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

“Men are expendable; women and children are not. A tribe or a nation can lose a high percentage of its men and still pick up the pieces and go on, as long as the women and children are saved. But if you fail to save the women and children, you've had it, you're done, you're through! You join Tyrannosaurus Rex, one more breed that bilged its final test.”     Robert A. Heinlein,    Address at the U.S. Naval Academy April 5, 1973

October 25, 2007

Confessions Of A Former “Big-L” Libertarian

by Doug Mataconis

Vodkapundit’s Stephen Green explains why he divorced himself from the party that once captivated him so much:

[W]e all woke up one morning to learn that airliners had crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and into the wooded hills of Pennsylvania. “Well, here’s a war even a good Libertarian like me can support.” We’d been attacked, directly, and we knew who the culprits were and where their protectors and sponsors were. We would go after them with such righteous fury that no one would dare strike New York City ever again.

Boy, was I wrong.

The angry folks at Liberty were mad at most everybody but Islamic terrorists. One even went so far as to denounce the Afghan War as “racist.” It was all imperialism this, and blowback that, and without a care in the world for protecting American lives, commerce, or, well, liberty. Then Postrel turned over Reason to Nick Gillespie, who seemed more interested in presenting libertarianism as something hip, arch, fun — and ultimately unserious. Such should have been no surprise, coming from the former editor of a magazine called Suck.

I felt abandoned, betrayed, by my comrades. By my former comrades.

If Libertarians couldn’t agree about the clear-cut case for war in Afghanistan, you can imagine how Iraq must have divided us. I had to stop reading Liberty months before my subscription finally, mercifully, ran out. Blogger friends of mine stopped emailing me. Ron Paul, whose name once graced the back of my first car, started sounding to me, less like a principled defender of American liberty, and more like a suited-up reject from the Summer of Love.

I stopped voting Libertarian for local candidates, leaving lots of blanks on my ballot. Next year, I’m not sure which party I’ll support for President, much less which candidate. From here, it looks as if the Republicans have become wrong and corrupt, the Democrats are stupid and corrupt, and the Libertarians have gone plain crazy.

Unlike Stephen, I was never a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party and pretty much gave up on them as anything other than a protest vote after the 1992 elections. Locally, the candidates they were fielding here in Virginia were often rank amateurs who could not be taken seriously to fill the positions they were running for.

And, well, then there were just the crazy ones.

They existed before 9/11, of course, they were the one who talked about the Bilderbergers, the Council on Foreign Relations, and seemed to be able to spin an elaborate conspiracy theory to explain everything from the Kennedy Assassination to the eye above the pyramid on the back of a $ 1 Dollar Bill. There seemed to be a lot of them in the Libertarian Party circles that I did float around in early `90′s and, frankly, I wanted nothing to do with them even then.

Much like Stephen September 11th was a turning point for me as well. Leaving aside for the moment the issue of the Iraq War which I opposed from the beginning, it seemed axiomatic to me from the start that the War in Afghanistan was completely justified given the fact that it was directed against a foreign government that was harboring a terrorist group that had killed 3,000 Americans in one day and had made clear it’s intention to kill more of us.

But that’s not how many hard-core libertarians saw it. In their eyes, the war was unjust from the start, and some of them found it easier to believe that the United States Government had conspired in mass murder than that a ruthless terrorist who believed he had the blessing of Allah to murder infidels had in fact done just that, especially considering the fact that the evidence clearly supported the idea that it was the terrorists who were responsible for 9/11, not George Bush.

So the question is where does someone who believes in individual liberty, but also believes that the War on Terror is a war not only worth fighting, but a war that has to be fought go ? The Democrats aren’t an option because they’re mired in socialist economic nostrums. The Republicans, despite some individuals who still believe in individual liberty, have been nothing but a disappointment. And, well, the LP is just not worth thinking about anymore.

If anyone has the answer, let me know.

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32 Comments

  1. Yes Doug we know September 11th 2001 you were shocked and frightened out of our Libertarian views and suddenly became a neocon bent on the destruction of the evil Islamist.

    The thing is that many of use knew that the CIA meddling in the Middle East would one day have a blow back effect that would be used by the neoconservatives as a reason for even more and more violent full scale meddling in the Middle East that will bring about Armageddon.

    This conflict should have never been escalated with a conventional ground war. It should have been handled by special ops and out of the public and media attention. That would have been far wiser and cheaper and more effective without inflaming the entire Muslim world in the process.

