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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5089/the-intelligent-lover-of-radical-liberty/

The Intelligent Lover of Radical Liberty

May 25, 2006 by

Here are six must-read books for the intelligent lover of liberty. The disastrous policies of the current US government show the dangers of centralized power, as did those of the previous administration. Even the Hamiltonians — the original American centralizers — would be horrified by what their republic has turned into. Those who read all these books will have an excellent understanding of how America has reached its present crisis and what needs to be done to return to the path of freedom. FULL ARTICLE.

{ 26 comments }

Radical Sceptic May 25, 2006 at 5:34 am

“Someone who says, in English, “I have never uttered an English sentence” has contradicted himself; he is doing what he says he has never done. In like fashion, in order to say “I don’t own myself”, I have to own myself.”

A slave, who does not own himself, says “I don’t own myself!” Where is the alleged contradiction?

Christopher Meisenzahl May 25, 2006 at 6:14 am

I would like to add Bastiat’s The Law.

Chris
http://amateureconblog.blogspot.com/

Roger M May 25, 2006 at 9:41 am

“Who can really believe that Iraq, a nation long subjected to a devastating blockade and bombing, posed a danger to America? … an Iraq with nuclear arms was a minor matter.”

If you believe this, then you should add another book to the reading list: “Saddam’s Secrets” by Georges Sada. Mr. Sada was a two-star general in Iraq’s Air Force until after the first Gulf War. He had known Hussein well for most of that time and his book vigorously disagrees with the statement above.

While complaining about the abuses of power by the federal government, it would be good to remember how large a role charity played in our war for independence. The states refused to pay for the army they asked Washington to raise and this “free rider” problem nearly destroyed the infant Republic. So the US sent men like Franklin overseas to beg. The charity of the French and Dutch, plus the generosity of the US soldiers to fight without pay, with poor clothing and little food made up for the lack of integrity on the part of the states. Without that charity, the states would have remained under the British boot for at least another century. So keep in mind it was charity, not libertarian values, that rescued the infant US. The Constitution was an effort to repair the weakness of the confederation that forced us to rely on charity in order to survive.

quasibill May 25, 2006 at 9:48 am

“the states would have remained under the British boot for at least another century.”

A “boot” that was mainly different from the federal government in that there was a 3rd amendment. Pretty much everything else was already in place under British law. The other big difference was which state received the authority to profit from tariffs.

“meet the new boss, same as the old boss”

Keith May 25, 2006 at 10:18 am

“America is today embroiled in a futile, costly, and immoral war.”

Why is it “futile”? Are you making a prediction? What makes it “immoral”?

Roger M May 25, 2006 at 11:12 am

quasibill–”A “boot” that was mainly different from the federal government in that there was a 3rd amendment.”

George Washington thought there was a big difference.

Don B May 25, 2006 at 11:28 am

Its futility lies in its irrationality. We are creating wars to fight in the name of terrorism, but not focusing on the terrorists themselves. Worse, even if we were focusing on the terrorists and their pseudo-organizations that attached us, we still would not be evincing the intellectual integrity to make an honest evaluation of the US foreign policy that brought us to this point in the first place. And the unrelated wars we are fighting, will only serve to make future and worse terrorism a self fulfilling prohecy.

The immorality is simple on numerous fronts: first, assuming one believes in the idea of national soveriegnty (which I do), it has value only to the extent that it serves to protect our birthright of liberty from external invaders who would violate it. “Provide for the common defence of the United States” seems clear to me. Iraq is NOT the United States. George Bush is sending other people’s children to die in a fight that isn’t theirs, has nothing to do with protecting the US. It is illegal. And it is immoral for this coward to send other people’s kids to die in it, since they are not protecting themselves, their families, or even a threat to the US. FRANCE would be higher on the list of countries to invade and conquer if contries that hate the US, harbor terrorists and have nukes were the criteria for doing so. Remain vigilent but mind your own business and terrorism goes somewhere else. Engage in free and open trade and engagement without reprisals or sanctions of any kind, and those societies move in the right direction over time.

