Blogs > Liberty and Power > Why Should We Care?

May 10, 2004 10:36 am

Why Should We Care?

My last post on L&P raises one significant question: Why should we care? Why should any of us care whether our libertarian or classical liberal heroes are used to justify the folly that is Iraq?

It all comes down to preserving a legacy, more specifically a radical legacy: a legacy that questions fundamentals and that attempts to go to the roots of social problems. The great liberal and libertarian thinkers have long recognized the inseparable link between free minds and free markets, and between peace and freedom. In defending the profound insights of Herbert Spencer or Friedrich Hayek or Ludwig von Mises or Murray Rothbard or Ayn Rand, as they apply to the current situation abroad, I am self-consciously defending the radical legacy that they have bestowed, one that has been distorted by too many who now provide a"libertarian" veneer or apologia for an otherwise reactionary policy abroad. Such commentators, who claim to be disciples of Spencer or Hayek or Mises or Rothbard or Rand, are no different from the neoconservative Court Intellectuals guiding so much of today's foreign policy. Their legitimation of that policy makes them Court Jesters, for they have made a mockery of the liberal ideal.

I am not saying that there can be no reasonable differences among rational men and women on the subject of Iraq. I'm simply saying that those"libertarians" who have supported this insanity in Iraq have not fully appreciated or even understood the ideas to which they claim allegiance. Those of us who are libertarians should care what happens to the legacy we have been left by our intellectual fathers and mothers. Not because we owe blind loyalty to our ideological parents. But because they were right about so much.

The war we face is a philosophical and cultural war. If we sell off our intellectual armaments, we will have lost before even embarking on our mission.

And that's why we should care.

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