Tuesday, July 25, 2006

"Why Liberty Will Win"

Murray Rothbard answered the question of how he avoided succumbing to pessimism in "For a New Liberty" in the section titled "Why Liberty Will Win":

"... libertarianism will win eventually because it and only it is compatible with the nature of man and of the world. Only liberty can achieve man's prosperity, fulfillment, and happiness. In short, libertarianism will win because it is true, because it is the correct policy for mankind, and truth will eventually out.

"The clock cannot be turned back to a preindustrial age. Not only would the masses not permit such a drastic reversal of their expectations for a rising standard of living, but return to an agrarian world would mean the starvation and death of the great bulk of the current population. We are stuck with the industrial age, whether we like it or not.

"But if that is true, then the cause of liberty is secured. For economic science has shown, as we have partially demonstrated in this book, that only freedom and a free market can run an industrial economy. In short, while a free economy and a free society would be desirable and just in a preindustrial world, in an industrial world it is also a vital necessity. For, as Ludwig von Mises and other economists have shown, in an industrial economy statism simply does not work. Hence, given a universal commitment to an industrial world, it will eventually—and a much sooner "eventually" than the simple emergence of truth—become clear that the world will have to adopt freedom and the free market as the requisite for industry to survive and flourish."

Download version or podcast, chapter by chapter, available here.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

In 1851, Herbert Spencer Wrote:

Morality knows nothing of geographical boundaries, or distinctions of race. You may put men on opposite sides of a river or a chain of mountains; may else part them by a tract of salt water; may give them, if you like, distinct languages; and may even colour their skins differently; but you cannot change their fundamental relationships. Originating as these do in the facts of man’s constitution, they are unalterable by the accidents of external condition. The moral law is cosmopolite – is no respecter of nationalities: and between men who are the antipodes of each other, either in locality or anything else, there must still exist the same balance of rights as though they were next-door neighbours in all things.

- Herbert Spencer, Social Statics, Part III.

My thanks to Roderick Long at praxeology.net.

Who Backs An Immediate Ceasefire?

The answer at The Belfast Telegraph.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Instrument Of The Very Influence To Be Avoided

"Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy, to be useful, must be impartial, else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people to surrender their interests."

- Farewell Address by George Washington (1796)

Thursday, July 20, 2006

An Open Letter to Sen. Sununu

Dear Sen. Sununu,

I am very concerned with the developments in the middle east. Israel's attacks on innocent civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza and Lebanon is very disconcerting. The Daily Star is reporting IDF air strikes against privately owned factories throughout the country.

"The production facilities of at least five companies in key industrial sectors - including the country's largest dairy farm, Liban Lait; a paper mill; a packaging firm and a pharmaceutical plant - have been disabled or completely destroyed."

For the U.S. to sit back and watch this devastation is absolutely unacceptable. These actions are a violation of U.S. law, specifically the U.S. Arms Export Control Act and the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act. The U.S. Arms Export Control Act restricts the use of U.S. weapons to legitimate self-defense and internal policing; U.S. weapons cannot be used to attack civilians in offensive operations. The U.S. Foreign Assistance Act prohibits U.S. aid of any kind to a country with a pattern of gross human rights violations.

The attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza and Lebanon are examples of collective punishment, which are prohibited under the Geneva Conventions.

It is incredible to see IDF bombs landing in the Christian villages and towns and suburbs like Byblos, the port in east Beirut, Zahle, and Hadath.

These attacks have gone above and beyond targeting hizbullah and place the whole region and world in jeopardy.

Israeli warplanes pounded an army barracks east of Beirut in an overnight raid in which 11 troops, including four officers, were killed and 40 injured.

That wasn't a Hizbullah barracks. That was the regular Lebanese army, the one the Israeli's say they would trust to patrol the Lebanese border with Israel, and which they wish would take on Hizbullah. So why are they bombing the Lebanese Army?

It is very important to monitor not only what leaders say, but also what they are actually doing.

I look to you with your knowledge of the region to provide leadership as it seems the president is unwilling to do so. Please do all in your ability to not let this conflict escalate out of control, but bring about a ceasefire and bring cooler heads to the table.

Israel must allow, at the very least, humanitarian relief organizations safe passage while thousands of civilians are trapped in southern Lebanon. A cessation of hostilities in civilian and private infrastructure must be immediate. A ceasefire in all regions must be accomplished soon thereafter and the leaders of both parties must be willing to negotiate for a long-term peace.

We must also accept our responsibility as the bomb casings that the IDF leave behind say "Made in the USA". Congress is directly to blame for supplying Israel with $3 billion dollars in aid annually, and for strongly backing Israeli military tactics.

Do we really want little innocent Israeli girls writing messages on bombs being readied to drop as was photographed recently. Is this what we are teaching children today? Is that America's values? Is this the kind of world we want to bring our children up in and have them continue?

We must be evenhanded, but lawbreakers must be punished on both sides of the conflict or negotiations will never occur and peace will never prevail.

Please view the pictures of the devastation that are available on the internet, but are missing from television here in the U.S. and in Israel. I will not link to them as one must have a very strong stomach.* Suffice it to say they are horrifying. We must stare in the face exactly what our tax dollars are making possible in the middle east. The bombings are not serving any purpose, but to inflame, destroy the innocent, and set Lebanon back another 20 years.

Stability or chaos is the choice every American can make, but some have more influence than others.

I hope we all make the right choice.

*For those interested, a sample is available here, here, here, and here.