— Jamie Weinstein (@Jamie_Weinstein) April 24, 2013
The fact that Weinstein can’t see the relevance of the private-property, libertarian principles I laid out in that post to the arguments by Walter Block quoted in his article speaks volumes. More on that in a minute.
First, another matter. Weinstein conducts himself like the leftists he claims to oppose. Take a scholar with 50 years of peer-reviewed material and portray him to the world on the basis of one or two articles, which most of the dumbed-down public is of course not prepared to read.
Walter Block has nearly 500 peer-reviewed articles in economics. That means he has had the equivalent of 10-20 successful careers. Not to mention his books and his enormous influence on students and other scholars.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Daily Caller had never heard of Walter Block until now. I am sort of afraid to ask.
Instead of saying, “Walter Block has an astonishing record of scholarly publication, much of it we agree with, but on foreign policy his ideas must be rejected,” Weinstein says nothing at all about Block, one of the most prolific free-market economists of the past 50 years.
Now Weinstein demands to know the relevance of my bullet points. Why, none of this is relevant!
But of course it’s relevant. Walter is looking at foreign policy not from the point of view of someone who takes for granted, even implicitly, that the U.S. government must be in the right, or that when it’s attacked the attack is entirely out of the blue, or that the U.S. government has been innocently minding its own business in the world. He looks at the facts of the matter, from the point of view of aggression and nonaggression. Weinstein thinks it’s quite all right for the U.S. government to prop up police states and participate in or connive at all manner of moral mischief, because the U.S. government is good and must protect itself against the wicked. He is free to think this way, but he should not be surprised when libertarians, who look at the world through the Rothbardian lens I provided, disagree with him.
Walter’s arguments about the competing moral merits of the claims of the U.S. government as opposed to those of individual Afghans derive from the moral status of the U.S. government as compared with the moral status of individual Afghans. Reading the Rothbard article I linked to — which according to Weinstein is irrelevant to the discussion, even though it is the foundation of libertarian thinking on foreign policy — would have explained this. (I recommend, in tandem with that article, Rothbard’s “The Anatomy of the State.”)
Walter also says no country has the right to avenge 9/11. Weinstein presents this to us without editorial comment, explanation, or context. I provided that context by linking to the Rothbard article, which derives Walter’s points from the private-property, individual-rights foundations of libertarianism.
But I never said people should chant “USA! USA!” says Weinstein. If he wishes to make this obvious point, I yield it to him. The important point, rather, is that from the neoconservative camp we hear nothing but anti-intellectual bellowing about “American exceptionalism,” “moral clarity” (which means normal moral rules don’t apply to the hegemon), etc. Anyone who questions all this, and who even suggests that people around the world might have at least as much reason to dislike Hillary Clinton as the rest of us do, is treated as an appalling deviant, even though the rest of the world holds precisely the same view of Jamie Weinstein and his buddies.