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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/1611/why-honor-politicians/

Why Honor Politicians?

February 24, 2004 by

Once, when my son was in elementary school, they had some kind of special event celebrating the achievements of various students—I can’t recall just what the festivities were all about. What I do recall vividly is that the principal had invited a local politician to head up the feast, to make a keynote address, some kind of inspirational speech for the kids.

Not being one who stands idly by when rank malfeasance is rife around me, I went home after the event and wrote to the principal protesting the invitation of the politician. I noted that it would have been far more appropriate and useful for the students had she invited a local artist, engineer, merchant or scientist to make the address. [MORE]

{ 32 comments }

Stephen Rynerson February 24, 2004 at 12:31 pm

While I appreciate the overall sentiment of Prof. Machan’s article, I feel that his characterization of the exchange on L&O is a bit unfair. It is far from clear that the *writers* of that episode actually believe politicians’ lives are superior to those of everyday people. The character who made that statement was a police officer, and I took the comment as indicating that he was relieved the injured victim wasn’t a politician because the pressure on law enforcement to solve the case would be less. That reflects the real-life values of politicians (who, not unreasonably, feel very threatened by seemingly politically motivated killings), rather than those of the writers.

Roger Arnold February 24, 2004 at 3:17 pm

It is not just elected officials receiving the benefit of this perception. The depression years were a boon to US government employees and others on the public dole as they maintained their incomes and were able to buy up real estate and other assets at fire sale prices using the money taken by way of taxes from those same people losing their homes and other assets. It is one aspect of those years that is conveniently left out of text books. And it will happen again.

Roger Arnold February 24, 2004 at 3:18 pm

It is not just elected officials receiving the benefit of this perception. The depression years were a boon to US government employees and others on the public dole as they maintained their incomes and were able to buy up real estate and other assets at fire sale prices using the money taken by way of taxes from those same people losing their homes and other assets. It is one aspect of those years that is conveniently left out of text books. And it will happen again.

Patrick B. Yancey February 24, 2004 at 10:07 pm

Dr. Machan:

I read with some chagrin your article on the disproportionate regard paid to politicians among their lapdogs in the mainstream media. My disappointment came not so much from the thesis of the column,with which I totally agree, but from the fact that you actually like a show like Law & Order, which certainly is, as you so rightly point out, nothing but propaganda. To my mind, brainwashing with high production values is still brainwashing. I have had conversations with acquaintances on this very subject, including with people who have had very close dealings with the law enforcement and criminal “justice” establishments (indeed, mostly on the wrong side of the defense table), and have asked them if the portrayal of the police on TV agrees with their personal experience. The answer has been a unanimous “no.” To a man, or woman, however, they all still claim to “like the show,” the clearest proof, I suppose, of the illogicality of those with whom I associate (though I still like them). There is, however, a difference between overlooking the faults of one’s friends, and overlooking the faults of propaganda arguments meant to inculcate a value system. One of my friends has had two abortions, and is working on a third as I write this. I disapprove of abortion on principle (though I would not outlaw it). Should I no longer associate with this person? No, because she has not tried to recruit me personally into her difficulties, nor attempted to get me to justify her acts to others or herself. Law & Order, however, along with all the other drivel of its general stripe (JAG, CSI, etc.), does quite definitely attempt to draw me along emotionally into agreement with the fundamental premise of the show, namely, the government is good, the police protect us, and the military defends our freedom. I believe none of these things is true, so why would I watch propaganda which says it is? In fact, about the only TV show I can watch and almost totally agree with (Patrick McGoohan’s The Prisoner) hasn’t been on in over thirty years!

