1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/5447/trading-victims-increasing-state-power/

Trading Victims, Increasing State Power

August 9, 2006 by

By most reports, Israeli bombings of Lebanon are strengthening Hezbollah’s support among Lebanese civilians, while Hezbollah bombings of Israel are strengthening the Israeli government’s support among Israeli civilians.

So here we have (what are by libertarian standards) two criminal gangs, both blasting away at innocent civilians, and the result is to increase these gangs’ popularity among the civilians being victimised! A very successful outcome for both sides.The trick, of course, is that each gang is blasting away at civilians in the other gang’s territory. If each gang were to attack its own civilians directly, those civilians would quickly turn against the gangs in their midst. But since in fact each side’s continuation of bombings is what allows the other side to excuse, and get away with, its bombings, the situation isn’t really all that different; each side is causing its own civilians to be bombed. It’s just that by following the stratagem of attacking each other’s civilians, the two gangs manage to avoid (and indeed promote the exact opposite of) the loss of domestic power that would follow if they were to bring about the same results more directly. Think of it as the geopolitical version of Strangers on a Train.

No, I’m not suggesting that Hezbollah and the Israeli government are in cahoots. They don’t need to be. This is how the logic of statism works, this is how its incentives play out, regardless of what its agents specifically intend. The externalisation of costs is what states do best. (True, Hezbollah isn’t a state, but it aspires to be one, and its actions are played out within a framework sustained by statism.)

What would happen if the civilian populations of Israel and Lebanon were to come to see this conflict, not as Israel versus Hezbollah, or even Israeli-government-plus-Israeli-civilians versus Hezbollah-plus-Lebanese-civilians, but rather as Israeli-government-plus-Hezbollah versus ordinary-people-living-on-the-eastern-Mediterranean? Both Hezbollah and the Israeli government would quickly lose their popular support, and their ability to wage war against each other would go with it.

But by encouraging the identification of civilians with the states that rule them, statism makes it harder for civilians to find their way to such a perspective. (Of course racism and religious intolerance are part of the story too – yet another way in which such cultural values help to prop up the state apparatus.) As long as the people of the eastern Mediterranean continue to view this conflict through statist spectacles, Hezbollah and/or the Israeli government will continue to be the victors, while the civilian populace in both Israel and Lebanon will remain the vanquished and victimised.

Cross-posted from my blog and Liberty and Power.

{ 36 comments }

ed August 9, 2006 at 9:17 am

Maybe, But I use the schoolyard analogy.

A bully punches me everyday at recess. I’m smaller and would get really beat up if I fight back. So I befriend somebody who’s equally big. I sort of know that I’m going to have to do his homework for him but we don’t make out a contract. Given my new friend’s size and strength he can now dictate the rules but I figure better a friend doing it, than an enemy.

Those two have it out the day the bully hits me again. Its a bloody battle where each big guy brings in his gang of cohorts and there are many casualties. Smaller friends of mine sort of sign up for protection as well, some even volunteer to help with the battle.

Both bullies are now much more powerful than when it all started. Its a sad elevated situation but you can’t blame either side (for the initial punch yes, but not for the elevation of conflict)

Sometimes boys, animals, men have to have it out in the sandbox. We can point to causes and shake our heads but that is human nature and probably always will be.

Roger M August 9, 2006 at 10:04 am

“True, Hezbollah isn’t a state, but it aspires to be one, and its actions are played out within a framework sustained by statism.”

That’s odd. I would have sworn that libertarians would have sided with Hezb Allah. It’s a private organization defending southern Lebanon from a powerful state, Israel. It uses guerrilla tactics, which libertarians have praised in past blogs. It doesn’t tax its members, but distributes funds from Syria and Iran to its members.

iceberg August 9, 2006 at 12:18 pm

Roger M,

I assume you must be kidding… Hezb’allah (literally, “The army of God”) is a criminal organization whose individual actions are just as immoral as their Israeli cousins.

You depict them as a private organization defending Southern Lebanon from Israel, which was certainly true in the past, but what excuse do they have nowdays to launch rockets/missles at innocent civilians, after Israel’s gang long pulled out of Lebanon? What so libertarian about that?

Franklin Harris August 9, 2006 at 12:30 pm

I think Roger M., while attempting to be sarcastic, is making the classic mistake of assuming that just because libertarians (of the anarcho-capialist variety) believe the state to be inherently immoral we somehow don’t believe individuals or non-state groups can be immoral. But of course they can, and they often are insofar as they behave as states must necessarily behave.

JIMB August 9, 2006 at 1:17 pm

This is bizarre – the bottom line: you shoot at my family while hiding behind another family, you AND YOU ALONE are responsible for what happens afterward. Hezbollah is the shooter, guys.

Hezbollah is a known terrorist organization (see cfr link below) dedicated to killing civilians (including Arabs) in support of their cause. The difference is so far apart from Israel, I’m just amazed that no one on these posts has even considered it. Sure, both sides are guilty of something because all wars are unjust, but in the majority Israel is the victim of continued and unending aggression by Jihadists (remember Oslo?).

Especially after 3 wars (1948, 1967, 1973) of Arab aggression attempting to eradicate the Jews (the first starting just after Nazi Germany and after the Arabs got 90% of the Palestine Mandate), the nation of Israel is a fricken dot on the map compared to Arabia. But somehow the “catastrophe” of having Jews have a nation on “Arab” lands (neglecting the fact that Jews have lived there too for 3,000 years) is just too much for “Islam and only Islam” Jihadists. Hence the continual support of aggressive and violent terrorism, not to mention genocide.

Besides, Lebanon isn’t “Lebanon”, it’s Iran; in other words, South Lebanon is not controlled by the Lebanese government but by Hezbollah – armed with 10,000-12,000 rockets from Iran. Hmmmm.

On a broader note – this is typical of the “have economic axioms, now I know all that I need to know”. Frankly that attitude is b.s. While we all have a lot to learn and new information may change the weight of the argument, only a child neglects the study of history and believes apriori truth covers the essential scope of historical human knowledge, as well as the scope of morality that should be enforced by violence.

