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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Libertarianism and Banning Trade With China

Anonymous asked;

How is a (presumably government-imposed) ban on trade with China consistent with so-called "libertarian" philosophy?

Anonymous asked this question because I advocate a government ban on trade with China and I also claim to be a libertarian.

Some have called this a contradiction.

Here's why it's not.

A libertarian is someone who wants to live a life as free as possible from government interference, hindrance or "support".

Note the "as possible" qualifier. A libertarian is not an anarchist. A libertarian believes in minimal government, not zero government.

In my view a libertarian society is not one in which everone may do as they please, but one where you may do as you want as long as you do not infringe the legitimate rights of others.

Therefore theft, fraud, assault, rape and murder are not acceptable in a libertarian society. Such crimes should be stamped out by the state through its police force, courts and jails-and by the way, I am unconvinced of the moral legitimacy of privately run prisons.

That part of the libertarian state takes care of internal threats. If your actions don't hurt your neighbours, that part of the state won't bother you.

Just as every country has criminal individuals, every planet (as far as we know) has criminal governments.

Some of these governments are satisfied with merely oppressing their own. Many unfortunately move onto threatening other peoples as well.

At the point these rogue governments become in any way a danger to the security and safety of other nations they become of legitimate concern to those nations.

They become the legitimate target of intelligence services and it is the duty of free nations to arm themselves against them.

If intelligence is good enough, it is also perfectly legitimate to pre-emptively strike the offending nation or nations.

For example, if Israel had proof that Iran were developing nuclear weapons with the intention of annihlating Tel Aviv or Haifa, Israel, would be morally justified in striking first.

In a war, or pre-war situation, it is a free nation's duty to ban trade with the actual or potential enemy.

This is justified as necessary to protect the rights of its free citizens.

If Israel kows that Iran is planning war, it should in the name of protecting its people, ban all international intercourse that could in any way strengthen economically, militarily or politically the tyrants of Tehran.

The same principle must apply to New Zealand and its enemies.

It is the duty of any New Zealand government-especially a libertarian government, to clamp down on any private or public support for this country's enemies.

Supporting the enemy of your own country is treason. This is the most serious crime there is, as it threatens not one life but millions. It can (and has) lead to the destruction or enslavement of entire peoples.

If it is a libertarian government's duty to prevent or punish theft, rape, or murder, why should not the same principle apply to treason?

Trading with an enemy is treason, whether hostilities have been openly declared or not. Therefore it is the duty of a libertarian government to prevent such trade.

A failure to do so, is a betrayal of the both the people and the principle.

That is my arguement for the PRINCIPLE that trade bans, in certain circumtances are entirely in accord with libertarian philosophy.

There is ample evidence that China is a long term military and political threat to New Zealand' security. Therefor all genuine libertarians should be working to cut trade, political and even cultural ties to the Butchers of Beijing.

When China abandons its expansionist plans, then we can think about re-forging ties-not before.

I have written several posts on the Chinese threat and will continue to do so.

I pray that New Zealand will not wait until war breaks out to cut the chains to China.

I hope we will wake up before we are so enmeshed in China's net that we have no hope of breaking free.

20 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a bit confused. You say, "In a war, or pre-war situation, it is a free nation's duty to ban trade with the actual or potential enemy." Are you implying we're in a "pre-war situation" with China?

As to China being expansionist and a threat to NZ, could you give some evidence of this? I presume you mean expanding territorialy, not simply expanding in diplomatic and trade spheres. Otherwise just about every country could be labeled expansionist.

10:47 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Yes I am anon. pre-war or pre-"Finlandisation".

Either way, China means to dominate this regon politically or militarily or both.

Yes I mean expanding territorially and using its intelligence services to infiltrate Western nations including our own.

Keep following the blog, including the next post.

10:56 PM  
Blogger MZL said...

your whole arguement is based on the presumtion that China represents an actual military threat to NZ. however, why would it be interested in going after a small island nation which was the first to sign a free-trade deal with it? especially given the fact that the people's republic has only just now sent its first navel mission outside of its own waters to go after pirates, isn't that a good thing Trevor (our great defender of capitalism)?

8:38 AM  
Blogger mah29001 said...

MZL,

Would you prefer to have the USA done business with Imperial Japan, or Nazi Germany during World War II? Or perhaps New Zealand companies do business with the Axis Powers?

Why does Communist China, a brutal totalitarian government get a free pass?

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Reid of America said...

China is not a military threat to NZ at this time but that can change very fast. In as little as 10 years China could have a military that threatens NZ and the entire western Pacific. NZ may have to end it's neutrality and align itself with the US once again and allow the nuclear navy access. Just like in olden times.

We are globally entering a replay of the 1930's. At the start of the 1930's nobody thought Germany or Japan could become global military players. China can easily do in the 2010's what Japan did in the 1930's. If that happens the only thing between NZ and communist tyranny will be the nuclear US Navy.

12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Generally agree with you Trev.

It's the old collectivist in you coming out again. You want a government elected that thinks a particular country is a threat and require us all to collectively oppose it. A libertarian position would be to educate people about the dangers and let people make their own decisions about whether to boycott or not. Of course, the reality is profit-seeking companies are always going to break ranks regardless of the threat to the collective interest, hence your need to enforce a collective decision.

