Defining Libertarianism (was Defining Terrorism)

Daniel C. dcrookston at
Thu Jun 27 07:07:23 MDT 2013

On Thu, Jun 27, 2013 at 8:35 AM, S. Dale Morrey <sdalemorrey at> wrote:
> state sponsor of terrorism in the same vein as Cuba, North Korea & Iran,
> which are all called as such by our own government.

Called as such - but is that a fair appraisal?  I really don't think
it is.  The word "terrorist" gets slapped on anything we don't like
these days.  Just because a politician slaps that label on a country
they don't like doesn't make it true or correct.

An important point that I don't think I made before is that attacks
against another nation's military cannot be acts of terrorism.  The
attack on the USS Cole, for example, was not an act of terrorism - it
was an act of war.  This goes back to the "it's only terrorism if you
don't know how to not die" bit.  If a person can stay safe from a
threat by not joining the military, then the threat in question can't
be terrorism.

Incidentally, part of the reason soldiers wear uniforms is to
designate themselves as valid targets during war.  Think of it like
this: when I wear my US Army uniform, I am designating myself as
acting on behalf of the US government.  My actions (when in uniform)
are performed as an extension of the government.  (This is why
following orders, etc. is such a big deal.)  If someone wants to
attack the US government, a person wearing a US Army (or Marines or
Navy or Air Force or Coast Guard) uniform is a valid target, because
when in uniform they are essentially the state incarnate.

See also: Jus in Bello

This also connects to ideas about surrender.  If a person in uniform
is a valid war target, well... you can always take your uniform off.
You always know, as a soldier, what to do if you decide you don't want
to be a target any more.  You always know what to do if you want to be
safe: just take off the uniform.

Then there's Superman.  Every other superhero has a costume that they
put on when they become their alter ego.  Superman, on the other hand,
is the opposite: he is *always* wearing that blue shirt under his work
clothes; the disguise he wears is his alter ego.  There's something
about the act of literally putting on the clothing / role that seems
to have deep human symbolism.  Not really related (at least not
directly) to the terrorism thing but I still find it interesting.

Oh, right, practical upshot: Cuba isn't a terrorist state.  North
Korea might be (???) since they have a habit of threatening civilians
if they don't get their way.  Iran... ehh... I'd have to review the
facts there.  I'd say "no" but that's just off the top of my head.
The US.... I didn't read all the links presented (okay, I didn't read
any of them - sorry, I'm busy) but I kind of doubt it.  There may have
been a handful of incidences that would qualify but by and large I'd
still say no.

Also Noam Chomsky is an insane genius, and also wrong.


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