Libertarians for Lieberman?

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Over at Tech Central Station, Arnold Kling has a good piece about how Joe Lieberman–yes, Vinegar Joe hisself!–is the most libertarian of the Democratic presidential candidates.

In the past, Lieberman has seemed receptive to the arguments for choice in social behavior as well as for choice in markets. While he made a disappointing turnabout on school choice at the Democratic Convention in 2000, he is no worse than President Bush, who waited until after the election to back away from vouchers and instead push legislation that empowered bureaucrats, not parents.

Lieberman is not the perfect candidate for libertarians, by any means. But the best candidate from an Internet/libertarian perspective is never going to be on the ballot. We have to choose from among flawed men and women. Lieberman's positions are more congenial to me than those of any other Presidential hopeful.

There's no question that Lieberman is the best free trader of the bunch (hell, he's better than Bush on that score). And he's more recently shut up about how the culture's going downhill (as befits the son of a mini-package goods magnate).

The whole thing is here and is worth a read.

NEXT: Terrorism in Russia

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  1. Oh, and I meant the war that Islamic crazies have been waging on us for about 25 years, and since 9/11 has been referred to as the “War on Terror.”

  2. okaaay, Steve. I don’t think Rick is really taking hints from Osama. It is a legitimate question. Consider our involvement in various middle east countries and you’ll start to see a correlation with resentment. Sure, the fundamentalists are exactly that and are dangerous. But let’s just consider Iran and our involvement there before 1979. I really don’t think our puppet was altogether a stalwart of libery nor one that you would be happy to live under especially knowing that he was backed by us. Same with Saddam, how much did we monkey around in the affairs of that state even before the baathists took over. To be annoyed by US presence is a legitimate gripe by arabs, crazy or not.

  3. okaaay, Steve. I don’t think Rick is really taking hints from Osama. It is a legitimate question. Consider our involvement in various middle east countries and you’ll start to see a correlation with resentment. Sure, the fundamentalists are exactly that and are dangerous. But let’s just consider Iran and our involvement there before 1979. I really don’t think our puppet was altogether a stalwart of libery nor one that you would be happy to live under especially knowing that he was backed by us. Same with Saddam, how much did we monkey around in the affairs of that state even before the baathists took over. To be annoyed by US presence is a legitimate gripe by arabs, crazy or not.

  4. okaaay, Steve. I don’t think Rick is really taking hints from Osama. It is a legitimate question. Consider our involvement in various middle east countries and you’ll start to see a correlation with resentment. Sure, the fundamentalists are exactly that and are dangerous. But let’s just consider Iran and our involvement there before 1979. I really don’t think our puppet was altogether a stalwart of libery nor one that you would be happy to live under especially knowing that he was backed by us. Same with Saddam, how much did we monkey around in the affairs of that state even before the baathists took over. To be annoyed by US presence is a legitimate gripe by arabs, crazy or not.

  5. Damnit. Sorry for all the posts.

  6. Steve in CA

    “Oh, and I meant the war that Islamic crazies have been waging on us for about 25 years..”

    Wow, looks like those “Islamic crazies” excercised remarkable restraint, waiting about 30 years before starting to fight back.

  7. So now Lieberman is the libertarian Democrat? And some people say you libbies are just a bunch of contrarian nut jobs. That’ll show ’em.

    “Lieberman’s neo-puritanical media censorship group got The Family Guy cancelled.”

    I didn’t think it was possible to dislike him more. Now I do. Family Guy is perhaps the funniest thing ever. Maybe second after Triumph, or third after A-Hole Ronald.

  8. Lieberman may be better than some Democrats on some domestic issues. But he’s definitely worse than some Democrats on some domestic issues. As for foreign policy (excepting trade, which we can lump in with economic policy), well, the divide among people here seems so wide that it’s hardly worth even debating. One side can trot out all of its favorite cliches, the other side can trot out all of its favorite cliches, and we can pretend it’s a debate. (And both sides can jump all over me for dismissing their arguments as “cliches.”)

    I really doubt that anybody here will persuade anybody else here to change their minds on foreign policy. (For that matter, I doubt many of us will persuade anybody else to change their minds on any other matter, but foreign policy seems to be where the strongest disagreements are.)

    So, basically, Lieberman has no real compelling advantage over other Dems on domestic policy when you take in the whole picture (yes, I know, he’s arguably better on some things and definitely worse on others, hence you have to look at the whole picture), and has either a huge advantage or huge disadvantage on foreign policy.

  9. Lieberman is the guy for those who like Bush’s policies, but hate Bush.

    Consider our involvement in various middle east countries and you’ll start to see a correlation with resentment.

    Of course, correlation is not causation. I would posit that a major reason for our involvement in the Mideast is their “resentment” of modernity and the West, and corresponding hostility to our interests.

    If they would leave us alone, sell us their oil and take our money at market prices, I daresay we would be perfectly happy to leave them alone as well. Sadly, they insist on crashing airplanes into our buildings, bombing our ships, killing us when we visit Israel, Pakistan, and other places, etc.

  10. arjay,

    I don’t think you were paying attention while airlines were being hijacked, embassies were being bombed, the USS Cole was being blowed up, and that sort of thing.

    This line of reasoning just seems short sighted to me. There are things we do abroad that I don’t approve of, but it is pure fantasy to act as though an economic superpower and exporter of dangerous ideas like women who can vote will have no enemies in the Islamic world if we just do what the terrorists want us to do.

    We are a target because of what we represent, not because of our foreign policy. Why have direct attacks been sparce? Because we dropped ten thousand pounds of bombs into Khadafy’s (sp?) swimming pool. We are dealing with societies of punks and clerics. The punks rule with the AK-47, and the clerics rule with anti westernism. Sometimes they get together and things get messy.

  11. I think Jason identified the crux of the disagreement on foreign policy, perhaps the one issue where a discussion might be possible. Thank-you for proving me wrong.

    Why do they hate us? Is it for what we do or for who we are? If they hate us because of our interventionist foreign policy, then a more restrained foreign policy is advisable. Interventions should be very narrow pursuits of specific groups that attacked us, and pre-emptive war should be avoided. Anything more than that will simply do harm than good because it will incite more attacks. This is not to justify those attacks, simply to note a possible cause-and-effect relationship. (Causation is not the same thing as justification.)

    On the other hand, if they hate us because of who we are (a culturally liberal economic superpower) then a very aggressive policy is needed. They’ll attack us whether or not we intervene, so we need to get aggressive on the offense.

    My take: In the short-term, no amount of non-interventionism will defuse the hatred that some people have for us. It may even embolden them, if they see we can be driven away. But in the long-run, I suspect that they hate us more for what we do than for who we are (yes, there’s probably some of each, but my suspicion is that our foreign policy is by far the larger factor).

    Seen in that light, a balanced policy is needed: We remain aggressive in pursuing anybody linked to attacks against the US, and we refuse to simply walk away from all of our engagements. In the long-term, however, we need to evaluate which situations we should gradually remove ourselves from, and do just that, trying to leave in an orderly manner that doesn’t simply cause chaos in the wake of our disengagement.

    There, I just managed to offend both sides!

  12. Thoreau-
    nicely stated. I would add that case 1 and 2 does present some reasons for a more “cautious” interventionist policy. If they hate us for intervening this is a no brainer. If they hate us for who we are then why would we want to flaunt who we are in their face all the time. Assuming there is a difference between Pizza hut setting up shop and an airbase in Saudi Arabia. The only reason we would show weakness is because we have recently intervened. Slightly tautalogical.

    Rc-
    Thoreau answered your first chunk.
    “If they would leave us alone, sell us their oil and take our money at market prices, I daresay we would be perfectly happy to leave them alone as well. Sadly, they insist on crashing airplanes into our buildings, bombing our ships, killing us when we visit Israel, Pakistan, and other places, etc.”

    I don’t remember them bothering us as a real reason for our interventions. As I recall, we helped play a role in “shaping” their borders and states and then set up shop pumping oil and other various activities. Remind me when the horde of robed camel riders invaded louisiana. As for just selling us their oil (original ownership questions aside), from a libertarian perspective they don’t have to. If I don’t want to sell you food at my restaurant because you’re white and you listen to michael Boulton, I shouldn’t have to.

  13. yelowd:

    Much of the historical fiddling was done in the context of a cold war. We weren’t the only fiddlers. The absence of our fiddlers would mean that the Soviet Union ran the show. That would have been bad.

    I agree with throeau that we need to re-evaluate the geopolitics of a post cold war world. Many of the necessities of previous years are merely options today. We are over committed, and we are the only people paying for global security right now. That last bit is not an exaggeration. We have the only military in the world that is capable succeeding in all phases of a conflict on foreign soil. Historically, the logic has been that it is better to fight there than here.

    Obviously, there are costs to this attitude. The problem we face is that no one else is up to the task of handling their own security, much less ours.

    It is just more complicated than the knee jerk libertarian ‘leave them alone and you don’t need an army’ line.

  14. If our foreign policy was the primary cause of terrorism, why aren’t the terrorists coming from Mexico, Chile or Vietnam, countries with which the US has had far more intervention and meddling? 15 of the highjackers were Saudis, the others Egyptian. Explain to me the long sordid history of US intervention in those countries please. Explain how supporting, training, and funding the Mujahadeen in the Afghan war fed anti-american hatred. Of course they hate us because of who we are, it’s the same reason (some) conservatives hate gays. We are the diametric opposite of the islamists, and we’re rich and powerful. Nothing else is needed.

  15. Actually, Jason, I was referring to the original efforts of state building done immediately following WWI.

    As for the Russians and their activities, what are some of the possible scenarios if we didn’t get involved? Would an outright invasion be required. Would that have forced the arabs to sell us oil for weapons? Would more vietnams have taken place?

    “It is just more complicated than the knee jerk libertarian ‘leave them alone and you don’t need an army’ line.” My problem with our intervention in the middle east is that we continue to support foul individuals or clans that viciously hold people down. And, yes, it is more complicated precisely for those types of reasons. It’s not a knee jerk reaction, but an assessment of history and a realization that you’re not going to be able to fix or manage people to achieve your own ends without unforeseen ramifications occuring. Which is why the libertarian responds with leave them alone. It’s just difficult to do now since you have the history of the American Century creating new obligations and difficulties. The only solution is to deal with our current commitments and stay out of future issues, while looking for ways to withdraw our military in a tactful, just manner.

  16. Todd-
    Vietnam, we pulled out of.

    A solid question on Mexico and Chile. (I would have presented Columbia and nicaragua). It does make one question whether it is just us or is it our intervention. Arguably, there is resentment among the mexicans and chileans over our involvement in their countries. Bustamante and his involvement with MECHA (SP?) is an example of that underlying resentment. OTOH, they don’t have a religiously motivated fundamentalist group to act out aggression against the US. Positively, the Islamic fundamentalists hate americans. But does the rest of the arab world? I’d argue “no”. They seem to enjoy the west and its culture. Most often the argument is against our gov’t. Additionally, why are the fundamentalists able to get away with what they do? Are they state sponsored (some of them). Does the peoples resentment of american military and gov’t presence allow for them to turn a blind eye at the radicals? I suppose a good study would be the Irish. Arguably a religious and politically motivated movement. Did everyone “love” the IRA or did they turn a blind eye to its activities because the larger population believed the British had it coming?

  17. Jason Ligon wrote:
    “…but it is pure fantasy (that an) exporter of dangerous ideas like women who can vote will have no enemies in the Islamic world…”

    It’s just silly to think that that’s the kind of thing that motivates attacks. Women vote in the Palestinian Authority, Women in other Arab countries have had voting rights for decades: Syria and Lebanon since the 1950s, Yemen in 1967, Jordan since 1974.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/atcsmonitor/specials/women/rights/rights080800.html

    “We are a target because of what we represent, not because of our foreign policy.”

    Just the opposite. If it were wealth and economic freedom that enraged them they might hit Switzerland or Hong Kong or even the free enterprise oriented Dubai of the UAE, an Arab country with an economic policy that all the other countries in the region, including Israel, would do well to emulate.

    Let us not allow our government to delude us. We
    were attacked because our government finances the Israeli government’s inhumane and thieving occupation of the Palestinian Land. Our government supported sanctions against Iraq that caused malnourishment mal-medication for the Iraqi people but Strengthened Saddam’s ruthless dictatorship (btw, he was brutal on fundamentalist Islamics). Also the government stationed troops in Mecca. (That ongoing idiocy has finally been remedied)

  18. “Our government supported sanctions against Iraq that caused malnourishment mal-medication for the Iraqi people…”

    That simply is not true. You make very valid points about Switzerland and Hong Kong, however, I must disagree with the statement about what causes “malnourishment mal-medication”. Perhaps those nations in the middle east so despise the US because this is a belief they share, as well.

  19. The question about Latin America is a valid one.

    Perhaps American meddling is insufficient to motivate terrorism. Perhaps it’s the combo of American meddling (e.g. support for the Shah, support for Israel, support for Saddam Hussein at one point, US military bases in Saudi Arabia, etc.) and an anti-Western ideology. Without the ideology people will grumble but not fly airplanes into the WTC. Without the meddling we go from being the prime target to just one of many targets.

    And if we were just one of many targets, I dare say that they’d strike in Muslim nations to “send a message” against those who adopt Western ways. Centers of commerce in Muslim nations (e.g. Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, etc.) would be likely targets.

  20. Todd Fletcher wrote:
    If our foreign policy was the primary cause of terrorism, why aren’t the terrorists coming from Mexico, Chile or Vietnam, countries with which the US has had far more intervention and meddling?

    Well, lets see. There was a war with Vietnam. The people of Mexico or even Chile don’t have a history, at least a recent one, of dying by the hundreds or thousands because of US government purchased weaponry in a brutal occupation as the Palestinians do.

    We are the diametric opposite of the islamists, and we’re rich and powerful. Nothing else is needed.

    Nothing except the most important thing: Our government finances Arab’s slaughter. Chechnya?s Islamists attack Russia, not us, now why do you suppose that is?

  21. Steve in CA,

    Refusing to consider what’s actually motivating the terrorists, in weighing alternatives, is like refusing to quit banging your head against the wall, because it would mean you were letting that pain in your head tell you what to do. Or refusing to stop beating a hornets’ nest with a stick, because it would be letting your course of action be dictated by the hornets.

    If, in fact, U.S. multibillion $$ welfare for Isreael, and intervention in the Gulf, led to 9-11, I’d say that’s a classic case of blowback. Given that the Bush admin is saying the exact opposite: that the terror attacks came because “they hate our freedoms,” and that our current adventures are likely to LESSEN terrorism, don’t you think the issue of which view is correct has some relevance?

  22. beanie,
    Do you believe that the sanctions did no harm at all to the Iraqi people? I have read that their effect has been exaggerated but I would be surprised to learn that the Iraqi people suffered not at all. For some of the Arab countries, the situation is that the people suffer malnourishment mal-medication because of the government controlled, collectivist nature of their economies.

  23. OK, Kevin, I’ll give you that. But there’s just as much evidence that terrorists are motivated by our perceived weakness (see: Somalia).

    I think there are things worth doing (like supporting Israel) that are worth doing even if they piss off terrorists. Radical Islam is an aggressive ideology that seeks to kill or convert by force. If one reason to hate us won’t do, they’ll find another. For example, we no longer have troops in Saudi Arabia, and yet, they still hate us! Who’da thunk?

  24. Steve-

    You say supporting Israel is worthwhile. Are you saying it is worthwhile to send billions of taxpayer dollars to an industrialized country every year? Or do you simply mean it’s worthwhile to have good relations with them and stand by them?

    If it’s simply moral support then fine. If you’re talking taxpayer dollars that’s different.

  25. I think the litmus test on Lieberman for libertarians is his foreign policy. If you agreed with the Iraq war, Lieberman is not a bad candidate at all.

    If you disagreed with the war, that plus his social conservatism is probably enough to scare you away to one of the more leftist candidates, especially with a Republican congress.

  26. I would vote for any of the other Dems before I voted for Lieberman. And I mean any of them.

  27. Lieberman’s neo-puritanical media censorship group got The Family Guy cancelled. He coud come out in favor of legalizing and privatizing everything under the sun, and I still wouldn’t forgive him for that.

  28. Lieberman? The same guy who just signed on for the campaign to have goverment regulate what people should eat and companies sell?

  29. Are we talking about the Lieberman who just signed up for the anti-jelly donut wars?

  30. It doesn’t matter; Bush will win in 2004 anyway.

  31. I’m still waiting to hear the libertarian case for Mosely-Braun…

  32. I live in CT and I would never vote for Lieberman. He looks like the Emperor from Star Wars and I can only assume he has the same policies. I, for one, don’t want my planet blown up by his Death Star.

  33. Death Star… of David?

  34. Family Guy might be coming back, due to the response to the DVD packages.

    Didn’t know Lieberman hastened its demise. Do you have a link or a story?

  35. Okay, on the culture wars he’s as bad as Bush. On freedom of religion, he’s as bad as Bush. On international relations he’s as bad as Bush. But is he genuinely worse than Bush in any areas? Because it does seem like he might have a chance in the general election, which it’s hard to say about any of the other candidates.

    Really, any of these guys would rape his own grandmother if there were a vote to be had. There isn’t even a lesser evil — a vote for the lesser evil just ensures greater evil in the long term as politicians compete to define themselves as epsilon less evil than the other guy. But from the standpoint of self defense through the ballot box, Lieberman may be the best we’re likely to do.

    I hate to say it, but perhaps we need to start thinking of voting as triage. Liberty is a dead cause, and our effort is better spent trying to save our other interests.
    –G

  36. “I’m still waiting to hear the libertarian case for Mosely-Braun…”

    Here, here. I mean, she isn’t Bush, right? Maybe a Mosely-Braun / Sharpton ticket?

  37. Lieberman? We’re really scraping the musty scum at the bottom of the barrel, eh?

  38. My thought would be that if you go Lieberman, you might as well go Bush. I don’t see any substantial difference. A lot of folks give too much weight to the split government idea, especially when they don’t know what will happen in the next congressional election.

    House switches are too difficult to see coming for that to be the premise of your voting strategy.

  39. “Here, here. I mean, she isn’t Bush, right? Maybe a Mosely-Braun / Sharpton ticket?”

    What about Nader? Heck, maybe we libertarians can get Hillary to run, she’s definately not Bush.

  40. Nope, I’ll continue wasting my votes on the LP candidates.

  41. Well, the best thing about Mosely-Braun / Sharpton is that they would drive the Congressional Rebpublicans crazy. 🙂 Of course, we’d have to get used to their supporters accusing anyone who disagreed with them of racism.

  42. Back when Zacarias Moussaoui’s trial process was starting, Lieberman said something on the floor of the Senate (sorry, no link, heard it on NPR) to the effect of: “Why are we giving this guy a civilian trial instead of a military tribunal? We all know he’s guilty. But a civilian trial might let him go.”

    No way will I ever support a man who has even less respect for due process of law than Bush. If you think the burning liberty issue of the day is trade, you might support Lieberman; but if you think the issue of the day is Ashcroft dragging us down the road to a police state, he’s out of the question.

  43. Lieberman libertarian? Maybe in some Bizzaro World. Lieberman’s NTU rating ( The NTU awards higher scores for spending restraint) is a pathetic 20%, earning him an “F”.
    http://www.ntu.org/features/congress_by_numbers/ntu_rates_congress/2002/VS_2002.pdf

    He’s also a big supporter of foreign intervention; Iraq war, Billions for the Israel, even despite the actions of the Sharon regime. Billions for Egypt. Big support for the IMF.. ad nauseum.

    If libertarians want to root for some one from the mainstream for president were going to have to persuade someone to undertake a challenge to Bush in the Republican primaries. Bob Barr are you listening?

  44. Lieberman libertarian? Maybe in Bizzaro World. Lieberman’s NTU rating ( The NTU awards higher scores for spending restraint) is a pathetic 20%, earning him an “F”.
    http://www.ntu.org/features/congress_by_numbers/ntu_rates_congress/2002/VS_2002.pdf

    He’s a big supporter of foreign intervention; Iraq war, Billions for the Israel, even despite the actions of the Sharon regime. Billions for Egypt. Big support for the IMF..Ad nauseum.

    If libertarians want to root for some one from the mainstream for president were going to have to persuade someone to undertake a challenge to Bush in the Republican primaries. Bob Barr are you listening?

  45. Trying to convince libertarians to vote for Lieberman is like…

    … trying to decide which brand of rat poison to dine on.

    … asking Christians in the days of Caesar to root for the lions.

    … asking the Kurds to support Saddam Hussein.

    … asking the Hindus to support the Taliban.

    … asking Boston Red Sox fans to root for the Yankees.

    … asking Dennis Rodman to go back to his natural hair color.

    … asking Christina Agulera to just PICK a hair color and stick with it.

    … asking the producers of NBC’s “Law And Order” to not turn today’s newspaper headlines into next week’s episode.

    … asking death row inmates to hold a lightbulb in their hands while being electrocuted.

    … asking trial lawyers to stop suing companies because people refuse to take responsibility for their lives.

    … asking Hugh Hefner to become a monk.

    … asking the Democrats to compliment President Bush on ANYTHING.

  46. Sorry about the echo. Must be the Bunnymen 🙂 80’s band ref.

  47. Hey Rick, lots of libertarians like foreign intervention. I’m one of them.

    No one has mentioned civil liberties, where I think Lieberman would be much better than Bush.

    Let’s put it this way — I don’t like any of the major party candidates. Never have, probably never will. But since 9/11, I’ve given up on the Libertarian Party. Even if I agree with them on every other issue, foreign policy is my #1 concern, and the Libertarians have nothing important to say.

    So among the major party candidates, Lieberman and Bush are the only non-statists. I think a Lieberman administration might inject some new energy in the war. Plus I like the symbol of a Jewish president. “Amerikka is controlled by the zionist entity!!” “Gee, I guess we are. Want to make something of it?”

  48. “Lieberman? The same guy who just signed on for the campaign to have goverment regulate what people should eat and companies sell? ”

    My timing was not so good, eh?

    I guess he must have gotten scared that this libertarians-for-Lieberman thing could get some traction, and decided to stop it. (:

  49. “So among the major party candidates, Lieberman and Bush are the only non-statists.”

    You’ve got to be joking…..please tell me you’re joking. All of the major party candidates are statists, their degrees differing only slightly.

  50. eric,

    I second that.

  51. Why doesn’t the LP realize that they’re perceived as a bunch of freaks and extremists and reinvent themselves on the platform of socially liberal, economically conservative?

    As for Lieberman being even remotely libertarian friendly, TCS has clearly sold its soul to the DNC.

  52. Steve in CA,
    Foreign intervention by our government is what caused 9/11. Read Bin Ladden’s Fatwa. We need much less of it for a safer world.

    Bush HAS been God awful for civil liberties. But, was Lieberman among those who voted to restrain the Patriot act?

    How can you possibly consider Lieberman, with an NTU rating of only 20% (F) a “non-statist”?? And, how can you possibly consider Bush to be non-statist??

    Which war would you like Lieberman to “energize”?

    Of course religion or ethnicity is never a good reason for casting a vote. But, you know that.

  53. Rick,

    Well, if you’re taking hints from Osama on what our foreign policy should be, we’re too far apart to even have a decent debate.

  54. Madog and geophile – Star Wars references ROTFL!

    *In best Lieberman voice*

    “Your powers are…umm…no match for the ….umm…dem darkside”

    Certainly Joe’s fiscal stands on many issues square pretty well with mine. But, the guy wants to now go after food and has allied himself with those folks over at the Center for Science in the Public Interest(read: regulate the hell outta everything).

