Libertarian Pacifism vs Liberal Pacifism: What I Learned by Arguing with Libertarians

I think there are three good reasons, and many bad reasons, to argue about politics. The first good reason is also the least important. It’s to convince the other guy, the one with whom you argue, of the validity of your views against his. The second reason is to persuade mostly passive spectators to join you and to forsake the views the other guy supports. The third reason to argue is to better understand your own views.

The first good reason is not very good. As you may have noticed, the other guy never breaks up the debate to say, “You are right; my viewpoint has been wrong, ill-thought out. I am joining your faction or your party.” Instead, when you succeed in influencing the other guy the fact comes out far from your presence. Mostly, you don’t even hear about it. Sometimes, it takes several years. I know this because it happened to me; once. I understood the validity of an interlocutor’s position ten years later. I tried to tell him but I couldn’t trace him.

The second reason to argue speaks for itself. It’s exploitive really but mutual exploitation is not really exploitation. Or, if the other guy is so simple that he does not understand that you are using him to influence others, you should not be arguing with him anyway. (Same thing as talking kindergartners out of their juice money, or really plain girls out of… well you can finish the thought.)

The third reason is by far the best. I don’t know exactly what I think until I have heard it coming from my mouth with great élan and yet sounding shockingly stupid. I am often vague in my own mind about what I believe to be true until someone else points out the absurdity of one variant of one particular interpretation of my vague belief. Often, others force me to tighten my arguments; sometimes, they force me to abandon them. Nearly always, opponents induce me to be more articulate. I respond well to partial failure, including partial failure to make my point. I know others who do too. Many of my students did although they denied it.

Those who more or less follow this blog will have noticed that frequently, I criticize the positions of Libertarians, that often, I get into arguments with individual libertarians who may or may not be Libertarians (and some who may be closet Libertarians). The arguments always revolve about military action. In every other way, I am close to very close to mainstream libertarian positions. Foreign policy and the desirability of bearing arms abroad are the only reason I cannot be a real libertarian. Those are not trivial reasons. I am quite sure there are tens of thousands like me, libertarian-leaning conservatives who think it’s not wise to espouse dogmatically pacifist positions. Libertarian theoreticians, by the way, will insist strongly that they are not pacifists. Their argument is based on tiny technicalities. Let me explain what I have come to understand as a result of my encounters with those people. First our crucial area of agreement about how things work. (I am repeating myself, I have said numerous times what I say just below.)

Every war expands the capacity, the importance, the reach of government, technically, the power of the state, relative to civil society. And every expansion of the state reduces the area left for individual freedom and for voluntary cooperative enterprise. It is rarely the case that an expansion of of the state is subsequently reversed. It follows form this succinct description that every libertarian should have a horror of war, completely aside from humanitarian pacifism. I share this sentiment.

My estrangement from mainstream libertarians and from Libertarians exists because of our different transition scenarios. I see differently, or I simply see in my mind’s eye and they don’t, the most likely process by which this society can move toward radically smaller government. I think there are two archetypes of transitions. The first one is the Somalia scenario: The organs of government fall apart of their own accord as a result of civil war or other catastrophes. I don’t want a society with small government hard enough to wish the Somalian fate upon American society.

The second scenario entails a democratic and probably gradual take-over of the organs of government by political forces that desire smaller government. We are seeing this possibility more clearly today, as I write, because of the Tea Party movement inside and outside of the Republican Party. Of course, such a peaceful take-over can only happen in a society that already enjoys constitutional government. Roughly, this means a society where elections are fair and honest and perceived to be so, where the overwhelming mass of the people abide by election results, and a society where courts are able to arbitrate decisively differences concerning election results. Obviously, the USA would be a good example of a society with constitutional government (excepting Chicago and New Orleans,of course)

If constitutional government is threatened, the likelihood of such a desirable transition is also threatened. Of course, an issue of proportionality arises here. It’s not the case that everytime a fool issues a threat against the Republic, the Republic is actually threatened. After all, Timothy McVay, a successful terrorist if there ever was one, failed absolutely to change the social order or the political order of this country. But take the 9/11 attack, another successful act of terrorism, in operational terms. It caused less than one tenth of the deaths that take place on American highways in a normal year. As I never tire of pointing out, by the way, about one half of highway deaths are connected to alcohol and therefore, completely avoidable. They are in fact a form of terrorism allowed by our collective passivity, if you will. ( I say that alcohol- related accidents are avoidable based on the following assumptions: If the first DUI were punishable by a lifetime driving prohibition and the second by a five- year prison sentence, you would quickly see the incidence of that behavior go down to near zero. This wouldn’t happen because drunk drivers would stop drinking but because they would stop driving as their friends would take away the keys. Others would have five years to dry up and reconsider. During those years, they wouldn’t kill anyone with a vehicle.) The 9/11 attack was very brilliantly organized which makes us forget how modest the means engaged were. I think I could have financed it entirely with a second mortgage on my house.

Is there anyone who doubts that the 9/11 cheap terrorist attack provoked deep and lasting disturbances in our economy? Is there anyone who doubts that such disturbances usually have grave political consequences even if no one can describe them well at the time? Is there any libertarian who does not believe that those political consequences severely undermine the credibility of arguments in favor of a weak state?

And more directly, isn’t it the case that spectacular and violent attacks against a society with constitutional government make more palatable security measures that depart from the society’s own constitutional tradition. Attacks, and even the threat of attacks, make citizens more attached to their state, more unconditionally attached to it and, accordingly, more willing to accept a measure of authoritarianism. I argue that successful attacks do more harm to the cause than do the measures taken to protect against such attacks. It’s useful to remember that the Patriot Act was a response, not a preventive measure.

And I have not forgotten the issue of assessing the credibility of threats against the Republic. I am only trying to establish that there exist threats that are credible enough to require actions protective of our constitutional arrangement. Such actions include pro-active measures abroad and the possibility of military attacks against a foreign entity. I am attentive to suggestions concerning the thesis that such actions are never necessary. Take good note of the fact that it’s the only thing I am trying to establish here. I am explicitly not arguing that the wars the US has fought were all necessary. There are wars of choice, such as the Vietnam War – that I opposed – and the liberation of Iraq – which I supported and still support. Yet, the fact that many politicians are wont to see snakes under every rock does not prove that there are no snakes under rocks.

The libertarian pacifist answer to this line of argument is dual. First, they seem to say: Attacks on the US, in general, and current attacks by Islamist terrorists, in particular, are merely responses to American own foreign policy. (I mean by “Islamist” simply that the terrorists involved declare that they do what they do in the name of Islam. I am obviously not qualified to judge the validity of their claim.) The absurdity of the “response” assertion is obvious if you make any effort to read the Islamists’ own abundant declarations. The response receives superficial support from the fact that Islamists also affirm that Islamist terrorism is a response to American and Western actions. That’s not all that they assert, however. It’s clear that we are the Great Satan, first of all because of who we are. We would be the Great Satan if there were not a single American soldier anywhere outside the US. Although the regretted Bin Laden had threatened the US in connection with American military presence in Saudi Arabia, the 9/11 attack took place after the US forces had vacated that country, not as a means to make them move. Notably Al Qaida and all of its local branches (which may be all that’s left of it, I understand), and the Islamic Republic of Iran have never offered the US conditional peace. Neither of these entities ever said, “You stay home and we will restrain any terrorist organization plotting against you.” They have made no such offer because it would destroy their very reason for being.

Libertarians who affect to believe that American actions constitute a perfect or near-perfect explanation for Islamist terrorism are just not serious, I think. It’s strange that many are well-informed people in every other way. I believe that their position if in fact anchored in stubborn, primitive, and presumptuous American isolationism dating back to the days when a warship took three weeks to arrive from Europe if it arrived at all, and when there were only en ships in all of Latin America . Those people are opposed to every proactive defense on foreign soil or even in international waters. They will tell you with a straight face (you can sometimes discern a straight face on Facebook!) that one should never direct a weapon at anyone unless one is actually attacked. Those are people whose idea of a constitutional war begins with a Pearl Harbor! And they will sometimes maintain that a joint resolution of Congress passed with a huge majority is not a proper declaration of war.

The psychological underpinning of this isolationism rests, it seems to me, in a distant and somewhat haughty 18th century view of the rest of the world. The rest of the world, un-America, in this perspective, is quarrelsome, petty, with strong criminal proclivities, fundamentally incapable of learning or of improving itself. This perspective nourishes a peculiar version of American exceptionalism made of 90% contempt. Those who hold it are often easy to spot because they rely excessively on the term “ Old World,” happily conflating the United Kingdom with Uzbekistan and Japan with Burkina Fasso.

And in this view lies the a crucial cultural difference between Left-liberal pacifism of the well-known type and the growing libertarian pacifism. Liberals profess to reject American military intervention abroad because of a strong myth of people of color’s virtuousness. According to this liberal myth, people of color, non-whites, seldom ever do anything wrong by any standard. When they do, as when they eat their neighbors, for example, it’s always somehow because of something or other that Westerners, Whites, usually Americans have dome to them, or to someone else. Or something. And then, of course, you shouldn’t do anything to them or in connection with them.

Libertarian pacifism has a significantly different basis that is almost the obverse of the first. It’s that the rest of the world is so fundamentally, irreversibly so awful that Americans must avoid it almost all costs. That position is qualified by an “almost” because there has to be room for when the outside world simply bombs one of your cities (Japan) or when it formally announces that it’s going to wage war on you (Germany).

