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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cato Paper Says Libertarians Should Oppose War

I'm glad they're on board (.pdf), though I wish it had been earlier. Like, before the U.S. invaded Iraq.

UPDATE: Prompted by a comment, I did some checking and found, to my pleasant surprise, that Cato scholars had officially opposed the invasion. Sorry Cato!

12 comments:

  1. Man, what?

    Cato's official position WAS antiwar in the runup to Iraq. So were the personal positions of all the foreign-policy staff, and those positions were very strongly held. So was the position of Cato's single most visible executive, David Boaz.

    Outside the foreign-policy staff, there were a couple high-profile officers, most famously Brink Lindsay, whose personal positions were hawkish. They were allowed to publish pro-war statements in unofficial venues and keep their jobs, per Cato policy. But as an institution, Cato's conduct during 2002-3 in re war in Iraq compares favorably with just about any Washington institution, libertarian or otherwise.

    This isn't just me sticking up for my friends, either. The guys at reason are my friends too, but I'll readily admit that, as an institution, reason during the period of 2002-2006 has a lot to answer for.

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  2. I am prepared to retract my sarcastic statement. However, can you point me to actual Cato publications (could even just be an op ed) where Cato people said, "Going into Iraq would be a bad idea"?

    My general recollection is that some DC libertarian think tanks were outright hawkish, while the others were quiet and waited to see what happened.

    But if you can prove otherwise, I will be pleasantly surprised and will amend my sarcastic post.

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  3. Bob, I appreciate the opportunity to research the post you SHOULD have written for you. You can start with William Niskanen's op-ed from December 2001, Gene Healy's definitive contra from January 2003 (which also ran in LIBERTY that month) and this from March, also by Gene. You can also find contemporaneous Cato writings on the topic in the vicinity of page 29 of the date-sorted Google site-search results for "Iraq."

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  4. Note: Google Reader is so slow, my last comment was made in ignorance of your gracious updates. My apologies.

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  5. Oh, no problem. And like I said, thanks. Obviously I feel foolish for my ignorant crack, but I'm glad I was wrong. I guess I was too boozing with my studies or something back then (I was in grad school) to notice the other voices of opposition!

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  6. Ha ha what a Freudian slip!! I meant to say "too busy with my studies" and you can all read how it came out. Interesting...

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  7. Sidney6:13 PM

    Gene,

    Isn't this where you come in and write that the reason Bob made the mistake about Cato is becasue he has been drinking the LRC Kool_Aid, where LRC certainly gives the impression that Cato is all pro-war?

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  8. Sidney,

    I had been bracing for just such a comment for Gene. Either he is merciful or the time zone is to my advantage.

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