Libertarians have long decried sanctions and embargoes as acts of war. By focusing economic pressure against a nation in an attempt to punish or intimidate its government or leaders, this affects the civilian population primarily. War creates devastation, destruction, and death. Even though sanctions are presented as an alternative, the results are almost the same. Simply put, soft war is still war.
The real-life consequences of these state actions have far-reaching effects both directly and indirectly. Jacob Hornberger presents the conclusion that “. . even Third World nations, if squeezed hard enough with an ever-increasing death toll among its citizenry, can potentially get to a point of such desperation that they finally decide to go for broke and retaliate. They might well figure that since they’re going down anyway because of the sanctions, they might as well take a lot of people down with them.”
This past year has presented a new question involving a government stepping in to control entire industries and economies: are the state-mandated lockdowns equivocal to international sanctions?
Governors across the country unilaterally decided which businesses and workers could be deemed essential and which ones could no longer participate in commerce.
Coincidentally, all of the biggest corporations with the closest connections to local and national governments were allowed to remain open, while members of entire industries had their dreams and livelihoods stripped away. The states’ decisions to follow through with authoritarian and tyrannical local interventions carry the same destructive potential as an international sanction or embargo. The wealthy elite have nothing to fear as their connections keep them insulated or outright positioned to benefit from such edicts. The average citizen, however, is being squeezed to the point of potential backlash.
When the citizens of a state face the reality of losing everything—their livelihoods, businesses, and wealth—how long will it be until they retaliate against the people who have effectively declared war against them? How many innocents have already been affected by these actions? And how many will be affected by people who feel their only recourse is to go for broke?