Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Odd Time to Be Acting Libertarian

Odd Time to Be Acting Libertarian
©2017  Ross Williams

The object of libertarian personality cult adoration was smacked in the head, blindsided, in his own home, by a neighbor, a fellow doctor.  Yes, Rand Paul, the non-libertarian libertarians love to claim is a libertarian was assaulted!  The reasons were undisclosed.  Probably some HOA spat about whose lawn in their gated community isn’t being mowed often enough, or who needs to put white-backed curtains in their kitchen windows the most.

The social libertarian media has been on fire − veritably a-twitter − ever since the incident.   Libertarians have been crawling out of their skin to rush to his defense.  Invariably, these libertarians cite the Non-Aggression Principle, the holy NAP, in doing so.

The holy NAP does indeed support the urge.  As I’ve mentioned before, “non-aggression” permits force to be used in self-defense or in the defense of others.  Rand Paul is an ‘other’, in this case, and libertarians are justified in using force to defend him.

How much force is truly needed to defend against a rather feeble pensioner doctor is anybody’s guess, and my guess would be not much.  But who knows, I may be very wrong.  What I do know is that it would be very very unwise for any, let alone the thousands who have volunteered, to go rushing off to Bowling Green Kentucky to patrol the perimeter of Paul’s manse. 

Aside from the logistical nightmare involved, there is the matter of trampling Rand’s begonias, wearing paths into his bluegrass sodded landscaping that will be filled in the spring with dandelions and mouse-ear chickweed, and the motion-detecting flood lights clicking on and off all night long around the neighborhood raising further breach-of-HOA rules for him to contend with.  And that’s not even to consider the most likely event that he doesn’t want anyone there to begin with.

…nor do the cops.

…nor does the Secret Service detail.

It would just be a mess.  Leave it alone.

But yes, the actual wording of the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle does indeed justify rushing to his defense.  The wisdom of rushing to his defense is a separate issue entirely.

It is this Justification versus Wisdom problem that I’ve brought up multiple times in other circumstances to mostly hoots of pacifist outrage from pseudo-libertarians.  Yet, here we are, in the exact same academic position but with vastly different biasing data, and the political philosophy tables seem to be turned.

Why is it permissible under the holy NAP to rush to the aid of Rand Paul after he is assaulted, but it is not permissible to rush to the aid of the Kurds? or the Nigerian government? or any number of other people or sovereign systems being attacked by others?

Why does defense of others not count as NAP-permitted defense of others when the defense is accomplished by sovereign force? by our sovereign force?  For that matter, why does self-defense not constitute NAP-allowed self-defense when it is the self-defense of our sovereign entity against events recognized by International Law as acts of war?

The Non-Aggression Principle says what it says.  In myriad circumstances, large and small, the NAP justifies the United States taking forceful, military action around the world.  That answer isn’t going to change because libertarians don’t understand the geopolitics involved, or have been brainwashed by two generations of hair-shirted self-loathing as instructed by public schools and popular media.

The NAP justifies military force be taken by the United States under a wide array of current circumstances.  That cannot be rationally argued.

What can be argued is the wisdom of doing it.  But − as I’ve pointed out repeatedly − before one can argue wisdom, one must first have more than an infantile comprehension of the subject matter.  I’ve run across only a handful of libertarians who know more about the subjects of geopolitics and military doctrine, foreign affairs and International Law, than can be stuffed into a gnat’s navel.  Hence they perpetually fall back into the only argument they can make with conviction: It violates the NAP.

Yet it doesn’t.

Here’s the thing: if it violates the NAP for the US to rush to the defense of the Nigerian government being besieged by Boko Haram, or the Philippine government beset by Abu Sayyaf [et al], then it violates the NAP to rush to the aid of Rand Paul who got clocked by his neighbor.  Just like there is no invisible ink addenda in the 4th Amendment justifying warrantless government searches at airports if a large part of the American people are terrified of idiots trying to light their farts in an aisle seat, there is also no invisible ink addenda in the Non-Aggression Principle distinguishing between personal and sovereign force.  Nor between the object of political Personality Cult affection and anonymous people half a world away.

Apply your principles evenly, or don’t claim to have them.  Self-serving hypocrisy reeks too much of Other Peoples Politics.  It should be beneath us.


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