[Exi-bay-chat] When to fight

Kennita Watson kennita at kennita.com
Sun Feb 1 20:35:27 UTC 2004

This is keeping me awake.

When is it time to fight? When is it time to raise an army? When is it 
a matter of National Security?

I hear doctrinaire libertarians say that the United States ought never 
use its army except to protect the national security; some even say 
that the very shores of the United States must be at risk. But what 
constitutes a matter of national security? Killing off or subjugating 
our trading partners might apply.

Some dismiss the questions, saying "anyone who wants to help is welcome 
to pick up a gun and go do so". But for an individual to do such a 
thing is not helping, it is suicide. As it happens, this is also an 
argument for the broadest possible interpretation of the Second 
Amendment, because an individual, or group of individuals, ought to be 
able to buy a tank or a grenade launcher or a machine gun to go help 

Congress has the power to declare war. Since we have a representative 
government (supposedly), ought not then the people have the power to 
declare war - at least as long as we have a volunteer army, and with 
the proviso that the funds for any particular campaign ought to be 
voluntarily collected? I say all this from the standpoint of attempting 
to justify a libertarian intervention in World War 2, a war in which I 
think most Americans believed it was appropriate for us to be involved. 
Civil war is one thing; wholesale slaughter of the defenseless is quite 
another. Defending ourselves is always appropriate; when might it also 
be appropriate to defend those unable to defend themselves?

Arguably, the only thing totalitarian regimes are good at is force - 
using armies and police forces to bully, terrorize, and destroy their 
enemies and dissenters. (You may keep your comment aboutt the extent to 
which the United States fits this description to yourself.) If this is 
the case, had Hitler managed to take over the entire European 
continent, we would be minus not only many people, but many thriving 
economies. So, if we had allowed that to happen, and to the extent that 
we allow similar things to happen today, while we may still have a 
large slice of the pie, it would be a smaller pie.


Live long and prosper,
Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
none but ourselves can free our minds.
           -- Bob Marley, "Redemption Song"

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