Avoiding Civilian Casualties is Treason

A common claim among those who try to delegitimize bombing our enemies during a time of war is that when such bombings result in civilian deaths, they constitute “murder”. This, much like every other time leftists use words, isn’t a misunderstanding of the concept represented by the word, but rather its intentional misuse, designed to cover up the left’s true agenda, and reverse the roles of victim and perpetrator.Only a monster would advocate the murder of innocent civilians. And they do. These monsters now have a presence in every major western city. But their bases are in other countries. And they have financial backers in yet other countries. These can be dealt with at any time using our far superior firepower. But we aren’t dealing with them. They hide their worst operatives and their most devastating weapons among civilians, because they know their allies in western countries will make sure they’re safe there, and accuse any country that takes the necessary action to defend its citizens in such a situation of “murder” and “war crimes”.

In every question the human mind ever attempts to answer, a valid conclusion can only be reached if the facts are dealt with within the context in which they exist. The context for the question of what actions a government should take and what actions it should avoid is the overall role of government, namely what limitations should there be on its power, if any.

In laissez faire capitalism the answer to this question is clear: government exists to protect its own citizens from force. When faced with a foreign power trying to kill its citizens, therefore, the individuals in charge of such a limited government should be limited in the scope of choices available to them. Just as they may not start a war for any interest other than the security of the country’s citizens, so they may not stand idly by while their citizens are being butchered, certainly when they have the military might needed to prevent, mitigate or end the threat.

Understanding this position also helps clarify just where those who want us to avoid killing civilians in enemy-controlled territory truly stand: firmly on the side of our enemies, no matter who those enemies are, no matter what war is being fought. Don’t let them fool you when they downplay the significance of the current wave of terrorist attacks. If we were nuked, their position on civilian casualties would be no different: we should live (or die) with the fact that our own citizens and soldiers are getting massacred by the hundreds of thousands if the only way to prevent such a massacre is to bomb a school or a hospital, and certainly if it is to nuke the enemy.

When the government faces the choice of killing civilians in enemy territory or allowing the enemy to kill its own citizens, choosing the latter is, by definition, treason.

  53 comments for “Avoiding Civilian Casualties is Treason

  1. Nico Metten
    Aug 24, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    “In laissez faire capitalism the answer to this question is clear: government exists to protect its own citizens from force.”

    What a terrible confusion. That is fascism, communism or any other type of collectivism. A laissez faire capitalist government, as far as that is not a contradiction in terms, has one purpose and one purpose only: to protect the individual liberty of the human beings under its influence. That is it. Killing civilians is treason to that cause. There is no us vs them, there are only individuals and their rights. Those rights do not come from the government. And it is risky to have a government as their main protector. You are a collectivist masquerade as an advocate of laissez faire.

    • Razi G
      Aug 27, 2016 at 2:28 am

      The difference between us is that I live in reality and you live in an imaginary world, like most libertarians. In your imaginary world, there are no bad guys other than the people in government in western countries. Islamic terrorists, Russian and Chinese tyrants, these people are all the way they are as a response to the west being mean to them. Once we have economic freedom, murderers will lose all will to murder, and we’ll all live happily ever after.

      In reality, bombing civilians is the reason we won world war 2, our nuclear weapons are the reason we weren’t annihilated during the cold war, and the rules of engagement you support are the reason the Islamists have been getting stronger and stronger for the past 40 years. As I’ve mentioned before, it is you who are advocating mass murder, in effect, and it is all of us whose murder you are advocating.

  2. Ken Ferguson
    Aug 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    Only a monster would advocate the murder of innocent civilians.

    You are quite correct, but then you proceed to advocate just that. There is no more legitimacy in our invading or attacking the inhabitants of failed or failing states than in the random terrorist attacks on our citizens which are the consequence.

    Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria were assaulted in the pursuit of Western perceived geo-political interests and these interventions were instrumental in the creation of the terrorism we have subsequently experienced. Neither have moral legitimacy and to advocate more killing is entirely repugnant and counter productive in terms of “protecting our own citizens”.

    • Razi G
      Aug 27, 2016 at 2:53 am

      I won’t attempt to explain here why the idea that Islamic terrorists are the victims, and their actions “are the consequence” of our policies, is as deplorable as actually supporting their attacks. I would only recommend to anyone who isn’t clear on why Islamic terrorists are terrorists to read the Quran.

      • Ken Ferguson
        Aug 29, 2016 at 5:59 pm

        I was not suggesting that Islamic terrorists are victims. But to deny that the actions of the West in attacking their countries has not created more terrorists is nonsensical. Al Quaeda did not exist in Iraq before the invasion and IS is a direct consequence. Those are facts.

        In the original post you were advocating more bombing and more intervention. How difficult is it to understand that such a policy will result in more death and destruction on all sides?

        The consequences of the kind of aggression you want is not forgivable.

        • Razi G
          Sep 1, 2016 at 8:27 pm

          How would dead terrorists result in more death and destruction on our side? That’s another one of those claims you people on the left love making, without seeing a need to back them up with facts. I don’t believe in ghosts, so when a person is dead, I’m certain he can no longer do harm. If others rise up, we’ll kill them too. The moral right to self-defense isn’t limited to a quota of attackers.

          The reason Japan and Germany no longer pose a threat to the west is because their aggression was met with such devastating force that they wouldn’t dream of trying anything like that again. The reason the Islamic terrorists are emboldened is because after committing murder on an unprecedented scale in the U.S. they saw America’s political leadership asking for permission from other countries to strike back, deliberating endlessly, finally choosing the easiest of targets, and even while going to “war” with those targets, repeatedly claiming that the people of those countries are not our enemy, that the ideology in the name of which they murder is “peaceful”, and starting the war a month after the attack on U.S. soil, not by bombing the enemy, but by dropping food and medicine on them.

          The recent “War on Terror” is the perfect example of how a defeatist war strategy, with rules of engagement that make victory impossible, serve only to embolden the enemy.

          • Ken Ferguson
            Sep 6, 2016 at 3:20 pm

            How would dead terrorists result in more death and destruction on our side?

            You weren’t advocating killing terrorists. You were advocating killing innocent civilians.

            That’s another one of those claims you people on the left love making, without seeing a need to back them up with facts.

            If you think I’m on the left you are more of a fool than even your original post would suggest.

            I don’t believe in ghosts, so when a person is dead, I’m certain he can no longer do harm. If others rise up, we’ll kill them too.

            Jesus wept!!!!

            The reason Japan and Germany no longer pose a threat to the west is because their aggression was met with such devastating force that they wouldn’t dream of trying anything like that again.

            No. The reason they no longer pose a threat to the West is because they don’t launch attacks on other states. They realise that it is not in their interests to do so, as it is not in ours.

            The reason the Islamic terrorists are emboldened is because after committing murder on an unprecedented scale in the U.S. they saw America’s political leadership asking for permission from other countries to strike back, deliberating endlessly, finally choosing the easiest of targets, and even while going to “war” with those targets, repeatedly claiming that the people of those countries are not our enemy, that the ideology in the name of which they murder is “peaceful”, and starting the war a month after the attack on U.S. soil, not by bombing the enemy, but by dropping food and medicine on them.

            I suppose they could have nuked the whole of the middle east and other Islamic hangouts. No doubt that would have made you happy?

  3. Mr Ed
    Aug 24, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    You cannot have laissez-faire without a government, by definition.

  4. Aug 24, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Nico makes a very strong challenge to Razi here. In fact, he may have inadvertently highlighted a misunderstanding by Razi of the very objectivist philosophy which Razi is apparently espousing. My own understanding is that Rand was closer to Nico on this issue.

    While Razi responds to that I will add an item to his inbox, which is that while he may (subject to above) have correctly derived a conclusion about how a government must conduct war, I do not think he has correctly derived a basis for government to conduct such an action in the first place.

    Had Razi argued that the government must decide a certain way between two alternatives *in an emergency* then the ethical standard changes to reflect the fact that only those two alternatives exist. I.e he has not proposed a “lifeboat” style situation in which ethical choice is not possible. Offline he went further and expressly disclaimed the idea that his views are based on a lifeboat scenario or any aspect of that analysis.

    I think that is a mistake. I think Razi’s proposed course of action is only permissible in an emergency where only the two alternatives exist.

    • Razi G
      Aug 27, 2016 at 2:40 am

      “My own understanding is that Rand was closer to Nico on this issue.”
      This is an astonishing assertion, and, as is the case with assertions, completely unsubstantiated. Rand spoke extensively on this issue, but I think one quote (from her reply to a question after her Ford Hall Forum in 1972) will suffice:
      “This is a major reason people should be concerned about the nature of their government. The majority in any country at war is often innocent. But if by neglect, ignorance, or helplessness, they couldn’t overthrow their bad government and establish a better one, then they must pay the price for the sins of their government, as we are all paying for the sins of ours. And if people put up with dictatorship—as some do in Soviet Russia, and some did in Nazi Germany—they deserve what their government deserves. Our only concern should be who started the war. Once that’s established, there’s no need to consider the “rights” of that country, because it has initiated the use of force and therefore stepped outside the principle of rights.”

      As for whether or not the government should conduct a war, this was never the issue. Of course I’m not advocating killing civilians for sport. I think in this article, as well as in my previous two and my replies to comments on them, I have made it clear that I consider government responsible for the protection of its citizens, and therefore should choose civilian deaths on the enemies’ side over the death of its own citizens.

      • Aug 27, 2016 at 9:40 pm

        You misunderstand me. I was responding to Nico’s distinction between defending rights (the method) and defending life (the outcome) although on a second reading he may not have been making that point. Obviously Rand fell on the rights side, and would not for instance protect anyone from the weather. Instead, Nico seem s to be suggesting that the joint ownership of a state by it’s citizens is collectivist which is either a blow to your argument in methodological grounds or is name calling, I can’t decide.

        Nico’s remaining point was a distinction was about geographic scope of concern. How do you answer the idea that a state ought not to be concerned about the rights of people outside it’s borders? I see two problems which that : the fact the people concerned are largely innocent, and the rights of the states’ agents to commit the bombing.

        The quote you provided nearly answers the the first problem, but how does it follow that “helplessness” permits the innocent to bear the guilt of the sins of their government?

        Also, how does my job title “RAF Pilot” or my attractive RAF uniform entitle me to drop a bomb on behalf of the U.K. It does not. So what does?

        • Julie near Chicago
          Aug 27, 2016 at 10:56 pm

          Not to butt into your conversation with Razi, Simon, but the answer to the question of your final paragraph is, simply, that what so “entitles” you to drop said bomb (insofar as your superiors in the RAF and Parliament are competent, clear-thinking, ethical in the context of war, and honest) is that the British people, through their system of government, have hired you to do exactly that.

          (That is, to defend the UK, as ethically and competently as is possible in the context of war or, under extreme threat, of forestalling war. You, as an employee of the people, have been assigned to the job by management.)

          . . .

          Oh well, as long as I’m here. It’s not that ‘”helplessness” permits the innocent to bear the guilt of the sins of their government.’ (Which, note, is quoted as Miss Rand’s words, not Razi’s.) It’s that the “innocent” are physically intermixed with the less-innocent in such a way that’s impossible to separate them so that they will not be equally affected by the results of defensive action of the defending party. That fact does not excuse the government of the country targetted by the aggressor from defending itself, even if it means that the truly innocent are killed.

          The hostage-takers… see below.

          This, by the way, has long been one of the few points where even pretty hard-core Objectivists have trouble with Miss R’s position. I don’t entirely agree with her argument myself.

          I would note that practically speaking, both the U.S. and Israel, and I wouldn’t put it past you folks to have done so as well *g*, have gone so far as to drop leaflets warning civilians (whether they are “innocent” or not) of an upcoming attack against their location, and giving them the advice and the time to flee.

          In addition, as targetting technology becomes better and better, fewer and fewer civilians (again, regardless of degree of innocence) will in fact be killed or even injured.

          Yet again, let me call to your attention the simple fact that if the enemy chooses to place his personnel, matériel, or war industry in the midst of civilian populations, he is in the exact position of the hostage taker, the one who uses human shields to threaten the opposition with immoral murder if they are harmed.

          Indeed, the entire regime of the aggressor nation (or group) is such a hostage-taker, in principle.

        • Nico Metten
          Aug 27, 2016 at 11:10 pm

          “Instead, Nico seem s to be suggesting that the joint ownership of a state by it’s citizens is collectivist ”

          Of course it is. A state is not a voluntary club. That means it cannot be seen as a service provider to customers. But even if it were a private club, that would not mean that it could just violate the rights of non members.

          • Julie near Chicago
            Aug 28, 2016 at 1:12 am

            The aim, Nico, is that your state (even if it were a private club), is to protect itself — meaning, in this case, those who are in its zone of protection: citizens, resident aliens, visitors, and children who are not qualified for full citizenship rights — the aim of your state is to protect itself, its own citizens and so forth, against the predations of some gang which is specifically trying to disempower the defending country’s people from exercising their own right of self-determination.

            Your state-or-private-club is NOT “just violating the rights of non-members.”

            Nico, elsewhere you’ve said that you accept that self-defense is legitimate and that sometimes it demands the killing of others. But it seems to me that for you, as for so many, “The cause is never Just and the time is never Now.” And you say that this is because innocents may be killed.

            But if you are waiting for a world in which the genuinely innocent are never at risk from the results of the predations of their group, you are going to have a very long wait.

            And why, pray tell, are the lives of the innocents who are members (yes, they are members) of an attacking country more important than the lives of the people being attacked?

            • Nico Metten
              Aug 28, 2016 at 10:53 am

              If I have a private defence club here is Brixton, who is trying to protect its members against criminals and I am being attack by a gang from Hackney, I cannot just obliterate Hackney just because it would put my own club members at risk if they go to Hackney and try to deal with the bad guys individually. It is simply mass murder to throw a bomb on the whole of Hackney just because I have a problem with a few people there. And that is what is advocated here. This is the complete rejection of individual liberty and responsibility. It is collectivism in its absolute worst form.

            • Julie near Chicago
              Aug 28, 2016 at 5:43 pm

              @Nico, Aug 28, 2016 at 10:53 am:

              The situation with Hackney is entirely different. There the general population is not mixed indistinguishably into the attacking gang.

              The proposed analogy also fails from the simple fact of the sizes involved. When you speak of “private defense clubs” and “gangs from Hackney,” that already implies that the attacking gang has thousands or millions of members, and I assume that even Hackney is not so large.

              However, that whole setup moves into different territory altogether: The territory of normal domestic police. And it does happen that during entirely legitimate policing innocents are sometimes killed; innocents who really are innocent, not associated with the gangs, have never committed a felonious act in their lives, and would never support in any way a person or gang who does so. But if the police are, say, engaged in trying to quell a serious riot, such as South Central, they will do what they must so that even more innocents are not hurt or killed — by the “gangs” or “mob” who instigated the riots, or who have joined in the mayhem enthusiastically.

              You’re right back to the hostage conundrum … wherein, yes, some of the people being held hostage by the bad guy in the bank may die as a result of the responsible attempt to free them all.

              But if you, Nico, are well-trained, knowledgeable on dealing with such situations, and responsible in trying to free them, then your attempt has a reasonable chance of success, and is laudable even though innocent lives are lost.

              All this has nothing, NOTHING to do with “collectivism.”

            • Nico Metten
              Aug 30, 2016 at 3:18 pm

              > The situation with Hackney is entirely different. There the general population is not mixed indistinguishably into the attacking gang.

              That is the same in every war zone. If you went there, you would see how easy it is to distinguish between fighters and non fighters. But therefore you have to go there and risk your life. Something that seems unacceptable for Razi. Much better to kill innocent people. It is the same as with Hackney.

              > The proposed analogy also fails from the simple fact of the sizes involved. When you speak of “private defense clubs” and “gangs from Hackney,” that already implies that the attacking gang has thousands or millions of members, and I assume that even Hackney is not so large.

              Tell me, what is the appropriate size to justify a genocide going to be? Shell we agree on 5 million upwards to make genocide acceptable?
              Masses are irrelevant for moral arguments. Especially if the moral argument is allegedly made in the name of individualism. Anyway, Razi does not agree with you here. He thinks a few individual terrorists are already enough to justify genocide, for the simple reason that the other side does not have a citizenship in our state and therefore apparently does not enjoy the same rights.

              > However, that whole setup moves into different territory altogether: The territory of normal domestic police. And it does happen that during entirely legitimate policing innocents are sometimes killed; innocents who really areinnocent, not associated with the gangs, have never committed a felonious act in their lives, and would never support in any way a person or gang who does so.

              You see, unless you are a collectivist, who believes that the other group has less rights, there is no moral difference between a policing action and a military action. Moral principles should be universal. They apply for the military as much as for the police. And if the police kills innocent people there should be an investigation into the matter. If it turns out that these were more than an unforeseeable accident, the police men responsible should be charged with a crime.

              > But if the police are, say, engaged in trying to quell a serious riot, such as South Central, they will do what they must so that even more innocents are not hurt or killed — by the “gangs” or “mob” who instigated the riots, or who have joined in the mayhem enthusiastically.

              Maybe that is how it works in the US. In civilised countries that is not the case.

              > You’re right back to the hostage conundrum … wherein, yes, some of the people being held hostage by the bad guy in the bank may die as a result of the responsible attempt to free them all.

              Well, then don’t free them. What kind of freeing is that when you ending up killing them? The only exception might be, if you have very good reasons to believe that if you don’t intervene they are all dead anyway.

              > But if you, Nico, are well-trained, knowledgeable on dealing with such situations, and responsible in trying to free them, then your attempt has a reasonable chance of success, and is laudable even though innocent lives are lost.

              That is completely unacceptable, to kill innocent people in a hostage taking. But this is not even what Razi is proposing. He is complaining that our politicians care about foreign dead civilians at all. He is proposing a final solution, a genocide.

              All this has nothing, NOTHING to do with “collectivism.”

              Oh it absolutely does. Your ideas of what a police force is suppose to do are very scary and indeed collectivist.

            • Julie near Chicago
              Sep 2, 2016 at 7:41 am

              Nico, Aug 30, 2016 at 3:18 pm :

              I think we do not understand the same thing by the word “collectivism.”

              To me, a “collective” is a group which has as one of its defining characteristics the belief that no individual member of the group has any value or importance beyond his value or importance to that particular group.

              “Collectivism” is the doctrine that no person, no individual, is important except insofar as he is of value to some collective.

              In other words, the individual has no right to exist at all, in himself; he has that right, is worthy of living, if and only if, and only as long as, he is a member of some collective (which accepts him and his existence only because he’s of use to it).

              Nico, exactly what is your definition of “collectivism”?

            • Nico Metten
              Sep 2, 2016 at 11:30 am

              Collectivism is simply to put an imagined greater good of a group over the good of the individuals. Collectivists argue for the sacrifice of individuals for this greater cause. That is why you have to pay taxes, because overall, everyone is allegedly better off. Or like when you argue that sometimes you have to sacrifice innocent individuals for the greater good of the security of others. That is collectivism.

          • Razi G
            Sep 1, 2016 at 8:35 pm

            The linguistic gymnastics you perform when calling me a Nazi wouldn’t be necessary if your position was actually defensible. And if you deem it to be indefensible, perhaps it’s time to reconsider it. The fact is, had WW2 been fought using the type of restrictions you want to put on our armed forces, you’d all be speaking German today. I think that point was perfectly illustrated in the video to which Mr Ed linked; there are two choices in such situations: death of killing. I want neither, but if I’m forced to choose, I’ll always choose the latter.

            If you advocate for letting the Islamic terrorist win the current war, or that we should have let the Nazis win WW2, please don’t pretend you have the moral high ground.

  5. Mr Ed
    Aug 24, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    There is within living memory a very simple test for the dividing line between lunacy/sabotage and common sense in this area. It is dramatised in this exchange between Air Marshal Sir Arthur Harris and Reverend Collins, regarding the bombing of Hamburg, from 2′ 50″ onwards:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-O8GIAjy2s

    If you cannot suggest a practical alternative to what Harris had to do, as he says, ‘Shut up’ (advice, not an instruction).

    If you want to play ‘my infantile disorder is purer than yours’, go ahead. Lenin’s shade will not be angry at his copyright on the term being violated, but that would pointless.

    Is not libertarianism sometimes a bit like “π”, it goes on and on, never finishing, seeking ever greater accuracy with diminishing relevance or application? That is a problem for the movement, and it feeds into perceptions too.

    Libertarianism can sometimes ignore two things: The biological aspects of life, and the need to avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good.

  6. Paul Marks
    Aug 24, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    One should never deliberately seek to kill civilians – for example Julius Caesar was a War Criminal (he really was) because he deliberately slaughtered civilians (or sold them into slavery) and on a vast scale. He choose to do this – indeed it was the objective of his campaign (to get large amounts of plunder, including human plunder, in order to buy votes at home in Rome).

    However, one can not allow the enemy to use civilians as human shields. “You can not hit this base (or position) – because we have got lots of civilians in it”.

    Contrary to Rothbard it would make no difference if the military force was private – it would still have to kill civilians if the enemy was using them as human shields.

    The alternative is defeat. Utter and total defeat.

    Rothbard and those libertarians who choose to follow him) simply did not understand warfare – or any real form of conflict.

    One can not play by nice rules – and expect to survive.

    The enemy comes forward firing (a baby strapped to his chest) – does one fire or not?

    One fires.

    The enemy fires from a house in which there are women and children – does one destroy the house?

    One does.

    And YES that gives the enemy (for example Islamists – who behave this way so much) a P.R. advantage.

    “He killed my little child”.

    But you put your child into a explosive filled car and sent it towards me.

    “Yes – but it was still you who shot the car, blowing up my poor little child, you beast!!”

    When faced with an enemy who uses their own small children as weapons one must be prepared to fire. But NOT without thinking first (if there is time) – for there are ways to sometimes deal with evil people without killing those they use as human shields (or weapons).

    In the future with the development of stun weapons there may be more of a chance.

    “You took my six year old child away from me – suddenly I was asleep and when I woke up my little girl was gone”.

    That was because you were strapping a bomb to the little girl – so I knocked you out with a stun gun and took her away.

    “So you admit you stole my child, she would be in paradise if she died killing infidels – you beast”.

    But that in no way justifies Julius Caesar or other War Criminals.

    And in the bombing of a city when one moves from “these are the enemy production centres we must destroy” to “it will create a revolt if we kill enough civilians” one has moved into crime.

    Remember intention is the key thing – is your intention to destroy the factory making tanks, or is your intention to kill as many civilians as you can?

    There is nothing wrong with asking the question “what is the objective of this air raid?”

    And one must get a proper answer. Real military and political targets – with the killing of civilians as tragic side effect, never the OBJECTIVE.

    I repeat – the question must always be “what is the objective of this operation, what are we trying to destroy?”

    And if these is no proper answer – then call the operation off.

  7. Julie near Chicago
    Aug 25, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Paul — that is very well put.

    And just to repeat what has already been repeated quite a few times, most recently in the “Limits of Free Speech” discussion, I think it was:

    Hostage-takers have a con game going where they say, “If you don’t do what I say, I’m going to shoot X, and it will be your fault!

    No it won’t. It will be the fault of the hostage-taker, the one who has assumed the power of life and death over the hostage.

    This is the same game that the Islamic terrorists play, and that the North Vietnamese played, when they put their duck blinds in apartment complexes and hospitals and so forth. So that an opposition force will not be able to take out the nest of snipers or the weapons depot or whatever without also killing civilians (leave “innocent” out of it; there’s no way to know who is or isn’t how “innocent”), upon which we hear the hostage-takers — the terrorists or the North Vietnamese leaders — hollering about “killing innocents” and “war crimes.”

    But the fact is, THEY are the hostage-takers. THEY are or were the aggressors. Provided opposing forces take such steps as are reasonable IN THE CONTEXT to avoid as much unnecessary killing as they can, they are guilty of nothing but self-defense.

  8. Zach Cope
    Aug 25, 2016 at 9:02 am

    I think it must be comforting to see the world as either black or white; enemy or ally; loyalist or traitor.

    Personally I find it a lot more difficult to understand when my government’s violent action abroad is directly helping me; to associate home grown terrorisism as the clear direct act of a wholly malevolent foreign power; to believe ordinary people in violently repressed and divided societies are fervent supporters of clear direct wars against ‘us’, whoever we are; and that indiscriminate bombing is efficacious in preventing future violence.

  9. Julie
    Aug 25, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Zach,

    Regarding your first point: perhaps if you had lived in Britain during the War (WW II) you would understand.

    Regarding your second: There are reams written about whether X is more properly called a “home-grown terrorist” or a “radicalised Muslim terrorist” (assuming he’s either formally or culturally Muslim, or even really just a normal adolescent or post-adolescent nihilist with either a Sorrows-of-Young-Werther complex or some other emotional difficulty). One can, of course, be both. Lots are….

    It’s pretty evident that the Muslims who commit or support — whether directly or indirectly — terrorism in the name of Islam are indeed wholly evidently malevolent, at least when it comes to those not already formally in a condition of Submission to Allah. They say themselves that this is the case, and the record over 1400 years (with possibly a few easings-up) provides evidence that they mean it. More to the point, whatever they thought 1000 years ago or 500 years ago, it’s obvious by the current actual facts that they are wholly malevolent.

    No sensible person believes that ALL Muslims who live under shari’ah of one form or another are “fervent supporters of clear direct wars against us” (you can leave off the quotes: make no mistake, you yourself are among the millions of nameless unimportant individuals — mere figures on the board — who are the targets of jihad; again, according to the very loudly and publically proclaimed words of the jihadis and their revered clerics). But either in brutally true fact, or in desperate fear for their lives or their families’, a very great many of them say they subscribe to it. In my country, polls indicate that something like 60% or more of American or resident-American Muslims support it.

    Paul writes very compellingly against “indiscriminate bombing”; I strongly concur. Nor, in fact, does Razi state that he goes along with such. Nor do I see much evidence in what he does say that he would condone it.

    Mr Ed points us to Bomber Harris’s rationale. This does not make either of them (Mr Ed or Mr Harris) “bloodthirsty monsters,” but rather realists whose interest is first to save as many as possible of the people they value more as against the people who are intent on either murdering or subjugating them. As it happens, they value their countrymen more than they value the second group; also, as it happens, in their judgment and in the long run, fewer lives will be lost if they bomb the cities to destruction so as to end the war as quickly as may be. Mr Ed is certainly awake to the fact of the humanness of the enemy’s civilians; from the video, I think Air Marshall Harris was too. One may argue about the correctness of the judgment, but if in good faith you judge that the most lives will be saved by doing this instead of that, it is not your moral sense that is at fault.

    You might recall, by the way, that the IDF has given advance warning to Gazan civilians that they are in the zone of a coming attack, and suggesting that they clear out. In such cases, accusations of “indiscriminate bombing” are simply damn lies.

  10. Julie near Chicago
    Aug 26, 2016 at 4:18 am

    One thing I should make clear, Zach. The “indiscriminate bombing” charge, as applied to the actions by the present U.S. Administration in the Middle East, is probably apt. Few Americans approve of Obama’s actions there, neither of pulling too many troops out of Iraq too hastily, and after telling the ISIS and other terrorists the date at which they’d have free rein; still fewer of the actions in Libya and elsewhere.

    If your criticisms are restricted to this particular present mess, it is, as they say, “difficult to argue” with them. My response above was made on the basis of taking your statements as applying generally.

    And in clarification: Above, when I said I was responding to your “first” point, I meant the first point of the second paragraph. :>(

  11. Julie near Chicago
    Aug 26, 2016 at 8:06 am

    I seem to have offended the Bot of Spam. When it decides that I am not a menace to the Libertarian Home and releases its hostage *g*, my comment at 4:16 a.m. might make more sense.

  12. Julie near Chicago
    Aug 27, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Apparently my main comment on Zach’s remarks was lost somehow.

    . . .

    Razi is 100% correct in his Comment above. Objectivism is the exact antithesis of a suicide pact, and Miss R did indeed argue as he quotes, and in more than one place.

    His original posting is well-written and clear, and only argues for a self-defense that is effective; not one that uses self-defense as an excuse for wanton bloodlust. He grounds the argument in simple and obvious facts. And he uses the word “civilians” rather than “innocents,” an important distinction here; in what I will call “the populace of the enemy,” one cannot really distinguish which are which — excepting perhaps infants. This is no exaggeration: in the present instance, young children are used as suicide bombers and taught to be snipers and so forth.

    It’s not even clear when “civilians” are not an important part of the war effort. Drs. Teller, Szilard, Einstein, etc. were certainly “civilians,” but they might as well not have been. And in the case of war fought by terrorists and technically not part of anybody’s army, one has to look closely at the very definition of “civilian.”

    .

    See, again, my remarks on hostage-takers. That is precisely what the enemy are, when they use their civilians as, effectively, human shields. And as with any hostage-takers, resulting deaths are on them, NOT on those who are acting in responsible self-defense that nonetheless results in these deaths.

    In this connection, I also seem to remember remarks by Miss Rand to the effect that a good deal of evil is enabled only by “the sanction of the victims.”

    In any case, it is a very good piece.

    • Razi G
      Sep 1, 2016 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks Julie.

      I left out the issue of children because it wasn’t directly relevant to the issue I was addressing, but I’ll address it here: children are always innocent. Even if a child is wearing a suicide belt, or if a child soldier is holding a gun and shooting at you, that child is still innocent. But that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice yourself, as Nico and others who advocate surrender would demand. You absolutely should shoot back at that child soldier. If a bullet from your gun kills the child, that child is a victim, but he’s a victim of the person who put the gun in his hands, not the person defending himself from that gun.

      • Julie near Chicago
        Sep 2, 2016 at 2:22 am

        Razi, that’s an interesting point about the children. The question is, when does the former child become a “former” child for the purposes of justice?

        Reams have been written about and around this issue, but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anything entirely convincing. It may therefore be that the question is the wrong one to ask. Or it may be that it is terribly difficult, or that it has no answer, at least not in the terms we’re looking for.

        And, just exactly what do we mean by “innocence,” what do we think constitutes innocence, in the context of murder committed by a “child”?

        The children may be innocent in the sense that “they know not what they do,” at least not fully, down to the core; they may be innocent in that left to themselves (that is, without being encouraged or coerced into committing terrible acts) they would not do such things: they are unwilling, for some reason they can’t quite articulate, to cross the line that divides decent from appalling conduct; or their nature is to hold on stubbornly to the idea that “nobody tells me what to do” — that is, to their natural independence and rebellious streak; or they actually understand that murder is wrong, even when done to please Allah, even when all around them demand it.

        But such a child is still the one who physically commits the murder. In that sense, he is not innocent.

        It is not an easy question.

        Whatever else, though, I certainly agree that if someone is about to shoot you or blow you up, you do not make a “victim” of him even by killing him. Maybe somebody did, but it surely wasn’t you.

  13. Leigh-Anne Wain
    Aug 30, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    My view is that the individuals who engage in the killing of non-combatant civilians (who yes I regard as innocent and who should be afforded the same rights as citizens of the free society) should be held legally accountable for their killing.

    Every killing of a civilian should be investigated and the suspected killers should expect a fair trial in a court of law. Context of course matters and this should be reflected in the charge which of course might range from first degree murder to manslaughter.

    Let us say that a soldier is found guilty of the killing, it does not matter at this juncture whether he is guilty of man slaughter or murder. I would expect any sensible private defence agency to approach the executors of the deceased estate (which would either be specified in the civilians last known will and testament or would be dealt with by the next of kin) and offer them a deal, a massive multi-million pound cash bounty in restitution for the crime on behalf of the soldiers and officers who committed the crime. The family of course could refuse it and demand the life of the soldier who did it, This means that the actuary team in the collateral damage department would in essence have to calculate the economic value of a single human life (much like they do now for health and life insurance) and offer say double this to the executors estate in order to protect the interests of their service men and women.

    Note that this is not pie in the sky as the British Army actually employed elements of exactly this strategy as part of its counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan in dealing with the collateral damage problem in Afghanistan. The village elders would meet with british officer and inform that so and so was killed in an airstrike and the british officer would ensure that the family was given several thousand pounds of compensation. It was far from ideal and the Afghan example resembles more a compulsory purchase order, than a voluntary agreement but its far more just than saying ‘talk to the taliban its there fault’.

    So I personally see no contradiction between the demands of universal justice and the reality of collateral damage in war. Indeed where defence is privatised we would expect to see defence companies acting in their own economic interest and developing military stategy, tactics and technologies to secure military objectives with the lowest possible amount of collateral damage.

    Without applying universal standards of justice in war there is no incentive to actually wage war in a civilised manner. I can’t help but notice how apologists for collateral damage in war quickly escalate from say defending a drone strike on a terrorist cell (to stop the ticking time bomb of lore) which result in killing innocent civilians living next door as well to defending the intentional mass slaughter of civilians in Hamburg, Dresden and Hiroshima. The former seems reasonable and consistent with universal justice, the latter I view as an unconscionable war crime.

    • Mr Ed
      Aug 30, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      ‘Without applying universal standards of justice in war there is no incentive to actually wage war in a civilised manner.’

      Would you care to address what Felix Steiner had to say about the Wehrmacht order exempting soldiers from prosecution for crimes against Soviet civilians?

      ‘No rational unit leader could could comply with such an order. Under those circumstances even the best units would run wild and morale would suffer. Discipline would decline and with it the moral worth and combat value of the unit would disappear. On these grounds I feel justified in referring any offence against the inhabitants (of Soviet territory) to the military courts for prosecution.’

      He also did not pass on the Kommissar Order to his subordinate officers.

      And woukd you care to address my ‘Bomber’ Harris/Canon Collins point above?

    • Julie near Chicago
      Aug 31, 2016 at 1:07 am

      War Criminals: The True Story of the Atomic Bombs — Bill Whittle

      [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VfyNNVuLCn8&w=560&h=315%5D



    • Razi G
      Sep 2, 2016 at 5:02 pm

      What you “view as an unconscionable war crime” may have been the difference between losing WW2 and winning it. In today’s context, if your policies are followed we’ll be living in an Islamic khalifate sooner than you think (you’re making a clear statement about what type of attacks we should not respond to. Terrorists have no such scruples, and would certainly take advantage of the gift you’re offering them. Our military superiority would mean even less than it does now.). Then, you can tell your new masters that back when we were free, you argued for the policies that got them in power. I doubt that’ll make your new life any easier.

      As for your point regarding private defense companies, I am not an anarchist, and do not support the idea of having private military companies running national defense.

  14. Leigh-Anne Wain
    Aug 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    I watched the Bomber Harris section and I will be sure to watch the entire TV movie. I also watched John Stewart’s video as well.

    My observation is that both operate on the implicit assumption is that there is no choice but to fight world war 2 and nothing short of total unconditional surrender of the enemy can be contemplated. Now if you accept those premises then I can see the line of reasoning that ultimately justifies the wholesale slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians in Hamburg and Hiroshima.

    But I reject both assumptions, the allies fighting in world war 2 was a choice and not something forced upon them. Remember Britain and France declared war on Germany not the other way round. Hitler wanted his living space in Eastern Europe, not Western Europe.

    The Japanese gamble leading to Pearl Harbor was based on the assumption that the colonial powers were weakened by the war in Europe and the US-led oil embargo gave the hyper-militaristic Japanese an ultimatum to either abandon their war in China or seize the oil fields themselves. It comes as no surprise that they chose the latter.

    Secondly the other assumption is that nothing less than total unconditional surrender of the Axis was required. That it was not possible to come to an armistice earlier had the allies limited their aims. We know the the Axis powers were open to negotiation but it was often contingent on the survival of the regime and empire in some part.

    My point is that in a free society war aims would be limited (deter and repel the aggressor) It would not seek to intervene in distant wars (although any individual who wanted to go and fight for a free Poland or a free Spain would not be stopped from doing so).

    If attacked the private defence agencies in the free society would fight a limited war to secure its territorial integrity. That’s it. It would not insist on capturing the enemies capital and hanging all the leaders of the enemy regime. Such a war I argue could be fought and won whilst delivering justice for civilians killed on both sides of the war.

    • Mr Ed
      Aug 31, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      The US oil embargo was a result of Japanese aggression in China, like the Rape of Nanking. And did Dutch East India maintain an oil embargo on Japan? Julie’s clip says it all about the end of WW2, sad but inevitable, a calculas had to be made.

      What terms would you have offered Hitler, let him keep the gas chambers? Why are Poles less valuable than Belgians? As Harris says in that TV movie ‘We’ve been accussed of murder. What would we have been accussed of, if we’d let Hitler and his bloody gang have their way?’.

      Ever heard in person an eye-witness account of Belsen? I have. Can you tell me that you know as a fact that Hitler would not have turned on Denmark, Norway, The Netherlands, all neutrals, not allies before Germany attacked? Or is Chamberlain to blame for their invasions? If you have seen a map, Norway has no border with Germany, you may notice.

      And Felix Steiner’s quote is still there for your considerarion.

      • Leigh-Anne Wain
        Sep 5, 2016 at 5:55 pm

        Mr Ed,

        I honestly don’t know where you are going with the Felix Steiner quote. If your going to use that quote in support of a point it is up to your to argue for it and explain it, not me to decipher it. I can then give my two cents.

        As to the economic blockade of Japan, yes the oil embargo was carried out by not just the US but also by the Dutch who held the only accessible oil in the Pacific.

        I am sure that there were plenty of justifications given for the economic sanctions against Japan. Just like there are for any government policy. My observation is that it is an illustration of a general rule that economic sanctions are a cause of war. In Japan’s case it is fully documented in the historical literature.

        Why is it important? because your whole case for ‘bomber harris’ rests on the flawed assumption that the only option was either fight to the death or surrender. But the interventions in China and Poland were choices, turning regional conflicts into global conflicts.

        As for terms with Hitler. I have already answered it, the policy of a free nation (ideally a stateless society) would be extremely narrow and concerned with its own self-defence like Switzerland. If attacked it would resist the invader and repel it from it’s territory and then seek an armistice at the earliest opportunity. It would not be concerned in destroying the aggressors entire empire and regime or throwing it’s weight to so called balance of power calculations.

        Its borders should remain open to trade and to immigration. The best thing that such a free society could do for all the victims of the war is to be a safe haven for those fleeing conflict and persecution. The Polish people who were in an untenable position sandwiched between two totalitarian great powers would have been able to emigrate to the free society. The same is true for Jews, Germans, Czechs, Russians and anyone who wanted to escape tyranny and conflict.

        In practice the western countries had erected massive immigration barriers in the inter-war years to prevent immigration and nothing stops the migration of peoples across borders than a war, the more total the war, the higher the barrier raised.

  15. Mr Ed
    Sep 2, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    ‘Collectivism is simply to put an imagined greater good of a group over the good of the individuals. Collectivists argue for the sacrifice of individuals for this greater cause. That is why you have to pay taxes, because overall, everyone is allegedly better off. Or like when you argue that sometimes you have to sacrifice innocent individuals for the greater good of the security of others. That is collectivism.’

    Not really, in fact this is stretching things beyond reason. Frankly, it sounds like teenage Rothbardism. Calling it ‘collectivism’ is presumably meant to be disparaging, but it is no rebuttal of a strategy. If your position is ‘do nothing lest you do some evil’ just say so, and stand by that position.

    Paraphrasing the dramatised Harris ‘if you can suggest targets that will win the war quicker, do so, or shut up.’ I note that no one has actually tried to rebut Harris’s challenge, which I take to be eloquent silence.

    Faced with the problem of ‘How do we stop the Third Reich turning us into slaves or soap’, the response was ‘Total War’ by whatever means available, as a consequence, casualties and deaths of ‘innocents’ e.g non-participants, children, elderly, sick are unavoidable. That is not the purpose, to treat people as undiscriminated targets, it is a consequence of weapons, means and aims.

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 2, 2016 at 7:45 pm

      Yes, really, it is. Collectivism is the opposite of individualism.

      And there is no challenge here. He is just repeating the old Nazi moral of, ‘you have to break some eggs to make an omelette’. The goal is not to win a war for the state, but to protect liberty. You don’t do that, by killing innocent people. The Nazis would not have enslaved everyone. They were socialist and socialist run out of resources eventually and have to retreat. When you defend yourself, you don’t have to fight in a way that betrays liberty. Because if you betray individual liberty then what the hell are you fighting for? The glory of some statesmen to declare victory? No thank you, not my struggle. My struggle is to fight people who make this their struggle.

      • Razi G
        Sep 2, 2016 at 7:57 pm

        You keep repeating this mantra by which what you advocate is the protection of individual liberty, and yet you completely ignore what it is that individual liberty should be protected from. What are the threats to our liberty, and how can we protect them? These aren’t questions you want to address, because you would then have to acknowledge that your ideas would necessarily lead to the complete annihilation of whatever limited freedoms we enjoy today, rather than to inalienable individual rights. You ignore the arguments regarding what result your policies would have led to in WW2, and have downplayed the current threat posed by Islamic terrorism (in a manner similar to the one employed by the left in the 1930s to argue against going to war with Germany).

        • Nico Metten
          Sep 2, 2016 at 8:32 pm

          > You keep repeating this mantra by which what you advocate is the protection of individual liberty, and yet you completely ignore what it is that individual liberty should be protected from.

          It should be protected from anyone who is violating it, like Islamic terrorists, neoconservatism, socialist etc. And if you kill innocent people, you are inevitable end their individual liberty. So do not pretend that this is a protection of individual liberty, when it is the exact opposite.

          > What are the threats to our liberty, and how can we protect them?

          The state is the biggest institutional threat. And war is the health of the state. Other than that, our biggest enemy are collectivist ideas. Those can be fought with arguments, which is our sharpest weapon. And if someone attacks you with physical weapons, you shoot back at the person who is attacking you or try to disable him in another way. But by doing that you have an absolute obligation to do everything you can to avoid victimising innocent bystanders.

          > These aren’t questions you want to address,

          I have addressed them many times, even in the comments of your articles. Here are other examples.

          http://libertarianhome.co.uk/2016/04/the-collateral-damage-problem-in-eye-in-the-sky/

          http://libertarianhome.co.uk/2015/12/war-is-the-enemy-of-liberty/

          > because you would then have to acknowledge that your ideas would necessarily lead to the complete annihilation of whatever limited freedoms we enjoy today, rather than to inalienable individual rights.

          Who is we? The biggest threat to my liberty is the British government at the moment, not some terrorist from the middle east. And the innocent people that you think you have a right to kill, will lose all of their freedom if you get your will.

          > You ignore the arguments regarding what result your policies would have led to in WW2,

          I never said that you should not defend yourself against an invading army. But WW2 is the result of states running empires that then clashed. There would not have been a Hitler if it wasn’t for the complete screw up of British and French foreign policy since WW1. And getting Britain and the US involved in the war only made things worth. In case you did not noticed, the story did not end very well. The Nazies basically succeeded in killing most jews. And most of Europe disappeared behind an iron curtain for decades. Stalin and the welfare state were the real big winners of the intervention of the UK and the US in WW2. The US in particular would most likely be a much more libertarian place without their involvement in the world wars, which were completely unnecessary. War is a state program, and like all of these programs, they only make things worse. If you want to fight ISIS, then go ahead and fight them. By doing so, you should be help fully accountable for any violation of liberty that you engage in.

          The ironic thing is that your genocide strategy won’t even work the way you intend it to do. Contrary to your believe, you do not win wars with bombing campaigns. If you unleash these genocidal atrocities that you would like to see, you will soon have a whole lot more enemies that want to kill you. Because all these innocent people have friends and family somewhere else that will then seek revenge. You cannot kill the whole world. Eventually you will have to fight them on the ground with all the risks involved.

          • Mr Ed
            Sep 3, 2016 at 6:27 am

            Nico,

            Please tell us extensively what you would have done or had done, as the British Prime Minister in July 1940 to win the war, assuming that you had and could retain the confidence of the House of Commons. Explain how your plans would succeed. That way, you can illustrate the flaws on what was done, and the merits of was not done.

            If you cannot rise to this challenge, you would, I venture, not come across well.

            • Nico Metten
              Sep 3, 2016 at 10:28 am

              For Britain it is pretty easy. It should have stayed out of WW2 in the first place. Other than that, just stop fighting. The goal is not to win a war, whatever that means, since there are only losers in war, but to end the violence. You do not end the violence by getting more and more parties involved in the fighting. But if you think you have to fight, because you are bing invaded, as Poland was, then fight. But don’t target civilians, just because that seems easier then to fight responsibly.

      • Julie near Chicago
        Sep 2, 2016 at 9:58 pm

        Well, if so, you are going to have to fight the aggressors as well as the hypothetically low-down no-good scumbag “statist”/”collectivist” regime that is trying to defend the people whose defense is its only legitimate reason for existing.

        “The aggressors” here meaning the regime=rulership=leadership of the aggressing country.

        I would like to know how, in the context of war, you are going to be sure that you are killing ZERO innocents who are physically located among the aggressors=(aggressing regime per se + soldiery, Brain Trust, technicians, manufacturers, suppliers of food and medicine, cooks, doctors and nurses, kennelmen, etc. etc. etc. Reconnaissance pilots. Trainers of the troops. Etc., etc., etc. again…).

        Also, What Mr Ed said.

      • Julie near Chicago
        Sep 2, 2016 at 10:04 pm

        My response to Nico’s of 6:45 p.m. on Sept. 2 appears quite a bit below:

        “Julie near Chicago Sept. 2 at 9:58 p.m.”

        . . .

        This seems like a good place to quote commenter “Alice,”

        “It is pure political correctness — (Pause for round of Kumbaya) — the triangulated modern liberal view that we special liberal people are above such dirty things as having to fight for God & Country, or even fight for our own survival. We are morally superior liberals; we always have a choice; and our choices have no negative consequences for us.”

        http://www.samizdata.net/2007/11/was-world-war-i/#comment-151986

        • Nico Metten
          Sep 2, 2016 at 10:28 pm

          > I would like to know how, in the context of war, you are going to be sure that you are killing ZERO innocents who are physically located among the aggressors=(aggressing regime per se + soldiery, Brain Trust, technicians, manufacturers, suppliers of food and medicine, cooks, doctors and nurses, kennelmen, etc. etc. etc. Reconnaissance pilots. Trainers of the troops. Etc., etc., etc. again…).

          You only fight, when someone is shooting at you. And you stop fighting when the attack is over. Then you immediately go back to negotiations. So the purpose of fighting is to stop the ongoing attack. Most of the time, if you are being attacked, you probably fighting on your own territory. I have made it clear in my writings that I think there is a case that if your only chance of getting out alive under an attack, is for you is to kill innocent people, then that might be acceptable. I accept that people have a priority to save their own live over others. But I think even then it is problematic even though it might be acceptable. Whether you really go ahead and do it is on your own conscience.

          It is completely unacceptable however, to kill innocent people, in an attack in which you are not trying to stop an ongoing attack, but rather try to pre-emptively try to prevent an alleged next attack. It is in any case unacceptable to use a strategy that deliberately neglects the lives of innocent people within a collectivist thinking of us vs them and their civilians are worth less.

          > “It is pure political correctness — (Pause for round of Kumbaya) — the triangulated modern liberal view that we special liberal people are above such dirty things as having to fight for God & Country, or even fight for our own survival. We are morally superior liberals; we always have a choice; and our choices have no negative consequences for us.”

          It is not political correctness, it is liberalism. I will certainly never fight for god and country, I am not braindead. That lady is confusing liberalism, with nationalism. There are an awful lot of these people who somehow think that since libertarians oppose the left, they must be right. That is complete nonsense.

          • Julie near Chicago
            Sep 3, 2016 at 6:02 am

            Nico:

            Addressing your words, “…in an attack in which you are not trying to stop an ongoing attack, but rather try to pre-emptively try to prevent an alleged next attack”….

            How many times must you be punched by a bully during a street fight, before you realize that he is not going to stop unless you either give up or knock him out?

            How long must you observe one of these murderous Führers of murderous regimes dropping bombs on or firing guns or rockets or torpedoes at you or your friends and fellow defenders before you figure out that he is not going to stop unless he is rendered hors de combat?

            As for the comment I quoted, the important part of it is this:

            “We are morally superior [libertarians]; we always have a choice; and our choices have no negative consequences for us.”

            </em

            There is a distinct difference between your restatement of your definition of Collectivism, and mine, although in your first phrasing it sounds the same.

            One can imagine a situation in which there is only ONE, isolated, Collective. The question of “us against them” doesn’t even arise; therefore that attitude cannot be a defining characteristic of Collectivism.

            But speaking as one who is anti-Collectivist with every bone in my body, I assure you that it’s perfectly possible to value one’s friends and neighbors — even those with whom one does not particularly get along — more than strangers who are bent on killing or enslaving oneself and one’s friends.

            And that is, for many of us, Why We Fight.

            And still, ahead of all that, remember what Paul and Mr Ed and (IIRC) I myself have said: Wanton killing of humans, killing for sport or from bloodlust, killing with no concern for the unfortunate who will die, is no part of libertarianism or indeed any philosophy proper to a civilized society.

            But assuming one takes acts of war very, very seriously, and does one’s best to target as narrowly as the context and the circumstances permit, the bottom line is that the enemy’s polity are hostages; and harm to them is on his hands, not the hands of those who defend themselves as described above.

            Beyond that, there really is nothing more to say.

            • Nico Metten
              Sep 3, 2016 at 10:21 am

              > How many times must you be punched by a bully during a street fight, before you realize that he is notgoing to stop unless you either give up or knock him out?

              Well then do something against the bully. I never advocated leaving the guilty alone. Just leave the other children out of it.

              > How long must you observe one of these murderous Führers of murderous regimes dropping bombs on or firing guns or rockets or torpedoes at you or your friends and fellow defenders before you figure out that he is not going to stop unless he is renderedhors de combat?

              Well then fight them. I never advocated that you should not defend yourself. Just don’t be a coward and target civilians, because that seems easier.

              > But speaking as one who is anti-Collectivist with every bone in my body, I assure you that it’s perfectly possible to value one’s friends and neighbors — even those with whom one does not particularly get along — more than strangers who are bent on killing or enslaving oneself and one’s friends.

              That is fine, you can value them. But making this the essence of your moral argument is problematic. Either there are universal moral principles or there are not. This type of moral that you are advocating is not. It is tribalistic. It sets different moral standards for different people. And that is the opposite of the liberal idea of equal rights for everyone. So all you are saying is that libertarianism is wrong when it advocates universal moral principles and that you are therefore not a libertarian. You can believe that, but I happen to believe that universal moral principles is the much better position.

              > And that is, for many of us, Why We Fight.

              You can fight for your family and friends. But you cannot violate other people’s right when you do so.

              > But assuming one takes acts of war very, very seriously, and does one’s best to target as narrowly as the context and the circumstances permit, the bottom line is that the enemy’s polity are hostages; and harm to them is on his hands, not the hands of those who defend themselves as described above.

              But hostages have rights too. It is a little bit too easy to blame the responsibility for your own actions on others.

  16. Mr Ed
    Sep 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm

    ‘For Britain it is pretty easy. It should have stayed out of WW2 in the first place’

    Is that all you can do: Dodge the question and go for fantasy?

    That is not a defence of your position. It is lamentable and frankly laughable, if you had an argument I would have liked to have heard it. Why did Germany have U-boats in 1939, and the Bismarck, if not to confront the UK? Not entering the war was what Poland, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands tried, all got occupied. I really can’t be bothered to debate with infantile Rothbardism any more.

    • Nico Metten
      Sep 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm

      I definitely gave you an answer. You might not like the answer, but I gave you one.

      You asked me, how to win a war with libertarian means. But you see, in state speak, winning a war means to destroy the enemy country. That is not a libertarian ends. And you cannot achieve a non libertarian end with libertarian means.

      The real goal needs to be to minimise the destruction of the fighting. Because everyone loses as long as fighting is going on. War is the health of the state and the enemy of liberty. So the goal needs to be to end the war, which does not necessarily mean to win it. The easiest way to minimise fighting is that you just don’t fight, if you are not being invaded. And Britain was not invaded, unlike the Poles or the French. If you are unlucky enough to be invaded, you will have to make the decision whether fighting back is the best way to deal with the situation. In case of the Nazis, the answer to that is probably a yes. So then fight the people invading your territory. But you will have to observe moral rules. If you don’t observe those, then what are you fighting for? Certainly not liberty. You can still kick the occupiers out, once you have been occupied. And the French, Dutch etc. would have eventually done that, no doubt. All these totalitarian conquerers eventually run out of resources. Even the British Empire did and went home.

      There is no excuse to target civilians. That is especially true if you voluntarily entered the fight, as the British did.

      • Mr Ed
        Sep 3, 2016 at 7:44 pm

        ‘How big is Lake Balaton?’

        ‘Next Tuesday,.

        A question, and an answer. I gave you a specific question, and you did not answer the question, but you did respond to it.

        You mis-state my question. Here’s a tip, sir, if you are ever sued, settle out of court, lest you take this approach into giving evidence, as with it you will be easy meat. If it be your case that as British PM in 1940, you would give up lest you act in a non-libertarian manner, and let come what may, just state that as your case and let us judge. Be that your case, then you advocate that the good of Churchill is bad as it is the enemy of the perfect. You would have nothing to offer but death and destruction, and, in your view (be it so) the joy of dying along with the rest of the West on the moral high ground of your imagination. As Thaw as Harris put it ‘What would we have been accused of if we’d let Hitler and his bloody gang have their way?”.

        I appreciate many of your posts, but I cannot see your point here, apart from a nihilism in the name of purity.

        • Nico Metten
          Sep 3, 2016 at 8:22 pm

          Death, destruction, a genocide, the strengthening of the soviet union (you know the other genocidal dictatorship, that murdered tens of millions of people, that Britain was allied with) and the bankruptcy of Britain and the US were the outcomes of the policy that you are advocating. We know that for sure. How people can celebrate that as a victory is beyond me. They have been brainwashed by war propaganda praising the glories of statism. I am not buying it.

          History is full of examples that interventionism does not work. The current interventionist foreign policy of the west for example is digging us a deeper and deeper grave. When war breaks out it needs to be kept as small as possible and not spread all over the globe by getting more and more people involved. Rothbard was spot on on this.

          I am not expecting governments to do the right thing. In fact I always expect them to do the opposite. You cannot do the right thing within the wrong system. This system is rigged against liberty. The state presents itself as the great solution to everything. Want to solve poverty, just ask the government to pass a law against it. Want to get rid of evil regimes in the world, just let the government have a go at it and everything will be fine. Unfortunately, it consistently turns out the opposite. Unfortunately the advocates of this system never learn from it. And war is the worst of all state programs. That is why we need to advocate the abolition of states and advocate liberty. It is never wrong to advocate the right thing, even when people don’t end up listening to you. Liberty is the answer. But a system that kills innocent people as a strategy is inherently illiberal. I am sorry that you are not convinced by libertarianism.

        • Nico Metten
          Sep 3, 2016 at 8:33 pm

          You know it is funny. If Britain had had an alliance with Hitler against the Soviet Union, we would now hear no end of the glories of defeating the Soviet Union and why Britain had to break some eggs to win that war even if it meant strengthening Hitler. Victors write history, and in wars the state is always victorious no matter what the outcome.

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