Ideological Counterpunch

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"It looks as though the only decent option is Harry Browne of the Libertarians."

Who said it? Three guesses and then click here.

NEXT: Why Play the Blame Game When You Can Play the Name Game?

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  1. Harry Browne is the biggest reason I’m a small-l libertarian now. His columns immediately after 9/11 were truly embarassing, for himself and people like me who were stupid enough to cast an uninformed, nihilistic “protest” vote for him in 2000.

  2. The only rational answer to the question about mistakes and apologies was on a parody site recently – to paraphrase, sorry I kept over such treasonous bastards and a mistake not to come down in the aiudience and bust your ass. Or words to that effect.

  3. “Pollin reckons that if we imposed a very small tax on all financial transactions-i.e. all stock, bond, and derivative trades, starting with a 0.5 percent tax on stocks and scaling the other appropriately – we could raise roughly $100 billion right there, or roughly 20 percent of next year’s projected deficit, even if we also assume financial market trading fell by an implausibly large 50 percent as a result of the tax.”

    These guys never, ever learn. They don’t seem to understand how financial markets work or how they support the rest of the economy.

  4. There is an alternative to the Browne faction of the Libertarian Party. Check out http://www.RussoForPresident.com.

    Aaron Russo, the producer of movies like Trading Places and the Rose, and promoter of bands like the Who, Grateful Dead, and Led Zepellin has thrown his hat in the ring as an LP candidate.

    I had vowed to stay out of national LP politicals until Russo came along. Now I’m running 18 hour days all over the country.

    It’s worth the few seconds to check out the site, because once you check it out, you’ll be hooked too!

    In liberty,

    Stephen P. Gordon
    Campaign Manager, Russo for President

  5. Just wait for Jesse Ventura to run in ’08. As a MNan and a big fan of his, I’d be a bit wary of him on national defense, but he would be a small-government guy for sure. Y ou’ve never seen gridlock until you’ve seen three-way gridlock to keep extra things from becoming law. Imagine four years without any laws passing unless the Dems and Reps team up against him.

    I can dream, right?

  6. From the CounterPunch article:
    “Aside from the social benefits from these programs, they also provide the biggest expansion of jobs for a given dollar amount of spending. A million dollars spent on education, Pollin calculates, would produce roughly twice the number of jobs as the same amount spent on the military”

    I’ll grant that some jobs may be intrinsicly more labor intense that others. However, my first thought upon reading this was wondering how inefficient the education buearacracy must really be for this to be true.

  7. Legitimate government functions:

    1. Detection and deflection of earth-threat bodies.
    2. Detection and destruction of any external threats to the United States, her interests and her people.
    3. Protection of the territory of the United States from invasion.
    4. Protection of life, liberty and property.
    5. Taxing the people to keep me in luxury f9or the balance of my life.

    I will accept 4 out of 5.

  8. kwais,
    I made that comment because LaRouche is running as a Democrat, as he has since his original party folded.

    As for “A vote for Harry Browne is a vote for Lyndon LaRouche.”, I don’t know where that comes from, as there is no comparison. HB scores very high on the lib quotient and LL scores extremely low.

  9. Spending doesn’t starve the beast, it just puts us further into debt. Supply-siders have said that cutting taxes will starve the beast, but we see that that doesn’t work either. The problem with the national conversation on taxes/spending is three-fold:

    1) Cutting taxes is always framed as a class war, rather than a discussion of liberty.
    2) Spending cuts are *NEVER* discussed.
    3) The American people are knuckle-dragging-mouth-breathers that listen to MTV, Fox News, CNN, John Kerry, George W. Bush, and a never-ending stream of statist economists, rather than attempt to form an independent thought for themselves.

    But hey, things could be worse, right?

  10. Rational Review linked to the Aaron Russo site, so I was looking at it the other day. It wasn’t bad, but then I saw this on the side bar:

    Alternative medicine is critical to a person’s health because it builds your immune system. Your immune system is what prevents you from getting sick. It is therefore each individual’s responsibility to make sure their immune system is working properly?doctors don’t prevent you from getting sick. America should become the alternative medicine oasis of the world.