My basic question, I suppose, then, is this: How can a man of logic, consistency, and fundamental individualism, as you have seemed in your writing, like this sort of pap? I have my guilty televisual pleasures, like anyone, but they generally fall into the “stupid humor” category, and, while the premises of cop shows may certainly be stupid, their humor is mostly unintentional. Their promotional blurbs say, “RIPPED FROM THE HEADLINES,” but what they really mean is, “HISTORY REWRITTEN TO SERVE THE NETWORK’S POLITICAL ENDS.” In the episode you cite, for instance, this is an obvious reference to the NYC Council shootings of a year or so ago, when the victim actually walked his murderer around the metal detector (was that in the episode?) and was, in fact, armed himself, despite being a firm gun-banner (how about that tidbit? No?). The writers of these shows would have been right at home in any totalitarian ministry of “information” you’d care to name, and they’d have done their jobs with even more zeal, because they’d know that their propaganda was encouraging citizens to inform on their neighbors, filling concentration camps/re-education camps/gulags with dissidents and malcontents, thereby weeding out disloyal elements and paving the way to Utopia with the bones of the unworthy (namely, you and me).

Not my kind of show, I guess.

Aaron S February 24, 2004 at 10:12 pm

I will agree with the argument that a politician’s life is worth no more than a civilians; however, our democracy thrives on these politicians, and we have thrived as a nation thanks to them. Granted they are not always just, or posess integrity, but regardless they are who the people have elected into office and we see their faces and voices as a representation of our own on a daily basis. I am a soldier and these voices are my bosses. I believe they do deserve to be respected and honored for the position they hold. Does their life mean more than anyone elses? I think not. Do they deserve to be honored? Absolutely!

Jim Waddell February 24, 2004 at 10:57 pm

Honored for what?!!! For stealing our money? For spending it on a range of wasteful, destructive projects? For getting soldiers killed for no good reason? For debasing our currency, destroying our educational system, taking away our liberties? For ignoring the Constitution? For denying citizens the basic right of self-defense? For creating a culture of dependency?
We have thrived as a nation in spite of them, not thanks to them.
You admit that they are “not always just”, but that is not the problem. The problem is that government in general, and democracy in particular, attracts the very worst types, and screens out the decent men.
As Murray Rothbard noted:
“Success in the free market rewards the virtues of thrift, hard work and farsighted entrepreneurship. Success in politics, on the other hand, rewards the moral vices of demagogy, mendacity, and expertise in the wielding of terror and coercion. Hence the good people – from any rational or religious point of view – will tend to rise to the top in the free market and free society, while moral scum will tend to rise to the top of a statist system.”

Aaron S February 24, 2004 at 11:54 pm

Perhaps I could retort your statement more efficiently if you gave me specifics on what you call wasteful and destructive projects, and the soldiers that die for no reason.

Now then, stealing our money? Taxes I’m assuming is what you are referring to, then yes I suppose they steal our money; however, this money they steal also happens to pay my salary and thousands of other salaries that are employed by the government. I would agree they don’t spend all that money on items I agree with, but what I do not agree with, they spend it on an item that someone does agree with.

Debasing our currency? 100% agree

Destroying our educational system? I am assuming we are talking about all forms of government here and not just the feds, b/c the feds fund a very small percentage of public education. Now my high school resided in Georgia, and my Georgia government adopted the lottery. This lottery gave me the opportunity to not only attend high school, but with a 3.0 GPA I was able to attend the public college or university of my choice in Georgia for absolutely free. I would say this government hardly destroyed my education.

Ignoring the Constitution? Not saying it is right in all cases, but documents do need some updating from time to time. The Constitution is an owner’s manual for our country. And it is well over 200 YEARS OLD! Of coarse some changes will need to be made in order to govern a society.

On to basic right of self defense. Jim, I own 6 guns, all legally. I think I still have my right to self defense.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will agree that a democracy attracts the worst types, but what else would you suggest? I do not know of one form of government throughout history that has the success of democracy. That does not mean that one does not lie ahead, but until I see it what else would you suggest to oppose democracy?

Alex February 25, 2004 at 3:41 am

Oh my goodness.

This is like the debate with Gary (aka, utilitarian statist.)

Here, we have been given three insights;

1) Sure, the government steals my money, but they spend it on things that people need and want, so even if I don’t like where it’s being spent, it’s okay.

Following this logic we should give theives a pat on our backs because, hey, they’re spending money and buying stuff that some people want (them).

2) The government doesn’t destroy education. I will now spin my head 180 degrees at this statement. Oh, and the government makes education ‘free’ (funny how I thought everything that they did was from taxes).

3) What to suggest to oppose democracy? I don’t know: since it has been around so long, I can’t imagine what would be superior to it. Actually there are a lot of things superior to it, but I’m not sure that I should bother explaining. Anyone who needs an example of how the government wastes money is living in an alternate reality where billions of dollars isn’t spent on Star Trek geek space programs whose purpose is taking pictures of rocks.

But hey wait, you own a bunch of guns. I guess you can tell that to the tax barrons when they come to your door and take your money when you refuse ot give it to them. Be sure to tell them that you have a right to defend yourself before they haul you off to jail.

Jonathan Wilde February 25, 2004 at 8:52 am

“…Now then, stealing our money? Taxes I’m assuming is what you are referring to, then yes I suppose they steal our money; however, this money they steal also happens to pay my salary and thousands of other salaries that are employed by the government…”

Does that make it right? Because you live off stolen money, it’s a good thing?

Imagine if in times passed, a slaveowner had said to his slaves, “Yes, I agree you are slaves, but my ownership of you keeps my plantation running.”

Gary February 25, 2004 at 9:06 am

“This is like the debate with Gary (aka, utilitarian statist.)”

I am just as much of a statist as I am a libertarian.

Gary

Aaron S February 25, 2004 at 10:11 am

Giving theives a pat on the back? Well, I am going to go out on a limb and say that a theif will not spend one dime on anything to benefit me;however, the government again pays my salary, has payed my education, so as you can tell I have earned a somewhat trust in my government. So what do we do? Live in a society with no taxes, and give a shot at anarchy? If the government’s “stolen” money does not pay my salary are you going to donate money freely to the U.S. Military? So that just maybe when another Great War comes around I too can get a handful of ammo instead of a weapon and wait until a fellow serviceman dies so that I can help defend myself.

Alex, I pay my taxes willingly so don’t think I have to worry about the tax barrons knocking down my door. I was simply stating that we still have the right to self defense.

And one more comment on the soldiers that die for no reason. Just a quote that I have picked up recently. “If you are reading this, thank a teacher. If you are reading this in english, thank a soldier.” I know they die for more than nothing.

Brian W. Doss February 25, 2004 at 10:49 am

I got the opposite take from that dialogue. They were thankful that the person who was alive was NOT a politician; i.e. an innocent survived. I thought the line almost intimated that the councilmen had it coming.

David Heinrich February 25, 2004 at 10:52 am

I am going to be blunt here. There have only been two just wars in America’s history — the Revolutionary War and the War for Southern Independence. The reason these wars were just is because they were secessionary wars, in which a people fought off hostile invaders from an enemy nation. All wars except those have been unjust — there were no invaders of the US. Now, up until the point where the draft was eliminated, I am going to give a complete pass to anyone who served in the military, as they had the choice between service and prison.

However, since the draft has ended, what is the excuse to enter a profession which necessitates the immoral murder of innocent citizens? I will further note that it is immoral to accept any job where you are being paid by The State — this makes you a tax-beneficiary, which means a beneficiary of theft and robbery. Simply because someone is a soldier, a teacher, or even a police officer does not make them worthy of respect; and if they are any of these being paid by The State, it is an immoral enterprise.

The Warfare-Welfare State has systematically diverted resources and individual energies away from productive ventures and towards anti-productive ventures. The entrepreneurs, accountants, and scientists at Lockheed are undoubtedly very smart individuals. Unfortunately, their efforts are being directed at anti-productive goals — finding newer and more efficient ways to murder people, and destroy wealth. The State’s ultimate disregard for human life can be seen in the Neutron Bomb, which murders people, while leaving infrastructure intact. This is seen as a positive development, because The State views people not as worthy in-and-of-themselves, but as means to ends, much like machinery.

