Do individuals have a right to set up a dictatorship? : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

Mornin' y'all. Just a little more food for thought for the day...

from Right to a Dictatorship?

Palestinians Led by Arafat Have No Right to a State

Only individuals dedicated to freedom have a right to self-determination

By Yaron Brook

Yasser Arafat is scheduled to declare an independent Palestinian state. But if a regime under Arafat is what Palestinians seek, they have no right to self-determination. Far from delivering long-awaited salvation, such a regime would only bring Palestinians misery and death.

What might a Palestinian state be like? Doubtless it would be run by Arafat and the PLO, which introduced the world to international terrorism. Over a span of 35 years the PLO has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of Israeli, American, Lebanese, and Palestinian civilians. Through the PLO, Arafat has orchestrated the kidnapping and murder of Israeli school children, the hijacking of airliners, numberless car bombings and death squad killings. Often Arafats violence has been targeted at his Arab brothers, as is evidenced by the PLOs role in Jordanian (1960s-70s) and Lebanese (1970s-80s) civil insurrections.

How might Palestinians fare in a new state run by Arafat? One need look no further than the track record of the current Palestinian Authority  the temporary governing body of the Gaza Strip and West Bank territories. Arafat is the dictator of the Palestinian Authority in everything but title. The Los Angeles Times has described his domination as stretching from the largest to the most minor matter. Palestinians live in constant fear of having their property arbitrarily confiscated by Arafats corrupt police force. Laws prohibiting free speech are common and are enforced brutally. To silence those who oppose him, Arafat shuts down radio and TV stations. According to Amnesty International, dissenters are arbitrarily detained, tortured, or encouraged at gunpoint to leave the territories. In November 1999, a group of prominent intellectuals who signed a petition accusing Arafats regime of corruption were summarily jailed. They were lucky; some recalcitrants are assassinated.

Arafats current regime is barbaric and oppressive. There is no indication, moreover, that he would abandon his methods once independence is reached. On the contrary, one would expect conditions in an independent Palestinian state to be worse than they are presently.

Viewed in this context, the alleged right of Palestinians to self-determination is groundless. No group has a right to its own state if what it seeks is a dictatorship. Arafats Palestinian self-determination really means more of Arafats despotism  it means granting legitimacy to a state that is utterly hostile to its own citizens.

As Ayn Rand wrote, the right of the self-determination of nations applies only to free societies or to societies seeking to establish freedom; it does not apply to dictatorships. The only legitimate reason to found a new state is to escape tyranny and secure freedom. Thus, Americas Founding Fathers rightly fought for independence from Englands oppressive rule; the United States was founded on the recognition of individual rights. What Palestinians desire, however, is the right to live as rightless serfs in a racist, collectivist Islamic state run by a ruthless dictator. No people have a right to such a state.

Palestinians are better off staying under Israeli rule (as some Palestinians will admit, when safe to do so). To the extent that the Arabs living in Israel have accepted Western values such as individual responsibility, property rights, and the rule of law, they have thrived. The material evidence of that flourishing can be seen in the relatively high standard of living to be found in many Arab villages in Israel. Indeed, Palestinians rely on the relative economic freedom and prosperity offered in Israel  125,000 Palestinians cross into Israel from the Palestinian Authority zone every morning to work for higher wages than can be found either in the zone or neighboring Arab countries. But Israel also offers Palestinians a more precious value.

What Arab country gives its inhabitants the liberty to protest, to publish articles and books opposing the government (as many Jews and Palestinians do in Israel)? What Arab country has free elections? What Arab country has a judicial system in which all are treated equally before the law? None. In Israel, Palestinians have more freedom, more economic opportunities, than in any Arab country including any future Palestinian state run by the PLO. If the choice is between a Palestinian state run by Arafat or his henchmen and remaining under Israeli rule, the latter is by far the better option.

If Palestinians were serious about having their own free state, they would start by arresting and executing Yasser Arafat for his crimes. In place of the terrorist thugs now representing them, Palestinians would send to the negotiating table representatives who believe in and love individual rights  leaders who plan to establish a free civilized country where violence is abhorred. And Palestinians should treat Israel as an older and wiser neighbor from whom they have much to learn, rather than an enemy to be destroyed. Only when Palestinians are willing to negotiate with Israel on such terms, will they have earned the right to a state of their own.

Dr. Brook, a former soldier in Israels military intelligence, is executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute in Marina del Rey, Calif. The Institute promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

-- eve (, September 26, 2000

Moderation questions? read the FAQ