Terrorism and the Morality of Self-Defense
by Peter Schwartz
Defending an individual, or an entire nation of individuals, against attack is not simply practical necessity, but a moral imperative. To defend against threats to a citizen's life and freedom is to defend his individual rights. America however, has failed miserably in this obligation.
Mr. Schwartz, former chairman of the board of the Ayn Rand Institute, argues that America is ineffectual in defending itself because its government—influenced by mainstream intellectuals—is overwhelmed with self-doubt. In response to the terrorist assault, launched in the name of a primitive mysticism, our government remains uncertain about the validity of our basic moral values—of reason, science, individualism, capitalism, freedom.
The one military action that is now morally mandatory is the elimination of the dictatorial regimes that make terrorism possible. Instead, American officials cravenly plead for international permission to engage in self-defense. Instead of asserting a free country's right to exist, they try to appease the world by "building coalitions" and by expressing misplaced concern for "innocents."
America, in other words, does not know what to do militarily, because it does not know what to think philosophically. This talk presents the case for rectifying both of these deficiencies.