Cfr Link:
http://www.cfr.org/publication/9155/#1

Hezbollah information: Hezbollah is a Lebanese umbrella organization of radical Islamic Shiite groups and organizations. It opposes the West, seeks to create a Muslim fundamentalist state modeled on Iran, and is a bitter foe of Israel. Hezbollah, whose name means “party of God,” is a terrorist group believed responsible for nearly 200 attacks since 1982 that have killed more than 800 people, according to the Terrorism Knowledge Base. Experts say Hezbollah is also a significant force in Lebanon’s politics and a major provider of social services, operating schools, hospitals, and agricultural services, for thousands of Lebanese Shiites. It also operates the al-Manar satellite television channel and broadcast station.

Adem Kupi August 9, 2006 at 3:35 pm

I think (almost?) all of the commenters here are missing the point. If you kill one single innocent victim, even one, you are a murderer.

That’s it. It’s pretty simple. Hezbollah is a gang of murderers, as is the IDF.
I can’t praise either of them, nor condone their actions.

There’s no excuse for killing little kids.

JIMB August 9, 2006 at 3:51 pm

Adem – Nonsense. Do you support taking down violent criminals? Innocent people will die if you do. Of course, lots more innocent people will die if you don’t.

So, you’re in a position of supporting “murder” (according to your definition) no matter what action is taken. Is that what you mean?

Roger M August 9, 2006 at 4:17 pm

Hezb Allah has always tried to hit Israeli soldiers with their missiles. They can’t help it that they can’t afford precision guided weapons like the Israelis. Of course, the US gives Israel $3 billion per year to buy them with. If they could hit just Israeli soldiers, would that make them the Libertarian ideal?

Beefcake the Mighty August 9, 2006 at 4:41 pm

Israel IS a terrorist state.

Paul Edwards August 9, 2006 at 5:14 pm

JIMB,

“Do you support taking down violent criminals? Innocent people will die if you do.”

That’s an interesting insight, there Jim: Apprehending violent criminals necessitates the killing of innocent people. I doubt this is true, but accepting this for sake of argument, I suppose as long as it isn’t you and those closest to you that are the innocent getting killed, we should just take the good with the bad huh?

“Of course, lots more innocent people will die if you don’t.”

Presuming, again, your premise that the innocent must die one way or the other, which I don’t, I suppose what you are saying is that if innocent people have to die anyways, you’d rather it be done by your own righteous hand, than by the actions of some truly violent criminal.

Do you think Stalin and Hitler felt the deaths of their victims were not for a good cause as well? The problem with discarding ethical principles for some illusory practical consideration is that it always leads us down the same murderous path. There is no justification for intentionally taking an innocent life.

JIMB August 9, 2006 at 6:34 pm

Beefcake – In other words, Israel uses tactics designed to randomly kill and maim civilians in the effort to invoke an indiscriminate terror among the population for political gain and it specifically targets non-combatants as a policy? Like Stalin. Like Mao. Like Pol Pot. That’s nonsense. They don’t do that at all and you know it.

Roger – You don’t believe the CFR writeup or didn’t you read it? Israel has every right to exist and live in peace. Hezbollah / Hamas (insert 10 more Jihadist groups here) deny them that right as a matter of religious principle. There is no “occupation” of Israel of lands that belong to anyone else: there is a continuous war of self-defense since the 1920s against Jihadist Arabs (Arabs who got 90% of the Palestine mandate, and against a nation created by international agreement for Jewish refugees). If Israel wanted to do to Jihadists what Jihadists want to do to them, my guess is Arabia would be a sea of glass right now. There’s no comparison.

Paul – What’s your point? Every system of justice necessarily involves the accidental taking of human lives. Israel desires less casualties, while Jihadists want MORE casualties – they want the Jews exterminated. There’s no comparison at all. Read up on it and let us know.

This is the relativist-moralist joke “libertarian” websites have become, unfortunately for Mises.org which has so much to offer, especially in it’s support of limiting state power. I think Rothbard has just polluted it to the point that even the mass killing of unborn children (or their starvation by intentional neglect), or marrying one’s sister, or building NBC in one’s backyard is not grounds for state action. In other words, we give in wholly to potential and actual evil in the name of “freedom” from state intervention, neglecting our proper social nature as people. Judeo-Christian morality and ethics work best, and playing games with “why not Buddhism” or other nonsense just doesn’t cut it. We know what works better. We just don’t like it, because we’re damaged goods (sin) and we don’t like to face it.

In communism it’s “freed from economic restraint and man will soar” and in libertarianism its this unending fantasy of “life without initiatory violence”. Well yeah. I’d like a world without “evil” so I guess I’ll just define it away (libertarianism) and then spend my time preaching about how everyone else has it so wrong and things would be hunky dory except for those pesky “initatory violators”.

Meanwhile, back on earth, no practical solution is forthcoming …

Beefcake the Mighty August 9, 2006 at 7:05 pm

JIMB, anyone with half a brain knows that Israel
has, and does, employ various tactics against
its enemies that it, and its US lobby, regularly
decry as “terrorist” when employed by others.
Wake up.

Vince Daliessio August 9, 2006 at 10:20 pm

JIMB;

Your argument presupposes the morality of a gang of states imposing a political order on a bunch of people (Arabs)in favor of another bunch of people (Jews). You are, in short, using morality to argue an immoral point.

Even worse, you have gotten me to agree with Beefcake!

Roger M August 10, 2006 at 9:00 am

JIMB, I’m a huge supporter of Israel. Anarchists surprised me with their lack of support for Hezb Allah. (btw, in Arabic the group’s name is two words which translate literally to God’s Sect.) Based on articles and posts about Somalia, their support of guerrilla movements as being consistent with the way anarchists might conduct warfare, and their love of private militias, I was certain they would love Hezb Allah, in principle at least, even if they disliked specific actions of the group.

I think you would expect groups like Hezb Allah to form in an anarchist society. But the only arguments against Hezb Allah, so far, is that the group aspires to be a state (no evidence for that, however) and that in warfare it accidently kills innocents. The latter is no defense of anarchism, because private security forces in an anarchist society will eventually have to go to war against those who would destroy it and they will kill civilians. No way exists to prevent the deaths of civilians in war. Any ideas to the contrary are just infantile. So either anarchists allow opponents to conquer and destroy their anarchists society, or they go to war and kill civilians in the process.