    Personally, it didn’t bother me, but a statement like that is only going to reinforce the (mis?)conception that libertarians are a bunch of weirdos and crackpots.

  11. Dotty,
    Russo credits alternative medicine with his recovery from cancer.
    And it doesn’t bother me that he beleives it, because unlike the two major parties, he’s unlikely to shove alternative medicine down my throat.

  12. A vote for Harry Browne is a vote for Lyndon LaRouche.

  13. I checked out that Aaron Russo site, and to be honest, he seems to score only mildly lower on the crackpot scale than most other LP candidates. Here’s his platform:

    1. Both political parties lie to us, and neither can be trusted.

    (True enough, though probably too much of an oversimplification for most voter.)

    2. Our economy is a disaster.

    (Not really.)

    3. We’re losing our right to free speech.

    (Not really.)

    4. Both parties passed the Patriot Act, a crime against all Americans.

    (More hyperventilating about the admittedly ambitious Patriot Act. But “a crime against all Americans?”)

    5. Both wage war against medical marijuana and alternative medicine.

    (True enough.)

    6. Both attack our right to bear arms.

    (True enough.)

    7. Both parties overtax, overspend, and over-regulate.

    (True enough.)

    8. Where is the gold owned by the American people? Neither party will address this issue and we need answers.

    (Ding ding ding… we hit the crackpot jackpot! Seriously, does any voter in 2004 care about the dollar being backed by gold? What a great way to get potential voters to instantly tune you out.)

    9. Both parties station our troops around the world rather than protecting our borders from terrorism and illegal immigration.

    (And what would our troops do about those issues if they were stationed here? Domestically, both are law enforcement issues, right?)

    10. Both parties are guilty of starting the war in Iraq.

    (True enough.)

    11. Both parties want to keep our troops there indefinitely.

    (Remains to be seen, but summer’s just around the corner so we will get to see how honest and firm Bush is on that issue. Personally, regardless of whether we should have started the war in the first place, the idea of pulling out completely while Iraq is still a disaster area worries me a lot. It’s our mess, and leaving it that way stands to make things a whole lot worse.)

    Overall, I’m underwhelmed.

  14. Let me explain the Lyndon Larouche line for the humor-impaired. You see, when you have a significant third-party candidate, the argument often used against him is “a vote for Ralph Nader is a vote for George Bush.” I could explain the rest of the joke, but I hope you get it by now.

  15. Jarod-

    I like your crackpot analysis. Still, of the prospective LP candidates I like Russo the best, and for a very simple reason:

    Russo, with his Hollywood background, has the best chance of getting some attention for the LP candidate this year. And since he’s been successful in Hollywood there’s at least a chance that he’ll know his audience and tone down the crackpot stuff. Keep in mind, right now he’s seeking the LP nomination, so appealing to crackpots might actually help him.

    Then again, I could be completely wrong, and he might just be a true crackpot. Well, he still wouldn’t be any worse than a lot of other LP candidates.

    In any case, I will vote LP because CA is not a swing state. And there’s a decent chance that the LP could come in third place instead of the abysmal 5th place finishes of recent history. With Nader running independent and the Greens also fielding a candidate the lefty third-party vote will be split. And the Reform party is…um, what have they been up to? (Which just proves my point.) So the LP may be the strongest of the 3rd parties this time. Which would mean some exposure for libertarian ideas. (Although it could also mean exposure for Druids defending the right to keep and bear ferrets, alas.)

  16. Terrorism and rogue asteroids should be detected early and far away, and disposed of far away. Any nation that does not vigerously put down within its borders any anti-U.S. movement is committing an act of war against us and should suffer accordingly. Mr. Nice Guy did not work.

  17. Ventura governed halfway libertarian, and his only crackpotism was “The Media Jackals are out to get me,” which would be his primary liability in a campaign: paranoia.

    His libertarian credentials leave when the state was facing a defecit, and he proposed roughly an equal balance of tax increases (and called the spade a spade) and spending cuts. The Ds and Rs teamed up to pass a budget that used accounting to defer any shortfalls to the next year. The Rs won the next election and did the “no tax increase” thing and that turned out pretty well.

