Thursday, August 11, 2005

Return of the lonely libertarian

The lonely libertarian has been laid up over the past several weeks following reconstructive knee surgery and the ensuing recovery. While I haven't had time to blog, I have had time to lie around watching plenty of CSPAN2's Book TV One program in particular, basically an anti-war sort of panel with various liberal authors, caught my attention. And the good old saying, "You can't bring democracy with a barrel of a gun" reared it's ugly head as the authors lambasted the war effort in Iraq.

The problem with the "You can't bring freedom at the barrel of a gun" argument is that it's just plain wrong. All you have to do is think back to World War II to find two nations (Germany and Japan) with little history of democracy that essentially had democracy forced upon them.

That's not to say that you can always bring democracy to an oppressed people through military force. Quite the contrary, the point is that each situation, each culture is different. Sometimes democracy can be "imposed" through military force. Other times it can't. In Iraq, the point is to consider the factors in the long run, that will make the democratic experiment likely to be a success or a failure.

When the anti-war crowd throws out "You can't bring democracy at the barrel of a gun!" as some sort of rallying cry, their doing a disservice to their own point of view. They're avoiding debate, and falling back on a supposed moral absolute that's flawed. As the lonely libertarian has noted time and time again, the question of success or failure in Iraq is one open for debate, but it needs to be debated on the facts. Maybe it will be successful (which is what the lonely libertarian thinks), and maybe it won't be, but the issue is not one to be lightly tossed aside with a self-righteous, feel-good sort of phrase.


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