TGGP August 10, 2006 at 12:24 pm

I’m an evil consequentialist minarchist, who likes Israel because it is (relatively) free, attempted to exchange land for peace only for attacks to increase after Oslo, and seems to have improved the lives of those who were supposed to be oppressed by it. Like many countries it does many things that are very stupid, but its disputes are generally with groups and states whose cause is death. So you can probably discount my opinion entirely.

I’d like to talk about guerrillas. Ceteris parebus, I view them as morally inferior to uniformed militaries, even if they aren’t terrorists or whatnot. I think the seperation of war into combatants and non-combatants was a good thing, and blurring the boundaries between civilian and soldier is bound to get more innocent people hurt.

Paul Edwards August 10, 2006 at 2:02 pm

Roger,

“Anarchists surprised me with their lack of support for Hezb Allah.”

This should confirm in your mind, as it does in mine, that you don’t have a firm grip on the principles which motivate the Anarchist’s to denounce the state. We are against the state because it embraces, legitimizes and embodies aggression and murder. If the state could exist and not be aggressive, we’d have no problem with a state. But a state, by its very definition is aggressive.

“…their love of private militias, I was certain they would love Hezb Allah, in principle at least, even if they disliked specific actions of the group.”

Anarchists believe in private property and the defense of private property via violent means against AGGRESSORS if necessary. They believe in voluntary contractual agreements, including those that involve violent defense of private property. The anarchist believes these and other libertarian principles to be not only entirely justifiable ideas, but those which are in fact exclusively justifiable. The anarchist is against the state because it is aggressive but the anarchist is against aggression from any source, private or public.

“But the only arguments against Hezb Allah, so far, is that the group aspires to be a state (no evidence for that, however) and that in warfare it accidently kills innocents.”

From your perspective these are the only charges that you can see as potential difficulties with such a group. Anarchists, in contrast, see what you call the accidental killing of innocent Jews as being intentional killing of civilian Jews who have no say in the fact that their state is also murdering innocent civilians. Members of the US congress who allow $3 billion of American tax money to go to Israel each year have more influence over what Israel does with its missiles than do the Jewish civilians.

Warfare against civilians, the murdering of civilians (“accidentally” killing civilians by bombing their homes), is unjustified. Only states and murderers engage in it (or am I being redundant).

JIMB August 10, 2006 at 5:46 pm

Beefcake – What’s your definition of terrorism? Here’s the UN’s: “In addition to actions already proscribed by existing conventions, any action constitutes terrorism if it is intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act.”

and more

“the world has agreed that certain methods including torture, ethnic cleansing and genocide can never legally be used by states in warfare, even when the wars are legal wars of defence or collective security. ”

Found here: http://www.newamerica.net/index.cfm?pg=article&DocID=2340

Paul – Again – You shoot my family while hiding behind another family you AND YOU ALONE are responsible for what happens. Regular incursions into Israel by Jihadists, and substantial arming of Jihadists by foreign states are not to be permitted in a civilized society, nor are the defenders to be castigated for their necessary actions – Actions which in the longer run save lives by halting the ability of those evil people to commit violence.

Participants, as always the preponderance of intent is critically important. The idea of moral condemnation has to carry with it the the intentionality to do harm. You will find the overwhelming genocidal “attempt to do harm” in history (examples are attempted extermination of the Jews in 1948, 67, and 73, charters of Hamas, etc.) in practice from Jihadists.

The imaginary libertarian world is a lot like communism – the evil of the present state is conjured away as arguments are made (no telling how we could possibly get to that point given the undeniable fact that there are and will be violent aggressors among men and violence is how disputes will ultimately be settled) for the purpose of advocating a nirvanic heaven-on-earth, practicality be-damned. The intellectual result: America (nor Israel) can live up to the fantasy ideal (these critical xrays don’t seem to fall on other countries nearly so much), so Western Civilization is to be denigrated and ** perhaps ** even actively fought against by giving intellectual solace to the enemy (witness the increasingly hysteric garbage on lewrockwell.com with a broader range of kooks, leftists, outright communists, etc). No dice. It doesn’t fly here or on Lewrockwell.com either.

Rothbard ain’t a saint and Mises was smart enough to avoid the error of expanding economic axioms to encompass the question of “what is moral” or what the appropriate use of violence should be. That was the purpose of wertfrei (value-free) analysis. There are known economic effects from violence, but whether the cost of violence is worth the outcome is not a subject for economics, but for some other system of thought.

I think Rothbard has done Human Action an enormous disservice. In fact, I suspect that the growing “libertarian” circles will rise proportionately to the growing “communism and left-wing and Anti-Western-Civilization and Anti-Israel” sentiment; actually that’s not a prediction. It’s happening now.

JIMB August 10, 2006 at 5:51 pm

Vince – In favor? FAVOR of Jews? — Just what do the Jews walk away with? — the right to exist in a teeny tiny plot of land (<1% of the landmass of Arabia) which is sliced up by Gaza and Jerusalem and live in peace? Silly me, I thought peaceful non-violent existence was the whole objective ... But now it's a favor to the Jews to live in peace in their tiny nation.

JIMB August 10, 2006 at 6:00 pm

Vince – That last post just died for some reason. I’ll repeat. Just what do the Jews walk away with? The right to exist on a teeny tiny plot of land (less than 1% of the landmass of Arabia) in peace. (Silly me) I thought peace (lack of terrorism, genocide, suicide bombers, etc.) was the objective; but now it’s a favor to Jews to live in peace in their own country sliced up by Gaza and Jerusalem, in lands they’ve lived in for 3,000 years which 40% were privately bought and developed out of barren desert, and which nation was founded as a refuge for their Nazi persecution, having 90% of the Palestine mandate already going to Arabs (Jordan plus other territories). Gee whiz, Vince, you’ve got me convinced. It’s a favor for the Jews. Hell, their entire existence is a favor.

Now, you probably might not have meant it entirely that way, but the point I trust is crystal clear.

Paul Edwards August 10, 2006 at 6:22 pm

JIMB,

“You shoot my family while hiding behind another family you AND YOU ALONE are responsible for what happens.”

Let’s say I didn’t shoot your family while hiding behind another family. Let’s say I happen to live in the same city as someone I don’t know and have no connection with who shot at your family. Does this unknown stranger bear the responsibility alone for your retaliation that kills me and my family? Can you seriously believe that people can lob missiles at people’s homes, and not know before hand that innocent lives will certainly be extinguished by this act? This is not accidental civilian deaths due to war. It is war against civilians.

“so Western Civilization is to be denigrated and ** perhaps ** even actively fought against by giving intellectual solace to the enemy”

I don’t know why you see this as a “West against them” question, other than it is the West who is more efficient at killing “them” with our bombs, and you wish to justify this to yourself. The principle is that it is unethical and immoral to kill non-aggressing people at random with bombs and bullets. Furthermore, since you like to consider things from the practical side, consider this: if you murder someone, you gain his whole family and his relatives as an enemy. Do you really think “accidentally” killing innocent Muslims is going to reduce terrorist acts against the West? Seriously.

Sione August 10, 2006 at 10:15 pm

JIMB

Your argument boils down to justifying murder of innocents because innocents are being murdered. More destroying the village in order to save it. Utterly impractical. Yet on it goes. In practice, completely circular. Mindless and immoral.

One recalls that popular slogan, “Fighting for peace is like fornicating for virginity.” You can learn from it. Adopting the antithesis of the value you claim to promote achieves little more than the elimination of that very value.

Sione

Befree August 11, 2006 at 12:15 am

Jews are children of God just like every other human. They have a right to live in peace and prosperity on thier property. Occupied Palestine is not thier property. Jews form a highly unified and sophisticated society allowing them to finance and organize the defence of thier captured state. This includes co-opting the clueless American taxpayer via thier lobbying skills within political institutions. Zionists underestimated the resolve of the then primitive Palestinians they displaced. These former primitives will not go quietly into the night like the Native Americans were forced to do. Like all things in this world, might makes right. Painting the Palestinian resistance as mad dogs does not make them so. They will still continue to fight for thier property. It is unfortunate that every Isreali “settler” who sits on Palestinian land is an invader who faces continous risk, and will probably face this risk for generations. Recieving stolen property is wrong and bears consequences if the wronged are able to manuver themselves into a position to prosecute from strength. Engineered PR and spins about terrorism cannot change the fundamental reality that Palestinians intend to defend thier property, it can only co-opt the unwitting to help Isreali’s keep it. Outsiders should not hypocritically sell thier support to the purveyors of injutice or they will be drawn into the conflict. It is American taxpayer jets and bombs that are killing Palestinian children. The 98% of Americans who are not Jewish helped pay for this killing of Palestinian children whose parents fight for what is rightfully thiers. If you do not think Jews are also filled with hate and commit deliberate barbaric acts using American support to do so, read alternate news, plenty brutality there to see that is not accidental.

I think what has been done has been done, Isreal is there, like it or not. Obviously it is not pragmatic to expect that Isrealis will not fight to the death of the last man if thier only prospect is to be pushed into the sea. I think these so called “mad dog” Palestinians are shrewd enought to know that if they relinquish half thier land to the Jews and get half back for themselves it is in thier own best interests to keep a lasting peace, even though they will despise their Jewish neighbours for a long time. However block all options for Palestinians to ever get back some of thier land and their future generations will use future technologies to ensure that no one will ever have the land. Arabs despise being enslaved and losing face and prefer to be dead and free (as long as thier enemy is also dead)rather than alive and enslaved. I think that Sharon, a tough and honest man, saw the light and with characteristic courage was making moves to put things in perspective and defuse the comming all destroying anger. Unfortunately something bad happened to him. I hope things work out but with the current crop of world leaders, it looks grim.

JIMB August 11, 2006 at 9:02 am

Sione – Yeah, like the “cycle” of rape. There is a country that’s far more committed to freedom (Israel), and isn’t committed to genocide, and acts to preserve lives (ground troops are going house-to-house … why not just carpet bomb?). Also, study any Sharia law lately?

Paul – What’s your solution Paul? Sit by while an avowed genocidal enemy (Hezbollah and Iran) takes over another country (Lebanon) and then launches a war on Hezbollah / Iran’s terms with 12,000 rockets tipped with BNC? You guys aren’t committed to justice, but to a titanically defective world view (Rothbardianism).

Let’s go “deep” for a moment. I’ve read Rothbard, enjoyed him greatly for his anti-state stance, and I’m a committed small-state conservative (and really po’d at Bush for his big state approach to almost everything, vehemently against the Iraq experiment – obvious given even a rudimentary knowledge of Islam – but hope for the best now that it’s done, believe Saddam DID have WMD because BNC’s can be transported by ** gasp at this amazing logic ** a TRUCK going over a border), but nothing whatsoever encouraged me to accept Rothbard’s take on morality or what is properly defended by law (such as unborn children) as being the last word. We have a morality, handed down to us by the Judeo-Christian ethic, and if believed, by God himself, and it works. What moral behavior should be proscribed by state law (never federal law) is a question and a good one. But holding parents accountable for their reproductive choices is absolutely essential to society. It isn’t the individual that is the atomic unit of society but the family as we can see over and over and over with tragic results.

Rothbard believed in a market for children, allowing (by absence of law against it) willful neglect and starvation (supposedly the “market” would solve this although he doesn’t say how it would solve driving to the middle of the desert and abandoning your child because “no person has positive rights”), as well as calling unborn children cancers, invaders, etc. You see, libertarianism is laced with assumptions about man and his nature in relationship to evil.

So what about the criticisms posted about libertarianism being so much like communism? I’d like to hear your (or anyone else’s take) Look at lewrockwell.com – 1-America is omnipotent (it must be if it carries nearly all the blame for the Middle East) 2-Utopia (the libertarian nirvana of non-violent aggression by ALL MEN) is possible 3-therefore America is a sickness to be despised. She never acts in defense of good, and (in the middle of 22 totalitarian theocratic murderous regimes) is responsible for the entirety of Islamic sickness toward healthy society: someone’s going to figure a way to blame Muhammed’s invasions 1400 years ago on America!

Garbage. All of it. Man is not non-violent, states are not “unnatural” (at least not in a sinful world), America is not a sickness but the one of the most moral countries (founding intent and common law) on the face of the earth (and in history) when the scope of her total influence and power and wealth is taken into account, and her misbehavior is a sign, not that she was always rotten, but that she is going in the wrong direction morally which is hardly helped by libertarianism and lewrockwell.com.

And of course, you just ignore the entire context of Arab aggression, the relative landmasses of the participants, the attempt by Israel to hold themselves to a standard (the prosecute their own – but what limits has Hezbollah)? What kind of argument is that? It’s the Nah! Nah! Nah! Nah! (I’m not hearing you!) Nah! Nah! … on the level of kindergarden. South Lebanon isn’t a state, it’s a colony of Iran. Get with it.

Oh, and if civilians were the target there wouldn’t be any left. Israel has an obligation to minimize the numbers of casualties in the longer run (which they are doing by taking down Hezbollah — just imagine if they didn’t and they had to go nuclear for defense …). Make no mistake: Arabian governments and “freedom fighters” are (and always have been) committed to genocide and support of terrorist against Israel.

JIMB August 11, 2006 at 9:20 am

Befree – “Occupied Palestine” is landed gained in a defensive war against attempted Arab genocide. There are no “Palestinians”: they are mostly Syrians. Jews didn’t “displace” them, there was a partition – (The Palestinian Mandate) of which the Arabs got 90% (a significant portion becoming Jordan) of the land and all Arabs were free to stay. They left because in 1948 Arabia united to kill all the Jews and the Arabs in Israel thought they could possess all the Jewish land (developed desert land bought prior to the creation of Israel on the free market) after the Jews were dead. And in 1967 all of Arabia again united against the Jews. Subsequent to this, Israel gave back the land they acquired by war to Eqypt (Sadat signed a peace treaty and for that Jihadists killed him). etc.

There you have it. Pay attention to history.

Of course I believe that in war both sides commit injustice, but in the vast majority this is a struggle for the existence of Jews against a hostile force.

I don’t share you optimism. Islamic law and precendent handed down from Muhammed himself dictates that the entire world should be conquered by the use of aggressive force and all peoples converted, subjugated, or killed. The radical Jihadists are the guys actually following the real Islam (take a look at the life of Muhammed who could “do not wrong” as he was the messenger of God – apparently even to his child-bride). Now if that’s right, then unless there’s a religious conversion the problem will not likely correct itself.

Dennis Sperduto August 11, 2006 at 9:46 am

I am not taking sides on this issue, but I believe considerable blame rests with both of the antagonists in the ongoing Middle East conflict. I also believe notable blame resides with those Europeans who for hundreds of years would not consistently uphold the civil and economic liberties of Jews, and with Americans and other westerners who have intervened in the internal affairs of many Arab and Islamic states in this region because of the strategic importance of its vast oil reserves, and to a lesser degree to impose their millennialist vision.

One other point: As in virtually all wars, there is a very unfortunate but strong tendency of many of those on both sides of this conflict to demonize their opponents. With this done, it is easier to justify acts that civilized and ethical people otherwise would condemn. This demonizing of your opponent also presents an obstacle to sincere negotiation.

Artisan August 11, 2006 at 12:27 pm

The first mistake from a libertarian point of view should be that one religious group has created a State for whatever reasons. The historical reasons are quite understandable why that State of Israel was created of course, I agree. And yet, there has always been Jewish religious people condemning secular power mixing with religion. Too bad that the Jewish community didn’t kick the English out of Palestine and live there peacefully with the old population… working at reducing State power…

Paul Edwards August 11, 2006 at 1:50 pm

JIMB,

“Paul – What’s your solution Paul? Sit by while an avowed genocidal enemy (Hezbollah and Iran) takes over another country (Lebanon) and then launches a war on Hezbollah / Iran’s terms with 12,000 rockets tipped with BNC? You guys aren’t committed to justice, but to a titanically defective world view (Rothbardianism).”

I don’t know if have a solution exactly. But I do recognize an approach that can only exasperate the problems we claim to wish to solve. If you propose as a solution to aggressive enemies, to kill the women and children and old people in the general geographical vicinity of where you suspect your foe may be at the time you commit this murder, you will perhaps succeed in killing the odd actual enemy. But you will in the process, have also committed murder against innocent people, and gained yourself more enemies than what you started with before your initiation of violence. There is nothing to be gained in a line of attack that is both murderous and counterproductive to your alleged goal of defending yourself from aggression and reducing the influence of your enemy.

“Let’s go “deep” for a moment. I’ve read Rothbard, enjoyed him greatly for his anti-state stance,”

If you say so, Jim.

” and I’m a committed small-state conservative (and really po’d at Bush for his big state approach to almost everything, vehemently against the Iraq experiment – obvious given even a rudimentary knowledge of Islam”

Not po’d enough just yet, in my view. And not vehemently enough. What you are is unhappy that he is wasting the US tax-payer’s resources on an impossible fool’s undertaking. On the other hand, thousands of Muslims are devastated because their lives are being literally destroyed by this incursion. For you, it’s an irritation, for those dead and maimed and remaining to suffer the devastation, it’s more personal.

” – but hope for the best now that it’s done,”

Yes, hope away; it’s a comfort to have hope when one lives a world away from the suffering. And it is far from over, and the worst is probably yet to happen.

” believe Saddam DID have WMD because BNC’s can be transported by ** gasp at this amazing logic ** a TRUCK going over a border),”

Yes, of course. Washington had the capability to know with 100% certainty that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the invasion. Funny once they got there they had 0% certainty where these WMDs were or went. Your faith is impressive, but sadly misplaced.

” but nothing whatsoever encouraged me to accept Rothbard’s take on morality or what is properly defended by law (such as unborn children) as being the last word.”

So what? Rothbard wasn’t the last word in libertarian law, and Mises wasn’t the last word in economics either. The principles they laid out are useful in judging how consistent and correct even their own conclusions were. It seems they did ok for mere mortals but there are no gods among men; yet still they were and there are yet men of integrity who apply or attempt to apply correct theory and principle consistently to arrive at other truths.

“We have a morality, handed down to us by the Judeo-Christian ethic, and if believed, by God himself, and it works. What moral behavior should be proscribed by state law (never federal law) is a question and a good one. But holding parents accountable for their reproductive choices is absolutely essential to society. It isn’t the individual that is the atomic unit of society but the family as we can see over and over and over with tragic results.”

