Preemptive Government

Here's an idea for the Left: if preemptive war is wrong, why isn't preemptive governing wrong?

Preemptive war here means war without a specific war-able action being taken by the other side. If they are pointing nukes in our direction and broadcasting a countdown it'd be hard to oppose neutralizing these, but if they're just vaguely hostile (and/or foreign) there's hardly a moral case for fighting. (I don't intend a 1-to-1 reference to Iraq here.)

Likewise, if X is running around snatching purses and stabbing old ladies it's hard to condemn person or persons Y who 'governs' X's behavior by restraining him with any necessary force. But it's a stretch from accepting this to accepting preemptively placing a host of checks on the things he's allowed to buy and the substances he's allowed to enjoy.

Defense against a specific wrong—great. Defense against vague possible future wrongs—morally muddy. And isn't government an institution that necessarily defends against vague possible future wrongs?

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Good deal. Let's tank up on

Good deal. Let's tank up on some Wild Turkey and go for a drive.

Defense against vague

Defense against vague possible future wrongs—morally muddy.

What about specific future wrongs? Is that ok, or are all crime prevention efforts misguided?

Since in many many cases (see health, dental, fitness, business, pretty much everything), it's much cheaper and more effective to plan for and avoid problems than it is to solve them once they happen, it seems like putting effort and money into prevention is well spent. This is why people go to the dentist even though it's unpleasant and nothing hurts yet.

Certainly I would agree, as would most or all on the left, that you shouldn't lock people up for crimes they might commit, just like you shouldn't invade countries for crimes they might someday commit. That's distinct from working to prevent such problems -- even if you shouldn't randomly invade other countries, you should still work on, for instance, nuclear nonproliferation. Or is that just another controlled substance that people should be allowed to enjoy?

Citizens versus foreigners.

Citizens versus foreigners.

Preemptive ACTION is not wrong simply. Preemptive policing of citizens is prohibited because it's an avenue down which government can easily slip from our control. Government's actions are rightly limited in regards to its "internal" movement, its relationship with its citizens -- but is completely unlimited as regards its relationship with the outside world.

The U.S. Government can rightfully do whatever the hell it wants in Afghanistan, Iraq, or France. It's a war of all against all out there. But inside our borders, the state of total war is considered suspended, and the stalemate between government and its citizens such restrictions on the regime as the prohibition of preventative law enforcement.

So goes the classically liberal theory, anyway.

Oh, to clarify -- I totally

Oh, to clarify -- I totally agree with this post, it's quality catallarchy. I just thought I'd supply the actual answer to the question, since any representatives of the left who find their way to this site won't be able to do it.

(And I left "require" out, before "such restrictions on the regime".)

Preventative internal policing is totally acceptable if your object is to progressively subordinate more of civil society to state control.

I would agree with, and

I would agree with, and elaborate a little on, Dave Orr’s comments.

Preemptive war is physical coercion. Preemptive governance, as described in the original post, is legislation, a promise to coerce and no more. The Left can consistently advocate the use of anticipatory promises of coercion upon provocation without advocating unprovoked coercion. Such a position would work both domestically and abroad – e.g. declare various domestic acts felonious, and similarly declare various acts by other countries sufficient cause for war. The analogy isn’t perfect, but I think it’s useable.

Domestic coercive promises, i.e. legislation, are commonplace. International coercive promises, i.e. treaties, protocols, etc. exist as well, although they are harder to produce, so there are fewer of them.

Hmm? Here?s a novel concept:

Here?s a novel concept: let?s allow individuals to live their own lives, make their own decisions and take responsibility for the consequences that inevitably follow.

Benjy, I don't know if you

Benjy, I don't know if you were serious or not, but I have absolutely no problem with people having a few shots, and then going for a drive. I do have a lot of problem with *ANYONE* who drives in a dangerous or unsafe manner, for *ANY* reason. I have seen guys pound back 12 beers and drive home, without so much as a wobble in their walk, at the same time I've seen a dumb bint come inches from causing her own death, mine, and a passenger of mine, all because she was too damn busy to look both ways before pulling out of a parking lot, and into traffic.

The answer isn't banning drinking and driving, or cell phones, or makeup compacts, or any of that jazz. The answer quite simply is making people aware that there are real consequences to their actions and making them RESPONSIBLE for those actions.

Of course another major part of the problem is the design of roads in the first place...

Along similar lines: most

Along similar lines: most leftists argue that the entire universe, as complex as it is, can arise as an emergent phenomenon of a distributed physical system. It does not require a central agency to plan its formation or control its functioning.

These same people, however, believe that society cannot possibly be maintained by such a system, and requires a central state to plan and manage it.

They often disdainfully refers to free-market types as 'social Darwinists'. Does this make them 'social Intelligent Designers'?

Pham, My point is that if

Pham, My point is that if one gets blind drunk and goes for a drive he violates no other persons rights. If government is to protect us without taking preemptive measures then such action could not be illegal. Only when the driver runs a light and broadsides someone can legal action (force) then be imposed. If I am not mistaken, the plumb line libertarian idea is that the threat, or the knowledge, that punitive action will take place when such an act of negligence occurs should be sufficient a deterrent.