Hating America and Other Libertarian Crimes

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"If
you hate it here so much, why don't you just move somewhere else!"
This is the final shout in the screaming match born of the debate
born of political discussions between libertarians and nearly
anyone else. It's been a while since I responded with "No!
I was born here, why doesn't the government move!" Realizing
that political ideology makes poor dinner conversation, especially
after a few drinks, is one of the signs of a mature libertarian.
That and your wife glaring across the table with the old "don't
even start" look when some well-meaning, but historically
ignorant acquaintance chimes in about a current event, framing
the issue in the latest terms of Cokie Roberts or Oprah. Then
her equally well-meaning, but slightly better "informed"
husband corrects her by telling you about Bill Buckley's latest.
So fellow libertarians, as you grin, wishing a meteorite would
hit you to end the misery, realize that you're not alone.

The
"why don't you leave" argument, as puerile as it is,
can be turned around, and I've found just the opportunity. I recently
pointed out that the three things that led to the WTC attacks
are: our 10 year assault on Iraq, our troops in Saudi Arabia,
and our financial support of Israel. Thank you very, much, that
is exactly the list Osama bin Laden released in his video taped
tirade yesterday. No, I don't write his speeches, as some of the
email I've been getting claims. The standard argument over Israel
and foreign aid goes something like this:

Libertarian:
Why do they take my tax money and give it away as foreign aid?

Neo-Conservative:
We have to do that, otherwise Israel would be wiped out by those
hateful Muslims.

Libertarian:
Didn't Israel win the 1967 six day war without our foreign aid,
and attacked one of our ships to boot?

Neo-Conservative:
We must defend Israel! They are our only ally in the Middle East.
(cue smoke from ears)

Libertarian:
I'm fine with individuals freely writing a check to the Israeli
government every year, just don't take my money at gunpoint and
give it to them. By the way, how much oil does Israel sell us
every year compared to those other countries?

Neo-Conservative:
YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND. The hostile MUSLIMS that SURROUND ISRAEL
don't even RECOGNIZE its RIGHT TO EXIST!!! (Smoke billowing profusely
as dogma and learned rhetoric collide with fact, history, and
logic)

At
this point, the normal mild-mannered libertarian will sigh and
find some way to end the conversation without getting branded
an anti-Semitic black helicopter nutbag.

The
other crime libertarians get branded with is a lack of a proper
sense of rage over the attacks, and the ensuing lack of patriotism.
For daring to point out that we've had ominous warning that something
like this was going to happen, we're branded a know-it-all. For
daring to point out that the terrorists, while using mass murder
of civilians – a completely illegitimate means – have legitimate
problems with our euphemistically called "foreign policy"
of grab-the-oil in the middle east, libertarians are branded terrorists
sympathizers. Let me state for the record, once again, the now
standard libertarian disclaimer: The attacks on 9-11 were absolutely,
completely, 100% morally despicable. Killing innocent people is
never right. Now ask yourself. If killing 7,000 innocent people
in one fell swoop is wrong, what's killing more than a million
innocent people in 10 years? That works out to 274 people a day,
mostly the very young and the very old. That's a lot of blood
on the hands of the United States military, foreign policy planners,
and politicians.

Did
you know we've bombed Iraq several times between 9-11 and today,
10-7? Probably not. It barely even hits the wire. We've become
so inured to the killing in our name, it's not even newsworthy.
It made me laugh to watch a report on Afghanistan, and hear the
reporter talk about how the people have become so desensitized
to war and fighting. I wonder when was the last time he went to
a Rated R movie here in the US. But, there I go again, hating
America.

So,
fly the flag, and sing with Lee Greenwood, but also do a little
reading and realize that part of being a patriot is to know what
your country has been doing in your name; know your history. Part
of being a patriot is standing up and telling it like it is, good
and bad. Part of being a patriot is realizing that this is a great
country, but as citizens we have a responsibility to speak out
and act out against the illegitimate actions of our government.

October
9, 2001

John Keller
[send
him mail]
owns a Technology
Consulting
and a Real
Estate
business in Atlanta, GA.

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