Does the moral problem you have with Rothbard’s conclusions about parenting, the family and reproductive choices tie in very well with your wish to justify the indiscriminate killing of innocent men, women and children of other nationalities via bombs and bullets? Since we’re going “deep” here, it’s good to come back up to the surface for a moment to see how this bears on the topic of murder under the pretext of war. You seem to disapprove of abortion. Myself, I am with you. But how are you on the killing of live and breathing innocent children and their innocent mothers and their fathers and grandparents who have never harmed anyone? I know, don’t answer: “it has to be done for the greater good”.

“Rothbard believed in a market for children, allowing (by absence of law against it) willful neglect and starvation (supposedly the “market” would solve this although he doesn’t say how it would solve driving to the middle of the desert and abandoning your child because “no person has positive rights”), as well as calling unborn children cancers, invaders, etc. You see, libertarianism is laced with assumptions about man and his nature in relationship to evil.”

Yes, I get your point, you don’t like Rothbard’s conclusions here on child neglect. I agree. And I think he can be shown mistaken even on his own terms. But what about yourself? You vehemently object to a child dieing due to simple neglect, but you see it merely as an inconvenient fact of life that one must kill and maim many children and their families with bullets and bombs because they might live in the same approximate geographical location as one’s enemies. The irony and contradiction must really be something to try to justify. You shouldn’t work at it so hard, Jim. It’s not healthy for your mind.

“So what about the criticisms posted about libertarianism being so much like communism? I’d like to hear your (or anyone else’s take)”

LOL! Jim. I thought you said you’d read Rothbard. Libertarianism is like communism? The two are diametrically opposed. Communists like Lenin, Stalin and Mao believe in killing innocent people if the cause is right and they certainly did believe in their cause. That doesn’t square with libertarians at all who only believe in defensive and proportional violence specifically against aggressors only. On the other hand, violence against innocent people seems to square ok with you though, if the cause is right. So who’s more like the communists, Jim?

“Look at lewrockwell.com – 1-America is omnipotent (it must be if it carries nearly all the blame for the Middle East)”

First, try to keep straight the distinction between the people who live in America and the small corrupt and criminal oligarchy in Washington who invent and carry out foreign policy. To the extent that Washington is aggressive, yes LRC holds them responsible for their aggression, and yes, they are the world’s single super power with clear designs on world hegemony. Or did that escape your attention?

“2-Utopia (the libertarian nirvana of non-violent aggression by ALL MEN) is possible”

But no one holds to this view to my knowledge. We know criminals exist and will always exist. The goal is to keep the criminals away from political power where they can really do damage, and to have valid and just law apply to all men the same, not differently to two classes, the ruled and the ruling.

“3-therefore America is a sickness to be despised. She never acts in defense of good, and (in the middle of 22 totalitarian theocratic murderous regimes) is responsible for the entirety of Islamic sickness toward healthy society: someone’s going to figure a way to blame Muhammed’s invasions 1400 years ago on America!”

Try not to conflate the people of America with the policy of a corrupt and criminal American ruling class. Americans and the non-political way that most Americans live is not what is the focus of attention. It is the crimes that our leaders are committing in our names and with our money and the con that they are out for the citizen’s interests. DC keeps poking sticks in hornets’ nests, and it is the people who get stung. And then we look to DC to take away more of our liberties to keep us safe. It is willing and able to do the former. It is too incompetent and disinterested to do the latter.

“Garbage. All of it. Man is not non-violent, states are not “unnatural” (at least not in a sinful world), America is not a sickness but the one of the most moral countries (founding intent and common law) on the face of the earth (and in history) when the scope of her total influence and power and wealth is taken into account, and her misbehavior is a sign, not that she was always rotten, but that she is going in the wrong direction morally which is hardly helped by libertarianism and lewrockwell.com.”

You think DC morality represents American morality? Then you have a very low opinion of America. LRC simply calls a spade a spade. Americans better stop associating their egos so closely with Washington’s actions and wake up to the reality that what they are doing over there is not in the people’s interests if they want to avoid further disaster.

“And of course, you just ignore the entire context of Arab aggression, the relative landmasses of the participants, the attempt by Israel to hold themselves to a standard (the prosecute their own – but what limits has Hezbollah)? What kind of argument is that? It’s the Nah! Nah! Nah! Nah! (I’m not hearing you!) Nah! Nah! … on the level of kindergarden. South Lebanon isn’t a state, it’s a colony of Iran. Get with it.”

We agree that the state of Israel holds itself to a standard. We differ on just what that standard is and the morality of such a standard.

“Oh, and if civilians were the target there wouldn’t be any left. Israel has an obligation to minimize the numbers of casualties in the longer run (which they are doing by taking down Hezbollah — just imagine if they didn’t and they had to go nuclear for defense …). Make no mistake: Arabian governments and “freedom fighters” are (and always have been) committed to genocide and support of terrorist against Israel.”

I am sure we are all thankful that Israel hasn’t used nuclear weapons for its “defense” yet. I don’t put it past them, and I suppose you would consider them justified in doing so. The principle of intentionally killing innocents with the pretext of it being a defensive necessity is the same there as with missiles and bombs in people’s neighborhoods. It’s just the utter magnitude of mass murder under the nuclear bomb that I would suspect would cause even the staunchest advocate of the state of Israel to think twice before advocating such a “solution”.

JIMB August 11, 2006 at 4:04 pm

The Devil has stacked the deck in his favor (he’ll get souls either way) and all you guys can do is castigate the guys minimizing the damage.

Dennis – It’s not “demonization” … look at the relative landmass. If Arabs wanted peace they could easily absorb Palestinians or allow a Palestinian state (one of the reasons Arafat walked out on Barak and Clinton even after getting NINETY SEVEN PERCENT of the land they demanded). Oslo just didn’t work, did it? Wanna know why? Arafat called a Jihad. Hmmmm.

Yeah Paul. I say so. Even read four of Rothbard’s works twice; appreciate most Man Economy and State.

“Intentionally killing innocents” is nonsense. You mean Israel WANTS to kill innocent people? Like Hezbollah? Or are they FORCED by Hezbollah to choose between more or less long-run casualties?

