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Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 6:02amSanction this postReply
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You've written some great stuff for The Free Radical, Marcus, and this is no exception. Not in a million years could I imagine Chirac imploring the French to win the battle of "ideas"! Thanks for reminding us of what a splendid orator and man of substance Tony Blair can be. Inconsistent philosophy and all, he has shown rare courage here. "Not one inch should we give these people." Wonderful! 




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Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 7:24amSanction this postReply
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Well put, and you have my sanction as a thank you for your effort, although you deserve much more than that.

rde




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Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 10:22amSanction this postReply
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Nice work Marcus. I share Derek's admiration for Tony Blair. Don't know if anyone caught his speech before the US Congress; it was brilliant.  It was like listening to one of the founding fathers.



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Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 11:43amSanction this postReply
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Tony Blair gives great speeches.



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Post 4

Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 3:23pmSanction this postReply
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There is a big logical hole in your hyperbole about the supposed determination of the Muslim masses to wipe all infidels from the face of the earth. First, whatever the plans and motives of terrorist thugs like Bin Laden, it does not necessarily follow that large numbers of Muslims are willing to risk their lives and happiness to attempt to impose Muslim hegemony on the rest of the world. Second, even in the unlikely event that a phalanx of 1 billion angry radical Muslims were prepared to march to their deaths at the command of Bin Laden against the "free world", I doubt they possess the means to successfully prosecute an invasion of the United States, England or New Zealand. Your commentary simply assumes that which you hope to prove, without evidence.

Further, Bin Laden stated publically that the purpose of his terrorism against Americans in Iraq and New York was to force the removal of US military installations in the Middle East. Since the only proper role for a government is to defend the individual rights of its citizens inside its borders, and since US military bases in, say, Saudi Arabia are obviously unrelated to this responsibility, Bin Laden and other anti-Americans in the Middle East have a valid political grievance against the US government. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's have lost their lives to US military force, and to the force of sanctions, since the start of the Gulf War in 1990. That neo-objectivists imagine that such carnage and destruction somehow accord logically with defense of individual rights is more than astonishing. It is double-talk reminiscent of left-wing irrationalism.

Finally, George Reisman once wrote that if left-wing authoritarians were really interested in alleviating poverty, as they repeatedly claim, they would almost certainly display more curiosity about rational economic principles. In a similar vein, war hawks are outraged about terrorist murders and threats of more murder. However, they display little interest in the observation that the permanent American military presence in the Middle East, long-term US government support for the state of Israel, and the US invasion of Iraq have the indisputable effect of recruiting terrorists for Bin Laden and other thugs and of targeting Americans for terrorist acts. This makes me wonder if neo-objectivists are more inspired by the prospect of the state as "spiritual enforcer", then they are by the idea that government ought to uphold individual rights.  

Of course, none of my comments are intended to give moral sanction to terrorists, who are cold-hearted and vicious enemies of individual rights.




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Thursday, November 10, 2005 - 9:04pmSanction this postReply
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Mark,
Since the only proper role for a government is to defend the individual rights of its citizens inside its borders, and since US military bases in, say, Saudi Arabia are obviously unrelated to this responsibility, Bin Laden and other anti-Americans in the Middle East have a valid political grievance against the US government.
The proper role of a government is to defend the innocent liberty of its citizens. Since missiles and other destructive things can cross borders, so too should a proper government use its power beyond its borders to defend the innocent liberty of its citizens. Such measures should be paid for and executed by willing individuals. When using force outside one's boundaries, one should take due care to the innocent liberty of foreigners.



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Friday, November 11, 2005 - 12:29amSanction this postReply
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Of course, if bin Laden really had a "legitimate political grievance" with U.S. bases in the Middle East, one would think he'd spend more time attacking them and less on, say, the World Trade towers. But perhaps there's something in Lew Rockwell's writings that can explain Osama's line of reasoning to me.



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Post 7

Friday, November 11, 2005 - 9:02amSanction this postReply
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Government exists to perform a narrowly defined function: the defense of individual rights of its citizens inside its borders. The invasion of another country under the pretext of fighting some vague and undefined threat clearly sabetages individual rights. More specifically, the notion that  Saddam Hussein and his thugs posed a military threat to the United States is akin to the left wing blather about robber barons and FDR saving capitalism. It is sheer nonsense.

Of course, Bin Laden and his murderers prefer to engage their enemies where they expect to win, on the streets and alleys of cities, where they can murder more or less at will. Obviously, Bin Laden is smarter than to engage a frontal assault against a US military base, although he targets the US military on a continuing basis.

We can't change the violent irrationalism of radical Moslems with martial law and military campaigns. The best we can do is seek to preserve individual liberty within our borders, and to rein in the violation of individual rights by the American state abroad. The preservation and expansion of individual liberty is a momentous and even desperate struggle that will succeed or fail based on our ability to explain and persuade. Our ability to influence those who might be receptive to individual rights and capitalism is enormously curtailed by the gapping contradiction in claiming to uphold the principle of individual rights, on one hand, while defending rights-violating military crusades, on the other hand.




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Friday, November 11, 2005 - 10:32amSanction this postReply
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There does seem to be an aura of 'manifest destiny' involved with all this, from one direction or another...



Post 9

Friday, November 11, 2005 - 2:25pmSanction this postReply
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Suicide Bombers Are People, Too
So says a Palestinian filmaker who's garnering prizes and praise for his film, 'Paradise Now.'

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9997012/site/newsweek/

The mind boggles at this abomination.

Sam




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Post 10

Friday, November 11, 2005 - 2:46pmSanction this postReply
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Suicide bombers ARE people, too...horrible, monstrous, people...



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Post 11

Sunday, November 13, 2005 - 12:22pmSanction this postReply
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The invasion of another country under the pretext of fighting some vague and undefined threat clearly sabetages individual rights. More specifically, the notion that  Saddam Hussein and his thugs posed a military threat to the United States is akin to the left wing blather about robber barons and FDR saving capitalism. It is sheer nonsense.

Consider the following:
10 Hussein is an insane madman who was sitting on trillions of dollars in oil reserves;
2) He has a track record of using WMDs to mass murder his own people and his neighbors;
3) He has two invasions of other countries under his belt, including the slaughter of thousands and the insane torching of hundreds of oil wells;
4) He is possessed of a seething desire to avenge his 1991 defeat at the hands of the U.S., as evidenced by his attempt to assassinate a former U.S. president;
5) He was a willing supporter of suicide bombers (sent $25,000 to the families of each murderer that succeeded in killing civilians)
6) He provided a sanctuary to all sorts of international terrorists, including those training at the Al Ansr training camp;

The idea that such an individual might be a threat to the U.S. may be arguable, but it certainly cannot be dismissed as "sheer nonsense", or compared to the fictions about Robber Barons and FDR (fictions unsupported by any evidence). 

 
We can't change the violent irrationalism of radical Moslems with martial law and military campaigns. The best we can do is seek to preserve individual liberty within our borders, and to rein in the violation of individual rights by the American state abroad.

Why is this the best we can do?  For instance, we are not obligated to wait until the Iranians launch a nuclear attack on America before we take seriously their daily chants of "Death to America".  If a man points a gun at you, you are not obligated to wait for him to pull the trigger before invoking your right to self-defense and killing him before he kills you. Nor are you obligated to wait for him to come on your property. Likewise, if another nation declares their desire to see us exterminated, we are not obligated to wait for them to attempt it. We have the right to destroy that threat NOW.


 
Our ability to influence those who might be receptive to individual rights and capitalism is enormously curtailed by the gapping contradiction in claiming to uphold the principle of individual rights, on one hand, while defending rights-violating military crusades, on the other hand.

There is no contradiction in the notion of military self-defense through pre-emptive strikes against threatening foreign nations.  The only issue is which threats are significant and how do we eliminate them.  Those issues car be complex, and there is plenty of room for disagreement on targets and tactics -- but this does not condemn us to passively waiting for the invasion to come to us or for the bombs to blow up in our cities. The right of self-defense is universal; it is not confined to the territory of the U.S.
 






Post 12

Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 10:57amSanction this postReply
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Just catching up. Thanks for all the positive comments.

It's a shame a nutter has to come in on the discussion and start arguing the case for the validity of terrorist actions of fundamentalists.

Oh well.

(Edited by Marcus Bachler on 11/19, 10:58am)




Post 13

Saturday, November 19, 2005 - 11:49amSanction this postReply
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Marcus,

I caught this one a little late. Congratulations on a fine article.

If you change the ideas that are taught and consumed in communications vehicles, you change a people.

Bin Laden is just cashing in on a lot of inflammatory nonsense in the Koran. There is also a lot of such madness in the Bible and other traditional religious writings. (Remember the Bible-based witch burnings? The Spanish Inquisition? Even racism? All these doctrines, and many more, were backed up by reference to the Bible.)

The West merely went through the really bad abuses at a time in history when the means of destruction were less powerful than today. Not many take that violent stuff in the Bible seriously anymore. Over time, I believe that Islam will follow the same route.

It is good to see a political leader talk about ideas. We need to get our ideas over there.

Michael




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