The ethnocentrism underlying libertarian pacifism requires willful ignorance, not simply neglect of reality but clenched-jaws blindness. It’s obvious that in every continent and in especially large numbers in Europe, there are millions of people who share, on the whole, most of Americans’ wonderful virtues. Avoiding solidarity with such people is morally disgusting and strategically irresponsible. When they suffer, we suffer in short order. When they thrive, we thrive. The fewer of them there are the more vulnerable we are. Those who hate them want to kill us too. Just consider our collective disappointment at the electoral defeat of the secular and democratic forces in Egypt right now (December 2011). Are those Americans who are disappointed just being silly? Nevertheless, there are times when the avoidance of foreign entanglement is the only realistic stance, it’s true. But, erecting impotence as the main basis for principled collective action seems absurd.

The second thing I leaned from my interactions with libertarians severally defined (see above) is also the second basis of their adherence to the principle of non-intervention. Libertarians assert that non-intervention in the affairs of foreign countries is somehow a morally superior position. Whenever you argue about this matter with a libertarian, or if you listen to Republican candidate Congressman Ron Paul, you will hear a recurrent theme: We should mind our own business. The context always shows that “our” has a national definition. They don’t say that Presbyterians should not intervene in the affairs of Lutherans, or that Texans should leave Coloradans alone, or that football fans should not criticize basketball fans. (They might agree to all the above bye-the-bye but it’s not the point they make.) In fact, they are asserting unambiguously the moral position that Americans should not interfere with what goes one in foreign countries.

Most countries today are technically “nation-states,” that is, states based more or less on a single nation. The key word here is “state.” But remember that objecting to the existence of the state in general, or, at least wishing to see the importance of the state remain small vis-a-vis civil society is at the heart of libertarianisms of all breeds (mine included). So, suddenly, those who don’t like states put themselves in a position to defend the sanctity of the boundaries of that to which they object. Does this make sense?

They say in effect: We don’t want states because they are immoral but morality demands that states must be respected as if they were moral entities.

Incidentally, there is gross indifference, a massive lack of compassion also involved in this supposedly moral posture of non-intervention. This is puzzling because many libertarians are also, individually, Christians (although Christianity is not a necessary foundation of libertarianism ). The mental gymnastics to which Christian non-interventionists must subject themselves give me a headache. They have to pretend to believe, for example, that American military intervention in Bosnia where 10,000 civilians were killed in one city alone in the years 1992 to 1996 was a morally worse act than continued passivity would have been. They must force themselves to think that somehow things would have turned out better if America had let the massacre continue. Same thing with the subsequent use of American armed force in Kosovo to stop the completion of a genocide in progress there. Memory refresher: Serbian fascist dictator (formerly Communist dictator) Milosevic in the Fall of 1998 ordered all ethnic Albanian civilians who were citizens of Serbia to take to the roads and leave. They began to do so by their hundreds of thousands, which would unavoidably have led to the deaths of thousands of the aged, the sick, and small children. The US Air Force and Navy carrier planes eventually reversed this ethnic cleansing.

Non-interventionists must also think that the slaughter of between 500,000 and one million people in Rwanda in 1994, over only three months, would have been even worse had the US (or others) sent a dozen warplanes to bomb a single radio station directing the massacre. (The low estimate of the victims comes from the always cautious Human Rights Watch.) For me, it’s difficult to imagine much that would be worse than the attempted and largely successful violent liquidation of large minority of the population of a small country. By the same token, the continuing deadly ethnic cleansing of Darfur, in the Sudan, where rape is used systematically as a weapon of war, evokes only indifference among libertarians. By the way, the arguments for non-intervention in Rwanda, and now in Darfur, are such that it’s difficult not to think about racial prejudice: Black people in remote parts of Africa are eviscerating one another? What do you expect? That’s what they do!

In summary: You can’t seriously argue that the time to fight enemies is strictly only when they are on the beach in Malibu or in the New York City subway. You can’t be taken seriously, and you should not take yourself seriously, if you say one day that you want no more state and tomorrow that state boundaries are so sacred that they must not even be breached to stop the massacre of innocents

And no, I have not changed my mind: War, even the preparation for war, are inimical to the realization of a greater sphere of individual freedom. It’s a real dilemma, no question about it. I don’t see that libertarians will make much progress toward resolving it by pretending it’s not in the room with us, like a dinosaur.

And, as one of the Founding Fathers so aptly remarked: “ If we make ourselves into sheep, the wolves will eat us.” And that’s no individual freedom!

About jacquesdelacroix

I am a sociologist, a short-story writer, and a blogger (Facts Matter and Notes On Liberty) in Santa Cruz, California.
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42 Responses to Libertarian Pacifism vs Liberal Pacifism: What I Learned by Arguing with Libertarians

  1. Terry Amburgey says:

    I prefer reason #4: it’s fun arguing about politics.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Terry: I admire your youthfulness of spirit. For me, it’s not much fun anymore. It’s rather like a duty, like splitting logs for firewood: In the middle of dong it, you realize that you like it.

  2. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Oh my!  I was hoping for a good fight.  This is trash, pure and simple.  I was taught to follow to the “rotten apple” rule: if there is one rotten apple in the bunch, then the whole barrel is rotten.  You stated:

    “Although the regretted Bin Laden had threatened the US in connection with American military presence in Saudi Arabia, the 9/11 attack took place after the US forces had vacated that country, not as a means to make them move.”

    This is absurd on its face, and I hope that Dr. J’s readers will take this statement into account when reading his critiques of libertarian policies regarding military action.  The BBC reports on US troop withdrawal (in 2003) here.  USA Today‘s report is here.  The New York Times has something on it here.  Fox News reports on the 2003 withdrawal here.  To get something like this so completely wrong almost makes me think that exercises such as these are not worth my time.  Am I debating a serious intellectual or a 33-year-old “lifelong learner” at Cabrillo College?

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      “Trash, pure and simple” Subtle counterargument!
      I couldn’t follow the link you provided.

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        Can’t follow the links?

        Try this: on my screen I see four links. They are blue and all of them say here. If you left-click on any one of those, you should be able to follow the links.

        Hope that helps!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Sorry, I don’t see any links. Please, try email and I will try to transcribe them to this blog.

  3. Bruce says:

    I might be a kind of pacifist since I hate war. I just think the less you have to go to war and the less time you spend fighting the better. I believe in peace through superior firepower. Times have changed, the world is a much smaller place and being able to kill our enemies and destroy their stuff on their soil is a good thing. It’s something that every peace loving American understands in his heart. Americans love peace, and they love freedom so that means they sometimes have to fight for it. Terrorism should be answered with an overwhelmingly powerful response that is quick and devastating. There is collatteral damage under even the best of circumstances, terrorists must take responsibility for the fallout of their actions. It should not be played like a game. It’s interesting how the media uses the general term “terrorist’ and are quick to bring up Timmothy McVey, even when discussing the attacks of 9-11. It was Islamic terrorists that flew those planes into the World Trade Center Twin Towers. Some people are yet to realize the world is like a bar on the wrong side of town. It’s better to be there with friends you already have than try to make friends once you get there. If you go there with 6 guys you have a better chance of leaving without incident.
    It’s never a good idea to hang around in a bar after a fight, so I think you need to kick ass sufficiently so there isn’t much left. In stressful or life threatening situations, you will not rise to the occasion, you will default to your level of training. Thats why it’s critical that you know what the purpose of going to the bar is and what you’re going to do if thigs go to hell. Have Congress declare war, turn the fighting of that war over to the professionals until the mission is completed and leave. Our country just needs to decide what is important to us and then do what is necessary. With all the corruption in government these days it’s hard to imagine it will ever run this way. Hopefully there are enough people who still think the way I do, that way pacifists of all types will continue to have the luxury of speaking their minds in the greatest place on earth.

  4. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Here is the link: http://bit.ly/sNdbFH

  5. jacquesdelacroix says:

    Let me repeat first that Crackpot’s and my positions on most things are quite close. I am interested in the differences because they have everything to do with a major division among conservatives and, I believe, with the Libertarian Party’s inability to win votes in national elections. I don’t need to argue with Crackpot’s long dissertation step by step, first because I agree with much of what he says, second because some of his assertions which which I don’t agree re unimportant or fall down of their own weight.

    Crackpot’s confession of global ignorance, on his and on my behalf is touching but not useful as far as my case is concerned. I believe I am less ignorant of international affairs than the average person. It would be shameful if I were not given that I have been paying attention for more than fifty years and given that I took the trouble to acquire useful intellectual tools along the way (the same tools Crackpot is taking the trouble to try and earn right now, by the way). And as for being an “old fart,” you decide whether the epithet says more about me or about Crackpot who uses it against me as an expression of his wit.

    I have two sorts of things to say about Part One of Crackpot’s response to my long essay entitled:

    https://factsmatter.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/libertarian-pacifism-vs-liberal-pacifism-what-i-learned-by-arguing-with-libertarians/

    and posted on my blog on December 5th 2011. The objective of this essay was largely but not entirely to clear my own mind about what separates me and millions of other conservatives from orthodox, or from mainstream, or from real libertarians in spite of the fact that I (and we) share much of their analysis and most of their values.

    I want first to repeat a confession that I have made several times: If you wanted to invent a device to undermine the libertarian pursuit of a society with a weak state, you couldn’t do better than war, any war.

    I have two families of replies to Crackpot’s first attack against my wise, penetrating, superbly informed , and finely crafted essay:

    1 Crackpot does not pay enough attention to the arguments he is trying to rebut. He is not even paying enough attention to the arguments he makes against mine;

    2 The heart of Crackpot’s argument against my position, that we, the US , anyone(?) are too ignorant to intervene in the affairs of others, is absurd.

    First, Crackpot’s lack of attention.

    Crackpot: “Consider, if you will, the number of 10,000 dead within four years time in the Balkan tragedy.  This is regrettable, but compare this small number to the number of dead in Iraq for the first four years of American occupation there.”

    I was referring in fact to the number of 10,000 dead in and around the single Bosnian city of Sarajevo, almost all of them civilians. The total death toll for the several years of Balkans wars associated with the disintegration of the old Yugoslavia was well above 100,000 according to all humanitarian organizations that I know of. (One mentioned in Wikipedia says 130,000). These figures include more than 500 (five hundred) for the American interventions regarding Bosnia and Kosovo reported in a Human Rights Watch piece critical of the Pentagon.

    I understand such figures are of necessity imprecise. But confusing 10,000 with 100,000 seems to me too much.

    Toward the end of his response, Crackpot makes several unenable statements regarding my regret that the US did not intervene cheaply and risklessly in the Rwanda massacre.

    First, there was no Rwanda “war” in 1994 as Crackpot states. The choice of this word is almost silly. The Hutus did not do “most of the killing” but all of the killing. I doubt anyone reported otherwise. It would be well worth correcting me on this if I am wrong because I think everyone who has ever expressed himself on the topic believes as I do except Crackpot. (No matter, truth is not an issue of consensus, of course.) There was no “war” in Rwanda in 1994 but a straightforward massacre. Crackpot might just as well refer to the “war between the Nazis and the Jews between 1942 and 1945.” And yes, I am aware of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. It changes nothing to the absurdity of such a statement. And I will address below the question of what the Tutsis had previously done do their murderers to deserve their fate

    Crackpot seems to believe that I affirmed in my essay that American ground intervention (“…send troops into Rwanda….” ) would have stopped the Rwanda genocide. I made no such argument. Incidentally, don’t believe Crackpot is deliberately representing my argument or otherwise lying. I think he is just not paying attention, as I said.

    What I spoke about was sending a few warplanes against one radio station (no “a few radio stations.” Crackpot is not paying attention even when it would serve his purpose.) I said that one such small intervention would have disrupted a genocide that went on over more than one month. I never said it would have “prevented” it. It can easily imagine however that it would have saved the lives of 2% of the victims of the massacre, about 500,000 according to the low-ball estimate. That would have been 10,000 lives saved. Yes, I assume that such an air expedition launched from aircraft carriers or from lent bases in a friendly West African nation such as Senegal would have been essentially without risk for our military.

    It is this risklessness that encourages me to suspect an element of racism in the failure to act, in this case. The suspicion of racism does not imply that there exist no principled argument against military intervention as Crackpot appears to accuse me of saying. To think otherwise is grossly illogical. It’s possible for intervention to be withheld for principled reasons strengthened by underlying racism.

    The same arguments hold today pretty much the same way with respect to the black-on-black large-scale massacre in Darfur.

    Now, my second response to Crackpot’s vilification of my essay: https://factsmatter.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/libertarian-pacifism-vs-liberal-pacifism-what-i-learned-by-arguing-with-libertarians///////

    It’s about the ignorance argument against military intervention abroad.

    Crackpot uses quite a bit of space trying to convince us that Americans and their governments never know enough to shoot at anyone. I presume that Crackpot allows that we know enough to shoot at those who attack us right at home and in full daylight. (That would have to be right in the middle of Pacific Avenue in Santa Cruz, for example, at five PM when everyone is awake and the sidewalks are bustling with bums, left-wing intellectuals and skanks.) Following up on the fact that I stated in my essay that American military actions to protect both Bosnians and Kosovars were a good thing, Crackpot takes us on a quick tour of Balkans history. He assures us in particular, that Serbs, who bore the brunt on American attacks in both cases, had been mistreated previously by the very people we were supposedly protecting. I assume he means that ethnic Serbs from Bosnia and later, Serbs from Kosovo had been mistreated by Bosniaks (Serbo-Croatian-speaking Muslims) and by ethnic Albanians (Albanian-speaking Muslims). I will leave aside as a detail the fact that the damage was inflicted on those groups by the Serbs of the regular army of what remained of Yugoslavia. (What remained of Yugoslavia by then was the “republics” of Serbia and Montenegro, both nearly entirely ethnically Serbian.)

    Crackpot also points out that before being slaughtered with bricks and machetes (my description) by their Hutu fellow citizens, the Rwanda Tutsi had been themselves plenty unkind to the Hutus.

    My moral position is that my alleged ignorance in those respects makes little difference as far as my duty to intervene is concerned. Your ignorance should not matter either, I think. Here is why, in the simplest terms:

    Suppose I observe neighbor A beating neighbor B with a hammer. Suppose further that I don’t know either neighbor very well. Should I wait until I have figured out whose dog shat on whose lawn before I try to stop neighbor A?

    Note that I say “try to stop.” I think I should give due consideration to my own safety. If I am an eighty-pound lady of eighty years of age, I might judge that I should not intervene. Keeping off would be morally acceptable, but it should definitely make me sad or regretful.

    I think that’s enough to dispose of the extreme ignorance argument that Crackpot develops lengthily but in vain. Sometimes, we are too ignorant to intervene. More often, we are not too ignorant to try and stop the most proximate and the most obvious of evils. In time, the argument of ignorance is bound to lose more and more of whatever slim value it possesses now. Because of the Internet and because of other electronic resources, ignorance is every day more difficult to sustain.

    The fact remains that no one should go to war lightly. It’s true that wars seldom play out the way they are supposed to. But, sometimes, they do. The war of choice against the Hussein tyranny in Iraq did not develop the way the American political class thought it would. (And everyone seems to forget that President Bush in fact accomplished the mission in spite of his successor’s ill-will in the matter.) The war of retaliation against the savage Taliban in Afghanistan also is not going as expected. That’s mostly because Americans usually have trouble going the distance. It’s a cultural trait. But the wars for the protection of ordinary civilians in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Libya, all went pretty much as planned and all ended quickly. As I write, there is still not a single American service person on the ground in liberated Arab, Muslim Libya. (There are probably some American CIA agents there. God, I hope there are!)

    And, as I said at the beginning, there are libertarian stirrings in me. I realize accordingly how distressing it is to seem to be making the argument that the US should be the policeman of the world. I wish the argument could not be made at all. In reality, however, it’s inescapable. Every other possibility is much worse from a moral standpoint. In many case it’s also much worse with respect to American security narrowly defined. And, yes, I keep hoping the Finns will volunteers as world policemen, perhaps with a helping hand from the Icelanders. And yes, in my heart, I believe they will do a better job than Americans.

    As for the “hypocrisy” of taking a joint resolution of Congress passed with a large majority as a declaration of war. I stand by my assertions. I don’t see any place in the Constitution where the proper procedure for declaring war is outlined in detail that would exclude my view. As always, of course, I stand ready to be instructed by my better.

    • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

      Oh my! I am flattered at such a lengthy and well-thought-out-but-ultimately-futile reply to my devastating rebuttal. Please remember to read Part 1 and Part 2 of my rebuttal before you come to any conclusions regarding foreign policy.

      On to the fight! Delacroix writes:

      “1 Crackpot does not pay enough attention to the arguments he is trying to rebut. He is not even paying enough attention to the arguments he makes against mine […]

      Crackpot: ‘Consider, if you will, the number of 10,000 dead within four years time in the Balkan tragedy. This is regrettable, but compare this small number to the number of dead in Iraq for the first four years of American occupation there.’

      I was referring in fact to the number of 10,000 dead in and around the single Bosnian city of Sarajevo, almost all of them civilians. The total death toll for the several years of Balkans wars associated with the disintegration of the old Yugoslavia was well above 100,000 according to all humanitarian organizations that I know of. (One mentioned in Wikipedia says 130,000). These figures include more than 500 (five hundred) for the American interventions regarding Bosnia and Kosovo reported in a Human Rights Watch piece critical of the Pentagon.

      I understand such figures are of necessity imprecise. But confusing 10,000 with 100,000 seems to me too much.”

      Augh! Ya got me! You schooled me Dr. J!

      For what it’s worth, I knew you were referring to a city in the Balkans, but I didn’t think it necessary to go too in depth on the subject because I could have picked any city in Iraq for comparison’s sake and my larger point would have remained.

      Usually Dr. J is much more generous in this regard. I wonder what has him all hot and bothered?!

      Delacroix next lays into my assessment of Rwanda:

      First, there was no Rwanda “war” in 1994 as Crackpot states. The choice of this word is almost silly. The Hutus did not do “most of the killing” but all of the killing. I doubt anyone reported otherwise. It would be well worth correcting me on this if I am wrong because I think everyone who has ever expressed himself on the topic believes as I do except Crackpot. (No matter, truth is not an issue of consensus, of course.) There was no “war” in Rwanda in 1994 but a straightforward massacre. Crackpot might just as well refer to the “war between the Nazis and the Jews between 1942 and 1945.” And yes, I am aware of the Warsaw ghetto uprising. It changes nothing to the absurdity of such a statement. And I will address below the question of what the Tutsis had previously done do their murderers to deserve their fate

      Oh the irony of the situation here is too much! Here we are debating foreign policy and ignorance – even among specialists – and Dr. J comes up with this whopper. The catalyst for the Rwandan massacre was the assassination of the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi (both Hutus) during a brief lull (Aug. 1993 – April 1994) in fighting between various Tutsi and Hutu factions throughout Uganda, Burundi, and Rwanda.

