What Democrats Need to Know About War

by | Feb 14, 2023

My case for pacifism, to recap, comes down to three simple premises. The first two are empirical:

Premise #1: The short-run costs of war are clearly awful. [Empirical claim about immediate effects of war].

Premise #2: The long-run benefits of war are highly uncertain. [Empirical claim about people’s ability to accurately forecast the long-run effects of war].

These empirical claims imply pacifism when combined with a bland moral premise:

Premise #3: For a war to be morally justified, the expected long-run benefits have to substantially exceed its short-run costs. [Moral claim, inspired by Judith Jarvis Thomson’s forced organ donation hypothetical].

Bryan Caplan, “How Evil Are Politicians?: Essays on Demagoguery.” p. 125

Full video: Odysee

Book: In Search of Monsters to Destroy: The Folly of American Empire and the Paths to Peace

Christopher Coyne is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and the Associate Director of the F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the Mercatus Center.

About Keith Knight

Keith Knight is Managing Editor at the Libertarian Institute, host of the Don't Tread on Anyone podcast and editor of The Voluntaryist Handbook: A Collection of Essays, Excerpts, and Quotes.

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