A Conflict of Visions Different than the One Sowell Identified

by Don Boudreaux on March 22, 2011

in Complexity & Emergence, Hubris and humility, Intervention, War

Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:

George Will’s wise skepticism of Uncle Sam meddling both in the domestic economy and in foreign affairs distinguishes him as one of today’s very few pundits who isn’t schizophrenic about the perils of power (“Is it America’s duty to intervene wherever regime change is needed?” March 22).

Most modern “liberals” believe that domestic economic problems are caused chiefly by unsavory characters – “business people” – who impose their destructive rule on masses of innocent workers and consumers yearning for more prosperity, and that the best solution to these problems is government force deployed using armies of regulators to subdue these bad guys and to keep close watch over them and their successors.  Failure to intervene is immoral.  These same “liberals,” though, believe that foreign problems are typically the result of complex forces that can be understood only poorly by American-government officials; it is naïve to suppose that even well-intentioned foreign intervention by Uncle Sam will not have regrettable unintended consequences.

Most modern conservatives believe that domestic economic problems are typically the result of complex forces that can be understood only poorly by government officials; it is naïve to suppose that even well-intentioned economic intervention by Uncle Sam will not have regrettable unintended consequences.  These same conservatives, though, believe that problems in foreign countries are caused chiefly by unsavory characters – “dictators” or “tyrants” – who impose their destructive rule on masses of innocent people yearning for more democracy, and that the best solution to these problems is government force deployed with armies of soldiers to subdue these bad guys and to keep close watch over them and their successors.  Failure to intervene is immoral.

Talk about a conflict of visions.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux

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{ 280 comments }

Frankie Barbella March 22, 2011 at 11:01 am

Excellent post displaying the hypocrisy of the “conservative” right.

Sal March 22, 2011 at 11:22 am

And the ignorance of the Liberal left

Rick Caird March 22, 2011 at 11:55 am

Frankie, why would your limit your reply to conservatives? Were you only able to remember the last paragraph you read or do you skip paragraphs with the word “liberal” in them? It really is pretty hard to omit half the letter.

Matt March 24, 2011 at 3:39 am

Or maybe its because he wants to illustrate conservative hypocrisy at its worst. A large number of previous conservatives, myself included, fail to apply their principals to foreign politics.

I think the purpose of this blog, and many others, is to educate us so we can better understand are own positions and not to simply bash the the other side.

Bret March 22, 2011 at 11:25 am

While I’m in agreement with the general gist of this post (that it’s naive to suppose that government will have a net beneficial effect in either domestic or foreign affairs), I don’t find the two situations adequately similar for comparison. Potential government protection of a slight change in prosperity is simply different than potential government saving of tens or hundreds of thousands from slaughter in tribal conflict. While there are many arguments for allowing the slaughter to happen, equating it with government regulation of the domestic economy is not one of them in my opinion.

John V March 22, 2011 at 11:38 am

How is that much different from saying that XYZ economic policy WILL prevent millions from dying of starvation, WILL prevent corporations from whatever malfeasance, WILL provide opportunity to the disadvantaged and so on and so forth?

While foreign policy allows us to see a more immediate connection between a specific aim and result, it’s also viewed through an equally narrow and fuzzy telescope. Little can truly foreseen beyond the immediate narrow intent and that is very dangerous.

Bret March 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

If millions were facing imminent death from starvation, then the situation would be similar.

rmv March 22, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Ethanol subsidies = higher food costs in the world market.
Higher food costs in the world market = many more people facing starvation.

Our prosperity, in America, may be slightly changed, but tell that to the Africans importing foodstuffs.

Bret March 22, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Right. So shouldn’t the government change its policy so that people stop starving?

rmv March 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Sure

So, since domestic policy issues has such potentially dire consequences, how is it so difficult to compare it to the, granted, more immediate effects of foreign policy?

Gil March 22, 2011 at 10:04 pm

So? Organic farming = higher food costs. If Africans find American food too expensive then they should shop elsewhere or grow it themselves.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 2:10 am

Gil–
Ethanol subsidies reduce global food supply. That increases the price of food for everyone.

Steve Perreira March 24, 2011 at 2:04 am

Nobody would make ethanol from corn without subsidies and protections (such as guaranteed markets through gasoline formula mandates and exclusion of cheaper cane produced ethanol from foreign countries) provided by the nanny state. Mind you, no one would grow so damned much corn either without price supports. On corn derived ethanol – it takes nearly as much fossil fuel energy to produce it as you get out of it. Only in the government would a zero sum game be considered a win-win situation – kind of like gambling but without the fleeting entertainment value. Oh yeah, the state governments love those lotteries too, don’t they – so far the only effective way to tax the poor.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 8:15 am

Well said – And yes, many on this board are confused – and morally equating the two situations is absurd.

John V March 22, 2011 at 11:33 am

Yes. This Paradox is one of my favorite issues in terms of fascination. It’s truly incredible. I tried to go back to comments in recent post about George Will (but I cannot…the comments are not visible) where we clearly see this paradox in action as our conservative posters come out and show their true colors as they abandon the libertarian reasoning that informs their economic sensibilities and turn into right-wing versions of social democrats when it comes to foreign policy. The tone, method of argument and reasoning quickly change. It’s astounding. It really is.

JohnK March 22, 2011 at 11:44 am

What they have in common is the belief that there are valid reasons to impose their will upon others. They only disagree on what the reasons are.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm

A conservative might read that and think you are talking about murderous thugs as the targets of said conservative imposition. The conservative would reply that imposing one’s will upon such a thug is no violation of principles–it is not morally different than imposing one’s will against a force of nature.

So it is important to emphasis that truly offensive imposition by the conservative militarist is against peaceful innocents. Usually in the form of collateral damage abroad, but always in the form of a resource burden imposed upon peaceful citizens at home.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 8:17 am

If you have evidence that thugs are indeed murdering people in their backyard AND if you know you can do something about it, you do. This is NOT the same as imposing anyone’s will – it is indeed an issue of rescue – of life and limb – when we can.

I find this whole moral equivalence argument – economics and murder/slaughter absurd.

JohnK March 23, 2011 at 8:40 am

Our government has turned a blind eye to murder and slaughter on many occasions. This time it happens to be politically convenient to intervene.
There is nothing noble about what our government is doing in Libya. It is all cold and calculated for a political effect.

Ed Bosanquet March 23, 2011 at 8:55 am

Krishnan,
I believe much of Don’s post is focused on the part where you say “AND if you know you can do something about it”. I know the US can do something about Libya. It is quite unclear if that something the US does is a benefit or harm.

I don’t see this as moral equivalence. It’s a statement that for any internal tax/subsidy or external war/aid, the full consequences are often unclear. An attempt to make things better, while well intentioned can often make things worse.

Thank you,
Ed

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 9:33 am

It may not have been intended as “moral equivalence” – but it seems that way. Even with the caveat of imprecise information, I cannot see how we can stand back and ignore what is indeed known and when we can (and should) do something. And yes, I grant the fact that our interference may make matters worse – so, let’s be careful – not say “We have no idea what will happen, so we will stay out” – instead “What we are witnessing is terrible – we can do something about it – we will – and we will monitor the situation carefully to minimize any unintended consequences – that the benefits will largely outweigh any harm we may cause by interfering” –

It is not as if one fine day we decided to bomb Libya – Yes, even Reagan in 1986 had specific reasons to go after Gaddafi

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 10:55 am

Let’s work on a Constitutional Amendment that requires US military intervention anywhere in the world that we are witnessing something terrible. We’ve already established that the US citizen is nothing but a goddamn money slave to political elites, so there should be no problem with consistency.

And then maybe one day someone will rescue us from our tyranny.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 11:36 am

“I find this whole moral equivalence argument – economics and murder/slaughter absurd.”

It seems most people have their justifications for committing offenses against innocent people. You are no different.

I dream of a place where the innocent are powerful enough to defend against the likes of you, requiring you to ask, rather than just take. Yeah, I’m a dreamer.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 11:57 am

“innocents powerful enough to defend against” me?

I thought I had made a comment in english. You must translate what I wrote into something that you understood … I have NO idea how you could jump to THAT conclusion.

I was talking about protecting innocents – not to murder them.

let us know your word translator – perhaps we can then understand how you interpreted my words to mean what you wanted it to mean.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Here’s how, Krishnan:

Viking is an innocent in this Libya situation, correct?

You propose to hold a gun to his head to force him to pay for your desire to help the Libyans. Is not holding a gun to Viking’s head violence against an innocent?

You cannot claim that you want to protect innocents if you justify violating one group of innocents to protect another.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:16 pm

“I thought I had made a comment in english.”

A language you are apparently not too familiar with, given that I wrote “against the likes of you”. Your ilk are dangerous to innocents only in numbers, or at the helm of state.

Methinks–

Thanks. Sometimes I forget how dense our blind malefactors can be.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm

You are right. I am not a master of the english language as you are.

“The likes of you” seems to be a superset – a part of which is “I”. If the “likes of you” does not include me as part of that set, what does it mean?

Never mind – Since I do not understand english and barely know how to write it, I will be so dazzled by your brilliance that I will miss what you mean.

So, again, just to repeat – Never mind. You are brilliant and know how to write and interpret, I do not.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm

“you are brilliant”

Only in comparison.

Methinks1776 March 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

What they have in common is the belief that there are valid reasons to impose their will upon others. They only disagree on what the reasons are.

Granted, but what about if someone asks for military help – as in the case of Libya?

Mind, I’m not arguing for U.S. government involvement. I’m just wondering if and how your argument changes.

kyle8 March 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm

In my view, there are times in which military intervention might be in the nations best interest, just as there are sometimes when a financial or manufacturing regulation is called for.

Those times are few, and far between. In the haste to be seen as “doing something” our leaders (both parties) often get us into very bad situations. That goes for both foreign and domestic policy.

JohnK March 22, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Granted, but what about if someone asks for military help – as in the case of Libya?

I’d say if the government is bound by treaty then it’s obligated to help.
Otherwise it’s Team America: World Police.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm

“I’d say if the government is bound by treaty”

Sadly, you are right. The agreements US government agents make with agents of foreign governments always take precedence over the liberty of US citizens.

Richard Stands March 23, 2011 at 1:03 am

What if someone domestically asks for federal financial help?

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 8:18 am

They should succeed or fail on their own merits (or demerits)

David March 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm

There is never a time to justify military intervention by a foreign sovereign state. It can never work out well, be a good or moral action because as soon as the foreign government starts to act it loses all moral authority, sinking to the level of the dictator.

Simply put we’re not better than Libya.

Do we want to be better? Do as Jefferson told us, honest friendship with all, entangling alliances with none.

As to the moral outrage of the slaughter of innocents, nothing i have said prevents any of you from individually going over there and fighting for the Libyan people.

If you feel so strongly about it, have the courage of your convictions and go! I support you but will not join you, one middle eastern war was enough for me in this life.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

“as soon as the foreign government starts to act it loses all moral authority, sinking to the level of the dictator.”

Although I agree with much of what you say, and US state military intervention against foreign tyrants is offensive to innocents, there is hardly a moral equivalence here. The offense of the US state in such a campaign is not on the same level as the offense of a decades-long bloody dictator. Making such comparisons feeds conservative militarists’ arguments.

kyle8 March 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm

I cannot agree with your statement, it is too extreme to say never.

What if, for instance our neighboring state, Mexico fell apart completely into groups of warlords with violence and huge waves of refuge’s spilling over our border? You would be hard pressed to explain to the average American that the correct position is to do nothing.

In all things libertarian, I have a big problem with absolutist statements. Every issue must be looked at on it’s own merit, and nothing can be done merely by blindly adhering to ideology. That is what makes governance hard.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 5:02 pm

The problem with absolutist libertarian statements, is that the state monopolizes essential services.

If the state made itself, and subsequently was, the sole food producer in a nation, libertarians could agree that is an immoral state of affairs. However, removing the state from the food business overnight may very well result in many people starving to death waiting for voluntary orders to emerge, even though undoubtedly much more stable and productive orders would emerge.

The same problem exists with the state forcing its monopoly on security. Absence of security can result in an even more rapid demise than absence of food.

So libertarians cannot forgo the complicated “from here to there” arguments in favor of their simple–and generally correct–arguments about what “there” should look like.

The best “from here to there” principle is an orderly devolution and privatization of government functions. Unfortunately, government doesn’t work that way. It holds strong until a breaking point occurs.

Sam Grove March 22, 2011 at 12:46 pm

As to the moral outrage of the slaughter of innocents, nothing i have said prevents any of you from individually going over there and fighting for the Libyan people.

I believe the U.S. government has laws prohibiting such private action.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

The US has a great many immoral laws.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 8:19 am

Perhaps it is time we examined them and decide to repeal …

JohnK March 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

lol

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Yeah. If only government didn’t act like government.

Methinks1776 March 22, 2011 at 1:12 pm

That is the problem, Sam. And it’s not just fighting that is prohibited but funding as well.

Richard Stands March 23, 2011 at 1:11 am
DG Lesvic March 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

When I was a little kid on the way home from school, I was set upon in a lonely place by a big bully. Fortunately a good guy happened by and intervened on my behalf. And I’m still grateful for his “conflict of visions.”

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 1:13 pm

What if the good guy worked for a local mobster who used the extortion of town merchants to finance his good samaritans?

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Right – so the next time anyone is bullied and someone stops by to help, the person being attacked can demand to see some evidence that the person stopping to help is not extorting town merchants to finance his good intentions …

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

You can ask anybody anything you want. But if you agree with such an arrangement, then you have already decided that pointing a gun is preferable form of social interaction to asking.

John V March 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Is that kind of like the kind, generous and thoughtful among us who support leftist economic policies?

Brad Petersen March 22, 2011 at 2:37 pm

I don’t find your analogy compelling. Unless, of course, your “good guy” compelled others to fund his intervention, maimed and killed an innocent bystander or two and destroyed a portion of the neighborhood in his efforts to stop the bully.

DG Lesvic March 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

It would be better were there no state, and it all were up to inidividual initiative. But given the current circumstances, the good guys act only through government or not at all. And, as I see it, as between acting through government or not at all, through government is the lesser evil.

