Category Archives: Rothbard

Maybe the West Should Adopt Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Policy

Iran Nuclear Weapons

Prior to the modern age, when war was engaged in, combatants, for the most part, acted by a code of conduct which attempted to minimize civilian deaths and the destruction of non-participants’ property. With the onset of the democratic age and the idea of “total war” such modes of conduct have tragically fallen by the wayside, the consequence of which has made warfare far more bloody and destructive.

The ultimate violation of “just warfare” has been the possession and use of nuclear weapons which by their very nature cannot be reconciled with any notion of a civilized society.  Of all the hysteria over “terrorism,” nuclear weapons are rarely discussed anymore, but are the ultimate form of terror.

Despite the obvious fact that nuclear weapons cannot be reconciled with any moral code of warfare, Western nation-states continue to possess them and the US has actually used them in the final stages of WWII as it mercilessly bombed the Japanese civilian centers of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

While most modern scholarship has abandoned the older idea of moral conduct in warfare, the great libertarian theorist, Murray Rothbard, continued the venerable tradition in his thought and applied it not only to nuclear weapons, but bombing as well:

    Not only should there be joint disarmament

of nuclear weapons, but also of all weapons

capable of being fired massively across national

borders; in particular bombers.  It is precisely

such weapons of mass destruction as the missile

and the bomber which can never be pinpoint-

targeted to avoid their use against innocent

civilians.*

He continues:

. . .  since modern air and missile weapons

cannot be pinpoint-targeted to avoid harming

civilians, their very existence must be condemned.

For a New Liverty II

It is beyond hypocritical, therefore, that the US has repeatedly accused Iran of seeking to build nuclear weapons despite the fact that the nation’s leadership has consistently declared that it will not do so because of its religious beliefs. In June, President Trump called off retaliatory raids on Iranian targets after it downed a US drone (which had flown into Iranian airspace), citing that it would cost the lives of some 150 people.  In response, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif exposed the hypocrisy of the US’s position on nuclear weapons:

You were really worried about 150 people?

How many people have you killed with a

nuclear weapon?  How many generations have

you wiped out with these weapons?**

Zarif added:

It is us who, because of our religious views,

will never pursue a nuclear weapon.

Not only has Iran’s leadership consistently declared that it would not use or build nuclear weapons, but it has stood by its words.  During the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88), Iraq (with US knowledge) repeatedly used chemical weapons.  Despite Iran’s  protests to the U.N., it refused to take action – mainly because the US through its position on the Security Council tabled any attempt to curtail Iraq’s nefarious actions.***

Despite the flagrant violation of international law, Iran refused to retaliate, although it had the capacity and certain justification in doing so.  The Ayatollah, in a religious ruling – fatwa – at the time of the war, asserted that such an act (the use of chemical/nuclear weapons) was “forbidden by god.”

This has been the position of the Ayatollahs since the formation of the Islamic Republic.  Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that “from an ideological and fighi [Islamic jurisprudence] perspective, we consider developing nuclear weapons as unlawful.  We consider using such weapons as a big sin.”  A top-ranking cleric, Grand Ayatollah Yusef Saanei, confirmed that this is part of Islamic doctrine:

There is complete consensus on this issue.  It is

self-evident in Islam that it is prohibited to have

nuclear bombs. It is eternal law, because the

basic function of these weapons is to kill innocent

people.  This cannot be reversed.

Sounds Rothbardian!

Despite Iranian claims to the contrary, the US and the controlled press continue to mischaracterize Iran’s position on nuclear weapons. Not only has it lied, but it continues to enact crippling sanctions on the beleaguered nation causing untold suffering which itself is an act of war.

The fact that Iran follows a moral principle which was once part of Western thought shows how far the Western world, especially the US, has declined in civility.  A return to a saner, more just position on nuclear weapons will only take place when there is a change in ideology. Under current intellectual conditions, such a change appears unlikely.  A rethinking will only take place of necessity when America has exhausted itself through debt and money printing and can no longer sustain its Empire and nuclear capabilities.

*See, Murray N. Rothbard, For A New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto, 293.

**Reuters, “Iran Will Never Pursue a Nuclear Weapon, Says Foreign Minister.”  24 April 2019.

***Ted Snider, “Iran, Islam, and Banning the Bomb.”  Antiwar.com 30 September 2019.

 

Antonius Aquinas@antoniusaquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.comhttps://antoniusaquinas.com

Bitcoin: A Tower of Monetary Babel

Bitcoin Fiat Currency

The promoters of crypto currencies have gushingly touted them as the mechanism by which the present central banking cabal and the system of nation states which derive much of their power from will be brought down and replaced by digital money.  Despite their meteoric rise as speculative “assets,” there are fundamental economic reasons why they will never act as a general medium of exchange despite the wild enthusiasm for them by the crypto-currency cultists.

Money – a general medium of exchange – is the most marketable (exchangeable) commodity in an economy.  As a good, money is not sought after for its direct use – to satisfy individual wants – but to satisfy wants indirectly through exchange for other goods.  Over time, one good becomes money since it possesses qualities superior to all other goods as a money.  When gold became demanded not for its “use value,” but for its “exchange value,” it became a general medium of exchange – money.

As a consumer good, gold possessed a value or a “price” prior to it becoming a money, as the eminent monetary theorist Murray Rothbard explains:

. . . embedded in the demand for money is knowledge

of the money-prices of the immediate past; in contrast

to directly-used consumers’ or producers’ goods, money

must have pre-existing prices on which to ground a demand.

But the only way this can happen is by beginning with a useful

commodity under barter, and then adding demand for a

medium to the previous demand for direct use (e.g., for

ornaments in the case of gold.)*

Thus, Bitcoin’s “price” is not in terms of its original commodity price, but its price is in terms of dollars, Euros, yuan, etc.  In the dollar’s case, it was at one time linked to gold, but has since been severed from it while Bitcoin has had no such relationship.

Once money is established, then prices are expressed in terms of it and thus economic calculation can rationally take place and the division of labor and specialization can be expanded.  Rothbard continues:

       The establishment of money conveys another great

benefit.  Since all exchanges are made in money, all the

exchange-ratios are expressed in money, and so people

can now compare the market worth of each good to that

of every other good.**

Once gold became money, the price of goods became expressed in gold not in other elements – nickel, zinc, lead, etc.  With the proliferation of crypto currencies, there will be a myriad of different price ratios for each good.  There will be a Bitcoin price for a car, an Ethereum price for a car, a Dogecoin price of a car, and so on.  This is the antithesis of the purpose of money – one unit of account that reflect prices for all commodities as Rothbard shows:

 

Because gold is a general medium it is most marketable,

it can be stored to serve as a medium in the future as well

as the present, and all prices are expressed in its terms.

Because gold is a commodity medium for all exchanges,

it can serve as a unit of account for present, and expected

future, prices.  It is important to realize that money cannot

be an abstract unit of account or claim, except insofar as it

serves as a medium of exchange.***  [my emphasis]

Crypto currencies, therefore, directly violate one of the main principles of monetary theory.  The vast array of digital money, all with unique price ratios (to say the least of their volatility), would make economic calculation and rational planning next to impossible.  In this sense, the current world of fiat dollars would be preferable to a Tower of Monetary Babel that digital currencies would create.

Central banks and governments do not fear crypto currency challengers to their monetary hegemony.  They, of course, jealously monitor the crypto market worried that any gains accrued may not be subject to tax.  Central banksters do fear gold for it remains, despite being demonetized, the last check on profligate central bank monetary expansion.  And, because countries who wisely understand gold’s importance and seek to get out from under the yoke of King Dollar (most notably China and Russia), continue to voraciously accumulate the yellow metal.

The return of true prosperity will only come about when gold is once again at the center of the monetary order and fiat currencies such as the dollar, Euro, and now Bitcoin are forgettable memories of a misguided and corrupt age.

*Murray N. Rothard, What Has Government Done to Our Money?  Novato, CA.: Libertarian Publishers, 8th printing, January 1981.

**Ibid., 4-5.

***Ibid., 5.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com