Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Blame-America Libertarians

One wouldn’t normally comment on the absurd notion, put forth by one Ron Paul, that we brought the Islamic attack of 9/11 on ourselves; but the Paulist version comes from an obscure source on the right and is worth noting in passing. First let me note that I argued that the cause of 9/11 is religious in origin. The Paulist faction of the libertarian movement holds that these attacks were the unintended consequences of our foreign policy – we brought it on ourselves.

But what if the perpetrators attacked us on 9/11 because of one of the many contradictory grievances found in the rants of a grotesque medieval savage? The jihadists are, of course, moral agents whose excuses have little bearing on their guilt. Regardless of which of our actions they use to rationalize their attack, it is better that we learn sooner rather than later that we have an enemy in this world – preferable before they have nuclear weapons.

The Paulist libertarians argue that had we not inflamed them we wouldn’t have suffered that specific attack at that time. Perhaps, perhaps not! One academic argues it is just as respectable to complain that our past weakness emboldened the enemy as to claim that our egregious acts of injustice understandably led to the attack of 9/11. While such critics are wrong, they are worse than wrong. They are taking the enemy’s side.

They are making common cause with the enemy to further pet policies that happen to coincide with the enemy’s demands. It is reasonable to question the cost of being the world’s police. But it is a very different matter to take the side of the world’s criminals, freaks, and savages whose reason for our withdrawal is motivated by the desire to establish an oppressive regime. And it is despicable to cite the actions of such vicious perpetrators as grounds to change our policy.

Would one use McVeigh’s attack in Oklahoma as grounds to criticize the Clinton/Reno policy in Waco? Would one exploit the attacks on abortion clinics to warn of the “unintended consequences” of Roe vs. Wade? Would one cite eco-terrorist attacks as proof of the problems of unconstrained capitalism? What scoundrel would cite a vicious terrorist in such manner?

Normally Ron Paul’s blame-America attacks would remove him from any reasonable discussion. However, his presence in the debates gives the other candidates a proxy for the far left viewpoint commonly found among Democrats. He can be a perfect stand-in and punching bag. He has already helped Rudy Giuliani. Don’t be surprised if others follow suit just to stay competitive. This may be an interesting race.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cubed here.

Ron Paul's argument falls into the same category as that of people who argue that by leaving our keys in the car, we cause a "good kid to go bad" - the usual "blame the victim" B.S.

Where is Sherman when you need him? When he decided to end the war (and its casualties) with decisive action (the famed "march to the sea," he didn't take any chances that some idiot in Washington would tell him not to do it; he simply didn't let Washington know where he was or what he was doing, and shortly, it was all over.

Same thing with Japan, which had an atomic bomb in the planning stages in both Japan and in China; had we not dropped ours first, not only would thousands more Americans have died in WWII, but quite possibly, many more Americans at home.

Now about Iran...

5/27/07, 11:40 PM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

Jason writes "While such critics are wrong, they are worse than wrong. They are taking the enemy’s side." Ron Paul had the opportunity to address how our government does not meet its primary function, but engages in what it has no justification for (namely the distribution of wealth, along with massive corruption). Instead, he used his debating time to attack the legitimate function of government (namely to provide for the common defense).

It was for this approach that Ayn Rand viewed many libertarians as being opposed to liberty. Some of them (such as on the Ludwig von Mises blog) actually believe that their most important mission is to undermine America.

I do believe that our military strategy is counter-productive, for it depends upon the non-existent good-will of the Iraqis, rather than deterrence. However, the desire for an enemy victory is precisely the meaning of treason.

5/28/07, 7:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cubed here.

"...he used his debating time to attack the legitimate function of government (namely to provide for the common defense)."

Yeah, so true.

At one time in my youth, back in the Stone Age, I registered as a Libertarian, but I left precisely over this issue.

I wish I could find it again, but a LONG time ago, maybe in the late sixties or early seventies, Ayn Rand addressed the whole matter of national sovereignty.

She pointed out that although "rights" pertain only to living individuals, and while no group or organization can have rights, since the only legitimate function of government is to protect the rights of each and every individual, that function includes its obligation to protect the rights of all individuals at once, such as when we are attacked.

She pointed out that it was because of this function, to protect the rights of all citizens, that national sovereignty is a legitimate concept, and that it is the obligation of a sovereign nation to use the power delegated to it by the citizens to protect them when they come under attack as a whole.

This isn't exactly the way she said it, but I think it's close enough.