Regarding “how soldiers would be paid” without a State, maybe they wouldn’t, which would be good. They would have to use their natural talents and abilities on productive, not anti-productive, ventures. If the military were disbanded tomorrow, soldiers would have to enter the workforce and seek gainful employment, perhaps as guards, policemen, bodyguards; or as whatever else they chose. Regarding teachers, policemen, and firemen, there’s no reason why the free market can’t provide these services and pay individuals for this; in fact, it does and has.

Aaron’s post is marked by ambiguous thinking on the critical issue, which is thievery and robbery. It does not matter why a thief steals or robs money from me. It does not matter if he turns around and gives that money to charity. It does not matter if he holds onto it for some time, earining interest and investment reward, and then gives back the stolen sum to me. The only relevant thing here is the initial act of thievery (inflation) or robbery (taxation, regulation).

PS: If you think that socialized education is necessary for literacy, I would suggest you read “Free” Education and Literacy (http://mises.org/daily/1425). If you think that we would all be speaking German right now, if not for the US’ entry into WWI and WWII, I suggest you consider the fact that WWI was at a stalemate and would have likely been ended peacefully if not for our intervention. WWII was made a certainty by our short-sighted resolution to the end of WWI. Regarding WWII, there’s a good case to be made that it, too, would have eneded peacefully if not for American intervention. Our entry into WWII was orchestrated by FDR (see http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=188&sortorder=issue) You should also note that the cause of WWII was State alliances with one-another. As for pre-emptive wars in general, I suggest you read The Case Against Preepmtive War (http://mises.org/misesreview_detail.aspx?control=224&sortorder=issue).

Jonathan Wilde February 25, 2004 at 11:47 am

“…Well, I am going to go out on a limb and say that a theif will not spend one dime on anything to benefit me;however, the government again pays my salary, has payed my education, so as you can tell I have earned a somewhat trust in my government…”

You haven’t answered the question of whether or not this is ethical. Thievery benefits the thief. Extortion pays for the Don’s children’s education. State-granted monopoly privilege benefits those in the monopoly at the expense of everyone else. Does that make it right?

“…So what do we do? Live in a society with no taxes, and give a shot at anarchy? If the government’s “stolen” money does not pay my salary are you going to donate money freely to the U.S. Military?…”

Actually, if there was a real danger to my property, I would donate money to a military. And yes, a society with no taxes would be preferable to one with taxes. Funding of various services in a vastly smaller ‘government’ could occur through subscription services, donations, and lotteries.

Steven M February 25, 2004 at 12:02 pm

“I know they die for more than nothing.”
Of course not, they die to line the pockets of no-bid contractors (Haliburton), overthrow or attempt to overthrow governments that fell out of favor (Haiti, Panama, Somalia, Iraq, Serbia.)

There are currently no credible threats to the United States that justify our spending as much money as the next 27 biggest spenders. Military spending should be cut by more than 80%, just to match that of next biggest spender, Russia. We should also withdraw from Korea, the Philippines, and Europe and, of course, we should never have gotten involved with either Iran or Iraq.

The alternative to centralized-nationalist-socialist democracy (nazism, fascism, current US democracy) is decentralized libertarian democracy with open borders, privatized educational instutions, no tariffs, no foreign intervention, and no corporate or individual welfare payments, including social security or medicare, and the elimination of regulations that violate people’s fundamental rights such as the right to work (minimum age, minimum wage, business regulations (other than property- violating environmental laws)and licensing, and “illegal immigrant” laws), pharmaceutical cartels, postal regulations, grants, subsidies, and out-of-control patent laws.

The only way that I believe that the latter can be obtained is by having an educated electorate that sees the economic and moral value of checking the power of government including the ability to overthrow any branch of government that claims rights that were not granted to it by its constituents.

Peace and prosperity will never come from a morally-bankrupt electorate that says “Yes, government steals, but, hey, it employs me.” or “I like paying taxes and never dissent, why don’t you just act like me.” If you do not have employment opportunities without government, you will most often find that your unemployability is a result of government regulations.

Government does indeed provide useful services, but it also has perverse incentives and its instutions become less efficient than the private sector would have been in providing those same services.