  18. Jarod:

    I agree that the gold standard seems like a crackpot topic and does not belong on any candidate’s list of top 10 issues.

    However, (re. #2) the economy actually IS a disaster, though it is of the “disaster waiting to happen” ilk. And (re #8) the fact that our currency is not backed by tangible assets DOES matter. For anyone interested in this kind of stuff I recommend “The Dollar Crisis” by Richard Duncan.

  19. “The impact of the war on the election is hard to predict. In international crises, the American instinct is to rally round the flag and the President – for a while at least. Thus far, the protests against the war have not been extensive. But Fallujah has been compared to the Viet Cong’s Tet offensive in 1968, which set in motion a process that drove President Lyndon B Johnson from the White House.”
    Above a quote from Arthur Shlesinger.

  20. “Now, here we have a “war” that has proven to be a complete calamity in every conceivable way. The blood and violence are ghastly. It started as a war for democracy and American values and it is ending in body bags, a radicalized population, hundreds of billions wasted, and an emboldened horde of terrorists from all countries. The original rationales for the war are proven hoaxes. The soldiers hate it. The Iraqis hate the soldiers. US trained Iraqis are AWOL. We are talking here about a war disaster of historic proportions, even for the aggressor state.”
    above a quote from Now, here we have a “war” that has proven to be a complete calamity in every conceivable way. The blood and violence are ghastly. It started as a war for democracy and American values and it is ending in body bags, a radicalized population, hundreds of billions wasted, and an emboldened horde of terrorists from all countries. The original rationales for the war are proven hoaxes. The soldiers hate it. The Iraqis hate the soldiers. US trained Iraqis are AWOL. We are talking here about a war disaster of historic proportions, even for the aggressor state.”
    Above is a quote from Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

  21. Above is a quote from Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

    Which is pretty much the only statement in the post that makes perfect sense.

  22. Russo’s stance on the “gold standard” bothers me a lot less than his loopy stance on “alternate medicine.” True, you have right to use the snake-oil peddled by faith-healers and charlatans. It’s your body after all. However, don’t come crying to me when those tumors become malignant. REAL Medicine will cure you; roots and herbs are for seasoning. Suggesting otherwise is what makes Russo a crackpot in my eyes.

  23. John Hood,
    Are you getting all the drugs you need from Canada?

  24. Ruthless talks like a person with a paper asshole. All wars are bloody calamaies. We could have, as the Democrats wanted, just sit back and let the Arabs plink us off as their whim struck them, or we could make the price of striking us too high for even Islamists to want to pay. It is between ten to one and twenty to one now – I suggest it be cranked up to a hundred to one until the next attack, and a thousand to one after the next. Somewhere, there must be a price they will not pay.

  25. How does spending starve the beast? The whole idea is that the beast is causing 2 problems:

    1) It’s taking your money away.
    2) To add insult to injury, it’s pissing that money away in programs that meddle in your life further, making your life even more difficult.

    Tax cuts alleviate the first problem. Spending increases do nothing to alleviate either problem.

  26. Is a paper asshole anything like piles, because I think I may have them?
    I’ve got to stop sitting here in front of Hit & Run so long.

  27. Have you seen Ventura lately?

    He looks like he’s about to move into a backwoods cabin:

    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/apelection_story.asp?category=1131&slug=Ventura%20President

  28. Well, I think HB’s post 9/11 stuff is among his best, but apparently it is impossible to criticize U.S. foreign policy without being accused of ‘blaming America’ for the attacks of 9/11. Obviously the hijackers and their supporters are directly responsible for their actions, but, eaqually obviously, that does not leave U.S. gov’t entirely blameless in arousing international antipathy..
    A vote for Lyndon Larouche is a vote for a Democrat.
    HB is not running for office so not to worry.

  29. Kwais-

    I understand that tax cuts could force cuts to social programs, but how does spending more on social programs force cuts in social programs?

    The only thing I can see is a long-term plan to run up so much debt that the interest payments eventually consume a huge portion of the budget. But somehow I don’t have much confidence in any long-term plan that begins with “Step 1: Run up massive debt to the point where our creditors have us by the balls…”

  30. None of these guys has a snowball’s chance, but why don’t we talk about something more immediate?
    Don’t we sense both Bush and Kerry imploding?
    When it happens, who happens afterward won’t be pretty, still we should be more concerned with helping the implosion.
    How can we?