It is unthinkable just to stand by while bullies are about to slaughter those who had the courage to stand up to them, and we could so easily intervene. Does that mean we should do so everywhere? No. That’s not so practical, but this looks like pretty easy pickings, and a good chance to flex our military muscles and give them a work-out.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 3:17 pm

When state violence permits us only evil choices, the proper response is not to choose one of those evils and become a blind advocate of it. That is how evil become accepted and legitimized. The proper response is to keep all of those evils fully illuminated to direct action away from evil altogether.

kyle8 March 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I do not think it would be better to have no state. It would be better to have a proscribed state that stuck to it’s very limited powers, but was puissant and efficient in the pursuit of those lawful powers.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 5:08 pm

“It would be better to have a proscribed state that stuck to it’s very limited powers”

It would also be better if man were not mortal and goods were not scarce, but one must live in reality. I see no exception to the rather obvious fact that the violent imposition of monopoly will against innocents, is immoral. Immorality always exists, but is not always a necessity, nor should it ever be advocated.

JohnK March 23, 2011 at 8:03 am

“It would be better to have a proscribed state that stuck to it’s very limited powers”

Yeah. Rule of law would be nice.

But we’re stuck with rule of man.

Richard Stands March 23, 2011 at 1:24 am

What about the bullies in Rwanda, the Ivory Coast, North Vietnam, Myanmar, Somalia, Iran, North Caucusus, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan…?

Where should the U.S. government “flex our military muscles”? Only in places where there is CNN coverage? Or where they have oil? Or where many Americans favor the current underdog?

Uncle Sam can indeed pick winners to support, in both domestic economics and international governance. How well does that generally work? Who pays for it (in blood and treasure)?

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

It is true that we have not always made the right choice … that is not a reason to do nothing. It is indeed reprehensible that we did not intervene in Rwanda – and how we were dragged – kicking and screaming – into the Balkans – and it is reprehensible what we are NOT doing in Darfur …

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

If you ever took the time to consider what you must necessarily mean by “we”, your whole world view would change.

tkwelge March 22, 2011 at 3:02 pm

“But given the current circumstances, the good guys act only through government or not at all.”

The original protesters who started this uprising were not acting through government. They were acting at government. Protesters in Egypt rallied together to provide services in the absence of the government (protection, healthcare, etc). It seems to me that people do a lot of good outside of government and a lot of evil inside of it.

“That’s not so practical, but this looks like pretty easy pickings, and a good chance to flex our military muscles and give them a work-out.”

We so rarely get to flex THOSE muscles, for sure. It isn’t like we have a massive defense spending glut and trillions of dollars in legacy costs of engagements that we are still working on weighing us down or anything.

vikingvista March 22, 2011 at 3:39 pm

“It seems to me that people do a lot of good outside of government and a lot of evil inside of it.”

Yes, nicely said. We should always be looking for solutions outside of government. They are the only solutions that can be moral, and they are the only solutions that don’t legitimize government expansion and power.

E.G. March 22, 2011 at 7:45 pm

“Libertarians” have a very major problem when it comes to military and foreign affairs. It requires a suspension of disbelief; ie it requires that the choice is either between taking an action, or not taking an action. And if you take no action, than there are NO consequences, either. And if it doesn’t directly impact you, than there are NO consequences, either. Obviously this is ideological mumbo-jumbo and no amount of arguing from anyone is going to change anyone’s minds…

What bothers me, is that even if you have an ideological point of view, and have this view for some moralistic reasons (which I never subscribe to), at the very least a reasonable person ought to be able to recognize…that there are plenty of examples where military intervention not only has WORKED…but has worked very well and very much to the benefit of you and others. None of us are 10 years old and think the world started with Iraq and Afghanistan (which themselves require that we ignore the consequences of NOT taking any action in Iraq or Afghanistan, and ignore the real benefits that have come out of those…very flawed…adventures…such as the fact that the Kurds and Shiites of Iraq are now many times better off than before)

Either way, the entirety of Western Europe was kept out of the hands of communism…due to American military intervention. Thousands of communists were executed in the streets of Italy by the CIA and others, to prevent it from falling to communism. Thousands of Greek communists were killed in the mountains to prevent it from falling to communism. Hundreds of thousands of North Korean and Chinese communists were killed to prevent South Korea from falling to communism. For 50+ years…the economies with whom we TRADED and with whom we BENEFITED…and which kept at bay and in check the advancement of communism…were the result of American military intervention. 20 years ago, the fruits of America’s military intervention and active combating of communism everywhere in the world…paid off in the collapse of communism…in the collapse of countless dictatorships…in the opening up of countless markets and in the begging of globalization which has benefited us and everyone else tremendously.

Where do these examples FIT in your view of the military interventions? What would be the “unintended consequences” of America in 1940 saying to itself “ain’t my problem”. What do you think 80% of the world would look like today? Would Don be here posting 3 articles a day about the wonders of “free trade” and “globalization”…if there was no free world to begin with??

The world of guns and bullets…is not necessarily comparable to the world of markets and civil societies. Bullets KILL…and the alternative of NOT doing anything when bullets are involved…is having the “weaker” side get killed. The argument of “unintended consequences” is an intellectually bankrupt argument…if abused in such a way. EVERYTHING has unintended consequences…including breathing and walking down the street. The argument of “unintended consequences” is not an argument for doing or not doing anything. Its a risk calculation. And what are the unintended consequences…of NOT doing anything? What would be the unintended consequences…of NOT fighting to defend Korea in 1950? What were the unintended consequence of NOT defending Vietnam? The millions of refugees and hundreds of thousands the North killed in the South…are not viewed as “unintended consequences” of America giving up.

Don’t throw Jefferson at us. Jefferson was right for HIS TIME…a time when America was a minor power, with no interests in the rest of the world, and plenty of opportunity within. This is obviously not the America of today.

Hey…all I’m asking is that you recognize that your argument is a purely ideological one, not one based on any particular set of evidence or examples. It was a French military intervention in a “British civil war”…that provided America with its independence. I guess thats another example that doesn’t fit in the “libertarian” world view of military affairs.

yet another Dave March 22, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Your first paragraph makes no sense at all. While you may be able to find some people with poorly thought out views claiming to be libertarian making such statements, what you describe is a caricature at best.

I could reasonably argue that had the US stayed out of WW1, communism wouldn’t have become the threat it became. Then all the subsequent killing you celebrate may not have happened.

I could reasonably argue that US support for dictators and brutal thugs all over the world caused the problems you use to justify US military intervention. The lesson to learn from that is STOP, but you conclude we should keep plowing ahead.

Your eagerness to send US military personnel into harm’s way in foreign lands is ideological. You seem to think a few examples of short term success somehow make your position stronger – they don’t because of the history you conveniently ignore. Sadly, no amount of arguing from anyone is going to change your mind.

Methinks1776 March 22, 2011 at 9:16 pm

I could reasonably argue that had the US stayed out of WW1, communism wouldn’t have become the threat it became.

I disagree, Dave. The reasons for the revolution and the subsequent descent into Soviet Socialism were internal to Russia. American involvement had nothing to do with it. You may have a better argument with WWII.

I also disagree on the issue of thugs (i.e. “dictators”). Each country installed its own dictator and the U.S. had to maintain whatever kind of relations it was going to with each one. There’s an old saying in Russia – people get the leadership they deserve. The U.S. has to deal with whatever form of government arises, but the U.S. is just not powerful enough to “prop up” dictators in any meaningful way. They have far more incentives unconnected to U.S. power.

None of these disagreements should be taken as disagreement with your overall position on this.

It is immoral and tyrannical to compel other parents’ children to die for another people’s cause. It is immoral to compel the residents of Boise, Idaho to pay for the fight for Misrata. This doesn’t mean that the willing shouldn’t heed the call to help. But, Americans, who are forced to fund the military, do not do so to protect all the innocents in the world. They fund it to protect themselves and when they send their kids to die, it has to be to protect their children, sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, wives and husbands – not Libya’s or any other country’s.

Sam Grove March 22, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Yeah, I’d like to hear an argument for WWI, I can’t think of one.

Certainly the case for WWII is much stronger, sans U.S. involvement, Russia would’ve been much weaker in the end without the U.S. drawing German forces to the western front.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 3:46 am

“They fund it to protect themselves”

Noble words for an ignoble arrangement. Nobody gives me that option. Nobody asks me what I want. And I’m pretty sure that is true for about 100% of its funding. I either fund it, or else I fund it AND suffer its wrath. Let me reword your phrase:

They fund it, because a man with a gun tells them to.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Good catch methinks – When I looked for a source link I discovered I was remembering my WW1 history incorrectly (from all those years ago – I can’t find any reference to the episode I had in memory).

FWIW, the story I thought I knew was this: the Germans had Lenin in jail during the early war years. When the US entered the war it put excessive pressure on the Eastern front, so they release Lenin to stir up trouble in Russia so they’d drop out of the war, thus allowing Germany to concentrate more forces in the East. Now I’m wondering where I heard this yarn (WOW – I thought it was from old history classes, which might be right since I went to government schools, but WOW). My apologies.

So, yes – WW2 is a better example.

I don’t think the US government “propped up” these @holes, but the support went beyond maintaining diplomatic relations IMO. My point was US support for widely hated dictators led to broad resentment and hatred of the US among those who hated the dictators. This hatred is a big contributor to terrorist attacks against US interests, and those attacks are a big justification for US military action.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

The Russian military was enormous and horrendously poorly run. However, Russian soldiers were brave to the point of stupidity. Thus, the Russian tactic from the very beginning was to throw bodies at the enemy. This was a pain in the Kaiser’s behind. The Germans were looking for ways to knock Russia out of the war and revolution merely presented the opportunity. They would have done the same had the U.S. never entered the war. It was the outbreak of revolution and the provisional government’s dedication to continuing the war that prompted Germany to help Lenin return to Russia.

Lenin was not a German prisoner. For the ten years preceding the revolution he was in exile in Zurich. Lenin immediately became desperate to return – even considering going in disguise through France, England and the North Sea. As you say, the Germans knew that Lenin would cause trouble for the fragile provisional government and agreed to provide a “sealed train” through Germany for him, Nadezhda Krupskaya and 17 or 18 other Bolsheviks from Zurich to Petrograd.

As for the other dictators….It has been my observation that these people are not resentful for any reason so rational as that. The U.S. is the world’s favourite scapegoat. I don’t think that contributed at all to any terrorist attacks. These people were searching for “reasons”.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Dave, your arguments are the typical…and don’t take this personally…BS I hear from “libertarians”. Its so completely out of whack with reality, there’s no point in me replying any further.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 2:48 pm

EG, I take no offense at a BS charge from collectivists such as yourself. How does the constitutionally defined role of using the military enter into your version of reality? What about unintended consequences? What of unknowns?

By what right do you claim authority to send those who volunteered to defend the US into harm’s way in foreign lands where no credible threat to the US exists?

You’re probably right there’s no point in replying further – your ideology is too blinding.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 3:02 pm

“What about unintended consequences? What of unknowns?”

Here we go again. What about the unintended consequences and unknowns of you crossing the street tonight? Is this an argument for not crossing the street? Or is this a variable in a risk assessment? This is why this argument is abused to the point of ridiculousness.

“By what right do you claim authority to send those who volunteered to defend the US into harm’s way in foreign lands where no credible threat to the US exists?”

If 51% of Americans voted to do so….would that make it acceptable to you? I’m not arguing in favor of unilateral executive decision…

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

EG,
You appear to be brushing aside the unknowns and unintended consequences in your zeal for military intervention. That’s why I asked that question, so don’t put it back on me.

”If 51% of Americans voted to do so….would that make it acceptable to you? I’m not arguing in favor of unilateral executive decision…”
Maybe not, but you did dodge the question.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 4:55 pm

“You appear to be brushing aside the unknowns and unintended consequences in your zeal for military intervention. That’s why I asked that question, so don’t put it back on me.”

I’ve already expressed my opinion of this argument. Its a mis-application and abusive use of the “unintended consequences” argument. Unintended consequences etc are part of a risk calculation. They exist in every human action…no matter how small. They can be positive or negative. And since they are unknown…they are inherently difficult to account for in a cost-benefit analysis.

They are NOT…however…arguments for doing or not doing something. They are arguments for choosing the least risky action…given the info available. If “unknowns” were a reason for NOT doing anything, then it would be impossible to do anything (including breathe)…because you wouldn’t know what the unintended consequences are (while breathing, you COULD choke!). But there’s a certain point…where the benefits of doing something outweigh any potential unknown, or the likelihood of the unknown is so small that it is inconceivable to think about it (like going walking in a rainy day…the chances of being hit by lightning are so tiny, you’re not prevented from doing so simply because there is that unknown).

And in the cases involving war…the consequences of doing nothing are pretty clear. And if these consequences are so dire…the likelihood and magnitude of a negative unintended consequence would have to be very large, in order to sway the decision away from taking action.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm

You appear to suffer the delusion that I do not understand the nature of decision making in the face of unknowns and unintended consequences. You are mistaken.

Your response is, however, a vivid illustration of you brushing them aside in your zeal for military intervention.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm

And you have again, ignored the fact that your argument is an abuse of the term.

yet another Dave March 24, 2011 at 1:18 pm

You conclude that me pointing out your (obvious and repeated) dismissal of unknowns and unintended consequences in your zeal for military engagement is an argument and an abuse of the term?????

Wow! There truly is no point in discussing this with you until you can remove your ideological blinders.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Your argument is one which say “there is risk and unknowns, therefore, nothing should be done.” I’m pointing out that that is an argument that applies to all human actions of every size and scope…and is not an argument for doing or not doing an action…but part of a risk calculation of that action.

In economics and civil society it has some particular applications; ie not that they EXIST, but how and who takes them into consideration, and who bears the costs or benefits of them. Thats all fine and good…

But how does this concept apply to military action? The equations are not the same, because in civil society and economics you are protected from the risk of FORCE (by another use of force, incidentally). When death and enslavement enters into the equation…the risk of unknown you are willing to bear goes up considerably.

This is why its a misapplication of the concept.

yet another Dave March 24, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Facepalm!

Are you done slaying your strawman?
Here’s a hint, because I know you need it: nobody on this thread (except you, that is) has said “there is risk and unknowns, therefore, nothing should be done.” That’s a f’ing stupid inference you’ve drawn from what’s been posted, but it has the advantage of being easy to argue against. Please lose the blinders!!

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Ok. Than WHAT is the argument of “unknown and unintended consequences”? All I’ve ever really heard you say is…they exist. And then what happens?

Methinks1776 March 22, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Well, that’s a long mush-filled post.

Here’s what I find interesting, E.G.:

For deeply personal reasons (reasons that are likely much more personal than yours) I care very much about the outcomes in Libya and Egypt. I was in touch (all day, every day) with people in Egypt who were running caravans of supplies into Benghazi from the beginning. I offered to put you in touch with those people so that you could act on your feelings and help out. You, my little parlour revolutionary, never responded.

