Monthly Archives: June 2016

Terrorism, Blowback, and Foreign Policy

     The source of terrorism is blowback (retaliation) for our foreign policy of interventionism. Many think that statement is purely speculative, but it has been proven both statistically and from the statements of the terrorists and terrorist organizations themselves. Robert Pape in his books Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism and Cutting the Fuse: The Explosion of Global Suicide Terrorism and How to Stop It have demonstrated that interventionism is the primary source of terrorism (suicide terrorism in particular) by looking at every instance of suicide terrorism and the circumstances that surround each one from 1982 to 2009. We don’t have to rely on casual relationships alone, though. al-Qaeda has been very open about the motivation for 9/11. In Osama bin Laden’s Letter to America he states explicitly that the US military’s wars, sanctions, and interventions are the cause of 9/11. A recording of a July 7th 2005 London bomber says that “Your democratically elected governments continuously perpetuate atrocities against my people all over the world. And your support of them makes you directly responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.

Until we feel security, you will be our targets. And until you stop the bombing, gassing, imprisonment and torture of my people we will not stop this fight.

We are at war and I am a soldier. Now you too will taste the reality of this situation.”

The Islamic State, when claiming responsibility for the November Paris attacks writes “Let France and all nations following its path know that they will continue to be at the top of the target list for the Islamic State and that the scent of death will not leave their nostrils as long as they partake in the crusader campaign, as long as they dare to curse our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), and as long as they boast about their war against Islam in France and their strikes against Muslims in the lands of the Caliphate with their jets, which were of no avail to them in the filthy streets and alleys of Paris. Indeed, this is just the beginning. It is also a warning for any who wish to take heed.”

According to a New York Times article on the November Paris attacks, “At nearly midnight, two hours after they took over the Bataclan, the gunmen began negotiating in earnest with the police.

We want to talk to someone!’ one gunman demanded, then turned to his demands for France to stop military strikes in Syria: ‘I want you to leave the country. I want you to remove your military. I want a piece of paper signed that proves it!’ If not, he threatened, ‘I’m killing a hostage and throwing him out the window!’”

ISIS’s statement on the Belgium attacks said “By Allah’s grace, a security team of the Khilafah, may Allah grant it glory and victory, set out to target the crusader Belgium, which has not ceased to wage war against Islam and its people,” “a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State” and “We promise the crusader allies against the Islamic State, there will be dark days in response to their aggression against our state.“And what awaits you will be harder and more bitter, with the permission of Allah.”

The Boston Marathon bombers were what are called “homegrown terrorists”, meaning that they identified with the victims of the US’s interventions through common ties, like religion, heritage, and home country, and were motivated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dzokhar Tsarnaev, one of the brothers who perpetrated the attacks, wrote a note in the boat that he was hiding in that said “The US Government is killing our innocent civilians but most of you already know that” and “Stop killing our innocent people and we will stop.”

One of ISIS’s leaders stated in 2014Hinder those who want to harm your brothers,” “The best thing you can do is to strive to your best and kill any disbeliever, whether he be French, American or from any of their allies,” “Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war,” “Oh Americans, and oh Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe,” and “It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price.”

Then there is the strange case of the recent Orlando shooting, the perpetrator of which was a mentally ill gay American who murdered forty-nine people while voicing support for ISIS. It is not fully clear what the exact motivation for the shooting was, but on Facebook the shooter, Omar Mateen, posted “America and Russia stop bombing the Islamic state,” and “The real muslims will never accept the filthy ways of the west … You kill innocent women and children by doing us airstrikes..now taste the Islamic state vengeance.” Ron Paul offers an excellent analysis on this attack in this Ron Paul Liberty Report:

All this is not to say that terrorist violence, or any violence for that matter, is justified against an innocent civilian population because its government has committed atrocities, but that launching a “War on Terror” (and all foreign intervention) is counterproductive and makes Americans less safe instead of defending them. Also, the financial cost of war is the heaviest burden foisted on the people of America by the US government. The endless wars in the Middle East are funded primarily by currency debasement through interest rate manipulation, which is both the cause of the business cycle and is a hidden tax that decreases (non-government) people’s real wages/earnings, making everyone poorer. The War on Terror has also created a vast sea of government bureaucracies intent on spying on and convicting in secret courts the American populace: the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA, and the NSA. The US military has also committed numerous war crimes (which they instantly acquit themselves of) and murdered millions of innocent people in the Middle East – something that is sure to recruit terrorists.

