More on war and libertarian principles

Still waiting for an explanation of how a consistent Libertarian could support bombing foreign cities.

Toward the end of a long post, Randy Barnett quotes extensively from my claim that strong Libertarianism is inconsistent with fighting foreign wars. He notes with resentment my rather impolite suggestion that Libertarians may be more concerned, in practice, with their own rights than with the rights of those who don’t resemble them.

What he doesn’t do, or even try to do, is answer my challenge: to explain how a Libertarian could support waging war abroad, given the certainty that doing so will violate the rights of others.

Just to be clear: I think that foreign wars are sometimes necessary for national self-defense and sometimes worth waging on humanitarian grounds. That’s just one of many reasons I can’t take Libertarianism seriously. But not being deeply versed in Libertarian doctrine, I might be wrong. If I am, I hope that Barnett or someone else will explain why.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: