Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Great Day To Be A Libertarian 

Libertarians are licking their lips in anticipation of the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the D.C. gun ban. Mayor Fenty announced yesterday that the City is going to try and reverse the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit which said that the law banning handgun ownership in the nation's capital was unconstitutional. Of course, the Supreme Court first as to agree to accept the case. The justices have not taken up the subject of the right to bear arms in almost 70 years.

Mayor Fenty really had no choice. If he did not bring the case to the Supreme Court then the gun ban would have ended due to the Court of Appeals decision. If he loses the next round, which he will, the City is no worse off then it would be had the case not been challanged.

Both sides on this issue recognize how important the Supreme Court decision will be.

Also today, the subject of the correct position libertarians should take on the war in Iraq gets prominent attention in the Wall Street Journal. Randy Barnett, a libertarian professor at Georgetown University, makes the argument for support of the war by free marketers.

Other libertarians, however, supported the war in Iraq because they viewed it as part of a larger war of self-defense against Islamic jihadists who were organizationally independent of any government. They viewed radical Islamic fundamentalism as resulting in part from the corrupt dictatorial regimes that inhabit the Middle East, which have effectively repressed indigenous democratic reformers. Although opposed to nation building generally, these libertarians believed that a strategy of fomenting democratic regimes in the Middle East, as was done in Germany and Japan after World War II, might well be the best way to take the fight to the enemy rather than solely trying to ward off the next attack.

Moreover, the pro-war libertarians believed there was "legal" cause to take military action against Saddam's regime--from its manifold violations of the ceasefire to firing on American planes legally patrolling the "no fly" zone and its persistent refusals to cooperate with weapons inspections. Saddam's regime was left in power after its unprovoked invasion of Kuwait on these and other conditions that it repeatedly had violated, thereby legally justifying its removal by force if necessary. Better to be rid of Saddam and establish an ally in the war against Islamic jihadists in the heart of the Middle East, the argument goes, and then withdraw American troops.
I think this is a strong argument but the notion of pre-emptive war I believe will not sit well with almost all libertarians. Interesting, however, is that the Center for Objectivist Studies came out in favor of the war before it started.

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