    I have worked in military and intelligence and know better than to trust the likes of the Bushites. They have been stirring up trouble since the end of the Cold War just to create another enemy to fight to keep the war machine going and that is the sad truth.

    Comment by libertyman — October 25, 2007 @ 5:45 pm
  2. I think this is a case of selective memory. Most Libertarians at the time supported going into Afghanistan. Ron Paul supported it. Gary Nolan supported it. I think Michael Badnarik did as well. Harry Browne made the principled case against it.

    I can’t think of a single prominent Libertarian who supported invading Iraq. How could they? Iraq had not attacked us or threatened us. None of the 9/11 terrorists were from Iraq. Case closed.

    Ron Paul is still what he has always been — a principled defender of liberty. Standing in opposition to preemptive war only makes him more so.

    Comment by Craig — October 25, 2007 @ 5:48 pm
  3. Labeling something a “conspiracy theory” doesn’t magically make it false, Doug.

    For example, if you don’t think the eye on top of the pyramid is a Masonic symbol, then why do you propose it’s on our one dollar bill? Hint: it is a Masonic symbol.

    Comment by Buckwheat — October 25, 2007 @ 5:51 pm
  4. I am sorry you are so conflicted. Terror came to the US as a consequence of a patient, determined construct of supranational order…

    “We are grateful to The Washington Post, The New York Times, Time magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promise of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world government. The super-national sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national auto-determination practiced in past centuries.”

    —David Rockefeller, at a 1991 Bilderberger meeting

    Comment by Leland Thomas Faegre — October 25, 2007 @ 5:53 pm
  5. The idea that these parties (Libertarian, Republican, or even Democrat) exist as separate entities with fixed and knowable viewpoints is false.

    The parties are made up of the individuals who support it. You don’t like the direction of the Libertarian party? Fine; join it and change it.

    In a way, that is what all the Ron Paul supporters are doing to the Republican party. We don’t like it’s direction, so we are joining and changing it.

    Later.

    Comment by Kevin Houston — October 25, 2007 @ 5:57 pm
  6. Labeling something a “conspiracy theory” doesn’t magically make it false, Doug.

    No, but it does usually paint the people who peddle in such theories as, well, deluded.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 25, 2007 @ 6:01 pm
  7. Go Republican. There are libertarian Republicans who support the eternal “war on terror,” nation buiding, and the massive looting of the people that it takes to finance it.

    Here’s an article you may be interested in, by a pro-war libertarian: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118463507387568429.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

    Comment by Drena — October 25, 2007 @ 6:07 pm
  8. The Democrats and Republicans are in the process of bankrupting the U.S. I support Ron Paul because he’s the only one trying to stop it. His success could spawn a new party. This is what I’m hoping for.

    I’m not sure why Mr. Green mocks Ron Paul, unless he just refuses to see America’s foreign policy as something that causes enormous anger in various parts of the world (and thus, blowback). Perhaps he should pick up “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man” or any number of other books that document a foreign policy that Stalin would be proud of.

    Comment by Jerry C — October 25, 2007 @ 6:16 pm
  9. If anyone has the answer, let me know.

    Ok let me give this a try.

    1: most people were all for the attack in afghanistan as was Ron Paul.

    2: Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 so why are we there?

    3: 16 of the 19 hijackers cam form Saudi Arabia but we didn’t attack the Saudis.

    Here is the simple answer : How can we even think we can fight the so called war on terror when our borders are wide open? Wouldn’t the first thing you would do if you were really worried about terrorist from other nations is secure our borders?

    Wouldn’t bringing our troops home better secure america rather than having most of our troops over seas? Does anyone really believe that some one is going to try and attack the USA if we didn;t have all these bases all over the word?

    Do you really think that someone is plotting attacking China or Russia? Of course not for it would be a no win battle so why are we so worried about 3rd world countries that are no threat to our national security?

    The USA is the super power of the world and countries are not considering attacking us especially if we had most of our troops here in america instead of all over the planet.

    Last : Why are we even concerned about Iran? Does anyone really think they are any kind of threat to the USA? Oh that’s right Isreal is worried? Let me remind all of you Isreal has well over 200 nuclear weapons and could blow Iran back to the stone age withour the help of anyone else.

