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Mar 10, 2004 10:50 am

Left and Right

Concerning the notion of left and right with respect to libertarianism, such cooperations go way back at least to Murray Rothbard and William Appleman Williams co-editing a book of essays during the Vietnam protest years.

Cato has for years dealt with developing dialogues with government so that a conference in Putin’s Moscow should surprise no one. More surprising was the supposedly hard-core Mises Institute’s conference of two years ago. About six months before the events of 9/11, it sponsored a meeting around the theme of the Israeli military historian/policy advisor Martin van Creveld’s The Rise and Decline of the State. When in a commentary on the book I suggested MvC had given short shrift to the cycles of the Chinese and Roman Empires, and that I saw no real decline in the concept or power of the State, he launched an immediate ad hominum attack from the floor depriving many in the audience from their chance at questions, for which he later apologized. In the light of 9/11, the Patriot Act, the war on Iraq, and the praise of Empire by the Neocons, I find it difficult to find many that would see much virtue in the MvC/LvMI thesis that there has been a decline of the State.

In a conversation with him later, in the company of Profs. Ralph Raico and Hans Hoppe, MvC amazed at least me, by professing an admiration for Josef Stalin! When I last heard about him, he was featured as the architect of the use of Israeli bulldozers as the weapon of choice against the Intifada, and urging the Americans to do the same in Iraq. I doubt he will ever be among those Israeli members of the IDF who question Sharon’s policies, and it is certainly to the credit of the US forces that they have not adopted such wholesale destruction of property and life. I have never quite understood what some found in the appeal of such a militarist.

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