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A Just and Libertarian war...

by Greg Swann

I am amused but not angered by the 'anti-war' protests, clothed and otherwise, that have polluted the news of late. If ignorant people want to promote barbarism in blind ignorance, this is their perfect right as ignorant Americans. The amusing part is that the war on Islam will be fought anyway, and the protests are about as important as the yipping and scrapping of puppies trying to scale the walls of a cardboard box. Aren't they just so cute?!

I am annoyed, however, with the Libertarians who have arrayed themselves against this war. I think they have become so glued to their slogans that they've lost the ability to think in principles. Whatever one might say about President George W. Bush, about the Republicans, about the state of the American body politic, it remains that this war not only will be fought, but that it should be fought. It must be fought, if the philosophical principles that undergird human liberty are to endure upon the Earth.

I have written a lot about this war, and much of it is linked back from this weblog entry, itself summarized here:

The objective the United States seeks in making war with Iraq is not any of those that have been imputed, whether by supporters or opponents of the war. The objective is to scare the hell out of the world, generally, and Islam in particular. By means of a minimal effort at wreaking maximum havoc upon Iraq in a very short span of time, the United States will demonstrate to her enemies and allies alike that she is not only the pre-eminent world power, she is in fact an inconquerable power. The anticipated benefits in the Islamic world will be either an immediate rounding-up of terrorists, or swift regime-changes followed by an immediate rounding-up of terrorists. In the Far East, the United States will disarm North Korea, with or without a regime-change, and neither North Korea nor--much more importantly--Red China will do anything to stop it. If all goes as planned--as I surmise it to be planned--Wahabi/Qutbist Islam will be discredited and Islam will return to a self-satisfied navel-contemplation. Red China will apprehend the lesson of the Soviet Union--that no Communist state can compete with the United States in the creation of capital-intensive weapons systems--and will devote its attentions to economic rather than military power.
I call this strategy The Cain Doctrine, after the Biblical and Koranic story of Cain and Abel:
Abel was a nomad, a shepherd following his flocks. Cain was a farmer, fixed to a plot of land. Abel was a traditionalist, doing what all his (ahem) predecessors had done before him. Cain was an innovator, doing things never done before. Abel roamed the deserts. Cain was bound to the markets of the city. Abel's wealth consisted of tangible chattels. Cain's wealth was speculative, a thing of hopes and promises. Abel was a warrior, defending his own moveable estate by combat and vengeance. Cain was a merchant, depending for his defense on specialists, with his defense often being effected by means of compensation and reconciliation.

Abel made a sacrifice of a lamb, thus establishing to God that he was a true Semite. Cain made a sacrifice of grain, demonstrating to God that he had been Hellenized. Forget the murder. The 'bad guy,' from the storyteller's point of view, always does bad things. The point of the story of Cain and Abel is this:

Abel was from Jerusalem or Mecca. Cain was from Athens.

Abel was the fixed, the unquestioning, the unchanging--and thus was favored by the fixed, unquestionable, unchangeable doctrine. Cain was the fluid, the inquisitive, the innovative--the horrifyingly Greek--and thus his offering of the fruits of agriculture, of urbanization, of task-specialization, of commerce, of speculation, of peaceful dispute resolution--his offering of all the fruits of reason--was spurned by God.

Christians and Jews hate this argument because Christianity and Judaism are such ugly compromises: Brief genuflections at Abel by the otherwise very-busy children of Cain. The important thing to understand is that Abel is a Warrior. He resolves his disputes by violent conquest--or meek surrender. Cain is a Merchant. He resolves disputes by conciliation, especially in the form of compensation. From Cain's point of view, Abel's style of life is suicidally insane, but is ordinarily a matter of complete indifference. From Abel's point of view, Cain's way of living is insufferably corrupt. With emphasis: A corruption not to be suffered.

The goal of Islam, established at its beginning, unchanged from that beginning, is to establish a Universal Caliphate. That is to say, every living human being, Muslim or not, is to be subject to Muslim rule under Sharia law. Muslims pursued this goal without abatement for most of a millennium, retrenching only when Europe--newly wakened from its own macabre nightmare with Abel--pushed it back, starting in the Spains and culminating at the Siege of Vienna. Warrior cultures seek to conquer when they think they can win, but they fade from the battlefield when they become convinced they must lose.

This is why, to understand this war, it is necessary to understand Islam. The display of force America will make in Iraq will cause Islam to turn its back on the West for the next 500 years. If you look beatable, Warrior cultures will fight savagely, insanely, suicidally. If you look invincible, Warriors fade. President Bush and his advisors are remarkably astute about the nature of our enemy.

Please understand: I am normally opposed to the underlying philosophy of this war--'Teach 'em a lesson!'--even though virtually all Libertarians are normally for it. The reason I am for it here is that Cain is correct: A demonstration of invincibility is the only strategy that will work against Abel--who is anti-rationality-by-choice. To forebear to convince the Muslims to fade is to invite them to persist in fighting savagely, insanely, suicidally against what they see as our insufferable corruption. In the long run, we must conquer Islam culturally. In the short run, we have to get Muslims to stop slaughtering innocents. This war will do this, and nothing else will. (And a very brief hot war will do for the Red Chinese what it took forty years of Cold War to do for the Soviets.)

Cain can co-exist peacefully with Abel. Abel cannot live in peace with Cain. If we don't isolate the Muslims now, and assimilate them in due course, they will chew us up. It's what they do, and they're a lot better at it than the Communists, the Nazis, Hillary Clinton or John Ashcroft. We may fight this war and come to have less liberty at the end of it. But if we fail to fight it, we will deliver perpetual tyranny and slaughter to our children--and to every living mind on Earth.

That is to say: This is a Just and Libertarian war. It will be led by people who are less than ideal, using means that are less than ideal, achieving ends that are less than ideal. But to oppose this war is to stand in opposition to all that is uniquely human in human life. To oppose this war is to make common cause with the brutal animality that, with but one shining exception in human history, has always usurped, enslaved and murdered the uniquely human life.

This war is Cain versus Abel. If you're not on the side of civilization, you're on the side of savagery. And Libertarians don't get a pass just because they're politically irrelevant.

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