just war theory “It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.” “Rights” Questions sur l'Encyclopédie (1771), Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) (1694-1778).
*Wars would be significantly less awful if only *states took some version of *just war theory seriously, and attempted to demonstrate that all their war aims and practices were plausibly in accord with it. That said, the various possible principles of just war are controversial. *Anarcho-*libertarianism cuts through these disputes to a considerable extent. It is *legitimate to use, preferably non-state, military power to resist any specific military *aggression where this resistance would probably be less destructive of *liberty than allowing the aggression (not, for instance, where a new but no-worse *criminal state is merely intending to replace the existing criminal state).
However, it is always unjust to wage war against a *country or *nation (i.e., an entire population) rather than genuine military targets, even in alleged ‘defense’: that would result in more death and destruction among non-combatants, many of whom will be completely innocent. Politicians like to call all non-combatants ‘innocent’ when they are their own *subjects. This is often dishonest *propaganda to demonize the other side. As all rule rests on popular opinion, all those in a population who support a regime that they know is engaged in some aggressive attacks abroad must be at least partly culpable for what that regime does (see *terrorism). But it is usually immoral to target non-combatants, even apart from the genuinely innocent ones, just because it is not necessary or efficient. Instead, the political figures that are directly responsible ought to be targeted as directly as possible (see *assassination).
In a fully *civilized world of anarchy, there would be no states to go to war, no standing armies, and no likely reason for any region or its defensive agencies to attack any other. Even with states, practicing *free trade tends to crowd out war. It does this by creating mutual advantages that all want to keep (see *comparative advantage) and disrupting any clear sides with distinct, and so possibly clashing, interests.
people; *democide; *genocide, *national defense.
A Dictionary of Libertarianism