Don B May 25, 2006 at 11:54 am

I just picked this up from Dan Griswold (Cato) comments on immigration: “Or we can recognize reality and create a legal channel so that, in the words of president Bush, willing workers and willing employers can get together to serve the social and economic needs of both our countries.”

I find it revealing that Bush said “serve…country” rather than “serve their OWN social and economic needs.”

Ask not what the Fatherland can do for you, but what you can do for the Fatherland!

Pellinore May 25, 2006 at 12:12 pm

Roger M wrote:

While complaining about the abuses of power by the federal government, it would be good to remember how large a role charity played in our war for independence. The states refused to pay for the army they asked Washington to raise and this “free rider” problem nearly destroyed the infant Republic. So the US sent men like Franklin overseas to beg. The charity of the French and Dutch, plus the generosity of the US soldiers to fight without pay, with poor clothing and little food made up for the lack of integrity on the part of the states. Without that charity, the states would have remained under the British boot for at least another century. So keep in mind it was charity, not libertarian values, that rescued the infant US. The Constitution was an effort to repair the weakness of the confederation that forced us to rely on charity in order to survive.

You are neglecting to mention the immense contribution to the finances of the Revolution from Americans, such as Robert Morris, a British immigrant to Philadelphia who served in Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence, and is often referred to as "e;The Financier of the American Revolution" There were innumerable others of less dramatic impact on America’s own soil; whether or not they would have succeeded without the help of the ‘charity’ of the Europeans is very much open to debate.

Paul Edwards May 25, 2006 at 12:27 pm

Radical Sceptic,

“A slave, who does not own himself, says “I don’t own myself!” Where is the alleged contradiction?”

The contradiction would only arise if the slave attempted to justify his status as a slave in general terms such as: “because I am a black man it is right that I am a slave.”

According to Hoppe, “…argumentation implies that a proposition claims universal acceptability, or, should it be a norm proposal, that it is ‘universalizable.’ Applied to norm proposals, this is the idea, as formulated in the Golden Rule of ethics or in the Kantian Categorical Imperative, that only those norms can be justified that can be formulated as general principles which are valid for everyone without exception.”

http://www.hanshoppe.com/publications/Soc&Cap.pdf

This then, is the first presupposition of argumentation: that norms can be justified only if they are valid for everyone without exception. Slavery is unjustified not because it never happens, but because it cannot claim universal acceptability.

It is helpful to keep in mind that in determining valid ethical norms, the issue is not at all what is the state of things; the question is: what is justified, or in other words, what is not in contradiction with the presuppositions of argumentation.

Paul Edwards May 25, 2006 at 1:06 pm

Keith,

>”America is today embroiled in a futile, costly, and immoral war.”

“Why is it “futile”? Are you making a prediction?”

It is futile if you presume the ultimate goal of Washington is to help institute liberty and prosperity in Iraq through democracy. What we will almost certainly see in Iraq for the next several generations is a swinging between the two extremes of the tyranny of totalitarian dictatorships either supported, or not supported by Washington, punctuated by periods of pure chaos, lawlessness, murder and civil war. Washington snapped the valve off of the pressure cooker, which was Hussein, and now chaos is the order for the day. To eliminate the chaos, a new Hussein will be required. Washington will want to install their own, or perhaps Tehran will. Which ever it is, these things cannot be prevented by military interventions of our fools in Washington.

On the other hand, if one subscribes to the maxim that “War is the health of the state”, one may not consider Washington’s Iraq war futile in the least. Wars like this help central governments increase their power or influence both domestically and abroad.

“What makes it “immoral”?”

Let’s follow a trail and see if we can enumerate the crimes:

1. People’s tax dollars are stolen to fund this adventure.

2. The US dollar has been inflated and devalued and diverted to the military industrial complex, fraudulently impoverishing the rest of the American public.

3. People in Washington lied to obtain support for this adventure (WMDs/Iraq 9/11 ties).

4. Washington has initiated violence against the Iraq people who did not pose a threat to the US.

5. Many civilian Iraqis are dead, murdered as a result of this aggression. Much has been destroyed, including lives, and material wealth. This is worse than simple criminal theft.