Jim Waddell February 25, 2004 at 12:43 pm

“If you are reading this in english, thank a soldier”

So, if FDR hadn’t manuevered us into WWII, the Germans, after conquering and occupying all of Europe (possible, but doubtfull), would then have been able to cross the Atlantic, and conquer and occupy America, while still leaving enough troops behind to maintain control of Europe? Is that how I’d be not reading in English today?

Or perhaps the North Koreans or Vietcong would have crossed the Pacific, and I’d be reading in one of those languages?

“Of all our patriotic myths, one of the most irksome is that we owe our freedom to this country’s government and the wars it has fought. Those wars have in fact been ruinous to freedom. With each one since at least the Civil War, the government’s powers have expanded. When was the last time a country won a war and emerged with a more limited government than it had had before the war?” – Joe Sobran

Alex February 25, 2004 at 2:53 pm

Wow, it’s great to see such a rousing show of libertarian thought. On most message boards, I’d get the exact opposite.

Gary: you are as much of a statist as a libertarian? I wonder if that’s a joke. If it isn’t, you are so out of touch with political knowledge (and possibly reality) that you shouldn’t bother reading Mises.org.

Heinrich; excellent post!

Paul D February 25, 2004 at 3:18 pm

Wow, terrific posts! Especially yours, Mr. Heinrich.

Gary February 25, 2004 at 4:08 pm

“If it isn’t, you are so out of touch with political knowledge (and possibly reality) that you shouldn’t bother reading Mises.org. ”

Whose reality would that be? Is it your reality that I am out of touch with? Well duhhh. I can very confidently and happily state that most of you live outside of my reality. And I have no beef with that, we are all entitled to live in our own little shells as long as your shell does not infringe on my shell.

“Gary: you are as much of a statist as a libertarian”
I am obviously lampooning how easily labels are tossed around. How could anyone possibly label my views as this or that. My views are very nuanced, meaning not black and white. Therefore one could occupy the cloth of a libertarian and a statist at the same time. It comes down to a matter of emphasis and degree. I am a social libertarian through and through, and I also believe that the government has a role to play in modern advanced western societies. Its called being pragmatic, which none of you are!!!! And please don’t reply with rants about how the government is a thief, also double does of duhhh. Grow up and stop being so naïve, your principles are far from feasible, therefore bear little resemblance of this ‘reality’ you speak of.

David Heinrich February 25, 2004 at 4:25 pm

Gary,

Many “libertarians” disagree with Murray Rothbard’s characterization of Milton Friedman (not David Friedman) as a Statist. Yet, from the anarcho-capitalistic perspective, anyone who supports State intervention is a Statist. Adhering to moral principles does not make one childish. Insisting that The State inervene to solve society’s problems, provide welfare, and prop up inefficient business’ against competition is childish. There is nothing childish about standing firm behind the non-aggression axiom, which mandates opposing all thievery and robbery, including that by The State.

Jonathan Wilde February 25, 2004 at 5:18 pm

“…Its called being pragmatic, which none of you are!!!! And please don’t reply with rants about how the government is a thief, also double does of duhhh. Grow up and stop being so naïve, your principles are far from feasible, therefore bear little resemblance of this ‘reality’ you speak of…”

You deny that the govt is a thief and then accuse *us* of denying reality?

Patrick B. Yancey February 25, 2004 at 5:58 pm

I sent my comment on this post to Dr. Machan. His reply follows.

“Thanks for your comment. I’ll just stick to what I like and why I like it
– fortunately in this country one is still free enough not to have to
report on such things to any strangers.

Tibor Machan”

Now I have a further question: If one reports to strangers once on a subject (for instance, in an essay or article), in fact, to a whole group of strangers (most of the readers of this site), cannot one of those strangers ask for clarification without fear of rebuff? The answer: Apparently not.

