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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Peace — A litmus test for libertarians?

This article by Robert Higgs argues that although libertarians should not look for excuses to quarrel with one another, peace is a legitimate "litmus test" for whether someone is really a libertarian. I've linked to it because (1) I agree (2) I think Robert Anton Wilson would agree. (Via @Antiwar2, aka Angela Keaton, on Twitter.)


Jason Pilley said...

Mr. Higgs says: "Anyone who has followed the news or dipped into the historical literature understands that for more than half a century the U.S. government has been vigorously meddling in the Middle East, making enemies right and left in the process."

Half a century? The first war between the United States and a Muslim nation - admittedly in North Africa not the Middle East - occurred from 1801-1805 and was fought to end piracy and slave-taking on the part of Arabs who claimed their justification from the Koran. Military action ended that, same as it ended Nazism, Fascism, Japanese Imperialism, etc.

jdgalt said...

Not all libertarians agree on foreign policy, or even on what does or doesn't constitute good cause for war (or what tactics are legitimate in a war if it happens). In fact, war is one of the topics on which libertarians will disagree most, though you will (mostly) find agreement with the general principle that interventionist foreign policies are a bad ideas because they get us into fights we need not be in.

While war is not a policy area I care about a lot, I believe that a lot of libertarians (extreme pacifists such as Jeff Hummel) just don't get the practical reality. They should read Chapter 34 of David Friedman's The Machinery of Freedom before they lead us all down a path of no return.