6. Many Americans in the military who might be home defending their country have died for lies on foreign soil.

7. Many more Americans in the military have and will continue to come back home broken mentally, emotionally and physically, barely able or unable to lead productive happy lives. All this was unnecessary, and all of it demonically evil.

8. This aggression will encourage reprisals against the American people. It has made Americans less safe.

9. There is sure to be other crimes I’ve overlooked.

Roger M May 25, 2006 at 1:08 pm

You guys who opposed the war in Iraq should read “The Third Terrorist” by Jayna Davis. She proves beyond reasonable doubt that Iraq trained and financed Timothy McVeigh for his attack in Oklahoma City. Iraq also financed and organized the first WTC bombing in the early ’90′s. Many other examples of Hussein’s imminent danger to Americans exist. And don’t tell me we could have assassinated Hussein. Many Iraqis tried and died for it; we tried many times, also, though through surrogates because it’s illegal to target a head of state.

Roger M May 25, 2006 at 1:17 pm

Pellinore–”You are neglecting to mention the immense contribution to the finances of the Revolution from Americans, such as Robert Morris…”

I mentioned the sacrifices of the troops, and of course, George Washington’s personal sacrifices. A lot of individuals made enormous sacrifices. But that doesn’t absolve the states from their responsibility to finance a war they insisted upon. And it demonstrates one of the major problems with anarchism–the free rider syndrome.

Do you really think we could have won the war without French troops and ships? I’ve read otherwise. I recently watched a documentary on the History Channel about Ben Franklin which claims that Franklin bankrupted France by squeezing so much money from them. The last time Franklin went begging to France for a loan, the King told him that Franklin had bankrupted the kingdom as a result of his charm. Still, the King offered Franklin a grant instead of a loan because he knew the US could never repay France.

Vince Daliessio May 25, 2006 at 2:16 pm

Roger M sez;

“You guys who opposed the war in Iraq should read “The Third Terrorist” by Jayna Davis. She proves beyond reasonable doubt that Iraq trained and financed Timothy McVeigh for his attack in Oklahoma City.”

Funny how that is never discussed as a rationale for the current Iraq invasion.

“Iraq also financed and organized the first WTC bombing in the early ’90′s.”

Ditto. Why is it that Bush, Cheney, et al have never claimed this?

Many other examples of Hussein’s imminent danger to Americans exist.”"

Show me ONE that is plausible.

I used to trust Bush. I thought he was the antidote to liberal Clintonian misrule. As it turns out, Bush is the embodiment of misrule. And it only took me about 2 1/2 years to figure it out!

Roger M May 25, 2006 at 5:03 pm

Here’s a few reasons for the 2003 invasion of Iraq that you can find if you google a little:

1. The first Gulf War had not ended. Hussein violated every line of the treaty ending the war. He was shot at our planes every day for 12 years as they flew over Iraq trying to “contain” him.

2. We owed it to the Kurds and Shia. He had murdered thousands of Kurds and Shia in the uprising that the former president Bush had encouraged on national television, but failed to support.

3. Hussein tried to assassinate former President Bush.

4. Philipino intelligence foiled a plot by Iraqi agents to blow up six American airliners over the Pacific.

5. Iraq was behind the original WTC bombing and the OKC bombing.

6. Hussein trained over 2,000 terrorists in a camp outside Baghdad to hijack airliners.

7. Hussein had plans to build nuclear weapons to use on Israel.

Much of the above info is in the two books I cite above.

averros May 25, 2006 at 5:51 pm

1. The first Gulf War had not ended. Hussein violated every line of the treaty ending the war. He was shot at our planes every day for 12 years as they flew over Iraq trying to “contain” him.

And please remind us how and why US got into that war in the first place? To defend a bunch of “our bastards” from former “our bastards”?

2. We owed it to the Kurds and Shia. He had murdered thousands of Kurds and Shia in the uprising that the former president Bush had encouraged on national television, but failed to support.

