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Hamas: A Litmus Test for Libertarians

Ayn Rand Institute executive director Yaron Brook offers insight into why so many professing libertarians support Hamas over Israel.

by
Walter Hudson

Bio

July 29, 2014 - 2:46 am

Recently, while making the libertarian case for support of Israel, I noted that Islamic totalitarianism manifest in the entity of Hamas presents a common enemy to the United States and Israel. Neither nation can suffer a world where the mandates of Islamic totalitarianism are put into practice.

That case was rejected by many professing libertarian associates, who in their response defended Islam and Hamas while demonizing Israel. Their response reminded me that, while professing activists from the various wings of the libertarian movement share many common enemies and many common causes, an important divide remains between objective libertarians (advocates of liberty and its political requirement, proper government) and anarchists who have appropriated the libertarian title.

The distinction is explored in a recent episode of The Peikoff Podcasts by Ayn Rand Institute executive director Yaron Brook. Answering why so many professing libertarians are anti-Israel, Brook explained:

I think that the libertarians who tend to be anti-Israel tend to be in the [Murray Rothbard wing] of the libertarian movement. They tend to be anarchists. They tend to have a deep rooted hatred of government. And it’s interesting [because] they tend to hate free governments more than they hate totalitarian governments. They tend to focus their hatred much more on the American government [and] on the Israeli government than they do on Hamas.

If you’re libertarian, that is if you claim to care about individual liberty, Hamas should be one of the top most hated regimes in the world. You should be celebrating that they are being destroyed and that the Palestinian people might have a chance to be freed from such a totalitarian evil regime like Hamas is.

And yet, libertarians don’t seem to care about the Hamas government, or actually support it, and they focus all their ire [and] all their hatred [and] all their focus on the Israeli government, a government that is in relative terms a rights respecting government, at least as rights respecting as any Western government. Essentially there’s free speech in Israel. There’s freedom of contract. There’s private property, not as much private property as those of us who believe in liberty would like, but much much better than 90% of the countries in the world.

… So I think that this is one of the ugliest manifestations of this fringe element – or not so fringe element – within the libertarian movement, their attitude towards Israel, their attitude towards the United States, their attitude towards foreign policy in general…

Upon further reflection, it occurs to me that advocacy of anarchy requires one to minimize the legitimacy of foreign threats while demonizing any action which government takes to protect citizens. After all, if government can be seen acting properly in defense of liberty, that stands as evidence against anarchism. In this way, anarchists masquerading as libertarians have boxed themselves into a philosophical corner which requires them to become apologists for evil.

(Today’s Fightin Words podcast is on this topic available here. 16:05 minutes long; 15.51 MB file size. Right click here to download this show to your hard drive. Subscribe through iTunes or RSS feed.)

Walter Hudson advocates for individual rights, serving on the board of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Minnesota, and as president of the Minority Liberty Alliance. He hosts a daily podcast entitled Fightin Words, proudly hosted on Twin Cities Newstalk Podcast Network. Walter is a city council member in Albertville, MN. Follow his work via Twitter and Facebook.

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Top Rated Comments   
Okay, let's look closely at another example: Nazi Germany declared war on the US, but was unable to do any damage in our territory (not for lack of trying, but we caught their saboteurs). In the course of the war, 200,000 Americans were called, all soldiers. 5 MILLION GERMANS died, a majority civilians. What's your take on this particular imbalance? Most people's goes like this: When you set out to conquer the world (or merely commit genocide on your neighboring state) and don't pull it off, don't expect to get off lightly.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
During the Gazan elections, Hamas ran on starting a war with the Jews. It was their very platform. And the people, in electing them, said "Hell yeah, I want me some of that!". The Gazans wanted Hamas, they wanted the War on Israel that Hamas promised them. So they're getting it.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
If Obama decided he was going to launch rockets from your house, I'm fairly sure you'd leave.

Besides, the Gazans don't object to Hamas at all. They elected Hamas on the promise that Hamas would exterminate the Jews.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (117)
All Comments   (117)
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A libertarian is a Godless man who recognizes the fiscal benefits of conservatism. He is not bright enough to realize it's a package deal.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
If you speak out against the US or Israels governments you always know you have freedom of speech. However in a land like Gaza if you speak out against government, they take you in a street and shoot you to death. The libertarian s for Hamas are just sheep being led to slaughter. Just like their European brothers, no guts, and lets play nice to evil within our mist, so they will not hurt us.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Israel occupies LESS than on SIXTH of 1% of the land that ARABS and MUSLIMS occupy, there are 5,000,000 JEWS and 300,000,000 ARABS and 1.5 BILLION MUSLIMS - now THAT is what I call DISPROPORTIONATE
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Libertarianism as it is currently being realized is very mainstream. It is probable that the largest plurality in the nation is for both free markets and social freedom. Anarchism is a disease of the left in that most anarchists think that in a world without government we turn into a Marxist utopia (remember the state is supposed to whither away in the last stage of the Communist revolution.

It is not a far jump from eliminating the state to eliminating all the state that is not absolutely essential. That is where the confusion in brand identity comes from. It also comes from social conservatives who are on their way out as a dominant force (although more heading toward the door than out of it yet) who are flailing to equate libertarians with anarchists.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why are libertarians so anti-Israel? Well, it goes back to Russia, who USED TO BE anti-Israel. And the Paulies are all basically a bunch of Russian useful idiots. True!
See here:
http://misterchambers.com/2013/08/21/ron-paul-rand-paul-and-the-mises-institute/
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, I'm a troll. I don't deny it.

But I stand with ISRAEL and ordinary Americans who are absolutely disgusted with Obama. I've been documenting the entire American (Obama) involvement in the Arab Spring. Please see website. All sourced (broken links courtesy of the Republican Party, who destroyed my archives for some reason....).

www.misterchambers.com
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. I'm seeing no difference in both parties. Seems they want us to think they are working against each other. But they both are moving us in the same direction for the same outcome.
16 weeks ago
16 weeks ago Link To Comment
Excellent analysis by Brook and Hudson.

I also notice other strange patterns. When it comes to foreign nations these faux libertarians become collectivists. They talk about a people as a whole having rights to self-determination (a leftist concept) while the individuals in those society are clearly oppressed and barely have any rights.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Opposing Israel is less idiotic when you're opposing every other government.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Have you ever considered that it's as simple as they don't like Jews?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
It may be that simple for some. But you see a similar response wherever relatively free governments push back against totalitarianism. Consider Russia and Ukraine as an example. The same folks defending Hamas defend Putin.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think the antisemitic/anti-Israel libertarians are at odds with the religious view of the world, which includes our duties toward God. They rebel the very notion of God's revealed will and the associated commandments.

If such libertarians support fanatical Muslims against Jews, that's for the same reason leftists do the same---they admire fanaticism in general.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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