Aaron S February 25, 2004 at 6:15 pm

So I’m going to assume that you think Japan would have stopped at Pearl Harbor, now I know what you are going to say, that they attacked us for our aid to the Allies. Which to some extent is true, and to say that Germany would “possibly” captured Europe without our intervention is absolutely ridiculous. We bailed out France, Russia (to some extent), Africa, and many more smaller European countries, and England was bound to crumble if not for our intervention. Do I believe the Nazi’s would have boarded up and invaded the U.S.? Absolutely. Hitler already had scientists building and designing long range bombers to hit the U.S.

Jim Waddell February 26, 2004 at 2:03 pm

It’s not that Japan “would have stopped at Pearl Harbor” or that they “attacked us for our aid to the Allies”. They attacked us because Roosevelt wanted them to, and he did everything he could to bring this about. See
http://www.independent.org/tii/news/001207Stinnett.html

Also, it designing long-range bombers and having the ability (man-power) to occupy two continents as large as Europe and America are two different things. Hitler probably had all sorts of unrealistic ambitions, this does not mean he could have executed.

Aaron S February 26, 2004 at 8:02 pm

Last Word…

This argument started out as a means of honoring or dishonoring politicians. Since it has become a way to approve/disapprove the DOD from being in existence. I can hardly believe that any of you would think this country would still be a Union of 50 states without a military to back it. For this country to not have prospered in technology and wealth if not for the military. I am not preaching for war, but war has geared up this country’s research and development in every case, and each time a new invention has spawned from it that gives us the luxuries we have today. On the other hand I am aware it has also brought into existense means of mass destruction and suffer. I am proud of my duty as a United States soldier, for I know I am making a fraction of what I could make if I had the same duties as a civilian, but thats ok. I know that I am doing what I do in order for all of you to make the comments you make. To denounce this country is to be free. Freedom has a cost, and it is U.S. soldiers and civilians alike that pay it. Without a doubt politicians have their own personal agendas for war, but regardless of government, what president, dictator, king, pharoh, or any other leader has not had some personal agenda. I understand each of your comments, and am grateful you took the time to contribute. Meanwhile I will continue to do my duties so that your right to make such comments do not expire. Thank you for being Americans and exercising that right, and may God bless this great country!

Alex February 26, 2004 at 8:10 pm

Actually I believe every time we’ve had a major war, the size of the government grew.

I don’t understand your economic thinking, Aaron. Any time the State spends money on something – such as the military – it necessarily negates that money and or resource from being spent in the private sector. The military cannot make this country wealthy.

Anarchist societies are well capable of protecting our country – and far more efficiently than State societies can, because they run on a profit and loss system.

I appreciate your respect for your fellow servicemen, and others, but I believe most on the Mises.org blog are reiterating truths that you will not find anywhere’s else.

Again, that your for your comments.

Tracy Saboe February 27, 2004 at 12:52 am

Oh, Come now, the war of 1812 was largely fought by privatiers and free men. Several states refused to send their state militias. It’s actually decentralized entities that are hard to attack. Centralized militaries (like the State) are easy to attack and find targets. But random civilians simply protecting themselfs? It’s pretty much impossible for a foreign army to attack.

“If you are reading this, thank a teacher. If you are reading this in english, thank a soldier.”

Thank a Teacher? OK Well, I thank my mother for teaching me how to read, and I thank my father for teaching me Math. I thank my parents for thinking it was their responcibility to raise me instead of the States.

Why should I thank government teachers for learning how to read, when over 97% of the population knew how to read BEFORE the institution of government schools. Now look at us. But in fact it got worse with-in just a few years after MA started “free” government education.

As far as defence. I agree with Brad Edmonds.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/edmonds/edmonds177.html
“It is by this point uncontroversial that our freedoms would have been better defended without a standing military. The founders knew it; and Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto knew it, saying, “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.” He didn’t say you should not, or that it would be costly or difficult. He said “you cannot.” The gun rights we had then have only been eroded since, hence the military has done nothing for the real power of the US to defend itself.”

http://www.lewrockwell.com/edmonds/edmonds181.html

“Heck, I’d be more prone to believe we owed our freedom to the military if they were here, defending our borders (or even their own headquarters). They’re not.”