If these wars and interventions are so immoral and counterproductive, why are they done? The military-industrial complex gets very rich off these wars, and those in the government can increase their power (both in other countries and domestically) by engaging in and provoking warfare. The US military budget in 2015 was well over half a trillion dollars, with a very large portion of that money going to a handful of military contractors. Those in government are more than willing to increase that budget and engage in even more wars because of the lobbyists that take them on expensive vacations free of charge and promise “advisory” jobs and lavish “speaking fees” when they retire. Military contractors do the same for news reporters, with most journalists readily propagandizing for them, creating a culture where no one wants to speak out against these wars that rob the American people and make them targets for the victims of the interventions. Eventually, there won’t be enough money for the government to steal to fund these wars, and the US Empire will collapse – but the people of America will have to be impoverished in order for that to happen, which is why we need to do everything we can to put an end to our government’s foreign policy of interventionism before that happens. Besides exposing the Empire’s lies like this article, we need to spread the message of the need to take a principled stance in favor of an anti-war foreign policy of non-interventionism by introducing people to one of Murray Rothbard’s greatest essays: War, Peace, and the State. Another method of stopping military interventionism is by sending e-mails, letters, and/or phone calls to congressmen. Perhaps tax resistance and other forms of civil disobedience will be what is necessary to put an end to our current foreign policy before it is too late.

Sources and Further Reading

Why We’re Never Told Why We’re Attacked

A View of ISIS’s Evolution in New Details of Paris Attacks

Terrorism: From the Irish Dynamite War to the Islamic State

London Bomber: Text in Full

Islamic State Claims Responsibility for Paris Attacks

Western Leaders Reject Threats Against Their Civilians

TERROR WARNING: ISIS Threatens Attacks on UK and Says It Will Be “Harder and More Bitter”

Full text: bin Laden’s ‘letter to America’

READ: Official ISIS Announcement on Brussels Attacks

What Did Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Write On The Boat? Read Boston Bombing Suspect’s Note Here

Boston bombing suspect cites U.S. wars as motivation, officials say

Anti-War.com

Toward a Theory of Peace

Libertarianism Is Antiwar

Religious Zealotry and Imperial Domination

U.S.Military Defense Budget

The Scott Horton Show

War, Peace, and the State

Omar Mateen’s Facebook Post

Orlando: Was It LGBT, Radical Islam, or Something Else?

Licensing, Regulation, and a Free-Market in Healthcare

When most people consider healthcare deregulation they have mental images of quacks with rusty scalpels butchering their unfortunate customers, and feel relieved that good ole’ Uncle Sam is watching out for them. This is founded on false assumptions and propaganda.

Many people assume that if healthcare is of a poor (relatively speaking) quality, that means that it causes harm, and it would be beneficial if its production were forcefully stopped. Poor quality healthcare is not necessarily harmful(harm being defined as a reduction in wellbeing, or an increase in uneasiness) because some people prefer healthcare of a lower quality, therefore by definition it brings about a perceived benefit(benefit defined as an individual’s advancement towards their subjectively valued ends) to those individuals at the time of the sale (otherwise they wouldn’t buy it). Furthermore, the people who do prefer low-quality healthcare are hurt by the forceful prevention of the production of this care because there is a loss of benefit to that person; if the individual valued low-quality healthcare more than no healthcare or a higher-quality healthcare, that would mean that the person valued the high-quality healthcare or no healthcare at all less than the low-quality care, so banning the production of low-quality healthcare would cause the person to accept the next most valued alternative, thereby bringing about a decrease in benefit (harm) to the individual the ban was supposed to help, thereby defeating the purpose of the ban(to benefit people by getting rid of low-quality healthcare). Licensing and regulation are the most detrimental to the poor because they make the poor pay for expensive, unaffordable healthcare, which consumes a larger percentage of their income relative to wealthier individuals, or make healthcare impossible for them to obtain. In short, it is impossible to determine what constitutes “good” or “bad” healthcare for others – only individuals can determine that for themselves because whatever standard is being used can only be subjective to the value judgments of the individual making it, which means that any attempt to stop others from purchasing or producing healthcare is harmful, particularly to the poor.

If regulations and licensing can only be hurtful, why do people believe in and advocate for them? We can only guess, but there are a two likely motivations. First: ignorance. The common justification for regulations and licensing has a plausibility on it’s surface, and is easily accepted by people who don’t want to look into it further. Second: government-enforced monopoly. Regulations and licensing keeps those who don’t meet the requirements from competing with those who do. Decreased competition means higher profits, which means that it is in the interest of doctors’ unions and pharmaceutical companies to lobby for legislation that would restrict the permitted providers of healthcare to the lobbyists and prevent competition: regulations and licensing. Hence, most regulations and licensing is not so much focused on protecting people, but focused on making it cost-prohibitive and difficult to qualify for becoming a producer of healthcare. The FDA drug approval process which denies people access to life-saving and life-improving drugs so that drug manufacturers can prevent competing drugs from being produced and forbidding experienced doctors who received their medical education in a foreign country from practicing medicine so that doctors educated in the United States have a monopoly on medical care are two of the most obvious examples. The American Medical Association is a government backed doctor’s union that is responsible for much of the legislation and restrictive requirements related to medical practice – if the supply of doctors is restricted, their price increases. The AMA not only restricts people from competing with it’s members, but it also regulates which medical practitioner can practice which aspect of medicine and which colleges and universities “qualify” to give medical degrees and how big their class sizes are to be. The DEA and the FDA requiring prescriptions for the purchase of some pharmaceuticals is designed to benefit doctors by forcing people to pay a doctor to be able to purchase medicine. Also dangerous is that these organizations like the AMA and FDA put their official stamp of approval on healthcare providers, drugs, and devices, and lull people who believe these government organizations exist for their safety into a dangerous false sense of security. To conclude, licensing and regulations exist because special interests want to rob people, and the government is more than happy to accept lobbyists money in exchange for that power, and because people are bombarded with propaganda and not exposed to the truth.

What would free-market healthcare look like? Although it may seem counter-intuitive, the quality would increase and the cost would decrease, both of which would be caused by the increased competition. If people cared about safety and quality(and everything suggests they do), there could be rating companies which would inspect and rate the safety and quality of the healthcare provider’s procedures and environment. There would most likely be a contract between the provider of healthcare and the customer that stated the procedures the healthcare provider would follow(sterile equipment, doctors with medical degrees from good colleges, nurses who had been trained in nursing, etc.), and the provider would be liable for any complications resulting from non-adherence to the contract, along with having to pay restitution to the customer for fraud. People who purchased low-quality healthcare would do so at their own risk. Medical innovation, unencumbered by the FDA, would skyrocket. People could buy any drug they wanted, and pharmacies could offer the service of a pharmacist who would advise what drugs the customer should use, and the amount and frequency of use along with the side effects. Anyone who wanted to provide education on producing healthcare could. Simply put, anyone who desired to provide healthcare could(whether anyone would accept it is another matter), and anyone who wanted to purchase any kind of healthcare would not be restricted from doing so.

Needless to say, these reforms are not popular, but free-markets and freedom are more necessary than ever to fix the broken healthcare system that is too expensive, too primitive, and too callous to the needs of healthcare recipients. Licensing and regulations exist to benefit big pharmaceutical companies and doctor’s unions with monopoly prices by severely restricting competition at the expense of everyone’s health and prosperity.