Now, here you are yammering and stammering that “Bullets KILL…and the alternative of NOT doing anything when bullets are involved…is having the “weaker” side get killed.”. DUH. So, where were you when your moment to step up came?

You want to send other Americans to die. You want other people to pay for it. You want to use other people for your own purposes.

When the moment came for you do do something, you ran. You didn’t trouble yourself. So, FU, EG. Pardon me, pal, but you’re a useless hypocrite pimping out the Libyans the way the socialists you so despise pimp the poor.

Also, you know fuck all about the collapse of “communism”.

HaywoodU March 22, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Smoked.

That’s a ‘like’.

rmv March 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

I do so miss the “like” button.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Methinks…I don’t know what offer you made to put me in touch with anyone…I must have missed that. Either way, there’s nothing I can do to stop tanks and airplanes. I don’t have money to give to anyone (Libyans ought to give me some money :p)…I’m a “starving” grad student. If I had, I would give, but that still wouldn’t help the situation.

I’m not sending anyone to die for me. I can’t fly an airplane…and those who are in the military are volunteers…and I pay for that military just like everyone else.

The Libyans aren’t being pimped out by anyone…they were begging for someone to help them MILITARILY.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I’m sure you could sell a few things to scrape up a few thousand dollars to go to Libya and join the freedom fighters. Or to start a fund putting a bounty on Qaddafi’s head. Or to send to the freedom fighters so they can buy supplies. Or to organize volunteers.

You don’t have to be the definitive solution to be part of the solution. There are actually several things you could do, short of advocating the involuntary sacrifice of your countrymen.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Another failure of making an “intellectually” sound argument. I pay for a military for a reason…so that I don’t have to pick up a gun myself and go fight. I also don’t know how to destroy tanks…so I pay specialists to do that.

Whatever happened to “specialization”?? Or that doesn’t apply to blowing up buildings and shooting down planes?

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm

“I pay for a military for a reason…so that I don’t have to pick up a gun myself and go fight.”

Really?! You have choice? How can I get that deal? The entire rest of the country pays for a military for a different reason–to stay out of jail. Lucky you.

“I also don’t know how to destroy tanks”

Resistance fighters exist. They are fighting, because they see themselves accomplishing something. If you offer to help, they will likely–in disagreement with your stance on futility–accept your assistance.

BTW, handheld anti-tank weapons have been around since at least WWII. Perhaps you can start a fund to purchase some for the resistance fighters. Or just send funds to the resistance–they’ll figure out what to do with it.

“Whatever happened to “specialization”?”

Whatever happened to the right of innocent people to be left alone? Oh I know, there is no such right if you have a cause which requires their sacrifice.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:44 pm

“Whatever happened to the right of innocent people to be left alone? ”

What??

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

“What??”

Cripes. What are you doing here.

How does your desire for utilizing the US military square with other Americans’ desire to have nothing to do with it? Your eagerness to use the military, is proportional to the cost paid by others. There is nothing noble about you wanting to send the cavalry to the rescue at someone else’s unwilling expense. Sanctimony over wanting to force others to do your bidding is frankly disgusting.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

@EG

“Whatever happened to the right of innocent people to be left alone? ”

What??

The fact that you don’t understand such an obvious and clear question shows just how blind your ideology has made you. I suggest you understand it before hurling more accusations.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:58 pm

“How does your desire for utilizing the US military square with other Americans’ desire to have nothing to do with it? ”

This is an entirely DIFFERENT argument. You guys need to make a clear coherent argument and not jump around, first from morals, than to liberty, then to VOTING, then to costs.

I have no problem with people voting to decide on whether to use the military or not. Nor do I have an argument on whether the costs are justified. But these are two unrelated arguments…to the “morality” of using force or not.

If 60% of Americans vote to go bomb Q…that wold make it ok for you?

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 3:57 pm

“This is an entirely DIFFERENT argument. You guys need to make a clear coherent argument and not jump around, first from morals, than to liberty, then to VOTING, then to costs.”

If you comprehended my posts, then you would know that they are consistently on point. Don’t transfer your confusion into my comments.

“If 60% of Americans vote to go bomb Q…that wold make it ok for you?”"

Are you asking me if I can think of a justification for coercing an innocent citizen? Since I, unlike you apparently, believe it is simply immoral to employ offensive violence against peaceful individuals, my answer must be–OF COURSE NOT.

But I would be willing to take some measures, within the limits of my own security, to protect such innocents from the likes of you.

It is particularly revealing that even though you have a scenario where 60% of people want to pay for the military–clearly more than enough Americans to fund a significant military force–you still have a blood lust to force the remaining 40% against their will.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 4:29 pm

If you can find a way of organizing a modern military force without having a government sanctioned force…by all means I’d love to hear it.

Until you do, however…keep work on coming up with an alternative before going on a rant of how YOU are being victimized because there is a government-sanctioned military.

Thats an anarchist argument…ie the argument that there are NO justifiable areas where collective action is necessary…not out of any moral argument…but out of necessity and lack of an alternative.

Of course this doesn’t solve the REAL world problem, that while you are fiddling around ranting about how you are being abused by this instance of necessary collective action…the OTHER GUY (lets say, USSR), has a government sanctioned military with the stated INTENT of whipping your way of life off the face of the earth.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 3:24 pm

E.G.,

I cannot know for sure that you saw my offer – though I left no fewer than two posts on a thread where you were finding my posts like a heat-seaking missile to respond to them. Plus, I went back to the thread often to check if you wanted to take me up on my offer and saw that you responded to a couple of other posts near mine after I posted the offer. At the time, I was gathering the willing. You were so tortured about the whole thing I would have thought you would jump at the chance.

But, never mind my offer. See, those of us who did help were not approached by a Libyan on the street. We sought a way to help them. Proactively. Yet, you didn’t. Weird.

As a starving student, I could always scrape together $5 for something I really wanted. I would never dream of robbing someone else of their $5 – and I think I’m no different from the vast majority of Americans in that respect.

You then rationalize your position by claiming that your $5 wouldn’t have helped. Why? Because you don’t know where to buy a tank? Well, other people do and your $5 would have gotten them closer to buying one.

Oh, well never mind! You rationalize further that those suckers in the military volunteered to put themselves in harms way to satisfy E.G.’s whim! Since you chose some namby-pamby graduate degree to pursue instead of learning to fly a fighter-jet, the guy who chose to be a pilot should go off to die because the graduate student feels like it.

It’s hard to take someone who has produced nothing but excuses and rationalizations seriously when he accuses others of not producing “intellectually sound” arguments.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Thats all wonderful and congratulations to you.

I’m not interested in charity…I’m interested in addressing the underlying problem. Again…that whole “give a man a fish…” thing.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Oh, so like the central planners you hate you’re now going to find and address the “underlying problem”. And by sending Americans do die and to fund a war that has nothing to do with them, you’re going to “teach them to fish”.

The military that you claim, you – a self-described “starving student” too poor to help out an even poorer student – um…funds.

No, honey. I fund the military. You fund beer.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Interesting. So ONLY “central planners” address an underlying problem in society? Interesting :) If a “government” problem is causing an “underlying problem”…then the ACTION to be taken would be to remove that government “barrier”. In economic activities…that might entail allowing free markets to operate more freely. But in military activities…that means physically removing that “government barrier”…ie Mr.Q (because there is, as of yet, NO “FREE MARKET” alternative that doesn’t require collective action, when a guy with an ARMY is involved)

So I guess you’ve just made the argument of every central planner in the world…ONLY central planning and central action can remove a problem :) I of course, implied nothing of the sort.

As for who pays for what, thats a pretty cheap shot and a very comical one. I wasn’t always a grad student, and worked in plenty of other jobs where I paid far too much taxes. So…keep the personal stuff out of it ;)

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Wow. Emoticons and caps lock.

Impressive.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 5:28 pm

EG–

“Until you do, however…keep work on coming up with an alternative before going on a rant of how YOU are being victimized because there is a government-sanctioned military.”

Before I judge you too harshly, can you give me some examples of when you would like to see your peaceful neighbor bullied and extorted of funds? To bomb a small North African country is one. Any others?

Along the same lines, can you give me some examples of when an innocent person is being threatened with violence, but NOT being victimized? To bomb a small North African country is one. Any others?

I don’t know if violating your innocent neighbor for the sake of bombing a small North African country is more or less grotesque than say, doing so to fund a radio station, unpopular art, or government child indoctrination centers, but it does give us some incites into where you draw the line on human decency.

Of course, you obviously draw the line WAY above the “only when absolutely necessary” criteria that most libertarians use. So don’t give me this crap about the US having to bomb Libya, because the US cannot survive without a military. With that, you’ve descended into muirdiot loJik.

And I know there is some decency within you. Otherwise you wouldn’t be trying to mask your advocacy of such offences against your countrymen, with doublespeak like “collective action”.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I could care less what line “libertarians” draw for “absolutely necessary”…since that line is subjective in the first place, and most “libertarians” are far too idealistic in their view of the world to be trusted with drawing a line of what is, or isn’t, absolutely necessary.

So here we go again…is there an alternative to collective action…when it comes to military action? If not, then go find one. When you find a way of building and operating an aircraft carrier that doesn’t require collective action…I’d love to hear it.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 1:47 pm

EG is another conditional conscriptor who has yet to realize that he helps erase the line that constrains political power from getting out of hand.

Millions of people offer justifications for erasing that line then protest when THEIR idea of where the line should be is ignored.

That’s how the state turns on and subjugates the people and turns them into resources to be used at will for the purposes of a relative few.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Sam, you haven’t explained HOW I do this.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

“since that line is subjective in the first place”

Subjective? Uh, yeah. You may (not) have noticed that I was asking for your personal opinion.

Let me try this again. EG, under what conditions (some examples is all I’m asking) would you personally like to see your peaceful neighbor subjected to offensive violence? One example is to bomb a small North African country. Can give me other examples where your neighbor deserves such punishment?

DODGE MARKER. I’M CURRENTLY TAKING ODDS FOR ANY GAMBLERS OUT THERE.

“…is there an alternative to collective action…when it comes to military action? If not, then go find one. When you find a way of building and operating an aircraft carrier that doesn’t require collective action…”

So, it is an impossibility to build and operate an aircraft carrier without victimizing innocent citizens? That is your position? The newest aircraft carrier, funded by the victimization of our countrymen, cost $6.2 billion. The Chunnel, funded voluntarily, cost $21 billion. IBM, funded voluntarily, is worth $190 billion. Exxon payed $41 billion for XTO Energy, voluntarily.

It would seem voluntary associations are quite capable of funding very expensive projects. The fact that no aircraft carrier has ever been built without funds forcefully confiscated from voluntary associations, should put to rest the absurdity that military forces are too expensive for voluntary funding.

But people wouldn’t voluntarily fund a military, you say? They don’t want to spend their money on defensive services? So if few people want a military, what does that say about the results of democracy? “The people” don’t want a military, but “the people” have democratically chosen to have a military? That is a crass contradiction. Or do we live in a dictatorship, after all?

It is clear people want a military. It is clear people can (because they do) afford a military. It is clear voluntary associations are quite effective at providing people with what they want–that is afterall, ALL that voluntary associations do.

But there is no doubt–voluntary military organizations would look quite different. They’d be smaller, more efficient, and less eager to engage in costly activities like waging continuous war in nonbelligerent countries all over the globe.

Oh wait, you are here arguing to bomb Libya. So your real argument is:

1. A military cannot exist without victimizing innocent citizens.
2. A military must exist.
3. Therefore, victimizing innocent citizens is irrelevant.
4. Therefore, let’s bomb Libya.

Spurious conclusion #3 is a very important one for people like you, with broad implications for what can be and frequently is justified.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 4:27 pm

“he helps erase the line that constrains political power from getting out of hand”

That is accomplished–has been accomplished–by completely disregarding the victimization that makes political power possible.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Wait wait a minute!! You’re saying that we are “victimizing Libya by bombing it”?

Don’t take this personally…but you sir…are insane.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm

“You’re saying that we are “victimizing Libya by bombing it”?”

I would’ve thought, after all of this, that even you could fall victim to a simple point being hammered repeatedly into your skull. I was wrong.

Congratulations, you’re the 2011 recipient of the Murdiot Award in the category of Mind Boggling Cranial Density.

HaywoodU March 22, 2011 at 8:59 pm

Have you been TAKING classes at the muir school of COMMENTING?

Steve March 23, 2011 at 9:24 am

E.G. said ““Libertarians” have a very major problem when it comes to military and foreign affairs. It requires a suspension of disbelief; ie it requires that the choice is either between taking an action, or not taking an action. And if you take no action, than there are NO consequences, either. And if it doesn’t directly impact you, than there are NO consequences, either. Obviously this is ideological mumbo-jumbo and no amount of arguing from anyone is going to change anyone’s minds…”

My response: this, his opening statement, is manifestly false. Thus, there is no reason to read the rest of his post.

kurlos March 22, 2011 at 9:37 pm

You’ve misused the word schizophrenia. It doesn’t mean hypocracy, or conflict, or split personality. There is a split, but the devide is between a person’s perception of reality and reality–the person is delusional.
The misuse of the word is rampant.

DG Lesvic March 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm

Economics requires deep analysis.

Coming between bullies and murderers and their victims does not.

It’s just something decent human beings do instinctively.

Don Boudreaux March 22, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Are you in Libya now?

DG Lesvic March 23, 2011 at 2:24 am

No. I’m far away, with no means of getting there, and doing anything about it. But if I were a pilot in an aircraft carrier, right offshore, I wouldn’t be happy just playing pinochle.

Would you?

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 4:23 am

You can get flights to Tunis or Sicily. From there, you can hire a car or boat to take you into Libya. There are reporters on the ground representing several English-speaking news agencies. They can direct you to some local freedom fighters. Once you meet up with the Libyan freedom fighters, just let them know you want to help. They might even give you a weapon. I’m guessing you could get there for less than $5000, but bring $10K just in case.

Steve March 23, 2011 at 9:34 am

*like*

Rugby1 March 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm

“But if I were a pilot in an aircraft carrier, right offshore, I wouldn’t be happy just playing pinochle.”

You know what, go screw yourself.

What a way to step into the breach by ensuring that my blood or the blood of my friends gets spilled. I am so sick of everyone saying we should jump into Libya. Now let me be clear it is a tragedy what is happening in the country, and I hope for the best and I hope Qhaddafi is knocked aside.

That being said smarty let’s think about some other things, you know since simple absolutists like yourself seem to be unable to do so. What happens if we have to provide more support via airpower or ground support, after all it was only yesterday that the military came out and said they were all option were on the table.

Are you going to pick up a rifle? I bet not. What if we get embroiled in another protracted ground war? Are you comfortable with the defense budget taking 55% of the GDP? Since the beginning of the air war have you not listened to the change of message, it is now Qhaddafi standing up to the oppressors of the western world. How is that going to play on the Arab street, the US interfering with another sovereign nation? Did you consider any of those or the thousands of other variables before you send others into harm’s way? No you simply did not.

I am not saying whether or not I am for “intervention” or what scale of “intervention” I think is appropriate. But what I am saying is that people like yourself maybe need to do a bit more analysis about global ramifications before you just start mandating us we need to step up to the bullies on the national scene. I could go on but your lack of in depth analysis and simple solutions means most of these points will probably fall on dormant grey matter.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:41 pm

What? You take offense when someone wants to sacrifice you for their ends? How odd. Doesn’t it help that they are sanctimonious about it?

John Dewey March 23, 2011 at 10:20 am

Professor Boudreaux,

We rarely disagree, so I want to be certain I understand your reply to DG Lesvic before commenting further.

Are you implying that a U.S. citizen needs to ready to volunteer for military action in order to advocate the use of the U.S. military? As a 59 year old, my presence in a combat unit would not benefit whatever mission that unit was assigned. However, as a 20 year old, I was asked to serve in the U.S. military and did so. As I see it, my service four decades ago – during wartime – qualifies me to be an advocate of U.S. military action without leaving me exposed to the charge of hypocrisy. Do you agree?

Just so we’re clear, I do not know enough about the Libyan situation to be able to offer an opinion. I am confident that my specific representative in Congress will make the right choice without hearing my uninformed pinion.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

I certainly hope that was NOT the intent … I mean, if that were the case, we cannot proffer any opinions at all … When we say “We ought to invade/help/whatever” – we are in effect saying “This is what I want my country/leaders to do” – And yes, if there is something we can do when asked, I am sure the ones with that opinion will help – as need be …

If however we CANNOT opine, then those working in “public” “state” universities CANNOT talk about free markets and so on – since after all, citizens are taxed to support such entities and the citizens do not have a choice (except through elections) on how their monies are being spent

No one wants to have our men/women die in combat for trivial or frivolous reasons – if the US stops being the superpower that is – and stops reminding tyrants that their actions may have consequences, it will only embolden other tyrants – And sure there are plenty of other cases where we should have done something and we stayed away

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 12:55 pm

if the US stops being the superpower that is – and stops reminding tyrants that their actions may have consequences, it will only embolden other tyrants – And sure there are plenty of other cases where we should have done something and we stayed away

The purpose of the US military is to defend the US. Libya presents no credible threat to the US. Therefore, the US has no authority to involve the US military in Libya.

The fact that evil people do large scale evil things in places such as Libya does nothing to change this, so as much as I sympathize with the desire to help in a meaningful way, I cannot agree with the call to engage the US military. Your recommendation is one that our founders wisely and strongly counseled against (and made illegal).

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Well, if those tyrants would just claim to support U.S. policy, then the U.S. can turn a blind eye to their abhorrent actions.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Seems to me Don was simply calling his bluff.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

I agree with you. And expressing a wish to do something decent does not imply that YOU must go there and fight – as some seem to suggest. You are expressing an opinion as to what decent humans would do – and I suspect if you can, you will go and do the right thing.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

“I suspect if you can, you will go and do the right thing.”

Don’t hold your breath waiting for his postcard from Libya.

Steve March 23, 2011 at 9:28 am

DG Lesvic:

So, can we count on you to stand in-between us and the government bullies who are stealing our money to fund their overseas military adventures?

Erica March 23, 2011 at 3:04 am

@ E.G. “Either way, the entirety of Western Europe was kept out of the hands of communism…due to American military intervention.”

What hubris.

Who can know what the alternative outcome (without American military intervention) would be?

It is easy to see the consequences of actions, but impossible to know what the consequences of actions that were not taken would have been.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 8:10 am

True. We can sit and watch Gaddafi finish off the rebels – and yea, they may be unsavory characters also.

And yea, we could have stayed out of Europe in WWII and perhaps watched NAZI’s finish the job they started.

And yea, I cannot predict as to what may have happened if we stayed out – but events during that time indicated that intervention was the right thing to do – there was evil and we took sides.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

“we took sides”

When a state has war declared upon it, the reaction of the state is a foregone conclusion. Taking sides is irrelevant.

But maybe you’d like to articulate more specifically what you mean by “we”. Given the use of conscription, you have to wonder if “we” was something considerably less than universal.

It is possible, as with LG above, to take sides without committing either blood or treasure (of one’s own). I have no doubt the overwhelming majority of Americans “took sides” in that regard, just I I’m sure nearly everyone posting on this forum takes sides against Qaddafi. I suspect considerably less were willing to sacrifice the lives of themselves, their sons, fathers, husbands, or even millions of strangers in that cause.

The unwilling perhaps deserve to be shunned by the willing, but they do not deserve to be robbed, kidnapped, and possibly killed.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:45 pm

“DG” not “LG”. I have electronics on my mind.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Had we stayed out of WW1 the NAZIs probably wouldn’t have gained the power they did.

Assuming your heart is in the right place, your thinking is simplistic and short-sighted, plus you completely ignore the constitutional limits on use of the military.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Erica…we can have a fairly good guess at what would have happened to Western Europe had the US not intervened…and I’m not just talking WW2…but also post-WW2. We also have a good idea what would have happened had the US failed in Korea. We have seen what happened to Vietnam when the US failed. We have seen what happened in Bosnia…when the US failed to act.

If “unintended consequences” are justification for doing nothing…that how do we account for the unintended consequences of doing nothing? This is why “unintended consequences” is an intellectually bankrupt argument when abused in such a way. Unintended consequences enter into a risk assessment…to select a choice of action…not to argue for doing nothing. But this is an inherently economic argument, and argument that doesn’t really take into account that the consequences of particular choices are DEATH.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm

@ E.G. “Either way, the entirety of Western Europe was kept out of the hands of communism…due to American military intervention.”

And basically handed the rest of Europe over to the communists. It was part of the deal.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 2:36 pm

There were Soviet troops in the rest of Europe. Short of a war with the USSR, that wasn’t an option. Are you advocating for war with the USSR in 1946? ;) My point was, that if US troops weren’t in Western Europe, that too would have fallen to communism.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

I think the use of the emoticon was good, but you can do better. Nothing makes a better argument than lots of emoticons and the extensive use of CAPS LOCK combined with calling everything argument a strawman, punctuated by dot dot dooooot.

Thanks for providing my lunchtime entertainment, comrade.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 6:03 pm

I see you’ve already given up on him. As usual, you’re way ahead of me. If you could post a “Methinks Disregard List” of characters, I would appreciate it. It would save me a lot of typing.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I know that I, for one, would eagerly present my exposed neck to any dagger-wielding belligerent, if it were not for my wise masters putting a knife at my back ordering me to defend myself.

All people are suicidal like that–all people except our wise overlords, of course. God bless our masters for filling that void in human nature where a survival instinct should be.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Thats a very well thought out response, I have no doubt. But could you please explain to me how, exactly, did Western Europe not fall into communist hands? Or, is this of no particular significance to you?

If its not…then kindly next time Don posts another letter to the editor explaining why free trade is the greatest thing since sliced trade…tell Don that this free trade of his is collectivist statist garbage which exists only because the US military fought countless wars to keep 80% of the world from falling into communist hands.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 6:19 pm

“tell Don that this free trade of his is collectivist statist garbage which exists only because the US military fought countless wars to keep 80% of the world from falling into communist hands.”

That may be well and good, but all of the iron in the universe is the product of supernovae, and the heaver elements are the products of the largest supernovae–the one’s resulting in neutron stars or black holes.

See what I did there? Huh? See what I did there?

Egdiot.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm
E.G. March 25, 2011 at 1:58 pm

WW2 happened 70 years ago Viking…not 4 billion years ago. Good try though…I see what you did there.

Sam, I’m from a country which was left behind the Iron Curtain to suffer under communism. I am pretty aware of the effects of WW2. Thanks

vikingvista March 25, 2011 at 2:31 pm

“WW2 happened 70 years ago Viking…not 4 billion years ago.”

It’s as though become a greater idiot with each post. Stop now while you can still chew your food.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 8:03 am

I have never understood the equivalence of interfering in a foreign country where people are being massacred to interfering in the domestic economy – both perhaps from unsavory characters. They are not the same. George Will is wrong and exhibits muddled thinking, certainly on this issue.

Oh yes, we remain the strongest country in the world and we should not stand by and watch massacres. We should have intervened in Darfur – we should have done more in Zimbabwe – we should have given aid/comfort to those seeking a way out in Iran

Do we have limitless powers? Ofcourse not. There is much we CAN do without having to put Marines on the ground or fly planes to bomb or hurl missiles. Our problem is that since we have SO MUCH of the GOVERNMENT doing things they SHOULD NOT be doing, that when it comes to external events and problems with tyrants, we explain that we cannot – because “we cannot afford it”

it is time we go back to what a central government is supposed to do – protect it’s citizens – yes, Gaddafi is and has always been a threat to us in many ways – we just chose to ignore it. And yes there are other tyrants and we should do something about it.

Richard Stands March 23, 2011 at 10:34 am

It’s a difference of degree, not kind.

I appreciate your outrage at seeing and hearing about outgunned people being slaughtered. I share it. What to do?

Note how often arguments for intervention (in either arena) use the term “we” and volunteer others to pay for the action. Note the assumption that such action won’t actually make matters worse, or perpetuate them, or both. Note that the proposals are based in authentic concern and empathy.

Is it possible that progressives have this same understandable wave of revulsion and outrage when they witness Americans who are disadvantaged, poor, and exploited?

What is the American Military chartered to do? Enforce the current American’s president’s unilateral view of justice worldwide and send American kids to some of those places to fight and die? Be a tool for attempting to control resources like oil in other countries? Be a tool for “looking strong on foreign affairs” before an election? Assuage my revulsion and outrage? Anything the current American president wants?

Mission creep can affect government in many areas, and at times, it’s very hard not to support it. Ask any progressive.

Krishnan March 23, 2011 at 10:47 am

What to do? Do as much as we can and remind tyrants that they will pay a price for their murders – And yes, I think we can – The “mission creep” problem is certainly relevant – but the problem with “mission creep” did not start with the military – it is how we have allowed the Feds to do things they ought top stay away from – … And making sure that our interests and citizens are protected everywhere is a key task of the Feds – and it is in our national interest to support those that seek for freedom from tyranny

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Excellent post, but it looks like Krishnan completely missed your point.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:28 pm

He is blinded by a collectivist cloud. Notice is extensive unqualified use of “we” and “our” in his posts.

SweetLiberty March 23, 2011 at 9:22 am

“These same “liberals,” though, believe that foreign problems are typically the result of complex forces that can be understood only poorly by American-government officials; it is naïve to suppose that even well-intentioned foreign intervention by Uncle Sam will not have regrettable unintended consequences.”

Which liberals are you talking about here, Don? Hilary Clinton? Barack Obama? These are the very people responsible for committing forces to Libya and Afghanistan – and they are certainly very liberal. Clearly not all liberals believe that foreign intervention will have regrettable unintended consequences. Therefore it seems most politicians are largely conservative when it comes to foreign policy.

Erich March 23, 2011 at 12:23 pm

Republican foreign policy is a socialist policy. Period.

DG Lesvic March 23, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Talk. talk.talk, but never any action.

The dictators of the world must love libertarians, if not libertarianism.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 1:12 pm

What is the matter with you? I told you I took action. Did you?

I took action again Mubarak
I took action against Gadhafi
I (and several others) took action against the health care deform act.

Where were you?

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:49 pm

His bluff has been called, but he won’t give up. I’d say he’d be considerably less eager if it meant personal sacrifice rather than the sacrifice of others.

BTW, I believe what you say about having taken action for those causes, and I admire you for it.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Thanks. It is an honour for me to be admired by people I admire.

All I did was what I could do – send money. When we were stranded in Italy, under threat of deportation back to the USSR, a group of ordinary American folks dug deep into their pocket to help my family . There were many such organizations which consisted of groups of middle-class Americans who made it their mission to help complete strangers to freedom from many horrible countries. It didn’t stop at the border either. We didn’t ask for them. They found us. I will never ever in a million years be able to express my gratitude. There aren’t enough words in any language.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Italy was kept from falling into communism…thanks to US military action and CIA covert action in assassinating and eliminating communist elements in Italy post-WW2.

Thousands of communists had to be killed by US agents and US-sponsored agents…in order for Italy to become a safe haven for you and your family to escape the USSR.

Where does that enter into your calculation?

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 5:38 pm

I know of very similar examples. In fact, I married one. Many Americans eagerly seek such opportunities to help people. It is one of the things Americans enjoy spending their wealth on. That just makes it all the more sickening to me that people like EG want to force these generous people to support HIS ends. Liberty would function very well in this country, if given the chance.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

OMG, Viking. Did you marry a Russian woman? You poor thing. I’m so sorry :) :)

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I’m not. That she got stuck with me I think might be a true example of market failure. But don’t let her know that.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Way to skirt the 800 pound gorilla. Again Methinks…where do the thousands of communists the CIA had to kill in Italy…to keep Italy from falling into communism, fall in your calculations?

Do you have any thanks to give to those CIA folks…who made YOUR liberty possible?

Really viking? You want to judge ME on communism? I never received any money from any American do-gooder. But thats not the point. What I am grateful for…is those Radio Free Europe clandestine broadcasts that were “intruding and taking away my freedom” behind the iron curtain, and were apparently taking away YOUR freedom too.

This is where “libertarians” become just like any run of the mill cult…like those people who give and give charity to poor people in Africa, but revolt at the thought of BUYING anything from them. You too…pretend like you are doing so much good by giving and giving charity, but revolt at the thought of actually FREEING them first.

Richard Stands March 24, 2011 at 1:35 pm

American recipients of 2000 federal subsidies also appreciate what they get. It’s hard not to appreciate free stuff, even if it’s involuntarily funded by your neighbors.

Whether in domestic economics or international espionage and military action, the question remains: When is funding by coercion okay?

I’m not as consistent as Viking Vista, and am still willing support constitutionally limited government action for national defense. I recognize my inconsistency here. It leaves me open to valid condemnation by Viking and his philosophical brethren for my support of force (taxation) in service to expediency.

But in order to have intellectual integrity (if not philosophical consistency), I have to acknowledge that my willingness to support the protection racket is what it is. Not noble. Expedient.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 2:00 pm

E.G. Italy went to the west as part of the deal with Lenin to split up Europe. Basically, the western powers could have kept much more of Europe out of communist hands.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm

E.G.,

I’m not skirting an argument. I’m avoiding the vortex of fact-free hysterical idiocy that you have chosen to unleash on the rest of us in a desperate attempt to disguise that you are but a useless, hypocritical shmuck.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Well Richard, I make no argument that goes further than yours. I am also saying this is due to circumstance (expedience as you say). I’m not making this a moral argument…as I have no interest in indulging in morality whatsoever. So far we agree 100%. (of course, disagreement will always exist on what is…or isn’t…”national defense”).

I’m not making the argument that the “cost” imposed on US tax payers was or wasn’t justified for the defense of Italy. Thats an entirely different argument. Thats an argument of tactics…not strategy.

I’m trying to get these people to acknowledge the same things you did; and judging by Methink’s response, she clearly has no interest in dealing with the ugly facts of life.

PS: Sam, what you say is valid only on paper. Communists in Italy were certain to win electoral success, and certain to take the country into the Soviet sphere. The same happened in Greece, where it took a massive civil war, funded by the US and Britain, to eventually eliminate the communists. Various attempts were made by the US and England to liberate parts of Yugoslavia and Albania too at this time…but failed (thanks to Kim Philby). Now at the very least…when people speak of “free” Italy or Greece etc etc…these nasty little incidents which allowed them to be free need to be acknowledged.

Not to mention Chile, or any other number of such cases. “Libertarians” pretend like overthrowing Allende was “ok” since it was an “internal situation”. But of course they’re lying to themselves.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Oh, now you’re wrong about that, Comrade.

I have fully dealt with the ugly facts of life. For proof, just have a look at how many times I’ve responded to you. You are as ugly a fact of life as we will ever find.

Richard Stands March 24, 2011 at 3:17 pm

of course, disagreement will always exist on what is…or isn’t…”national defense”

Neo-Conservative adventurism clearly is not.

It pains me to see what appear to be regular civilians being slaughtered in Libya. It also pains me to see U.S. citizens living in a culture of poverty. Both of these conditions are much more likely extended and exacerbated by Uncle Sam than they are ameliorated by his tender mercies.

Inequity, injustice, and oppression are historic and worldwide. The United States Military is neither chartered for, good at, nor funded to rectify this. It is funded by compulsory taxes on United States citizens. This expediency is bad enough for me to support for true defense without glorifying it, or projecting its reach to intervene in every global injustice (which happens to get press, be politically useful, or be fought over resources local politicians covet).

Arguments for military “solutions” to other countries conflicts are exactly the same in type to arguments for governmental “solutions” to domestic economic inequities.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 4:03 pm

“Well Richard, I make no argument that goes further than yours.”

Wrong. Although Richard recognizes and accepts his contradiction, he is unwilling to violate the sovereignty of innocents for the reason of bombing of small North African country. He may believe in the need to aggress against innocents, but his threshold for committing that offense against liberty is considerably higher than yours.

Hell, he at least recognizes that it is an offense. To you it is at best out of mind, and at worst an exploitable resource.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 5:42 pm

“Arguments for military “solutions” to other countries conflicts are exactly the same in type to arguments for governmental “solutions” to domestic economic inequities.”

No they are not. Not in the slightest bit. This is again where “libertarians” try to bring up straw-man arguments. They are not for fundamental reasons…that in economics and civil society, the threat, risk and use of force are NOT issues to be considered in the calculation (because they are understood to be prevented by…the use of force!). In military affairs, the use of force, and the risk of force, are the PRIMARY issues to be considered.

Now you go off telling us how the military is not equipped to deal with social and inequality and so and so forth. Ok…NO ONE is arguing that it can. What the military can do, is deliver ordinance on target. Thats its mission; thats its scope of operations. You go off on an unrelated scope…humanitarian or nation building…without addressing the actual scope of the military; force.

You keep equating everything to Iraq or Afghanistan (the typical “libertarian” examples, as if world history started 10 years ago), and ignore the previous 210 years of US military interventions (which incidentally started in Libya). Iraq and Afghanistan were a misuse and abuse of military power, to do those things you mention. We can all agree on that. But what about Korea? What about Taiwan? what about Western Europe? What about Japan? What about the Balkans? Countless other examples, where the military was employed within its scope…of opposing the use of force by an aggressor, defending freedom from force…and NOT as a tool of nation building? Were these missions successful or not?

There is no jumping point between economic scope and civil society…to military confrontation. Military confrontation, is the breakdown of economic and civil society mechanisms. “Libertarians” simply refuse to acknowledge that a military necessitates the use of force, and thus can’t enter into the same calculations as economic and civil society interactions.

The argument of how to organize the use of force, whether it is a collective action or whether it is individual…is entirely different. NO ONE has been able to present a model of military action that doesn’t necessitate the use of collective action, yet everyone here acts as if this alternative exists. Thats where the delusion lies.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 5:46 pm

“Wrong. Although Richard recognizes and accepts his contradiction, he is unwilling to violate the sovereignty of innocents for the reason of bombing of small North African country. He may believe in the need to aggress against innocents, but his threshold for committing that offense against liberty is considerably higher than yours.”

Could you do yourself, and me, a favor? Define who and what these “innocents” are again, since I keep getting confused whether you mean Libyans, Qadaffi, US soldiers, you, or some other entity.

US soldiers volunteered for this, Libyans keep asking us for it, Q obviously can’t be an “innocent” here…so I guess you keep talking about yourself.

Well ok. Don’t pay taxes. No problem with me. Just PLEASE give me an alternate model of organizing a military. I swear it will not be used for any action other than 100% defense. When the Ruskies are in Alaska will be only time we will use the military. BUT PLEASE…offer me even a conceptualization of how we can create and operate 9,000 tanks, 12 aircraft carriers, and 2,000 nuclear warheads. Help me understand, so I can stop VICTIMIZING you.

Richard Stands March 25, 2011 at 4:40 am

E.G.,

I support U.S. military action to defend United States citizens.

Bombing Libya is many things to many people. For some, it assuages the outrage they feel seeing video coverage of outgunned irregulars being slaughtered by a despot. For some, it’s an attempt to acquire proxy control of Libya’s oil. For some, it’s an attempt to seem strong on foreign policy before an election. For others, it’s other things.

Bombing Libya is not defending United States citizens.

Advocating the use of the American Military for purposes other than defending the United States is mission creep. Just like advocating the use of federal force to manage the economy is mission creep.

You support the U.S. Military “opposing the use of force by an aggressor, defending freedom from force”, apparently anywhere in the world. The world is an enormous place, full of aggressors. I reject that overbroad mission. It is bankrupting the federal government, creating foes around the world in response to sporadic U.S. intervention, allying the U.S. with an endless parade of despot Allies-of-the-Moment, forcing Americans to pay for the defense of nations which should be able to fund their own defenses, and killing brave soldiers in regional disputes where America is not under attack.

I realize your convictions are probably born of genuine feeling to aid the downtrodden. Progressives feel this as well.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Oh Richard…You’re going to get me and you into big trouble.

“I support U.S. military action to defend United States citizens.”

Excellent. Now here’s where you’re going to get into trouble. Viking here (and other “libertarians”) think that this is you victimizing them, since a military force requires collective action, so you requiring that this military exist and defend US citizens, is taking away their rights NOT to participate in this collective defense force. Of course this is rubbish of the highest order. Of course I would indulge in ANY other possibility where a collective defense force was not necessary…but they have yet to offer me that alternative.

But we get into another big problem: defense is a subjective term

“Bombing Libya is not defending United States citizens.”

Perhaps not directly. But again I put forth the scenario where a thief and murderer is prowling your neighborhood. He has attacked and killed several of your neighbors. You see him one night…killing your next door neighbor. WHAT do you do? If you intervene, you’re not defending yourself. You’re “picking winners and losers”. But knowing that TOMORROW that murderer, is likely to come for you…is it not self-defense to ensure that there are as few murderers and thieves anywhere in your vicinity? Is defending the neighborhood, adding to your own self-defense? Simple point being…STRICKT self-defense of one’s citizens is an unrealistic means of self-defense. We were not going to pick a fight with the Soviet Union ONLY by the time Soviet troops were landing in Alaska. We were going to do it in 50 different places around the world…and that was a threat which had clear intents on destroying our way of life.

“Advocating the use of the American Military for purposes other than defending the United States is mission creep. “

Perhaps. Then again, what does it mean to “defend the United States”? Keeping in mind that this isn’t 1776 where the enemy had to sail for 3 months and ride on horseback, and the average deer hunter was better equipped and armed and trained than a Red Coat. But even if I acknowledged that YES that is the purpose of the military…was intervening in WW2 “defending America”? Was intervening in Korea? In Japan? In Vietnam? Etc etc? You may say NO it wasn’t. Ok…fine…I might agree that it wasn’t directly so. But HOW do you reconcile with the fact that the prosperity and wealth and BENEFITS the US has gotten from free trade and globalization and the fact that 80% of the world is now free, thanks to those actions? Do YOU recognize that these things are the result of an aggressive US military policy that kept communism and anti-free market forces out of these countries? Have these actions NOT defended free markets and free trade and free people around the world, to our benefit? You can still say…that’s mission creep! Ok, but in light of this reality, isn’t it time to redefine what the mission is? In a world where missiles can be anywhere in 30 minutes…purse self-defense…is hardly an option.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 1:55 pm

“Just like advocating the use of federal force to manage the economy is mission creep.”

You can keep trying to connect the two all you want, but they are not comparable. They are not comparable because they are not universal concepts…where central command of an economy or civil society is not desirable…in military affairs where the other guys can KILL you…there has yet to be presented an alternative to a centralized military body.

“You support the U.S. Military “opposing the use of force by an aggressor, defending freedom from force”, apparently anywhere in the world. The world is an enormous place, full of aggressors. I reject that overbroad mission.”

I never said that I do not recognize the limitations of the use of force. You leaped off onto another tangent.

“It is bankrupting the federal government, “

It is hardly bankrupting the federal government. That’s not to say the financing of the military is an inefficient process…but that’s a DIFFERENT argument. Once we have determined that it is needed…how it is to be financed and organized and run are tactical issues.

“creating foes around the world in response to sporadic U.S. intervention,”

That’s a cheap argument with no merit other than “they wouldn’t hate us if we weren’t we”.

“allying the U.S. with an endless parade of despot Allies-of-the-Moment,”

In many cases “despots” of the moment are what keeps freedom alive, or as our “libertarian” friends would say…”impose freedom”. A despot like Pinochet defended freedom in Chile. A despot like Franco defended freedom in Spain. A despot like Rhee defended freedom in Korea. A despot like Chiang defended freedom in Taiwan. Of course we’re not talking political freedom…but economic freedom and social freedom. And sometimes that’s the sacrifices that need to be made. Now I know…you’ll say that hardly a stance any freedom-loving person should take. Ok…but Hayek said the same thing about Pinochet, for example. What Hayek understood…that these “libertarians” of today don’t…is that the real world doesn’t work like the theoretical world.

“forcing Americans to pay for the defense of nations which should be able to fund their own defenses”

Maybe I might agree with that. But that is yet another unrelated argument. The only places were the US military presence is aimed at actually “defending” someone else, is in Korea. Elsewhere, the deployments are either left-overs from the Cold War, or logistical deployments (like…having hospitals and logistics bases in Germany to facilitate movement anywhere else in the world…is NOT the equivalent of defending Germany)

“and killing brave soldiers in regional disputes where America is not under attack.”

Ok. But again, self-defense goes beyond defending against attacks on your person. It does so even in your daily life. Society has created institutions like a police force…which due to the transaction costs inherent in the service provided…has been organized as a collective defense force collectively funded by the community, for the defense of the community. You pay into this force, and it is defending you even when it is not defending your person specifically. Now our “libertarian” friends would consider this a gross “victimization” of their person…being forced to pay for a collective defense force. And again I would LOVE to hear their alternative to it.

“I realize your convictions are probably born of genuine feeling to aid the downtrodden. Progressives feel this as well.”

NO they are not. I know you’re trying your best to draw parallels between civil society…and military affairs. I am NOT advocating the use of military power to defend every suffering child in the world. Military power has a specific application…delivering ordinance on target. If doing so against an aggressor, helps increase the security, prosperity and peace around the world…which benefits US by facilitating free trade, by facilitating free markets and freedom…then perhaps doing so is called for. This is not a humanitarian mission.

Richard Stands March 25, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Let’s be clear on terms. The closest match to my preferences would be “minarchist libertarian”. American libertarians generally support a strong national defense, civil defense (police), and arbitration as a core government functions. I greatly respect Viking’s intelligence, logic, and perspective. As soon as his version of anarchy can provide a workable alternative to standing armies, I’m on board. Until then, I choose to remain a philosophical hypocrite and support collective action out of expediency. Again, I do not find this noble, simply expedient.

I define national defense as military response to an attack in progress, or the clear and present danger of an attack. You apparently define it as proactive intervention worldwide defending a world neighborhood.

The neighborhood does not pay for America’s protection. Americans do. If people in other nations want American protection, they can become Americans and be forced to pay for it as well.

Also, it seems Team America, World Police only defends some neighbors and leaves others on their own. Once the mission creeps beyond defense of the country into “indirect” defense, or neighborhood watch models, what will constrain it?

I clearly remember the containment doctrine of the Cold War. I was only a couple of years away from being conscripted to fight President Johnson’s war-by-proxy in Vietnam before President Nixon ended it. Now the U.S. is following the preemption doctrine introduced by George W. Bush. Our current Noble-Peace-Laureate president agrees with him, and with you. And since he’s sure he speaks for all Americans, there is no need to poll the American Collective, or their Congress. He consulted the World Collective. Americans will simply pay up.

The more I consider the issue, the more I agree with Viking.

So, you and I will just have to agree to disagree. I’m too old to be conscripted to fight now, but not too old to be enslaved for other purposes. America has an all-voluntary military (for the moment). I assume you’re younger and you’ll be joining up to help out. Or are you a hypocrite like me?

vikingvista March 25, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Thanks Richard. It means something to receive kind words from an intelligent commenter.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 8:27 pm

“ As soon as his version of anarchy can provide a workable alternative to standing armies, I’m on board. Until then, I choose to remain a philosophical hypocrite and support collective action out of expediency. Again, I do not find this noble, simply expedient”

That’s 100% what I am saying as well.

“I define national defense as military response to an attack in progress, or the clear and present danger of an attack. You apparently define it as proactive intervention worldwide defending a world neighborhood.”

No. I define defense as something more proactive than simply responding to an attack. Your definition too, leaves a LOT of room for wiggling around…I think you realize this too. The issue is not whether the main scope of the military is defense or not. It is. Rather, what is the most efficient way of securing peace for yourself; simply retaliating, or containing threats where they start? You may disagree with the second…but at least you can acknowledge (hopefully) that this is the strategy that defeated communism.

“The neighborhood does not pay for America’s protection.”

Irrelevant of the fact of who pays for it…a communal defense of free-market countries adds to our defense and to the overall stability and peace. It is in our interest, for our “neighbors” to be free and prosperous. That being said…the funding argument is tactical matter. When it comes to NATO, they pay their share too and represented a front-line defense for US as well (during the Cold War). True, its time to reform that system. Japan and Korea actually pay large sums to the US military to have them stationed there (though I’m not sure if it covers all the costs). But again, to be fair, the US does NOT provide defense to any western European country anymore, not since the end of the cold war. We only provide active defense in Korea. We do have lots of bases in Western Europe, but again these are left over, and mostly logistical bases to facilitate transit.

“Also, it seems Team America, World Police only defends some neighbors and leaves others on their own. Once the mission creeps beyond defense of the country into “indirect” defense, or neighborhood watch models, what will constrain it?”

Arguing that we only intervene in some places and not everywhere, isn’t really an argument for limiting intervention. Second, the model is containment. And I am perfectly content to admit that we should intervene only in those situations where US interests are at stake, and where the defense of our freedom, and free trade, is enhanced. That being said I also have no problem supporting strong international partners who handle issues in their own areas, for their own benefit; such as Australia intervening in East Timor, such as France intervening in Libya, such as NATO intervening in Kosovo (all of which had significant SELF-INTEREST replications for the nations involved) .

But again, do YOU limit your defense simply to the retaliation when a crime is committed upon you? Or does your defense rely upon a pre-established network which seeks out offenders even when they attack someone else, because some day they WILL attack you too? We’re simply arguing over what is a more efficient means of defense. We can do this all day long.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm

“Now the U.S. is following the preemption doctrine introduced by George W. Bush. Our current Noble-Peace-Laureate president agrees with him, and with you. And since he’s sure he speaks for all Americans, there is no need to poll the American Collective, or their Congress. He consulted the World Collective. Americans will simply pay up”

Again, this isn’t something I’m advocating, and quite a separate argument. Whether the president gets congressional approval or not, is entirely irrelevant to the argument. And of course, you’re taking extreme liberties in your descriptions. Afghanistan was not “preemptive”. Libya is not “preemptive”. Iraq maybe…but can easily be described as otherwise.

“ America has an all-voluntary military (for the moment). I assume you’re younger and you’ll be joining up to help out. Or are you a hypocrite like me?”

What is with this obsession people have around here to say “hey if you feel this way, why don’t YOU go do it!” Its such a cheap shot. Whatever happened to specialization? You know…this being an economics blog and all. I’m an engineer by education and experience…I’m not a pilot (I can barely read road signs on the highway) I think my “helping out” might be better used elsewhere. The simple act of paying for this collective defense force, is the necessary contribution.

Me and you have no argument, whether you want to admit it or not. We can argue all day over what defines defense, and what defines containment, and what are ways of achieving these, or funding…or which individual cases fall under this definition or that definition. Who cares…these are tactical issues. We will never agree, and no 2 people will ever agree on all these issues. This is why even your own definition of “defense”, or what defines “clear and present danger” is open to any number of interpretations that you might not accept. This is why we do have a system of checks and balances…and I’m defenatly NOT arguing for unilateral executive power

We agree on the overall strategic issue…a strong national defense is necessary and to our benefit. As of yet, the best way of providing this is through a government agency. This is where the “libertarians” here go off the rail…and start ranting off in an almost religious zeal about…offensively oppressing exploiting and victimizing them and Qadaffi through our evil statis collectivist communist military…or something to that effect. Or repeating concepts they read somewhere about “unintended consequences” without understanding what the meaning and application of the concept is.

We can argue about tactics, but the strategy is what was defined in 1776. And last time I checked, the fellow who put that strategy foreword, was fighting off the shores of Tripoli not too long after.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

“American libertarians generally support a strong national defense, civil defense (police), and arbitration as a core government functions.”

Thats why I take great pains to put “libertarians” in parentheses. Vast majority are not off the rail Lew Rockwell insane…Vast majority define themselves as this simply due to lack of a better term (as explaining to people what a classical liberal is, is too much work).

Richard Stands March 26, 2011 at 12:24 am

I agree about the common ground, in terms of collective defense. I also agree we’re unlikely to find common ground in where to apply that defense. Failing over to collective action in this sphere produces a slippery slope with no high ground from which I can criticize. This is Viking’s point, and it’s a good one.

“What is with this obsession people have around here to say “hey if you feel this way, why don’t YOU go do it!” Its such a cheap shot.”

This, perhaps, is the crux. This is what I’ve been unable to convey. Please read the following carefully and consider it for a day or two before answering, if at all:

Economically, I try to tell progressives that if they want to improve the lot of the economically downtrodden, they should give personally to (or much better: trade with) those they see as, exploited, impoverished, or disenfranchised. I tell them that supporting theft through coercive government redistribution to assuage their concerns is not noble; it’s expedient and wrong – that their ends do not justify those means. The means rarely produce the results they intended, and even if they did, the evil of those means would not be expunged by success.

Militarily, the same rules apply (though I understand you cannot see it and do not agree). Seeking to attain my geopolitical goals via supporting military action by others, funded by coercive taxation of Americans are means that are not expunged by any successful ends. In the case of national defense (at its most limited definition), I have not yet been able to find an effective alternative. So I live with the evil, and try to minimize it. This does not stop it from being evil.

When I, or anyone at this blog, suggest you tend to your cause personally, we’re attempting to underscore the point that volunteering others to fight and die for a noble sense of international freedom is painless, and far from noble. This is the same in kind (if not in degree) as volunteering others to pay for your sense of charity in economics. It dodges the personal cost and is also not noble.

You say you cannot see that analogy. I say neither can the progressives.

I’ll settle for not volunteering you to fight or spend for me, unless a foreign nation is actually attacking America. Then I’ll join you in the defense (however a wheezing old guy like me can contribute), and I’ll turn a blind eye to forcing others to pay for it.

Until such an attack happens, well-meaning intervention and global central planning via military intervention will still be an unethical ineffective evil, and I will not support it.

E.G. March 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

“This is Viking’s point, and it’s a good one.”

His point is actually the opposite of that. He is making an anarcho-capitalist point…which is as far as I’m concerned, intellectually delusional. But anyway…

“Militarily, the same rules apply (though I understand you cannot see it and do not agree).”

They absolutely do not. The crux of the “libertarian” argument is that international military action is comparable…not just on a moral theoretical ground…but on practical grounds…with economic and civil society. This is a factually ridiculous statement. Economic actions and civil society actions…rest upon one important point…the use of force is PUNISHABLE. They rest upon a common law which applies to everyone, and is enforced through a collective mean.

What military action compares to, is law enforcement in civil society.

“Seeking to attain my geopolitical goals via supporting military action by others, funded by coercive taxation of Americans are means that are not expunged by any successful ends. ”

You are simply playing word games to say: a collective system of protection. You can play any word games you want…this is what it is. You keep referring to it as a “coercive taxation”. Is “coercive taxation” also used to fund a police force? Is it also used to fund a court of law? Simply calling it “coercive” in order to infuse it with some emotional connotation…isn’t going to win you any arguments.

Until the day any “libertarian” can create an alternative framework of funding and operating a court of law, a police force, or a military…than this is the system that exists. Calling it silly names for emotional reasons, is what children do.

“In the case of national defense (at its most limited definition), I have not yet been able to find an effective alternative. So I live with the evil, and try to minimize it. This does not stop it from being evil.”

Calling something “evil” is the argument of moral high grounds…the argument of religious zealots. Its not an argument of reality. The military exists to provide protection for members of a particular society. There is nothing EVIL about this system, anymore than there is anything EVIL about human nature. The system was organized in such a way over thousands of years of trial and error and experimentation…and so far it has been determined to be the most efficient way of organizing such a defense force. There is NOTHING evil about saying…this particular method of organization reduces transaction costs significantly enough to allow for such a service to be provided, which otherwise would not exist.

This is where “libertarians” go off the rail and fall into the precipice of religious zealotry. When you call a particular aspect of human nature as “evil”, or a particular action as “evil” which is simply an economic cost minimizing mechanism…without offering another or better cost minimizing alternative in its place…then its like arguing with a Christian on whether Noah saved the penguins or not. Its pointless…If you believe its so, than it is so, and you’ll get childish replies like the ones I get here when I ask them for an alternative; “well I know the answer, but I’m not gonna tell you! Nya nya nya!”

E.G. March 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

“we’re attempting to underscore the point that volunteering others to fight and die for a noble sense of international freedom is painless, and far from noble.”

You can make that point till you’re blue in the face, but it is a factually wrong point to make. Its word play, and once more a moral high ground argument. Every single person in the armed forces of the United States is a volunteer. They signed a piece of paper which said they will follow orders of their commanders. This is a CONTRACTUAL obligation they volunteered for, fully understanding what it entails. This is not a moral argument anymore…”Libertarians” make the same mistake as Leftists make when they advocate idiocies like CSR; without understanding that an employer has NO moral responsibilities to its employees because they have a CONTRACTUAL agreement.

When I vote to have soldiers go of to perform their duty, it is no different than a boss asking his employees to go perform their duty. If “libertarians” can’t grasp this simple concept…than they are not really basing their ideology on any classical liberal concepts…but have once more fallen down the precipice of religious demagoguery.

“This is the same in kind (if not in degree) as volunteering others to pay for your sense of charity in economics. It dodges the personal cost and is also not noble.”

Of course it is not. Soldiers are paid for a particular job. Asking them to exercise their function…is a straight forward transaction. You can argue till you’re blue in the face over WHO gets to ask them to exercise their function…and I’m not here to advocate for executive unilateral decision making.

They are precisely mercenary soldiers; Asking them to fight when “we” call for it, is no different than asking your garbageman to collect your garbage, or your barista to give you the coffee you paid for, or your automechanic to fix your car. And we pay them to do these things, because they are experts at what they do.

Asking ME to go and fight, is like asking me to fix my own car, if I REALLY cared for it…because if I pay someone else to do it, it must mean that I don’t really care about it as much?? This is not an economic argument…its a religious argument.

E.G. March 26, 2011 at 4:13 pm

“I’ll settle for not volunteering you to fight or spend for me, unless a foreign nation is actually attacking America.”

Well look, again, no one is making the argument that the military of the US is NOT a self-defense force. But you have to understand that the term “self-defense”, is not open and shut…and that there can be disagreements and differing tactics of how to best, and most cost effectively, provide defense.

You’re sticking by a “theoretical” broad argument…without taking into account the tactical details. Its the same as with law enforcement. Your physical self-defense is NOT provided simply at the point where physical aggression is initiated upon you. Your self-defense is enhanced CONSTANTLY by the presence and actions of law enforcement against individuals who violate the law…elsewhere…and outside of your vision. You benefit from the EXTERNALITIES provided to you by a collective system of law enforcement.

Its a purely utilitarian argument. When Israel preemptively struck the Arabs in 1967…that was a self-defense action. When it destroyed Saddam’s nuclear plant in 81, that was a self defense action. Waiting for the other guy to attack you first, when he is ready, at a time and place of his choosing, and in an unexpected manner…is NOT a practical way of self-defense. It doesn’t reduce risk to lives, it doesn’t reduce costs of defense, and it reduces the likelihood of you being successful in defending yourself.

E.G. March 26, 2011 at 4:40 pm

“Until such an attack happens,”

When such an attack happens, its usually too late. Oldest lesson in military history. Advocating such a course of action, is the surest way to extinction there is. Under such a course of action, 80% of the world would be communist today, and poor Don would have no articles to write about the wonders of free trade.

” and global central planning”

These loaded emotional phrases are meaningless, and factually incorrect. A legal system is also “central planning”…and therefore “evil”. Mentality of this sort is the quickest way to Lew Rockwell level of insanity.

Infusing words and phrases with emotional connotation of “evil” and “good” is religious zealotry which “libertarians” are about as guilty off as your run of the mill Marxist prick. You throw words around like “central planning”, as if this mere combination of words is equivalent to saying “Lucifer” in church.

The argument in classical liberalism, in economics, in most libertarians etc…is one of alternatives, benefits, costs, and results. Not one of morals. Until you can make the argument that us not trying to stabilize or pacify conflicts in our common market, outside of our borders…provides us with greater benefits, reduces our costs, provides better results, or is the best alternative available…then you haven’t made much of an argument other than to say “the Devil will get ya!”

“an unethical ineffective evil,”

Ethics plays no role in this whatsoever. As for “ineffective”, it is certainly far from ineffective. Communism doesn’t exist anymore. Communism was an existential threat to freedom, it was a threat with a stated intent of destroying our way of life. Obviously this system worked very well in destroying the communist threat. If people think communism went away on its own, they’re lying to themselves. The US spend them bankrupt. The USSR was forced to spend 50-60% of its economic output to keep up with the west militarily, and thats why they died.

Richard Stands March 27, 2011 at 1:14 am

Apologies for having wasted everyone’s time.

DG Lesvic March 23, 2011 at 2:02 pm

It takes some to think and others to act.

It is for those who can’t act to think, and can’t think to act.

Keep acting.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

You took action against Qaddafi? You destroyed any tanks lately? Seems to me you’re using your involvement in helping provide humanitarian aid to Libyans…as a rationalization that you “helped” defeat Qaddafi.

Kind of like people who think that by giving charity, they have solved poverty. Good for you…but you did nothing to address the underlying problem…which is that no matter how much humanitarian aid you give, Q is going to kill those people unless stopped by force.

You know…the whole “give a man a fish…” argument. Of all people, “libertarians” ought to understand this.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Man, you are just dripping with hypocrisy. Methinks has done something. You have, by your own admission, done nothing but advocate for the involuntary sacrifice of your countrymen. Your sanctimony falls flat.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:50 pm

I’m not seeking sanctimony. Thats the difference.

My countrymen are volunteers in the armed forces. Since they accepted the contractual obligations that go with their job, I don’t have to ask them one by one whether they vote to accept the mission or not.

PS: Thank you for the lessons in guerrilla warfare :p

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm

“My countrymen are volunteers in the armed forces”

WRONG. I assure you, that I am not a volunteer in the armed forces. I am an unwilling funder of them. I am a victim of state extortion. And you, sir, are an advocate in favor of my (and many others’) victimhood.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 3:04 pm

And now we have crossed the line into anarchist BS. I have no argument against anarchist arguments…since my mind can’t grasp it.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 3:35 pm

…my mind can’t grasp it.

