Terror in London: What is going wrong?

Now that the recent rise in “mental illness” related attacks has reached the UK, with Wednesday’s stabbing incident in Russell Square, so have the cries of “what’s wrong with the world?” But “the world” didn’t commit any of these attacks; individuals did. And these individuals all share an ideology which, when followed consistently, results in the kind of carnage we’ve been experiencing, and the much worse devastation that is certain to come. Unless we choose to stop it, that is. But how do we do that?

We can’t expect Islamic terrorism to just go away. No war has ever been won by the attacked side pretending that it hasn’t been attacked, or that the enemy isn’t actually the enemy. Had the United States responded to the attack on Pearl Harbor by saying that Japan is a nation of peace, or by attacking Canada, they would have been defeated, and we would be living in a very different world today.

So why are we told after every terrorist attack that the attackers aren’t “real Muslims”, that Islam is a religion of peace, and that the greatest threat we face is the threat of “Islamophobia”? Why are European countries actively and knowingly importing terrorists?

I don’t know when and where this erosion of the will to actually win the wars we fight began. But seeing the way the west has handled the issue of Islamic terrorism, it’s clear to me that we have reached boiling point.

The European response to the Islamic State’s promise to flood Europe with its terrorists and to export their ideology to us – welcoming migrants from Islamic State controlled territories with open arms, and without the slightest attempt at checking whether or not they are the terrorists we were promised – is, without a doubt, treasonous. A proper response would have been to wipe out the Islamic State, a feat the air force of any major European country, and certainly the United States, can achieve within hours. But that’s not how the west fights nowadays. When western countries do go to war, they do so apologetically, with no intention of actually defeating the enemy, and with more concern for the lives of civilians on the enemy’s side then the lives of their own soldiers.

During recent military campaigns abroad we’ve heard politicians tell us that they’re doing everything they can to minimise civilian casualties, that the population in the enemy-controlled territory is not our enemy, and that the ideology in the name of which we’re being slaughtered in the streets is really a force for good.

It’s important to remember, every single time a civilian is murdered in a European country, or in the United States, or in Israel, that the government of that country had the power to save his life, that that is what governments exist for, and that the politicians deem these lives not only expendable, but less worthy of saving than the lives of civilians in enemy-controlled territories.

Understanding that the west, by its values, is morally superior to the primitive, barbaric animals against whom we’re fighting is the only way we can begin to turn the tide in this war. Unfortunately, since no one in a position of power has the guts or the conscience to name the enemy, the ambiguity politicians are so eager to maintain will only be replaced by the clarity of our loss in this war.

Trident must be renewed

In his speech at an anti-Trident rally in February, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “You don’t achieve peace by planning for war”. Of course the opposite is true, and Corbyn knows it; nothing would make us more vulnerable to an attack than showing that we are unprepared or unwilling to defend ourselves against it. War may always be the last resort for a free country, but if it’s completely off the table, that country won’t be free for long.

This raises the question of why the left is so vehement in their opposition to the UK’s nuclear deterrent. The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament claims its aim is “to rid the world of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction”, but most of the organization’s efforts are focused in the UK, which the CND happily admits it wishes to disarm unilaterally. If these efforts are successful, we’d have to trust the leaders of North Korea, Russia, China and Pakistan, not only to never drop an atomic bomb on a UK city, but to keep all their bombs, as well as the technology and materials used to build them, out of the hands of anyone who would.

Some supporters of unilateral disarmament go as far as claiming that our having a deterrent “drives proliferation”, in yet another version of the left’s inclination to blame everything bad that happens in the world on the west.
But most opponents of Trident aren’t arguing that there’s any danger of a British government suddenly nuking our enemies. They realise it’s there to deter our enemies from nuking us. So for what reason could they oppose it? The cost? Whenever security issues come up, many in the left are suddenly concerned with the amount of “public” money a program costs, a concern which they rarely voice on other issues.

Another argument used by supporters of unilateral disarmament to divert attention from the risks of their plan, is the notion that nuclear weapons wouldn’t help us deal with some of the threats we face today, such as terrorism. Leaving aside the obvious short-sightedness of this argument (the fact that terrorists have yet to acquire nuclear weapons is no guarantee that they won’t in the future), this can be said of any weapon and any defence strategy; it is efficient against certain types of threat, not all of them. The threat against which this particular weapons system protects us is a nuclear holocaust, so it should be at the very top of our defence apparatus. Abolishing it would be tantamount to an announcement to the world that the UK government no longer sees nuclear weapons in the hands of our enemies as a serious threat to national security.


A related tweet:

Libertarians shouldn’t support Gary Johnson

Voting in elections is never an easy task for an advocate of capitalism. The choices with which we’re confronted consist of slight variations, but even the best choices are terrible; they only become acceptable to us when we take a good look at the alternative.

Americans tend to have it a little easier than Brits in this respect, but the elements of freedom which made it the greatest and most free country on earth are fading, steadily being replaced by a decision making process that’s based on appeals to emotion over rational thought, and at no time has this been more apparent than during this year’s presidential election campaign.

But while Trump and Hillary are busy trying to convince the general public that the other is even worse than they are, more and more people seem to have become aware of the third party option. This has set the Libertarian Party nominee, Gary Johnson, on course to achieve the best result in his party’s history, and the best result for any third party candidate since Ross Perot in the 1990’s. The most recent RealClearPolitics average of presidential election polls had Johnson on 7.3% (Perot got 8.4% in 1996).

On the face of it, the two main candidates make this an easy choice for free market voters. Hillary is the epitome of a corrupt politician, while Trump stands proudly to the left of her on the few economic issues on which he has maintained a consistent position. Naturally, the Libertarian candidate is the only viable choice. But only until he opens his mouth.

Leaving aside his horrendous foreign policy (not because it’s irrelevant, but rather because an apologetic and defeatist foreign policy seems to be the consensus among libertarians, and therefore an issue that should be addressed separately), and focusing only on the protection of individual rights, Gary Johnson is far from right wing, and probably the worst Libertarian presidential nominee in the party’s history (or at least since Ron Paul).

The best example of Gary Johnson’s views being incompatible with pro-freedom ideas came during a debate between Libertarian Party presidential candidates when, in response to a question by one of his opponents, Austin Petersen, he said that a Jewish baker should be legally compelled to bake a cake for a Nazi Wedding. This stance follows from his support for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which banned racial discrimination in public places, a ban that is applied to private businesses that serve the general public, and to other types of discrimination.

An individual’s right to his own property cannot exclude his right to do with that property as he sees fit, as long as no one is hurt in the process (and hurt feelings don’t count). Once the government starts telling you who you may or may not do business with, that right is violated. Even worse, when the government tries to determine the reasons behind your refusal to do business with a given individual or group of people, they are, in essence, legislating thought crimes.

Johnson’s position on this question, which was asked following his statement that bakers should be forced to bake cakes for gay weddings even if their religion tells them that homosexuality is a sin, is a prime example of how the fear of being politically incorrect can scare an unprincipled free-marketer right into the cosy confines of the left. Ironically, Johnson explained his position by saying that allowing religion-based discrimination is a “black hole”, seemingly not realising that he had just stepped into the black hole of emotion-based legislation. Once you enter, you’re bound to find yourself surrounded by triggers and safe spaces, a scary prospect when it comes to teenagers and young adults, but much scarier in the leader of the free world.

We’ll probably Remain in the EU

At the age of 20, my political views already formed, I followed the general election in Israel, the country I called home back then, very closely. Less than a year earlier the second intifada had reached its peak, with suicide bombings becoming a part of everyday life, until operation Defensive Shield set the Palestinian terrorists back somewhat.Then-leader of the opposition, Amram Mitzna of Labour (yes, Israel also enjoys a prominent Labour Party), suggested unilaterally ending the country’s military and civilian presence in the Gaza strip, if peace negotiations don’t yield a mutually agreed upon solution to the conflict.

Mitzna’s opponent, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, strongly criticised this plan, arguing it would be a reward for terrorism, and would embolden Palestinian terrorists in their attacks on Israel, essentially sending them the message that if they attack, Israel would run.

This became the main issue in that year’s election campaign, and the Israeli people agreed with Sharon. They re-elected him by an overwhelming majority, giving his Likud Party twice as many seats as Labour (38 to 19 in Israel’s 120-member Parliament, the Knesset).

A few months into his second term, however, Sharon changed his mind. Not only was unilateral “disengagement” no longer a reward for terrorism, it was now such a good idea that it became Government policy. Sharon initially promised to hold a national referendum on the issue, and later changed his mind, deciding on a referendum of Likud Party members instead.

As a member of the party myself, I was very hopeful on the day of the vote. I truly believed that, were party members to reject the disengagement plan, it couldn’t possibly happen. After we won, with 65% of the vote, I felt great relief in the knowledge that “peace” would have to be achieved by some method other than the ethnic cleansing of Jews in Gaza.

Of course, after initially accepting the result, Sharon eventually carried out his plan, and today no Jews live in Gaza. The result of that decision can be seen in the Middle East today, but that is irrelevant to the point of this story.

Having lived through that, I find laughable the notion that the question of the UK’s membership in the EU has been “settled”. Winning a legally non-binding referendum by what both sides agree is a small margin, with the vast majority of MPs on the losing side, certainly creates a problem for Remain supporters. They need to find a way out of this ‘mess’. And they have.

While a Prime Minister from the Brexit camp would face an extremely difficult uphill battle, with pressures from the Remain side, the Leave side, EU bureaucrats and leaders of other European nations, for someone like Theresa May, these pressures could serve as a great opportunity to set the stage for keeping Britain a member of the European Union.

How she does it will largely depend on the aforementioned pressures; she could intentionally negotiate a bad deal, then call a second referendum in which Project Fear (which, worryingly and tellingly, has yet to end) will have a chance of swaying enough voters to tip the scales in favour of remain. She could also call a general election before the withdrawal is complete, and spin the result (whatever it is, other than perhaps a UKIP overall majority) as proof that the “public mood” has shifted.

Regarding any change that requires action by politicians as ‘done and dusted’ before it’s complete is naïve. Politicians spend a lifetime honing the craft of deceiving voters. There’s nothing most of them won’t pretend to care about, no apparent success they won’t take credit for, and no failure they won’t deny. If the remain side continues to protest the result as loudly as it has been so far, politicians will be convinced that ignoring the result, which they want to do anyway, could also benefit them in future elections. And once they view the situation that way, there’s nothing stopping them from keeping things as they are.

In Israel, we voted overwhelmingly against our disengagement, and the politicians made sure we got it anyway. For anyone who voted “leave”, if you want to make sure that this disengagement from the EU actually happens, please realise that the fight is nowhere near over.

Reconsidering: Who are cronies?

Political discourse in the west seems to be an endless series of turf wars: the “poor” vs. the
rich, the “workers” vs. the CEOs, people vs. corporations. The all-powerful judge, jury and
executioner in these wars, who gets to decide who wins, who loses, and by what margin, is
the government. But the one question that never seems to come up in these discussions is
the most fundamental question in political philosophy: what is the legitimate role of
government?

This question, for many advocates of capitalism, presupposes an idea that isn’t even considered – let alone accepted – by most people: that the power of the state to initiate force should be severely limited, if not eliminated altogether.

Since this view is so unpopular, not many would question, for example, a petition of
residents to the local council, opposing a private development in their area, even if the landis privately owned by the developer. Yes, this is the government wielding its power to play favourites, but as long as it is siding with the perceptibly weaker side, certainly when pitted against “big business”, then government is “doing its job”.

When dealing with the question of government-provided healthcare and other welfare programs, the question of the role of government disappears completely. Questions about whether the NHS should exist are considered blasphemous, and whenever the Conservative Government makes cosmetic cuts to benefits, they are accused of killing poor people.

In this sense, cronyism is just one of the less popular manifestations of a highly popular
practice: the practice of the political class playing puppet master with all of us, while we
pretend we can make a difference in their game with the occasional noisy protest, or by
voting out less convincing politicians and replacing them with ones who may not be
completely identical, but come pretty close.

But if the government is allowed to use force against its citizens in order to feed the hungry
and cure the ill, how can we deny it the power to use force to help the incompetent succeed?
A company, as such, can’t force you to purchase the goods it produces or the services it offers. It can attempt to convince you that they are superior to the ones offered by its
competitors, and when such attempts are successful, so is the business. But as soon as
political power is introduced into the equation, the rules of the game change drastically. All of a sudden, what matters isn’t how good you are, it’s how powerful the people you know are.
This is the essence, not just of cronyism, but of statism in general. In every area of our lives, the government has the final say. So what if, in the case of cronyism, the beneficiaries aren’t always the weakest players in the field (this is the case with welfare as well), or if the reason a particular business receives a subsidy or tax break isn’t “need”, but a mutually beneficial relationship with a bureaucrat or a politician? What really matters is that in a mixed economy, we’re all forced to fight for the same “prize”: not our right to live our lives the way we see fit, but our “right” to the favour of whichever politician happens to be in charge of allocating whatever it is we want. What could only be obtained by trade in a free market, requiring work to produce a tradable value, can now be obtained by befriending the right people.

Any attempt by advocates of Laissez-Faire Capitalism to argue against cronyism without
addressing the fundamental question of the role of government would amount to an implicit acceptance of the widely held view, that politicians and bureaucrats shouldn’t be limited in their power, as long as they use it for causes accepted by the majority at the time as “just”. But once the initiation of force is rejected in principle, all of its by-products, the popular ones and the not-so-popular (such as cronyism), will be rejected with it.

“It is only in a so-called mixed economy that a coercive monopoly can flourish, protected
from the discipline of the capital markets by franchises, subsidies and special privileges from
government regulators.”

Alan Greenspan