Nothing riles up my conservative friends faster than suggesting maybe the U.S. should work a little harder to avoid war.

The other day, I posted a video called What I learned by Friending Iranians on Facebook. It essentially makes the case that Iranians are regular people, just like you and me.

One friend didn’t exactly take issue with the video’s point, but argued that it doesn’t matter.

“Yes, the Iranian people by and large want peace, security, prosperity, etc. But they have no control over their government. And their theocratic government sponsors terrorism all over the world, hates Israel, hates Sunnis, hates the West and especially the US...”

So, because these people have a crappy government, we should kill them?

“No, of course not, Mike. That’s not what I meant at all. I’m saying that because of the belligerent policies of their government, the war that is likely coming will result in the deaths of a staggering number of innocent Iranians.

So, yes. my friend thinks the makeup of the government morally justifies killing innocent people.

This bothers me on so many levels. Never mind that the belligerence of the Iranian government certainly has roots in the West’s belligerence toward it. America and its allies have a long history of interfering in Iran. But political arguments aside, killing innocent people should create significant moral discomfort, regardless of the reasons. Sadly, I don’t see it. Sure, people say, “I hate war.” But they don’t do anything to avoid it. In fact, many cheerlead the mad rush toward it.

I find it particularly ironic that conservatives seem to hold so tightly to this paradigm. They claim to hate socialism and collectivism, but support offensive war – the ultimate act of collectivism.

Think about it. Because we belong to a group known as a nation, defined by some lines on a map, and our “leaders” deem another group bad, we must kill people whom we’ve never met, never harmed us, and would likely never want to harm us, apart from what their “leaders” tell them.

That is the essence of collectivism, and it poses a grave threat to individual liberty.

Offensive war is not conservative. Creating a “world order” is not conservative. “Regime change” is not conservative. These actions root themselves deep in the soil of collectivism.