I do not think I owed anything to them. If you think it’s your business, please help whomever you wish – out of your own pocket, and putting your own hide in the way of bullets.

3. Hussein tried to assassinate former President Bush.

One criminal tried to assasinate another, big deal. Darwinism in action – removal of the most aggressive and offensive assholes from the population.

4. Philipino intelligence foiled a plot by Iraqi agents to blow up six American airliners over the Pacific.

Right, and I foiled the plot to destroy the humanity by mutant ninja bunnies. Believing everything with no proofs is a mark of a fool.

5. Iraq was behind the original WTC bombing and the OKC bombing.

…and US government was behind the Iraq (and Saddam, specifically) in its war against the Iran, thus creating the danger in the first place.

6. Hussein trained over 2,000 terrorists in a camp outside Baghdad to hijack airliners.

And I trained 100000 communist terrorists over the Internet – too bad they run away and disappeared without any trace at the first sign of being taken seriously.

7. Hussein had plans to build nuclear weapons to use on Israel.

Yep, it’d be a very good idea – if he were allowed to go further down that road, he’d discover that nukes cannot be used against nuclear-capable enemies in ways other than means of spectacular suicide. Like the Dear Leader Kim Jong-Il did; he has nukes allright. And that these nukes won’t protect him from the wrath of the local population, when it gets smarter – like the Soviet Politbureau discovered; and it was armed with nukes to its teeth.

What you armchair warriors cannot get through your thick skulls is that nothing makes a grip of a dictator on his power stronger than a credible, present, external threat. Absent such threat, his serfs inevitably turn onto him. Or starve themselves out, thus neatly removing the dictator’s power base from underneath him – and improving average IQ of the humanity as well.

pax May 25, 2006 at 10:35 pm

Who knew Mises.org had so many warmongers. Oh no, it seems to be just one lonely nut. I second the objections of averros.

Paul D May 26, 2006 at 5:37 am

Most of Roger’s points are questionable or false, but that notwithstanding, not one of them justifies the moral travesty of killing 20,000 civilians, most of them burned to death or blown to bits.

Roger M May 26, 2006 at 9:06 am

If you think my points above are false, please show me some evidence and I’ll consider it. You’ll find the evidence for my points in the books I cited.

Another interesting insight from Sada’s book: The sanctions strengthened Hussein’s grip on power in Iraq more than he could have ever hoped for on his own. The sanctions starved the Iraqi people and probably resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths. Since Hussein controlled all of the wealth of the country, he could spread it out among those loyal to him. General Sada claims that Hussein had paid $5 million to scientists in China to work on a nuclear weapon for him in order to evade inspectors in Iraq. He also explains what happened to the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

Geoffrey Allan Plauche May 26, 2006 at 9:49 am

Roger M… Why don’t you show us some evidence supporting your claims? You are the one attempting to prove a positive and an extraordinary one at that. I’d say the burden of proof is on the warmonger.

Paul Edwards May 26, 2006 at 11:07 am

Roger,

I agree with these observations regarding the Iraq sanctions: “The sanctions strengthened Hussein’s grip on power in Iraq more than he could have ever hoped for on his own. The sanctions starved the Iraqi people and probably resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths.”

Additionally, Madeline Albright indicated that that the “costs” of these sanctions, which was hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqi children, was “worth it” given the objectives she imagined they would attain.

This fact and your point above should confirm in your mind that the state is run by plain murderers who remain intentionally ignorant of the futility of their programs, are unmoved by the death and destruction that follows in the wake of their programs, and truly are driven merely by their addiction to political and military power and the financial advantage their position of power affords them personally. It is very naïve to attribute any sort of benevolence to the actions of the state.

Roger M May 26, 2006 at 2:20 pm

Paul–”It is very naïve to attribute any sort of benevolence to the actions of the state.”

I honestly don’t know what their intentions are, but I know that many people in government are terribly ignorant. I believe people who advocate economic sanctions honestly intend and hope that they will prevent war, in spite the historical failure of all such efforts.

