Imagine a society with a deep distrust of government. In this society the government is basically restricted to matters of defense. The job of the government is to guard the borders and defend against invaders in order to maintain a safe area for its citizens to prosper. Meanwhile, in this society the most highly valued activity is commerce. Merchants are seen as heroes who take heroic risks to reap huge rewards and retire, ideally in lavish comfort. The government is strictly prohibited from involving itself in commerce, and most everyone agrees that wealth and poverty are down to the work of the individual in the unregulated market. Does this society sound like Ayn Rand’s paradise? It is actually a fairly accurate description of Muslim Caliphates in the Middle Ages.
This is no coincidence. Adam Smith appears to have borrowed some of his ideas, particularly the concept of “the invisible hand of the market”, from medieval Persian writers. Even more directly the roots of Western Capitalism are found in the interactions with Muslims during the crusades. The famous “invention of banking” by the Knights Templar most textbooks talk about wasn’t so much an invention as it was straight up imitation of their Muslim enemies for the purposes of war. Usury was such a reviled practice that it was only deemed acceptable in the context of Holy War against infidels. Christians thought it fitting to destroy the Muslims with their own evil tools.
This marriage of war and trade in the west is foundational. At the heart of capitalism is the notion that trade is really just a less-violent type of warfare. I can beat you in business, and if that fails, then I’ll beat you with mercenaries. The merchants of Venice and Florence kept their own mercenary armies, and as the tools of trade grew in popularity profit-making endeavors were increasingly backed by the power of the state. Columbus was back by the Queen of Spain and it is no surprise that his trade expedition, when it failed to find the wealthy civilizations of the far east to profit from, turned to conquest as an alternative way to profit. Trade and war were much the same thing to him.
The violence of trade in western societies is a stark contrast with the Muslim Caliphates of the Middle Ages which, because of their strict separation between government and commerce never thought of sending in the soldiers if a trade fell through. If contemporary Libertarians were consistent in their convictions they too would advocate a reduced military for pure defense and a non-interventionist foreign policy. The combination of a laissez-faire deregulated economy and a neo-conservative imperialist foreign policy is especially toxic. Manipulating oil prices with drone warfare is the sort of thing the monster behind the 4th Crusade, Pope Innocent III, would have approved of, especially since the victims are those infidel Muslims.