Libertarian Defense Caucus National Co – Chairman Kevin Bjornson and LNC Chair Mark Hinkle engaged in a fierce intellectual debate over libertarian foreign policy, reforming the LP, and a wide spectrum of other issues.
The LNC understands that the LDC is a potent force in the libertarian movement and must be directly engaged.
The Caucus wishes to express its gratitude to LNC Chair Hinkle for participating in the discussion.
The dialogue, between National Co – Chairman Bjornson and LNC Chair Hinkle follows, in slightly amended form, for editorial clarity.
(MH) indicates Mr. Hinkle’s responses. (K) indicates Mr. Bjornson’s responses.
MH) Believe it or not, we don’t have everyone’s email address.
We only have them when members and supporters give them to us.
(K) The Obama 2012 campaign managed to amass a large collection
of e-addresses. Surely libertarians can do better. All membership
forms should include a request for e-address, and online membership
applications should require them. Charge extra for snail mail.
LP News should be available online at no charge.
There should be an opportunity to comment on what is posted.
(MH) It’s perfectly clear that LP members do disagree on
foreign policy and everything else.
(K) Most political disagreements relate to foreign policy.
We disagree on fact and ideology.
To a lesser extent, abortion. Almost all other disagreements
have to do with how radical or personality.
(MH) Why don’t you think that’s clear?
(K) Because you speak as if your position were self-evidently
the only libertarian position. As if no other could possibly be
consistent with the NAP. Surely, you’re not admitting here that
you realize yours is just one possible position, that you are
acting on behalf of that one faction and not the whole libertarian
[concerning online conventions]
(MH) That’s an intriguing idea. …
However, there is the social aspect of meeting people at a
convention that would be missing in a wholly online meeting.
(K) We could still have educational conferences,
with speakers, training sessions, and fun activities.
The business of the party should not be limited to
those with a factional agenda and willing to spend
time and money to remake the party in their image.
(MH) But, the idea of some sort of online debate or
discussing regarding hot issues of the day, isn’t a bad one.
(K) We did have that, on the LP website.
However a former LP director eliminated that in the 2006 election
cycle, claiming he didn’t have time to moderate. However
they didn’t ask for volunteers who could have helped.
(MH) That’s interesting, because I see just the opposite.
It’s the hawks that seem to be driving those that favor peace out of the LP.
Wayne Root is a prime example of a hawk that’s driving people away from
(K) If what you say were true, then please explain why the chair
of the LP [you] appears to be a cheerleader for just one faction–
categorical non-interventionism. While Wayne has adopted a
moderate foreign policy, less hawkish than mine. I’m willing to
work with doves and foreign policy moderates, because I
realize a candidate reflecting my views might tilt the election
away from the lesser evil of the two major candidates. The LP
should selectively field either hawks or doves, depending on
circumstances and what we want to achieve.
Wayne did not receive a majority vote and non-interventionists
continue to drive hawks away by speaking as if theirs is the only
possible libertarian position. At the St. Louis convention,
I voted for Wayne, and when he lost, I voted for you, because
you presented yourself as a moderate who could smooth out
differences between factions. Alas, you disappoint.
(MH) BTW, perhaps you’d better define “libertarian hawks” for me.
Frankly, the terms puzzles me.
(K) Here you imply, categorical non-interventionism is required
by the non-initiation-of-force principle. However, “intervention”
is not the same thing at all as “aggression”. Check standard
dictionaries and you will see how these words are defined
by literate people and society generally. As distinguished
from a special language invented by a small cult of historical/
(MH) Kevin, are you ignoring the fact that the U.S. through
out the duly elected leader of Iran and imposed a dictator,
the Shah of Iran?
(K) I am not a spokesperson for the US government,
past or present. I disagree with both your evaluation
of the alleged facts, as well as US policy.
In any event, you said Iran “has attacked no other country
in over 200 years.”. Now you are changing the topic.
I’m talking about what you said in your communique,
not what you are saying now in private. In what article
did you get that figure, 200 years? I ask, because another
anti-interventionist claimed that Iran had not attacked
anybody in 2000 years. [A bit difficult to do, since
the modern Iran government is not at all the same
government as the Persia of 200 or 2000 years ago.]
Surely, you are not sticking to your position,
that Iran has not committed any aggression at all?
Let us say, since the 1979 revolution, which created
the government we know as “Iran”.
(MH) I don’t teach, because I like working for myself.
I like being my own boss.
(K) Your posture is that of a teacher, come to bring
knowledge and moral compass to the world.
(MH) …you have to be a democrat to get a teaching job in California.
And join a union that’s destroying the economy of California.
(K) Surely that would be a small obstacle for a man of your
scholarly achievements, who knows with such certainty what
Iran has done and not done in the last 200 years. Libertarian
scholar Jan Narveson has taught with me at liberty camps in the
former Soviet Union. He was able to teach at Stanford without
being a Democrat or joining the state union. Victor Davis Hanson
has also taught at Stanford without encountering those problems,
but from your comments you appear to have not read him.
(MH) I’m not sure what you mean by military isolationism,
but if you mean that soldiers should uphold their oath of office
to defend and protect the United States, then yes. I guess I’m a
(K) I see–so, yours is not just the only possible libertarian
foreign policy, it is also the only constitutional one? Wouldn’t
that make all other foreign policies illegal? What a solution to
the pesky foreign policy debate–put the hawks in jail!
(MH) You’re probably right [about EMP].
And you also probably know that Iran doesn’t have that capability.
(K) I see–so, the US should wait until Iran gets nukes to remove
their nuclear bomb capacity? Or should we just accept Iran getting
(MH) BTW, which nation is the only nation to use nuclear weapons
on civilian targets?
(K) First, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were military targets,
and taking them out saved millions of lives, American and
Japanese, that would have been lost in an invasion. Had
we not deposed the Japan regime, they would have acquired
nuclear weapons and many millions of Americans would
have died. Possibly neither of us would be here today,
if our parents had been incinerated.
Second, do you really suppose that Iran having nukes is
just as bad as the US having nukes? Do you really believe
I don’t favor the current system of weapons acquisition.
I accept that weapons are necessary in an imperfect world,
and expect to pay for them instead of hoping they will
(MH) If the U.S. is attacked, I’m not a pacifist.
But, if it’s a nuclear threat that you think is the real threat,
how does have tens of thousands of foot soldiers in Iraq
and another 125 countries around the world help?
How about bring them home and defend the United States?
(K) I don’t favor US policy. That does not mean, I’m crazy
enough to have all US troops withdrawn to within US borders.
Because then, US defense costs would skyrocket, as we would
be forced into the position of passively defending every possible
target (civilian, political, and military) 100% of the time. Instead
of striking at enemy centers of power abroad, at a time and
place of our choosing.
(MH) Clearly, I and our founding fathers, who warned against
foreign entanglements, knew a little bit about foreign affairs.
(K) So now you are channeling the founding fathers?
OK, then please tune in to Thomas Jefferson, who created
the US deep water navy and intervened abroad to squelch
Barbary Coast pirates, who were taking US ships and
sailors hostage, holding them for ransom.
Libertarian Defens Caucus
The views, opinions, positions or strategies expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, positions, policies, or strategies of The Libertarian Defense Caucus or any individual Caucus member thereof.