  31. Ugh. Found an online straw poll that lists websites of prospective LP candidates on whom delegates will be voting at the convention. They’re embarrassing. These candidates have Geocities sites, crappy Photoshop-filtered images, blobs of run-on text, etc. (With the glaring exception of Russo, who I’d never heard of, and whose snazzy site actually looks like that of a political candidate in 2004.)

    Feeding the perception of the “loony Libertarians,” indeed. Ugh.

  32. I should amend that previous post. The Gary Nolan site (www.garynolan.com) is pretty nice too.

  33. Eric Alterman is totally going to kick his ass at the next The Nation office party.

  34. Harry Browne is the biggest reason I’m a small-l libertarian now.

    Yeah, there are a *lot* of small-L libertarians in the same boat as you, myself included.

  35. Let’s bear a few things in mind:

    First, Harry Browne isn’t running for President this year. Anyone who says or implies so isn’t paying attention.

    Second, the LP is not “the Harry Browne party” and never was. He did get the Presidential nomination two elections in a row, but he’s the only one ever to do that. There won’t be a “three-peat.” Except for 1996 and 2000, the LP has run a different candidate for each Presidential election since 1972.

    Third, Browne never said that we “deserved” 9/11 or that we should just sit back and take it. He did question the motives of our leadership, given their response; he did express doubt that their response would succeed in apprehending or punish the guilty, much less make us any safer; and he did say that we could only expect more of the same unless we changed our foreign policy. I am frankly amazed that so many people mentally translated his comments into “blame America first.” Listen to what the man is really saying before you fly off the handle.

    A great many of Browne’s doubts and warnings have been vindicated by events, but his critics have only become shriller in tone and more abusive and dismissive. What’s up with that?

    Nolan, Russo, and Badnarik all have their strengths and weaknesses. I’m interested in watching the multiway fight for the nomination this year — with luck, it will be on CSPAN.

  36. Hey, I just tried to provide a response to Dan’s comment, and was told

    “Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    “Your comment could not be submitted because it is suspected spam due to: goE roE

    “Please correct the error in the form below, then press POST to post your comment.”

    I think the “goE roE” refers to the phrase “merry goE roEund,” which I used a few times. How that qualifies any posting as “suspected spam,” I have no idea.

    The error message is not specific enough to allow me to correct to alleged problem.

    Would someone at reason be so kind to point me to a place where the characteristics of “suspected spam” are described, so I can avoid them in future posts?

    (Incidentally, the system wouldn’t let me post the above complaint, until I added “E” to get “goE roE” and “goE roEund.” What is going on?)

  37. Ruthless:

    (Sigh). Worth trying one more time:

    Now, here we have a “war” that has proven to be a complete calamity in every conceivable way.

    It is idiotic to say that the Iraq campaign has “proven” to be a complete anything. It’s only a year old. It may turn out to be a calamity, but to pronounce it as such today is to advertise a profound indifference to reality and how historical events unfold.

    The blood and violence are ghastly.

    By what standard? The Iraq campaign has been one of the least bloody large-scale military conflicts in history, including both military and civilian deaths (the latter typically exaggerated but what-cha-gonna-do). In a sense, the death of any person is ghastly. But in other, more important sense, the death of violent thugs who have been responsible for hundreds of thousands of gruesome deaths, tortures, rapes, etc. is something like the opposite of ghastly — even if such death involves dangerous operations with some admittedly tragic consequences. Pacifists can disagree, of course, but for most of us war can be a moral good given the right stakes.

    It started as a war for democracy and American values and it is ending in body bags, a radicalized population, hundreds of billions wasted, and an emboldened horde of terrorists from all countries.

