McArdle on Foreign Intervention and Blowback
By David Henderson
About two weeks ago, I challenged the following brief statement by Arnold Kling:
We can also find this normative analysis among libertarians. Blaming terrorism on blowback for foreign intervention.
Arnold was claiming that many libertarians are finding government intervention in other countries’ affairs to be one of the main factors in the terrorism directed against people in the countries whose governments are intervening, and that they were finding it because that’s what they were looking for and were leaving out other plausible explanations.
Unfortunately, Arnold hasn’t yet given any other plausible explanations for terrorism, of which there may be many. I must say that I’m skeptical of the “they hate us for our freedom” explanations because there haven’t been many terrorist attacks on countries that are arguably freer, such as Switzerland.
So it was interesting to find Megan McArdle making the same point I made–namely that government intervention is a major factor in home-grown terrorist attacks on Americans–and not only doing so, but doing it so matter-of-factly.
In a June 30 article debunking the idea that right-wing terrorism is an important phenomenon in the United States, McArdle writes:
The other thing to ask is how we’re defining a terror event and classifying the motivation. I took a little stroll through the underlying data, and on the “jihadist violence” side, the definition is pretty clear: with the exception of one case in which a Muslim who seemed fond of jihadist propaganda beheaded a coworker for reasons that are not entirely clear, the rest of the attacks involved someone with an ideological commitment to radical Islam trying to kill a bunch of people in a way that made it clear that this was about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.