Why Libertarians Should be Thoroughly Anti-War
The anti-war movement desperately needs libertarian leadership. And the libertarian movement urgently needs to be strongly anti-war. So in this essay I will offer some chief reasons for every libertarian to be 100% non-interventionist and actively engaged in the cause of peace.
Libertarianism embraces the individual’s right to life, liberty, and property. The meaning of these rights have been intentionally distorted by some, but they originally meant the right not to be murdered (life), not to be enslaved (liberty), and not to be robbed (property). What distinguishes libertarians is that we apply these principles comprehensively, making no exception for the government. It is not okay for the government to steal and call it taxation, to enslave and call it incarceration, or to murder and call it war.
As private murder is a worse crime than private kidnapping and theft, so should war (mass murder by the government) be a paramount concern for libertarians, surpassing even many issues involving the police state and economic planning/redistribution.
Moreover, the government crime of war is what enables the government’s other crimes. War, as economist Robert Higgs has put it, is the master key of the State. The terror, hate, and urgency stimulated by war causes the populace to become as conformist and docile as a herd. Rulers know this very well, which is why they so frequently manipulate and drag their people into wars. Both the domestic police state (the garrison state) and domestic economic planning (war mobilization) grow rapidly during wars and cold wars. War, as Randolph Bourne wrote, is the health of the State. By this he meant that foreign wars nourish domestic tyranny.