Imperialism: The Illogical Nature of “Humanitarian” Wars

Dr Delacroix is simply unable to grasp my argument. There are two possible reasons for this:

  1. He simply does not want to grasp it
  2. He simply cannot grasp it

Most of the time I believe that Reason #1 is responsible for one’s inability to grasp a concept, at least when we are dealing with high intelligence individuals like Dr Delacroix.

But I think this is a case where Dr Delacroix and other like-minded imperialists simply cannot grasp the logic behind my argument. Allow me to hearken readers back to my recent post on “Libertarian IQ” where I quote an academic computer programmer on the inability of some students to grasp the concepts he is trying to teach:

Let me tell a story that is typical of those I heard from the TAs who worked for me at the computing center. A student comes up to the TA and says that his program isn’t working. The numbers it prints out are all wrong. The first number is twice what it should be, the second is four times what it should be, and the others are even more screwed up. The student says, “Maybe I should divide this first number by 2 and the second by 4. That would help, right?” No, it wouldn’t, the TA explains. The problem is not in the printing routine. The problem is with the calculating routine. Modifying the printing routine will produce a program with TWO problems rather than one […]

The student in my hypothetical story displays the classic mistake of treating symptoms rather than solving problems. The student knows the program doesn’t work, so he tries to find a way to make it appear to work a little better. As in my example, without a proper model of computation, such fixes are likely to make the program worse rather than better. How can the student fix his program if he can’t reason in his head about what it is supposed to do versus what it is actually doing? He can’t.

Dr Delacroix is in a position similar to that of the student.

When I point out that the post-colonial states of the Middle East are, by their very structure, incapable of anything other than autocracy, he responds by pointing out that the West has often taken sides in the various conflicts that erupt in these states. The logic behind this reasoning follows accordingly:

Brandon: This hot dog is undercooked, so eating it will make me sick.

Dr Delacroix: Yes, but it has chili on it.

B: No dude, eating it will make me sick.

DD: Yes, but it also has brown mustard on it.

B: I’m sorry dude, but I’m not eating the hot dog.

DD: Now you’re just being senseless (and rude!).

You see how that works?

Dr Delacroix and other “humanitarian” imperialists seem to believe that when the West picks a side in a conflict that has nothing to do with national security, imperialism suddenly becomes a perfectly acceptable way of fixing the problems of the world. Yet just like the programming student in the example above, Dr Delacroix’s attempts to fix a superficial problem (with bombs no less) actually end up exacerbating the real, underlying problem, which is that the states currently in place in most of the world are not seen as legitimate by its “citizens.”

Post-colonial states are not considered legitimate by their subjects because they never had a say in how to go about structuring such a state. They had no say in where the borders should be, or who they could trade with, or how to best accommodate foreigners.

Because they are not legitimate, power struggles (even in long-lived dictatorships) for the center are constant since those who eventually end up controlling the center receive legitimacy from the UN and other imperial institutions (but not their own people). Why bother trying to gain the legitimacy of an impoverished populace when you can simply capture the rent associated with running a post-colonial state?

Homicide and the State

I am one of the hundreds of thousands, possibly of millions of conservatives with strong libertarian leanings. Incidentally, I am not just talking, I showed it in several things I wrote and published. (Please, ask me.) There are several things however that prevent me from stating unambiguously that I am a libertarian, and much less, a Libertarian.

Of the two main philosophical obstacles the first is the mainstream libertarians’ barely concealed pacifism. I deal with this issue in several postings in that include the name “Paul” in their title (I also have objections to Ron Paul, the politician, another topic treated in some of the same postings.) My second problem is that it seems to me that serious libertarians have not dealt adequately with the central issue of the state as peacemaker.

Let me say before I proceed that it may well be the case that I am simply exposing my ignorance, that the subject has been examined by many good minds and that I have simply not come across their efforts. There might even be forums where the issue is discussed frequently and about which I am ignorant because of my bad habit of spending a lot of time watching French television series. And by the way, I propose (forcefully) the following rule: No one must give anyone a reading assignment if he/she has not even done the assignment. Don’t tell me to read what you have not read thoroughly yourself!

Now back to the state as peacemaker. Continue reading