      Prior to the assassination of these two figures (and lasting until 1996), there was a massive war being fought between the Tutsis and the Hutus – and each ethnic group had many different factions with many different ideas about how to best govern their societies.

      Although some factions signed the (eight-month-long) cease fire, it is obvious that others wanted no part in the deal, and sporadic fighting continued throughout – though not between the largest factions, of course. The assassins of the two presidents are still unknown today. To claim that there was no war in Rwanda in 1994 is akin to stating that al-Qaeda’s terrorist attacks on the United States happened after the US military removed its troops from Saudi Arabia: utterly falsifiable and full of rotten apples.

      Also, there is not much “black-on-black violence” in the Darfur. It is mostly Arab-on-black violence, although I’m sure the awful situation there (and let’s not forget the role the European imperial cartographers played in all of this) allows from some black-on-black violence as well.

      Suppose I observe neighbor A beating neighbor B with a hammer. Suppose further that I don’t know either neighbor very well. Should I wait until I have figured out whose dog shat on whose lawn before I try to stop neighbor A?

      That would be a good idea, especially if your stopping of the neighbor requires getting other neighbors to help you out with the situation, though I do understand the remorse you would feel, especially if watching one neighbor beat the crap out of the neighbor made you feel less secure. Adhering to the Rule of Law and the constitutional process would allow for the airing out of such arguments in favor of and against interventions. I have yet to see the American Congress reject a presidential request to go to war.

      As for the “hypocrisy” of taking a joint resolution of Congress passed with a large majority as a declaration of war. I stand by my assertions. I don’t see any place in the Constitution where the proper procedure for declaring war is outlined in detail that would exclude my view. As always, of course, I stand ready to be instructed by my better.

      I don’t recall labeling you a hypocrite on this matter (though I don’t doubt it either). Time for you to a lift a finger and do some research my friend.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Thanks but this is going too fast for me. (Unfortunately, finals must be over and you have too much time on your hands.) I expect to respond to Comments number 2 and 3 but I need a little time. I cannot really attend to responses to responses though they are welcome.

        I could have done some work yesterday Sunday but I had to go collect mussels because my family needs the proteins.

        I assume that you share my opinion that our exchange is worth sharing widely. I doubt the same job is done anywhere else. So, help me diffuse it. I listen to suggestions. I assume you are doing your best from your side to diffuse it.

  6. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Sounds good, though I think our exchange would be better received if it was in a well-organized format. This is my fault because I wrote on my blog rather than here.

    Hmm…

    Maybe I’ll just post my replies on here, and hope that you are a good ‘comments’ editor? Lol!

    Better yet: you could e-mail me your blog’s username and password and I can fix up the ‘comments’ section so that it looks nice (for readers, not for your untenable positions). I promise I’ll play fair!

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      I hope you can fix whatever but, believe it or not, I don’t know my user’s name. Someone else established the blog for me and he has forgotten what he did. I don’t want to fix my format, I want someone to change it completely for a new one. I like your blog, for example. I just need to find someone in Santa Cruz who is smarter than I (not that easy, in Santa Cruz.)

      Isn’t there away to copy and paste the same things on both blogs at more or less the same time?

      Also, I don’t know if I explain this well but when you send me a “link” it does not appear anywhere on my blog as something that can be activated with a click and that takes you to the text of reference.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Crackpot’s replies to my reply are as misinformed as his first comments. Two examples:

        He speaks thus: “Prior to the assassination of these two figures (and lasting until 1996), there was a massive war being fought between the Tutsis and the Hutus – ” Where? When? In Rwanda? Somewhere else? Several years before? For whatever reason there was a well-documented massacre in Rwanda in 1994. It was committed by Hutus directed by a single radio station. The US and a dozen other countries could have stopped the massacre at practically no risk. They did not; we did not. That’ is shameful.

        Similarly Crackpot tries to correct my statement about the massacre in Darfur being “black-on-black.” He says it’s “Arabs….” blah, blah. The killers may well speak Arabic. Nevertheless, they are as black as their victims. Neither murderers nor victims would have been seated at a lunch counter in Georgia in 1960. Since I was talking about underlying American racism, what language anyone involved speaks does not matter, only appearance.

        Incidentally, his attempt to correct me is the occasion for another display of ignorance. “”Black” is a racial category, it concerns (rightly or wrongly) physical appearance. “Arab” is a cultural category; at bottom, it’s even merely a linguistic category: An Arab is someone whose mother tongue is Arabic, whether the individual has blue eyes and blond hair or brown eyes and tightly curled black hair.

        In general, I make broad moral arguments. Crackpot responds to them with irrelevant information and with pseudo- information. Like every other orthodox libertarian with whom I have argued before him, he side-steps real issues. He is braver than most though. I want to point out that I have not accused him of dishonesty but of exaggerated attachment to dogma. d

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        You probably need to update your browser if you can’t follow the links. I hope you are not using Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, by the way. I’d help you out, but I no longer have any ties to the Santa Cruz area. If you want you can send me your password and I can try to guess your username (it’s probably the name of your blog).

  7. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Oh dude. C’mon, you are making this too easy.

    He speaks thus: “Prior to the assassination of these two figures (and lasting until 1996), there was a massive war being fought between the Tutsis and the Hutus – ” Where? When? In Rwanda? Somewhere else? Several years before? For whatever reason there was a well-documented massacre in Rwanda in 1994. It was committed by Hutus directed by a single radio station. The US and a dozen other countries could have stopped the massacre at practically no risk. They did not; we did not. That’ is shameful.

    Remember how I began this argument under the premise that even experts in international affairs are susceptible to errors, and that therefore it is a good idea to at least proceed with foreign policy issues the same way that we proceed with domestic ones: with due process and the Rule of Law in mind?

    In 1990 a rebel group of Tutsi nationalists poured over from the Ugandan border (where they were driven after Hutu purges) to take over the Rwandan government (they succeeded in 1994, just after the massacres took place). From 1990 until at least 1996 (I will come back to this) – a civil war raged throughout Rwanda and intermittently spilled over into Burundi, Uganda, and even Zaire (as it was then called). In August 1993 the main Tutsi-dominated rebel group (which received help from Ugandan forces) and the Hutu-dominated government of Rwanda (which received help from Burundian, Zairean, and French forces) signed a cease-fire, but not all of the factions liked this, and fighting continued throughout Rwanda sporadically. In April 1994, the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi (both Hutus) were assassinated, and the infamous massacre then took place.

    An analogy of the Rwanda scenario can be drawn with the Yitzhak Rabin scenario in Israel: leaders who tried to make peace with enemies were assassinated for doing so (though the assassins of the Rwandan and Burundian leaders have never been identified).

    The main rebel group and the government of Rwanda then immediately began to ensue hostilities. The Tutsi-dominated rebel forces eventually took control of Rwanda. The end date of the war is still disputed among scholars. Some think it ended in 1994 with the surrender of the Rwandan government. Some think it ended in 1996 after the new Rwandan government pursued Hutu refugees in Zaire. Some argue that the war is still ongoing today. I happen to think it is the latter.

    Thus your assertion that the West may have stopped the massacre with an airplane strike on a single radio station seems far-fetched. It is very clear that the animosities among the Hutus and the Tutsi are real, and that the storyline concerning the massacre is much more complex than interventionists would like it to be. Keep in mind that complexities are often disparaged by hawks in the West when they argue for a robust bombing campaign, or an invasion and occupation of a state (remember the case for invading Iraq and toppling Hussein?).

    Is it any wonder, then, that hawks generally disparage due process and the Rule of Law when it comes to foreign policy? Conceptually, what makes Delacroix’s argument any different from Leftist calls to “do something” in regards to the economy during a downturn? Both camps seem to think their ideas and their morals are above the law and their fellow citizens.

    By the way, ten years after the massacre and continuing on into today, Rwanda is a multi-party democracy, albeit a fragile one. In terms of low-levels of corruption, Kigali is ranked 8th (out of 47) in sub-Saharan Africa and 66th in the world. A reconcialiation process has also been undertaken, though problems with the DR Congo (formerly Zaire) and Hutu militias are ongoing. Compare this with ten years of an occupied Afghanistan or eight years of an occupied Iraq or 16 years of an occupied Balkans region.

    Similarly Crackpot tries to correct my statement about the massacre in Darfur being “black-on-black.” He says it’s “Arabs….” blah, blah. The killers may well speak Arabic. Nevertheless, they are as black as their victims. Neither murderers nor victims would have been seated at a lunch counter in Georgia in 1960. Since I was talking about underlying American racism, what language anyone involved speaks does not matter, only appearance.

    Incidentally, his attempt to correct me is the occasion for another display of ignorance. “”Black” is a racial category, it concerns (rightly or wrongly) physical appearance. “Arab” is a cultural category; at bottom, it’s even merely a linguistic category: An Arab is someone whose mother tongue is Arabic, whether the individual has blue eyes and blond hair or brown eyes and tightly curled black hair.

    Your point about Sudanese not being able to sit at a lunch table with white Americans in the American South prior to the late 1960’s is well-taken, though I don’t know what that has to do with libertarian foreign policy.

    For what it’s worth, nobody uses “racial categories” anymore. It has been well-understood for quite some time that “black” is as much a cultural category as “Arab”, thus the distinction between “black” and “Arab” that I made.

    You are trying too hard, Dr. J.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      As I said previously: You sidestep moral issues with displays of pseudo scholarship ( There was a massive massacre in Rwanda that could have been curtailed at no risk.) Libertarian leaders do the same all the time or else, they verse into farce. Ron Paul in Republican candidate debates, gets cheap applause from young people exactly the same way left-liberal political leaders like McGovern did thirty years ago. Both rely on drive-by semi-humorous remarks that affirm their intellectual superiority while circumventing debate and rational thought. In many cases, the truth is much simpler and much easier to understand than you make it out to be.

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        Indeed. I can’t say much about my “pseudo scholarship” (nice rebuttal by the way), but it is very clear that the historical events leading up to the massacre, which included the assassination of two Heads of State who signed an unpopular and short-lived cease fire, were complex enough to at least shed some doubt on the idea that “there was a massive massacre in Rwanda that could have been curtailed at no risk”.

        Dr. Delacroix’s astonishing display of arrogance in this regard speaks for itself.

        The idea that bombing “a single radio station” to prevent the Rwandan massacre – which occurred throughout a state the size of Massachusetts (with the infrastructure of a state like Rwanda) – just reinforces the argument that foreign policy needs to be beholden to the Rule of Law and due process, rather than to the advice and analysis of specialists who believe themselves to be above the law.

        Dr. J has yet to respond to my other rebuttals. Here is Part 2 and here is Part 3. I had to break up his long essay into three parts to make his incoherent writing into something decent for public display!

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        I have not responded to two of your rebuttals it’s true.
        You keep misrepresenting what I say although what I say is simple:
        There was a massacre going on in Rwanda at the time. It was a one-way massacre. It went on for months. Western countries, including the US. could have limited the number of deaths irrespective of what started it.
        There was one single radio-station in that very small country promoting and directing the massacre. Destroying it would or would not have “prevented” the massacre, I don’t know. It would have reduced the number of victims for sure. That’s common sense. Common sense in not common currency among the people I am arguing with. They are too sophisticated to rely on something as simple, I think.

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Extended response to Crackshot on the Rwanda genocide: “Two radio stations key to inciting violence before and during the genocide were Radio Rwanda and Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines…” This is from Wikepedia, the same source that Cracksot, and everyone else, is using.

        I heard recordings (in French) of Radio Television des Mille Collines rigtht after the massacre. It’s inconceivable that its broadcasts did not play a significant role in encouraging the murders. “Significant” that’s all I claim. Given that the minimum estimate a deaths was 500,000, there is no way that bombing that station from the air would not have saved some people. Rwanda did not have air defense. obviously, therefore, the raid would have been virtually riskless, as I said.

        I don’t want to spend my time repeating the obvious. This is silly.

  8. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    This is not a “silly” debate. To say such a thing only helps to reveal your naked Leftist tendencies, Dr. J. Please, cover up!

    I am keeping up this dialogue for one important reason, as you have still failed to answer my question: which side of the Rwandan war should the West have intervened on behalf of?

    Choosing sides is an important concept when it comes to war and peace, especially when a state’s national security is not directly threatened (I repeat myself).

    Lest I be accused of “misrepresenting” Delacroix’s argument again, I shall quote it in full below:

    “There was a massacre going on in Rwanda at the time. It was a one-way massacre. It went on for months. Western countries, including the US. could have limited the number of deaths irrespective of what started it.

    There was one single radio-station in that very small country promoting and directing the massacre. Destroying it would or would not have “prevented” the massacre, I don’t know. It would have reduced the number of victims for sure. That’s common sense.”

    Now remember, the argument that libertarian non-interventionists put forth largely rests on the notion of human ignorance. This ignorance is one reason why libertarians like Jacques Delacroix and myself generally oppose government intervention in the domestic sphere, and why libertarians like myself oppose government intervention in foreign policy as well.

    Yet libertarians like Jacques Delacroix believe that government intervention – when applied to the realm of foreign policy and unencumbered by the Rule of Law and due process – is a good thing. Why is this?

    I will get to the destruction of the radio station in just a moment, but first I want to hone in on Delacroix’s assertion the destruction of a single radio station in the midst of a civil war would have reduced the number of victims as “common sense”.

    It is worth repeating that the same people who argued that the invasion of Iraq would be a simple, open-and-close, common sense case of regime change were also the same people who disparaged the opposition’s arguments as “silly”.

    Silly indeed, and still no answer to my very simple question.

    Perhaps I can help Delacroix out. In his extended remarks, he writes:

    “‘Two radio stations key to inciting violence before and during the genocide were Radio Rwanda and Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines…’ This is from Wikepedia, the same source that Cracksot, and everyone else, is using.

    I heard recordings (in French) of Radio Television des Mille Collines rigtht after the massacre. It’s inconceivable that its broadcasts did not play a significant role in encouraging the murders. “Significant” that’s all I claim. Given that the minimum estimate a deaths was 500,000, there is no way that bombing that station from the air would not have saved some people. Rwanda did not have air defense. obviously, therefore, the raid would have been virtually riskless, as I said.”

    Radio Rwanda and Radio Television des Mille Collines were both state-owned media outlets at the time of the Rwandan massacre (I am deliberately ignoring the fact that Delacroix has, up until actually doing some research on the subject, maintained that only one radio station was directing the massacres).

    Does this small fact not give us a clue as to which faction in the Rwandan civil war deserved to be singled out for the ire of the Western world? If not, why?

    Your point that thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of lives may have been saved by bombing a radio station (or two) is mere speculation. Such a bombing would more than likely have created just the opposite of what you predict.

    Picture this three-step process: 1) Hutus pointing to the bombed-out shell of a popular, Hutu-friendly radio station and the presence of Tutsi militias wrecking havoc throughout the country 2) Hutu demagogues putting forth a theory that the Tutsis are working with Western imperial powers to impose their authority once again on the Hutu people 3) The previously apathetic now also take to the streets. Not only does most of the public believe that Tutsi factions are responsible for the assassination of two prominent Hutu politicians, but the West has just taken the side of the Tutsis…just like it did during the colonial era.

    As a reminder to all, I must reiterate that the discussion has moved to pure speculation on the part of the contestants, though I think it would be pertinent to remind everybody that Delacroix and other Leftists heartily believe that the upheavals in the Middle East earlier in the year will lead to electoral success for liberal democratic parties and will usher in the eventual demise of the Islamists. Observe:

    “Here is what I think will happen next. It’s also what I hope will happen. And, no, I am not confusing my wishes with reality. The armed forces of Egypt […] will shepherd the country to a gradual democratization. There will be honest elections in six months, or in one year, or in two years, or in five […] If elections were held tomorrow, there is a good chance the Muslim Brotherhood would dominate them just because it’s well organized. That could (could) be the beginning of a democratic conquest of power by this ultimately undemocratic group. I know, it’s the reformed Muslim Brotherhood that professes to believe in elections and in a secular state.

    Delacroix wrote this passage in February of 2011. Is it any wonder that Delacroix has gone on record saying that he would support the invasion of Iraq all over again? I have argued, contra Delacroix and other Leftists, that while such upheavals are a good thing, the more likely scenarios will be ones where Islamists will sweep to power due to the continued presence of Western troops in the region, and that until the West withdraws militarily, the Islamists will continue to have the upper-hand in Middle Eastern electoral politics. In Part 2 of my demolition of Delacroix’s hack job, I wrote:

    “Libertarians realize that Islamists are bad people. They are bigots. They are scum. And their power is enhanced by the presence of Western military forces in Muslim lands. Don’t believe me? Check out the platforms of the democratically-elected Islamist parties in Tunisia, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Iran. They are all playing off of the Western military presence in the region. If we were to take the foreign military presence out of the equation, where would that leave the influence of the Islamists? Delacroix knows it is absurd to believe that the vast majority of Muslims actually agree with the platforms of the Islamists in the region. Yes, the Islamists will always get some votes due to Israel, but by and large, if the West were to withdraw its military from the Middle East, the political power of the Islamists would fade considerably.”

    Ultimately, since we are engaging in speculation at this point, it is the reader who must decide which argument sounds more logical and reasoned. Given that Dr. J and I agree on almost everything else political (I’ll bet he has horrible taste in music!), I find this argument fascinating.

  9. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Jacques Delacroix’s latest argument for a robust and aggressive overseas military presence is so chock full of factual errors and myths (and demagoguery) that I have been forced to break up his essay into an ongoing, three-part series.  The essay’s incoherence also contributes to this cumbersome process, as I am usually able to dismantle his arguments piece-by-piece.  In this rebuttal I will stick to debunking some the myths espoused in the middle his babbling and baffling charges concerning foreign threats, the nature of states, and the libertarian worldview.

    Delacroix, in the midst of his desperate attack on non-intervention, writes this:

    “And I have not forgotten the issue of assessing the credibility of threats against the Republic. I am only trying to establish that there exist threats that are credible enough to require actions protective of our constitutional arrangement. Such actions include pro-active measures abroad and the possibility of military attacks against a foreign entity. I am attentive to suggestions concerning the thesis that such actions arenever necessary. Take good note of the fact that it’s the only thing I am trying to establish here. I am explicitly not arguing that the wars the US has fought were all necessary. There are wars of choice, such as the Vietnam War – that I opposed – and the liberation of Iraq – which I supported and still support. Yet, the fact that many politicians are wont to see snakes under every rock does not prove that there are no snakes under rocks.”

