Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Muddy Libertarianism at Cato Shrugged (Iraq Edition)

By Chris Rossini

Benjamin H. Friedman has written a piece on Iraq for the beltway "libertarian" Cato Institute. It's titled America: Stay out of IraqA quick glance at the headline makes it appear libertarian, right? Well, I'm going to highlight some lines that display why Cato earns the label of "beltway" libertarian, and why they have to muddy the waters in order to play inside the DC tar pit.

Friedman writes:
Surge mythology notwithstanding, our efforts to reorder Iraq have always been misguided.
Right off the bat, there is no such thing as "our" efforts. To paraphrase Murray Rothbard: "we" are not the government, the government is not "us".

Next, the U.S. government's effort to reorder Iraq was not "misguided." It was wrong ... wrong ... wrong! It could never have been "guided" correctly.

Hopefully you're picking up on how the muddying works. It's all about word usage. Let's move on:
The goal - a multiethnic, democratic, stable Iraq- was a nice idea but never vital to U.S. national security or worth thousands of U.S. lives and vast stores of our wealth.

How about freedom of association instead of "multiethnic"?

Has not democracy proved to be nothing but a gigantic (and vicious) failure? Democratic governments have proven to be warfare & welfare machines!

And what does a "stable Iraq" mean? An Iraqi government where the people are sufficiently repressed and forced to go along with U.S. desires? Was Egypt "stable" under the tyrannical Mubarak? Sure, it was "stable".

What does "national security" mean....specifically?

And those "thousands of U.S. lives"....Who owns those lives, and decides their "worth"?

"Vast stores of our wealth"??? Who is this "our" that Friedman speaks of?.....Is my wealth also Friedman's wealth? Is his wealth also mine?

Is Socialism also "a nice idea"?

This is beltway "libertarianism" folks.

It's ugly.

The ideas of Liberty do not live in Washington DC.....They live in Auburn.

Chris Rossini is author of Set Money Free: What Every American Needs To Know About The Federal Reserve. Follow @chrisrossini on Twitter.


  1. Excellent critique. I would only add that the ideas of Liberty have many homes throughout the world...

  2. Eh, you're not technically "wrong" on any of this, but I think maybe you could chill out a bit.

    I consider myself a pretty committed libertarian, but even I catch myself tossing about the "we"s and "our"s every once in awhile. I don't mean it literally, it's just common shorthand. When you say "our" wealth it is commonly understood to mean "American tax revenue." It just gets annoying to have to distinguish that point every single time you bring it up.

  3. "Our wealth" is AMERICAN TAX REVENUES?

    I did not know that. If it is shorthand, though sloppy, I at least thought it meant each individual's wealth.

    Thank-you for clarifying that. If that's what it means I will be on my toes and make sure I NEVER use that phrase again.

    "Our wealth"... Who knew?