- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 29, 2007

Global rule of law, not law of force

Thomas Sowell demonstrates lethal pre-September 11 thinking by comparing the lead-up to World War II with his belief that we will soon end up like France if we don’t “do something” to stop Iran (“Morally paralyzed,” Commentary, Thursday).

First, our “war” against terrorism and al Qaeda’s declared war against us is nothing like World War II on any level. There are no massed armies (except ours). No foreign invaders or occupiers (except us). No weapons of mass destruction (except ours, Russia’s, Pakistan’s, China’s, India’s and Israel’s). No mass detention of people because of their religion (except by us). No clearly defined battle fronts (except those we create). No axis of nations is plotting to take over the world. All we have are a bunch of murderous, cave-dwelling fanatics using the aggressive stupidity of their enemies to boost their own murderous ranks.

Mr. Sowell is following the “war at any price” bandwagon that a few other columnists have jumped onto over the last few months. They all argue for targeted strikes to stop Iran’s nuclear capacity. What about Iran’s biological capacity? In our post-September 11 world, a biological weapon like smallpox is a far greater threat to our freedom, prosperity and survival than a few loose nukes.

Today’s situation is far closer to the world conditions prior to World War I that Harlan Ullman outlined so clearly in his Op-Ed “July 1914 redux?” (Wednesday). Any military strike on Iran would be like the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. It would spark and effectively fuel a real global holy war.

The lesson we failed to learn from both previous world wars is the need to create an enforceable global system of government that is more than a talkfest, one that can effectively protect human rights and eliminate war as a means of solving problems.

In reality, any form of mass murder (war, terrorism, genocide) is a crime against humanity. Those who commit such crimes of mass murder should be effectively prosecuted and brought to justice. We need a global rule of law, not the continued global law of force.

The increasing and irreversible global availability of mass-murdering technology (nuclear, biological, chemical and even conventional) cannot be controlled. All nations, groups and individuals will be able to obtain it. Not even the most powerful nation or the most intrusive and repressive world government created by those fearing for their lives will be able to stop the level of mass murder that will be attained if humanity continues to chose the law of force over the rule of law.

Only an enforceable global bill of rights can effectively replace the right of nations to do as they please in response to any perceived threat. Throughout my childhood I swore allegiance to my flag without fully understanding my words. Now I can only hope we all take that pledge and its first and last words seriously “I pledge… liberty and justice for all.” We can use the powers of this great nation to achieve it, instead of sparking and fueling the next world jihad/crusade.



A high minimum wage is counterproductive

The answer to Mike Fishman’s question — Why doesn’t the United States have a minimum wage that enables workers to provide for their families? — is simple: because a high minimum wage is a bad idea and is economically counterproductive (“Increasing the minimum wage,” Op-Ed, Wednesday).

A fundamental tenet of a capitalist economy is that a customer is not obligated to pay more for an item than it is worth to him. Indeed, he must not be forced to do so, since his refusal to pay a higher price provides important feedback to the supplier that his product is overpriced for the current market.

The vast majority of workers that earn minimum wage fall into one of two categories. Either they are beginners — usually students who are still learning — or retirees who are supplementing their pensions. The former, if they work hard, almost certainly will receive regular and substantial raises as inducements to stay on. The latter don’t really care; they just want to keep busy and earn spending money.

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