Sunday, February 12, 2017

Libertarian Internationalism

Libertarian Internationalism
The Prolegomena to a Libertarian Foreign Policy*

As the lack of intellectual viability of statism in its various racial, religious, national, bureaucratic, imperialist and other forms becomes increasingly exposed, the need to articulate an alternative libertarian approach to relations among people of different cultures becomes critical. As the nation state and its institutions (including internationals, such as the UN) become increasingly irrelevant in an economically globalized, post-singularity world, a market-oriented internationalism is urgently needed.

The juridical subjects of International Law, "International Actors," include nation states (even micro-states like the Vatican), certain few private associations (like the Red Cross or Sovereign Knights of Malta), and international agencies like the UN and its associated institutions. What is not included in this list are actual private persons, such as you and me, and even juridical persons such as private associations and registered corporations. The humans and human organizations with which we usually interact are missing from international relations.

We individuals don't exist in the currently dominant statist view of international law.

In the eyes of International Actors, we real people and our associations are little more than disregarded entities. This state of affairs is entirely unsatisfactory to libertarians. Libertarians understand, taught by Mises' brilliant philosophical exposition in his master work Human Action, that there are only one set of actual actors in human affairs: individual humans.

To paraphrase Mises: only individuals think, plan and act. The belief that collective nouns such as "state" or "corporation" or "class" and the like engage in human action is a superstitious delusion that has led to much human suffering.

Any truly humane international law must, going forward, take this into account.

Consider the long march of human history and how treating individual humans as objects led us to endless millennia of statist imperial warfare, culminating the 20th Century's killing fields and nuclear incinerations. Consider therefore the "glories" of the State as a human institution. Consider it and condemn this most vile of accretions of a brutal past.

“A state, is called the coldest of all cold monsters. Coldly lieth it also; and this lie creepeth from its mouth: "I, the state, am the people." It is a lie! Creators were they who created peoples, and hung a faith and a love over them: thus they served life. Destroyers, are they who lay snares for many, and call it the state: they hang a sword and a hundred cravings over them. Where there is still a people, there the state is not understood, but hated as the evil eye, and as sin against laws and customs.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

As the vicious old concepts: chattel slavery, religious and racial bigotry, institutionalized inequality of women and various others, have become anathema to civilized people, so called,  the very concept a "sovereign" government, not subject to the same rule of law that applies to private persons, must be rejected.

Then we will see the great sweep of human history as the (not always steady) advance in knowledge and enterprise. We will see the inventors, creators, entrepreneurs, as the proper subjects of human admiration, leaving behind childish fascination with bright crowns and presidential pomp.

Jefferson understood the essence of libertarian foreign policy: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations...entangling alliances with none” .

The natural implementation of that view is the non-interventionist foreign policy of the Founders of the American Republic.  That glorious era of non-interventionism lasted for over a hundred years (with notable lapses regarding Mexico, Mormons, native peoples, and two failed invasions of Canada). TR's reckless charge up San Juan Hill ended all that.

Libertarians always stand against war. Whether Thoreau asking Emerson why he was not in the jail cell with him for refusing to pay the Mexico War Tax, or Murray Rothbard telling my Viet Nam bound contemporaries exactly how "the coldest of all cold monsters" used selective servitude to centrally plan the welfare/warfare state; whether  Warren, Tucker and Spooner decrying the uncivil war to make America safe for bureaucracy or Mencken poking at the hubris of the world war warriors, libertarian-Americans stood against every war since the Rebellion of '76. And stood with every rebellion since the Whiskey Tax Rebellion.

[1] So the very first principle of a libertarian approach to foreign affairs is Peace -- Anti-War. Standing for peace, we stand with the victims of war, including those murdered "in our names" and those forced to pay for the carnage, "Trillions and trillions wasted..." Ron Paul

Libertarians understand that the main result of an interventionist foreign policy is death; millions of deaths... and the resulting "blow back" that brings the war back home. Do Americans really think we can escape the results of violating other people? For 95 percent of the years since the adoption of the Constitution of 1787 the Republic as been at war. ; "War no more; war never again." Pope Paul VI. Does that mean I oppose people overthrowing tyrannies by force? No. I applaud self-determination. Americans, however, have a special obligation to keep our "coldest of cold monsters" within its assigned borders. That's the best we could do for peace and freedom.

[2] The second principle must be individualism. There is no "collective action" and no collective guilt. There is only individual Human Action. This must be the bedrock ground of any sane approach to international relations. The universal rights of real humans must be respected in international law and individuals must have standing to act internationally. Chief among these rights is the Right of Informed Consent in all things pertaining to our bodies:

[3] And the third, free trade. Despite the mercantilist errors being spouted by Trumpists and their (G)OP [reluctant] allies, protectionism is simply taxation. Whether penalizing companies for following market forces or imposing new tariffs, it is just tax policy and the incidence of the tax will fall where all taxes fall: on production of real goods and services, paid for by the consumers. Who benefits? The Bureaucracy.

In economic science the issue was settled literally centuries ago.

First, the market price is the just price. Therefore, any government imposition that increases the market price must be unjust. QED, Thomas Aquinas.

Second, as early as the Corn Law Debates in England in the 1830s it has been conceded by all thinking economists that free trade benefits those countries that adopt it, even if other countries continue irrationally to impose protectionist policies. If you read the economic literature and do the math, you will realize that protectionism is a con.

Peace -- Individualism -- Free Trade: lead to a libertarian world.

"Man's freedom to choose and to act is restricted in a threefold way. There are first the physical laws to whose unfeeling absoluteness man must adjust his conduct if he wants to live. There are second the individual's innate constitutional characteristics and dispositions and the operation of environmental factors; we know that they influence both the choice of the ends and that of the means, although our cognizance of the mode of their operation is rather vague. There is finally the regularity of phenomena with regard to the interconnectedness of means and ends, viz., the praxeological law as distinct from the physical and from the physiological law. 
The elucidation and the categorial and formal examination of this third class of laws of the universe is the subject matter of praxeology and its hitherto best-developed branch, economics. The body of economic knowledge is an essential element in the structure of human civilization; it is the foundation upon which modern industrialism and all the moral, intellectual, technological, and therapeutical achievements of the last centuries have been built. It rests with men whether they will make the proper use of the rich treasure with which this knowledge provides them or whether they will leave it unused. But if they fail to take the best advantage of it and disregard its teachings and warnings, they will not annul economics; they will stamp out society and the human race." -- L. von Mises, Human Action
* My Prolegomena to Any Future Political Philosophy is here: