Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Walter Block Says Cut Trump Slack When He Calls for the Killing of Families of Terrorists

Dr. Walter Block writes:
 [I]n these statements of his, Donald Trump has not violated the NAP. He is only threatening to kill relatives of terrorists. He has not actually done so. He may never do so. Therefore, libertarians, at least, should cut him some slack with regard to these statements of his.
As a founding member of Libertarians For Trump, I say that our community ought to lighten up on him in other ways as well. 
I do not want to get into a discussion of whether Block is correct on this point based on libertarian theory. I think it is a much more complicated question than Block presents. (It depends for example on whose property you are standing on and what rules the property owners sets.) However, why is Block writing this piece in the first place without putting it in libertarian context?

Let us assume for the sake of argument that Block's position holds on threats, without further analyzing the complexity of the libertarian position on "free speech."

It strikes me as extremely dangerous for libertarians to discuss the idea of how government should be fighting terrorists without putting it in the context that the government shouldn't be involved in terrorist fighting in the first place from a libertarian perspective,

To say it is okay to threaten terrorists and "give Trump slack on this view "may cause many to jump to the conclusion that libertarians believe the government should be going around threatening people in certain circumstances.

Does Block believe this?

Talk about leaving a gaping hole where Trump deserves no slack.

The real libertarian stance should be not to "give Trump slack" and make the libertarian position clear. That is, Trump is an authoritarian who sees an important role for government in fighting the terrorists who are the largely created as a result of US activities in the Middle East in the first place and Trump's position here is absolutely horrific and no libertarian would hold such a position

To just say "give Trump slack" without clearly qualifying the extremely limited thread this slack is to be given on is a disservice to libertarianism.



  1. I don't get this reasoning as a libertarian case for Trump. Every candidate threatens. The Democratic Party is only threatening a $15 minimum wage but hasn't implemented it yet therefore it's not a violation of NAP. Perhaps that's true, but it will be a violation of NAP once they get in office and attempt to implement their proposal.

    1. @JayS,

      ─ I don't get this reasoning as a libertarian case for Trump. ─

      That's because there isn't one. I believe Block is attracted to Trump's anti-interventionist stance (for as long as El Trumpo keeps that charade going, of course) but the rest of the Paleo-libertarians noticed El Trumpo the moment he knitted together the words 'Mexicans', 'Rapists' and 'Wall'. Either that or they're trolling.

  2. The threat of violence has long been considered “aggression” in the NAP:
    "Aggression” is defined as the initiation of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion."
    For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto

    Those who identify their ideals with Murray Rothbard a great deal cannot just blow off a fundamental part of them so easily.

    1. Excellent response! Block is so hungry for Washington's recognition it seems -- Friedmanesque.

  3. I don't see how a threat to kill someone is not a violation of the NAP -- it may be less of a violation than actually killing them, but nonetheless it's a violation if it can at all be taken credibly. If your threat is based on self-defense, like "*IF* you do this to me, then I will retaliate", it's probably not an NAP violation, but otherwise it's definitely a violation.

    That's like saying "Pointing a gun at someone's head is not a violation of the NAP since it's merely a threat. It's only a violation of the NAP if you pull the trigger."

    If you can legitimately perform violence against someone in self-defense, then that person has committed a violation of the NAP.

  4. The families are aiding and abetting, therefore they are guilty of violating the NAP.

    1. @limelemon,

      ─ The families are aiding and abetting, therefore they are guilty of violating the NAP. ─

      "Then it had to be your father!" And after saying that, the wolf jumped over the creek and Baa! Baa! Baa! ate the little lamb.

      'Tyrants will always find excuses for their tyranny.'


    2. What is your opinion regarding aiding and abetting a crime? Does it violate the NAP?

    3. NAP violations aren't based on war propaganda.