Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fair Tax Boortz to Give Paul A Fair Chance

Its been a while since I’ve given any serious attention to "libertarian" radio talk show host Neal Boortz. Despite his claim that he’s a libertarian, he has a number of very troubling views on things that I find to not paint libertarianism in an accurate, let alone good, light. In fact, many of his views are plainly not libertarian. The biggest among these is that he a foaming-at-the-mouth warmonger. Despite the core principle of libertarianism being the rejection of the initiation of force, he has no problem advocating the use of military might to hunt down and kill people he suspects might someday do someone harm. This "pre-emptive strike" philosophy has far reaching and disturbing implications.

I was reading his "Neal’s Nuze" page from yesterday – basically, his show notes for the things he will be talking about on the air that day. Not suprisingly, Neal has not been on the Ron Paul bandwagon for, also not surprisingly, Paul’s anti-war position. For Boortz, Paul’s dedication to reducing the size, scope, and power of the federal government, to cutting spending, to passing the Fair Tax, to promoting school choice, to liberalizing gun laws, to ending the failed War on Drugs, and on and on… all libertarian positions, all positions that Boortz himself are in agreement with, gets thrown out the window because of Paul’s lack of willingness to bomb the shit out of dark-skinned non-Christians.

Here is how Boortz explains it:

Sometimes you have to make a difficult decision not on the basis of what's the worse that could happen if you DO act, but on what the worst possible scenario would be if you DIDN'T.

This statement alone is frightening in its implications. After Boortz details all of his beliefs about free markets in health care, education, ending the war on drugs, etc. He makes this statement of principle. But this begs one question: why does this "pre-emptive action" principle only apply to killing Muslims? Why couldn’t it apply to drug users? Or gun owners? For example, why is it not justified for the government to actively pursue and eliminate illegal drugs, or completely abolish private ownership of guns, since, in either of these cases, the worst possible scenario of NON-action could be people getting killed in a spectacular fashion. Why should my neighbor be allowed to own a gun, since he may use it incorrectly, or irresponsibly, and kill me or my child? Why not make the speed limit 5 miles an hour since "allowing" people to drive faster could lead to many, many deaths. Under Boortz’s philosophy, its hard to make out a case that ANYTHING that is otherwise non-violent should be legal, because one can always imagine possibilities that lead to the need for pre-emptive action, thus making non-action a grave moral failing. In short, Boortz’ philosophy is contradictory and nonsensical.

It’s tragic to see Boortz sacrificing the opportunity to advance liberty in the political realm on a lot of fronts because of one issue. I understand that many people have their hot-button, deal breaker issues. Hell, I have them myself. But his rabid insistance on this one issue position makes me wonder… if Ron Paul got the nomination, and was up against Hillary Clinton, whose credentials as a bloodthirsty warmonger are well established, would he vote for her?

The irony here is that Boortz likes to charge libertarians (party types, anyway) of being intolerant of those who do not hoe the ideological line. Yet, Boortz himself is will to throw aside supporting a candidate that he agrees with on about 97% of all other issues – including his beloved "Fair Tax" – for the sake of one issue. Who’s intolerant, Neal?

Well, at least he’s willing now to give Paul a fair shot, instead of dismissing him out of hand, which is nice to see.


Anonymous James said...

I listen to Boortz daily and I have to say, it IS nice to hear that he's willing to dive into Paul's politics and give the guy a chance... it's better than what 99.9% of all other media types are doing for Ron.

Call Sean Hannity and mention Ron Paul... he'll do anything short of cutting you off the line in half a second flat.

I don't see what's so damned scary about the man... he wants to overhaul the severely overreaching government for the benefit of our country. OOOOOOH scary!!!!

I do think you're jumping a LITTLE too far off the edge with the "pre-emptive" strike analogies as you can have a stance on one issue and not react the same way on others.

My neighbor having a gun and POSSIBLY using it for evil rather than good COULD happen, but his right to own that gun is protected under the Bill of Rights. If he were to show up at my door with it pointed at my face, I know there's a GOOD chance he's trying to kill me, and not bring me cookies. Therefore I should make the first move and take him out to save my own ass.

I'm not a supporter of pre-emptive strikes a la Iraq but when you have a sect of Islam screaming from the hills that you're as good as dead, would you sit by and let them plump up their ranks? We were on the right track following 9/11, we got sidetracked and now look where we are.

Boortz rails on "single issue" voters, yet he's said before that the SINGLE ISSUE of anti-war kills Ron Paul for him. Hypocrisy?

5:28 PM  
Blogger Libertarian Jason said...

Well, my point was that Boortz' assertion that sometimes you have to weigh in the consequences of non-action, about what _might_ happen is absurd, because you can always invent all sorts of "what ifs" to justify any action. Regardless of whether gun rights are protected under the Constitution, under this logic, the price on not acting to ban all guns could be that innocent people die because of negligent gun owners.... hence, Boortz' logic could be used to justify just about any infringement of liberty.

11:04 PM  
Anonymous James said...

I saw your point, I was merely stating that YES, the logic is flawed when applied to situation X it may NOT be in situation Y.

It would be pointless to invade China on the assumption that they MIGHT try to attack us in the future so we should stop them now. Yet on the other hand, if you have a specific target who HAS acted against you, and has made it very clear that their goals are your complete annihilation it would probably be smart to kick them first.

9:50 AM  
Blogger Libertarian Jason said...

But as a matter of principle, its false, because by definition, it can't be a principle if it can't be applied universally. In this case, all it really becomes is a rationale for just doing whatever you'd like, independent of the morality of the action.

Furthermore, if someone has acted against in retaliation for your past, aggressive, actions against them... that doesn't excuse further aggression.

The libertarian critique of the "war on terror", and foreign policy in general, is that it is out militaristic, interventionist foreign policy that insites radicals from other nations to hate us and want to attack us.

Boortz, and other warmongers, seem to willfully ignore that for the past 100 years we have become increasingly imperial and bullying in our relations with other countries. Through foreign aid, we prop up brutal dictators because they do what it takes to promote the interests of the politically connected. That is bound to piss a few people off.... yet Boortz and Co. would have us believe that these people just simply woke up one morning and decided, "I think I'll hate Americans today."

10:36 AM  

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