You guys essentially work as an apologist for Hezbollah. Hez can do this stuff day and night and there’s nothing Israel could do according to you…

I pray for the best for our nation, as opposed to some people that would (although they won’t admit it) like to see it rot and burn, because it justifies their worldview of America being “evil”. Of course, that means other (vastly MORE evil) civilizations (witness the left’s support of communism and now Lew’s kisses with that same group) can use that to their advantage. Gee, thanks for the help Lew.

I don’t believe the end justifies the means, but I also know who owns the blame. In Israel’s case, it IS clear cut. There’s a bad choice (what they are doing which kills innocent people) and there’s a worse choice (inaction which will kill more).

Sione Vatu August 11, 2006 at 8:42 pm

JIMB

So you support rapists as well? Well, let’s see how your argument plays out. B rapes A’s sister so therefore it is OK for you to go around to B’s home and rape his mother since B was out at the time and A is a friend of yours. “That’ll learn him,” you say. Yeah, sure it will, but what will he have learned exactly? And what about his brothers and cousins and sisters and father and grandparents and friends? What will they have learned?

Still, let the rapes continue eh? Shame on you.

I note Paul patiently refuted your argument, point by point. Instead of continuing to regurgitate the same invalid ideas onto the VMI blog you should pause and think about what the issues actually are and which principles apply. Repetition of erroneous thinking is not going to do you much good. Try to keep emotion out. Your expressions of emotion are not knowledge.

Here are a few things to think about.

1/. YOU are not America (whatever that entity may happen to be). You do not control America. You do not speak for America. You do not own it. It is not “yours” or even “ours”.

2/. You do not speak for the high command in the Washington fuhrerbunker. You speak for yourself and are responsible for YOUR actions, not theirs.

3/. Stop being a collectivist. This nonsense of dividing the World up into “goodies” and “baddies”, “us” and “them”, will not do. It is childish. It is an erroneous and untruthful way to examine reality.

4/. An evil act committed by an individual, or a group of individuals acting in concert, does not justify evil acts. Read that last sentance again carefully.

5/. It is completely irrelevant that you prefer one torturer to another. A torturer is evil. It is completely irrelevant that you prefer one murderer to another. Murder is evil. Surely you can understand this?

6/. You started to argue from religion. I note that some Muslims I know make exactly the same points you do. Of course being Lebanese they come to somewhat differing conclusions than yours. Nevertheless that’s what God has led them to and he is on their side I am reliably informed. How do you know that you’re not the one following Satan? What if you’ve been tricked and your soul is under his control? After all, one who supports killing innocents as a necessity… Evil.

7/. The act of intentionally killing innocents is definately what one is committing when bombing a village full of people. Dropping a 200lb bomb into a populated area is more than likely to kill innocent people. The choice is:- “Do I as an individual person commit this act or do I not?” Same goes for firing rockets, blowing up airliners, pushing wheelchair bound old men off the back of ships, firing machine-guns randomly into a crowded airport concourse etc. If you answer yes to doing any of this sort of thing then, yes, you are an evil man. Very.

8/. The arguments you posted on the VMI blog are impractical. In reality they do not lead to the solution of problems. Acting on such nonsense generates more problems. Violence begets more violence. Hate makes more hate. Lies generate more lies. Self-rightous justifications of evil generates more evil. It don’t work man. For God’s sake try an alternative.

9/. Bite your tongue. Count to ten and start thinking about what the original article actually said. Those ideas were not direct attacks on YOU as an individual (unless you happen to be involved in the killing). They may well be confronting in that they challenge some strongly held personal beliefs, but beliefs are meant to be challenged and tested. If they are invalid they should be dismissed without further comment. You need to be big enough (and honest with yourself) to eject erroneous ideas no matter how firmly attached to them you may have become.

Your major mistake is identifying yourself as part of a collective and believing you owe some sort of allegiance to that collective. Better to start thinking and acting as an individual; you.

Sione

Sione August 11, 2006 at 8:46 pm

Artisan

I think the smart thing to have done, were one a resident of Palestine at the time, would be to have moved. Emigrated to a better place.

Life is too short to waste.

Talofa!

Sione

Vince Daliessio August 11, 2006 at 10:37 pm

JIMB said;

“Rothbard believed in a market for children, allowing (by absence of law against it) willful neglect and starvation (supposedly the “market” would solve this although he doesn’t say how it would solve driving to the middle of the desert and abandoning your child because “no person has positive rights”), as well as calling unborn children cancers, invaders, etc. You see, libertarianism is laced with assumptions about man and his nature in relationship to evil.”

This isn’t the first time someone has dragged out this passage to demonize Rothbard, so let’s see what’s so all-fired “immoral” or “evil” about it.

The first charge is that, because Rothbard claimed that a market solution (by which he meant private arrangements vs government coercion) to child neglect would work better IN PRACTICE than the ‘anti-neglect” laws and “Child Services” regimes we have in place now. I think there is plenty of historical support for this, so let’s look at how, say, the State Of New Jersey and its laws did at protecting children recently;

DYFS let four kids slowly starve

http://tinyurl.com/zfyr6

Oh dear, the state appears to have caused the maiming and near death of four children by severe negligence.

Let’s see how our current positive law regime is fairing at limiting or preventing abortion. From the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute;

“(T)he number of abortions performed in the United States in 2003 was
1,287,000…

http://tinyurl.com/jzk82

Gee, politicians have been working at “saving” the unborn for 30 years now…and they don’t appear to be saving very many, do they?

Even if you think Rothbard’s market formulations seem immoral, it would be hard to do worse than the system we have now does. From the perspective of utility, Rothbard’s proposals seem to have a lot going for them.

Vince Daliessio August 11, 2006 at 10:38 pm

JIMB said;

“Rothbard believed in a market for children, allowing (by absence of law against it) willful neglect and starvation (supposedly the “market” would solve this although he doesn’t say how it would solve driving to the middle of the desert and abandoning your child because “no person has positive rights”), as well as calling unborn children cancers, invaders, etc. You see, libertarianism is laced with assumptions about man and his nature in relationship to evil.”

This isn’t the first time someone has dragged out this passage to demonize Rothbard, so let’s see what’s so all-fired “immoral” or “evil” about it.

