Canada, Leonard Peikoff, Iran, and Collectivism

September 11, 2012 by  

On October 12, 2001, Canadian-born philosophy professor and author Dr. Leonard Peikoff (author of the recently released book “The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West are Going Out“) appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s political talk show. The appearance of course made its way onto YouTube, where the video has been viewed over 47,000 times, and 1452 comments have been made in response to it. Especially since being posted to YouTube, Dr. Peikoff’s views about the USA bombing or otherwise taking military action in Iran have often drawn the allegation – especially from libertarians, but not from Objectivists – that Dr. Peikoff, or Objectivism itself, is somehow collectivist in respect of war. The latest such criticism occurred on my own facebook wall. Accordingly, I take it upon myself to demonstrate that such allegations are false.

Last week, Canada broke off diplomatic relations with Iran for reasons not yet fully disclosed. Some, in response, have publicly wondered whether the Canadian government has knowledge of a forthcoming attack on Iran, perhaps by Israel. Today being the 11th anniversary of the bombing of the twin towers and the Pentagon by theocratic terrorists who did what they did in the name of Islam and Allah, I yesterday posted to my FaceBook wall Dr. Leonard Peikoff’s interview on Bill O’Reilly’s show (you can watch the video, embedded below). In response to my having posted the video, one facebooker, P – whom I know to be a libertarian – posted the following comment to my facebook wall:

“Peikoff is such a collectivist when it comes to war.”

To support his conclusion, P drew the following quotation of Dr. Peikoff from the O’Reilly interview:

“In any war, when you fight the enemy, you have to take everyone in that territory and regard him as part of the enemy, otherwise you cannot defend yourself. If you’re concerned with the innocents in those countries, you are pulling your punches and thereby jeopardizing the innocents in our countries. It’s either-or. If you believe in self-defense, you fight it to the full.”

In response to the quoted words of Dr. Peikoff, P then made a comment that disclosed his reason for calling Dr. Peikoff a collectivist:

“Yes, that. Of course, you could, alternatively, regard people as individuals, and refuse to see all of them as part of “the enemy.”

P’s assertion – frequently made by other libertarians too – must be answered, not so as to defend Dr. Peikoff (who is more than capable of doing so should he choose) but to explain why Objectivism is not “collectivist when it comes to war”.

The nature and extent of a political concept is determined by the more fundamental branches of philosophy, from which the political concepts are logical implications. In other words: metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics are together the dog that wags the political tail/concept.

As a clear example: the “right to property” (forgive the quotations, which I use as a disclaimer for future purposes). Rogue has a gun and is pointing it at your head. You know he is about to shoot you because he says “I’ve always hated your guts so I’m going to shoot you with this now”. In that factual context, taking Rogue’s gun away from him without his consent is *not* a violation of his “property right” in the gun. Morality – a more fundamental concept, from which property rights springs – circumscribes the “right to property”, because a right has a purpose (a purpose dictated by the nature of a human), and Rogue’s use of the gun was a perversion of the purpose of having a right in a gun, because murder (as opposed to killing in defence of an innocent person’s life) is not a purpose of a right.

Individualism and collectivism, like the “right to property”, are political concepts. Just as it is not a violation of a person’s “property rights” to prevent him from committing a murder by seizing the gun out of his hand, the issue of whether or not “innocent” Iranians get killed in a bombing cannot be said to be “individualist” or “collectivist” without knowing – and applying – the factual context, and viewing the bombing in terms of ethics.

My interpretation of Dr. Peikoff’s central point is that the government of Iran is facilitating terrorist acts against the United States, the effects of which include such things as the murder of thousands and the destruction of the twin towers on September 11, 2001. Those are the facts upon which I assert he makes his moral evaluation. One can disagree with his assessment of the facts if one will – in particular, the facts concerning Iran’s involvement or non-involvement in terrorist activities – but that is not the question at hand, because the issue concerns whether Dr. Peikoff, and by implication Objectivist philosophy, is “collectivist when it comes to” any war, not just a war with Iran. The questions at hand are these: if we start with what Dr. Peikoff says are the facts (i.e., that the government of a country is funding, participating in, or otherwise facilitating terrorist activity in the USA), are his ethical and political conclusions correct, and do his conclusions make him and Objectivist philosophy in some sense “collectivist when it comes to war”?

