Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Moral Lacuna of Libertarianism

"We cannot stand idly by when a tyrant tells his own people that there will be no mercy."

The Obama

Little did I expect I'd ever have to side with Obama against Ron Paul.

While nation building like in Iraq is not a good idea — the war there should have ended the day Saddam was caught — and it may be legitimate to speak of a welfare-warfare state in that context, the vicious, inhuman nature of the libertarian extremist anti-war attitude is now in plain sight.

While this was going on…

Meantime, hundreds of cars full of civilians headed out of the city, a Reuters correspondent said.

"Do we have to wait till he (Gadhafi) kills us all before the (world) acts. We are very disappointed," said Adel Mansoura, an air traffic controller fleeing with his family.

"When we heard the U.N. resolution, we were very happy and thought we had our freedom but now we have been left on our own to the killers," he said at a petrol station where dozens of other cars lined for fuel as they fled.

The head of the rebel National Libyan Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, said the international community must act swiftly to protect civilians from Gadhafi's forces.

"Now there is a bombardment by artillery and rockets on all districts of Benghazi," he told Al Jazeera television. "The international community is late in intervening to save civilians from Gadhafi's forces."

"Today in Benghazi there will be a catastrophe if the international community does not implement the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council," he said. "We appeal to the international community, to the all the free world, to stop this tyranny from exterminating civilians."

…Ron Paul had this to say:

"Last week we once again heard numerous voices calling for intervention in Libya. Most say the US should establish a 'no-fly' zone over Libya, pretending that it is a benign, virtually cost-free action,"

Yes, it is.

"…and the least we could do to assist those trying to oust the Gaddaffi regime."

You bet.

"Let us be clear about one thing: for the US to establish a 'no fly' zone over all or part of Libya would constitute an act of war against Libya. Establishing any kind of military presence in the sovereign territory…"

Glad to see that the mystic and meaningless title "sovereign nation" still is a license to murder.

"The administration has stated that nothing is off the table as they discuss US responses to the unrest. This sort of talk is alarming on so many levels. Does this mean a nuclear strike is on the table? Apparently so."

Behold the death of a weak argument from ludicrous hyperbole.

"In this case, I would like to make sure we actually follow the black letter of the law provided in the Constitution that explicitly grants congress the sole authority to declare war. …the president … would have no authority to engage in hostilities because we have not been attacked…"

If a government like Gaddafi's slaughters the people it pretends to protect, any other nation or any private organization has an absolute right to go in and help the victims defend themselves, while taking any reasonable measure to avoid collateral damage. This is a natural right stemming from every individual's human right to life, which takes precedence over any national or international law, which at this point becomes null and void.

Anybody who would put the law above human lives is less than a human being.

"This is not our fight."

Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes, appeasing the nazis. Now, that was a good idea.

So if you ever see Ron Paul assaulted, like when Brüno tries to ass rape him again or a Gaddafi terrorist aims a missile at his plane, don't help Paul. He wouldn't want it.

Boy, am I glad that clown didn't get elected. (Never thought I'd say that.) Obama may be even more cowardly than the French, but at least he's been shamed into action instead of clinging to his delusions. Turns out Obama is indeed a better, or at least a less evil, person than Ron Paul.

"We don't have the money for more military interventions overseas… We have to rely on the Fed's printing presses and our ability to borrow from China to fund these wars."

A couple missiles and some jet fuel won't drive the budget over the brink. But if it need be to help human beings being slaughtered while fighting for their freedom, keep the presses rolling and palm off another couple billion dollars in bonds on the Chinese.

As far as I am concerned, Paul and his ilk of Libertarian peaceniks have crossed the moral event horizon. If the French are braver than you, you're doing something wrong.

How, then, do minarchist libertarians and objectivists arrive at such delusions?

Minarchism and more narrowly objectivism hold that there must be governments, or else there would be chaos — which is somehow bad. Also, for some reason there's no world government — as would be logical if there were one "objective" set of laws — but mankind is arbitrarily divided into countries, or nation states, or rather tribes.

Every tribe has a government to pacify, arbitrate between the members of, and defend only its own tribe, as governments must be funded by enforced taxation, and it would be wrong to use that money forcibly collected for the "common defense" of our tribe to unselfishly and altruistically defend a foreign tribe.

What's more, our soldiers enlisted to defend their own families and tribesmen. Thus, they will readily fight for the worst scum, if only it belongs to our tribe, but it would be wrong to expect them to fight for worthless foreigners, be it defenseless women and children or whatever.

Thus, objectivism and minarchist libertarianism both evict themselves from the realm of morality. Belief systems that encourage their followers to idly stand by while a few miles away mass murder is committed, which they could prevent at little cost or risk to themselves, cannot claim to be moral in any way, shape, or form.

Ayn Rand, who founded objectivism and injected it with her mistaken notion of minarchism, correctly observed that a morality is a code to sustain human life, and that self-sacrifice is immoral. (Why would you value anyone's life more highly than your own?) Yet these two belief systems she shaped forbid saving life even if no self-sacrifice is involved and thus become self-contradictory and, at least in their politics, invalid. Minarchist libertarianism, which unlike objectivism is not a comprehensive philosophy, but merely a political ideology, is thus completely invalidated.

Now, what's the difference between minarchist libertarianism and anarchist libertarianism, between objectivism and (anarcho-)capitalism? Let's stick with the example of the Libyan civil war.

On an objectivist aircraft carrier, the captain would address his crew like this:

"As we get our funding from American taxpayers, and you enlisted to protect only America, we are not authorized to defend foreigners. Therefore, we'll sit here, waiting for a direct threat to America to emerge, enjoying the Mediterranean sun, and watching those bloody foreigners getting slaughtered. Their problem if they can't by themselves handle the dictator of the country allotted to them."

This is the moral bankruptcy of objectivism, or at least of libertarian politics. (In fairness I should point out that the better sort of objectivists finds a workaround for that dilemma by declaring that helping freedom fighters is in the US national interest or that every human life has an intrinsic value.)

On a capitalist aircraft carrier, the captain would address his crew like this:

"We get paid for defending our customers, and you signed on to fight on their behalf. However, every once in a while, we hand out free samples to people who are not yet our customers, like those Libyans over there. If anyone of you has a problem fighting for Libyans, there's the gangway."

This is the moral nature of capitalism.

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