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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Liberventionists: The Nationalist Internationalists

Another gem from Anthony Gregory, writing on LRC. An excerpt:
This war is not good for America, or for Iraq. That’s the plain-as-day truth. Yes, Saddam was a very, very bad man, who did very evil things – especially when he was a US ally – but over the last quarter of a century, US intervention has consistently brought to Iraq nothing but Ba’athist tyranny, war, suffering, mass starvation, bombings, puppet dictatorships, military occupations, censorship, death and destruction on a hardly imaginable scale. The idea that one more year of fighting – one more smart bomb – one more US puppet regime – one more intervention – will somehow bring freedom, peace and security to the country, would be hilarious, if such dangerous misconceptions weren’t responsible for so much human suffering when applied to the real world.

Libertarians are supposed to recognize the limitations of government – any government – to do good. That includes our government as well as the governments abroad that our government put in place.

Libertarians don’t oppose war because we don’t care about the liberty of foreigners or the safety and lives of Americans. We oppose war because we realize that it is bad for virtually everyone involved.

The liberventionists who want to have it both ways – who think that sacrificing American lives will bring freedom to people abroad, and yet killing innocents abroad will save American lives – are a bizarre group of nationalist internationalists. They believe that the US warfare state can be a great blessing, on balance, for both Americans and foreigners. They believe that, when the score-sheets are tallied and the dust has cleared, the large-scale initiations of force, central planning and government spending involved in war will be a good deal for both Americans and for the world. Killing innocent foreigners to protect Americans and sacrificing young Americans to save foreign innocents is their strange and deadly formula for international peace and national security. They claim to be both altruists and patriots, but they are simply both naïve internationalists and blind nationalists. It’s a paradox, as is their general philosophy.

This is why liberventionists are not really libertarians. They believe in and advocate the US nation-state’s ability to centrally plan the world toward liberty. Indeed, these people believe the US government is capable of accomplishments that border on the Messianic. They worship the state, as if it were some sort of omnipotent deity that can, through the omnisciently chosen applications of miraculous violence, bring about what’s best for everyone. If we weren’t actually at war, this might me a cute philosophy, in some ways, but it is not libertarian.

Real love of country and real concern for the plight of foreigners fit much better with a consistent love of peace, than they do with warmongering. A love of peace is the rational, humane, and, indeed, libertarian principle to guide one’s views on human relations, including in foreign policy.


  • is there a contact here???

    E-mail address?




    By Blogger Scott, at 5:30 PM  

  • Well said, I can't think of a single salient thing to add - F2S


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:40 PM  

  • Seems like a lot of blah-blah-blah only to fail to answer the central question for libertarians, which is when force is initiated against us aren't we entitled to respond?

    By Blogger Tom, at 1:49 PM  

  • I agree with your well reasoned arguments.

    However, you do not seem to realise that the Bush administration is not interested in the truth. They follow the doctrine of George Orwell's 1984. Basically say the right thing, but then proceed to do the exact opposite.

    I cannot decide whether they are insane or just evil.

    Regards, Frank

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