I answer “yes” to the first question, and “no” to the second.

The would-be murdered are right to prevent their own murder by killing or disarming the would-be murderer. In Dr. Peikoff’s fact scenario, the would-be murderer is the people of Iran. The government of Iran is made up of some of the people of Iran, and it is merely an agent of the people of Iran. As agent, and on behalf of the people of Iran, the government of Iran is alleged by Dr. Peikoff to be paying for or actually carrying out the murder or expropriation of Americans/Israelis. If he is right about what Iran is doing, then taking out only the agent would be like charging a hit man with murder without also charging the person who ordered and paid for him to murder someone. One cannot morally or politically cut off the people of Iran from responsibility for the decisions and actions of their agent.

If every soul in Iran wants its government to destroy Americans and/or their property, and Iran is acting accordingly, then there is nothing morally wrong about annihilating every last one of them. That’s not a matter of collectivism, because – in that scenario – every one of them, individually, has ordered the hitman to carry out a murder. I do not think P would disagree with that. Such a situation – where every last Iranian wants the government of Iran to attack the USA – is not the issue.

The issue is the one or more Iranians who hypothetically do not want the government of Iran to pay for or carry out the murder/expropriation of Americans/Israelis. Let us put that in concrete terms. Joe lives in a neighbourhood in Iran. He knows most or all of his neighbours want the government of Iran to carry out or facilitate a bombing of a building in America. “Whatever”, he thinks “that’s what they want, that’s not what I want”. P, Joe’s pen-pal in the USA, agrees with Joe. P points out to his FaceBook friends that Joe does not want the government of Iran to bomb the USA or to facilitate terrorist acts on US soil. P agrees that the USA should not have to just sit there and wait to be bombed if it has credible evidence that Iran is facilitating or about to carry out a terrorist activity on US soil. However, P would hold the USA morally responsible for Joe’s destruction because Joe personally disagrees with carrying out or facilitating terrorist destruction on US soil. P expects the USA to take no action to defend itself without first identifying which of the millions of Iranians are in favour, and which are opposed, to Iran facilitating terrorist acts in the USA/Israel. He then expects the USA/Israel to leave Joe untouched as it annihilates the rest. And, if the USA accidentally kills Joe, or bombs an area knowing Joe might be killed, P will hold the USA morally guilty (and politically/legally guilty) for Joe’s death.

P thinks that to “regard [Joe] as part of the enemy” is assert that Iranian citizens are a collective entity. I submit that that is neither what Dr. Peikoff means, nor what Objectivism asserts (indeed, the very idea of a “collective” entity admits of no individuals as parts, so to regard Joe as “part of the enemy” is to assert that the enemy is not a collective entity, but a number of individuals). To “regard” Joe to be “part of the enemy” is just short-hand for saying that the ethical evaluation of killing an innocent individual living amongst individual enemies in an Iran bent on destroying Irvine, California yields a different result than an ethical evaluation of killing an innocent individual doing his shopping in Irvine, California. One cannot deprive the bombing, and the individual killed by a bombing, from the full context, and simply ask: “Is it wrong to kill a guy if he had no intention of taking your life, liberty or property?”. As always, context dropping leads to false moral equivalencies.

Joe’s situation in Iran is functionally equivalent to the situation of a human shield in Irvine, California. So let’s go back to the Rogue with the gun. Imagine that the Rogue in Irvine is using Suzy as a human shield very effectively, and he’s pointing his gun at you from under her armpit. As before, he says he hates you and is now going to shoot you. You have a gun. There is no way you can shoot him and prevent him from shooting you except by shooting THROUGH Suzy. To defend yourself, you must regard innocent Suzy shield as “part of” the enemy. You shoot through Suzy shield, killing both Suzy and Rogue. P then says you are a “collectivist” when it comes to self defence, because Suzy – like Joe – had no intention of hurting you in any way. He erroneously alleges that you regarded Suzy shield as guilty. He holds you guilty of murdering Suzy shield on the ground that Suzy was not guilty. Her guilt, he implies, is the sole determinant of whether or not it was wrong for you to shoot through her.

