Thoughts on Terrorism and Land Value Taxation
The United States of America was viciously attacked without warning
on Sept. 11, 2001. This horrific attack resulted in over 5,000 deaths,
a great city in partial ruin, and our citizens shaken. The attack on
Sept. 11 was not just an attack on New York; it was directed at the
United States of America as a whole. We are a target because we offer
a model of development that is based upon civility, equality, liberty,
opportunity, tolerance, freedom, and democracy. New York was perhaps
targeted because it is the best example in the world of a multi-
racial, multi-ethnic, multi-religious society that works and prospers.
It is not some historical accident that the United States of America
is a rich, democratic, multi-racial, tolerant, free, open, and diverse
society. Our standard of living, our laws, customs, and institutions
are a result of over 200 years of progress toward offering a more
perfect union based upon gradual acceptance and implementation of the
principles of equality, tolerance, limited government, and the rule of
law under the constitution.
In the terrorists' eyes, we are not only infidels; we represent a
model of success that they do not want their people to emulate. They
do not want success that springs from freedom including freedom for
women and religious freedom. They do not want a world that has no need
for religious police. In such a world, there also is no need for
leaders who hold narrow self serving views, based upon a similar self
serving interpretation of one faith. The terrorists and the people who
sympathize with them have no place in diversity.
What should we do now? What should our response be to this act of
terror? How can we seek justice with a moral purpose? One of the first
principles that the ancient Greeks codified was a prohibition on
killing and the right to self defense. It is moral to defend yourself.
Among Renaissance theorists as dissimilar as Nicholas Machiavelli, Sir
Thomas Moore, Thomas Hobbes, and James Harrington, there was a
consensus that only men willing and able to defend themselves could
possible preserve their liberties. There is a concept of a just war,
and in Henry George's time he supported the union's cause with his
Perhaps we should consider giving peace a chance. Gandhi and Martin
Luther King, Jr. used pacifism successfully. These two great men
struggled against regimes that while not equitable or unprejudiced,
had a genuine respect for human life and a commitment to the rule of
law and basic moral tenets. Under these conditions, pacifism can
dispense a needed shock that reminds a civilization of its moral
tenets and values.
Pacifism does not work when used to neutralize murderous groups like
Nazis, Al Qaeda, Khmer Rouge, Maoists, or Stalinists. These groups
have no moral bearing and their fundamental objective is to terrorize
into compliance and destroy human life. At that point pacifism becomes
appeasement, allowing liberty, democracy and justice to be bullied
into inaction. In the case of the particular terrorists organization
which we now face, the only way to prevent them from destroying us is
to destroy them. The Al Qaeda have vowed to strike again, and based
upon their past behavior, the threat is real. In successfully
destroying them, we take the first step in giving peace a chance for
the people over which they reign and the countries in which they hide.
This would also be the first step toward freeing those people in the
culture of hate, intolerance, brutality and the poverty associated
with it. We need to demonstrate that people who export terror and who
stone women to death for showing their face in public will not be
allowed to rule even one remote corner of this earth.
The first charge of government is the defense of its borders. Without
that it matters little how much is spent on prescription drugs for
seniors, or how much effort is expended to bring sanity and moral
principles to our tax system. Land value taxation can only be
implemented by democratic means by people willing to fly to
conferences, to discuss subjects without calling on their god, and who
have a moral compass that includes not killing your fellow man because
you judge him an infidel.