Murray Rothbard on the Boston LockdownSubmitted by Marc Clair on Mon, 05/06/2013 - 13:30
Even though Murray Rothbard is not around to offer his commentary on the recent Boston lockdown, we can at least think about what he would have said. Back in 1986, Murray wrote about the treatment of innocents when the government is trying to catch a terrorist:
In New York and other cities of the United States, hundreds of innocent men, women, and children are terrorized every day, in crimes called mugging. Should the United States government carpet-bomb New York City, destroying it for “harboring” terrorists, and for allowing them to use the city as a “base”? …
The U.S. says that they deplore having to kill innocents, but since they feel that they must “retaliate,” and they can’t pinpoint the actual terrorists – in fact, they don’t know where the terrorists are or even who they are – therefore, they must do something, and killing the innocent becomes a regrettable necessity.
But how does such an argument differ from the U.S. government carpet-bombing New York City (“We must retaliate, and it is regrettable that we have to kill thousands, but we can’t pinpoint the SOB’s”). Or, for that matter, how does it differ from policemen trying to catch a criminal fleeing into a crowd, and simply machine-gunning the entire crowd?
What Murray was saying is that trying to catch a criminal does not give government the right to manhandle innocent individuals. If a criminal is on the loose, they can’t just start spraying bullets into a crowd in the hope of plugging the criminal.