Monday, February 12, 2007

My Government is Licensed to Kill

A lot has been made about Israel’s inability to make its case in liberal circles. Israel gets caught up in the cycle of violence argument and cannot escape the moral equivalency that goes with it. One may wish to simply pass this off as anti-Semitism and anti-Semitism may play a role, but I think that there is more to it then that. As I see it one of the major issue here is that the modern left does not see an inherent difference between the actions of governments and the actions of individual human beings.
While I believe in having a limited government, this government has an important role to play in society and in carrying out its mission it has the moral license to take actions beyond the normal scope of human beings. If someone were to shoot my friend or relative and I were to hunt that person down and kill him in cold blood then I would be engaging in vengeance and would be nothing more then a common murderer. If the government were to track down this same person and execute him they would be performing justice. Governments have the right to wage wars against other countries even though such actions are bound to cost innocent lives. The reason for this is that governments exist in order to protect the Lives, Liberties and Properties of those who live under it and in order to protect these things governments have to have the ability to violate the rights of specific individuals. The government can force me to pay taxes I do not support and make me obey laws I do not support. The government can even draft me into the army, hand me a gun and send me up a hill into certain death. The justification for this is that it is only by having such a government that the rights of populace as a whole can be maintained. Make no mistake about it, government is a Faustian bargain in which one barters away a large portion of ones freedoms.
Because of this, I have no moral objection to Israel bombing targets in civilian areas even though such actions cost innocent Palestinian lives. A Palestinian suicide bomber on the other hand is not acting on behalf of a government and for this reason is simply a murderer. Most of those on the Left today do not see any moral difference. When an Israeli soldier kills a Palestinian he is a murderer and when a Palestinian kills an Israeli he is a murderer. This turns into a cycle of violence; Israel kills in order to avenge the murders of Israelis and Palestinians kill in order to avenge themselves upon Israel.

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