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Back to basics

There have been grumblings from the commentariat in recent posts, questioning my libertarian bona fides because I think it is a good thing that journalists are treated like ordinary citizens, a bad thing that a former government grandee thinks he can break the law with impunity, a good thing that my government is at least trying to perform its most basic function – protecting me against those who trying to kill me and mine, and so forth.

I regard these positions as being pretty straightforward applications of a common-sense practical libertarianism, one that has no truck with either pacifism or anarchy, but it occurred to me that I hadn’t really laid out my basic principles.

Government is the wrong tool for nearly every job. At a minimum, civil society does a better job of creating and distributing wealth, and of regulating conduct that does not involve force or fraud. The regulatory state and the redistributionist state are both largely illegitimate and ineffective in achieving their stated goals.

Taxation is distinguishable from theft and extortion only through an attenuated theory of ‘consent’ that posits that your vote for the guy who lost somehow means you consented to a bunch of people you never even had te chance to vote for agreeing among themselves to take your money. Low taxes good, high taxes bad. Government does have legitimate functions. (I suspect this is where I start to wander off the ideological reservation). One of those is to serve as a night watchman, to protect the citizenry against force and, arguably fraud. The night watchman is truly a civic functionary only if he is impartial, so the goverment must act under the rule of law and treat everyone impartially. As a corollary, obedience to the law, even laws you disagree with, is a civic virtue, at least to that undefined point where the law is illegitimate.

Another legitimate function of government travels these days under the name ‘national security’. It is the government’s obligation to protect me from those who would attack me and subjugate me.

Everything I post is consistent with these basic principles.

John Kerry, for example, is all about raising taxes and expanding both the regulatory and the redistributionist states, is worse than George Bush on this front, and so I cannot take seriously anyone who claims both to be a libertarian and a Kerry supporter.

Special privileges, like ‘big dog’ rules for Sandy Berger and privileges for journalists, are antithetical to the impartial rule of law essential to a free society, so I mock and abuse those who claim special privilege.

We can argue about which strategy and tactics in the current war would be more effective, but I cannot take seriously anyone who can watch the footage of the two towers coming down and tell me we are not at war, or who argues that a continuation of the demonstrably failed multilateralist benign neglect that preceded 9/11 is an effective means of protecting the US.

Finally, hard experience in the trenches of politics has convinced me that the perfect truly is the enemy of the good, and that it is alway better to have half a loaf than none. This realism may lead me to express support for half measures and compromises that are disdained by the ideologically pure. Keep in mind, my friends, we have lost much of our freedom to a half century or more of half measures piled one on another. We will get our liberty back, if at all, only with half measures of our own, so my advice for libertarians who want to make a difference in the world is two-fold:

First, recognize the legitimate role of government in our flawed world.

Second, in the world of politics, take what you can get. You can always come back for more.

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64 comments to Back to basics

  • I find I’m in pretty much agreement with your points. Many people in the libertarian community get way too bogged down into intricate labelling much akin to the all the various flavors of communism that were (are) popular a few years back.

    I believe that I as a libertarian have to be pragmatic about things and that means not falling into the name calling and cheap insults that our friends on the extreme left did.

    As you I hate government involvement in just about anything. However I feel the government does have a job to protect us. We can’t wait for the libertarian Anti Queada network to be built up to fight them at the grass roots level. We need protection now. And Bush’s stance on it is the only real option we have to protect us.

    You’ve explained your point of view. I wrote an essay a while back on why I became a libertarian. Read Pitfalls of philanthropy to see where I came from.

    -P

  • Joseph

    Well said, lots of things to agree with, and you are certainly right to say that ideologically purity is not the most important thing: reality is.

    To forgive me my utopia, I see it this way: in anarchy the strong rule by coercion, which can lead to the weak suffering unfairly.

    In a minimal state, citizens are left to their own private and/or civic lives without molestation or interference. They agree laws, a system of administering these laws (judges, courts) and a way of enforcing these laws. Therefore, when someone weaker suffers under someone stronger (youth mugs pensioner, for example) all they need do is prove their property was taken unjustly, and so the state (the strongest thing about) acts.

    A bit like anarchy, except the state acts in the interest of justice, and it always wins.

  • Julian Morrison

    I can seriously say 9/11 was not “war”. War is a very specific thing, and that wasn’t it. Terrorism is different from war. Start talking in military terms and acting via military means, and you’ll fight big and impressive battles to defeat side-issues, and leave the main problem untouched. It’s a classic case of “if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail”.

    Terrorism is better treated as crime – and that’s my biggest beef with Bush & co. They’ve deliberatly done all they can to pull terrorism out of the remit of the regular justice system. Instead they have treated this like a country-vs-country war, with all the regular war things such as gungho-ism, enemy combatants, battles, big military spending, with us or with them.

    The recent loudly-trumpeted alerts in NYC and Washington basically demonstrate how badly this has failed. They still don’t know if or where “the terrorists” are out there, when or whether they’ll attack. Between 9/11 and now, nothing has changed. They were ignorant and they still are. Zero progress where it counts.

  • Julian Morrison

    Oh, an aside. If you decide it’s saner to treat terrorism as “crime” rather than “war”, well, crime-fighting (detection, trial, and sentencing) is something that has no need for government, as plenty of ancap essays have shown.

  • Jeffro

    Julian;

    The problem with treating terrorism as crime is that you are severly limited with regard to preventing it. By and large, we deal with crimes in a retroactive manner.

    Terrorism is a form of warfare (sharing some, not all, characteristics with guerilla tactics). The stated goal of the enemy is our destruction. I would prefer to eliminate combatants instead of prosecuting perpetrators.

  • I’m pretty much in agreement with you, Robert.

    As much as I “oppose the cult of the omnipotent state,” (from the LP’s statement of principles) I also oppose the cult of the IMPOTENT state as well.

  • Robert said:”Bill Clinton’s former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, is being investigated for trying to steal classified documents that tend to make him and his boss look a little cavalier in their handling of the Islamist terrorism threat.

    That is a LIE, Robert! The only things Berger took were PHOTOCOPIES of original documents. NO, I repeat, NO original documents were removed by Berger from the National Archives.

    Your wording implies he was stealing the originals. Lying by omission is still a lie.

    Robert said:”However, some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration’s handling of al-Qaida terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are still missing, officials and lawyers told The Associated Press. ”

    PHOTOCOPIES, Robert. PHOTOCOPIES! Not the originals. A little research on your part would have discovered that fact. DID you do the research? Apparently not. A LIE by omission is STILL a LIE.

    Robert said:”Funny how the documents still missing are the very ones that make Clinton and Berger look like feckless idiots, no? Not only did Berger steal the first copy of the embarrassing reports, when Archive staff made a second copy, he stole that one, too! ”

    Oh, so you admit they were copies? Then why did you say, “Bill Clinton’s former national security adviser, Sandy Berger, is being investigated for trying to steal classified documents that tend to make him and his boss look a little cavalier in their handling of the Islamist terrorism threat.”, when there were only photocopies of the originals? You weren’t lying, were you?