    No thanks.

  55. Gee, Islamic extremists don’t hate us because we are a symbol to them of a progressive, godless society?

    They don’t hate us becuase we’re tolerant on religious and cultural issues compared to them?

  56. Okay, on the culture wars he’s as bad as Bush.

    Um no, he?s worse as in the sponsor of the V-chip and his new call for federal regulations of what people eat. Bush has done nothing like that.

    On freedom of religion, he’s as bad as Bush.

    Strawman argument since neither candidate has done anything to prevent people from exercising or not their particular religious beliefs.

    On international relations he’s as bad as Bush.

    Actually that should be ?almost as good as Bush.? 😉

    But is he genuinely worse than Bush in any areas?

    Yes, he?s opposed to allowing workers to invest a portion of their FICA payroll tax dollars (which Bush is the only major party candidate to support), he?s opposed to school choice, and a staunch proponent of gun control (including authoring the new legislation on gun shows). He?s the author of the V-chip and now wants the federal government to literally regulate what people are allowed to eat. So while he might be better than most of the other Democrats and admittedly has been a supporter of somewhat freer trade than the Bush adminstration, Bush is still the better candidate in these areas.

  57. Necessary correction to my previous post:

    When I said “almost as good as Bush” I was only saying that Lieberman is about as strong as Bush with regards to national defense and the war we’re waging. However I do not know if he is as good with regards to:

    1) Getting us out of Kyoto (which BTW really ought to be taken into account whenever someone says that Clinton was more “fiscally conservative than Bush)

    2) Opposing the International Criminal Court

    3) Oppostion to the ABM which did not do a darn thing to stop nuclear proliferation

    Anyone care to guess where Howard Dean and the other seven of the Nine Dwarves stand on these issues?

  58. “”We are a target because of what we represent, not because of our foreign policy.”

    Just the opposite. If it were wealth and economic freedom that enraged them they might hit Switzerland or Hong Kong or even the free enterprise oriented Dubai of the UAE, an Arab country with an economic policy that all the other countries in the region, including Israel, would do well to emulate.”

    Switzerland is not the ‘exporter’ of Westernization. The fact that several states allow women to vote is why Islamic clerics are worried about westernization. We are a symbolic target. We are not A western democracy, we are THE western democracy from the point of view of the eastern world. The EU even gripes about ‘cultural hegemony’, which apparently has something to do with Hollywood making crappy movies that lots of people all over the world go to see. Nobody would understand what you were attacking if you attacked UAE or Hong Kong.

    I will go as far as to admit that our dalliances have given an excuse that is paletteable to the Yassir Arafat Promotional Council that is the UN. We are hardly unique in our involvement in the region. France and Russia have given much ‘support’ to the region, and to the non democracies. Everyone seemed to grasp that unelected idiots in the USSR who threatened their democratic neighbors represented a threat to European democracy, but no one seems to give a rat’s ass when multiple unelected idiots tried to drive the only democracy in the region ‘into the sea’ – several times.

    Intervention is not always good, and I don’t know that our current level of support for Israel is justified, but lets not forget the context in which we began that support. If we remove all support, and Syria and Egypt try to run over the country, are you still confident that we did the right thing? Many of my fellow libertarians seem terribly blase about that sort of thing.

  59. Jason said:

    If we remove all support, and Syria and Egypt try to run over the country, are you still confident that we did the right thing? Many of my fellow libertarians seem terribly blase about that sort of thing.

    A leftist could say “If we remove all support, and Grandma dies because she didn’t have her socialized medicine…um, I mean Medicare…, are you still confident that the free market was the right thing? Many libertarians seem terribly blase about that sort of thing.”

    Just pointing out that you can’t justify a policy solely by the presumed effects of effects of inaction.

    But let’s say you’re right, and that simply removing all support from Israel would amount to disaster (something I’m not convinced of, at least not in the year 2003 after they’ve had 50+ years to build a strong economy and military). If we must get involved, let’s at least use our involvement to demand accountability from Ariel Sharon, sort of like how we’ve started demanding that welfare recipients search for jobs. (Insert here all due caveats about the various flaws of welfare reform limiting the validity of my analogy, but the point remains the same.)

