Friday, August 18, 2006

litmus tests for libertarianism

* Henley:
"Anyway, I’m thinking of litmus tests (for libertarianism). I’m personally okay with throwing people out of the big fucking tent over these:
1. The right to keep and bear arms. My view on RKBA is not that having an armed populace guarantees liberty but that wanting a disarmed populace is a harbinger of its lack. It’s a “canary in a coal mine” right: if you don’t think ordinary citizens can responsibly wield the instruments of lethal force, you probably have too little faith in the rest of what ordinary citizens can be trusted with.
2. Ending drug prohibition. Drug prohibition undergirds and requires a massive apparatus of lies and coercion. It entails a massive fraud on the populace. It is, even in principle, anti-liberty. It is also, in practice, grotesquely harmful. It starts with lies about the actual range of effects, good and bad, of select chemicals, and ends with accustoming citizens to ever more intrusive surveillance by the government. It also displaces the costs of folly ever further from the actual responsible party.
3. Any expansive reading of the President’s “commander-in-chief” power, most especially including the Bush Administration’s theory of the unitary executive as promulgated in signing statements and Congressional testimony. The Constitution is quite clear on Congress’ authority to declare war, regulate the conduct of the armed forces and “define and punish . . . offenses against the law of nations.” Also, if you are a libertarian, not just that much concentrated power but a national leader laying claim to that much concentrated power ought to give you the heebee jeebies.
4. I’m not sure how exactly I’d formulate any “war test.” I think it’s really really dumb for libertarians to favor promiscuous resort to war, for reasons Roger laid out in the post below, and before them the Founding Fathers. I absolutely define the “GWOT” as advocated by the national-greatness wing of the Republican Party as a promiscuous resort to war. I’m interested in providing a little wiggle room here, though as for that I’m just as happy calling people who like guns and drugs and lots of intervention abroad the perfectly reasonable term “neolibertarian” and be done with it. It lacks the automatically pejorative tone of the older “liberventionist.”"

* speaking of which, here's scott:
"If you are not a libertarian yet, you might consider spending some time over ar"

* guardian:
'Turkey and Iran have dispatched tanks, artillery and thousands of troops to their frontiers with Iraq during the past few weeks in what appears to be a coordinated effort to disrupt the activities of Kurdish rebel bases.
Some displaced families have pitched tents in the valleys behind Qandil Mountain, which straddles Iraq's rugged borders with Turkey and Iran. They told the Guardian yesterday that at least six villages had been abandoned and one person had died following a sustained artillery barrage by Iranian forces that appeared designed to flush out guerrillas linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), who have hideouts in Iraq.

Although fighting between Turkish security forces and PKK militants is nowhere near the scale of the 1980s and 90s - which accounted for the loss of more than 30,000 mostly Turkish Kurdish lives- at least 15 Turkish police officers have died in clashes. The PKK's sister party in Iran, the Kurdistan Free Life Party (Pejak), has stepped up activities against security targets in Kurdish regions. Yesterday, Kurdish media said eight Iranian troops were killed."

* John Walsh:
"In fact if anyone other than President (of AIPAC) Friedman wrote this, he would be accused of fabricating a Jewish plot and labeled a nutty conspiracy theorist and scurrilous anti-semite."
He then quotes Friedman. eg: ""Members of Congress, staffers and administration officials have come to rely on AIPACs memos. They are VERY busy people and they know that they can count on AIPAC for clear-eyed analysis.. We present this information in concise form to elected officials. The information and analyses are impeccable--after all our reputation is at stake. This results in policy and legislation that make up Israel's lifeline.""

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