    It is still a war for democracy, or one hopes for freedom. Being a war, it also involves body bags. As for a radicalized population, please cite any polling or other data supporting this thesis. All of the polls I have seen in Iraq suggest 1) most are thankful to the coalition for uprooting the Ba’ath, 2) most are unhappy that the coalition remains an occupying force (who wouldn’t be?), 3) most do not want the coalition to go home yet, and 4) most do not support either Sunni or Shi’a islamofascism or terrorism against the coalition. It is quite possible simultaneously to be antsy about the coming turnover of power, humiliated about the Iraqi army’s ineptitude in stopping the coalition, still relieved that the coalition won, worried about safety and security, and, eventually, thankful to one’s liberators. Again, time will tell.

    The original rationales for the war are proven hoaxes.

    Again, idiotic. WMD stockpiles have not been found, but programs, research, and intent have. Links between Hussein’s regime and anti-American terrorists abound. The other arguments for the war remain compelling, in my opinion (involving the end of the embargo and no-fly zones and the creation of a peaceful and potentially free state in the Middle East, for starters). Besides, “hoax” is the wrong word if the world’s intelligence services turn out to be completely wrong on Iraqi WMD programs.

    The soldiers hate it.

    False. I have friends and employees called up right now, and they don’t hate the policy (though few servicemen and women welcome any war, naturally). Reenlistment rates are high. This is nonsense.

    The Iraqis hate the soldiers.

    Most Kurds and Shi’as do not. They form the overwhelming majority of the population.

    US trained Iraqis are AWOL.

    Yes, some are. Others performed well. This has been a major disappointment.

    We are talking here about a war disaster of historic proportions, even for the aggressor state.

    Even if a mistake, not a disaster, and even if a disaster, certainly not one of historical proportions unless one is entirely ignorant of history. As for the reference to the “aggressor state,” this kind of over-the-top rhetoric about America is unlikely to convince libertarian-leaning Americans of anything except that the speaker isn’t to be taken seriously.

  38. the LP is not “the Harry Browne party” and never was.

    You are correct. Browne lives in downtown Loonyville; the Libertarian Party just maintains offices in the suburbs.

    The Libertarian Party’s suggested response to September 11th was, loosely summarized, to go after the people directly responsible for those attacks, and nobody else, after which we should adopt as isolationist a foreign policy as possible.

    …I was originally going to explain about how dippy that is, but you know what? Fuck it. Those who left the Party already understand; those who stayed behind have heard all the arguments. September 11th happened; I read Browne’s response, I saw the Libertarian response, and I abandoned the Libertarian Party forever.

    I am frankly amazed that so many people mentally translated his comments into “blame America first.”

    Translating English into English isn’t all that amazing.

    Listen to what the man is really saying before you fly off the handle.

    Yes, let’s do just that, James.

    If you want to spin the diseased thinking contained in that article as “not blaming America”, hey, spin away. All I can tell you is that you’re not fooling me, nor are you fooling any of the other ex-Libertarians I know.

    In fact, hey — let’s go to Harry Browne’s website, and read from an essay he wrote last week:

    “There was only one possible motive for the 9-11 attackers: they were protesting the way the American government has been using force for half a century to overrule the wishes of people in the Middle East and elsewhere”

    The only *possible* motive for 9-11 was to protest American wrongdoing. But oh no, we mustn’t “translate” this to mean that he’s saying that it was our fault, or that we’re to blame. It’s just that the only possible reason the attackers could have attacked us was that they were protesting the awful things we supposedly did. The notion that, just maybe, just possibly, there might be at least a *few* religious fanatics in the world with a bug up their ass about crazy religious bullshit, doesn’t even enter his pointy little head.

    But, hey. People can “translate” this stuff however they like. Go to his website and see for yourselves.

  39. John “Bandar” Hood,
    Know I deeply appreciate the time you’ve taken to fortify your case.
    I still find Antiwar.com more persuasive.

  40. Does anybody else here ever get the feeling Hit & Run is like a trout farm where Republican proselytizers think they can land us with a miniature, colored marshmallow?

  41. Ruthless,

    “Does anybody else here ever get the feeling Hit & Run is like a trout farm where Republican proselytizers think they can land us …”

    Who is “us” you are referring to? Are the “true blue” Reasonites ALL a homogenous bunch? Or, is there a distinct subset that you belong to?

  42. zorel,
    This weekend I enjoyed the dvd, