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Dear Conservatives, Libertarians Are Not Pacifists

by Eric Lumpkins

All too often Republicans and people on the right will call libertarians pacifists. This could not be more wrong. Libertarians believe individuals should be free to defend themselves from violence. And if your life is being threatened, you should be free to use whatever force necessary to protect yourself.

Because each individual has the right to defend himself from aggression, this means people, groups, counties, states, and countries can come together to defend themselves from attack or invasion, and that they are morally justified in doing so. The reason libertarians get referred to as pacifists is because they are almost always the only ones continually speaking up about the United States’ engagement in perpetual warfare.

Many (not all) conservatives and Republicans when they hear a libertarian critique of the War on Terror or of foreign civilians being killed by drone strikes, will call the libertarian “anti-American” and a pacifist who isn’t willing to fight for justice and liberty. This is incorrect.

Libertarians are angry about the War on Terror because libertarians believe the only time war should be fought is in self-defense. The United States’ foreign policy of drone strikes (in which 80% of those killed are innocent civilians) is not in self-defense. It is a policy that is creating more terrorists by killing innocent families, destroying countries, and by pushing foreign civilians towards radicalization by the same terrorists that the US arms.

Do you want to know what’s anti-American and anti-patriotic? Sending taxpayer money to foreign dictatorships and terrorist groups, followed by sending thousands of American troops to fight and die against these same regimes. But this is what our government has been doing for decades.

Libertarians are more than happy to defend themselves to the fullest extent necessary. But being the policeman of the world, being involved in rigging foreign elections, assassinating democratically elected leaders, drone striking countries without a declaration of war, and killing thousands of innocent civilians and families is not an act of self-defense. It is mass murder and slaughter of innocent life, and those who support those actions should be ashamed of themselves.

Especially if they’re self-proclaimed “Constitutional conservatives,” they should be ashamed that they have forgotten their philosophical roots and true conservative values, and ashamed that they are apologists for such blatant evil, tyranny, and imperialism. The Founding Fathers would grimace with disgust and disdain for what the United States government has become.

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