It isn't just Ron Paul who doesn't seem to "get it," of course - the whole Bush thingy re: our borders is a total mess, and he acts as if the only way an enemy can attack us is by lobbing bombs or something from outside our borders.

Au contraire; we absolutely must know who is crossing into our country, what his intentions are, and where he is after entering.

That is an issue of national sovereignty. If government on a local level, such as the police station down the block, is properly there to protect our rights, then so is the government on a grander, national scale - the armed forces - properly there to protect our rights.

I've heard some people argue that the very existence of borders and the concept of national sovereignty are immoral and a violation of rights. I can't quite see the logic in that arguement; the existence of national sovereignty per se in no way conflicts with the individual citizen's right to engage freely in trade with people from other nations, but since every citizen has a reasonable expectation that goods entering our country will not be used to violate his rights - let's be certain, for example, that someone with evil intent does not ship weaponized anthrax to someone else inside the country who has evil intent!

Certainly, anyone who is properly vetted should be allowed to travel into the country and even apply for citizenship, but the wholesale mass migration of people across our borders is a demonstration of the government's total disregard for the safety of each of us, and a complete abandonment of its obligation to protect our rights.

True, that which is legal (or illegal) is not necessarily morally valid, but the basic concept of national sovereignty is morally valid.

5/28/07, 2:27 PM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...


Perhaps the article that you had in mind was ‘Collectivized “Rights” ’ 1963, which can be found in ‘The Virtue Of Sefishness’. I completely agree with your analysis, including your view that the Bush approach to our borders is a total mess.

5/28/07, 8:59 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

I argued that the cause of 9/11 is religious in origin.

Of course, it is! But the West refuses to acknowledge that religious origin. This, in spite of jihadists' yelling "Allahu Akbar!"

Off topic here....If you're interested in being interviewed on the radio show I cohost, send an email to me at I won't be offended if you say no.

5/29/07, 7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cubed here.


That was it! I just looked through our stuff and found it! Thank you so much - I wish I were better organized. Ever since the 6.8 earthquake a few years ago knocked almost all of our books off the shelves, I have been at a distinct disadvantage trying to find stuff - and the earthquake came on top of a tendency to "file by pile" anyway.

Again, thanks!


Good choice! Jason, go for it!

5/29/07, 12:03 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

While I've talked to libertarians who aren't self-flagellating quasi-pacifists, the ones who dominate the movement today are indistinguishable from Chomsky & friends when it comes to foreign policy. If you want to read the origin of this nonsense you need only read Rothbard's chapter on foreign policy in his "For a New Liberty" published back in the 1970s. Here he sees America as the aggressor and exonerates the USSR! His line of thinking has libertarians taking the leftist line that we "invaded a sovereign nation" that was "minding its own business" as if we attacked Canada. It's bizarre.

Interestingly enough, however, last year when I was looking for "open border" advocates to criticize I was surprised that I found few among libertarians. There was a whole issue of "The Freeman" (if I remember correctly) that dealt with immigration. Even the anarchists of the right contradicted themselves on this issue. I sense most understand that our oasis of liberty (or what we have left of it) would vanish immediately if we didn't have borders. I wonder what "open border" advocates would recommend to the Israelis.

Weingarten, Cubed, I'll have to re-read that passage. It rings a bell. Also, I noticed the Von Misis blog. If your stomach is strong you'll notice the same stuff on Lew Rockwell's website and even worse on Justin Raimondo's Raimondo is Rothbard's biographer.

Thanks, AOW, I'm honored but I prefer to formulate my thoughts slowly and write them out. Even then I'm not always satisfied.

5/29/07, 1:49 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

"I argued that the cause of 9/11 is religious in origin."

Yes, but you have done it very poorly. Okay, the hijackers were religious fanatics. You aren't going to get much argument about that.

Then you go on to generalize that the entirety of Islam is of one mind and one entity. Now, you do that without demonstrating any knowledge of say, al-Qaeda command and control. There's no shame in that since the administration has demonstrated it is also clueless.

I think you need to supply some substance before you become so self congratulatory.

As an aside, do you pay any attention to neuroscience. There has been quite a bit of work lately that demonstrates human thought must have an emotional component to allow all but the most basic functions. We are incapable of thought itself without emotion. I'm afraid that her nibs got it completely wrong again.

If you harp on really hard immigration legislation I think you are also saying that you want Romney as president. Pretty clear what's happening. He'll easily out hardline John "He's Psycho" McCain and Rudy "Strttin' with my Chippy" Giuliani and win the nomination.
Now he will have to counter the Dems moves on health care. Has to to move out beyond the religious psycho base so he presents the Massachusetts health care plan as his solution. Tough call, maybe you get border security but you also get single payer health care.

You're in a bind.

5/30/07, 12:35 PM  
Blogger (((Thought Criminal))) said...

Would one use McVeigh’s attack in Oklahoma as grounds to criticize the Clinton/Reno policy in Waco? Would one exploit the attacks on abortion clinics to warn of the “unintended consequences” of Roe vs. Wade? Would one cite eco-terrorist attacks as proof of the problems of unconstrained capitalism? What scoundrel would cite a vicious terrorist in such manner?

Well, it's still fun to punch leftists in the face and chide them not to continue the cycle of violence as you stomp on their heads.

5/31/07, 6:14 AM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

What scoundrel would cite a vicious terrorist in such manner?

You, me, everybody - are you a "scoundrel" for pointing to violent flaws in Islam as leading to terrorist attacks, this assessment of Islam is contrary to administration policy.

5/31/07, 7:43 PM  
Blogger Avi said...

Religion is not bad- it just depends which religion. There is no moral equivalency between Judaism and Christianity vs. Islam.

P.S. I'll link to you if you link to me.

6/1/07, 5:05 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...


There is a world of difference between the sane Liberterians and the vile Anarcho liberterians of the Murray Rothbard school. If it were up to me I would use Rothbard's convoluted interview as a form of torture.

Rothbard and co are almost as annoying as poultry and company.

The term liberterian is sometimes abused by Commies. 167 called himself a Liberterian who just happens to defend Iran, Cuba and demonize the USA.

6/1/07, 6:15 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Well bar, I do see the great differences. Still, I’m critical of religion for being the antithesis of reason. However, most religious people in the West see reason as the coin of the realm in social relationships. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t try to convince me with argument or allow me to go my own way when unconvinced. Of course, I live in NYC. If religion remains private and reason rules interpersonal relationships we will continue to have a decent civil society.

We've done that to a great degree in the last 220 years. Islam, of course, has never been able to do that.

6/1/07, 9:41 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Okay. I understand. But you'd have made an outstanding guest!

If you ever change your mind, let me know. You could send me a list of questions to ask; another interviewee has done that. "Scripting" an interview of you would be worth the effort.

I won't belabor the point any more.


Blaming America is a one-way strategy. How about casting some blame in the direction which it belongs?

6/2/07, 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it was the pragmatist philosopher William James who used to ask, "What is the cash value of this idea?" By which he meant, I believe, not literally "How much money can one make from this idea?" but rather "Of what practical purpose is it?" I raise the same question about the Ron Paul view of 9/1l and of jiahdism in general. Let's assume Paul is correct and that 9/11 and jihadism in general is the Muslim-fundamentalist response to alleged past sins committed against Islamic countries by past Western governments. If Bush were to say, "We're sorry, and we'll never do that stuff again"--would jihadism then just go away? Would Osama (assuming he's alive) issue a statement from his cave saying, "That's all we wanted to hear. Was that so painful? All right, boys, let's all go home. We're even now." No more terrorism, no more fatwas, no more beheadings. If that's case I'd say, let's apologize even if we don't mean it. But I have a feeling that al-Quaida isn't going to fold its tents (literally and figuratively) and go away even if we added "pretty please with jam on top."

6/2/07, 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unlike other countries, the United States was heavily involved in the Middle East before 2001. By occupying Saudi Arabia, supporting the Zionist bandit state, propping up dictatorships and plundering oil, torturing Iraq with sanctions, and so on.

So to no one's surprise: when blowback came, it came to the U.S.

You now want to play stupid and say that the U.S. was chosen as a target by coincidence, or by throwing darts.
According to your theory that it was a "purely religious act," they could have just as easily hit Cuba (another land of da infidels), which is laughable.

Of course it's annoying to listen to your denials, and it's offensive.
It would be like saying that Jeffrey Dahmer wasn't prosecuted for his murders, but was instead prosecuted for being called Jeff.

It's also pretty dangerous, because increased aggression and meddling in the Middle East will now lead to increased retaliatory attacks. Congrats.

6/3/07, 2:44 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Bilwick is right. They’ll just find another excuse to attack us as they must. Islam was founded by a military leader who plundered, slaughtered, conquered and oppressed. His purpose was to unite the bickering Arab tribes for empire-building. In the next hundred years Islam conquered land from Spain to India before failing to conquer France. This vast imperial conquest was seen as a sign from God that Islam is the true righteous religion. The failure in France doomed caused a crisis of faith and doomed the Umayyad dynasty.