Tracy Saboe

Chad February 27, 2004 at 8:46 am

Let me start off by saying that I think if mankind had as its ultimate goal the kind of ‘self governance’ as described by Thomas Jefferson we would all be better off. However, short of that, men and women consent to government as a means to acquire that which they cannot obtain through voluntary exchange in the free market. I believe this includes security from the coercion of foreign interests in the form of a military. If that makes me a ‘statist’ so be it. Let me also add that I find the progressive income tax to be an immoral instrument of the government.

I would like to know more about the ‘non-aggression axiom.’ Suppose I am sitting on a chair in my front lawn (on my own property) and my neighbor is doing the same on his. Suppose someone approaches my neighbor and proceeds to beat him with a lead pipe and steal property items from his house. Am I not obligated to help him? As an able bodied individual recognizing evil and injustice, should I not aid my neighbor in repelling the attack – even if it means using force myself and even if my own property is perfectly safe?

Regardless of conspiracy theories and the hidden motives of any number of politicians, Hitler was an evil, evil man who delievered a horrifically uspeakable crime upon the people of Europe and humanity – were we not morally obligated to stop him? Even if our own security was relatively sound and regardless of ‘how’ the military was primarily funded?

Jim Waddell February 27, 2004 at 10:21 am

Chad, I think you will better understand the position of noninterventionists or those who oppose a standing military if you examine your own language:

“were WE not morally obligated to stop [Hitler]?”
“OUR own security”

Using the collective “we” and “our” obscures the issues. It is one thing if individuals desired to oppose Hitler, and joined up with those fighting. It is another for FDR to force men to go risk their lives.

Also, yes Hitler was evil. So was Stalin, however. One could argue Stalin was at least as bad, maybe worse, than Hitler. If two evil dictators are bent on destroying one another, why would one want to aid either side? Let them wear each other down as long as they want. Even the winner will be worse off in the end. Instead, FDR helped Stalin, and the result was hundreds of millions of people in Eastern Europe and Asia condemned to a life of torture, starvation, and murder under Communism.

Sometimes one must accept that there is no “right side” in a conflict, and simply stay out.

Alex February 27, 2004 at 1:45 pm

Chad,

What if you were sitting property, enjoying your lunch, and you saw a taxman and some police start beating a man sitting on his lawn chair for ‘resisting arrest’ as he would not ‘pony up’ his “voluntary contribution” to the State.

Hitler did, in a more extreme way, what all States do; coerce and use violence against their citizens, and other citizens. So that I’m not taken out of context, I should say that not all violence is wrong. But you are off on the libertarian position; the idea is not to ‘do nothing’ when faced with tyranny, but not to force others at gunpoint to do the same. If libertarians and anarchists had the idea of ‘do nothing’ in the face of tyranny, we would not be advocates of gun rights and anarchism.

It is self defeating on some levels that you should say we need a State military to protect us from foreign invasion. The military is funded with monies that have been taken through force (coercion) itself.

Your argument goes like this;

1) We need the State’s military to stop foreign invasion, because they coerce us, so we need the existence of the State military coercing us to protect us from coercers.

It’s akin to saying we need robbers to rob from us to protect us from robbers.

Because the State causes so much destruction economically and politically, it would be wise to oppose the actual institution of the State itself in order to stop the Hitlers from this world from forming again. This, in my opinion, is the most moral and wise choice one could make.

Tracy Saboe February 27, 2004 at 10:38 pm

The other thing is that, even though it is a noble and worthy goal to liberate somebody, it’s still immoral to steal from others to accomplish this goal. It’s also immoral to use government to steal to accomplish this goal.

Tracy

Kenny March 5, 2004 at 1:25 pm

I have a response to the part in the article that states. “They are a bit like good soldiers”. A good soldier will do their job even if they happen to disagree with it personally.A politician will do their job according to their personal wishes and benefit. Not the wishes of the people that elected them in the first place. I might respect the position that they hold, it does not mean that I will respect or honor the individual. I.E. Bill Clinton

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