Friday, February 25, 2011

Richard Maybury: More Thoughts on The Ugly

I have been giving continuing thought on this idea of investing in defense stocks and Maybury's advocacy of same. I would quote something from Rothbard, as it captures well an aspect of my objection:

"This [the availability and use of modern weapons of war as opposed to guns or bows and arrows] is why the old cliché no longer holds that it is not the arms but the will to use them that is significant in judging matters of war and peace. For it is precisely the characteristic of modern weapons that they cannot be used selectively, cannot be used in a libertarian manner.”

The defense contractors of which Maybury speaks do not make handguns. They certainly do not craft feathers for bows. They manufacture weapons whose destructive power cannot be pinpointed accurately to the proper and intended target. We have become inured to the term “collateral damage.” Collateral damage: the killing of innocents and non-combatants.

The weapons Maybury advocates that others invest in, the use of which he tries so sheepishly to defend in the previously linked comments, kill far more innocents than they kill of the guilty. These are not weapons the use of which are morally neutral – just depending on the intent and goodness of the person pulling the trigger, if you will. These weapons, as a regular and expected outcome of their use, as an inherent feature based on the designed capability, kill innocent people.

It is immoral to voluntarily choose to profit from the trafficking in such goods.


  1. Hi Bionic -

    Thank you for courageously stating this, inspite of the smack-down.

    I've also wondered about these sorts of things.
    I thought of buying real estate in Asia in 2003, knowing it would soar but decided against it, because I wouldn't be able to rent it out, and I have an ethical issue with holding a property without using it in densely populated areas where space is short. I've often wondered whether I made a foolish mistake, since my not doing it didn't stop anyone else, and the prices soared regardless.

    By analogy, if a man is beaten up and lying on the road, none of us would doubt that it would be evil to start trading in his possessions, or place bets on his recovery, or do business with his attackers.

    However, that is a single person.

    I'm not sure if the analogy is helpful when applied to a large involuntary association, like the state.

    One shouldn't expect honesty or courage out of most of the financial industry. It is heavily embedded in the media (since pumping or shorting needs media allies) and both finance and the media have been overtaken by marketers and PR people, whose relationship to truth is often tenuous.....

    Whatever courage or honesty you do come across, encourage it. And bite your tongue about the rest.

    It is no use to do anything else.

  2. Lila

    Thank you for the note. I miss reading your comments at DB and wonder if you are currently active at some other haunt....

    As to the smack down I received at DB....DB made a point to say they edited my comment. Unfortunately I did not bother to keep a copy of the original comment, because to my recollection they only removed one relatively inconsequential word. But their statement taints my comment anyway....

    I have seen and read much worse by other feedbackers at DB, for instance when the one guy I referred to as a verbal terrorist went after you, or when Ingo has lit into me (more than once).

    In any case, over the last month or so I have only found it worth commenting two or three times at DB. These days I mostly only read the interviews and a few of the guest editorials.