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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Guts in Office

This London's mayor's comments are encouraging. It's nice to see this point of view expressed in a fairly dispassionate way by a politician with some exposure. Especially at what I'd generally think would be a very politically-sensitive time for him. Local politicians throwing down the philosophical gauntlet at the central government intervenors. I'm interested that the international edition of has this story as the top story whilst it's just listed third or fourth in the "Other Top Stories" at the BBC news website. Of course by the time readers here click on those links it'll probably look different. Sorry I don't know how to memorialize the pages.

Readers of Gary North or Lew Rockwell or Ron Paul or William Lind have been exposed to this line of argument for quite awhile. It's an important question. Obviously.

I have a thought about this particular quote from the London mayor:

  • "If at the end of the First World War we had done what we promised the Arabs, which was to let them be free and have their own governments, and kept out of Arab affairs, and just bought their oil, rather than feeling we had to control the flow of oil, I suspect this wouldn't have arisen."

Whether London's mayor is right or not (about whether the current terrorism concerns would have arisen, which is what I assume he's talking about), the interventions conducted by western central governments are in some sense a violation of the property rights of the citizens of those countries (or their governments). If we're talking about oil, which I think we probably are, what I mean is that whether the private citizens of those countries or the governments of those countries owned the oil in those countries, one thing seems clear: the governments of Europe and the United States didn't own the oil in those countries.

But we wanted it. We needed it to support our standard of living.

And apparently our collective central governments were (and are) not willing to just hope that the people who lived in oil-rich countries would want to sell it to us. This makes sense, logically. Politicians would get voted out of office if the oil stopped flowing to the U.S. on their watch. But forcing (or coercing) someone to sell something to you restricts that person's freedom. So I submit that if we really wanted people everywhere to be "free," we would be respectful of the freedom of the seller - i.e., if I don't want you for a customer, it's my prerogative not to sell to you. (Side note of course, the current political/legal climate in the U.S. itself is far, far, far from this. The ADA and EEOC spring to mind as government interventions that dramatically reduce sellers' freedoms. Whether you like the results is a different question.) It's fairly clear to me that we don't trust these sellers. We're worried they'll decide (or realize, more accurately) that our money really is no good there.


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