Targeting Government Violence: Markets vs. “Law”

Here’s what, according to CNN, an anonymous American government “official” had to say recently about unmanned drone airstrikes initiated by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and elsewhere in the region:

“’The precision is unsurpassed in the history of human conflict,’ the official said. ‘No one’s come up with a better alternative, assuming they see value in trying to stop killers like al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban. This is a policy of legitimate and lawful self-defense, driven by absolute necessity.’”

The statement comes after the issuance of a report by New York University law professor Philip Alston, who also works on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights Council, condemning such lethal attacks. Further according to CNN, here’s what Alston had to say:

“A report released by the United Nations called the drone attacks part of a ‘strongly asserted but ill-defined license to kill without accountability’ and warned that they are contributing to an erosion of longstanding international rules governing warfare. It urged states to identify publicly the rules of international law believed to provide a basis for any attempted targeted killings as well as the rationale for deciding to kill instead of capture individuals.

“’The rules being set today are going to govern the conduct of many states tomorrow,’ said New York University law professor Philip Alston. ‘The international community needs to be more forceful in demanding accountability.’”

But the problem is more fundamental — runs much deeper — than Alston is willing to go. To begin, the “absolute necessity” spoken of by the aforementioned anonymous bureaucrat arrogantly presumes that the violent policies of a government are in turn indispensable — since terrorists and similar militants only commit their actions in response to such policies. The “international rules governing warfare” that Alston speaks of in turn are nothing short of obscenities: It automatically mandates a kind of uberstate — like the United Nations — to “govern” other more autonomous governments when the bureaucrats presiding within arbitrary geographical boundaries decide to start killing each others’ populations. In a truly free society — one without political government but with a free unfettered market — such slaughter would be not only wholly unjustifiable by means of any amount of propaganda, but also overtly foolish and self-destructive: One does not commit genocide on one’s customers and/or employees, current or potential. In other words, murder, generally speaking, is bad business. In any other setting, that’s never really been considered a radical concept.

But here’s how skewed even the alleged intelligentsia’s vision is on the subject. Again, from CNN:

“Alston conceded the conflict with al Qaeda and other extremist organizations pose a unique challenge and noted that al Qaeda routinely kills innocent civilians. ‘But the fact that such enemies do not play by the rules does not mean that a government can cast those rules aside or unilaterally re-interpret them,’ he said.

“The credibility of any government’s claim that it is fighting to uphold the rule of law depends of its willingness to disclose how it interprets and applies the law — and the actions it takes when the law is broken.’”

This should amply demonstrate how feeble and hollow is the concept and effectiveness of governmental “law.” Words written on reams of useless paper do not restrain the hands of those whose pursuit is power maintained by violence — the very core feature of all governments. Only natural law — the marketplace — can hope to achieve and insure that. And this is all just more evidence that humanity must learn that vital lesson.

Anarchy and Democracy
Fighting Fascism
Markets Not Capitalism
The Anatomy of Escape
Organization Theory