Thursday, March 03, 2005

Why We Fight

We fight not for glory, nor for wealth, nor honor, but only and alone we fight for freedom which no good man surrenders but with his life." Robert the Bruce- King of Scots, 1314

I've been getting a lot of hits from .mil sites, which Im very happy about. I'm an Air Force vet myself, got in during early Clinton 1, and took a buyout mid Clinton 2.

I've had some questions from readers as to why I, as a libertarian, believe in a strong standing military, and specifically why I supprt the current Gulf War.

The dogmatic Libertarian will say to this, "War is the health of the state", and to some extent this is correct, but it is also correct that to provide for the defense of individuals, a society must sometimes act in the collective. When it does, it must do so with great decision.

As I've said I'm a muscular minarchist. I believe in the minimum amount of government necessary to the running of a free society, and I believe in a strong defense. Sometimes, a strong defense requires a strong offense. In this day of assymetric warfare, it isn't sufficient to build high walls, and man them well. We must venture into the wilderness and bring the fight to those who would bring it to us.

But honestly, that isn't why I believe in what we are doing in the mideast today, or rather it isnt entirely why. Yes, I think what we are doing is in our best interests, but theres far more to it than that...

I have a confession to make, I hate Ayn Rand. Actually I hate objectivision in general. I find pure objectivism to be morally and spiritually hollow. Of course a pure objectivist would say "Thank you" to that, because it's SUPPOSED to be that way.

I believe in liberty, and in freedom, and I believe that others should be given the opportunity to live free, and at liberty. When there is no free choice in government, I believe that must be fought against (Hell, I almost think we need to do it here in the U.S. but that's another story entirely).

That fight can come in many forms, political, philosophical, military; but when a peoples liberty is being suppressed entirely by armed tyrany, they need military help from the outside.

Just because they need it however, doesnt mean we have to be the ones to give it. Do we have an obligation to free these people... I dont know.

From an objectivist standpoint the answer would certainly be no, but what about from a spiritual standpoint. Morally we certainly have an obligation to support their freedom, but what about more material assisitance. And if one people, why not another? Why free Iraq but leave Iran, and North Korea.

One can fall back on game theory, and make it into a classic tit for tat, and that's would suggest that freeing an oppressed people would be in the long term good for us, because they would be less likely to try and oppress us later, and may be inclined to help us should we fall under tyrany.

Except that game theory isn't all that pragmatically useful when it comes to international relations.

If not us, then who?

Clearly the fight against global tyranny is something that should continue, but why does it have to be us?

If not us, who?