by Jim Ostrowski
I refer to Mike Barnicle’s now-famous gotcha question of the clueless alleged libertarian candidate Gary Johnson on Morning Joe the other day: “what are you going to do about Aleppo [Syria]” To cut to the chase, I could just as well ask Mr. Barnicle what he’s going to do about Mr. Barnicle. I just finished Albert Jay Nock’s brilliant book, Our Enemy the State. This is a book you probably never heard of but should have read in high school. Nock, a radical antistatist, wrote:
“The only thing [a person] can do to improve society is to present society with one improved unit. . . . ages of experience testify that the only way society can be improved is by the individualist method which Jesus apparently regarded as the only one whereby the kingdom of Heaven can be established as a going concern; that is, the method of each one doing his very best to improve one.”
Progressives like Barnicle, however, are arrogant. They have the magical belief that the brute force of the state can solve all human problems. Notice the fallacy deeply embedded in that belief and in Barnicle’s question to Gary Johnson: the unproven assumption that there is a solution to every human problem (that is costless and not productive of other and bigger problems). The progressive goes even further into the realm of fantasy and irrationality by positing that the state–whose true nature has eluded the progressive—will be the problem solver.
The progressive, to maintain the therapeutic value of his ideology, automatically filters out any and all evidence of the failure of his model and such is the case with Syria. For all the gory details of state failures plaguing Syria dating back to World War I, see the book my brother Mike and I wrote on the subject, The Impeachment of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for High Crimes in Syria and Libya. Here, I will just point out two such failures. First, Syria is an artificial state created by the European powers after that catastrophic war which cobbled together various ethnic and religious groups that don’t get along into one toxic archist stew. Second, Syria has been placed on a bizarre hit list by the Progressive State of America (PSA) since it is allied with Iran, a state that has been remarkably pacific since the days of Xerxes. (The PSA always needs a fabricated enemy to justify by far the world’s largest military budget.) Both Obama and Hillary have urged regime change in Syria and have helped arm the rebels there. This policy encouraged the rebels’ efforts to overthrow the Assad regime. Anyone who has studied the bloody history of Syria knows that the Alawite supporters of Assad will not give up power without a fight. Hence, the very predictable and bloody civil war.
The obvious import of Barnicle’s question is that the Unites States should now do something to stop the civil war it helped create. This is classic progressive “thinking”: government action will fix the problems caused by the previous state blunders.
The truth is, progressives like Barnicle and Hillary don’t have a clue what to do about Aleppo. They can’t even fix what’s wrong with America, with Boston, with Buffalo or with Chicago. Progressives should stop trying to improve the world with their unique formula of invincible ignorance and the brute force of the state. Instead, consider Nock’s sublime advice and try to present the world with just one improved unit, you!
Jim Ostrowski is a trial and appellate lawyer in Buffalo, NY. He is CEO of Libertymovement.org and the author of five books including The Impeachment of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for High Crimes in Syria and Libya (2016), with Michael Ostrowski.