"At the start of the 1930's nobody thought Germany or Japan could become global military players."

Nobody except the left, of course, who did call for economic boycotts and instituted union bans against trade with Japan.

Cheers'
Sam Buchanan

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too disagree trev,
you assume the chinese state is the only business in china and people in NZ trade as an SOE. While state owned enterprises exist in both countries so do individual businessmen, to prevent them trading with each other not only violates their freedoms but prevents the expansion of capitalism. In the past capitalism has caused the downfall of such regimes. Only banning trade between SOE's has merit but again the solution is to remove goverment involvement in bussiness altogether not expand its inteference.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Reid-China is not a DIRECT military threat at this time-but it is a security threat. China has been trying to influence NZ's internal politics for many years now.

We are in far more immediate danger of "Finlandisation" and subversion than we are of invasion, but that is hardly an attractive proposition.

Would be happy to be back under the US protective umbrella, but not so keen while Obama is in charge.

5:22 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Sorry Sam, but that would be an anarchist position.

National security is not an individual thing, it is necessarily collective.

If your country is threatened by another, that mean's EVERYBODY's life and freedom are at risk.

No individual has the right to defy national policy at that point by trading with or encouraging the enemy.

Life is primarily about individuals, but while we have nation states, security policy must be a collective enterprise.

In those circumstances, betraying the collective-the country you live in is treason and should be firmly dealt with.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Anon-sorry but you are being a bit naive here. in a socialist or fascist society, all indivuiduals are tools of state policy.

When we were fighting the Japanese in WW2, would it have "advanced capitalism" to sell food to the starving Japanese soldiers in new Guinea or the philippines.

No it would have retarded capitalism, because it would have increased feudal Japan's chances of conquering semi-capitalist NZ and Australia.

The idea that totalitarian states can be chaged by capitalism and trade is a naive and false one.

Totalitarian states are changed by force or ostracism.

The left understands this, which is why the used boycotts to bring down South Africa-not trade.

It is why they are now mounting a similar boycott campaign against israel.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"If your country is threatened by another, that mean's EVERYBODY's life and freedom are at risk."

But you haven't provided any evidence that China is a threat to NZ.

Also, "feudal Japan"? Feudalism in Japan ended about a century before WW2.

8:38 PM  
Blogger MZL said...

A lot of arguements seems to be based on what China might do in the future. We don't know the future and besides China's economy is based largely on forgeign trade so starting wars couldn't help at all, from its own point of view. After all, Chinese forgeign policy tends to be rather conservative, especially when it come to imposing itself on others. I would say that NZ faces far great risk of invasion from the Aussies ;) and as for the moral arguement (aka China=Nazi), I thought capitialism was all about dealing with people you wouldn't otherwise.

3:43 AM  
Anonymous Eowyn said...

Bravo, for your stance on China! As you rightly pointed out, being Libertarian does not mean being without values or principles. NewZeal also has THE BEST information on Obama on the web. I've recommended NewZeal to others. Keep up the great work!

~An admirer

7:50 AM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

MZL-wake up. We don't know the future, but any sane person (or nation) prepares for future likelihoods.

China is active in NZ right now though. Ask around in the Taiwanese community if you don't believe me.

Thanks Eowyn-there's a lot more to come.

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Drufus McGraw said...

Just admit it Trevor, you're anti communist period, no need to make excuses. Like any true blooded anti-commie, that belief over-rides any other belief system whether it be right wing libertarian or other.

10:06 AM  
Blogger mah29001 said...

"I would say that NZ faces far great risk of invasion from the Aussies ;) and as for the moral arguement (aka China=Nazi), I thought capitialism was all about dealing with people you wouldn't otherwise."

So I guess it was okay for Henry Ford, a rabid anti-Semite to do business with Nazi Germany then?

1:20 PM  
Blogger MZL said...

no i don't, however, Ayn Rand would beg to differ. i simply said that under capitalism such a thing could be considered ethical but very few people would make the serious case that the People's Republic of China compares to Nazi Germany and doing so would be an insult to the those who suffered under fascism

5:07 PM  
Anonymous Eowyn said...

MZL said that "very few people would make the serious case that the People's Republic of China compares to Nazi Germany."

Umm, I'm not so sure about that. You do know that the Chinese Communist Party is instrumental in the deaths of 45 to 72 million people, the majority of whom were ethnic Chinese. (See Nicolas Werth, et al., The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression. Harvard University Press, 1999.

The Nazis' distinction is that theirs was a race-based killing. I hope you're not implying that Chinese killing Chinese is somehow "better" than supposed Aryan Germans killing Jews?

6:39 AM  
Blogger mah29001 said...

"People's Republic of China compares to Nazi Germany and doing so would be an insult to the those who suffered under fascism"

How about the fact of the number of concentration camps are out there on the mainland China organized by the government? How about Mao's version of Chinese Manifest Destiny? If you believe the American version was bad for Mexicans and Native Americans, why not condemn other countries' versions of such a Manifest Destiny?

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"betraying the collective-the country you live in is treason and should be firmly dealt with."

Yup, Red Trev theoretically champions individual liberty, but whenever anybody does something he doesn't like he shouts "Treason! Threat to national security! etc." to justify his call for collective, state-based intervention to remove their freedom.

Cheers

Sam Buchanan

11:33 AM  

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