    We can not defeat terrorism if we do not secure america first that it just common sense. What is the best way to protect your house from being robbed? Lock your doors and get an alarm system right?

    Let’s secure our borders first and then secure america then we can talk about the rest not the other way around.

    Comment by Steve — October 25, 2007 @ 6:17 pm
  10. Speaking as a pseudo libertarian (always hovering around joining the LP, but never committing) who supported the war in Afghanistan, but never got on board with Iraq, I think that the problem with the War on Terror arises because its an all encompassing, amorphous pseudo conflict. People yell and scream about terrorists, but how do you fight a terrorist?

    The first idea the government has is to skip some civil rights are bend the consitution to help keep the US safe.I see this as a problem. I also see the potential to get blown up as a problem, but I believe that even respecting civil liberties, a clever, resourceful intelligence agency can stop the majority of attacks and the rest we have to accept as the risk of living. The natural tendency of law enforcement is to seek to make things more expedient, but I think we should recognize that what is “easy” isn’t always “good”. While I am not currently worried about police raiding my house, I look down that road of expediancy and see the horror of exploitation. We give up a little at a time until its all gone and then only massive violence will restore it. I think it is right and good that people resist giving up their freedoms whenever asked because that, more than anything will keep us, as a nation, safe from tyranny. People don’t agree with me, but I think it makes sense.

    The government’s other policy to keep us safe is to engage in conflict in other countries in order to “hit the disease at its source”. Let me start off by saying “there is no illegal war”. War is a conflict and supersedes right or wrong. Now that we don’t need to argue about whether we are “wrong” for being in Iraq, let’s think about what a practical solution is to state sponsored terrorism. I think Saddam was an evil man, but did invading Iraq help us. Some would say “we’re fighting them there so we don’t fight them here”, but seriously, are 5000 armed revolutionaries going to board the next Dubai flight to New York and come out shooting? That argument doesn’t hold water. While there are some al Queda operatives fighting over there, they would still find it hard to hit us in the United States. Next, building democracy isn’t a 9 step program, it takes a fundemental understanding of how power is transferred peaceably and how to correct the excesses of power. Dropping it in the middle of a country that was essentially tribal in nature was never a good move. They don’t understand us and we don’t understand them and I don’t trust our government to fix them. We may quell the worst of the violence by killing enough able bodied men, but then we leave an essentially devastated nation with no workforce. And we breed resentment for every fighter we kill. I have no doubt we’ll be able to “WIN”, but what will we have won, except a bankrupt and fragile nation with scared, but agressive neighbors. Once the violence is gone, so will be the backbone of the country and we’ll be forced to stay and protect what’s left. We’ve done it before and I’m sure we’ll do it again. Therefore I maintain that the best course of action is to leave before we done too much damage and chalk this up as another lesson in trying to “change” people.

    The world is a dangerous place and I don’t think we as Americans accept that as much as we should. Terrorists have killed many, but powerful bad governments have done alot more damage than any suicide bomber could ever dream of. The best course of action for us in the US is to fight when attacked, but stay out of trying to “teach the world”.

    Oh, and go Ron Paul go *snicker*

    Comment by Greg — October 25, 2007 @ 6:17 pm
  11. i hear you. i am pretty much in the same boat. that’s why i’m heartily supporting Ron Paul.

    Comment by weston — October 25, 2007 @ 7:45 pm
  12. Seriously I have to ask just what exactly has been done so far to “fight terror” ?

    Believe me as a Father and Catholic citizen of the U.S I worry very much about militant radical Islam. But I’m sorry nothing we have done to date makes any sense and hasn’t helped in the fight in terror one bit. Unless you think sacrificing young americans in a war that does nothing but builds support for our terrorists enemies is useful. We really haven’t done anything else useful (DHS is a complete failure that just soaks more money out of the citizens of this country)

    Sorry but you will never win the war on terror through the use of military force. No war on terror has ever been won that way. In fact I’m not sure any war on terror has ever been won(Not by warhawk standards anyway). Just ask the English, they have been fighting “terror” longer then we have even been a country.

    So I ask you this, what reasons are there to support any of the ideas that every Republican Candidate (besides Ron Paul) has thrown out there for winning the War on Terror? There are no good reasons for any of the military actions that are going on now.

    There are many reasons that leaders can and do promote perpetual war. None of them are good.

    Besides the War in Iraq/Iran issue, I can’t imagine that almost any republican would be opposed to Ron Paul. How can you as a Libertarian look anywhere else?

