Linz’s angry, zany, paranoid word purges on this forum suggest to me that he’s made a fundamental choice to pursue passion without reason.
There’s a rationalistic mindset that infects everyone at ARI and (I gather) about half the people here. They become seduced by the idea of government fighting evil and conceive of Big Brother as a hero in a Randian adventure novel. He never shies away from a morally righteous fight against a terrorist or a dictator. To them, questions of proper foreign policy can be answered by moralistic proclamations. If there’s evil out there, then the government should do something about it -- costs, consequences, or any other practical considerations are, in their rationalistic netherworld, irrelevant. To allocate finite resources away from warmaking and toward other values (like tax cuts or border defense) would be not a strategic option, but “appeasement,” which is inherently immoral. Hence, Linz and Peikoff et al. have been driven into the position of calling for the U.S. government to wage a global war on all countries that may (you can never give them the benefit of any doubt) promote terrorism. Total war at any cost to lives, liberty, and wealth -- for the sake of morality. To conclude that a war wouldn't practically be worth fighting would be "appeasement."
A rational person (as opposed to a rationalistic moralist) doesn’t view morality in terms of obligations morality imposes on him to fight evil. He doesn’t obsess over evil (which has always existed and always will) or what he will do next in the grand moral crusade to fight it. He focuses on achieving good, which means achieving his values. It is moral to be selfish, period.
I don’t intervene every time I see an injustice. It’s not my purpose in life. And it is not the purpose of a proper government. To say that a government always has “a right” to intervene internationally is to take a totally unprincipled “blank check” approach to government power. Governments don’t have rights; they have legitimate functions, which must be carefully defined and circumscribed. Politicians do not have “a right” to launch wars against rogue governments whenever they feel like it. That’s the code of despots. Politicians may only (legitimately) commit forces for defensive purposes, in response to aggression or imminent threats thereof.
I pay taxes to the politicians, which some may describe as “appeasement” of the thugs in suits who go around extorting them. I’m helping them enlarge their criminal enterprise. But it’s not my purpose in life to achieve some sort of imagined moral purity that comes from fighting the extortionists and never giving in to them. I could stop paying taxes, but I calculate that doing so is at the moment too risky. So I cough up tax money and focus on pursuing other values. I suppose I’m a “free rider” on the backs of those who refuse to pay taxes. By keeping their money out of government coffers, they are helping to limit the amount of damage government can do through regulations, central planning, unnecessary wars, etc. So I benefit from tax protestors, but I don’t plan on becoming one right now. I fight confiscatory taxation more indirectly and do so only at my convenience.
No, it’s not the stuff of a great allegorical novel, but it’s the sort of practical choice, necessitated by circumstances, that rational people can and do make in real life. It’s sort of like wanting the entire world to be free and terrorism to be vanquished everywhere but not wanting to commit my entire life to the cause or have my government assume great and costly powers over me in endless attempts to pursue utopian ideals that are impossible to achieve in this lifetime.
“Saddamite”-blathering, irrationalist, emotionalist, Bush-appeasing state worshippers and “kill ‘em all” Randroid, fascist, Chicken-Little Israel worshippers aren’t going to protect us from terrorists. These hijackers of Objectivism are religious fanatics themselves who lust for an all-out morally righteous global holy war. And if bodies pile up by the thousands, war saps the life out of the economy, and terrorist attacks in war-waging countries increase…it won’t matter to them, because their cause is “moral.” Their delusions of grandeur will feed their hunger for ever more warfare/nation-building until the soldiers and the tax money run out (they have no principle to tell them when to stop or which among the dozens of evil Iraq-like countries to pass up).
These madmen must be stopped…or, if possible, brought to their senses (literally).