    Robert said: “Needless to say, Berger is a lying sack of crap…” Takes one to know one, right Robert?

    Robert said: “He “inadvertently” stuffed top secret documents into his pants?” Yeah, that sounds SO much better than “He placed documents into his trouser pockets.”

    Be that as it may. If Mr. Berger was alleged to have been seen hiding notes in his socks or down his trousers by an employee of the National Archives, why wasn’t Mr. Berger confronted at once? I DO think that the Archives do employ, now what are they called again? Oh, yes. “Security Guards”. A quick phone call to the “Security Guards” number: “OY! There’s some bloke here what’s stuffing sensitive documents down the front of his trousers!” “Right, we’re on the way!”

    Still waiting for your denunciation of Senator Shelby and his release of CLASSIFIED reports to the media…

    Oh, that’s right. IOKIYAR!

  • R C Dean

    Give it a rest, Chris. I never said Berger tried to take the originals, I said he stole documents from the National Archives. Copies are documents, too. My statement is factually accurate, and as you admit, my post accurately identifies in a later sentence the fact that he was lifting copies.

    This troll-feeding session is now concluded.

  • Steven Peterson

    I guess I am a theoretical anarchist/practical minarchist. My biggest problem with anarcho-capitalist theory is that there doesn’t seem to be much thought about getting from A to Z, much less A to M. This may be an issue with the intellectual thought about the organization of an anarcho-capitalist society still be worked out; yet in the mean-time we are living in the real world.

    Regarding whether terrorism should be treated as a crime or an act of war: why not treat it like piracy, with both military and police actions taken to prevent such activity. Also, many anti-piracy actions are private-sector and undertaken by shipping companies and private security firms, which address issues that are not being faced by the world’s naval forces.

    In short, let the military and police take action against terrorism, but allow the private-sector to also take action as well.

  • R C Dean

    Terrorism is better treated as crime – and that’s my biggest beef with Bush & co.

    That was essentially the Clinton approach, and I think it failed.

    The law of war defines it as a conflict between nation states, but that is because the law of war arises from contracts/treaties between nation-states. Take it from a professional – the legal definition isn’t always the best one for the wide world.

    I can’t think of any effective response to the Islamofascist threat that doesn’t look a lot like war, in part because our responses that didn’t look a lot like war seem to have failed pretty conclusively. If it walks like a duck . . . .

  • Still waiting for you to condemn Senator Shelby for his actions in leaking CLASSIFIED reports to the media, Robert.

    Or is that NOT a crime?

    IOKIYAR, right, Robert?

  • toolkien

    I think (right) libertarianism is a broad enough spectrum to encompass many different schools of thought. Without going into a long dissertation about it, I see the economic/political spectrum as a circle (versus a left-right line) sweeping clockwise through right libertarianism, soft right, hard right (fascism), hard left (practical communism) with pure Statism in between communism and fascism at 6 o’clock, on through soft left, left libertarianism, and back to 12 o’clock (anarchism). The closer a right libertarian is to 12 o’clock the more apt to be anarcho-capitalist and anti-militant (construing militarism as merely one form of ‘program’ used to enslave and tax). The closer a right libertarian is to, say 3 o’clock (soft right) the more traditionally conservative views will be found as a part of the viewpoint. But right libertarianism legitimately inhabits roughly 12-2’ish o’clock and their is room for debate as long as a notion of highly limited government and laws based in individual property rights. There can never be universal agreement point by point, where there is major common ground there needs to be unity instead of internecine squabbles.

    Personally I see myself at about 1 o’clock somewhere just passed the average anarcho-capitalist but before R.C. Dean (for example). I not only see the points of the anarcho-capitalists, I can see some areas of agreement with the left-libertarians, few though they maybe (with property rights off the table there can’t be a whole lot of common ground). I also am apt to be more pro-military than the average anarcho-capitalist though may be more cautious than Mr. Dean. I certainly see a line across which actions cannot be treated as a mere crime. If it were that easy I’m sure breaches would have been handled without resorting to war in the past. I see a need for war but am against its obligatory use as it can obviously be a convenient Statist tool. I am apt to favor war in certain circumstances, but will regret it as an infringement upon other individuals who will suffer the collateral damage of its use. But sometimes it is the only option when thugs have the power of a State at its finger tips and handcuffs and arrest warrants are a pipe dream.

    Perhaps this just means I want the best of both worlds. That’s not really the case. Idealistically I am an anarchist. Situating myself at 1 o’clock is simply the result of how much I’m willing to compromise and recognize that a State will exist whether I want one or not. If one is going to exist, it will be a minarchy that recognizes individual property rights and is an association of contracting individuals with bilateral consideration giving rise to a social contract. The rest is a debate as to what level the State rises in providing defense for the contracting members and making sure that it does not detach itself from the individuals who make up the State. Having a State of any kind is a dangerous enterprise as it can ultimately turn on its citizens without due caution.

  • Hear Hear Robert.

    A lot of Libs sound like the old Trotskyites, in the real world you gotta take what you can politically.

    Perfection is impossible, pragmatism works. So long as you keep moving in the right direction, even micro-incrementally, the effort is wporth it.

  • Julian Morrison

    That was essentially the Clinton approach, and I think it failed.

    Only because it was under-emphasised, Clinton was too busy “wagging the dog” over in Serbia.

    Another part of the failure of Clinton-era and early Bush-era antiterrorism, was way too much reliance on overhyped tech.

    Compare the much more successful UK effort against the IRA — which uses criminal law, police with occasional military backup, and old-fashioned human spies.

    The law of war defines it as a conflict between nation states, but that is because the law of war arises from contracts/treaties between nation-states. Take it from a professional – the legal definition isn’t always the best one for the wide world.

    I certainly wasn’t using any legal or even dictionary definition. I was using the common sense definition. In war, you have either a nation fighting a nation, or a nation fighting a guerilla army. In either case, the command structure and the goals are organizational, and the purpose of fighting is to subdue or rout the opposition. Once the hierarchy has surrendered or been defeated, the war is over. Military tactics are very good at this. But against terrorists, they’re like swatting at gnats with a sledge hammer.

    I can’t think of any effective response to the Islamofascist threat that doesn’t look a lot like war

    War on terrorism… so lets invade Northern Ireland! (Oops, been done already.) And the Spaniards can invade the Basque region! (Oops, they already rule most of it.) Can’t see much use for “war” there.

    The focus on Islamofascists is misleading. The next 9/11 could be a McVeigh. Terrorism is a tactic, not an organization.

  • Shawn

    “I can seriously say 9/11 was not “war”. War is a very specific thing, and that wasn’t it. Terrorism is different from war. ”

    Osama bin Laden is a military leader. He has an army, numbering in the tens of thousands. He has officialy and publically declared war against the United States and its allies. He has backed this decleration up with a fourth generation assymetric war campaign that has resulted in the deaths of thousands.

    If Julian thinks this is not a war he is a fool who is in deep denial.