Geoffrey, As I wrote, most of the proof is in the two books I mentioned.

Paul Edwards May 26, 2006 at 5:05 pm

Roger,

“I honestly don’t know what their intentions are,”

You are right to suggest that we are not mind-readers. On the other hand, we must draw the reasonable conclusion that the repeated death and devastation that these people wreak on others is a result of something more sinister than mere accident, ignorance and incompetence. If a private enterprise were to be as directly responsible for a similar degree of calamity as the various governments are, we would have to conclude that they made it their business to inflict such calamity. We could not and would not watch with our eyes and mouths wide open and yet claim to be unaware of their true criminal intentions.

“but I know that many people in government are terribly ignorant.”

If they are ignorant, it is intentional and is not excusable. If they are ignorant, I don’t think they would remain so ignorant, if they knew they would be held responsible for their crimes. Frankly, I think they are far more corrupt than they are ignorant.

“I believe people who advocate economic sanctions honestly intend and hope that they will prevent war, in spite the historical failure of all such efforts.”

Whatever their excuses are, at the root, our problem is that we put people at the helm to control other people’s lives. They are fools for believing they are competent to control others, and their foolishness is exasperated by the corrupting influence that political power has over them. The results confirm libertarian theory: there is no justice in allowing and conferring political power to the power seeker; it cannot be justified and it will always come to disaster.

Brett Celinski May 27, 2006 at 11:03 pm

Neocons are a minority. They will never change their minds. Ever. Jacobin Democracy is all about power-seeking, granite-minded manipulators pushing their small dogmatic vision over the majority ad nauseam until the majority wearies of it and turns to nihilism.

Does Joe ‘Etat Rouge honestly understand every intention of PNAC? Does he know all of Bush’s socialism? He doesn’t care. Partisanship in democracy is close to nihilism, just with a bigger pretense and a louder mouth.

Brett Celinski May 27, 2006 at 11:08 pm

What I mean is, unlimited democracy is a circus of collectivist-minded minorities perpetually pushing their agendas on the weary masses until the masses finally crack and believe all of it. Left and Right are a merry-go round constantly, madly spinning forever; a wheel, not a spectrum.

Lorenc June 9, 2006 at 2:11 pm

> Its futility lies in its irrationality. We are creating wars to fight in the name of terrorism, but not focusing on the terrorists themselves.

Don,

When it is well nigh impossible to affect the terrorists directly, one seeks leverage over those who can affect them. That’s exactly why an American presence in Iraq is not futile or irrational. Studying the Saudi position before and after the invasion of Iraq demonstrates this point sufficiently. Before: a strategy of exporting terrorism in order to be left alone; After: actively constraining the financial and operational activities of al Qaeda and becoming themselves a target of [largely failed] operations.

Easily observable changes in position or attitude may be noted of Syria, islamic parties in Turkey, and many other governmental or political bodies.

I agree that the way security was “enhanced” by the TSA is more for show and psychological effects. It results in measures that often don’t improve security at all, or improve it very little at a very large cost. I also agree that the “war on terror” has been used to curtail liberties in these United States. I hate the fact that the provisions of the PATRIOT Act now have widened scope and are permanent (they were bad enough when they had an expiration date assigned to them; thank you Democrats for rolling over and thank you Republicans for being too weak to oppose something with “patriot” in the name).

Furthermore, I think that the invasion of Iraq was poorly executed and that Washington was partly suckered into it. However, considering the war in Iraq and Afghanistan totally futile and irrational demonstrates either a lack of imagination or a desire to criticize _everything_ that the government does just because _some_ of the things they do are wrong.

Finally, I could blame the [arguably bad] way the war is justified on the short attention span of the American public. If one were to explain the real reasons for the war they, would change the channel and vote for one’s opponent in the next election. Bringing democracy to Iraq is a much sexier reason. — On the other hand I could blame it on the administration chickening out and not putting all the cards on the table to let the people decide for themselves. Not explaining your actions and the reasons behind them can come back to haunt you, as the Bush administration is finding out.

Lorenc

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