Very good – admitting the problem is the first step to recovery.

Now I recommend trying to understand just what it is your mind can’t grasp rather than just dismissing it as “anarchist BS” (hint: you’re dismissive assessment is wrong)

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 3:55 pm

You took action against Qaddafi? You destroyed any tanks lately? Seems to me you’re using your involvement in helping provide humanitarian aid to Libyans…as a rationalization that you “helped” defeat Qaddafi.

Let me get this straight I and people like me did nothing. You, on the other hand, defeated Gadhafi by pontificating on this blog. Oh, but you are a penniless student who doesn’t know how to fly a fighter jet.

LEARN.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm

See again I’m not making these arguments to make myself feel better…or to pretend like I did something.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 5:40 pm

“to pretend like I did something”

No. Just to prove to everyone what an incomparable prick you are.

Kent Lyon March 23, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Dr. Boudreaux has presented us with another conflict of vision. He is someone who strongly advocates free trade, free markets, and human freedom, but would do nothing to extend those great benefits to most of the world. He would stand by and allow Eastern Europe to remain under totalitarian communist control while brave East Germans risked life, limb, and family to cross the Wall. He would stand by and allow terrorist dictators terrorize their own people, as Gadhafi has done and is doing. He would stand by and allow Communist domination and massive killing in Cambodia, Viet Nam, anywhere in the world. He would turn China over to Mao, allow Mugabe to rule unimpeded, stand by as Stalin starved Ukrainians, allow totalitarian and terrorist clerics rule Iran and export terror. He would do nothing, and insists that no one else should do anything, to advance freedom, including market freedom, other than blog (good luck with that in most places in the world), perhaps. This is truly a conflict of vision.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 1:34 pm

“but would do nothing to extend those great benefits to most of the world”

This is where I decided the rest of your post must also be worthless.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm

and you were correct

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm

There’s no more “like” button on these comments system…so I’m just going to say it! Thumbs up!!

DG Lesvic March 23, 2011 at 2:23 pm

Kent,

Well said.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 2:40 pm

So you’ve abandoned liberty, in order to save it. You must idolize GWB.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:54 pm

What liberty has been abandoned? I gain liberty when people around me are free too.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 3:05 pm

This is getting repetitious. I overestimated your comprehension.

If you want to advance the liberty of the people around you, then instead advocate for the state to leave me and others alone. That will necessarily require decreasing, not increasing, use of the state military.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I help expand liberty for the people of Eastern Europe, by telling the US government to leave me alone and stop bothering those poor people in the Soviet Union…because if we stop bothering them that will make them more free.

I can’t even wrap my head around that. But I’m glad that you can. I on the other hand hand am glad the US military didn’t leave those poor communists alone…and chased them and killed them everywhere in the world they found them. I gained my freedom thanks to it…and a couple of billion other people too.

Don I’m sure is also happy…since he can now talk about the wonders of free trade that came about thanks to the end of that system (or are we still ignoring that?)

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 5:46 pm

“I help expand liberty for the people of Eastern Europe, by telling the US government to leave me alone”

No, you helped expand liberty by telling the US government to extort funds from your unwilling neighbors. Because everyone knows, violence is the glue that holds a free society together.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Again…until you can come up with an alternative to collective action when it comes to military action…kindly stop complaining.

If you CAN’T come up with an alternative, as no “libertarian” has been able to present an alternative to this problem…then stop arguing about it.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Until you come up with an alternative to collective action for social justice, then you will have to accept collective action, comrade E.G.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Thats just plain old silly. We have alternatives to collective action for “social justice”. THATS the point…in the scope of civil society and economics, we have alternatives which produce better results.

But this does not translate to military action. And if it does, you have failed to show how. I’d love to hear your arguments of how we can stop 1 million screaming Chinese rolling down the hills of Korea. Please enlighten me!

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

But this does not translate to military action.

Of course not, comrade twit, because never in the course of human history has there ever been a successful revolution without the assistance of American fighter planes.

I’d love to hear your arguments of how we can stop 1 million screaming Chinese rolling down the hills of Korea.

Your lack of imagination is not my problem. I’d share ideas with you, but my mother always discouraged me from throwing pearls before swine.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Pure gold. “I know the answer, but I’m not gonna tell ya!”

Why do you people have so much problem with people who disagree on a particular issue. Instead of trying to have a conversation, all you’re interested in doing is throw quotes from Holy Scripture and make moral arguments.

But what do I know…I’m a twit!

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 4:04 pm

“But what do I know…I’m a twit!”

Who says we can’t agree on something.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 4:37 pm

EG logik primer:

1. There are no alternatives to victimizing our countrymen.
2. Therefore, let’s victimize them as much as we can! Here we come Libya!

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 5:24 pm

What is this “victimization”? What a childish argument. No one is victimizing any soldiers, since they are all volunteers and agreed to the contractual obligation entailed in their enlistment.

Your argument is that you have to pay TAXES to fund the military? This is your cross to which you are nailed to? Ok…and I made the argument that if an alternative to collective action to creating and operating a military…EXISTS…then please put it forth. If you can’t, than this is the best alternative we have created so far. So you started off with a moral argument against force, and then ended up with a tactical argument of how we should fund or operate a military. I have no preference of how to fund and operate a military…but unless “libertarians” can come up with another solution…go play in the sandbox.

Unless the argument then becomes, we don’t need a military…in which case you’d be as insane as Lew Rockwell and I wish you the best of luck.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 5:54 pm

“What is this “victimization”? What a childish argument.”

I agree entirely. A child knows it is wrong to mistreat people. It takes years to indoctrinate a child out of those childish notions, and into the sophisticated acceptance of sacrificing others for your own ends.

“So you started off with a moral argument against force, and then ended up with a tactical argument of how we should fund or operate a military.”

You really are a moron, aren’t you? I don’t care to make any arguments about how to fund a military. I only did so as a result of your repeatedly demanding it of me. I should’ve pulled a dodge, as is your MO, and no doubt you would’ve accused me of that if I had.

But a dodge is revealing as well, and usually the only way an inarticulate sophist concedes an argument. I’ll repeat the question you keep dodging, for the sake of any readers who doubt your INsincerity:

THE BIG EG DODGE:

EG, under what conditions (some examples is all I’m asking) would you personally like to see your peaceful neighbor subjected to offensive violence? One example is to bomb a small North African country. Can you give me other examples where your neighbor deserves punishment?

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Lemme get this straight?

You, Viking, are to pay for E.G.’s whims. EG is cannot be expected to dig into his own pocket. That’s too much for him/her/it, so you’ll have to pony up whether you like it or not. But, not Egalitarian Git.

Since the git actually knows what a git he is (somewhere deep inside his core), he starts yammering and stammering about alternatives to the U.S. military and collective action and all manner of irrelevancy and abuse of facts about communism.

…because – I repeat – no revolution has ever succeeded anywhere in the world without air cover from the U.S. Air Force.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 1:07 pm

“…because – I repeat – no revolution has ever succeeded anywhere in the world without air cover from the U.S. Air Force.”

Hey Methinks. How many km away from Benghazi were Q’s tanks by the time the bombing started? I wonder how that “revolution” would have turned out if the West didn’t intervene. Or you’d be OK with Q kicking them all out of Libya? Hmm…hypocrite

Viking…again…are you still under the incredibly stupid delusion that “bombing of a small north african country” is subjecting them to “offensive violence”?? Because thats about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard. Maybe Q TV would say something like that.

I wonder at what point would YOU Mr. morals…help out a neighbor who is being beaten and robbed? I mean its not really self defense for yo so why would you do it?

vikingvista March 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm

“Viking…again…are you still under the incredibly stupid delusion that “bombing of a small north african country” is subjecting them to “offensive violence”?? Because thats about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

Are you still under the incredibly stupid delusion that “I gain liberty” when “people around me” are playing Twister in purple stockings?? Because that’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard–outside of your own inane comments.

Hey Arftul Dodger, remember this uncomfortable question?–

THE BIG EG DODGE:

EG, under what conditions (some examples is all I’m asking) would you personally like to see your peaceful neighbor subjected to offensive violence? One example is to bomb a small North African country. Can you give me other examples where your neighbor deserves punishment?

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

“THE BIG EG DODGE:

EG, under what conditions (some examples is all I’m asking) would you personally like to see your peaceful neighbor subjected to offensive violence? One example is to bomb a small North African country. Can you give me other examples where your neighbor deserves punishment?”

It is physically impossible for me to answer such a plainly idiotic question, if the question is based on the plainly idiotic assumption that we are subjecting any “neighbor” to the punishment of “offensive violence”.

Unless you mean Qadaffi…in which case…I reiterate…you’re insane.

vikingvista March 26, 2011 at 12:47 am

“It is physically impossible for me to answer such a plainly idiotic question, if the question is based on the plainly idiotic assumption that we are subjecting any “neighbor” to the punishment of “offensive violence”.”

Oh, so now you DO believe the military can function without coercing Americans against their will, eh? Then why the hell have you been repeatedly rambling on to the contrary like a confused buffoon? Now, explain to me how this voluntary system of military funding that the US has works. Millions of victims would love to know that the gun isn’t really loaded.

Or is it that you hold the non-”idiotic” belief that force is not force? A somewhat more clever notion than your brilliant deduction that IF you can’t think of a non-aggressive way to fund a military, THEN we must bomb Libya.

Yeah. You’re full of logical gems, Aristotle.

E.G. March 26, 2011 at 3:18 pm

You’re clearly off the rails again, but somewhere along the line you forgot to mention who this “victim” is again? I get confused. Are you now back claiming that YOU are the victim? Cause all this time I thought you were claiming the Libyans are the victims? So its both you and the Libyans we are victimizng?

Ok…you are the victim. Please help me stop victimizing you. Please explain to me how an army can be organized without necessitating collective action. Its about the 35th time I ask this question…

I don’t know why I keep asking the same question, expecting a different answer form you.

yet another Dave March 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm

What a muddle-headed bunch of nonsense!

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 7:37 pm

And the world is in such great shape now after the world’s self anointed policeman marched across it.

JohnK March 23, 2011 at 2:33 pm

You can’t impose liberty on people.

JohnK March 23, 2011 at 2:34 pm

That was supposed to be a reply to Kent.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm

But you can certainly strip it from others while trying.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 2:53 pm

So we “imposed” liberty on Western Europe :) Kind of like the way someone released from prison…has liberty “imposed” on them.

JohnK March 24, 2011 at 8:59 am

I don’t think you know what the word impose means.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 1:02 pm

I know what it means. We “imposed” liberty on Japan for example. They didn’t ask for it. We “imposed” liberty on South Korea too. They didn’t ask for it (in fact we imposed it with a dictator for a while).

It seems liberty can be imposed (as Chile, Spain, Taiwan, Korea, Japan etc etc)

JohnK March 25, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Saying you can impose liberty is like saying you can cool something by adding cold to it.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Hey I’m playing their games.

John Dewey March 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm

“You can’t impose liberty on people”

Perhaps not, but you can prevent one human or a group of humans from trampling on the liberty of other humans. The United States Civil War was evidence that an army can enable liberty. IMO, World War II was also such evidence.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Dewey–

“The United States Civil War was evidence that an army can enable liberty”

A surgeon can also save lives by murdering a stranger and harvesting his organs. It is grotesque to romanticize such wars.

John Dewey March 23, 2011 at 6:28 pm

I didn’t romanticize anything, my friend.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Sorry. When someone talks about enabling liberty, I automatically swell up. Perhaps it was I who was romanticizing.

At any rate, it is a myopic argument that liberty benefited, rather than suffered, as a result of the Civil War.

DG Lesvic March 23, 2011 at 3:16 pm

There are times when I’m glad the world doesn’t pay any attention to libertarians.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm

And you wonder why they pay little attention to you.

Freedom from redistribution doesn’t exist when the matter pertains to your special interest.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Ouch.

John Dewey March 23, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Vikingvista mentioned “involuntary sacrifice” and someone else mentioned the role of the military. Not sure exactly what VV meant, but I wanted to point out that the U.S. military elistment oath includes more than just the defense of the nation:

“, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.

I understand that some believe Obama has overstepped his constitutional authority. But let’s not be confused about the obligation of the U.S. military enlistee. Those volunteer soldiers did agree to obey the orders of the President.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Nobody disagrees with that, John. But those boys don’t enlist to go fight a Libyan civil war and I don’t remember anyone asking you if you’d like to fund one either. Obama’s constitutional authority has nothing to do with this.

E.G. March 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm

The argument of Obama’s unilateral executive decision…is a different issue than whether action should or should not be taken in Libya. If it had been a congressional decision, it would make it OK in your eyes?

And of course those “boys” enlisted to do precisely that. They didn’t enlist to participate in only one particular action…they enlisted to partake in any action they are asked to that is constitutional.

Methinks1776 March 23, 2011 at 5:09 pm

E.G.

Forgive me if I don’t take you seriously since the only thing you’ve ever enlisted to do is sit in a comfortable chair and evangelize – incoherently, at that.

Try going back to your dorm and “wrapping your mind” around what people have said to you. Try for just one second to imagine that a grad-studend doesn’t actually know everything there is to know in life.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Oh wow. Getting personal again. Thats a wonderful sign of maturity when the only arguments one can make are personal insults and attacks

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Christ, you’re a twit.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 6:53 pm

JD–

I’m sure you have gainful employment, but I doubt you earn enough to pay for aircraft carriers, jets, munitions, subs, soldiers, etc. If you did, and the force was entirely yours, then I would say “Go for it.” Unfortunately, as it stands, overseas US military offensives cannot occur, without domestic US police offensives against your countrymen.

Although I don’t entirely agree, I understand the libertarian view that sometimes one must act aggressively against one’s peaceful countrymen, if the alternative is the demise of the country. As much as I would love to see a successful military strike destroy Qaddafi and his most belligerent followers, it by no means justifies aggression against Americans, not even by the standard of a typical libertarian exception to the non-initiation of force principle.

That the world isn’t currently structured to permit what I want without violating the rights of my neighbor, does not justify violating the rights of my neighbor.

John Dewey March 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

OK, thanks for the clarification. I thought you were referring to the involuntary sacrifice of the military enlistees. If I understand correctly, you were referring to the involuntary sacrifice of those funding the war.

Not sure if we’ve lost the war, but I think we (the most productive citizens) lost the biggest battle so far when the 16th amendment was passed, allowing federal income taxes.

