear of job losses, fear of sickness, we’ll protect you, just give us more more more. I only hope I can link this article on as many neocon interventionist websites as possible.

Jesse Forgione November 24, 2010 at 4:04 pm

While I agree with the point he uses it to make in context, I have a problem with Rothbard’s hypothetical analogy where A uses B as an innocent shield to attack C.

In such a case (where C shoots B), B is obviously murdered, but the murderer is A, not C. Rothbard admits that C is morally justified in defending himself (as is also B, of course), but awkwardly relegates that fact to “another level.”

If A were to simply point a gun at C and say “kill B, or I’ll kill you,” or at B and C and say “both of you fight or I’ll kill you both,” it would be more clear that whatever B and C are violently forced to do to each other, the guilty party would be only A, not B and/or C.

Similarly, it would be immoral for me to voluntarily donate funds to the US government, knowing they will use the money for the purpose of initiating wars. But I don’t choose to pay taxes, they are violently extorted from me. As much as I object to my property being used for this unjust violence, I have no immediate way to stop it without bringing harm to myself at the hands of the real criminals, i.e., the US government.

Sebaneau November 24, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Murray misrepresented the relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union in a way which is not only revolting, but quite characteristic of the incompetence of those who have swallowed his isolationist crap.

For the truth of the matter is that, since that all governments are bands of gangsters, there is no justified a priori way to take sides in their quarrels; in order to identify the least harmful, you have to apply historical understanding, that is LEARN what it is all about.

And this article shows that those who believe in the fallacy of an a priori foreign policy are definitely not up to the task.

kwg1 November 25, 2010 at 1:44 am

Isolation is fine but you still need to be able to defend yourself effectively if and when others refuse to engage you in foreign policy, i.e. they do not want to negotiate. Instead they, state A, technologically advances to the point that your ability to defend yourself becomes the same as no ability to defend yourself at all! You then at some point are are totally vulnerable to complete extinction by state A. Kiss your isolationist butt goodbye! This is a theme I never hear from those like Murray who posit this position.

I for one would want to be the biggest and best on the block and negotiate from a position of strength. I would as a state then be able to tell state A that they can surely fail to negotiate and that would be fine but any move to attack would be met with overwhelming defeat. Those primitive nations where the vast majority of the populations really have zero control over their governments courses of action, like Afghanistan, in no way could we place the blame of the Taliban and Alqaeda on them, just a very small percentage of that population is responsible. But in other states where the people have control but fail to exercise it, or support directly the efforts of their state to be aggressive against us, there is justification for denial of liberty to those who have the liberty but fail to exercise it! We should feel no remorse in taking those “innocent” lives because they are not innocent. Those states whose population has enough liberty to control the government will most likely also possess the means and technology to destroy us, China is such an example as is Russia (The old Soviet Union). We can live an isolationist foreign policy and be laissez faire in our own state, only if we can defend that position from all who would not negotiate! Peace through Strength!

Anthony November 25, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Peace through strength is fine, but keep your strength on your own land. I have no problem with people voluntarily building up a large military, as long as they don’t use it other than in self defense.

Also, I hope you realize that the United States has been the aggressor in many countries, which according your argument would make all the citizens of the US legitimate targets for any country the US has violated. Look up the history of the CIA if you need help thinking of examples.

jason4liberty November 25, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Bravo, precisely the point I was about to make. Only the web tense is incomplete – it should read is and has been, not just has been.

I would also suggest “Tales of an Economic Hit Man” as well.

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