By Troy Camplin – LibertyChat.com Contributor
What should the libertarian position be on the current situation between Israel and Hamas? Given the variety of opinions among libertarians, it seems that there is not a clear libertarian position. But there is in fact a clear libertarian position on the matter. We just have to think through the steps.
First, of course, we have to deal with the issue of the existence of Israel. Some libertarians have a knee-jerk anti-state opposition to the existence of Israel. But there are worse things than states, and libertarians would do well to recognize that. Theocracies are worse. Monarchies (today often called dictatorships) are worse. The state is but one form of government. It’s not the worst, and it need not be the final form of government or governance. But that’s a discussion for another time.
Should the Jews even be in what is now Israel? How can a libertarian who supports open immigration and the free movement of people oppose their being there? How can a libertarian oppose their own self-governance once they are there? I think it is clear that the libertarian position is that Jews or anyone else should be free to move to what is now Israel. No libertarian should complain that the Jews ever went there.
Should Israel be defending itself against Hamas’ attacks? Hamas started the current conflict. Libertarians believe in self-defense. How can a libertarian oppose the elected Israeli government defending its people? I think it is clear that the libertarian position is that the Israelis or anyone else should be able to defend themselves against aggression. No libertarian should complain that the Israelis are engaging in self-defense.
But what about the children? We keep seeing pictures of Palestinian children killed by Israeli weaponry. But nobody discusses the fact that Hamas is purposefully placing their missile systems in places like schools precisely because if those weapons are targeted, those schools and the children at those schools will necessarily have to be targeted as well. It is Hamas who is thus almost entirely responsible for any and all civilian deaths. One has to wonder why nobody wants to talk about that fact. More, libertarians especially ought to condemn the use of civilians as human shields and pawns.
Given these facts, it seems clear that libertarians ought to be on the side of Israel in the current conflict with Hamas. Everything Hamas is and supports is the very antithesis of the libertarian world view. Certainly Israel is no libertarian utopia, but there really are better and worst governments. There really is a difference between tactics. There really is a difference between aggression and self-defense.
The fact that we ought to take this position of course does not mean we should support the U.S. government becoming involved in the conflict. Staying out of others’ conflicts is also a libertarian position – and one we ought to follow and encourage others to follow. The fact that Israel has the clear moral high ground in this conflict is quite different from concluding other governments should get involved.