    Pay close attention to the beginning of his statement, which acknowledges the fact that a military and an attentive diplomatic corps is needed to assess threats to the republic’s well-being.  Yet he says this as if libertarians don’t recognize this fact.  What the libertarian argument states, quite explicitly, is that our knowledge about threats is still going to be drastically incomplete, and therefore any military measures requiring a hefty use of force needs to be subject to the Rule of Law and our constitutional process.

    Our collective failure in both Iraq and Afghanistan should be ample evidence enough, but for the dogmatic proponent of war, all he sees is democracy and freedom amidst the car bombs and the kidnappings and the scheming of those “snakes under rocks”.

    Also, I find it odd that Delacroix would oppose the Vietnam War – which at least attempted to adhere to the imperfect-but-probably-necessary Containment Doctrine to counter socialist imperialism – while actively rooting for a war that played no role in national security, that was based on faulty evidence (there is that pretense of knowledge again!), and is directly responsible for the unnecessary deaths of almost one million people.  All in the name of democracy to boot!

    Delacroix’s arguments get even odder (if that’s possible) with this falsifiable charge:

    “The libertarian pacifist answer to this line of argument is dual. First, they seem to say: Attacks on the US, in general, and current attacks by Islamist terrorists, in particular, are merely responses to American own foreign policy. (I mean by “Islamist” simply that the terrorists involved declare that they do what they do in the name of Islam. I am obviously not qualified to judge the validity of their claim.) The absurdity of the “response” assertion is obvious if you make any effort to read the Islamists’ own abundant declarations. The response receives superficial support from the fact that Islamists also affirm that Islamist terrorism is a response to American and Western actions. That’s not all that they assert, however. It’s clear that we are the Great Satan, first of all because of who we are. We would be the Great Satan if there were not a single American soldier anywhere outside the US. Although the regretted Bin Laden had threatened the US in connection with American military presence in Saudi Arabia, the 9/11 attack took place after the US forces had vacated that country, not as a means to make them move. Notably Al Qaida and all of its local branches (which may be all that’s left of it, I understand), and the Islamic Republic of Iran have never offered the US conditional peace. Neither of these entities ever said, “You stay home and we will restrain any terrorist organization plotting against you.” They have made no such offer because it would destroy their very reason for being.”

    Now, to give the old fart some credit, his argument here is very, very creative.  Unfortunately, the creativity of this particular argument owes its imaginative and lively source to the marijuana I suspect he still smokes (not that there is anything wrong with that, of course). I will pick this paragraph apart line-by-ignorant-line.

    “The libertarian pacifist answer to this line of argument is dual. First, they seem to say: Attacks on the US, in general, and current attacks by Islamist terrorists, in particular, are merely responses to American own foreign policy.”

    Yes, and this has yet to be rebuked by Delacroix or any other advocate of central, lawless planning.

    “The absurdity of the “response” assertion is obvious if you make any effort to read the Islamists’ own abundant declarations. The response receives superficial support from the fact that Islamists also affirm that Islamist terrorism is a response to American and Western actions. That’s not all that they assert, however. It’s clear that we are the Great Satan, first of all because of who we are. We would be the Great Satan if there were not a single American soldier anywhere outside the US.”

    Libertarians realize that Islamists are bad people.  They are bigots.  They are scum.  And their power is enhanced by the presence of Western military forces in Muslim lands.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the platforms of the democratically-elected Islamist parties in Tunisia, Egypt, the Gaza Strip, and Iran.  They are all playing off of the Western military presence in the region.  If we were to take the foreign military presence out of the equation, where would that leave the influence of the Islamists?  Delacroix knows it is absurd to believe that the vast majority of Muslims actually agree with the platforms of the Islamists in the region.  Yes, the Islamists will always get some votes due to Israel, but by and large, if the West were to withdraw its military from the Middle East, the political power of the Islamists would fade considerably.  Indeed, as Delacroix notes:

    “Notably Al Qaida and all of its local branches (which may be all that’s left of it, I understand), and the Islamic Republic of Iran have never offered the US conditional peace. Neither of these entities ever said, “You stay home and we will restrain any terrorist organization plotting against you.” They have made no such offer because it would destroy their very reason for being. [emphasis mine – tcrackcrack]

    Exactly.  How long do you think a democratic people would put up with a government actively carrying out terrorist attacks on other states – especially if the other states don’t have a military presence anywhere near their homelands?  Delacroix’s last point, that the US military was not in Saudi Arabia at the time of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is easily debunked, as it is completely false and has no connection to reality.

    “Although the regretted Bin Laden had threatened the US in connection with American military presence in Saudi Arabia, the 9/11 attack took place after the US forces had vacated that country, not as a means to make them move.”

    The BBC reports on US troop withdrawal (in 2003) here.  USA Today‘s report is here.  The New York Times has something on it here.  Fox News reports on the 2003 withdrawal here.  To get something like this so completely wrong almost makes me think that exercises such as these are not worth my time.  Am I debating a serious intellectual or a 33-year-old “lifelong learner” at Cabrillo College?

    Delacroix’s desperate attacks on a logical and reasoned foreign policy continue with this whopper:

    “Libertarians who affect to believe that American actions constitute a perfect or near-perfect explanation for Islamist terrorism are just not serious, I think. It’s strange that many are well-informed people in every other way. I believe that their position if in fact anchored in stubborn, primitive, and presumptuous American isolationism dating back to the days when a warship took three weeks to arrive from Europe if it arrived at all, and when there were only en ships in all of Latin America . Those people are opposed to every proactive defense on foreign soil or even in international waters. They will tell you with a straight face (you can sometimes discern a straight face on Facebook!) that one should never direct a weapon at anyone unless one isactually attacked. Those are people whose idea of a constitutional war begins with a Pearl Harbor! And they will sometimes maintain that a joint resolution of Congress passed with a huge majority is not a proper declaration of war.”

    Again, due to the incoherence of this paragraph, I will have to debunk it piece-by-slanderous-piece.

    “Libertarians who affect to believe that American actions constitute a perfect or near-perfect explanation for Islamist terrorism are just not serious, I think. It’s strange that many are well-informed people in every other way.”

    Does anybody remember that soundbite of Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) asking a reporter – in pure disbelief – if he was “serious” about the question regarding the constitutionality of ObamaCare?  Here is the soundbite if you need your memories refreshed.  Delacroix is so sure of himself on international issues that he is able to disparage those who would dare to disagree with him as “not serious”!

    Furthermore, Islamist terrorism in general cannot be explained by Western occupation, but Islamist terrorism directed at Western targets certainly can.  Given that Dr. J – or any other proponent (mostly other Progressives) of an aggressive overseas presence of military troops – has yet to rebut the argument that most terrorist acts are caused by foreign occupations, the question must be asked: is Dr J. seriously considering the arguments of those he disagrees with, or is he just being dogmatic out of ignorance?

    Before I continue, I would like to make an announcement: I will no longer be referring to Dr. J as Dr. J.  I have to come to the decision that I know the man well enough to give him a sort of pet nickname.  I have decided to call him ‘Nancy‘ (after Nancy Pelosi), due to his disparaging view of the simpletons with which he dialogues.  From here on out Dr. J will be addressed as ‘Nancy’ rather than as some fancy doctor.

    “I believe that [the libertarian] position if in fact anchored in stubborn, primitive, and presumptuous American isolationism dating back to the days when a warship took three weeks to arrive from Europe if it arrived at all, and when there were only en ships in all of Latin America.”

    And here we have Nancy again echoing the words and thoughts of Leftists everywhere in the United States on the antiquity (and uselessness) of the constitution and the Rule of Law.  To Nancy, the quaint notion of a proper declaration of war is sooooo 18th century!

    It gets better:

    “Those people are opposed to every proactive defense on foreign soil or even in international waters. They will tell you with a straight face (you can sometimes discern a straight face on Facebook!) that one should never direct a weapon at anyone unless one isactually attacked. Those are people whose idea of a constitutional war begins with a Pearl Harbor!”

    Oh my!  Nancy is angry.  Given that every “proactive defense” of the US since the end of World War 2 has ended badly and created more problems than they have solved and been largely based off of insolent ignorance, I don’t think this charge holds up to scrutiny.  It does bear a striking resemblance to demagoguery of early 20th century Progressive nationalists like Theodore Roosevelt and William Jennings Bryan, but that is a far cry from the actual truth of the matter.

    It is also telling that the only constitutional war that came about from being attacked by a foreign power was World War 2.  Every other constitutional war was undertaken under the guise of expanding American interests abroad.  There is no reason to think that the situation would be any different today – Nancy’s disdain for an antiquated document notwithstanding.  Why is so hard for Leftists (and closet Leftists) to relinquish their knowledge and their expertise to the constitutional process?

