Over at Catallarchy, debate begins anew about the justice of the Iraq War, sparked by a post about the libertarian split over the war at the Volokh Conspiracy. Fortunately, our esteemed senior editor cleared up this little spat a few years ago in “The Wrong Hill”:
It doesnâ€™t matter if there is a right side in the war, neither side can have any right to require Charlie Anderson to participate in any way. This is the argument libertarians need to make, not that war is evil, but that it can never be moral to force others to participate. It will do no good to win the argument that a war is evil while implicitly accepting that it is legitimately a collective decision; thatâ€™s the wrong hill. The right hill is the one where we reject the collectivist premise first.
Pace the argument at Catallarchy, the war may or may not be moral (though I don’t think it is) and it may or may not be utility-maximizing (I think the idea is incoherent in itself), but what matters is that no one has the right to require my money or my body to fight it.
Interestingly enough, at the Volokh post, Rose Friedman says, “And we will!” in response to a quip from Milton Friedman about winning the war. There’s the wrong hill right there.
I’ll have a gin and tonic.