The Roman Empire continued in the East with Constantinople as its capital. It may have lost Northern Africa and the Levant but the capital was difficult to take down. For centuries Muslims attacked and tried to conquer Constantinople before succeeding in 1453 AD. The conquest of the greatest Empire in human history – one that lasted 2000 years – is seen as God’s validation of Islam. Today we are Rome. We don’t have to do anything; just by being the greatest power on earth we refute Islam. Islamic revivalists must prove their mettle by attacking America.

Of course, Muslims wage jihad around the world wherever they happen to be. The slaughter of Buddhist monks in Thailand has nothing to do with Bush’s foreign policy. The jihad is found in Kashmir, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Chechnya, Israel, Spain, Indonesia, etc. They’ll even kill over a cartoon (Danish preferably). Bilwick is right; groveling doesn’t help; it only emboldens them. Trying to build them a shining new democracy can’t be done and won’t “win hearts and minds.” We have 50 years of appeasement and it has only backfired. Ron Paul has it all backwards because he's completely ignorant about Islam and today's enemy. It just doesn't fit into his dogma.

6/3/07, 8:49 AM  
Blogger Allen Weingarten said...

As usual, I agree with Jason on Islam and the ignorance of many libertarians. However, even if libertarians were informed about the theory and practice of Islam, they might well remain appeasers. They can address the need to protect Americans from their government, but cannot face the imperative to first defend us from foreign and domestic aggression. It is so much easier for the child to knock down another’s sand castle than to build his own.

6/3/07, 11:09 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Thanks, Allen, and you where right before when you noted that Ron Paul attacks a legitimate function of government.

6/3/07, 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, P.J. O'Rourke said on Bill Maher last week that
he agrees that US policies and support of Israel are a source of the trouble.

He added however that he strongly supports Israel himself, and he believes it's worth the price.

So, whether you believe US actions overseas are good or evil, the fact is
the problem stems from that.

6/3/07, 6:49 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Nonsense! The problem is Islam. No Islam, no jihadist terror attacks! You don’t see Serbs blowing up buildings of office workers. You don’t see Columbians trying to blow up the JFK airport. You don’t see Haitians or Liberians doing these kinds of things. Islam is the problem and it is the problem for infidels around the world.

Sure you can dodge the bullet and let the next guy take it from time to time. I have no problem with letting some of the problem fall on others. But the problem isn’t any alleged grievance.

We’re blamed for supporting dictators and blamed for supporting un-Islamic institutions like democracies. We’re blamed for dealing with Saddam in the 80s, defeating Saddam in the Gulf War, refusing to deal with Saddam during the embargo, and removing Saddam in 2003. We blamed for leaving Afghanistan too soon and coming back in 2001. We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t, and damned if we’re nowhere insight.

The Islamic Revival is just starting. Muslims are returning to their roots and embracing an imperialist warrior ideology. Get ready for more, much more. You really should learn something about Islam.

6/3/07, 8:05 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

By the way, Islam isn't the only factor. But the simple fact is that Islam is the root cause.

6/3/07, 8:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

[ Islam is the problem and it is the problem for infidels around the world. ]

It's not a problem for the infidels of North Korea for example. They don't attack muslim countries so there is no backlash.

I have hundreds of jihad videos and they contain exactly zero references to DPR Korea; while it's always about the Zionist-Crusader aggression.

Shaykh Osama bin Laden said
himself in 2004:
Contrary to what Bush says and claims -- that we hate freedom -- let him tell us then, "Why did we not attack Sweden?"

[ The slaughter of Buddhist monks in Thailand has nothing to do with Bush’s foreign policy. ]

And your slaughter in Vietnam had nothing to do with the mujahideen

One of the most annoying aspects of your islamophobia fad:
By attacking islam you are trying to imply that the US, UK and the West are "good".

6/3/07, 10:21 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

You’re being ridiculous. There are no Muslims in North Korea and they have no access. Sweden does have a problem but you’re clearly ignorant on this manner. You’re also ignorant of Islam. And relying on the enemy’s propaganda is absurd. Read some of the links above, read some good books, and come back in a few months.

6/3/07, 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well they are your enemy, not mine. Don't drag others into your Israeli wars

There are 200 countries in the world and the United States is the #1 target, it's not a coincidence.

If the 9/11 attack had happened against Cuba or Iceland, the world would have been shocked and bewildered.

But you know, when I saw the second plane strike I was 22 and I knew immediately who did it and why.