P is dropping context, and he is wrong. You killed Suzy shield, but Rogue is the one who murdered her.

To see what I mean by “dropping context”, let us look at a contrasting situation. Imagine that Suzy was not being held in front of the Rogue. Instead, she was safely across the street, drinking a coffee. If you, a master marksman, chose to shoot through Suzy nonetheless, and managed to have the exiting bullet ricochet off of a wall and hit the Rogue, killing him dead, the ethical conclusions re: your killing of Suzy would be different from the ethical conclusions drawn from the Suzy shield scenario. In the Suzy coffee drinker scenario, the Rogue is not guilty of Suzy’s death, and neither is Suzy. You are. Neither the Rogue nor Suzy involved Suzy in the situation between you and the Rogue: you involved her. You not only killed Suzy, you murdered her.

P, I believe, would concur with my ethical assessment of the Suzy coffee drinker scenario. However, P sees no distinction between the Suzy shield scenario and the Suzy coffee drinker scenario. His thinking, in fact, entirely drops the context of the Rogue and what the Rogue is intending to do. Whether Suzy is a shield or a coffee drinker, P’s analysis remains the same. In both cases, he asks only “What did Suzy ever do to you that would justify you killing her?”. In both cases, he fails to identify the central question, which has to do not with Suzy, but with you, the Rogue’s intended victim: “Do you have a right to live, or must you die so that Suzy shield can live?”. P’s implicit answer is: “You must die so that innocent Suzy shield can live”. Hence, it is P – not Dr. Peikoff or Objectivism – who is the “collectivist when it comes to” self-defence.

Having simplified the analysis by looking at self-defence, let us go back to the matter of war. Pick a number – say, 10% of Iranians who do not appear in internationally viewed videos screaming “death to the USA” and “death to the Jews”. Let us imagine that this hypothetical 10% of Iranians have nothing but love and lollipops for Americans and Israelis. If the weight of the evidence favours the conclusion that Iran (i.e., the Rogue) is facilitating or planning terrorism in the USA/Israel, then each and every one of those Joes in Iran who ends up dead because of a bomb blast executed in defence of American/Israeli life, liberty, and property is exactly like Suzy shield. Like Suzy, each one of those Joes will have been killed by the US/Israeli bomb, but will have been murdered by his Iranian neighbours, who wanted the government Iran to facilitate or carry out an attack on the USA or Israel.

What about the “innocent” Iranian Joe living all alone out in the desert near nobody else? Well, he is the equivalent of Suzy coffee drinker. If the USA were to go out into the desert to kill him, that would be murder by US forces. The point, however, is that: nobody and no philosophy – not Dr. Peikoff, and not Objectivism – proposes that the USA go out to murder an innocent man in the desert when his death has no necessary part of the defence of the USA.

Yet P implies that killing Joe in the big Iranian city of many US enemies is morally equivalent to killing Joe of the desert. He has completely dropped the context, which is: the threat to the lives of Americans posed by those living in an Iranian city full of people who want their government to facilitate the destruction of Americans versus some fella reading Atlas Shrugged in the Iranian desert. Dropping the context, P essentially is arguing that if the presence of an “innocent” Iranian in an area populated by enemies makes effective annihilation of the enemies impossible, well, so be it: the USA should just sit there and wait to be attacked by Iran.

In speaking of Joe being “part of the enemy”, Dr. Peikoff’s point – Objectivism’s point – is not about some sort of collective guilt that makes Joe guilty and therefore justifies the USA or Israel killing him. The rightfulness or wrongfulness of an American bomb killing of Joe in an Iranian city has nothing to do with Joe’s guilt or innocence. Nobody is saying that Joe is guilty; nobody is saying that innocents are not innocent. What Dr. Peikoff and other Objectivists are saying is: we are right to defend ourselves, and if an innocent Iranian Joe has to die in the process of annihilating would-be murderers, only the Iranians who wanted the government of Iran to facilitate an attack on the USA or Israel – i.e., only the would-be murderers – are guilty, only they have murdered innocent Iranians, and only they should find it hard to sleep at night.

Somehow, I doubt they will though.


