Friday, July 3, 2009

The Murdering, Thieving, Enslaving, Unlibertarian Continental Army (Stephan Kinsella)

Stephan Kinsella continues his attack on that most sacred national holiday, July 4th (here's his original post):

Murray Rothbard wrote that “There have been only two wars in American history that were, in my view, assuredly and unquestionably proper and just”: “the American Revolution, and the War for Southern Independence.” Now these wars may be just under “just war” theory, but in my view they were all unjust by libertarian standards. The use of conscription and taxation alone–by the US in the former, and the CSA in the latter–is enough to condemn the actions of these states as criminal.

Libertarians are not usually reluctant to condemn state crime and war, but for some reason if you make similar observations about the Revolutionary War, or the Civil War (either Lincoln’s, or the CSA’s, criminal actions), libertarians become apoplectic. Case in point: the reaction to my post Happy We-Should-Restore-The-Monarchy-And-Rejoin-Britain Day! “Proud Patriot” in the comments says that I “blame the freedom-loving patriots of the American Revolution for the mass murdering tyrants of the twentieth century”.

Well, some libertarians may want to overlook the typical crimes committed by states anytime there is war, but I don’t. The Declaration of Independence of course led to all the standard evils of war and raising an army-as Hummel noted, “unfunded government debt, paper money, skyrocketing inflation, price controls, legal tender laws, direct impressment of supplies and wide-spread conscription.”

Read the rest


JohnJ said...

So can we wage war on states that use conscription and taxation?

And why single out one side when both sides used conscription and taxation?

And are armies that do not use conscription and taxation, such as al Qaeda, morally superior to armies that do?

Happy Independence Day!

Minnesota Chris said...

I think Stephan singled out the American side because the Revolutionary War is often seen as "just." I'm sure he would say that both sides were acting immorally.

With that said, would all the horrors of the next 233 years have been possible without the American Revolution? Stephan makes an interesting case that they would not have. As bad as it sounds, perhaps it would have been better to have continued to live under the tyranny of the British crown.

JohnJ said...

It just seems to me to be a "glass is one percent empty/99 percent full" argument. I don't want to believe that he's serious that "The Declaration of Independence of course led to all the standard evils of war and raising an army". Does he believe that evil didn't exist before the Declaration of Independence? Is he not aware that Britain also has or had at one time "unfunded government debt, paper money, skyrocketing inflation, price controls, legal tender laws, direct impressment of supplies and wide-spread conscription"? To blame these evils on the Revolution seems to ignore the fact that they are widespread throughout the world.

I'm all for introspection and self-improvement, but to say that, for example, a woman must be perfect or else she's no better than her rapist seems morally bankrupt to me. There haven't been many times in history that one side in a conflict has a rightful claim of perfection. To equally condemn both sides when one side bears a greater blame seems intellectually lazy to me.

JohnJ said...

(And he says that "evil triumphed over good" in the American revolution.)

Minnesota Chris said...

JohnJ, I think Stephan is basing his arguments on Hoppe's assertion that tyranny is more restrained in a monarchy than in a democracy (which the U.S. is, for all intents and purposes). That's not to say living under a king would be any good, but continuing to live under the British crown likely wouldn't have been as bad as things have turned out. Perhaps it's just another case of hindsight being 20/20, but it is what it is.

And to be fair, the quote, "...the actual story of the American Rebellion - in which evil triumphed over good" is not by Stephan, but by Mencius Moldbug, although Stephan seems to be quoting him approvingly. I'd have to look over the sources to see what he means.

JohnJ said...

Is America a democracy? I guess that depends on what you mean by democracy. I think Hilaire Belloc was right when he pointed out that democracy isn't just elections. The Cato Institute puts out a great index of world freedom. It's interesting to note the characteristics that the countries at the top of the list have in common, and the ways that they are different than the countries at the bottom.

I guess I'm just more of an "Anthony Gregory" type Rockwell fan. His column today was great.

Viagra Online said...

I like to read about it because sometimes we don't about the constant punishments a lot of people suffered during those wars, I'd like to know more to increase my knowledge.