    Nancy’s disparagement of the Rule of Law and due process is predictably conflated with his worldview of libertarian attitudes towards the rest of the world:

    “The psychological underpinning of this isolationism rests, it seems to me, in a distant and somewhat haughty 18th century view of the rest of the world. The rest of the world, un-America, in this perspective, is quarrelsome, petty, with strong criminal proclivities, fundamentally incapable of learning or of improving itself. This perspective nourishes a peculiar version of American exceptionalism made of 90% contempt. Those who hold it are often easy to spot because they rely excessively on the term “ Old World,” happily conflating the United Kingdom with Uzbekistan and Japan with Burkina Fasso […] Libertarian pacifism has a significantly different basis that is almost the obverse of the first. It’s that the rest of the world is so fundamentally, irreversibly so awful that Americans must avoid it almost all costs. That position is qualified by an “almost” because there has to be room for when the outside world simply bombs one of your cities (Japan) or when it formally announces that it’s going to wage war on you (Germany).”

    Advocating a foreign policy of peace and neutrality is not the same thing as “avoiding the world at all costs”.  It’s the exact opposite of such a characterization.  Does anybody think that the Swedes and Swiss are an isolationist people?  Of course not!  They happily engage in free trade with as many nations as possible.  They actively participate in international organizations and diplomatic necessities.

    It’s not that libertarians believe the world is fundamentally awful, it’s that guerrilla wars based on false pretenses and bombing campaigns based on statecraft policies gone wrong and economic sanctions that starve people and entrench dictators are so awful.  What is so hard about this to understand?  Oh, that’s right!  Nancy and his ilk are above the law.  They know far more about the world than everybody else, so anybody who does not agree with their violent conclusions regarding peace is an uncultured, isolationist, back asswards imbecile.

    Since Nancy is so smart, I think now would be a good time to ask which American city Japan bombed.  Nancy’s pretentious statements then begin to preach to the choir:

    “The ethnocentrism underlying libertarian pacifism requires willful ignorance, not simply neglect of reality but clenched-jaws blindness. It’s obvious that in every continent and in especially large numbers in Europe, there are millions of people who share, on the whole, most of Americans’ wonderful virtues. Avoiding solidarity with such people is morally disgusting and strategically irresponsible. When they suffer, we suffer in short order. When they thrive, we thrive. The fewer of them there are the more vulnerable we are.”

    Well no shit Sherlock.  This is why libertarians advocate a robust policy of free trade with the whole world, including the eventual dissolution of political roadblocks to the unencumbered movement of labor and capital.  Here is where Nancy gets silly (again):

    “Those who hate them want to kill us too. Just consider our collective disappointment at the electoral defeat of the secular and democratic forces in Egypt right now (December 2011). Are those Americans who are disappointed just being silly? Nevertheless, there are times when the avoidance of foreign entanglement is the only realistic stance, it’s true. But, erecting impotence as the main basis for principled collective action seems absurd.”

    I have already gone over why Islamist parties get more love than they otherwise would (foreign military occupation of large swaths of the Muslim world by Western troops), so I won’t repeat myself here.  What I want to do here is rebut the notion of “erecting impotence”.  Check out this chart on worldwide military spending:

    This chart, borrowed from The Economist, compares the military spending of the United States with 14 other states throughout the world.  Of these 14 states, the US military provides official or de facto defense for ten of them.  I mention this in case any of my Leftist-oriented readers happen to be reading this and automatically begin to act disgusted at the comparable rate of spending between the US and other states.  If the US were to withdraw from protecting these free-riding states (which they should) then you can bet that spending rates would rise.

    Looking at the spending rates – measured as a percentage of GDP – of the four states not free-riding on the US public’s dime (China, Russia, India, and Brazil) we can quickly establish three givens: 1) that Chinese and Russian spending are estimates, and probably low ones at that, 2) that India’s spending is almost wholly spent on counter-balancing Pakistan, and 3) that Brazil’s low spending percentage lays in its relative isolation from the rest of the world’s problem spots.

    As an intellectual exercise, let’s double the spending rates of both China and Russia.  Now let’s cut US spending in half.

    This would leave the US spending as a percentage of GDP at 2.4% and $350 billion to spend on defense.
    This would leave Chinese spending as a percentage of GDP at 4.2%.  We should bump this up to 5%.  That means the Chinese could spend $240 billion on defense.
    Russia’s spending as percentage of GDP would have to bumped up to 8% (a highly unlikely scenario, by the way) and would result in a little over $100 billion for defense.

    Wow. So if we halved US military spending and doubled Chinese and Russian military spending and combined those two together, the US would still have more money to spend than its two nearest “rivals” combined.

    Why Are You So Annoyed, Nancy?

    If you throw in yet another monkey wrench, and point out that Russia and China have far more differences than similarities, then we are looking at a situation in which the US still drastically outspends its nearest rivals on military endeavors.

    What hawks like Nancy fail to take into account is that the relative purchasing power parity of the average American citizen dwarfs that of the average Chinese and Russian citizen.  One of the biggest sources of government spending that erodes this purchasing power parity is military spending abroad – which in most cases actually subsidizes the defense industries of rich states that could otherwise provide for their own defense.

    Making our friends pay for their own defense is not the same thing as abandoning them to tyrants, and drastically reducing our military spending is not “erecting impotence”.

    Nancy continues with his flogging of libertarian arguments:

    “The second thing I leaned from my interactions with libertarians severally defined (see above) is also the second basis of their adherence to the principle of non-intervention […] In fact, they are asserting unambiguously the moral position that Americans should not interfere with what goes one in foreign countries.
    Most countries today are technically “nation-states,” that is, states based more or less on a single nation. The key word here is “state.” But remember that objecting to the existence of the state in general, or, at least wishing to see the importance of the state remain small vis-a-vis civil society is at the heart of libertarianisms of all breeds (mine included). So, suddenly, those who don’t like states put themselves in a position to defend the sanctity of the boundaries of that to which they object. Does this make sense?
    They say in effect: We don’t want states because they are immoral but morality demands that states must be respected as if they were moral entities.”

    Another creative argument crafted by the inimical Nancy.  Domestically, libertarians tend to advocate the mere repeal of laws that strengthen the state.  This usually includes opening up our borders to much more foreign trade.  It is commonly argued that this in itself would severely weaken the strength of the state.

    Why should this principle suddenly change just because we switch from Washington to Mexico City or Tehran?

    One thing that libertarians definitely don’t advocate is a military bombing campaign, invasion, and occupation of the United States in order to reduce the size of the state.  Again, why should this change once we switch from Helena to Bulo Burti?  It’s as if Nancy doesn’t grasp the idea that strengthening one state to crush another state does nothing to negate the power of the state.  Does he believe that Americans are so exceptional as to be able to better repeal the strength of the state than other peoples?  It is institutions that make or break peoples.  Eroding domestic institutions to destroy foreign institutions sounds like a plan fit for a fool.  Or an omnipotent God.  Perhaps Nancy knows something that this simpleton does not.

    Update: In case you are wondering, here is Part 1 of the series, and here is Part 3.

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Mr Crackpot: This, your response, is too complicated for me to understand. Furthermore, the insults make you seem not worth reading. It’s disappointing. Perhaps you could do me a favor by pointing me directly to the part of your long dissertation where you address my notion that a declaration of Congress voted by a very large majority of both houses giving the president full powers to do whatever needs to be done against terrorists is equivalent to a declaration of war. I honestly don’t understand why it’s not. I wish you would explain, if possible, in a few words. Thank you.

      • thecrackshotcrackpot says:

        Perhaps you could do me a favor by pointing me directly to the part of your long dissertation where you address my notion that a declaration of Congress voted by a very large majority of both houses giving the president full powers to do whatever needs to be done against terrorists is equivalent to a declaration of war.

        Because it’s NOT a declaration of war. I don’t know how I can make it any clearer than that…

      • jacquesdelacroix says:

        Thanks but I have trouble believing what I am reading. You are saying that unless Congress pronounces the exact words: “QWe declare war on you,” the war is unconstitutional?

        And if that’s what you mean, is it valid also toward terrorist groups? (We mus formally declare war on Al Qaida before lifting a finger against them?)

  10. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    This is an installment in a three-part series aimed at demolishing some of the standard attacks on libertarian foreign policy that come from the conservative wing of the Republican Party (and from the Progressive wing of the Democrat Party), and will again focus on a recent essay by Jacques Delacroix (PhD Stanford, Sociology), one of central California’s most prominent and able defenders of the United States’ foreign policy status quo.  I usually do my arguing on Dr. Delacroix’s outstanding blog, Facts Matter, where all of his readers can enjoy the back-and-forth exchanges (and Delacroix can better find the arguments when he remembers to do so), but his most recent essay was so full of careless assertions and episodes of argumentum ad verecundiam that have I refused to post any comments directly to the post.  So you are reading my arguments here instead.

    Because his essay was so incoherent and misleading, I have had to break up my rebuttals into three parts.  Part 1 can be found here.  Part 2 can be found here.  This is Part 3, and it will represent the last of my arguments rebutting Delacroix’s wimpy, and surprisingly dull,  attack.

    In case you don’t want to do the relevant research on this particular argument, it has centered around the acknowledgement that both of us are extremely ignorant human beingsand that we know far too little about anything to be in a position to command or direct institutions that are not based upon mutual consent and agreement.  The one institution – government – that is widely regarded to be necessary for the use of coercion should have its monopoly on force widely distributed throughout various avenues of power and severely restricted by the use of legal precedent.  This small paragraph essentially sums up the foundation of both libertarian and conservative thought in the United States, and as you read through this essay (or any other writings believed to expound upon conservative or libertarian ideals) I would highly recommend remembering this small but important fact.

