Hey Libertarians. War, What's It Good For?

John Nantz
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Posted: Sep 18, 2014 12:01 AM
Hey Libertarians. War, What's It Good For?

Government is a necessary evil. But, when its’ proclivity to tyranny is shackled like a ravenous beast in a dank cave by the golden chains of liberty, its citizens are free to produce, achieve, and pursue happiness. Americans should always be suspicious of government's natural tendency to devour liberty.

However, though human government is always impelled to draw tightly on the reigns of liberty first by a paternalistic socialism, then to commit the varied brutalities of collectivism, and then to finally realize a bloody tyranny, it is necessary. Government does perform legitimate functions that history and the laws of nature approve. Natural law posits that one of the basic functions of government is to wage war when national interest dictates. The protection of its citizens from the slaughter of foreign brutes and tyrants, as well as from the murder of domestic degenerates and sympathizers, is generally accepted as well within the proper sphere of governmental authority. Or, is it?

The Libertarian movement has always advocated for small government, for the liberal application of principles of liberty. A favorite text for the Libertarian is George Washington's Farewell Address of 1796 in which Washington strenuously warns against foreign alliances and entanglements. He does council the citizens of this great country to eschew diplomatic relations with governments that would lead us into European conflicts.

Where the Libertarian movement has erred is in broadly applying Washington's warning to the exclusion of a compelling national interest analysis. Alliances, treaties, and even the prosecution of war should all be guided by the dictum, "the good of the civil society must be the chief interest of a free republic."

The great evil of the ISIS beheadings, beyond the outrage of the individual murders, is the direct assault on the myriad, free, and individual associations within the civil society and the resulting diminution of liberty. ISIS employs the tyranny of fear to destroy that essential component of a free society--the individual’s pursuit of happiness.

The beheadings are also an affront to national prestige. It is a direct challenge to the legitimate authority of American government. And, this kind of brazen effrontery cannot go unanswered, since barbarity is only emboldened to further acts of barbarity by equivocation or appeasement. The conquests of Adolph Hitler should have long ago taught this lesson to progressivists at The Department of State, who have burrowed in like swollen ticks. When national prestige is implicated, every citizen is directly challenged. This is not a matter to be cavalierly pursued by a half-hearted coalition, but is a matter for sudden, violent, and decisive action.

Legitimate war is really just a corporate act of self-preservation and should not be concluded until the threat is decisively eliminated. The objective isn't complicated, only politicians who seek personal or party advantage make it so. The threat may not be extant but merely immanent. Nations, as individuals, don't have to wait until the threat is immediately upon them to act defensively. So, national interest may be triggered where an international threat is not fully materialized. In fact, the wise executive will eliminate a developing threat before it becomes dire.

Lately, prominent Libertarians have vociferously advocated for a position which is purely isolationist and only invites the barbarians to approach our gates with their assembled siege engines. In fact, the idea of a fortress America is farcical since the Obama administration has made any notion of a defensible border obsolete. Obama's border crisis is a powerful argument for a muscular and decisive response to threats such as ISIS. Either we wage war upon them where they live, train, and plot, or we will battle them in our cities after they come skipping across our deconstructed border. America cannot afford the Libertarian fiction of hiding behind two oceans. This isolationist bent has also given rise to a Libertarian tendency to blame America for the mindless hate of Islamo-Nazi’s. They hate America because we refuse to give assent to the primitive rantings of their prehistoric Moon-god. It’s as simple as that.

Domestically, the Libertarian chattering class has attacked law enforcement for appearing too militaristic and menacing. However, this position is reactionary rather than based on reason. The continuous usurpations of the Obama administration have made some on the right sensitive to all government action regardless of its legitimacy. Since progressive policies have made terrorist action more likely, law enforcement is obliged to prepare for dealing with this militarized threat. The use of riot shields, body armor, and rifles is hardly new, but the pervasive feeling of tyranny is a new to many Americans just coming to grips with the meaning and scope of Obama’s Imperial Presidency. A detailed discussion of the militarization myth is discussed in a preceding Townhall article.

War isn't a dirty word. And, though it should be the last resort, it is good for destroying the enemies of liberty. The Libertarian movement has always been marred by a fatal flaw, it fails to recognize what government does well. Governments are quite good at waging war and they are very good at maintaining domestic tranquility. We must be vigilant and jealous of our liberty, but we must also be wise enough to know when to let loose the dogs of war.