Are you referring to collection of income taxes – made constitutionally legal by the 16th Amendment – when you refer to “domestic US police offensives against your countrymen.”?

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Yes.

John Dewey March 24, 2011 at 4:28 pm

“Domestic police offensives” reads almost like “domestic police offenses”. I do not consider the police enforcement of tax laws to be “offenses”, but I suppose one could consider that to be “offensives”. But I’m not really clear what you are meaning when you use that term.

The 16th Amendment was ratified by the states as required by the U.S. Constitution. Not sure about you, but I do not consider enforcement of income tax collections as illegal or offensive. As I see it, the people of this nation brought that on themselves. They can change the laws by changing their elected representatives.

The real failure of our government, as I see it, was the Supreme Court rulings which allowed graduated taxes. Once it became possible for the majority to increase the burden on the minority – once the concept of “equal protection” was nullified – all sorts of evilness became possible.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm

“I do not consider enforcement of income tax collections as illegal or offensive.”

It is legal, and it is offensive. These are both nearly prima facie truths. If you don’t agree, send a letter to the IRS telling them you’ve decided not send them any more money, hold tough to your decision, and see what happens. See if, in the end, you actually succeed.

“As I see it, the people of this nation brought that on themselves.”

Facts John. Not one person alive today brought the income tax on himself. Even at the time of passage of the 16th Amendment, a great many people did not bring it on themselves. Please John, don’t employ the collective fallacy in your arguments.

“They can change the laws by changing their elected representatives.”

Facts again. I cannot change the laws. I have tried. I guarantee you, that is true of many many others as well. The point is irrelevant anyway. An offense doesn’t stop being an offense, just because I have not taken action to stop it.

I agree with much of what you say regarding policy. But I would encourage you to incorporate the facts above–eradicate the collective fallacy from your thoughts–and see where integrating those plain truths into your arguments leads you.

I admit it seems to lead to places you don’t want to go. But that is not a rational reason for denying truth.

John Dewey March 24, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Vikingvista,

Just so we’re clear, I do believe in collective action. I long ago accepted that I will live under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution. The U.S. Constitution, including its amendments, does allow the government to tax the citizenry. I do not consider that provision by itself to be evil or offensive.

At the same time, I also believe our elected officials have expanded government far more than I wish to support. So I have been working for three decades to change the size and scope of government. But I am not naive. I realize the difficulty in doing so.

I believe we can change the laws of this nation to give the citizens more freedom and more control over th fruits of their labor. I also know that the laws will not be changed exactly the way I wish them to be changed. I’m willing to accept that.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm

“I long ago accepted that I will live under the provisions of the U.S. Constitution.”

That is really besides the point, isn’t it? I long ago accepted the same thing. I also long ago accepted that I will die one day. It is better to accept facts than deny them, but it has no bearing on the objective nature of a person’s actions.

If I am minding my own business, and another person uses violence as a tool to manipulate me, he is acting offensively against me. Violence against an innocent is, in my opinion, evil, because an innocent, by definition, does not merit punishment. Whether the offender is Bob my neighbor, a foreign soldier, a made man, a smiling cop, or a Federal agent following the rules his employer gave him, does not change the simple dynamics of that interaction. The morality, is unchanged.

“The U.S. Constitution, including its amendments, does allow the government to tax the citizenry. I do not consider that provision by itself to be evil or offensive.”

You can consider it to not be evil, since evil is a matter of opinion, not fact. But taxation is, as a matter of pure fact–strictly from the meaning of the term–an offensive action. As a matter of fact, you can be (and are) wrong about it. I ask you again, to simply peacefully refrain from paying your taxes. See if such peaceful nonaction is even possible.

“I’m willing to accept that.”

Offensive actions are only an immediate issue for the unwilling. They are not otherwise recognized as offensive. But it should be concerning to you, that your acceptance is not a concern of the aggressor’s.

“I do believe in collective action”

I know you do. That is what I wish I could disabuse you of. Of course, there are actual sets of individual actions that can be labelled as “collective action” as a form of shorthand for a rational concept. But it is factually false that a collective itself is capable of deciding or acting. And it is the collective fallacy to attribute a property to a collective, when any of the collective’s members do not possess that property.

We choose our government. Factually false.
We created our constitution. Factually false.
We can change our constitution. Factually false.
We pay taxes so government will provide a service. Factually false.

In almost any use of “we” regarding society that you encounter, “we” does not refer to everybody (and very often refers to nobody). A person sacrifices some of his humanity every time he ignores those who “we” does not refer to. “We” discards the rights of the unwilling.

Eradicate entirely the tool of offensive coercion from a government, and what are you left with? If no peaceful person could be compelled by the government, what would the government look like? It wouldn’t look like anything.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 2:06 pm

“, (NAME), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies,

Let’s forget that part.

What the oath really means is obedience to the chain of command, nothing more, nothing less. Fighting for “liberty” is just the sales pitch.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Well said.

John Dewey March 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I believe you are exaggerating the requirement of obedience, Sam. If a soldier is ordered by a superior to commit an unlawful act, the soldier has a duty to disobey that order. I’m pretty certain this is spelled out in the uniform Code of Military Justice, and the military oath does reference compliance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

In 1970 or 1971, William Calley tried to use the defense of “following orders” to escape prosecution for the murder of dozens of Vietnamese civilians. That defense was rejected.

I believe Lynndie England also tried to use the defense of “following orders” at her trial for the abuses of Abu Ghraib. That defense was also rejected.

The U.S. Constitution and the Military Code of Uniform Justice are what soldiers take an oath to obey – not the absolute obediance to superiors.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 3:50 pm

John, I don’t think this is what Sam is talking about.

A soldier cannot refuse to go into combat even if he can refuse to commit an unlawful act.

John Dewey March 24, 2011 at 4:15 pm

If that’s what Sam was referring to, I do not understand the importance or even relevance of his comment. Yes, it is true that soldiers give up significant freedoms when they voluntarily enlist in the U.S. armed forces. Is that relevant to the issue of involuntary sacrifice – the issue about which I was commenting? The only reason I was engaging in this discussion about the role of soldiers was to point out this simple fact:

Soldiers involved in the action in Libya have volunteered whatever the president orders them to do, so long as those actions do not violate either the U.S. Constitution or the uniform Code of Military Justice.

The key word for me in “volunteered” There is no “involuntary sacrifice” on the part of soldiers in today’s all-volunteer military.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 4:22 pm

John,

So you’re saying I’m assuming too much when I assume that they believe the president will put them in harm’s way only if the president believes that in doing so he is defending the country?

John Dewey March 24, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Sorry, methinks, but I’m havng a little trouble understanding your comment.

I’m not sure that I made a comment about what you are assuming. I generally do not try to state what commentors are thinking or assuming.

I do not agree that enlistees in the armed services were unaware the president and Congress might use them in military action in foreign countries. Furthermore, the soldiers I have met seem very willing – perhaps even eager – to fight wherever their commander-in-chief sends them.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 8:37 pm

John, that was my assumption.

Over 60% of soldiers stationed abroad voted for Obama based on the promise that we’ll be pulled out of Afghanistan and Iraq. While they will go anywhere they’re told, they don’t seem eager to go die just because the commander in chief gets a hair up his behind.

That they are brave I already know. That we have a responsibility to them to treat their lives as if they matter is what I assert. The commander in chief is responsible for that care and he has the most responsibility of all.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm

So if the president decides to wage war against another nation without a declaration by congress, soldiers will be expected to obey without consulting the constitution for the validity of the president’s actions?

My observation isn’t restricted to soldiers, it also applies to policemen. Do they take constitutional courses so they know which laws they can legitimately enforce?

Of course not. When they take the oath to defend the constitution, in practice it means they pledge to obey the hand that writes their paychecks.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 7:56 pm

er, soldiers don’t take constitutional law classes either and I doubt the Calley verdict relied much on the constitution.

The government doesn’t expect itself to enforce the constitution extra-nationally.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 8:56 pm

“Fighting for “liberty” is just the sales pitch.”

Indeed. Even if we don’t forget that part, what happens when liberty runs headlong into the Constitution?

DG Lesvic March 23, 2011 at 7:13 pm

You holy rollin’ libertarians keep ignoring what is said on the other side and then knock down the straw men you have set up. We don’t approve of the state. But we have to face the fact that, at this time, it is the only instrumentality through which we can act. We wish it were otherwise, but unlike you morally superior libertarians, don’t believe that wishing will make it so.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 7:40 pm

“We don’t approve of the state. But we have to face the fact that, at this time, it is the only instrumentality through which we can act. We wish it were otherwise, but unlike you morally superior libertarians, don’t believe that wishing will make it so.”

We don’t approve of Qaddafi. But we have to face the fact that, at this time, US aggression overseas can only occur at the cost of state aggression at home. We wish it were otherwise, but unlike you sanctimonious militarists, we don’t believe that wishing will make it so.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 12:30 pm

DG…that splendidly wraps up what the issue is all about. Its what I have been saying all along too. But we will never get through. There is far too much dogma and holy scripture to go through. The force of Lew Rockwell is strong in these ones.

yet another Dave March 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Your “dogma and holy scripture” conclusion is incredibly stupid. You have completely failed to understand and/or ignored the arguments against you – the old “if you don’t agree with me you either don’t understand or are dogmatic” idiocy is strong in you. If you want to see ideological blindness look in the mirror.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I can say the same thing about you (in as far as ignoring the arguments)

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 2:16 pm

You know, comrade, you sound (and write) more like Muirdiot every day. One day you will both reach your Zenith and explode into a supernova of twittery. You’re almost there.

yet another Dave March 24, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Now you’re resorting to “I know you are but what am I?”

That’s pitiful.

FWIW, the only argument I ignored was your not-so-masterful strawman slaying. No wait, I didn’t ignore that one either – I pointed it out to you.

So, that’s just pitiful.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 5:19 pm

I suppose along the way you have forgotten a lot of the arguments made. Not a problem, whatever makes you feel better.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm

You holy rollin’ libertarians keep ignoring what is said on the other side and then knock down the straw men you have set up.

DG, we have lived with that other side all our lives. I grew up on WWII movies and combat, etc. All excellent propaganda.

Eventually I learned that’s what it was.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Yeah? Did you also live in a communist country, and know what American military intervention to liberate you…means? Thanks for playing.

vikingvista March 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

No DG. You are simply saying that it is worth it to YOU to have some measure of state aggression used against your countrymen so that Libya can be bombed by American forces. It is a specific value judgement. You have made your values clear. You can’t expect the unwilling victims of your position to side with you.

Frankly, I don’t see how even otherwise willing libertarians could side with you. But then, I have always found libertarians to be lacking in consistency.

DG Lesvic March 23, 2011 at 10:09 pm

Thanks for putting your words in my mouth, but frankly they taste like shit.

Sam Grove March 24, 2011 at 2:10 pm

I found the interpretation pretty accurate, no wonder you don’t like it.

WhiskeyJim March 23, 2011 at 10:44 pm

I believe at least some conservatives would argue that it is their great mistrust in governments that makes the interventionist argument that a strong nation must in all good faith intervene when tyrants subjugate and murder their citizens.

So in that light, the conservative position is not hypocritical. Where it gets sticky is that use of superior force becomes an ethical issue all its own, as Obama will quickly find out when his strategy leaves Gaddafi in power. Where does one draw the line?

Another issue with interventionism is essentially borne out of the fundamentals of minimalist government; since the situation is hugely complex, it sets off its own unintended consequences.

In the end, my personal issue is that it is beyond any leader’s purvey to compel even voluntary military men to die for the sake of faraway peoples. This is not a decision that comes easily. I have traveled to many countries where people view the USA as their only chance at salvation. If they can not immigrate here, they can only dream of the day when USA might smite the corrupt mafia that condemns their millions to a life of suffering. For them we are indeed the shining city on a hill.

E.G. March 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm

The situation is not so hugely complex, and the “unintended consequence” argument is straw man of little meaning. The argument that this may not overthrow Q is also not much of an argument, because in all likelyhood Q will be overthrown, and even if not, at least half the country will be off his hands, his military will be eliminated and his ability to go off the rail again will be diminished.

The “minimalist” government argument works quite well within the context of a civil society. It doesn’t work too well in the context of military vs military, since no solution to a government military has been created by the “minimalists” as of yet, for the rest of us to jump on board with. It doesn’t work also, since on the jobs of the minimalist government within civil society…is to enforce the rule of law (ie…use force through collective means). This is precisely what it is doing in the international scope as well.

Of course it was 210 years ago that Thomas Jefferson, a minimalist government fellow…send troops to the exact same spot we are today.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Dude, did you go to the Muirdiot school of vocabulary? Did they not teach you what a strawman argument is in in grad school?

WhiskeyJim March 24, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Frankly, from a strategic viewpoint, the military objective is vastly muddled and therefore introduces complexity right from the get-go.

Since Gaddafi employed Monitor Group to rehabilitate his image, and promised to adopt an “Open Society” (a Soros philosophy, also backed by Cass Sunstein’s wife, Obama’s foreign policy advisor), I suspect leaving Gaddafi in power is exactly what the plan entails.

For it fully explains the absolutely strange and inexplicable (from a distance) intervention strategy, unendorsed by Congress, and ‘led’ by France and Britain, both significant oil purchasers of Gaddafi.

Obama considers himself a king; a more visionary Chavez, as he declares war while on the way out the door for a little trip to South America. Of that, I am certain.

vikingvista March 24, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Interesting analysis.

Methinks1776 March 24, 2011 at 8:39 pm

nice.

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Rubbish. France recognized the rebels as the legitimate representatives of Libya. As for maintaining Q in power, how does destroying his military base entirely, help achieve that?

You guys are grasping at straws.

JohnK March 25, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Does this mean the French will have to invent a word for ‘victory’?

E.G. March 25, 2011 at 2:07 pm

It turns out the French are just “victimizing” the poor “small North African countrymen”…again! Here they are being victimized…you can see it in their faces:
http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/3042/800xaz.jpg

And in case you were wondering who will be the next recipient of the Al-Gadaffi International Price for Human Rights…here are the nominees:
http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/9093/800xk.jpg

:)

vikingvista March 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

“Does this mean the French will have to invent a word for ‘victory’?”

No. It just means Operation Desert Storm was the death knell for Saddam Hussein.

Richard Stands March 24, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Jon Stewart on Freedom Packages

Sam Grove March 25, 2011 at 12:40 pm

All here who think the president’s action toward Libya passes constitutional muster, raise your hand.

All those who think constitutional restraint doesn’t matter, raise your hand.

vikingvista March 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

All those who think the Constitution is itself a breach of restraint, raise your hand.

Now I’m feeling lonely.

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