About the books... Following 9/11 there has been a rise in radical American nationalism and hatred of islam and Arabs, so lowlifes like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and others have seized the opportunity to get attention and money by pandering to these rednecks. That's where your islamophobe book industry comes from

6/3/07, 10:57 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

I was well aware you merely wanted to rant against America, Israel and the West. It’s clear you have animosity against men and women of the caliber of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Enough said!

6/3/07, 11:04 PM  
Blogger Ducky's here said...

You don't see Colombian terrorists?

Jason, don't be a damn fool.

Terrorism has been around for a long time and has been practiced by many, many cultures.

No Colombian bombers. Absolutely a hoot.

What you object to is America being a target. Somewhere in your little wonderland you think we should be exempt from the hurly-burlt of the world. Probably because Ayn Rand said we were divine or some equally pathetic reason.

No Colombian terrorist bombers. Precious. Absolutely precious.

Of course under St. Ronnie Raygun we had Chilean agents doing car bombings in Washington D.C. but they were after leftists so it was okay in your moral cesspool.

6/4/07, 11:29 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

If I don't see Columbian terrorists I'm obviously not terrorized.

By the way, don't confuse me with George W Bush -- I'm not against terrorism (which is a tactic); I'm against attacks on America.

America (along with our British allies) saved the world from totalitarian subjugation and we remain the world's best example of a sustainable liberal society. Yes, I'm partisan -- I'm on our side, and proudly so. No doubt, this is something you can't fathom.

6/4/07, 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, if I thought a little grovelling would get the jihadists to stop their beheadings and bombings and the rest of their struggle to restore the Caliphate, I would say, "Okay, let's grovel a little." (Then, after they disbanded and retired to civilian life, have the ringleaders quietly and individually whacked, the way the Mob paid back Danny Ocean and his associates for their casino heist in the proposed (but never filmed) ending to the original OCEAN'S ELEVEN.)

So is Jaguar saying that if we did apologize, the Islamofascists give up their jihad? I can't tell exactly what course of action he's proposing except some general course of appeasement.

6/5/07, 9:08 AM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

You also assuming jaguar is part of "we" and not part of "them." My guess is the latter.

6/5/07, 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the same suspicion, jp, but I thought that might be an "ad hominem" argument. I was going to call him "Sheikh Jaguar."

6/5/07, 1:11 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

If he's Sheikh Jaguar or Pasha Jaguar, it's not as bad. In the American tradition, a turncoat is worse than the enemy. Few remember the name of a British General but every school child knows of Benedict Arnold.

6/5/07, 1:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Jaguar b. p. said...

"By occupying Saudi Arabia, supporting the Zionist bandit state, propping up dictatorships and plundering oil, torturing Iraq with sanctions, and so on."

Hey, people, remember the old Soviet Union, with all their novel definitions? Ol' Jaguar reminds me of them! He just uses "revisionist" definitions to support his non-objective view of reality.

6/6/07, 2:34 PM  
Blogger Jason Pappas said...

Yes, and quoted bin Laden propaganda almost verbatim. Bin Laden refers to our troops in Saudi Arabia (who were invited to protect that country from Saddam) as occupation. And he refers to our purchase of Arab oil a plunder. He also blames us for refusing to feed Saddam and his people while they refuse to abide by the terms of the ceasefire. This is more reason to assume that he is less likely a libertarian (of any kind) and more likely a jihadist.

6/6/07, 4:28 PM  
Blogger Always On Watch said...

Groveling would accomplish nothing. In fact, it would make matters worse as Muslims woul take such groveling a sign of the omnipotence of Allah--or, at least, evidence of "the will of Allah."

Allah is as powerless as Baal of the Old Testament. That fact needs to be brought home to Muslims.

With their victimology mindset, Muslims are perpetually offended and looking for any excuse to be ticked off.

6/6/07, 8:18 PM  
Blogger beakerkin said...

Jaguar is an idiot of extraordinary

Lets see France, Sweden and the UK must also all be guilty of supporting Israel as Muslims riot there. This must also be a problem in Nigeria where Muslims kill Muslims along racial lines. Obviously India must have the same problem and Kashmir is a code word for Israel.

This is a clear case of an Elmer Fudd obsession with Israel. How much land is enough for Arabs anyway.

6/7/07, 5:25 PM  
Blogger Ronbo said...


Ronbo gives this article a five star rating!

Posted at The Freedom Fighter's Journal

Cheers, Ronbo

6/12/07, 1:39 AM  

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