The first charge is that, because Rothbard claimed that a market solution (by which he meant private arrangements vs government coercion) to child neglect would work better IN PRACTICE than the ‘anti-neglect” laws and “Child Services” regimes we have in place now. I think there is plenty of historical support for this, so let’s look at how, say, the State Of New Jersey and its laws did at protecting children recently;

DYFS let four kids slowly starve

http://tinyurl.com/zfyr6

Oh dear, the state appears to have caused the maiming and near death of four children by severe negligence.

Let’s see how our current positive law regime is fairing at limiting or preventing abortion. From the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute;

“(T)he number of abortions performed in the United States in 2003 was
1,287,000…

http://tinyurl.com/jzk82

Gee, politicians have been working at “saving” the unborn for 30 years now…and they don’t appear to be saving very many, do they?

Even if you think Rothbard’s market formulations seem immoral, it would be hard to do worse than the system we have now does. From the perspective of utility, Rothbard’s proposals seem to have a lot going for them.

JIMB August 12, 2006 at 10:56 am

Vince – Unrestricted abortion is what Rothbard advocated. We’re getting what he advocated. The Supreme Court’s decision overrode all state laws prohibiting abortion, and did so by an illegal reading of the Constitution (the states should have nullified the “new law” and told the Supremes to shove it: a useful check to their “interpretive” power growing to near infinity – there could scarce be an issue more important).

Life has been left in our hands, and we’ve turned it into a silent holocaust for the most defenseless in our society. I imagine if the left-wing truly got their desires, “birth” wouldn’t long be the dividing line between legally protected life…

On the other issue, Rothbard’s assertion was there is no justifiable violent action against the starvation and abandonment of a child and that is the central issue, not the state’s abysmal foster care (private agencies would certainly be better) – of which we both agree. Rothbard’s position is nonsense. You see, this all hangs together. Once the atomic unit of society is held to be individuals rather than families and the relaxation of Judeo-Christian family structure occurs, suddenly all sorts of other evil comes into play, which necessitate other evils. It’s like the Misesian spiral, but for morality (immorality leads to greater and greater evil) rather than intervention (state intervention leads to greater state intervention).

I note we did have a market for people in the past, it was called slavery. Funny Rothbard should advocate such a thing now for young children, as if the “market for children” wouldn’t have immense problems (imagine pedophiles, “buy a kid for work”, etc..). Just how this kind of “new morality” works is never explained.

JIMB August 12, 2006 at 12:10 pm

Sione – There’s no “cycle” between genocide and defense against it, and you know it.

You have within you, given by God (my belief), a conscience (those that don’t we call morally insane). We are arguing morality and the emotions have everything to do with it. It IS better to care for your children, rather than aspire to have them become suicide bombers.

Dividing the world between “goodies” and “baddies”: You have lost all authority if you play the “no judgement” game, Sione. Mises.org, and everyone on this board, including you, are exercising judgement.

If you want to argue the “relativism” of putting teens to death for violations of “chastity” or any other nonsense of Islamic Sharia law (including the subjugation of non-believers and the death penalty for proselytizing another faith, etc.) feeling that our God-given sensibilities about caring for our children and having a say in national discourse (voting rights) are incorrect on the matter and that violent Islam imams controlling the state is the true good, feel free. You are dead wrong and you know it.

The “argument from religion” is a common nonsensical tactic – all arguments end in the “nature of basic reality”. Don’t waste time on terms which have no ability to clarify the argument.

There is no arguable philosophical category of “religion” because it is not possible to separate the “supernatural” from the “natural” … only the things seen from the unseen, and then we’ve no idea whether the unseen can ultimately be observed or understood. Therefore, ANY position about basic reality is a RELIGIOUS position. It does not clarify the argument by bringing that in…

As far as the “take a deep breath” nonsense — no thanks. The article didn’t have me in mind, after all I don’t live in Israel. It gives comfort, solace, and support to Jihadists, and intentionally divorces the actions of Israel from history and context in order to make it’s “point”. It is fully deceptive.

Sione August 13, 2006 at 4:51 pm

JIMB

Your last post clarifies your position as a series of unexamined, unquestionable assertions ultimately based on the notion that God told you so. That is utterly mindless. It’s wrong. Contemptible really. By adopting the approach that the ultimate source of knowledge is unreality (the “super-natural”) you severe your ties with rational logic and rely instead on arbitrary belief. Even Aquinas saw through that nonsense.

Stop and think for a moment. Yours is the same position that the people you claim to oppose hold. They get their instruction from God just as you do.

JIMB religion is a type of philosophy. It presupposes thought and is therefore a man made. Thus it certainly can be examined and analysed. Interesting how unsatisfactory it is revealed to be when this process is undertaken.

Finally, the article was not deceptive. It clearly described who was being denounced and WHY. It completely undermined your world-view. So it is indeed time to examine that “conscience” of yours. Justifying the clusterbombing of little children JIMB, is that what Jesus would do?

Sione

Vince Daliessio August 14, 2006 at 6:22 am

JIMB;

You are perhaps confused regarding my last post. My argument was not that abusing children or abortion was moral PER SE, rather, that Rothbard was exactly right on both counts when he argued what he argued because it would have better results IN PRACTICE.

You seem prepared to concede Rothbard’s point regarding private arrangements for dealing with family issues versus government, except you seem to believe Rothbard was advocating child abuse and neglect. This is nonsense. Rothbard’s point was that despite the plethora of state and federal laws, children are still abused and neglected, to which I would add the public assistance regime that makes it worse by supporting immoral behavior.

Clearly Rothbard was advocating a laissez-faire regime regarding family law in part because he believed it would LESSEN, not increase abuse of children by revaluing them and the investment in raising them. You seem to advocate MORE government in this area.

Similarly, while you correctly decry the federal intrusion into the states regarding abortion, you seem to support the current regime’s FEDERAL legislation – more of the same federal intrusion, in other words. As I pointed out, this has had little to no effect on the rate of abortion.

Morover, nearly half of the states would immediately pass laws preventing any restrictions on abortion, were the issue to revert to the states, such is the politicization of the issue a poison to it. We would have been better off had the feds stayed out of it completely, but you seem to be advocating making the current positive law regime even worse.

In for a penny, in for a pound. You are advocating laws and policies that have the net effect of being against your own self-professed interests.

This is the trap we fall into when we advocate for government.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: