Libertarianz = Neo-conservatives

Ruth A's picture
Submitted by Ruth A on Sun, 2006-07-23 06:29

I wished to post this under the "Linz killed JFK" thread, but the interface will not allow me to. So maybe the webmaster may like to shift this.

As much as I like Mr Perigo, I strongly disagree with his letter to The Dominion Post. The NZ Libertarianz Party have embraced the neo-conservative mentality almost wholeheartedly. One can read eliminationist rhetoric on an almost daily basis on prominent Libertarian Party members blogs. As best selling author Glenn Greenwald http://glenngreenwald.blogspot... says:

This is the neoconservative mentality -- the bloodthirsty, militaristic, largely authoritarian world-view -- which has been driving not only our foreign policy since the September 11 attacks, but also the bulk of our most controversial domestic policies undertaken in the name of fighting terrorists. Over the last five years, neoconservatism has been the central force of American political life, and it has resulted in a fundamental ideological realignment. Far more important than one's views on traditional matters of political controversy is the extent to which one supports or opposes neoconservative theories.

Throughout the 1990s, one's political orientation was determined by a finite set of primarily domestic issues -- social spending, affirmative action, government regulation, gun control, welfare reform, abortion, gay rights. One's position on those issues determined whether one was conservative, liberal, moderate, etc. But those issues have become entirely secondary, at most, in our political debates. They are barely discussed any longer. Instead, what has dominated our political conflicts over the last five years are terrorism-related issues -- Iraq, U.S. treatment of detainees, domestic surveillance, attacks on press freedoms, executive power abuses, Iran, the equating of dissent with treason.

It is one's positions on those issues -- and, more specifically, whether one agrees with the neoconservative approach which has dominated the Bush administration's approach to those issues -- which now determines one's political orientation.

There is a sizeable group of individualswho claimed adherence to libertarianism but who have now fully embraced the most extremist elements of the Bush movement and the Republican Party. In doing so, they have rendered their claimed libertarianism nothing but a hollow symbol, to be trotted out -- when at all -- purely as a manipulative instrument to maintain an image of rationality and moderation ("Extremist? Me? I'm for gay marriage").

I posted against the eliminationist rhetoric "Death to Islam", which was used by people calling themselves Libertarians last year. I opposed that - just as much as I oppose the "Death to America" rhetoric. Fundamentalist Islam and neo-conservatism end up in the same place.

The response to my post was overwhelmingly positive, and I was told by some that "Death to Islam" did not refer to the murder of millions of people, but to ideas. In light of the bored disregard for civilian casualties and masturbatory pleasure you people now take in the escalation of Mid East conflict, I feel my position has been vindicated - you are exposed as the bloodthirsty warmongers I knew you always were.

The real underlying premises and impulses of neoconservatism are being laid bare for all to see. And what they really want is more war and destruction -- lots and lots and lots of it -- to rain down mercilessly on their enemies and anyone nearby...

And the more one reads and listens to neoconservatives in their full-throated war calls, the more disturbing and repellent these ideas become. So many of them seem to be driven not even any longer by a pretence of a strategic goal, but by a naked, bloodthirsty craving for destruction and killing itself, almost as the end in itself. And the disregard for the lives of innocent people in those countries is so cavalier and even scornful that it is truly unfathomable, at times just plain disgusting. From a safe distance, they continuously call for -- and casually dismiss the importance of -- the deaths of enormous numbers of people without batting an eye.
...What is called the "conservative movement" these days has no real unifying or cohesive ideas, but instead, what binds it and defines it is an authoritarian impulse to identify the Enemy (the Terrorist, the Liberal, the Communist, the illegal immigrant), followed by a swarming, hateful, rage-fuelled desire to destroy it.

Also Libertarianz have courted the Right in regard to Darnton vs Clark, when the issue of excess governmental power is a transpartisan one. It seems to me that Libertarians oppose all sorts of things, especially environmental regulations -- allowing those who want to put poisons onto my property and into my lungs plenty of "freedom," while showing no effective resistance to those who want to, say, listen to my telephone calls.

Until Libz eschew neo-conservatism they will get no more suppoort from me or my acquaintances.


( categories: )

Ruth A

Elijah Lineberry's picture

makes it sound like Neo Conservative is a bad thing.

I'll see your raise

Fred Weiss's picture

I'll see your raise and raise you again.

First, I'll see you by commending your efforts to keep your party clean of anarchists and other crackpots.

But I have to raise you. What is the "true meaning of the word" and what are you basing that on?

I see your addendum and raise you a correction.

Robert's picture
"You have to accept the fact that "libertarian" is a grab bag that embraces a wide range of views..."

I accept that is the true nature of libertarian in the USA. 

In New Zealand, the word libertarian didn't enter into the vocabulary until Libertarianz showed up. Unlike you Yankies, we've been (IMHO) very successful in defending the true meaning of the word. 

The basis for our success is that the Libertarianz emphatically DO NOT subscribe to a grab-bag of political views and will not while I (and Peter, Linz et al.) continue to draw breath.

I'm a Libertarian in the New Zealand sense of the word and DAMN proud of it! So kindly don't blame me for the fact that you Americans left the door open for the heathens steal the word and pervert it's true meaning! 

A Fraudulent Claim a Minute - That's Our Fred!

jriggenbach's picture

"Well, the point is and should be crystal clear that if Jeff is a libertarian, the idea of an Objectivist libertarian is a contradiction in terms!"

Egad! Now Fred is claiming that he understands Objectivism!

JR

Dan asks why, "political

Fred Weiss's picture

Dan asks why, "political parties are not proper tools of change for a minority ideological movement". The reason is because politics, by itself, is not an ideology. It is part of, based on, and the consequence of an ideology.

What chance would there have been for an American Revolution except in the milieu of the Enlightenment and without the prior work of John Locke and the other important Enlightenment thinkers? I don't believe for example that Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" expressed any radically new ideas. What it did do is powerfully *gave voice* to the *already existing* convictions of many colonists, even down to the common soldiers (Washington made sure all of his troops got a copy). The same was true of the Declaration of Independence.

Is laissez-faire capitalism - and the pro-reason and egoistic premises underlying it - an already existing conviction anywhere in the world, including NZ?

Libertarianism is part of the issue because only libertarians would think you could sever the political issues from their underlying philosophical premises. Or, to be more specific, only libertarians would think that *it doesn't matter* what philosophical convictions you had, that anyone should be able "to see" the magical, axiomatic NIOF principle.

Incidentally, libertarians do implicitly recognize that they can't fundamentally shift underlying philosophical convictions in the issues they tend to emphasize. Note how they pander to the left by emphasizing their opposition to the drug laws or the war in Iraq. Or to the right on gun control and abortion. Where is the defense of capitalism? Not so much - for obvious reasons. But that's the whole point.

P.S.: Btw, note how ineffective it is anyway. On the drug laws they are appealing to a small segment of the "liberal" or "hippie" community. There is not exactly this huge clamoring in the country to legalize drugs. Even a small issue like allowing marijuana use for medicinal purposes has a tough time at the ballot box. So how the hell are you going to convince anyone of anything on this issue without the broader philosophical point?

Furthermore if you add in their other "issues", eg. the war or gun control, etc., these aren't even uniquely libertarian issues. So what reason has a libertarian given anyone to vote for him on that issue?

Fred - Cause and Effect

Dan Edge's picture

Fred,

I'm not sure if I agree with you or not.  The central question as I see it is not the use of the term "libertarian," but whether or not a political party should be used as an agent of cultural change.  I agree that morality is more fundamental than politics, and in that sense politics is an effect. 

However, I have thought of politics and cultural trends in ethics to have an asymmetric reciprocal relationship.  The dominant cultural trend in morality is more primary, but the two perpetually re-enforce one another.  Political speakers get media exposure, which spread ideas to the public.  Also, when politicians make decisions on the basis of principle, the public sees the practical applications of these principles.

I am open to the argument that Objectivists ought to form political lobbying groups instead of political parties, but I would have to be convinced.  If a party is not strong enough to win an election, then it may be a waste of time and money to focus on getting votes instead of getting the message out (these are not necessarily one and the same).

Fred, what exactly is the basis of your contention that political parties are not proper tools of change for a minority ideological movement?

--Dan Edge

Linz

Fred Weiss's picture

I haven't softened anything. I've never questioned *anything but* the activism via the political party. Secondarily - but related - I've objected to your characterizing yourselves as "libertarian" (to the extent at least that you also consider yourselves Objectivist). Don't forget that what started this whole thing was your claim that Objectivism is libertarian (supposedly because Objectivism endorsed the NIOF principle).

As for Norman Thomas, don't forget that his candidacy and his political appeal at his peak of influence was the result of many years of cultural change, including unionism and "progressivism" (not to mention, Marxism), which had been gaining large numbers of followers for years. Keep in mind the vast and growing literature - much of it widely read - which was at the root of his appeal, e.g. Upton Sinclair's, The Jungle, or Edward Bellamy's, Looking Backward and very popular authors like Jack London.

In other words, Norman Thomas wasn't much of an original thinker - and didn't have to be. All he had to do was "cash in" and effectively vocalize the socialist convictions which were already widely held - convictions which of course were firmly embedded in the altruist assumptions of the era.

Keep in mind what I have previously said. Politics is an effect, not a cause. It is the result of and is the consequence of more deeply held philosophical beliefs. You cannot reverse the process.

Now, you guys keep telling me that the context is different in NZ. What's different? Are NZ'ers more pro-reason, more egoistic, more individualistic, and more pro-capitalist than Americans? If they are to a significant degree, than maybe I am missing something here.

P.S.: Now, since Jeff decided to interject a comment, let me tie it in to the point I am making. Jeff is a libertarian. I don't see how you can exclude him, Peter's attempt to achieve an exclusion by fiat nothwithstanding. Well, the point is and should be crystal clear that if Jeff is a libertarian, the idea of an Objectivist libertarian is a contradiction in terms!

What Else Would I Write About?

jriggenbach's picture

Rioting in understatement, Linz writes to Fred Weiss:

"I don't think you sufficiently appreciate the difference in contexts."

It seems to me it's long been evident that Fred doesn't even understand what the word "context" means, much less being able to recognize differences in actual contexts. To him, "context" is a magic word rather like "abracadabra." It's used whenever you're losing an argument.

JR

Fred ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I also should add that I like you guys a lot. My comments are not coming from any personal antipathy. I am not, Linz, trying "to shit on you".

I realise that, but shitting on us is what this is tantamount to. I don't think you sufficiently appreciate the difference in contexts. But I note that you've softened your initial complete downer on us to I'm questioning whether achieving that platform *via a political party* is the right way to go.

As we've made clear, if the impact of Libz is to have "mainstream" parties adopt & implement our policies, that's fine by us. You could compare it to Norman Thomas, Socialist Party presidential candidate for elections in your country spanning about 30 years. When he finally decided not to run again, he said something like, "Why do I need to? Both main parties have adopted & implemented every plank in my original platform!"

What I say to the troops here is, "Horses for courses. If you enjoy political activism, go for it." For my part, I much prefer the more fundamental philosophical battle, which is why I have long since ceased being a Libz activist & focused on projects like SOLO, while remaining supportive of Libz to the hilt. I see the respective activities as complementary, not either/or or mutually exclusive. In the FreeRad I draw them together.

And without turning this into a Brandroid touchy-feely group-grope thing, I like you too, Fred, & value your presence here extremely highly. Your feistiness, ability to cut to the chase, & intolerance of bullshit. Very KASS! Smiling

Linz

Fred,

Robert's picture

You've missed the point that Linz and Peter and I (to a lesser extent) are making, that is:

YOU CAN CONDUCT POLITICAL- AND PHILOSOPHICAL AGITATION SIMULTANEOUSLY!

"Politics is a normative branch of philosophy" is it not?

Picking out political problems and explaining their root causes with the help of objectivism means that you have something CONCRETE to HOOK the audience with. Something less abstract and more real to the listener than all the heroes in the Randian Pantheon.

If I'm not mistaken, even the ARI occassionally uses a political club in it's philosophical war. What else would you call the Press Releases on Israel, the War on Terror, Capitalism, etc? Are they not seeking to simultaneously influence the superficial thinking of politicians and voters while simultaneously enticing people to look deeper and discover the philosophy behind their opinions on Israel and such? Is this not political agitation?

And what is a political party if not a megaphone for your views and a statement about your commitment to them?

And that is the point Linz and Peter have been making. Libz was formed by Objectivists to mount a consistant and PRINCIPLED defence of individual liberty in New Zealand.

While it's true that learning is a "ground-up" process, a good teacher will try and capture the student's attention by showing them the finished product before proceeding to demonstrate how it came to be. You seem to dismiss this approach.

For reasons I don't understand, you appear to have made an arbitrary line and declared that when it comes to changing the political & cultural landscape, it is futile to start anywhere but A is A. As Peter asked before, why do the two activities have to be mutually exclusive?

According to Peikoff politics is a branch of philosophy. Thus, so long as you are assailing the statists with the same, consistent and robust philosophical pyramid, who fucking cares whether you stab them first with the pointy end (politics) before smacking them with the base (metaphysics & epistemology). At some stage in your "assault" they'll encounter the entire pyramid from tip to base provided that you are consistant, principled and committed to kicking ass! The latter describes the Libertarianz.

Libertarianz

Mark Tammett's picture

Some of the arguments Fred is making; I made 8 years ago myself, soon after I first moved to NZ. In fact I remember debating Linz on very similar points. To me, the term 'libertarian' had unsavoury connotations. I can't remember exactly why, but it probably had a lot to do with Schwartz's article, and what I saw (and still do) as the mis-understanding of what 'liberty' actually meant by many well known (US) libertarians.

Within a few months I'd changed my mind on a few issues, and joined the party. I wouldn't say I'm a particularly active member these days. But if I agree with all their principles, and provided they don't make a complete hash of trying to apply them, then I figure they at least deserve some of my support (even if it's just financial, and my vote).

Words mean different things in different countries. In the US your 'fanny' is your backside, down-under it means something quite different. As Peter has alluded to, in the NZ context, a 'libertarian' doesn't imply a crackpot. Peter had made this point, but it's something a lot of the US posters seem to have trouble grasping -- our context is different to yours! We don't have the same baggage with the word 'libertarian' that you guys do.

If you asked a person in the street here what a libertarian means, they'd probably say a supporter of liberty, of 'hands-of' gov't (which is largely due to the efforts of Linz & Peter). In a country without the US political tradition of freedom, any awareness of such concepts (however imperfect and imprecise the understanding) is an achievement in itself. But if you said you supported 'laissez faire capitalism', most wouldn't have a clue what you were talking about!

I certainly wouldn't (and I doubt think Linz or PC would either) deny the importance of fundamental philosophy over politics. But you can't teach philosophy in a vacuum. Most NZ'ers are very concrete bound, and fundamental ideas are not their strong point. You need to have a specific context through which to advance ideas. Politics is one such vehicle.

You can argue about whether politics is the best vehicle or not. It's certainly not the only vehicle (and some of the Libz activites certainly aren't my style). But I can say without any doubt , that from the perspective of someone who values individual liberty, the influence of Libertarianz on this country has been overwhelmingly positive. If Objectivism is about living, not ivory-tower semantics, than surely that's all that matters?

Addendum

Fred Weiss's picture

As an addendum to my comment to Chris specifically in regard to our discussion of the term "libertarian", I just want to repeat what I said yesterday in this thread. I was addressing this comment to Peter in relation to what I see as his valiant attempt to expunge certain views from libertarianism, particularly anarchism and pacifism.

"You have to accept the fact that "libertarian" is a grab bag that embraces a wide range of views, some of which you find abhorrent. That is actually its appeal to a great many of its adherents for the obvious reason that most of them are subjectivists."

You can't make a silk's purse out of a sow's ear.

Attempting to make libertarianism consistent with Objectivism is like the utterly futile attempt of some free-marketers to recapture the term "liberal" (in its classical sense). It's too late for that. The terms have become too corrupted.

I understand that AR thought once about calling her philosophy "rationalism" - and would have loved "existentialism". Same problem obviously. It would have caused nothing but confusion.

Peter

Fred Weiss's picture

Now Peter, you know that's not what I'm saying.

I've already said that I don't have any problem with your platform from what I've read of it. I'm not saying that you are trying to impliment the wrong policies.

I'm questioning whether achieving that platform *via a political party* is the right way to go.

I also should add that I like you guys a lot. My comments are not coming from any personal antipathy. I am not, Linz, trying "to shit on you".

Robert

Fred Weiss's picture

You are suggesting a totally false alternative. The choice is not between a political party trying to change a culture vs. doing nothing. Attempting to do it via a political party thoroughly ignores cause and effect. In fact that would be the wrong approach even if the culture were much better than it is now. Politics is *the consequence* of a culture's philosophical beliefs, not vice versa - and you cannot reverse that process.

You can't change a country politically until you have first changed it philosophically - and no (because I see another false alternative coming) that does not mean that you have to wait until everyone has memorized Galt's Speech or that until then nothing positive can be made to happen while one is heading in that direction. In fact it will occur in incremental steps and there is *a great deal* that one can do to promote it.

Fred

Peter Cresswell's picture

"What are they for?"

Yet according to you, Fred, whatever they're for you're against -- even if it's whatever you are for.

It all makes absolutely perfect sense.

Chris

Fred Weiss's picture

Chris, you are absolutely correct that she never used the expression "non-initiation of force" in any of her published work. I hadn't realized that but a check of the CD-ROM confirms it.

So what's the significance of your comment that, "Rand didn't base her positions on "non-" anything" and how does that relate to what we are discussing?

Remember when conservatives used to basically define themselves as "anti-communist"? It was often difficult to pull out of them what they were for (other than vague "mom and apple pie" bromides).

Isn't that the same thing as libertarians and their NIOF? What are they for? Exactly what you said: "it depends who you ask".

I'll also point out, as I

Chris Cathcart's picture

I'll also point out, as I have time and time again, that what Rand repudiated was a *political movement* that had adopted that label, for much the same reason that Linz denounces it as it exists in the U.S. She is not intending it as any pronouncements on individual libertarians, some of whom have a basically rational orientation. She didn't even use the term publicly without framing it in scare-quotes, as it had become an anti-concept in the relevant context in which she ever used it. She did just the same thing with the term "liberal," which in its original meaning stood for actual freedom and rights. Rand was precise and careful about the way she used the term, and in exactly what she was denouncing.

While Rand wouldn't have ever endorsed a political party or movement, whether it called itself Libertarianz or not, it sounds on its face like the Libz may not be infected with the problems running throughout the U.S. movement. May have something to do with some KASS leadership. Eye The U.S. movement was too closely tied to Rothbardianism and anarchism; naturally, it was bound to be something of a travesty from the get-go. (Again, the anarchism alone is bound to flush the appeal to ordinary folk right down the toilet. And now, the LP is known basically for one distinctive thing: wanting drugs legalized.) You could damn well expect the Libz to go down the crapper, too, if staunch Rand-supporters don't remain firmly in charge of the leadership over time. Still, I wonder about what the Libz is getting accomplished public-policy-wise over in NZ. I hadn't thought of NZ -- or any country for that matter, in this day and age, as being a lib-sympathetic nation in a deep and significant way.

And might I add

Robert's picture

And might I also add that, in the New Zealand context, waiting until the philosophic waters are at the perfect temperature before beginning political agitation will result in nothing being done before the statists nationalise everything that's nailed down and criminalise anything that isn't.

This is of course the thing that pisses me off about ~some~ Objectivists. The fact that they won't roll their bloody sleeves up and get stuck in until the perfect conditions arrive for the effortless conversion of the masses. A fat lot of fucking good that is when people are being stuffed into ovens or sent to count trees.

If not now Fred, then WHEN??!?

Linz wrote: Every

Chris Cathcart's picture

Linz wrote:

Every Objectivist is a small 'l' libertarian. Can't be helped. A is A. Every Objectivist believes in a political system based on non-initiation of force.

See, there's already something a bit off about this explanation, something suited to the Offness Society, perhaps, but it's not all too KASS. Rand didn't base her positions on "non-" anything. Last I checked, she defined her positions in terms of a positive -- in this case, as another poster pointed out, her politics are based on individual rights.

I can't seem to recall Rand ever using a phrase like "non-initiation of force." Wasn't her style.

Stolen :-)

Peter Cresswell's picture

"If you want to judge the effectiveness of Libertarianz you should observe the number of times the media and mainstream politicians have engaged us, written about us or just flat out stolen our arguments and policies."

Of course, and unlike other parties, having our arguments and policies flat out stolen is exactly what we're after.

L/libertarians/z and Objectivists

Chris Cathcart's picture

I've debated this whole issue to death as some know. At this point, the most helpful guidepost I can use is to ask someone who calls themselves "libertarian" what they mean by the term, and more importantly, try and get an idea of where the person stands on ideas in general, their degree of admiration for and understanding of Ayn Rand's ideas, and so on. HPO, for instance, has a number of folks who refer to themselves as "libertarian" from time to time, who bear little resemblance to war-isolationists, pacifists, Saddamites Smiling, etc., and on present-day issues are big war-hawks on Iran. I don't think any of them promote an "anarchist" viewpoint, either. (They've got better things to do, after all, such as live their lives, fry much bigger fish, etc.) And then there are libertarians who can be pretty big assholes. Like in many other endeavors, it's more interesting what the person's intellectual character is, than what label they are okay with.

And for reasons I now consider quite obvious enough, Rand had some good justification for distancing herself from the label. It had little to do with the term itself and plenty to do with the kinds of folks co-opting it in her day. Apart from some contexts, it's not a particularly good or useful term anyway, not one I'd be all enthused to adopt and proclaim. "Laissez-faire capitalism" is plenty KASS and unambiguous enough, and Rand didn't fail to recognize that.

(Do the Libertarianz advocate libertarianizm?)

"In the last election you

Robert's picture

"In the last election you got a grand total of 946 votes - .04% of the vote."

Perhaps you might like to reinterpret our electoral results in the light of the fact that New Zealand elects it's politicians using a different system (Mixed-member proportional representation) than the US. This is a system that makes it possible for little parties to punch above their political weight if they make it to Parliament. For better or for worse, in New Zealand politics, the tail can wag the dog.

Such a system encourages tactical voting of a sort you don't see often in the USA's system. Voter numbers tend to swing violently between elections. Witness National's resurgence under their new Leader Don Brash - near political annihilation to level-pegging in 3 short years.

In other words, your point is bullshit in the New Zealand context. If you want to judge the effectiveness of Libertarianz you should observe the number of times the media and mainstream politicians have engaged us, written about us or just flat out stolen our arguments and policies.

Hmm

jtgagnon's picture

I understand where Fred's coming from, but I gotta say he's wrong on this one. I know nothing about NZ politics, but the libz platform is damn good and having them out there seems to be a fine way of exposing people to the ideas.

Linz, Peter-

Aaron's picture

Linz, Peter-
Thanks for your comments on political activism, (small)-libertarianism, and the Libertarianz. I too question whether direct political activism via a political party is a very effective form (now), and think participating in such 'head-on' political approach could easily be personally frustrating. However, your platform+principles online kick ass (yes, even what I read of defence+foreign policy), and what you're doing seems reasonable and positive. I'd be surprised if Fred doesn't consider this itself as ammunition against you, but I hope the best for your success with the Libertarianz.

Fred: Newsflash!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

It's you who are missing the point. The party as such is not promoting Objectivism as such. It's promoting political freedom. That's its function as a political party. If individual Libz are asked deeper questions about the derivation of rights, most of them give Objectivist answers, since most of them are Objectivists.

It's not that we merely want to uphold rational values—it's that we do uphold them, as we uphold the right of folks to be irrational so long as they don't impose their irrationality on others.

And guess what? We'll keep doing that, as we see fit, regardless of who shits on us.

Linz

Linz and Peter

Fred Weiss's picture

You both keep missing my point. If I don't think Objectivism should be promoted in a political party, it doesn't matter whether I agree with the party or not. My objection is not to the platform, per se. It is that you are a political party.

I'm pleased to hear that the National Party has embraced some of your ideas. I support that and I think you should therefore be helping them and encouraging more of that - instead of taking votes from them. The last election was very close. It is conceivable that in some future election your voters could swing the election to the socialists.

None of this has anything to do with your other activities,e.g the magazine, the radio show.

As for your describing yourselves as "libertarian", you already know my views on that. I see Peter is trying to declare by fiat who is and isn't a libertarian - and by that means he is attempting to exclude anarchists and pacifists. I sympathize but I'm afraid it doesn't work that way. You have to accept the fact that "libertarian" is a grab bag that embraces a wide range of views, some of which you find abhorrent. That is actually its appeal to a great many of its adherents for the obvious reason that most of them are subjectivists.

You can't make a purse out of a sow's ear.

Sorry, but Peter Schwartz was right about that.

If you guys in contrast want to uphold rational values - and specifically Objectivism - you should distance yourself as much as possible from libertarianism.

Really?

Peter Cresswell's picture

So the fact that you MIGHT agree with every single word of a party's platform in no way influences your decision as to whether you would support that party...

A powerful and profound point, Fred.

Are you sure you're not a student of Jacques Derrida instead of Ayn Rand?

Fred ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

You don't have to keep repeating to read your platform. I've read your platform. Despite the fact that I might agree with every single word of it doesn't change my point in the slightest.

That's just daft. You'd agree with every word of it but vote for a statist party? Weird.

"Mainstream" politicians have told me personally of the significant extent to which libertarianism has entered their consciousness thanks to things like Libertarianz, The Free Radical, the Politically Incorrect Show etc.. They actually respect Libertarianz, & they certainly respect me as a "mainstream" journalist with Objectivist/libertarian views.

Our vote count was actually six times higher under the first election essayed under my leadership. It was much lower in the election you cite because Don Brash, mainstream National Party (= Republicans) leader Don Brash, a personal friend of mine, has taken National in a much more libertarian direction & libertarian-inclined voters voted National in a tactical move designed to rid the country of Helen Clark's socialist government.

If you doubt we're making an impact, read the thread Linz Shot JFK! You should be applauding us, not shitting on us just because Peter Schwartz wouldn't like our name!

Linz

And as far as fundamental cultural change is concerned, what the hell do you think SOLO is all about?! What the hell do you think PC's blog is all about?

Peter

Fred Weiss's picture

If your profile is so high and you are having the profound effect you are claiming - and if the context of New Zealand is so different - why is your vote count so dismal?

In the last election you got a grand total of 946 votes - .04% of the vote.

http://www.electionresults.gov...

You don't have to keep repeating to read your platform. I've read your platform. Despite the fact that I might agree with every single word of it doesn't change my point in the slightest.

Fred, you're not listening,

Peter Cresswell's picture

Fred, you're not listening, and you haven't understood: This is not the US we're talking about, THIS IS NEW ZEALAND. There are many factors that make the CONTEXT very different. (Remember context?)

As I suggested above, "Because in the New Zealand context political activity has a much higher profile, and offers an ideal way to engage in philosophical activism, one we have found to be enormously successful in penetrating the culture we are trying to change.

You say, "If what we are discussing here is Objectivism, it is too early for political activism." And I say that's an excuse for not indulging in political activism as a means of disseminating Objectivism.

You say (presumably wihout having looked at it), "your platform is in effect - from the perspective of the average voter, even the average intelligent voter - completely arbitrary and a bunch of floating abstractions." And I say again, read the platform. I can say too that the platform and positions are almost guaranteed to attract attention and questions every time they're aired, positively inviting them to be backed up philosophically, as they have been.

You say, "It takes time to change cultures," and I say that's exactly what we're working on. A revolution in people's heads.

You say, " I think we should try and influence one of the major parties," and I say again that's exactly the effect IN NEW ZEALAND of the Libertarianz party. It's not that we expect or want to be in Parliament, we want our ideas to be there. And they are. And they are there, and in the culture, only to the extent to which we have been politically and philosophically active.

So save your embarrassment for somebody who deserves it. Like Peter Schwartz.

Peter

Fred Weiss's picture

Peter, it is not that I would support a party that promoted statism over liberty. It is that I will not support a "libertarian" party. Such a political party in today's context is not just futile, it is positively detrimental to the cause of liberty - and it doesn't matter if I agree with your platform or not. Your platform could be Galt's Speech for that matter and it wouldn't change what I'm saying in the least.

If what we are discussing here is Objectivism, it is too early for political activism. As you well know, it is not possible to grasp where we are coming from without first having a grasp of its philosophical basis. So your platform is in effect - from the perspective of the average voter, even the average intelligent voter - completely arbitrary and a bunch of floating abstractions.

You don't have to take my word for it. Look at your vote count.

Sorry, but the process cannot be speeded up. It takes time to change cultures - and it takes even longer if the change is as radical and fundamental as what we are trying to accomplish.

Incidentally, at the time at which political activism is appropriate I am strongly of the opinion that we should not go the "third party" route. I think we should try and influence one of the major parties. That's not as far-fetched as it sounds. There are already a number of political figures both at the State and Federal level who claim to be Ayn Rand fans.

Libertarianz

Peter Cresswell's picture

"NIOF is not the most fundamental principle, Linz."

Indeed it's not, and neither did Linz suggest that it was, Fred.

Might I humbly point out I invited discussion on this the other day at SOLO by contrasting libertarians who are simply anti-government -- and I did manage to flush one out -- and those who are pro-liberty.

As far as New Zealand libertarians go, ie., Libertarianz we are not the US Libertarian Party, we are emphatically and definitely pro-liberty, and in the main pro-Objectivist. As Linz did, I would invite you to peruse the Libertarianz policy platform and find anything it you might want to label "crackpot."

"I appreciate the fact that you are trying to educate people and if you are having some success at it, I certainly applaud it. By why through a political party?"

Because in the New Zealand context political activity has a much higher profile, and offers an ideal way to engage in philosophical activism, one we have found to be enormously successful in penetrating the culture we are trying to change.

"Could you instead help to promote The Fountainhead Essay Contest? Or perhaps sponsor Objectivist speakers, some of whom might enjoy the prospect of visiting an exotic locale such as NZ, etc."

We have promoted a Fountainhead Essay Contest ourselves (oddly enough the ARI never replied to our letters some years back when we asked if might promote their essay competition here.) And we have sponsored Objectivist speakers. Why would you think such things should be mutually exclusive.

"It is much, much worse than you are wasting your time - although that would be bad enough. What is worse is that you are embarrassing to the cause of liberty and the possibility of future change."

Well thank you Fred for your entirely embarrassing and completely evidence-free opinion-from-a-distance on our efforts in New Zealand in the cause of liberty. Perhaps you could write it out in full on a sheet of rough paper, fold it until it's all sharp corners and then see if you have somewhere it might fit.

And then perhaps, after you've enjoyed that and then viewed the Libertarianz policy platform, you might explain why in the New Zealand context you suggest you'd rather support a party that promoted statism over liberty?

Political Philosophy vs. Political System

Thomas Lee's picture

Here's another way to approach this issue. The issue is not size: big government vs. small government (vs. no government), with Objectivists and libertarians on the small-to-no government end of the spectrum. The issue is qualitative: a system based on individual rights vs. various forms of statism (including anarchism and the minimally mixed economy that people like Miltion Friedman and Hayek advocate).

Consider what this means. It means that Objectivism is distinct from any political philosophy that advocates some other system. This includes a system defended on ostensively the same grounds (i.e., the non-initiation of force principle). In fact, that principle is not how Objectivism defends capitalism. That principle is the test for whether or not a given action violates rights--by itself, it is useless and meaningless. Rights are the standard. So we can now be more specific. Objectivism's political philosophy is distinct from all political philosophies that do not advocate laissez-faire capitalism on the basis of individual rights.

But individual rights, also, is a broad term that encompasses various rights theories, most of which Objectivism rejects. Rights, according to Objectivism, are not "things" man has but are moral principles we use to organize society in a way that enables man to follow a rational, egoistic moral code.

The point is that Objectivism's political philosophy is distinct from all other political philosophies, and should not be put under the umbrella of "libertarianism" on some superficial basis, whether of "small government" or of the "non-initiation of force" principle.

To be clear, this is why Objectivists are consistent to reject the label "libertarian" (which claims to be a political philosophy) while embracing the political system of "laissez-faire capitalism." Others can support the system we do, but to share our political philosophy, you must share our philosophy.

I heard it in 1965 or 1966

eg's picture

I heard it in 1965 or 1966 from a fellow trainee. Three years in the army; in training for 20 months. I so hated garrison duty after all the training I wrote to a certain lady in Washington requesting Vietnam--and I got it! It was harder getting laid.

--Brant

Ah, Brant...

Craig Ceely's picture

First time I heard that one, it was about sailors!

Unfortunately, I have respect for soldiers, sailors, and airmen as well, so...

Anyway, thanks for that one. Smiling

Craig

eg's picture

A soldier and a Marine were taking a piss in a public restroom. When done the army guy heads to the washbasin and the Marine heads to the door. "Why aren't you going to wash your hands?" said the soldier. "In the Marines," said the Marine, "they teach us not to piss on our hands." Smiling

--Brant
army combat guy

Why is it I doubt that

Craig Ceely's picture

Why is it I doubt that Duncan or Diana are military veterans?

Thomas Barry (USAF 1985-1989)

Okay, Thomas, I'll play your silly fucking game: why do you doubt that, and what on earth difference does it make?

For the record, I'm a military veteran -- US Marine Corps 1982-1995, with combat service in Beirut 1983-1984 -- and I not only agree with the comments I've seen Duncan and Diana make here, I regard with contempt the type of sneering anti-civilian comment you made here.

I believe "lower than whale shit" was the appropriate military term in my day.

Julian

Fred Weiss's picture

Libertarians do defend capitalism but it doesn't seem to be their primary focus. I often get the impression that getting dope-dealers out of prison or defending the "right" to own sub-machine guns or nuclear weapons is more important to them.

I appreciate the fact that you are trying to educate people and if you are having some success at it, I certainly applaud it. By why through a political party? Furthermore, if promoting Objectivism is your primary purpose, why do it through politics?

Could you instead help to promote The Fountainhead Essay Contest? Or perhaps sponsor Objectivist speakers, some of whom might enjoy the prospect of visiting an exotic locale such as NZ, etc. Or get Atlas Shrugged translated into Maori.

Scratch that last one. Smiling

Uh, Julian

eg's picture

A libertarian is a person who may or may not advocate capitalism.

--Brant

Fred et al.

JulianD's picture

The comments you make have - in the past - been discussed and debated by Objectivists/Libertarianz in NZ. We are aware that a philosophical revolution is required before a political revolution is possible. But being at war with the culture means that attack is required on all fronts.

We do not measure success by the number of votes, we measure it by the number of people who have been introduced to the ideas of Ayn Rand (myself included) and related concepts. And there are many many thousands in NZ.

Could you indicate where you not agree with the below?

Fred is an Objectivist
Objectivist political theory defends capitalism.
A libertarian is a person who advocates capitalism.
Fred is a ....

Julian

Libertarianz

Fred Weiss's picture

Linz, doesn't the fact that you get less than 1,000 votes, less than 1% of the total, tell you something?

Doesn't it tell you that it is way, way too early for political action, that an enormous amount of cultural change will first be required?

Doesn't it tell you that philosophy is first, politics second? And that could take decades.

With all due respect and those of the rest of you from NZ, I would not support your party.

It is much, much worse than you are wasting your time - although that would be bad enough. What is worse is that you are embarrassing to the cause of liberty and the possibility of future change. I'm just guessing that many/most NZ'ers regard your party - as Americans do the party here - as crackpots. In any event whether it is that extreme or not, it is clear from the voting numbers that they don't take you seriously.

That is not how we want the cause of liberty viewed! Why would you?

As for how Rand used the term "libertarian", she never used it in a positive way that I'm aware of. So I don't know what you are referring to. But more importantly she was very much of the view that the kind of political action you are engaged in is profoundly mistaken - and this was another reason for her adamant opposition to "libertarianism".

Once again, for this and other related reasons Objectivists are not libertarians and Objectivism is not a variant of libertarianism.

Fred ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

NIOF is not the most fundamental principle, Linz. In fact without a proper grasp of man's rights you cannot know what constitutes an initiation of force since it can only be defined in terms of those rights.

I didn't say it was. It's an ethical/political principle. Anyone who subscribes to it, politically speaking is a small 'l' libertarian. A significant number of members of Libertarianz are Objectivists. One of our office-holders is a Christian. He gets all sorts of things wrong in metaphysics & epistemology, being an intrinsicist, but I've never heard him propose a party policy that I didn't agree with. And I suspect if you look at the party's manifesto you'll find there's nothing in it you'd disagree with either. You'd have to think of a better reason not to vote for it than its name (which, I repeat, is a term Rand used to use)! Or the philosophical delinquency of some of its members. Smiling

I realise, as I think I've made clear, the U.S. context is very different, & I don't blame Oists for viewing the Libertarian Party with disgust.

Libertarianism vs. Objectivism

Fred Weiss's picture

I agree with Thomas. Ayn Rand's view was that a rational social system was based most fundamentally on *individual rights* - and a proper grasp of what those are and why they are necessary for man's survival. It is *only from such a philosophical base* that one can fully grasp why the initiation of force is profoundly antithetical to a rational human existence.

NIOF is not the most fundamental principle, Linz. In fact without a proper grasp of man's rights you cannot know what constitutes an initiation of force since it can only be defined in terms of those rights.

That in fact is the fundamental difference between Objectivism and libertarianism and precisely why Objectivism is *not* libertarian, however much there may be some incidental overlaps.

The differences you see between Objectivists and libertarians on foreign policy and the proper principles of war are a direct outgrowth of our different fundamental principles - and the confusions that arise when you give primacy to NIOF. Severed from (the Objectivist view of) rights and ethics it becomes the rationalistic floating abstraction we see repeatedly in these discussions - and you see the difficulties some people have in grasping why it was right for Sherman to have burned Atlanta or for us to have A-bombed Japan - or now for Israel to be bombing the shit out of Lebanon (and if anything in my view exercising *too much* restraint).

reality and reason

eg's picture

Objectivists advocate a philosophy based on reality and reason, which is the essential heart of Objectivism. Libertarians do not save through the implicit use of the "stolen concept." The closest they come is through the title of "Reason" magazine, which has never had an article I know of about reason or thinking or Objectivism. The magazine got its real start in, I think, November 1971 when it published its first Nathaniel Branden interview. Today it publishes an interesting article now and then and serves as a kind of training ground for "Forbes" magazine. It's next to worthless, all in all.

--Brant

Linz

Thomas Lee's picture

The label "libertarian" is legitimate only if it groups essentially similar units. Given that "libertarian" today refers to anarchists like G. Smith, and proponents of the mixed economy like M. Friedman, which precisely is the essential similarity of those individuals with Objectivism? None. "Less government" is a non-essential. "Little to no" government is an absurd package deal. "A social system based on individual rights, including property rights, where all property is privately owned": that is what Objectivism endorses. And there is a label for that. Laissez-faire capitalism. 

An Objectivist

eg's picture

An Objectivist is a libertarian only if he calls himself one and that is only a political/economic appellation, not a primary philosophical reference. Basically, Objectivism gave birth to modern day libertarianism for the benefit of those who wanted a political reference without the Objectivist philosophical baggage. It is one thing to call oneself an Objectivist-libertarian, quite another to call oneself merely a libertarian.

--Brant

This is all rubbish!

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Every Objectivist is a small 'l' libertarian. Can't be helped. A is A. Every Objectivist believes in a political system based on non-initiation of force. That's "libertarian." Rand used to use the term herself. Every libertarian, however, especially the cap 'L' variety from the U.S., where the movement is infested with disgusting, appeasing, tyranny-embracing Rothbardian-Rockwellian anarcho-Saddamites who really applaud the initiation of force—as long as it's by Islamo-Fascists— is not necessarily an Objectivist. (The anarcho-Saddamites argue in essence that Saddam shouldn't have been toppled, & stab in the back the gallant boys & girls on the battlefield. Prime example: Sciabarra, a lying back-stabber on the personal level as well. No coincidence. Disgraceful beyond words.)

Linz

A libertarian

eg's picture

A libertarian can be anything; that's the liberty of it all! It's philosophical hedonism (sub-category of hedonism). No, I'm not a libertarian!

--Brant

You've lost me

Richard Wiig's picture

Kenny you said:

"I have several Moslem friends. One is a libertarian Conservative Member of the European Parliament."

That's why I made my comment. I don't understand where you're coming from with this "Tim Sturm" thing.

Friend?

Kenny's picture

Richard said "Is it better to point that out to Kenny and Kenny's friend, or is it better to stay silent?"

The only poster on this site that I have met or spoken to is Tim Sturm (whose views on this issue are very different to mine)and that was on one occasion.

Scott

Richard Wiig's picture

"Well it is as impossible to be a Catholic and a libertarian as it is to be Muslim and libertarian."

Perhaps so, but that is not the point. Catholicism is not taking the world headlong into a world war. Islam is out to subjugate the infidel world on a global scale, therefore it's important to examine what it does mean to be a good or bad muslim. If being a "good muslim" means to necessarally support the Jihad, then we better not decieve ourselves by leaving it unexamined and unmentioned, as you would like to see.

"I don't doubt that a Muslim who practices the religion at a personal level, and follows the religion on that level, can be libertarian. Yes that means a Muslim who doesn't initiate force. You may claim that the person is not a true Muslim - but frankly, so what?"

Islam is at war with us, that's the "so what". Know thy enemy is the first form of defence.

"More exactly, who the hell are you to engage in a crusade about whether someone is a true Muslim or not?"

That's a bit on the nose isn't it?

"There are plenty of wannabe Ayatollahs spreading such nonsense - why should atheists start pointing the accusatory finger at people who say they are Muslim and libertarian?"

Scott, what you seem to be saying is that Duncan and, I presume, myself, should stop making judgements in regards to what it does or doesn't mean to be a true muslim? To do so does not equate to being an Ayatollah. BTW, the Ayatollahs are not spreading nonsense, at least not in the Islamic sense. Ayatollahs are very learned in what Islam is, and it is something very specific. To be a good Muslim is to follow the Ayatollahs.

"I could easily claim that most Christians are not true Christians because many eat shellfish, grow their hair too long or short, masturbate or go against plenty of Old Testament hocus pocus."

Yes, you could easily make that claim, and would it matter if you did? No, it wouldn't, and really, there's no great necessity to do so. If Christians were out to subjugate you though, then there would certainly be a necessity to look very closely.

"I am an atheist and I do think the world would be a far better place without religion, but the world would also be a lot better if Muslims practiced their religion whilst ditching initiation of force. That would be a giant step along the way."

The problem is, they cannot ditch it. The Qur'an is the perfect word of Allah, and beyond question. To simply question it even, is to invite death, and in that, it has just occured to me, is a very good reason to confront very strongly what it is to be a true muslim. Not only is it at war with us, but with it's own followers. Is it better to point that out to Kenny and Kenny's friend, or is it better to stay silent?

"It is that which the essence of the Declaration of Independence gave us - a country which allowed people to believe what they wished, as long as they didn't initiate force."

Islam is incompatible with the Declaration of Independence

"Meanwhile objectivists rightly can make the point that religion is irrational, and debate it with believers of different faiths.

"Damning all Muslims isn't going to work today anymore than damning all Christians would have in 1776."

No one has damned all Muslims. There is a fallacy in your thinking there, that seems more in tune with those on the anti-American left.

Ruth

Olivia's picture

You say; [" I posted against the eliminationist rhetoric "Death to Islam", which was used by people calling themselves Libertarians last year. I opposed that - just as much as I oppose the "Death to America" rhetoric. Fundamentalist Islam and neo-conservatism end up in the same place."] - Ruth.

How absurd to put these two death slogans in the same category and be equally opposed to them!

Islam is a religion (idea). America is a nation (real). Hell of a difference.

Issues?

Fred Weiss's picture

There are far, far fewer "issues" about how Israel was founded than how the United States was founded. Not only did the Jews have no desire or intent to push out the Arabs - anymore than they do now - but in the years preceding the formation of the state of Israel vast numbers of Arabs flocked to Palestine because the Jews were transforming a desert into a thriving, productive economy. Israel has never wanted anything but to live in peace in the region. It is the Arabs who declared their intention to "drive the Jews into the sea" and have done nothing over the years but make war on Israel.

Nothing has ever stopped the Palestinians from embracing the principles of political and economic freedom and consequently thriving...well, except for...umm...Islam and...err...Marxism. Little things like that.

Scott, You wrote,

Mike_M's picture

Scott,

You wrote, "Personally I believe there are issues around the founding of Israel and how the Arabs who lived in Palestine when Israel was founded were treated at the time. This is something ARI does not acknowledged - Israel is an artificial construct of colonialists and the UN"

Dr. Brook talks about this at great length in his "Moral Defense of Israel" speech. (Believe it or not, this speech converted one and a half of my friends to Objectivism, i.e. it's friggin' good). Search the Ayn Rand Bookstore for a lecture called "The Rise and Decline of the State of Israel." Unfortunately, audio is not the most accessable format, while In Moral Defense of Israel is a campus talk. Hopefully Brook will put all the Israel stuff down on paper one day.

Religious purists

Scott Wilson's picture

Well it is as impossible to be a Catholic and a libertarian as it is to be Muslim and libertarian. There are people with religious faith, which can include their own selective belief in aspects of Islam, Catholicism etc which means they are still libertarians. After all, Libertarianz has a Christian member who has stood for candidacy several times.

I don't doubt that a Muslim who practices the religion at a personal level, and follows the religion on that level, can be libertarian. Yes that means a Muslim who doesn't initiate force. You may claim that the person is not a true Muslim - but frankly, so what? More exactly, who the hell are you to engage in a crusade about whether someone is a true Muslim or not? There are plenty of wannabe Ayatollahs spreading such nonsense - why should atheists start pointing the accusatory finger at people who say they are Muslim and libertarian?

I could easily claim that most Christians are not true Christians because many eat shellfish, grow their hair too long or short, masturbate or go against plenty of Old Testament hocus pocus.

I am an atheist and I do think the world would be a far better place without religion, but the world would also be a lot better if Muslims practiced their religion whilst ditching initiation of force. That would be a giant step along the way.

It is that which the essence of the Declaration of Independence gave us - a country which allowed people to believe what they wished, as long as they didn't initiate force. Meanwhile objectivists rightly can make the point that religion is irrational, and debate it with believers of different faiths.

Damning all Muslims isn't going to work today anymore than damning all Christians would have in 1776.

Not all Muslim's believe

Duncan Bayne's picture

Not all Muslim's believe that Sharia law should be imposed on western countries.

Sharia is incompatible with libertarianism, regardless of the identity of those imposing it, and regardless of the identity of their victims.

Consider New Zealand M.P. Ashraf Choudhard, who supports the stoning of homosexuals in Muslim countries:

Ashraf Choudhary appeared on TV3’s 60 Minutes Monday night, in an item about fundamentalist Islam in New Zealand. In an interview, he said that the Koran was “correct” to advocate stoning homosexuals “in those societies”, referring to those practising Islamic canonical law.

It is impossible to be a Muslim, and a libertarian, simultaneously. To claim to be both, means that you either misunderstand one or both, or are lying.

The fact that

Daniel Walden's picture

The fact that Hitler would have been tried had he been captured alive is completely immaterial. Policy is the application of ideas, not the basis for them.

Hitler would have been tried, WN

Kenny's picture

Hitler committed suicide in his bunker before he could be tried. Those tried included Rudolph Hess (Deputy Fuhrer), Herman Goerring and the other leading Nazis that were caught by the Allies. If Hitler had been captured alive, he too would have been tried and executed.

Guilt without trial

Hitler had no trial. He was guilty. Determining guilt by trial is a way government can determine guilt. In the context of war there are others that require no sacrifice of values. As others have said a trial in the context of war is absurd on its face.

Leave the straw man of collective guilt out of this. "Collective guilt" and "disproportionate losses" are talking points by the anti-Israel, anti-self defence media. Targeting of civilians is not blanketly wrong but we have dissagreed on this issue on another thread. The wining side always has disproportionate losses since the point of war is to kill people and break things. You achive victory by aflicting more loss on your enemy then your enemy does to you, only stoping when the enemy is destroyed or surrenders.

In name only

Richard Wiig's picture

Kenny said: "A Muslim libertarian is a someone who believes in indiviual rights limited government."

Then, Kenny, that is a muslim in name only, and not a real muslim. As for the poll. I don't know what poll you mentioned, but one poll I've seen shows 36% of UK muslims openly saying they want to see UK society living under Shari'a. 36% is NOT a small minority

The real oxymoron, Fred

Kenny's picture

Jewish Objectivist!Objectivism is an atheist philosophy.

Libertarians can be any religion or faith, provided that they do not force their beliefs or faith on others.

Muslim libertarians

Kenny's picture

A Muslim libertarian is a someone who believes in indiviual rights limited government. Not all Muslim's believe that Sharia law should be imposed on western countries. Only a small minority do. That is clear from opinion polls in the UK.

Not all libertarians are Rothbardian anarcho-capitalists as Fred Weiss implies.

Hold on

Scott Wilson's picture

Libz have opposed greater surveillance powers by the state into tapping phone calls and emails. That battle was lost several years ago when Labour pushed through regulation to do this, it was getting delayed behind the scenes for a few years before that - but 9/11 meant Labour felt it had to do something. There were press releases opposing it at the time. Libertarianz has no truck with the cracking down on civil liberties that has been part of the Bush Administration and the monitoring of people's movements.

Similarly, Libertarianz are not in favour of unlimited pollution - but the use of property rights to control it. There are torts of trespass and nuisance that can cover much of this, and these can evolve further.

I don't think any Libz get masturbatory pleasure out of the Lebanon crisis - although certainly some on the left do. Personally I believe there are issues around the founding of Israel and how the Arabs who lived in Palestine when Israel was founded were treated at the time. This is something ARI does not acknowledged - Israel is an artificial construct of colonialists and the UN - and is no angel - but that does not deny Israel's right to self defence when Hizbullah, a group of murderous thugs, start attacking.

Would it justify Israel targeting civilians? No - that is never justified. The civilian casualties in Lebanon are a tragedy, but the tragedy is the fault of Hizbullah "proudly hiding" behind them.

I have seen nobody say that Lebanon should be wiped out, or Iran, or Syria or that the Palestinians should be pushed into the Jordan River. I have seen nobody say that Muslims should be slaughtered, arrested en masse or the like - in fact I'd argue that the most unfortunate aspect of the Bush administration is its lingering love affair with fundamentalist Christianity.

The support by libertarians for Israel in this case is the right to self defence. The support by libertarians for the attack on Iraq is the right to overthrow a tyrannical regime which is a sworn enemy, when the chance exists. Note I didn't say Libertarianz - the party does not, as far as I know, have a view on either matter.

Having said that Islamism (Islam directing the state) is, as Marxism-Leninism, Nazism and Evangelicism - an evil philosophy that the world would be better off without. I defend Islamist's right to spread their views, but not any right to use force in doing so or to deal with opponents.

Ruth,

Richard Wiig's picture

Are you going to answer Duncan's questions?

I assume this:

Richard Wiig's picture

"I am normally a calm person but Richard GO FUCK YOURSELF"

was because you cannot answer my question about what the fundamentals of Islam are?

My questions were not, rhetorical in order to imply that all muslims are terrorists; my questions were literal. I wanted to know if you know what the fundamentals of Islam are. I don't think you do, otherwise you'd know that Islam is incompatible with Libertarianism. "Libertarian Muslim" is indeed an oxymoron.

Muslim libertarian?

Fred Weiss's picture

Will someone also please tell me what a "Muslim libertarian" is?

Is this a Muslim who doesn't subscribe to any of the basic tenets of the religion, such as... I dunno.. how about treating women like chattel? Or how about seeking to have whatever country he lives in governed by Sharia law? Is this a Muslim who only knocks his head on the ground once a day facing Mecca instead of five? Maybe Kenny thinks Sharia law is consistent with libertarianism. I mean what isn't according to Murray Rothbard, so why not this?

Islamism...

Daniel Walden's picture

...means Islamic fundamentalism. The word was coined so that people could speak about the fundamentalists without having to waste syllables. It's actually rather fitting, since "Islamism" in one sense means "the worship of Islam," as differentiated from the worship of God.

No I will not

Kenny's picture

Richard Wiig implied that there is no difference between Islamists, i.e. ordinary Moslems, and Islamic fundamentalists.

Without trial how do you determine individual guilt? There is no such thing as collective guilt.

Kenny, take a deep

Kenny, take a deep breath...

No one has brought your friend in particular or all Moslem people into this debate but you. Jihadists, Islamisists, whatever you label them they are the ones seeking the destruction of freedom. All who act violently to achieve that end have defaulted on their right to live. Trial is not the only way to objectively determine guilt and meter punishment.

Mujahedeen

Kenny's picture

Have not detonated bombs in England. They fought the Soviets in Afghanistan. Many of them now form the Government in Kabul, supported by the US and UK governments.

The IRA, however, murdered thousands and still have weapons bought with American money.

I have several Moslem friends. One is a libertarian Conservative Member of the European Parliament. To compare him, and my friends, with suicide bombers is a monumental insult.

I am normally a calm person but Richard GO FUCK YOURSELF

Non Sequitur

Richard Wiig's picture

"Lance, we have had only one attack by Islamists on British soil - by British citizens. The IRA were far worse - that's why I drew attention to the IRA's funding by Americans through Noraid."

It doesn't follow that because the IRA have detonated more bombs in England than the Muhajadeen that the Muhajadeen are less of a threat.

"I do not consider the elimination of Islamism to be in Britain's national interest. I hope that you were referring to Islaic fundamentalism rather than all those who follow the Moslem faith."

What's the difference, Kenny, between Islamism and Islamic fundamentlaism? Also, do you know what the fundamentals of Islam are?

What the hell

Richard Wiig's picture

does being a military veteran or not have to do with being able to see evil? There are many military veterans who stood, or who stand, firmly on the side of evil, and who, at the time of their service, could not even see the evil that they were fighting for. It is moral clarity that determines whether or not one sees evil.

Thomas Barry said: "Why is it I doubt that Duncan or Diana are military veterans?"

No Duncan

Kenny's picture

I do not consider the elimination of Islamism to be in Britain's national interest. I hope that you were referring to Islaic fundamentalism rather than all those who follow the Moslem faith.

Lance, we have had only one attack by Islamists on British soil - by British citizens. The IRA were far worse - that's why I drew attention to the IRA's funding by Americans through Noraid. Fred Weiss's posts on Noraid suggest that he is the side of the Irish terrorists.

Thomas, are you stating that

Duncan Bayne's picture

Thomas, are you stating that one must have served in order to have encountered evil? Or that, having served and seen war, it is inevitable that one becomes a "moral equalizer"?

Encountering Evil

TomB's picture

Duncan said: "Seriously, I have to wonder if those on the "moral equivalence" side of the debate have ever actually encountered evil in their lives."

Diana said: "Of course they have. After all, the world is not filled with sunshine, lollipops, and strapping heroes. The "moral equalizers" just refuse to acknowledge evil for what it is. And so they make even greater evils possible."

Why is it I doubt that Duncan or Diana are military veterans?

Thomas Barry (USAF 1985-1989)

Trouble is, Kenny...

Lanza Morio's picture

I am opposed to Jihadists but they should be brought to justice. That means they are entitled to a fair trial - just like the Nazis at Nuremburg. When we abandon justice, we abandon our moral superiority and lower ourselves to their level.

Trouble is, Kenny, that the jihadists aren't exactly keen to walk peacefully to the courthouse. What they are keen on is blowing you up as you make your way to work.

Sure...

DianaHsieh's picture

Duncan said: "Seriously, I have to wonder if those on the "moral equivalence" side of the debate have ever actually encountered evil in their lives."

Of course they have. After all, the world is not filled with sunshine, lollipops, and strapping heroes. The "moral equalizers" just refuse to acknowledge evil for what it is. And so they make even greater evils possible.

-- Diana Hsieh
diana@dianahsieh.com
NoodleFood

Shame on you, Tim. Don't

Duncan Bayne's picture

Shame on you, Tim. Don't you know the NAZIs and their enemies in the free world were morally equivalent? After all, each desired the destruction of the other.

Seriously, I have to wonder if those on the "moral equivalence" side of the debate have ever actually encountered evil in their lives.

In most cases...

Daniel Walden's picture

In most cases, one would give Muslim countries in the Middle East the benefit of the doubt. But many are ruled by regimes that take the Koran as the unquestionable word of God (nevermind the plausibility of Rushdie's The Satanic Verses), and as such are immediately suspect because their God is apparently telling them to go out and convert by the sword or, failing that, stain the ground with infidel blood. Frankly, they should be grateful that the free world, especially the U.S., has allowed them to exist this long in light of their explicit desire to wipe the U.S. (and any country that supports it) from the face of the planet. This is a case of "guilty until proven innocent," and the Muslim world is a LONG way from demonstrating its innocence.

The military of any country

Duncan Bayne's picture

The military of any country that considers the fight to be in it's national interests.

Do you consider the elimination of Islamism to be in your national interest?

I argue that it is, because Islamism is not opposed to any particular country (say, the U.S.A. or Israel). It is opposed to any country falling into Dar al-Harb, the House of War - which simply means "those areas outside Muslim rule".

In fact, that phrase says a lot about their intentions, doesn't it?

Duncan

Kenny's picture

I meant whose military - US, UK etc?

We British are fed up paying $billions to pay for Bush's disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq. We did not have any Islamic attacks until last year. We are paying a heavy price for supporting the neo-conservative foreign policy.

it is realy up to the reader

Duncan Bayne's picture

it is realy up to the reader to be able to understand what they have read

No, it is up to the author to clearly communicate his, or her, ideas. What Ruth posted is entirely devoid of proposed alternatives to the policies she has criticised.

In fact, this attitude is very common amongst the philosophically confused who litter our country. Such people are quick to criticise proposals, but have nothing to offer of their own.

I lose track of the number of conversations that I've had which run a little like this ...

"I hate Israel for what they're doing in Lebanon."
"Really, why?"
"Well, there must be another way to defeat the terrorists."
"Such as?"
"I don't know. Some way."
"Well, can you suggest such a way?"
"No, but there must be."

Sad

Who should undertake the

Duncan Bayne's picture

Who should undertake the military action of slaughtering the Jihadists? Who should pay for it?

The military, and taxpayers, respectively. Military defense is a just function of Government.

Ruthless and I like it

Rex Wilkinson's picture

I think we are all guilty of deliberatly trying to infer something just to grab attention and it is realy up to the reader to be able to understand what they have read but Ruth I like your style and give them heaps.Lindsay it is all very well to sit back on our intellect and scof at the world but that will never make you popular,to achieve that you are going to have to dumb yourself down until the rest can keep up!

Daniel

Kenny's picture

Who should undertake the military action of slaughtering the Jihadists?

Who should pay for it?

Kenny

Daniel Walden's picture

And killing someone who is attempting to exterminate you isn't just? Frankly, it would be nice if we could pile them all up and try them one by one in an international court. There are a few problems with that, though. Firstly, the international community has a tendancy to turn a blind eye to the fact that jihadist ideas are responsible for untold amounts of pain and suffering in the world, especially in the Middle East. Secondly, it's simply not practical to try and capture these people alive while they're employing all the means at their disposal to kill the "infidels" who are trying to bring them in. This isn't a police operation; it's military action and should be treated as such. Jihadists actively support totalitarian regimes that deny some of the most basic rights of their citizens. As such, they are not entitled to the protection of courts and law. It's fine if officers in the field judge that the best policy would be to take the jihadists in alive, but they can't be faulted for not doing so during a military campaign.

Jihadists

Kenny's picture

I am opposed to Jihadists but they should be brought to justice. That means they are entitled to a fair trial - just like the Nazis at Nuremburg. When we abandon justice, we abandon our moral superiority and lower ourselves to their level.

And Godwin's Law on both of

Aaron's picture

And Godwin's Law on both of you! Smiling

Kenny- Seriously, I agree with a lot of what you've said on war elsewhere, but keep in mind what Jeff really wrote. A jihadist is literally a Muslim on a holy war against the infidels - i.e. everyone else. Jeff didn't say every Muslim needed killing, or that every innocent person with the misfortune of living in the same area code as a jihadist deserves to die. Just the jihadists - and that doesn't sound insane to me.

Or...

Tim S's picture

Or spoken, perhaps, like those who fought the Nazis may have spoken.

So much for justice and a fair trial

Kenny's picture

JD Perren wrote

"One needn't be intimately familiar with the detailed platform of New Zealand's Libertarian party, nor be a neo-conservative, to hold that the jihadists deserve death. The more of them, and as efficiently and rapidly as possible, the better. Death to their evil ideas and death to those who preach and practice them."

Spoken like a true Nazi!

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