Monday, January 06, 2003

Simply not our job

At last there is an attempt to define just why Libertarians should support a war in Iraq, supplied by Perry d Haviland in Samizdata (see Gene Callaghan's retort here).

Now there have been plenty of Libertarian defences of this proposed Mesopotamian adventure (often from Samizdata), usually falling back on the idea that a resurgent Iraq threatens us (it's a bit far away for that) or the idea that Iraq supports Al-Qaeda (less than Britain or America). Now
This makes the libertarian justifications for war on Iraq ridiculously easy to deflate as are most arguments that rely on a falsehood - the only thing still standing is the obstinate ability of the "anti"-idiotarian to accept small facts.

Mr De Havilland admits that the first presumption (Iraq is a threat) is ridiculous and does not even mention the longed for Al Qaeda link. Instead he bases his analysis on a hard to refute presumption, that Iraq is more evil than the United States. So far so good (and novel). Now he says that the Government (it deserves the capital G in this analysis) is duty bound to fight the greater evil.

Now I'm not even going to look at this idea from a Libertarian point of view - apart from noting with amusement that I am more Libertarian on the biggest issue of the day than the Samizdrones are, something I thought would never happen. However think about the implications that this ultra-Wilsonian policy would have on our national interest?

After Operation Barbarossa would we have backed Hitler (sort of socialist, racist, killed 8 million) or Stalin (socialist, sort of racist, killed 20 million)? Of course not as we went into the war because we (mistakenly) perceived Hitler as an immediate threat to us, something that we did not attribute to Stalin. Making the hard judgement of who was evil or not was not the issue, the national interest was.

Was Nixon wrong to go to (barely) post-Maoist China (c. 50 million dead) for help against the Soviet Union (c. 20 million dead)? Again a ridiculous argument, unless you are on the left. This move utterly changed the geopolotical rules of the Cold War, reducing Russia's reach and forcing her to make stupid moves in Poland and Afghanistan. The Good and Evil show simply was no where to be seen.

We can not rid the world of evil, it's either a hopeless task (for the Atheist) or one that needs higher intervention (for the Christian). Either way human nature is not going to be changed however many governments we overthrow. We have to concentrate on what we can achieve, at home. A militarised and more centralised state will not be a step forward.


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