    Near the beginning of his lengthy essay Delacroix, or, as his friends like to call him, Nancy, writes:

    “My estrangement from mainstream libertarians and from Libertarians exists because of our different transition scenarios […] I think there are two archetypes of transitions. The first one is the Somalia scenario: The organs of government fall apart of their own accord as a result of civil war or other catastrophes […] The second scenario entails a democratic and probably gradual take-over of the organs of government by political forces that desire smaller government.”

    These sort of statements always confuse me.  So I am forced to ask more questions.  Is being bombed, invaded, and targeted for economic sanctions an example of “other catastrophes”?

    On democracy and the gradual takeover of public policy by small government advocates: most of the world adores the United States and its values, and most people desire smaller government.  Yet in the democracies of the Middle East – Egypt, Gaza and the West Bank, Tunisia, Iran, and  now even Turkey – Islamist political parties are being voted into power.  Given that most people desire smaller government, these election results force us to ask the question why this is happening (I answered this question in Part 2 of my rebuttal, in case anybody is curious).

    Nancy continues:

    “Of course, such a peaceful take-over can only happen in a society that already enjoys constitutional government. Roughly, this means a society where elections are fair and honest and perceived to be so, where the overwhelming mass of the people abide by election results, and a society where courts are able to arbitrate decisively differences concerning election results. Obviously, the USA would be a good example of a society with constitutional government (excepting Chicago and New Orleans,of course)
    […]
    If constitutional government is threatened, the likelihood of such a desirable transition is also threatened. Of course, an issue of proportionality arises here. It’s not the case that everytime a fool issues a threat against the Republic, the Republic is actually threatened. After all, Timothy McVay, a successful terrorist if there ever was one, failed absolutely to change the social order or the political order of this country. But take the 9/11 attack, another successful act of terrorism, in operational terms […] The 9/11 attack was very brilliantly organized which makes us forget how modest the means engaged were. I think I could have financed it entirely with a second mortgage on my house.”

    Stay with Nancy and I.  He is getting to a very, very good point.

    “Is there anyone who doubts that the 9/11 cheap terrorist attack provoked deep and lasting disturbances in our economy? Is there anyone who doubts that such disturbances usually have grave political consequences even if no one can describe them well at the time? Is there any libertarian who does not believe that those political consequences severely undermine the credibility of arguments in favor of a weak state?
    And more directly, isn’t it the case that spectacular and violent attacks against a society with constitutional government make more palatable security measures that depart from the society’s own constitutional tradition. Attacks, and even the threat of attacks, make citizens more attached to their state, more unconditionally attached to it and, accordingly, more willing to accept a measure of authoritarianism. I argue that successful attacks do more harm to the cause than do the measures taken to protect against such attacks. It’s useful to remember that the Patriot Act was a response, not a preventive measure.”

    Good questions.  Nancy’s musings on constitutional government and the public desire for security after a terrorist attack stand fairly well on their own.  If there is a terrorist attack of a certain magnitude, then the people will surely demand more from the state in regards to security.  Easy enough.

    However, Nancy seems to believe that a security state is preferable to a minimal one.  Until he accepts the fact that our military presence in other parts of the world causes resentments – however unfounded they may be – this security presence may indeed be necessary.  I think it would be pertinent to remind readers that those who give up a little liberty for a little security deserve neither and will lose both.

    I know how Nancy got to this question on the minimal state:

    “Is there any libertarian who does not believe that those political consequences severely undermine the credibility of arguments in favor of a weak state?”

    If you start from a false premise, as Nancy has done in regards to the withdrawal date of American troops in Saudi Arabia, your whole conclusion can be embarrassingly shallow.

    To the conventional (re: boring) mind, this sort of conclusion seems self-evident.  After all, the terrorist attacks prove that a strong and powerful state is justified to ensure that terrorists don’t attack innocent people.  Indeed, this sort of thinking is prevalent in DC’s foreign policy circles today, and it saddens me to think that Nancy has ultimately succumbed to this kind of conformist thinking.  I am perplexed.  So I must ask another question: did the US have a weak state prior to 9/11?

    The evidence suggests that the US did not have a weak state when Al Qaeda attacked us.  Indeed, the evidence suggests just the opposite conclusion.  Since 9/11, I would wager that the US has added two, perhaps three, more countries to its list of base-providers: Iraq, Afghanistan, and maybe Uzbekistan.  Likewise, Washington ran a massive security/clandestine apparatus prior to 9/11, and it ran the most exciting, advanced, and powerful military apparatus in world history.

    Both the massive, Cold War-era clandestine/security apparatus and the most advanced military in world history failed to prevent the terrorist attacks of 9/11.

    So while I am forced to agree that conventional thinking does indeed lead to credibility issues regarding a minimal state, I am also required to point out that this conventional, conformist, and quite shallow assessment is bereft of any clear insight.

    And, of course, there is the issue of why terrorist attacks occur against our country in the first place.  Nancy and his far-more-knowledgeable camp have yet to answer this simple question.  I can give you a hint: it’s our military occupations and our continued sponsorship of anti-democratic regimes throughout the Middle East.  To get this fact so wrong, and to pretend that more violence, more war, and more intrigue on the part of Washington in the Middle East is going to help make the transition from dictatorship to constitutional democracy smoother is not just absurd, it is the pinnacle of human arrogance.

    And this arrogance, ultimately, is what will determine the fate of the American republic.  The choice seems pretty clear to me: either we continue to meddle in the political affairs of other states and bear the burdens of a police state, or we can bring our troops home and enjoy the same liberties that have made this republic the most prosperous society in human history.

    Update: In case you are wondering, here is Part 1 of the series and here is Part 2.

  11. thecrackshotcrackpot says:

    Thanks but I have trouble believing what I am reading. You are saying that unless Congress pronounces the exact words: “QWe declare war on you,” the war is unconstitutional?

    Statements like this, which Delacroix is not at all adverse to giving, make me smirk.  They suggest to me that while he will proudly proclaim to be a “libertarian-leaning conservative”, a skeptic in the grand tradition of enlightened Western thinkers, and a bold and forthright advocate of a bullshit-free philosophy of liberty, he has the same weakness of mind (which is listening to your heart rather than to your head) as his enemies that he so rightly loathes.

    The Left, as many freedom fighters have pointed out in the past, is infamous for tinkering with the words of the law of the land when it fits their fancy.  The neoconservative Right is no different in this regard.

    Consider the question I posed to Delacroix in a recent back-and-forth we had over his essay Well Done Mr. Obama:

    “I’m going to ask you for a third time (not that I’m keeping track or anything): what part of “only Congress can declare war” don’t you understand?!

    Perhaps a different angle can be used to illustrate my point on this issue: the Department of Education was created by an act of Congress, so does that make it constitutional? It’s a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question (unless you’re a liberal, of course).”

    It is telling that Delacroix did not answer the question with a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.  He did not even answer the question at all.  Rather, he took the track of so many other intelligent and otherwise well-informed people and feigned ignorance.  Vincible ignorance.  This type of rhetoric is usually reserved for people with deep religious convictions or heartfelt attachments to one type of thing or another.  Like the refusal to believe your wife is cheating on you when all of your buddies – your best friends from high school – tell you that she is, or the belief that Iraq is now a liberated country and basking in a glow of democratic imminence and freedom; a beacon of light in an otherwise dark and dreary world.

    The architects of American federalism were very clear in regards to the constitutional checks on Washington’s war-making abilities and its limits.  Article 1 Section 8 explicitly states that only Congress can declare war.  This means that if the presidency desires a war it must go to the Congress and ask for specific instructions on which state or states it is allowed to engage with.  James Madison was very clear on why this check is embedded in the constitution:

    “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people […] No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

    Delacroix, like so many other Leftists, acts as if the architects of American federalism were stupid and short-sighted.  He proclaims that the architects could not have envisioned the technological progress and horrendous capabilities that man has acquired in two short centuries.  Never once does Delacroix consider that the problems the republic has with the Middle East are caused by the federal government’s violation of the law.  Indeed, he blows off such criticisms as mere “technicalities”.

    It is hard to deal with dogmatic proponents of something (anything!), so I am forced to ask another question: did the Congress of the United States declare war on the state of Iraq, or did it merely give the presidency the authority to wage an ambiguously-titled war against terrorism?

  12. Pingback: An Enjoyable Dialogue « The Crackshot Crackpot

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      I have no idea what the two previous communications mean. I only allow them to be posted to be able to continue to brag about keeping my censorship virginity.

  13. Pingback: Iraq, War, and the Litmus Test of Rationality: Ron Paul Edition « Notes On Liberty

    • jacquesdelacroix says:

      Here, too, I wouldn’t know what I am replying to.

      It sounds like old stuff. It’s not interesting. I think the whole exchange is easy to find on my blog, including my mistakes if any.

  14. Pingback: Colonialism: Myths and Realities « Notes On Liberty

  15. Pingback: Foreign Policy and Human Ignorance: The Attack on Non-Intervention « Notes On Liberty

  16. Pingback: Blissful Ignorance and the Conservative Worldview « Notes On Liberty

  17. Pingback: Apologies and Reaffirmations « Notes On Liberty

  18. Pingback: Rational Ignorance, Fairy Dust and Pissing Away the Future: Libertarians are Selfish and Stupid | FACTS MATTER

  19. I don’t know anything about the above. I have not pened the link. I am fighting myself to abstain from censorship.

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