I’m wary of people who pick the worst among their opponents to “prove” the superiority of their own position. I won’t say Viktor Yushchenko is an anti-Semite just because this nut believes in a kosher conspiracy (literally). I won’t say National Review is full of Nazis just because this Nazi echoes their sentiments perfectly. And I won’t say all neoconservatives/pro-war “libertarians” should be drummed out of the league of halfway decent humans just because one of them should.
But the aforementioned one is not exactly on the fringe of pro-war thought. In fact, he’s a program director at the Institute for Humane Studies, a major mainstream libertarian organization. His standard approach to foreign-policy matters goes as follows:
(1) make assertions so outrageously stupid and/or vicious that they far surpass the worst caricatures of right-wingers;
(2) whine that those who either recoil in horror or laugh their asses off aren’t addressing his arguments.
His latest libertarian argument?
- If boiling people alive best served the interests of the American people, then it would neither be moral or immoral.
We’re not talking about choosing between rum raisin and rocky road at the Baskin-Robbins. Boiling people alive (if only under exceptional circumstances) is either moral, or it isn’t – and anyone half as clever as this lad thinks he is would make those exceptional circumstances clear, then argue for the morality of throwing people in the cauldron.
But even if he were clever enough to do so, he still wouldn’t be a libertarian. Some issues are beyond debate for libertarians, and even if you don’t count preemptive war among those issues, you damn well better include the impermissibility of boiling people alive. Vegans don’t debate skinning baby seals. Libertarians don’t debate boiling people alive. Period. And if we do, then perhaps we should also reconsider Sweden’s take on taxes, Uganda’s thinking on homosexuality, and Bill Bennett’s favored drug policy.