2 Responses to “Canada, Leonard Peikoff, Iran, and Collectivism”

  1. Mike Spencer on September 15th, 2012 8:43 am

    The terroists who killed innocent people in 911 agree with you. Killing innocent people is justified by them because other Americans are their enemies. Joe had it right to isolate himself & try to avoid all blood thirsty people.

  2. Christopher Goodwin on September 26th, 2012 6:35 pm

    Jan 2012

    Christopher Goodwin Wow Bob, I just finished listening to the Just Right radio show with Bosch Fawstin and wow, for truth tellers to be so wrong about Ron Paul is sad. And without any challenge? Bosch Fawstin tried to undermine Ron Paul by saying he ran and lost for President 4 or 5 times, which is not true. Ron Paul has been a 12 term Congressman, ran once for the Libertarians and now twice for the Republicans. Then Bosch Fawstin sounds like Newt Gingrich saying Ron Paul would be more dangerous than Barack Obama, and it would be hard to pick in a General Election? Although it would be an easy choice for a majority of active duty military. Bosch Fawstin thinks the Commander and Chief can pre emptively strike wars against any nation, Ron Paul believes the President has power but is not the King. Ron Paul firmly believes in National Defense and if any nation is threatening it, Congress should declare war, win it and get out. All this bullshit talk by Bosch Fawstin about foreign policy and not one mention of the Constitution? And Bosch Fawstin went on to mock Ron Paul because he laughs when saying we should be friends and trade with nations in a free and open market. Ron Paul is a veteran that understands when occupying countries and installing new dictators creates the unintended consiquence of Blow Back against us. I have more to say but I’m in my car on my blackberry, I will reply more from a computer, but geez, Bosh Fawstin is clearly not one of the most powerful voices for freedom.

    Robert Metz Honestly Chris, I really hadn’t given the subject of Ron Paul much thought one way or the other. For me, yesterday’s broadcast was about Islam and the West’s response to Islam since 9/11 — and what graphic novelist Bosch Fawstin thinks about those things. I don’t recall Fawstin mocking Ron Paul over any philosophy about free trade, but about what he understood to be Paul’s response to an openly hostile government wishing the destruction of the United States. In fact, I recall Fawstin lamenting the fact that Ron Paul’s much-needed economic message was being threatened by his lack of credibility on foreign policy. The notion that Fawstin would actually support “installing new dictators…” appears to me to be totally inconsistent with everything he was saying. I don’t think anybody’s ‘in favor’ of that, including me. As to what constitutes a powerful voice for freedom, I may well make that the subject of a future show, with examples of strong voices and weak voices for freedom. And why.

    Christopher Goodwin Yes Bob, Ron Paul wasn’t the feature of the show, Islam was, in regards to his graphic novels. But the entire show was only critical of Ron Paul. Barack Obama was talked about in a good light, that he could appease the right by going to war. Mitt Romney was good on the war front, but if only Ron Paul could convince him on economics. Its all Ron Paul’s fault. The mocking was from Bosch Fawstin comment saying “When Ron Paul was asked what he would do to stop Iran from getting a Nuke, he said we should offer them friendship” and his first words on Ron Paul was that “He is Dangerous. He is worse than Obama… He is a crazy man. He starts to giggle when he talks about it…” And on and on… Robert Vaughan also called Bosch “Ron” by accident after a clip, and then Robert said, “what an insult to call you Ron”… As far as foreign policy, Bosch Fawstin said over and over again on your radio show, that the US should pre emptively strike Iran, and put in another government, anything… I’m listening now for the quotes, there was so many of them. “We have to do anything… We have to flip that country…” “Once those regimes go down, once we flip those countries, the rest will fall.” “We should not trade with them. Absolutely not.” I also found so many other quips as being wrong, I feel like transcribing this show to actually point out the ones that disturb me. Specifically, his language on the history of the middle east. He speaks as if we havnt occupied their land since 1953. The US went into Iran and overthrew their government. Threw out an elected leader. They were practicing Democracy, but we didn’t like him because he didn’t want to give the oil benefits to the British and the Americans. Iran wanted to keep the benefits for the Iranians. So we overthrew him, Mosaddeq, and put in the Shaw, who was there for 26 years and he was a ruthless dictator. That starts and stimulates radicalism, and that’s how radical Islam got going in Iran until you had the Mullahs take over in 1979. And then there is blowback. ” Ron Paul thinks we we did something to make them at war with us is scary.” Are sanctions acts of war? What does Flipping a country mean? I wrote on Robert Vaughan’s wall that unilateral retaliation is never moral. It doesn’t matter if it was Darth Vader. The President is not the King. The people, through their representatives, through congress, vote for approval of war. Outside the political, I can’t believe an Objectivist and Randian would be in favour of the kind of whim and emotional retaliatory force I’m hearing in this discussion. Retaliatory force is only justified when done with Objective Rules of Law… Why stop with changing the foreign parts of the Constitution, Cause you know, criminals are quicker today, search warrants are irrelevant and evidence is over rated, who needs permission? And things like Iran not having a nuke, doesn’t matter, nor does the fact that they have no navy, just a small army, and no long range ballistic abilities. Oh, and they are signed onto the nuclear non proliferation agreement. Ayn Rand asked Which type of government is more likely to plunge a country into war: a government of limited powers, bound by constitutional restrictions—or an unlimited government, at the whim of a single chief executive?
    “Activities or planned activities anywhere on the globe that have as their purpose or effect an attack on the life, liberty or property of Canadians are legitimate triggers for military response where prudent diplomacy has failed. The Freedom Party of Canada opposes the use of military personnel where such a trigger has not occurred. In particular, the Freedom Party of Canada opposes the use of Canadian military to curry political or economic favour with foreign governments in the absence of a legitimate trigger.”

    Robert Metz Chris: re: ‘freedom foreign policy discussion,’: I was pleased to see that you posted the Freedom Party of Canada’s policy on military involvement abroad (one narrow aspect of foreign policy), which was the only policy I saw posted in this discussion. Given that I participated in its formulation and voted for it, it’s obvious that you already know my position on military retaliation. What else would you have me add?
    Now, re: Ron Paul: Chris, I get it. You like Ron Paul. Here’s the part you don’t seem to accept: I don’t like Ron Paul. I don’t hate the guy, but don’t like him either. Never have. Never ever implied such. As a ‘powerful voice’ for freedom, he isn’t even on my starter’s list. He may well have a powerful POLITICAL voice (today), but it is not a voice ‘for freedom’ by any stretch of the imagination. Still love ‘ya. Just don’t love Ron Paul. Like the Thermite, Ron Paul is a distraction from the real and original discussion: Islam. Anybody up for that one? Apparently not.

    Bill Frampton Chris: Ron Paul would stand by and do nothing while the Iranian regime — the that refers to America as the Great Satan — develops nuclear weapons. For a President to do nothing about a threat like that would be totally irresponsible. As for the US and Britain installing the Shah, both governments had a responsibility to their citizens whose investment developed the oil reserves there and in other middle eastern countries. Given a choice between installing the Shah and a long term occupation of the country to secure the rights of those Americans and Brits, which would you choose?

    Christopher Goodwin Robert Metz re: What else would you have me add? Well, Bosch Fawstin comments on and support of “installing new dictators…” that you claim he didnt make… “We have to flip that country…” “Once those regimes go down, once we flip those countries, the rest will fall.” What does flipping a country mean if not installing new dictators? You did say it “appears to me to be totally inconsistent with everything he was saying. I don’t think anybody’s ‘in favor’ of that, including me.” Yet Bill Frampton seems to support “installing new dictators…” Mosaddeq, the Shaw, the Mullahs, And then there is blowback? And what now? And when i posted this comment to Robert Vaughan and he said “I know the Constitution only permits Congress to declare war but that should be changed to reflect the reality of today” and “What good is having a Commander in Chief willing to have millions die in a real war before he can ask for permission to even retaliate?” Un declared wars, no permission, installing new dictators? Am i missing something? re: Ron Paul: Why do people keep saying to me as a starter that i don’t accept or understand something…? I dont happen to like Ron Paul as much as one might assume, he is pro life and religious, he is old and out of touch, but his personal views are irrelevant. The one contradiction I kept noticing on Just Right is that every one was saying they loved Ron Paul’s 1Trillion budget cut year one, actually, this entire argument, from the show to your replies indicate it is Ron Paul’s foreign policy that is hurting or undermining or distracting from his economic policy? But where is the economic cut coming from? Foreign Policy
    (It is often asked: “But what if a country cannot find a sufficient number of votes or volunteers to go to war?” Even so, this would not give the executive a right to the lives of the country’s men. But, in fact, the lack of votes and volunteers occurs for one of two reasons: (1) If a country is demoralized by a corrupt, authoritarian government, its congress and citizens will not volunteer to declare war or defend it. (2) If a country’s government undertakes to fight a war for some reason other than self-defense, for a purpose which the congress and citizens neither share nor understand, it will not find many volunteers. Needless to say, unilateral pacifism is merely an invitation to aggression. But this does not give its executive the right to declare unilateral war or draft military service, which is the most blatantly statist violation of a man’s right to his own life. There is no contradiction between the moral and the practical: a declared war and volunteer army is the most efficient. A free country has never lacked the votes or volunteers when attacked by a foreign aggressor. But not many men would vote or volunteer for such ventures as (Iraq or Iran,) Korea or Vietnam. Without violating the constitution, the foreign polices of statist or mixed economies would not be possible. AYN RAND)

