Promoting Iraqi Libertarianism

Thanks to the generosity of a good friend, who pledged enough money to start up an independent think tank in Iraq and fund it for a year, my classical liberal/libertarian Iraqi friends will have the resources to promote the institutional framework and the awareness of the values of liberty that that country so desperately needs. Anyone else who might be willing to make a special donation to fund the promotion of libertarian principles and the application of those principles to concrete issues of institutional design (establishing an indepependent judiciary; teaching toleration of religious and ethnic diversity and of peaceful behavior; carrying out privatization of state industries; and so forth) should contact me at the email addresses listed at the top of the left side of this web page.

4 Responses to “Promoting Iraqi Libertarianism”

  1. Dear Dr. Palmer –

    I am so impressed with your efforts to spread the message of liberty in some of the most ‘needy’ countries. Thank you for your willingness go to these places and put yourself at risk for the cause. How do I contribute to this worthy cause?

  2. Just send a check made out to “Cato Institute” (with a note indicating that it’s for promoting liberty in Iraq) to Tom G. Palmer, Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. I’ll make sure that your donation is acknowledged as a tax deductible donation and that it is sent to the people in Iraq who will put it to good use.

  3. Matt Tievsky

    Hi Tom,

    I am glad that you seem to think there’s some hope for significant progress in Iraq. Do you think, in retrospect, that the war was justified by the good it might do? Being able to compare, to some extent, the new Iraq to the old, can you still say that America should have left Saddam in power? I ask in an honest spirit of inquiry, as I still maintain tha the war was a bad idea–although I might have to change my tune if I could be convinced that Iraq will have seriously benefited from the intervention.

    Matt Tievsky

  4. Tom G. Palmer

    A good question, Matt, but not that hard for me to answer. I thought the war was a mistake then and I think so now. Those who supported it were fed bad information and fooled by the apparent internal confusion in Iraq (Saddam thought he was funding WMD; scientists were banking the money; generals were told that, although they didn’t have WMD, other generals did; etc.). Also, there are puzzles that remain unsolved. Why did Saddam not document that he had destroyed the WMD he had admitted to having before, as per agreement and UN resolutions? (Suggestion: he didn’t want the Iranians or the Kurds to know that he didn’t have them.)

    But the bottom line is, our federal government is there to provide for the common defense, and not to liberate other people from tyranny. When that does happen, however, as it happened in Iraq, it’s still a benefit. I don’t hesitate to say that the Iraqis were liberated from a group of cruel, murderous psychopaths. That’s a benefit. But identifying a benefit from an act doesn’t by itself justify the act. There are also costs and there are issues of legal, moral, and political legitimacy that may provide strong side constraints on action. So, I have not been convinced that the war was justified or wise. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to help Iraqis to fashion a government of limited powers for a free society. (I also give money to Mercy Corps and Spirit of America for their charitable work in Iraq.)