    Since 911 the Bush admin has toppled two terrosist supporting states, including one that was directly involved in supporting al-Qaeda. It has captured or killed numerous terrorists, including more than half the top tier leadership of al-Qaeda.

    That is NOT “zero progress” and to claim that it is is either:

    A) a lie

    B) remarkably ignorant.

    Julian’s essential argument is that because the war is ongoing then it has totally failed. The logical fallacy here is obvious. Or at least should be.

    On the other hand, Julian’s strategy of treating terrorism as a policing issue was the strategy in place since the late 1970’s, until 911. Terrorist warfare requires BOTH police and military approaches to be successful. We have had more than twenty years to evaluate the effrectiveness Julian’s strategy.

    And after twenty years, the result was 911. Yet Julian has the gall to claim that Bush’s strategy has failed after less than 3 years.

    Lets evaluate them.

    Julian’s strategy after twenty years:

    At most 100 Islamic terrosists in prison or dead.

    All terrosist supporting states intact and still waging covert war against the US and its allies.

    The formation of a global terrorist army with the capability to attack US warships and commit the 911 atrocities.

    Bush’s strategy after less than three years:

    Two major anti-American terrorist supporting regimes removed from power.

    In Afghanistan, we removed the al-Qaeda allied Taliban regime and dstroyed al-Qaeda’s training camps.

    Over half of al-Qaeda’s senior operatives have been captured or killed.

    Some of those captured or killed were senior startegy and operations commanders, such as operations planner, Khalid Shaik Mohammed and Mohammed Atef. Others, like military commander Mohammed Atef.

    More than 3,000 foot soldiers of terror are in prison.

    Hundreds of suspected terrorists have been identified and tracked throughout the U.S., with more than 18,000 subpoenas and search warrants issued.

    More than 20 members of alleged terrorist cells in Buffalo, Detroit, Seattle and Portland were arrested, along with more than 100 other individuals who were convicted or pled guilty to terrorist related crimes.

    The U.S. has deported 515 individuals linked to the September 11 investigation.

    As a result of 70 investigations into terror’s money trail, more than $125 million in assets and over 600 accounts have been frozen around the world.

    Hundreds of terrorists and criminals stopped through the National Entry-Exit Registration System including 11 suspected terrorists, with at least one known member of al Qaeda.

    In recent weeks the US, Britain and its allies have captured and arrested 3 senior terrorist operatives, their computers, and over a thousand computer disks which have helped to reveal the terrosists plans.

    No major terror attack has occurred on American soil since September 11.

    This is Julian’s definition of “Zero progress”.

    In a war there will be setbacks and mistakes. In a war there will be losses. In a war you are not safe until the very end. These facts are a given and always have been. But Julian’s laughable claims do not stand up to scrutiny and evidence.

  • Joe

    Julian, what reason makes you draw a line between a criminal act and an act of war perpetrated against yourself when the warrior/terrorist/criminal is perpetrating the exact same resultant act of trying to violently control, remove or destroy part or all of your life? How much of your life are you willing to give them in the vain hope that they’ll abide by your rules of law?

    To redefine identical resultant actions to fit sociological theory is to play wordgames- scientific and high minded wordgames; yes, but wordgames none the less.

    Its like seeing a car driving the wrong way up the road straight towards you. You can take action to prevent the crash or you can decide that because they are in the wrong lane you will have to wait for the police to arrive before you take action. The crash won’t give a shit who was in the wrong – it’ll happen if you don’t treat it as a crash. A war will happen exactly the same way even if you don’t treat it as a war… We can call it a crime all we like – we can dance up and down and scream blue murder and tell the warrior/terrorist/criminal that they have to behave and play by our rules or we’ll put them in prison and it won’t make a blind bit of difference because its war – and war doesn’t give a shit what you call it – its still war and it just is what it is.

  • Shawn

    “In either case, the command structure and the goals are organizational”

    Anyone familiar with al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hizbollah, or any other Islamic terrorist group knows that these are in fact armies, with clear organizational structure, a command structure, brigades, support personnnel, ideology and strategic planners.

    “The focus on Islamofascists is misleading. The next 9/11 could be a McVeigh. Terrorism is a tactic, not an organization.”

    Over the last ten years only one terrorist attack has occured against the US that was not by an Islamic group. On the other hand more than twenty attacks have occured against the US, its overseas presence or its allies that was by Islamofascist groups.

    How then can focusing on the primary threat be “misleading”?

    ” Terrorism is a tactic, not an organization.”

    Assymetric wafare is the tactic being used, and alomost exclusively by Islamsists. Islamist groups are the largest, most well funded, and most globally disperesed terrorist groups in the world. And they are the only ones to have declared war against the US.

  • Julian Morrison

    I think the most cogent argument for “crime” as the model, is that law and justice draw people together. War asks you to choose sides. Justice has only one side. If after 9/11 the president had talked in terms of “a crime” not “a declaration of war”, the USA could have organized the international manhunt to end all manhunts. Mutual extradition treaties could have been pushed through worldwide. Moral pressure could have been brought to bear on recalcitrant countries, the world would boo them and shame them into cooperation. Public trials and executions could have brought “closure” to the families of 9/11 victims, personal fear to future terrorists, public shame to their families and allies.

    None of this has happened.

  • Shawn

    “. Mutual extradition treaties could have been pushed through worldwide. Moral pressure could have been brought to bear on recalcitrant countries, the world would boo them and shame them into cooperation.”

    It took me a while to stop laughing at this one.

    Does any sane intelligent person seriously think the Taliban regime or Saddam Hussien or the Iranian Mullahs would have given a toss about extradition treaties or being “shamed” by a bunch of infidels?

    Iran has endured decades of “shaming” and isolation rather than give up its support for global terrorism.

    The Taliban were willing to go to war with the US rather than give up bin Laden.

    How then can Julian seriously claim that they would have buckled to treaties, sanctions or shaming???

    This is Julians great strategy against Islamo-fascist terrorism??? Signing treaties??? Booing and shaming????

  • Joe

    Julian, Law and justice don’t draw people together – what they do is they force people to agree to accept an outcome based on previously agreed rules that both sides pretend to abide by. Even after that process happens there is no guarantee that either party will abide by the ruling. That is where force in the form of Police comes into play. When it comes to war at least one side has decided that no agreement will be abided by… and that any force brought against them will be ignored, avoided or attacked. It is the recognition of the decision not to be bound by any prior agreement that makes it war. It can be war between two little old ladies – but its still war.

    How could public trials bring fear to an enemy that seeks control of the rule of law! It brings no fear or no public shame for them to be ruled against as doing something illegal because doing everything illegal is exactly what they set out to do! Our legal fumblings give them strength and binds them more strongly to their stated goal because it gives them something laughably easier to fight against. To them talk is weak and cheap – they don’t fear our legal system – after all their goal is to replace it with their tyrranical law. Justice has only one side – the side on which controls the force that gives it its power.

  • DSpears

    RC Dean has crawled in my bean and stolen most of my thoughts. I’ll have to re-adjust my tin foil helmet to keep that from happening in the future.

    In short, if RC didn’t use this specific word, we are Minarchists. Unfortunately there is no Minarchist Party of America, (actually they used to be called “Old Republicans” in early 19th century America). If such a thing existed I would be a card carrying member and wouldn’t care if we never won an election.

    I’ll just add a few things to the debate on anarcho-capitalist libertarianism and it’s peculiar miltant pacifism. I posted this on another topic, but I liked it so much I will just copy it verbatim:

    I am a fiercely patriotic American because I think America has a special role in the world, not only through history but in the future. America is different. The American people have a unique character and the foundations of the American government are superior to any in the world, even if they haven’t always been (or rarely been) adhered to by it’s elected officials. A great idea with mediocre to intermitently bad application.

    The world would be a worse place today without American military power to resist the Nazis and the Soviets. I think the world will be a better place in the future if we continue to resist the Islamists (which I consider to be the latest in a long line of deadly ideologies in the world). Few wanted this job during the Cold War, adn even fewer want this job now. But I don’t believe I’m being melodramatic to say that the future of free society depends on how vigorously America acts. There is nobody else.

    Any ideology that professes to hate totalitarian rule and violence and yet won’t lift a finger to fight against it is intellectually and morally bankrupt.

    Any ideology that puts James Madison, Ronald Reagan, Milton Friedman, Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler all in the same category (statist) will never win me over.

    That’s why I take a particular liking to the brand of libertarianism that is practiced at Samizdata. I have found a home.

  • Still waiting for Robert to condemn Senator Shelby for STEALING CLASSIFIED INFORMATION and giving it to the media.

    Come on, Robert! Where’s the Rightious Indignation at this serious breech of National Security laws?

    Could your thundering silence have ANYTHING to do with the fact that Shelby is a Republican?

    And that you are a bloody hypocrite?

    IOKIYAR, isn’t that right, Robert?

  • DSpears

    “Compare the much more successful UK effort against the IRA — which uses criminal law, police with occasional military backup, and old-fashioned human spies.”

    Funny, I don’t consider 85 years of terrorist attacks ending with a negotiated settlement as “successful”.

    Nobody is suggesting pre-emption INSTEAD of criminal law and old-fashioned spies. All of these methods should be, and are being, employed.

  • Shawn

    Getting back to the topic at hand.

    I have never been comfortable with calling myself a libertarian, and in fact off the net I always simply say that I’m a conservative.

    Many people have their own views on the whole right to left, liberal to conservative spectrum.

    My own view is that their are in fact only two camps within the West, liberals and conservatives, and that while there may be spectrums within them, a person is either in one camp or the other.

    I define liberalism as a post-Christian ideology in favour of globalism, mass immigration and open borders, transnationalism (opposed to the nation state), social liberalism, multiculturalism. It often, though not always, includes pacifist and anti-military sentiment.

    My own view is that liberal libertarianism, of the sort advocated by the LP, Reason magazine etc, and anarcho-capitalism are in the left camp, though for different reasons.

    The right camp consists of those who believe in, at the least, the Judeo-Christian worldview, heritage and moral order, limited government (republican or monarchist), strong property rights, ordered liberty, that is individual liberty within the bounds of the moral order, respect for Tradition, respect for authority, elders, the judiciary, police and military, the willingness to serve and die for one’s country, and the preservation of Western nations and the West as whole as a distinct cultural/religious/political civilisation.

    While there may sometimes be alliances between people from different camps, such as that between liberal libertarians and conservatives, in the long run these camps are at war for the soul of the West.

  • Shawn

    I’m all for robust and passionate debate, but Chris Tucker is becoming tiresome.

  • Julian claims that the UK’s action against the IRA has been successful. Perhaps, when Osama Bin Laden has a seat in the US Congress, Julian will say that the US has been successful in its fight against Al Qaeda.

  • Julian Morrison

    Does any sane intelligent person seriously think the Taliban regime or Saddam Hussien or the Iranian Mullahs would have given a toss about extradition treaties or being “shamed” by a bunch of infidels?

    You underestimate the power of realpolitik. With that much leverage against them, they could have been forced to accept a great many concessions.

  • Well, Shawn, don’t you think that Senator Shelby, handing over CLASSIFIED information to the media, is at least just as in the wrong as Berger?

    As far as is known, Berger didn’t reveal any of the information he brought home with him to anyone.

    Don’t you think the actions of Shelby deserve more than the deafening silence down Texas way?

    Do you think that if Shelby were a Democrat, Robert would have maintained a similar silence?

    IOKIYAR, right, Robert?

  • Julian Morrison

    Chris Tucker, perhaps you don’t realise this is archived, that your earlier posts with identical content remain visible above, and that adding more of the same dilutes your question with annoyingness?

  • James

    Compare the much more successful UK effort against the IRA — which uses criminal law, police with occasional military backup, and old-fashioned human spies.

    Sorry, I’m Irish, and that’s plain wrong. The IRA, bad as they are, aren’t in the same league as the Islamists. The IRA had the aim of removing the British from N.I., and they’ve been willing to compromise (or be cajoled into compromising) on even that aim to some extent. The Islamists want their religion to be dominant across as much of the globe as they can. Any they’re not for turning, it seems.

    The IRA has a range of members, from the extreme to the moderate. The Islamofascists HAVE NO MODERATES. They’re ALL religious whackjobs. There isn’t a more “sensible” wing within them that can be reasoned with, who can carry along the extreme elements. They simply do not have a “Gerry Adams”. They have ultra-ultra-Ian Paisleys, except rather than just talk it, they’ll walk it (or fly it, as the case may be).

    The IRA are culturally similar to their enemies. The Islamofascists are culturally alien to almost all of us.

    Trust me, both organizations are NOT comparable. Even the SAS were used against the IRA, don’t forget.

  • jeffro

    CT-

    Berger allegedly took multiple copies of the Millenium brief. Each was a copy that was used in the briefing and had hand-written notes on the margins etc. This makes it an original.

  • Kong

    Hey Chris, as someone with a security clearance, I can tell you know that it does not matter if a document is an original or a copy, if it contains one iota of classified information the whole freaking thing is classified and must be treated accordingly. There is also the fact that the copies contained notes that were unique to each copy. Those notes are not reproduced anywhere, including the original documents, and thus classified info with unique information has been lost to us and is currently floating out there. It may be destroyed, or it may be in the hands of someone who wants to use it to cause harm to the nation. We don’t know, as once documents become uncontrolled it becomes impossible to find out what has happened to the information contained within them, and who may have had access to that information.

    As an Alabama resident, all I have to say is Shelby is an idiot. His switching from a Democrat to a Republican changed absolutely nothing about his worldview. See, Alabama is a bit weird in that our Republicans are often to the left of our Democrats. Strange, but true. I often vote Democrat for the State elections. In fact the only Republicans I tend to vote for are presidents. Lord knows I wish we did not have our current tax-crazy Republican govenor.

    Kong

  • Dan

    Julian —

    Realpolitik needs real force to make it happen. Hence, we’re back to war and not crime.

    As long as the IRA figures get streets named after them in Oakland and as long as bars in San Francisco are openly raising money for the IRA, I don’t think you can claim success for the British.

    Shawn —

    I can not tell you how I long for the day when we are allowed to be ourselves and not shoved into the HappyFunWork Camps of “Right” and “Left.”

    I favor strong water and air quality laws. I favor laws to protect wildlife. I also favor school choice, reproductive choice, social security privatization, gun rights, and gay rights.

    How about we go forward instead of right or left?

  • Kong, I don’t doubt a word you said. If Berger is indicted, tried and convicted, he should be punished.

    As should Shelby.

    I’m not excusing Berger’s actions at all.

    I am condeming Robert for his silence concerning Shelby’s actions, which seem to me to be at least as wrong as what Berger did, if not more so.

    It’s obvious that Robert is a liar and a hypocrite. All I’m doing is calling him out on it.

    IOKIYAR, right, Robert?

  • How would a “treating terrorism as crime” approach have dealt with the situation where al-Qaeda used Afghanistan as a refuge and training base within which they could train their members with impunity and reside beyond the reach of the courts of the countries in which they commit their crimes?

    AIUI the US had been trying to get bin Laden extradited for years before the invasion of Afghanistan, due to the earlier attacks of al-Qaeda on the USS Cole and the embassies in Africa. But the Taliban refused. After 9/11, the Taliban didn’t even give up bin Laden with the threat of invasion hanging over their heads.

    What on earth makes anyone think they could be persuaded to not only hand over Osama, but disband the al-Qaeda training camps and never again provide refuge and a training base to future terrorist groups, when threat of invasion failed to work?

    I don’t see how al-Qaeda could have been dealt with without invading Afghanistan. Even the most successful campaign to arrest and prosecute al-Qaeda terrorists would have failed to keep up with a setup that was training thousands of new recruits in the arts of terrorism every year and then letting them loose on the world.

    ISTM that whilst within the borders of Western countries a criminal justice approach backed up by solid intelligence gathering may work, if other states are providing support, training and refuge for the terrorists, and refuse to stop or even make the slightest concession when threatened, then military action is the only option left.

  • Julian,

    The Taliban had no interest in handing over the terrorism infrastructure in their country. Indeed, I think one analyst said that one might as well have asked Osama to hand over the Taliban to the U.S., such was his power and influence over their government! The Tabs were also feeling their oats over having thrown out the Russkies in 1989 and assassinating the N.A.’s chief leader just before 9/11. An anarcho-capitalist anti-terrorism effort there would have looked just like Bush’s war, and for the same reasons.

  • DSpears

    Shawn,

    I don’t see the differences in the terms you stipulate at all.

    The battle in the West is between socialism, communitarianism and collectivism versus classical liberalism (libertarianism), freedom and liberty.

    The “right” and the “left” as you describe them are really just two sides of the same coin, both fighting for the soul of socialism. They both want the government to shape society through force, just in their own diametrically opposed images. One side gave us speech codes and political correctness, the other side gave us the war on drugs and FCC crackdowns on “smut”. The “left” and the “right”
    have equal desires to control society through the limitation of individualism, liberty and free thought. They just emphasize different values, which can confuse people into thinking they are diametrical opposites. But like Hitler and Stalin, these groups are really just playing to the same crowd: Those who think that societies needs outweigh and overshadow those of the individual.

    Those who want free markets, limited govenment and individual liberty want nothing to do with either group and see them for what they are: variations on a theme.

    I don’t see the libertarians and anarcho-capitalists as diametrically opposed enemies of Minarchism, they have just extrapolated this philosphy to extremes that I don’t find justified. They are not the enemy, those that want to subvert freedom and individual liberty in favor of collective or community values are the enemies of Minarchists.

    This is why I am careful when I refer to myself as a “conservative”. That covers a lot of ground from Pat Buchanan and Jerry Falwell (who I don’t want any affiliation with) to Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan, whom I am proud to associate myself with.

    The battle for the sole of the West is between communitarianism and liberty. I choose liberty.

  • The other problem with law enforcement is that the standard of proof in court is so high. Clinton turned down the opportunity to extradict Bin Laden on the grounds that they wouldn’t have been able to convict him in a court of law. I’m sure that’s a great comfort to New Yorkers.

    One of the major principles of law enforcement is presumption of innocence. Bin Laden has not been proven guilty in court, so is therefore innocent. That sort of thinking isn’t exactly helpful. At the very least, we need to know who our enemy is and recognise him as such.

    Military intelligence is the art of drawing conclusions from extremely vague and contradictory data. It doesn’t stand up to any real standard of proof, and it relies on secrecy, both of which make it totally incompatible with law enforcement. And it works remarkably well.

    Chris “Repetitive” Tucker,

    You say that, as far as you know, Berger didn’t reveal any information. He used his cell phone from the facility. There is a reason why using mobile phones in secure locations is prohibited: Washington is full of embassies, every one of which has a bunch of arials on its roof to monitor precisely this sort of call. We don’t know what he did with his phone, but he wasn’t calling for pizza. If he used the photo-messaging service (as seems likely under the circumstances), then whatever classified documents he sent are probably now in the hands of the Syrians or the Sauds or the Libyans or the Iranians, or all of them. If he made calls describing the contents of documents (as seems likely under the circumstances), then ditto.

  • WHS

    DSpears said:

    “Funny, I don’t consider 85 years of terrorist attacks ending with a negotiated settlement as ‘successful’”.

    You give the Provisional IRA more credit than they’re due. The recent ‘Troubles’ is generally understood to have begun in the early 70’s. So to suggest that the UK was fighting a terror campaign in Northern Ireland for the last 85 years is (deliberately?) inaccurate.

    The Provisional IRA called a cease-fire 10 years ago, so in fact HM govt. fought a terrorist campaign in Northern Ireland for about 20 years. And very successful they were too.

    It took time for the UK military to learn how to respond to this kind of warfare, but they did so, and relatively quickly. And it is no coincidence that the IRA called the cease-fire. They couldn’t cough without HM govt. knowing about it – they had been penetrated at the highest levels (see Stakeknife etc. etc).

    If you dismiss the success of the British security services in Northern Ireland you miss the opportunity of learning some important lessons about how to approach terrorism.

  • Julian Morrison

    On the minarchy vs. anarchy thing, my thought on it is: when we reach minarchy, then we can argue over it.

    My main beef with minarchists if at all, is that they tend to make big collectivist sweeping statements involving the words “we”, “us” and “our”, when frankly they haven’t any right to. I’ll do my thing, ta very much, and you do yours.

  • Shawn

    Dan,

    “How about we go forward instead of right or left?”

    But forward to where? A person can go forward to a number of different destinations.

    Its a nice slogan, but meaningless. Funnily enough, it used to be the slogan of the German Green Party.

    DSpears,

    “The battle in the West is between socialism, communitarianism and collectivism versus classical liberalism (libertarianism), freedom and liberty.”

    This is where I differ with liberal libertarians. While I see limited government as a desirable thing, and an important part of Western/Anglo conservatism, I do not see it as the primary battle ground. That battle ground is for me cultural. In my defense, this is also true of some who would not be considred conservatives, such as Objectivists. In fact one of Ayn Rand’s valid criticisms of libertarianism was its focus on freedom and limited government alone, without understanding that the culture must change as well. Of course she and I would disagree about what kind of cultural change, but we share the same critique of liberal libertarians.

    If the West adopted libertarian principles of government, but in no other way changed, I would see this as only a partial victory at best, if at all. A change to limited government must be accompanied by major and broadbased cultural change away from liberalism in any form in favor of Tradition.

    I’m certainly opposed to the kind of big government conservatism advocated by neocons, and I certainly maintain that a man,s home is his castle, and that what consenting adults choose to do in the privacy of their own homes is their own business. But I’m increasingly willing to accept a degree of government force on some issues that most libertarians would not, such as ending abortion, repatriation of recent non-Western immigrants. and emergency measures to protect the traditional family and raise the birthrate.

    The issue of open borders is simple for me. Anyone in favour of it is in favour of the destruction of the West, and as that destruction is the heart of left- liberalism, then I cannot draw a sharp distinction between classical liberals and right liberals who favour it and the left.

  • Shawn

    Chris,

    Robert has the right to focus, or not focus, on any issue he chooses. Thats called freedom of speech. If he chooses to focus on the behaviour of Democrats, and leave criticism of Republicans to the idiotarian left, that is also his right.

    Calling him a liar and a hypocrite for excersising his right to decide how he spends his time and energy is a disgusting, dishonorable, and childish gutter level attack.

    If we lived in a civilised society Robert would be well within his rights imo in calling you out at dawn.

    Moreover, your charge of hypocrisy is itself hypocritical. I noticed on your web site that you focus almost exclusively on Republicans and childish level attacks on the President. Clearly your just another brainless Bush hater. In a world filled with scum such as you, I welcome people like Robert.

    By the way, loved that bit about arresting bin Laden and giving him a fair trial. Yeah, thats gonna work.

  • Well, I am not a libertarian and neither is my cat (if I had one). Glad we got that clarified.

  • A_t

    Shawn,

    “The issue of open borders is simple for me. Anyone in favour of it is in favour of the destruction of the West, and as that destruction is the heart of left- liberalism, then I cannot draw a sharp distinction between classical liberals and right liberals who favour it and the left.”

    To put it lightly, bollocks.

    The destruction of the West is at the heart of left-liberalism? Really? So all the left-leaning socially liberal people I know aren’t just dissatisfied with some aspects of the way the world currently works (as are many people here, & in general), but actually harbour a secret desire to see the downfall of our society & it’s replacement with…..?

    Do you have any non-conservative friends? (hmm… i guess if you think they’re all devoted to the destruction of everything you hold dear, maybe you don’t)

    You have a bad habit of seeing something you’re opposed to; something you think may have terrible consequences, & then assuming these consequences are intended.

    And what ’emergency measures’ would you propose to protect the family & raise the birth rate then? Sounds like a whole heap of authoritarianism right there.

    I have to say, I’ve never understood people who advocate a free market system in business, where the most successful model emerges triumphant, & new potentially more successful approaches can be tried out, but shy away from the same approach towards society. If our society (or some sections of it) ends up screwed because we’ve chosen unrewarding behaviour, we’ll change. Why should anyone have the right to intervene & stop us, any more than they should have the right to decide what economic activity is & isn’t permitted? If you saw people embarking on a business venture you thought was unprofitable, & in fact might have a negative effect on the local economy, would you feel justified in getting the govt. to legislate to close it down? That, to me, is what you seem to be proposing socially, & I see no justification for it.

  • There do indeed seem to be a whole lot of strange views being described as ‘libertarian’ these days but that is really of little interest.

    I describe my views as ‘anarcho-libertarian’ simply because that seems to be the clearest and most accurate description, but the label does not really matter.

    What is important is the truth or falsity of ones views, in total and in particular. One should not be concerned whether being for or against the war, immigration controls, abortion, Christianisty etc. is ‘libertarian’ one should be concerned whether ones views on these things are TRUE.

    Stop worring about what you call yourself and start considering whether what you think is right.

  • Shawn

    “To put it lightly, bollocks. The destruction of the West is at the heart of left-liberalism? Really?”

    Of course. Left-liberalism is a universalist ideology. As such it tends, especially in its incarnation as the ideology of ruling elites, to be opposed to particularism in any form. The kinds of particularism that is especially opposed to are: loyalty to one’s faith before any other, loyalty to ones family and ethnic group, loyalty to ones nation before any other. Nationalism and patriotism are condemned as ignorant, bigoted and xenophobic. I dont know what country you live in but condemnation of these kinds of particularist loyalties are commonplace amongst the liberal intelligentsia here and in the US. The one exception to this is when, in the guise of “multiculturalism” ethnic loyalties of non-Western and especially non-Anglo peoples are held up as a way to attack and defame Anglo-Westerners.

    Then there is the global version of this. The liberal left is essentially in favour of global government through the UN. This is what people here at Samizdata mean when they talk about trans-national socialism, although post-national would perhaps be more accurate. The most recent serious manifestation of this was the attack on the US government for acting unilaterally rather than multilaterally, and invading Iraq without the permission of the UN.

    “So all the left-leaning socially liberal people I know aren’t just dissatisfied with some aspects of the way the world currently works”

    We are not talking about the sheep, about Joe and Mary who think more taxes for health care would be nice. We are talking about the elites, the academics, politicians, the civil service beaurocrats, the people driving the formation of the EU, and the foot soldiers of the UN and NGO’s. The ideology of these people has been spelt out and made crystal clear. They want a one world government and state with no borders, and with all nations bound to UN charters on both domestic and foriegn policy, charters that are socialist and humanist in nature. That this would result in the death of the West as a distinct cultural/religous civilisation is patently obvious.

    Just one example of this was when the Australian government said no to more Islamic “refugees”, and insisted on continuing its current policy of detaining such people away from society, and Mary Robinson visited the country and told them off for not obeying the UN policies on these issues.

    “Do you have any non-conservative friends?”

    Yes. And more importantly, I was a trans-national socialist for nearly ten years and very active in ngo human rights organisations. so I think I may know a little something about what I, and virtually everyone I knew over those years actually believed and was working for.

    “You have a bad habit of seeing something you’re opposed to; something you think may have terrible consequences, & then assuming these consequences are intended.”

    They are certainly intende by the elites and the foots soldiers of the tranzi left. As I said, I know because I used to be one.

    “And what ’emergency measures’ would you propose to protect the family & raise the birth rate then?”

    Ban abortion. Create tax incentives for married couples, and tax reductions for those with children. The more children the less tax they pay.

    “& I see no justification for it.”

    The problem is that you see only individuals and their behaviour. I see a civilisation in crisis. The free market cannot and will not solve every problem, such as mass immigration.

    Having said that I think your reading more into what I wrote than is there. While I’m in favour of some measures in the current crisis in specific areas, I still believe that what has to happen primarily is a voluntary cultural renewal, and there are hopeful signs that that is already happenning.

  • Mike Lorrey

    Julian is correct that terrorism is a crime. HOWEVER, it is not a civilian crime. It is, rather specificially, a war crime, and as such, its practitioners are properly prosecuted via the military justice system. Suggest, strongly, that those who disagree spend a few hours reading the Geneva Conventions, attend a military law class or two, oh, and do a hitch in the military to learn from a practical standpoint of living the rules every day, the difference between legal military action and illegal military action.

    Civilian judicial systems are NOT capable of dealing with terrorist insurgencies any more than a libertarian leaning society can withstand repeated terrorist attack without losing some trust in the individual.

    This is the whole point of terrorism, to make the relatively free give up freedoms in exchange for security, oppressing some who are then recruited into the insurgency to start ever increasing rounds of violence and oppression, in a vicious cycle until the revolution begins. This is all basic revolutionary theory.

    The only way to effectively deal with those who would practice terrorism and discourage future efforts is to clamp down specifically on them, prosecute and punish them harshly. Adopting broad policies that limit everyone’s freedoms is only contributory to the goals of the terrorist.

    In 1940, Admiral Hirohito warned Tojo against invading the mainland US, saying, “There is a rifle behind every blade of grass.” He referred to our widespread exercise of 2nd Amend. rights that dates back to when the US dealt with a terrorist insurgency when it was merely a group of colonies. The French and Indian War saw the french in quebec sending St Francis indians into New England, raiding, burning, raping, killing, and kidnapping colonists. The King couldn’t help the colonists, his redcoats were always miles away from the point of attack, so the people armed themselves, formed their own minuteman groups, and defended themselves and even launched punitive counterattacks deep into enemy territory.

    This ended the threat then, and it has only been in the last few decades that our public schools have edited out most reference to that era, with many people forgetting our history, even to the point of many people believing fraudulent revisionist tomes like Bellisiles “The Arming of America”. It should not be surprising that a resurgence of terrorist insurgency has resurfaced in non-firearm areas: airports and airliners which are gun-free zones, schools which are gun free zones, and government facilities which are gun free zones. That the terrorists boarded their flights on 9/11 in Boston, Massachusetts, one of the more anti-gun states and cities in the US, should not be a surprise.

  • Adriana,

    Was that a Peter O’Toole reference?

  • Cydonia

    Mike Lorrey:

    “Julian is correct that terrorism is a crime. HOWEVER, it is not a civilian crime. It is, rather specificially, a war crime”

    Terrorist acts can only be war crimes if terrorism is legally a form of war. Are you saying that? If so, on what basis? As far as I know, even if the U.S. and the U.K have not suggested this, notwithstanding loose talk of the “War against Terror”.

  • repatriation of recent non-Western immigrants. and emergency measures to protect the traditional family and raise the birthrate.

    Shawn, there are no such things as a “left” and “right” libertarians and your expressed contempt for individual liberty makes me wonder how you manage to conclude that such an authoritarian nationalist and ethnic chauvinist (loyalty to one’s ethnic group” ferchrissakes) outlook is even consistent with, never mind coterminous with Liberty.

    Freedom which is subject to the necessity to uphold “Western” values (meaning in practice some bureaucrat’s idea of correct values) is not freedom at all but licence, analogous to the limited “freedom” granted to serfs under feudalism.

  • DSpears

    “But I’m increasingly willing to accept a degree of government force on some issues that most libertarians would not, such as ending abortion, repatriation of recent non-Western immigrants. and emergency measures to protect the traditional family and raise the birthrate.”

    I’m a little scared to ask what on earth you propose the government do about raising the birthrate, or why such a thing is necessary. “Emergency measures”????

    The first principle of Minarchism is that society should mold government to serve it’s needs, not the other way around.

  • Eric Blair

    Oh dear. What DSpears said.

    I’m not getting the ‘non western immigrant’ thing at all.

    The USA has absorbed plenty of immigrants in the past–and if you don’t think so, go look at what similar things were being said in the 1840’s and 1850’s about the Irish immigration to the US. Or in the 1890’s and 1900’s about Eastern and Southern European immigration to the US.

    How many kids do you have, Shawn? I know people that speak like you, but oddly enough, they never seem to have childeren. Pat Buchanan comes to mind, even.

  • Julian Morrison

    Ok, so, enough people have said Shawn’s comments are un-libertarian. So I’l say instead: the stuff he wants to impose is not merely un-libertarian, it’s just plain wrong and bad. It is precisely because of “western values” that we have held his beloved traditions up to scrutiny – and the ones that could not justify themselves to reason are in process of being ground down and forgotten. Good riddance to them.

  • David

    Does anyone else visit the website, lewrockwell.com
    It’s run by Lew Rockwell the President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama.
    They present what is, I believe, the true libertarian position on the war in Irag, terrorism and its causes and the proper role of government in a free society.
    They present a very attractive form of libertarianism – a hard-headed and consistent opposition to the State and an emphasis on “social conservatism”. The website is highly recommended.

  • Julian Morrison

    I don’t just visit, I get their daily update mail ;-P Wierd site, that one. Often has interesting stories, they’re basically ancaps, still they have an odd habit of inserting christianity into more or less any story. And they always link stuff knocking evolution, as if that proved their theology any. Wierd.

  • If he used the photo-messaging service (as seems likely under the circumstances)

    If you cannot cite a reliable source for that, you are a LIAR! Hey, why not forward that to Matt Drudge. He likes made up crap liek that.

    then whatever classified documents he sent are probably now in the hands of the Syrians or the Sauds or the Libyans or the Iranians, or all of them. If he made calls describing the contents of documents (as seems likely under the circumstances), then ditto.

    Wow, such breathtaking wingnuttery AND Moonbatism, I have seldom seen in one brief paragraph.

    You ghostwrite for Ann Coulter, right?

  • Robert has the right to focus, or not focus, on any issue he chooses. Thats called freedom of speech. If he chooses to focus on the behaviour of Democrats, and leave criticism of Republicans to the idiotarian left, that is also his right.

    SO, pointing out that Senator Shelby, A Republican, deliberately leaked CLASSIFIED documents to the media is “idiotarian”.

    Calling him a liar and a hypocrite for excersising his right to decide how he spends his time and energy is a disgusting, dishonorable, and childish gutter level attack.

    But the fact of the matter is that he DID lie, several times in the course of his comments. A lie is a lie is a lie. He did it several times. Would you like chapter and verse? I refer you to my comments where I point out his individual LIES.

    If we lived in a civilised society Robert would be well within his rights imo in calling you out at dawn.

    Goodie! As the challanged party, I get the choice of weapons. I’ll bring a brace of katanas to the field and let Robert have his choice. Lead can go anywhere. Steel is bound to go somewhere.

    Moreover, your charge of hypocrisy is itself hypocritical. I noticed on your web site that you focus almost exclusively on Republicans and childish level attacks on the President. Clearly your just another brainless Bush hater. In a world filled with scum such as you, I welcome people like Robert.

    Yep, I LOATH Bush! I hate him for what he has done to the respect and moral influence of America in the world. I hate him for his rape of the Bill of Rights. I hate him for what he allowed to be done to McCain in South Carolina and CLeland in Georgia. I hate him for his cowardly shirking of duty in TANG. He is beneath contempt.

    By the way, loved that bit about arresting bin Laden and giving him a fair trial. Yeah, thats gonna work.

    And why not? Isn’t that what Civilized countries do? Respect the Rule of Law?

    Oh, right. I forgot, Respecting the Rule of Law is what the “idiotarian” Left does.

    Ignoring the Rule of Law is what Republicans do.

    IOKIYAR, right?

    Still waiting for Robert to condemn Shelby for breaking the law.

    IOKIYAR, right, Robert?

  • DSpears

    “Terrorist acts can only be war crimes if terrorism is legally a form of war.”

    What?

    You’re not supposed to drink the bong water.

  • D. Spears wrote:

    I’m a little scared to ask what on earth you propose the government do about raising the birthrate, or why such a thing is necessary. “Emergency measures”????

    *******************************************

    It does start to sound a little creepy somewhere along in there, doesn’t it? Especially if you consider what these “emergency measures” might mean for women.

    Faced with the onslaught of something as terrifying as, say, the future, it’s probably perfectly natural for the males to want to “protect” “their” females. Veil them, lock them up at home, protect them from venal abortionists, etc. But some of us believe that individual women themselves are the ultimate authorities on the best uses of our minds, time, and body parts; and to hell with what others deem best for “society,” “the mother/fatherland,” or what have you.

  • Shawn

    “Shawn, there are no such things as a “left” and “right” libertarians and your expressed contempt for individual liberty.”

    Firstly, yes there is. I know libertarians love to think that they are neither left nor right, but this is a meaningless slogan. Get a group of libertarians in a room and ask their opinions on issues like open borders and abortion and a clear left to right spectrum emerges.

    And I have not expressed contempt for liberty, I have expressed contempt for the left-liberal interpretation of it.

    “how you manage to conclude that such an authoritarian nationalist and ethnic chauvinist”

    Its merely your opinion that its authoritarian, but thats hypocritical. Anyone who argues for mass immigration against the clearly expressed wishes of the peoples of Britain and the US is simply proposing their own form of authoritarianism, so authoritarianism is very much in the eye of the beholder. I consider the forcibly imposed invasion of my country by liberal elites and their contempt for the values and culture of middle America to be extremely authoritarian.

    “I’m a little scared to ask what on earth you propose the government do about raising the birthrate, or why such a thing is necessary”

    Ban abortion. A moratoriam on immigration for 25 years. Tax incentives for families. Thats all.

    “The USA has absorbed plenty of immigrants in the past–and if you don’t think so, go look at what similar things were being said in the 1840’s and 1850’s”

    Immigration in the past came mostly from Europe, and in relatively small numbers that were easily absorbed by the dominant population. You cannot compare that to recent Muslim immigration in Europe or Hispanic immigration to the USA and doing so is extremely misleading. Read (Link) on the subject in the American Enterprise mag, or the (Link) recent survey

    “Ok, so, enough people have said Shawn’s comments are un-libertarian”

    So how do you explain the fact that a significant number of libertarians agree with at least some aspects of what I wrote? Libertarian (Link) articles on immigration as just one example, and this (Link) by objectivist libertarian Logan Fey in the Free Radical?

    “It does start to sound a little creepy somewhere along in there”

    Tax incentives are creepy? Keep in mind that part from banning abortion, which some right to life libertarians agree with, and ending mass immigration, which a large number of libertarians also agree with, all I said and intended as far as energency measures go are tax incentives.

    Get a grip people. Its laughable how if you propose even a small idea that does not conform to liberal ideology then suddenly your an anti-freedom, un-libertarian fascist. Puhleeeease.

    Given that the issue of abortion is (Link) within libertarianism,

    and given that the issue of immigration is also disputed, as the links I posted above clearly demonstrate,

    and given that tax incentives involves lowering peoples taxes, then it is absurd and Mcarthyist to claim that I’m being un-libertarian or even authoritarian for that matter. Its is also a shallow way to debate the issues.

  • Chris,

    I recommend that you read up on English grammar. The conditional tense, which is what I was using, is used to express hypotheticals, which cannot, by definition, be lies.

    I’d be fascinated to hear, though, what you think Berger was doing with his phone. You think that anyone who so much as suggests that he might have used it to make a phone call or send a message is a liar. What do you think he was doing with it? Playing Snake?

    Oh, and, by the way, you don’t loath Bush; you loathe Bush.

  • Shawn

    Sorry, got the html wrong, though the links do work, links to Ilana Mercers immigration articles, The Free Radical, Samuel Huntington and Libertarians For Life. Its been a while since I used IE.

    Chris, if you wan to hate Bush thats your business, but dont expect me to take anything else you say seriously.

    I like him. I like it that he told the French and the UN to fuck off. I like that hes defended the US aggressivley. I like it that hes allowed the Feds to spy on mosques and introduced racial profiling. I like that given half a chance hes going to put a bullet through Osama’s head. I dont give a flying fuck for international law.

    And I want to rid America of the left and the Demoprat scum who stink it up. And no, I really dont care how we do that. I’m willing to play dirty to achieve it, because that sure is hell what the left has been doing for decades.

    Mcain is a nice guy but hes a Rhino. Bush was right to stomp on him.

    Kerry is a socialist coward working for the French and the UN, who has a corncobb inserted firmly up his ass. His one claim to military fame was to shoot a boy in the back.

    Bush is gonna stomp on him too, and I’m going to enjoy every second of listening to creeps like you wail and scream blue murder.

  • Get a group of libertarians in a room and ask their opinions on issues like open borders and abortion and a clear left to right spectrum emerges.

    You can’t simply state two issues and infer a “right” and “left” answer for each. As it happens, I’m opposed to post-first trimester abortion and in favour of open borders (subject to non-entitlement to welfare). Does that make me a “centrist”? Your problem, and that which differentiates you from any kind of libertarian (if the term is to have any kind of useful meaning) is that you are not an individualist but a collectivist. Freedom rests with individuals and not with a larger group, whether that is “society”, and ethnic group or even a nation state. That you consistently elevate society’s interest over that of the individual pretty much disqualifies you from any kind of meaningful libertarianism.

  • Someone ought to point out that al-Qaeda very much sees itself at war and considers all infidels as the enemy, especially the U.S. They are waging a campaign and planning it as such. We are better off taking them on their word.

    Or we can wait for a smuggled nuke take out half a city in a few years – a goal which has been outlined a ‘duty’ by the boss himself – to ask why oh why we treated them as mere criminals.

    And someone get Tucker his pacifier and call his Mommy. From the smell, those nappies are going to give out any minute now.