    Christopher Goodwin “Bill Frampton Chris: Ron Paul would stand by and do nothing…For a President to do nothing…” That is not true. Ron Paul has voted for approving war, and has said if Congress declares war, we should go in strong, win it, and get out. The majority of active duty military support his foreign policy. Arguing a political smear-tactic like “isolationism” is derogatory, suggesting something evil, yet it has no clear, explicit definition. It is always used to convey two meanings: one alleged, the other real, and to damn both.
    “A proper solution would be to elect statesmen—if such appeared—with a radically different foreign policy, a policy explicitly and proudly dedicated to the defense of America’s rights and national self-interests, repudiating foreign aid and all forms of international self-immolation.” AYN RAND

    Robert Metz Chris: You may be happy to learn, as I just did, that Robert Vaughan intends to devote at least half of the next broadcast of Just Right to the issue of foreign policy and military intervention.

    Christopher Goodwin I’d be happier to learn what flipping a country means? But thanks Bob 🙂 I will be listening…

    Robert Vaughan Is Stephen Harper the only Western leader who is willing to lay it on the line? What’s needed is a clear statement from the West that if Iran uses a nuke then Tehran will become a tar pit.

    Christopher Goodwin Our Adversarial Foreign Policy Prevents Iranian Dissidents from Overthrowing the Regime Change.. if Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister of Israel agrees with Ron Paul Saying Israel Doesn’t Need Our Troops, Why Can’t Ron Paul Say It?

    Robert Vaughan Thanks for the info, Chris. But if martyrdom is what they want then I say let’s give it to them. BTW I fully understand that there are millions of Iranians who oppose the current regime and sharia and while I empathize with them my only statement would be overthrow these despots or get out of Dodge while the gettin’s good.

    Christopher Goodwin Robert, I see… We are now living in an age when chicken hawks proclaiming “Kill Them” gets loud cheers, while veterans and doctors praising the “Golden Rule” gets boos… Geez… Talk about shock radio style political humour, or evil sadistic psychopathic begging for help, I’m not sure which? Tehran tar pit, Iran radioactive glass factory, beg us, beg us, unconditional surrender, then quickly and methodically kill them down to the last man, woman, and child… My God… This is what i waited to listen to on your radio show… wow Even Howard Stern didn’t have as crazy language on 911 when he said “We need to bomb all those towelhead bastards today, burn their eyes out, level that entire region” however, on the retrospective Stern said “I remember being full of rage. My reaction was, on the radio, let’s nuke the entire middle east, let’s make everyone pay, but then you cool your head down, and now I know years later, wow, the outcome of that day was a bigger disaster than I thought… We dropped the ball and got caught up in Iraq and now Iran” Robert, your statement, “If Iran uses a nuke” is misleading as Iran doesn’t have a nuke. “We do need a revision of our foreign policy. A proper solution would be to elect statesmen—if such appeared—with a radically different foreign policy, a policy explicitly and proudly dedicated to the defense of America’s rights and national self-interests, repudiating foreign aid and all forms of international self-immolation. Let no man of good will take it upon his conscience to advocate the rule of force—outside or inside his own country. Let all those who are actually concerned with peace—those who do love man and do care about his survival—realize that if war is ever to be outlawed, it is the use of force that has to be outlawed.” AYN RAND Btw, Robert, I’m glad you empathize with millions of Iranians who oppose the current regime and sharia law. Cause I gotta tell ya, I’m not sencing much empathy. Ron Paul: “Iranian Dissidents Are Better Off Winning Over Their Government By Themselves” and “Our Adversarial Foreign Policy Prevents Iranian Dissidents from Overthrowing the Regime”

    Keith Weiner nice argumentum ad hominem, Christopher. :-/ January 18 at 9:55am · Like

    Christopher Goodwin It was more of an apodictic judgment. However, any ad hominem reasoning is not always fallacious, and in this case, the arguments are legitimate and relevant to the issue, when it directly involves hypocrisy, emotional whim driven actions, or arguments contradicting morality. Some philosophers have argued that ad hominem reasoning is essential to understanding certain moral issues. It seems that the US and OBJECTIVISTS here only argue for attacking those nations it believes cannot strike back. So BOMB Iraq, and Afghanistan. BOMB Iran, Libya and Syria. Etc, etc. Where there is a possibility of retaliation because of Nukes (e.g. North Korea, Pakistan, India and China) words of diplomacy will suffice. You all look like arrogant bullies to the rest of the world. None of this propaganda can ever stand up to a proper examination of the facts. When a country exhausts its own economy, it attacks other countries. It is the only means of postponing internal collapse and prolonging rule. A country that violates the rights of its own citizens, will not respect the rights of its neighbors. And still, NO ONE ever mentions the constitutional way to declare war, win in and get out. “It is often asked: “But what if a country cannot find a sufficient number of votes or volunteers to go to war?” Even so, this would not give the executive a right to the lives of the country’s men.” AYN RAND
    The President is not the King. The people, through their representatives, through congress, vote for approval of war. And the power is divided, from the judicial. Why are undeclared wars immoral, for the same reasons unjust searches and seizures are. We declare wars for the same reason we get warrants. What about the guarantee of due process and evidence? By Objectivist standards, how many countries are justified in declaring war upon the US? The Shah. Blackwater. Iran-Contra. Abu-Gharib. Military Occupation is Violence, overthrowing democratic governments is Force, throwing out an elected leader is Wrong, but it couldn’t cause anything aggressive, could it? Today, we impose economic sanctions and gross interference on Iran which is not an act of war in US politics, but are acts of war according to international law. . I mean, what else is a superpower to do when another country doesn’t do exactly what we want it to do? But if the Iranians reacted by closing the Strait of Hormuz, which is roughly equivalent to imposing economic sanctions on the US, doing so would be an act of war. So why would the Iranians want nukes anyway? It couldn’t be that neighboring nations have nuclear weapons and it certainly couldn’t be because US imposed regime change via military force seems to happen to countries that don’t have nuclear weapons. Iran, which is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, has never been found in violation of that law. “Economic sanctions are acts of aggression. Sanctions increase poverty and misery among the very poorest inhabitants of targeted nations, and they breed tremendous resentment against those imposing them. But they rarely hurt the political and economic elites responsible for angering American leaders in the first place.” RON PAUL

    Westerners often wonder how radical terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda so easily recruit committed followers willing to risk their lives to attack us. It is quite likely that the “tremendous resentment” that Rep. Paul attributes to the use of sanctions has played more than a minor role in inciting such fanaticism. Iran hasn’t invaded or attacked another country in at least 200 years, so how do you manufacture a false trigger for a war that freedom party objectivists need as the moral argumant? A false flag, staging a Gulf of Tonkin style pretext? Only legitimate self-defense is permitted. America’s wars don’t qualify and constitute international criminal activity for planning, preparing, soliciting, and conspiracy to commit Nuremberg crimes against peace, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

    “The Men who are afraid that war might come because they know, consciously or subconsciously, that they have never rejected the doctrine which causes wars, which has caused wars in the past and can do it again- the doctrine that it is right or practical or necessary for men to achieve their goals by means of physical force (by initiating the use of force against other men) and that some sort of “good” can justify it.” AYN RAND

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