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.