    Let’s deliver an ultimatum: Until the Israeli and Palestinian leaders fix this thing, no more checks in the mail. (I know, Israel gets more money from us than the Palestinians, but the Palestinians still get something.) They’ll laugh at us, but then the first of the month will come, and when there’s no check in the mail they’ll go complain to their welfare case worker…um, I mean, the US ambassador. And he’ll explain that until they settle this thing, nobody gets anything.

    And each side will blame the other, and most Americans will go and blame one side or the other in arguments around the water cooler, but the welfare case worker will do what I do at the homeless shelter where I volunteer: ignore their finger-pointing and say that nobody is getting anything until the mess is cleaned up. And they’ll continue to whine, and complain, and make threats, and maybe they’ll fight, but the case worker will simply say that until they follow the terms of their case management plan they get nothing.

    So let’s do it. If we absolutely must be involved, if the fate of Western civilization really does depend on us subsidizing Israel, let’s at least use that subsidy to force some good behavior. If I can refuse to serve dinner until everybody is quiet, surely Uncle Sam can refuse to mail a check until everybody stops fighting.

  60. Actually, as I think about it, maybe we should do something to piss off Israel. The Arabs already hate us. No easy way to change that. If the Israelis hate us too, maybe they’ll put aside their differences to concentrate on the common enemy. And knowing where the Israeli government is located will make the war on terror a lot easier than the bad old days, when we had to hunt cave-to-cave for Osama.

    So let’s unite them against a common enemy! 😉

    (The above comment was tongue-in-cheek. The last thing we need is one more enemy. But it is kind of funny to picture a Hassidic Jew and Wahabi Muslim plotting against the US while sharing some kosher falafel.)

  61. Jason Ligon,
    I’m sorry, but I find your argument that:“We are a symbolic target.” not too compelling.Instead, The overwhelming evidence is that then 9/11 happened as a direct result of our governments hyper-interventionist foreign policy, Vis a vie the Mid-East and especially the massive support of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land. This is quite evident as Bin Laden told us these were the reasons for 9/11 in his Fatwa.

    “The fact that several states allow women to vote is why Islamic clerics are worried about westernization.”

    Some Arab states have allowed women to vote for decades. It just isn’t the kind of thing that would motivate an attack on the USA. France and the Brits have been the western countries that have been influential in franchisement for women in Arab Nations.
    Also, the chief exporter of pornography into the Arab world is Scandinavia. The Islamic clerics may complain, but of course there were no 9/11 attacks on Sweden or Denmark.

    “Nobody would understand what (Al Queda was) attacking if (they) attacked UAE…”

    The UAE is far more westernized then Saudi Arabia, yet they are not attacked and Saudi is. Why? Because; the Saudi government cooperates with the US military in a big way.

    “If we remove all support, and Syria and Egypt try to run over the country, are you still confident that we did the right thing?”

    The government also gives Egypt a few billion every year. I believe that ending government spending that does not directly serve the security of the US people (much of it now makes us much LESS secure) is always a good thing. Private organizations, of course, should be able to support Israel or any other entity they want to. BTW, Syria and Egypt could not come anywhere close to over running Israel. Israel would crush them. It would be a tragedy if Israel were over run but what has happened to the Palestinian people and continues to happen to them is also a tragedy and it is being financed by our government’s support of the Israeli government.

  62. ” The overwhelming evidence is that then 9/11 happened as a direct result of our governments hyper-interventionist foreign policy”

    really? I thought it was because totalitarian nutjobs made the choice to fly airplanes into buildings and kill thousands of people.

    were they justified, rick?

  63. Lieberman a libertarian??? Good God, people’s standards are getting low. Has no one noticed his appearances with John “Cryptofascist” McCain in support of compulsory “national service”?

  64. EMAIL: draime2000@yahoo.com
    IP: 62.213.67.122
    URL: http://www.enlargement-for-penis.com
    DATE: 01/26/2004 03:57:20
    Seekers of truth invariably turn to lies.

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