    BTW I agree the War on Terror has to be fought just not in conventional means. It’s never worked for any nation to just get out a gun and start killing in retaliation, why do so many of us think it will work for us?

    Comment by jmw — October 25, 2007 @ 8:07 pm
  13. Labeling something a “conspiracy theory” doesn’t magically make it false, Doug.
    -Comment by Buckwheat

    No, but it does usually paint the people who peddle in such theories as, well, deluded.
    -Comment by Doug Mataconis(replying to Buckwheat)

    A great way to delude onself, therefore joining the ranks of the “deluded”, is to form unshakable opinions forever on matters that either all relevant information has yet to be presented or may never/is impossible to present.

    example: existence or not of a supreme being/God/insert preferred term. Evidence to land on a “beyond all doubt” one way or the other on that issue is, in all likelyhood, never going to be available. Therefore, those that have a firm belief system on the matter are said to have “Faith” rather than having irrefutable evidence or a “rock solid case”.

    In Doug’s opinion(and that is all it is one man’s opinion or at the very least one man’s PUBLICLY PROFESSED opinion) is that those who speak of things he says are far fetched in his view are “deluded” “conspiracy theorists”. If such is true and truly worthy of all accepting Doug’s implied derisive rejection of such things out of hand and with no further investigation into such ridiculous delusions then the “deluded” have some interesting company.

    The world record holder for pursuing “conspiracy theories” is the United States Gov. since they pursue charges of participating in alledged conspiracies against hundreds of defendents each year by arguing their “conspiracy theories” in front of Grand and Petit Judges and Juries.

    I have no final position on any issue unless and until an irrefutable argument can be presented, as such, many things will remain forever unknowable one way or the other. Additionally, and in many ways more importantly, I am very skeptical of those that use various methods to short circuit all/any further inquiry by anyone into a matter at issue, such as, labeling a hypothesis the popularly derisive term “Conspiracy Theory” that is posited by crazy “Conspiracy Theorists”.

    Doug, there is a crazy “Conspiracy Theory” being promoted by a bunch of wacko conspiracy loons that a group of people known as Islamo-Fascists are an immediate and all powerful threat to the further existence of the USA which must be countered by an all encompassing chicken little GWOT to spare America from the certain destruction at the hands of these determined and omnipotent madmen(madpersons?).

    OTOH perhaps you are one of the “loons” that believe this wacko “Conspiracy Theory” of these few deluded unfortunates Doug. If so, then I suspect with your worldview, experience, desires, goals, preconceptions, good guys and bad guys list, personal utopia, etc. it is established reality or at the very least worthy of a fair hearing of your evidence. So anyway, the deluded is very much in the eye of the beholder and the trend in public discourse of labeling those with opposing viewpoints in such terms in order to chill the free exchange of ideas is regretable and damaging to all. At least that is my theory but many consider me deluded.

    Comment by gmason — October 25, 2007 @ 9:11 pm
  14. I think most supported going into Afghanistan in retaliation for 9/11. All this other business lumped under the banner of the War on Terror–invasion of Iraq, The Bush Doctrine, preemptive War, the Patriot Act, DHS, Unitary Executive powers, is an anathema to libertarianism and if you ascribe to any of it, you are not a libertarian, period.

    Comment by Kaligula — October 25, 2007 @ 9:42 pm
  15. you know, long in the past, people in politics, business, and educated people otherwise freely spoke about international cartels in plain fashion. there was very little organized countermeasures to prevent discourse on organizations and realities. times certainly changed. psychological countermeasures are now well entrenched and effective.

    Comment by oilnwater — October 25, 2007 @ 9:48 pm
  16. [...] Liberty Papers, CA – 4 hours ago I had to stop reading Liberty months before my subscription finally, mercifully, ran out. Blogger friends of mine stopped emailing me. … (more) [...]

    Pingback by magazine4me2u » Blog Archive » Confessions Of A Former â??Big-L�? Libertarian — October 25, 2007 @ 9:54 pm
  17. Vote for Hillary Clinton.

    It is impossible to fight wars against ideas or tactics. Its just a bad idea to have our troops in 135 countries around the world, both from a ‘breeding resentment’ and a fiscal point of view. Terrorists need to be wiped out, but you can’t do that by using a foreign policy that creates terrorists faster than you can kill them off. And I am a former infantryman in the Army. Its just not realistic, and we have lost almost twice the amount of people fighting this idiotic war than we did on 9/11 and we are no safer than we were.

    What was the point of all this and how did it make anything in the world better?

    Comment by Jason — October 25, 2007 @ 10:06 pm
  18. So the question is where does someone who believes in individual liberty, but also believes that the War on Terror is a war not only worth fighting, but a war that has to be fought go ?

    The military? I hear they’ve having recruiting problems…

    Comment by js290 — October 25, 2007 @ 10:51 pm
  19. Thought experiment: what would be the ultimate defensive strategy? That is, what approach would most dramatically reduce the likelihood of attack on the U.S. and the damage from such?

    Proposed answer: pre-emptively destroy every other nation on Earth—or at least their capacity to attack us. If some are left alive, they must be bombed occasionally lest they plan revenge.

    There is such a thing as an overly aggressive defense. We will tend in this direction if our main goal is to eliminate all risk of attack. But avoiding attack is not the only, nor even the most important, function of military defense. National survival is obviously of higher importance. Survival of the population is higher still. And then there is preservation of liberties, material wealth, and so on. If we fool ourselves into thinking that we can completely eliminate any risk of being attacked, no matter how little our survival and prosperity as a nation are threatened, we will be likely to select counter-productive strategies. This is because, though we may aspire to making the risk of attack zero, we will never take the brutal actions necessary to achieve this. But, by setting policy with this unrealistic goal in mind, instead of a policy of risk reduction based on respect for others’ sovereignty and a realistic, affordable military posture, we will continue in an offensive, meddlesome, and destabilizing mode.

    It is ironic that so many who seem to subscribe to the notion that central planning is a flop when applied to provision of inanimate goods can yet somehow believe that a national bureaucracy can execute far-flung campaigns against minor threats enmeshed in essentially neutral–but intelligent–populations and predict the mid- to long-term effects with an accuracy greater than a that of a technocrat…or a die-roll. Talk about a fatal conceit.

    Comment by Kevin Parker — October 25, 2007 @ 11:42 pm
  20. the most important points are both the taxes that bureaucracies extract to the this purpose as well as the debt they impose to the purpose.

    interesting point about the ultimate goal of national defense, i often thought the same thing that the ultimate expression of this current philosophy would be simply destroying other nations now.

    Comment by oilnwater — October 25, 2007 @ 11:49 pm
  21. A comment to the post you linked bears repeating, for it is quite relevant to your stated views:

    “You picked a funny time to turn against Ron Paul, since on the one issue you hold up as your example of why you “turned” – the war in Afghanistan – Paul was on your side.”

    Comment by Brian T. Traylor — October 26, 2007 @ 12:19 am
  22. I know this has been asked many times before, but:

    How do you wage a war on a tactic?

    When we win the war on terror will terror surrender? Will all terror stop? Should we wage a war on using superior firepower, or a war on excessive collateral damage, or a war on perfidy, or a war on leveraging terrain and weather?

    We already have a War on Drugs. Anyone want to predict when we’ll win that one (or lose it, for that matter)?

    Sorry.

    More to the point of the original post: Pro-war and anti-war are not required Libertarian positions, per se. Pacifism and libertarianism are distinct concepts. I cannot think of a big-L Libertarian who doesn’t agree that national defense is one of the few core roles of the federal government. Almost all of the libertarians I know (big or small L) supported retaliating against the Taliban government in Afghanistan and hunting down the al-Qaeda perpetrators; almost all still do. We don’t hear of much effort or progress on that front though.

    But “war” in its implementation can simply be a statist boondoggle if waged without a popular mandate and defined, achievable goals. When Randolph Bourne observed that War is the Health of the State, he underscored this distinction. Anthony Gregory wrote what I thought was a good reiteration of this relationship when it comes to Libertarians, who may be anti-statist on domestic issues of financial security, but might be too easily won over to statism in the form of pre-emptive foreign adventures to attempt physical security.

    Unless there are clear and enforced limits to governmental action, abuses can easily arise both domestically and internationally.

    Comment by Akston — October 26, 2007 @ 1:03 am
  23. Brian,

    I can’t speak for Stephen, but my post had nothing to do with Ron Paul and everything to do with the hard-core doctrinaire libertarians who seem to be supporting him.

    I’d also note that, outside of cutting and running, I haven’t heard any discussions from the campaign about what he would do about the threat Islamic radicalism.

    The idea that it will simply disappear if we go and hide behind the walls of Fortess America is, quite simply, naive.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 26, 2007 @ 4:17 am
  24. you sound as whacky as anyone else who believes that iraq has a damned thing to do with with a group of individuals determined to do a terrorist attack, now or in the future.

    summararily, it goes like this:

    “hey guys, how about we keep our military virtually committed in one country, spend 2.something trillion and counting, start getting ready to airstrike the nextdoor country, and just close our eyes ok? how’s that sound, ready, break!”

    crazies like you need to support guiliani.

    Comment by oilnwater — October 26, 2007 @ 6:03 am
  25. Oilnwater,

    What part of “I opposed the Iraq War from the beginning” don’t you understand ?

    For my mind, the US should’ve stayed in Afghanistan and completed the destruction of al Qaeda and the Taliban rather than going off on Bush’s quixotic adventure.

    And, as I asked someone else in a different comment thread, what’s with libertarians who don’t think that people have the right to their own opinions ? How dare I stray for libertarian orthodoxy. Quite honestly, I’ve seen less dogmatic Objectivists.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — October 26, 2007 @ 6:18 am
  26. because so little of what you’re actually in line with on libertarian thought can be accomplished without removing the federal govt’s course right now.

    it’s like wanting to vacation on the beach during a 4 day weekend, but not willing to pay your light bill before you leave. and, for some crazy reason, you’ve also given your boss at work the power to decide what you do on days off. he got you to give him permission to do this by his promising you that if you let him decide what you do, and also by letting him keep half of your future paychecks for the next year,that you’ll be CEO one day.

    Comment by oilnwater — October 26, 2007 @ 6:32 am
  27. Why are the ideas of blowback and retaliation against Al Qaeda mutually exclusive? Why can’t it be true that 9/11 is blowback while also true that we must completely obliterate the specific terrorist conspiracy bent upon all our deaths?

    I don’t know where you’re coming from, Doug. Every single libertarian (including Libertarian Party) I’ve talked with or read has both recognized the blowback and supported the war in Afghanistan.

    Comment by Sean — October 26, 2007 @ 8:06 am
  28. Unfortunately, none of this is an account of what the LP’s position was, or the actions of Libertarians internationally. The post and comments do seem to reflect what extreme conservatives presume is happening with libertarians. The sources quoted have nothing to do with the LP, and are even Republicans.

    I co-ordinate the Libertarian International Organization. Far from being indifferent to what is outside US borders, our activists have worked closely with both the LP and members of the Government in working to bring down dictatorships of every description by spreading ideas, mentoring activism, and direct citizen diplomacy. Numerous leaders elected in those dictatorships say the “L” factor was essential in getting change. Groups such as http://www.isil.org and http://www.FEE.org played very key roles.

    Libertarians believe that coercive government is to be replaced or circumvented by voluntary action, and view coercive government as essentially impotent or backfiring. The major interest of Libertarians at that time or today is not in taking a position on inane conservative or socialist war policies, but encouraging their own Libertarian view of continued citizen action as paramount:such as creating democracy and Libertarian movements abroad, and encouraging Sister-City type exchanges–what Eisenhower called the true defense of free countries (and also was how we contacted Boris Yeltsin with important effects). The US does not need vast militaries to fight ‘our’ battles. We do need to encourage Libertarian-oriented thinking abroad so they organize to fight our battles by action in their own country.

    As to the events in question, I was on the Executive Committee of the LP USA at the time. Our reaction was to urge Libertarians to donate blood, period. In short order we voiced limited and critical support for military response, but more important we co-ordinated with Libertarians in Afghanistan, who had been leading a struggle against the Taliban, to begin action. In fact, on 9/11, there was a picture on our front page we had just uploaded of Libertarians working in Kabul to develop Grameen style banks with the endorsement of Aslam Effendi, a distinguished member of the Afghan royal family. It is forgotten that by the time the US arrives, revolt was in full swing, and then Libertarians there worked with other groups in summoning the jurga AGAINST US wishes that created free elections there. The situation in Afghanistan has moved to an international nation building phase. In Iraq the US–meaning the GOP–has unwisely not repeated the strategy in Afghanistan with mixed results. Meanwhile, the US government and NED have taken to sending activists from other countries to LP HQ to learn about us.

    Meanwhile, State LP’s have begun participating in an LIO program adopting Sister groups abroad. The Florida LP, for example, has worked closely with Costa Rica resulting in a strong Libertarian-Liberal party there instead of a trouble spot. No Saddam Husseins there.

    Big government cannot help you, small government cannot help you, but self-government can help you. If you want to have a Libertarian ‘position’ on the war or foreign policy, join a local Sister City or similar program trying to help a struggling country and donate to http://www.ISIL.org to bring young students to Libertarian conferences where they can meet and learn from people who have changed their nation because of Libertarian help. National defense by the spread of freedom is ultimately too critical to be left to government, as Eisenhower suggested. Prevent the IRAQ’s of the future by citizen action you can start today as others have: get yourself appointed to a Sister City advisory board,help the leaders of to-morrow learn about freedom and rights, and effective activism to better their countries. You don’t need to be a card-carrying anything to understand or do that.

    Comment by Michael Gilson-De Lemos "MG" — October 26, 2007 @ 9:15 pm
  29. I am a Libertarian, and as such, I believe everyone has the right to their own opinion. You and I may not agree on everything, but we can always agree to disagree. Aside from this, I used to be a Republican, and I was in New York when the massacre happened. I got caught up in the heat of the moment, and hated the terrorists who were responsible. Over time, though, some things no longer made sense. I’ve learned that to be called a “conspiracy theorist” or “conspiracy nut” is just about as bad as being called “anti-semitic” or an “anti-semite.” Now I wonder why this is so. A conspiracy is nothing more than a plan, made in secret, and carried forth by a group of individuals for the attainment of a common goal. The fact that pro-government types never want to debate any theory about 9/11 that contradicts the official government story makes me uneasy. The fact that the official government story about why the towers fell leads to more questions than answers, makes me feel uneasy. The fact that the government says it’s an open and shut case also makes me feel uneasy. As a Republican, my blood would boil when anyone would mention that America may be at fault for the attacks. After all, America was the greatest nation on earth, the home of capitalism and success, the home of liberty, etc. But there were always questions I could not find an answer for from the list of official Republican responses given in the media. One day I decided to stop towing the Party line and to start thinking for myself. I suddenly realized that our liberties were being eroded. We were no longer the land of the free, as I thought we were. Real scientists and physicists sid the official government story on 9/11 made no sense, while the scientists who’ve been sticking to the government’s story were always a part of organizations that were funded by the government in one form or another. It is true, of course, that the jihadists who hate America are muslim fanatics. But the mantra that “they hate us because of our freedoms” no longer made sense in light of our foreign policy on interventionism, government replacement, and with our troops being stationed in 152 of 179 countries of the world in peace time. I used to think it was crazy that our own government would do something so horrendous as to stage the attacks and execute them themselves. But, despite the video footage of explosions in the collapsing towers, despite the fact that jet fuel burns at 1800°F while the melting point of steel is 2800°F, despite the fact that video footage of the plane crash into the Pentagon shows no plane at all, since the gov’t grabbed the film and edited out everything but the explosion, despite the fact that the hole in the pentagon wall was too small to be made by a 767 plane but the exact width of a Tomahawk missile–despite all this and much much more evidence to the contrary, the very fact that Cheney wrote the PNAC and said America should be the leader of the world and has the military might to make it happen, and that all we needed was “another Pearl Harbor” to kick it off, and the fact that everything the government is doing is in line with what a modern government should do to become a world empire… how could I possibly just follow the herd and believe everything I am told. To do this, I would have to first believe that our government would never lie to us, would never destroy the constitution and imprison people outside our borders without due process of law, without any trial at all, to be imprisoned forever without first being found guilty…well, I would seriously have to be a fool to just accept everything we’re told. It’s not stupid to believe in a conspiracy theory. The first Americans (not the natives) who rebelled from England were embroiled in the conspiracy to gain independence. For me, because I understand that our foreign policy is the only reason why we are hated, and why we were attacked (supposedly) by the people we are hurting in other parts of the world, because the reasons we went to war were lies, because the government now wants to know what every citizen is writing and saying while they don’t want the citizens to know what they are doing, is enough proof that something is very very wrong with our government and because of all this, I find it hard to believe anything I hear. The government is more powerful since 9/11 and I find it hard to believe that they are not enjoying this power and are too terribly unhappy that 9/11 happened in the first place. Without 9/11, there would have been no majority approval from the people to go to war. Without war, we could not be able to expand our empire, our possession of foreign lands. Without a full military presence, we would not be able to conquer this world and the government would not be able to have total, absolute, totalitarian power over the people. Think, and come up with a good, logic reason why you believe the government is unhappy with the power it’s gained and how terribly unhappy they will be when they gain even more power over time. Only the government can gain from making “conspiracy theorist” a bad term, because it shames anyone who has a view that opposes that of the government.

    Comment by Friends Of Liberty — October 27, 2007 @ 3:19 pm
  30. Bruce Lee was a proponent of the concept known as “The Art of Fighting Without Fighting.” The ancient warriors of China and Japan, and even the greatest military strategist of all time–Sun Tzu himself believed that the greatest fight is the one that never happens. Knowing that the threat to the United States originates from the enemy’s hatred of the United States, and that their hatred is based on our violent and oppressive foreign policy, the most effective way to win this “war” is to remove the source of the enemy’s hatred. By changing our failed foreign policy from one of interventionism to one of non-interventionism, the enemy would no longer have a reason to hate us. Without the hatred, there would be motivation and therefore no motive to attack us. Without this elevated threat of attack, America could resume it normal life with all its individual liberties intact. so how do we change our failed foreign policy which has resulted in blow back on the scale of 9/11? Treat others as we want to be treated. Bring all American troops home from every country in the world. Stop sticking our nose where it doesn’t belong. Stop using American taxpayer’s money to fund other oppressive nations that have their own interventionist mentality. Stop empire building, nation building, stop interfering. Period. Then the government should stop interfering in its own economy and leave the economy to the citizens (a free market). Go back to a gold standard in order to eliminate inflation once and for all. Since whatever the government touches turns to crap, its role should be reduced to the task of protecting individual property rights and contracts, no more and no less.

    The art of fighting without fighting is the only workable military strategy. Our only good philosophy should be the Golden Rule, and the Non-Aggression Principal. Ron Paul is the only candidate who understands all of this. He is America’s only hope.

    Comment by Friends Of Liberty — October 27, 2007 @ 3:43 pm
  31. Stephen Green is a follower of trends. Libertarianism was, to him, a harmless bauble prior to 9/11. Something he could use to feel superior to others–”I’m not a Republican or a Democrat, I’m a Libertarian!”

    Then comes 9/11 and he immediately leaped back to the arms of big government. Because his libertarianism was tissue-thin.

    Of course, the people he’s railing against now have been proved completely correct. Big government solutions to terrorism have worked as well as big government solutions to drugs, poverty and medicine. You’ll notice he never even mentions Osama bin Laden. No, he’s attacking libertarians for having the audacity to be right.

    He wanted libertarians to drop all their principles and go fight a quixotic war. He was wrong; they were right.

    I don’t think libertarians should be the ones offering “answers”. Libertarians are the ones asking all the questions.

    Comment by rho — October 27, 2007 @ 10:54 pm
  32. Rho posted:

    Big government solutions to terrorism have worked as well as big government solutions to drugs, poverty and medicine. You’ll notice he never even mentions Osama bin Laden. No, he’s attacking libertarians for having the audacity to be right.

    Rho, I completely agree with your points here.

    FriendsOfLiberty posted:

    The fact that pro-government types never want to debate any theory about 9/11 that contradicts the official government story makes me uneasy.

    While I think that the odds are fairly slim that the 9/11 attack was anything more than what we saw reported by several visual and first-hand sources, I don’t dismiss 9/11 conspiracy theorists out of hand. Like any crime investigation, good investigators should consider a variety of possible scenarios. Occam’s Razor suggests that the most likely answer is usually the correct answer. This is not always true, but often is.

    At this time, I don’t see enough solid evidence to make a case for anything other than the buildings collapsing from the impact of airplanes which were caught on film and in person.

    I don’t want to dismiss the 9/11 theories as crazy, just not likely. Like any crime, I’d support a full investigation even if the case seems open and shut, but the burden of proof would be on the accusers to prove machinations beyond what we all saw.

    (Also, I don’t know if you had formatting problems from HTML – that’s caught me before – but I strongly recommend paragraph breaks. They’ll make your points more approachable and more likely to illicit discussion.)

    Comment by Akston — October 28, 2007 @ 11:56 am

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