Libertarianism, “Public Property”, and Immigration

A major debate within libertarianism is on the topic of immigration. Some say closed borders, some say open borders, and others say immigration should only be permitted if certain conditions are met. Walter Block argues excellently for open borders in this article, but does not fully address a theory of how libertarians should view and deal with public property, which, in my view, is the key to this issue. Obviously, the debate centers not on whether the owners of private property should be able to determine who is allowed to access it, but on who should be able to use so-called public property, which, as far as anarcho-capitalists are concerned, is government-stolen property. Because the thief, by definition, cannot hold the title to stolen property, he should not be the one to control it. Who, then, should be the one to do so? If someone can justify his title to a piece of stolen property, he should be the one to control it, but if no owner can be identified and a piece of property is known to have been stolen, what is to be done? It must be returned to an unowned state, with the only one who should not get to appropriate it being the thief. If, in the future, an owner arises to claim it, then that owner could confiscate that property from the stolen-good-appropriator. We have a parallel with government-owned property — it’s difficult, if not impossible to determine who the true owner of any given unit of government property is, but we know that all of its property is stolen.  It’s clear from this analysis that a libertarian should support all government property being declared unowned, and the courts hearing cases from people claiming to be holders of titles to the government stolen property. The major problem is that government, having a monopoly on the use of institutionalized force, will use deadly force against anyone who attempts to appropriate “it’s” property. What, then, is to be done? Libertarians must do everything they can to work towards this ideal. This means getting the government to relinquish as much control as possible. Therefore, the libertarian position on public property is this: try to get it privatized, but in the meantime attempt to get the government no say in how it’s property is to be used, with anyone who wants to being allowed to use it for any purpose whatever. This puts the government property in an unfortunate but better position akin to being unowned but unappropriable, with everyone being allowed to use it so long as they don’t interfere with someone else who is already using it. This is, to be sure, not the end goal, but just a step in the right direction of privatization and justice because it results in less government control of the property it stole.

How, then, does this apply to the subject of immigration? This applies to immigration because insofar as government does control borders, the only libertarian position is for migrants and citizens alike to make free use of the land, because that is the only position that minimizes the amount of control that the government exercises over those borders, and makes them as close to their proper, unowned state, as possible. The only legitimate objection to free immigration is that the migrants make use of (government controlled) property that they do not own in moving into a country. They make use of the roads, federal land, police services, public libraries, and a plethora of other government property and services that they don’t own or didn’t pay taxes to have. As a side note, no one seems to object to people having children or moving to or visiting a different state within their own country, yet all of these things would be wrong according to this argument. This is without merit because closed borders that this argument leads to means more government control of borders (by determining who gets to use “their” land and for what purpose) as opposed to the maximum release of control just short of privatization that open borders and free immigration results in. In conclusion, even on its surface the idea that libertarians could support the use of force against peaceful immigrants is absurd because libertarian support for getting rid of government control of property necessitates that they support open government borders (and free use of all government controlled property).

Further Reading

Open Borders is the Only Libertarian Position

Immigration Symposium

 

Which Candidate to Root For?

     In the 2016 presidential race we are faced with yet another election in which all who are running are statists. The only question that needs to be answered is this: who is the most libertarian, or the least worst libertarian. Due to the nature of the presidency, and the deadly and destructive effects of an interventionist foreign policy, the primary focus when determining who would be the best president is on having a non-interventionist foreign policy, or at least the most non-interventionist foreign policy, as explained in this article.

     In the Republican Party, we have Donald Trump. Trump most likely won’t go to war against Russia and he says that he could get along with Putin and doesn’t want to defend Ukraine, yet wants to pick a fight with China, calling them an “enemy” and says he wants to “get tough with China”. Trump has said that he wants to “bomb the sh*t out of ISIS”, but at other times implied that the US military should leave it to Russia to fight ISIS. Trump has said that he doesn’t want to get “bogged down” in the Middle East, and that the US shouldn’t support rebel groups in the Middle East, but wants to provide financial assistance for the creation of a “safe zone” in Syria and have a closer alliance with Israel. When asked “Would you pull out of what we’re doing in Syria now?” Trump responded with “no, I’d sit back.” Trump is also supportive of sanctions against Iran and China, which could cause blowback in the form of wars and terrorism. Trump may support some kind of intervention against North Korea – this is particularly dangerous because North Korea has expressed a willingness to use nuclear weapons. Trump has said that it would be better to have strongmen in power than chaos in the Middle East. He’s said a lot of good things on foreign policy, but he’s also said a lot of bad things as well. Many times he contradicts himself.

     In the Democratic Party, there’s Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is the worst serious candidate running. I don’t think there is a country on earth that she doesn’t support intervening in to spread American goodness – while inciting blowback, bankrupting our country, and causing disgusting amounts of death and destruction. Hillary is responsible for the catastrophe in Libya – we know this for sure because of her released e-mails. Libya is now in total chaos, with ISIS and Al-Qaeda taking over after they were armed by the USG(United States government) to overthrow Moammar Gaddafi, the (former) ruler of Libya. Clinton strongly supports one world government, and has been an advocate for the United Nations and voted for the expansion of NATO. She wants the USG to spend billions in foreign aid to third-world countries, and wants the USG to aggressively intervene in other countries for “human rights” including possibly China and definitely Russia. Hillary supports the USG establishing “safe zones” in Syria, thinks that the USG should pay for Israel’s military, thinks that the US showed to much restraint toward Iran’s former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s reelection in 2009, said that we abandoned support for Egypt’s head of the secret torture police, Hosni Mubarak, to be ruler of Egypt, and wants to fight Russian forces in Syria. Hillary Clinton is an imperialist and a globalist, is the candidate that is most likely to get America into a World War, and is one of the greatest threats to America. Bernie Sanders is better than both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, though is probably the worst on domestic policy. Bernie Sanders supports “humanitarian” interventions, like sanctions against Burma, Iran, Russia, possibly China, and, back in the 90’s, supported the sanctions in Iraq that resulted in the deaths of half a million children. Sanders generally does not support war but does support sanctions if diplomacy doesn’t work, and supports war if sanctions aren’t effective at accomplishing his objectives. He was against the war in Iraq, and wanted to end the Afghanistan war soon after it started, but supported the Kosovo war and supports the airstrikes in Syria. Bernie is supportive of massive amounts of foreign aid, and the UN. Bernie Sanders says that war should be a last resort, and is against the use of torture. Overall, Bernie Sanders would be less hawkish than Hillary or Trump.

      In the Libertarian Party, the presidential candidate is Gary Johnson. Johnson has said that he wants to cut military spending – something that the prospective nominees of the other parties want to do the opposite of. Johnson wants to eliminate foreign aid, with the exception of aid that supports “American interests,” a position better than Donald Trump’s, which is to reduce foreign aid. He is generally against war, but is not against humanitarian wars and interventions in severe cases of rights violations in other countries (which is not libertarian). Although Johnson wants to end the (still ongoing) Afghanistan war and all further military interventions in Afghanistan, he has stated that he would not be opposed to having an American military base open there. He seems to be against using drone warfare at the present time, but not on principle, saying “I would want leave all options on the table.” He says that there are no current threats to the United States, but wants the USG to have a military presence in the Middle East, but was unclear as to what that would mean; I’m guessing from his statements that Johnson wants US bases that the official governments have allowed in the Middle East to fight terrorists. Gary Johnson opposed the USG’s interventions in Libya, but supports military attacks against ISIS. His support for (some) intervention is strange coming from a man who recognizes blowback as a serious phenomenon. Gary says that he wants to shut down military bases in Europe and in the Far East. Gary Johnson is hardly a libertarian, but his foreign policy and desire to cut the military budget is miles better than Trump’s, Clinton’s, or Sander’s because he (seems to) only supports wars and foreign aid to fight terrorist groups – not to remake other countries by backing rebel groups and regime changes.

      In the end, Donald Trump’s and Bernie Sander’s foreign policies are approximately equal, Hillary Clinton’s is the worst, and Gary Johnson’s is better than any of them. Therefore, libertarians should support Gary Johnson. I suggest that all my readership make a Facebook post, like Johnson’s page, tweet in favor of Gary Johnson, and perhaps get yard signs and a Gary Johnson 2016 t-shirt – anything in order to get the most libertarian candidate there is recognized. This election has some of the most polarizing candidates in the history of the United States, which provides a unique opportunity to get the LP (and Gary Johnson) support, with one poll saying that about 55% of voters would be both unhappy with a Trump-Clinton race, and would be willing to vote for a third party candidate. If Gary Johnson wins, or even gets a large percentage of votes, more people will discover libertarianism, and there will be less foreign interventionism.

Sources and Further Reading

OnTheIssues: Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy

OnTheIssues: Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy

The Daily Caller: Gary Johnson’s Strange Foreign Policy

A Libertarian Future: Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Solution to ISIS

Reason Magazine: Gary Johnson Interview

Gary Johnson – ISIS is Today’s Nazi Facism

OnTheIssues: Bernie Sander’s Foreign Policy

Bernie Sander’s Campaign Website: War and Peace

An Anarcho-Capitalist’s Case for Gary Johnson 2016