Joshua Holmes at No Treason sure opened the flood gates in a post about how libertarians, normally allied against statism, are quite divided in their positions on The War.
…the War on Terror and the War on Iraq have separated the libertarians who mean it and the libertarians who are faking it.
Really, what separates we libertarians from market-oriented conservatives is that radical critique of the power of the state. More than empty small government conservative promises, the libertarian critique says the power of the state is so immoral that it must either be drastically limited or completely abolished. Saying, “Boy, I hope the Bushies get their act together in Iraq!” isn’t a critique a libertarian makes. A libertarian goes right to the heart of the problem: the state.
When I first read it a few days ago, I really didn’t think much of it. While I regret that we are at war, as any sane person would, I also understand that there are a lot of things in play. Sometimes in life, you are not able to get to a place you want [or have] to be without going through a place you’d rather not traverse. Running a very complex company, I’m confronted with these sorts of scenarios every day. While age and maturity bring clarity of principles, the added responsibility and accountability that goes along with it can complicate matters beyond easy reconciliation. It’s a “real-life thing.”
So, I was meandering about this morning and discovered that Holmes’ post had spurred quite a regalia of libertarian dissent. Here’s a money quote from Greg Swann:
What argument are you making? That pretend-libertarian vigilante assholes are bad guys? I agree. That Batman is insane? I agree. That people can make mistakes? There’s a revelation. Is it your claim that doing nothing in response to Islamism will have happy consequences? That would be incorrect. We are lucky that libertarians on either side of this debate are mere ballast. I would that my position with respect to Western Civilization were better understood by Bush and Blair, et alia, but the contrary strategy, cavil and cower, is absurd on its face. A radical critique of the state is a fine thing, just as much as a radical critique of a restaurant. But we shouldn’t confuse them with freedom or dinner. The libertarian argument will be no less true when our granddaughters are forced to wear burqas. But that is a fate that mere argument will not forestall.
To get what Greg means about “Batman,” above, see this post. At any rate, going through all the comments, as well as all the references linked to in the comments is a worthwhile experience. After going through all of it, I’ve got to say “advantage Swann,” although I’d have to credit John Lopez with at least a wound in his comment about Swann embracing utilitarianism.