Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“That men may rightfully be compelled to submit to, and support, a government that they do not want…No principle … can be more self-evidently false than this; or more self-evidently fatal to all political freedom … a man, thus subjected to a government that he does not want, is a slave. And there is no difference, in principle — but only in degree — between political and chattel slavery. The former, no less than the latter, denies a man's ownership of himself and the products of his labor; and asserts that other men may own him, and dispose of him and his property, for their uses, and at their pleasure.”     Lysander Spooner

January 29, 2006

War on Semantics

by Robert

Lindsay Beyerstein of Majikthise: Analytic philosophy and liberal politics suggests that the ”war on terror” isn’t even a war.

The buy cialis discount fact is that we're not at war on terrorism, let alone against terror. Terrorism is a strategy. Actually, it's a normative assessment of a family of tactics. In the current climate “terrorism” refers to any political violence the speaker

doesn't like.

Fair enough, but are we not at war with terrorists? Bin Ladin et al certainly thinks so.

War is a metaphor for any all-out struggle against a serious problem: poverty, cancer, drugs, terrorism… Sometimes we use military hardware and tactics to further that struggle. Sometimes we even fight real wars as part of our strategy.

While a criticism of declaring war on “everything but the kitchen sink” is justified, terrorists are not inanimate, as are poverty and drugs; they are severely deluded and violently doctrinaire thugs who see our death as their sacred responsibility. So no, we’re not dealing with a metaphorical threat.

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The idea that the so-called war on terror justifies dramatic expansion of presidential power is extremely dangerous. Terrorism is never going to go away. If we accept that we are literally at war with terror, we are signing on to perpetual war for perpetual peace.

I too am apprehensive about expanded presidential power. This is mainly because I think the government already exercises more power than the constitution allows. Nevertheless, we can’t very well accept terrorism, by offering no defense at all. Just think of what could have transpired, had the cheap cialis no prescription US and its allies (and liberty-minded individuals) simply assumed—as some did— that communism was a permanent fixture on the world stage.

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1 Comment

  1. “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed–and hence clamorous to be led to safety–by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” H.L. Mencken

    Comment by John Newman — January 29, 2006 @ 7:30 pm

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