Rand on Collateral Damage

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From Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of her Q&A:

If we go to war with Russia, I hope the “innocent” are destroyed along with the guilty. There aren’t many innocent people there—those who do exist are not in the big cities, but mainly in concentration camps. Nobody has to put up with aggression, and surrender his right of self-defense, for fear of hurting somebody else, guilty or innocent.

This goes beyond merely tolerating collateral damage; it’s actively calling for it. I guess it should be no surprise there is an Objectivist article entitled No Apologies for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I guess when Rand vociferously denounced libertarianism, there was a reason. (Roderick Long also discussed Rand’s “war” remark on the HNN Liberty & Power blog a couple years ago.)

It’s remarkable–given that Rand was such an outspoken proponent of individual rights–how many people she would appear to view as having no rights or radically curtailed rights: “savages” like the Native Americans and other nomads (so it was okay for Americans to kill them and conquer them), and Arabs (so American oil companies “really” owned the oil their technology helped discover under Arabian soil); Germans and Japanese during wartime; “innocent” Russian citizens during the Cold War; and who knows what rights she would have attributed to anarcho-libertarians (I think she called us the “hippies of the right“), draft dodgers and pacifists!

I stumbled across Rand’s observations on war while looking for a comment I’ve read in the past but am now unable to locate. The comment was by an Objectivist, perhaps Peikoff or Binswanger, and went something like this: Libertarians are wrong to favor “small” government; in certain situations, e.g. war or defense from an invasion, it could be appropriate for the government to consume more than half the GDP, if necessary. (If you know who made the comment or its location, please let me know.)

Update: see Ayn Rand Endorses Big Government.

10:30 am on May 31, 2009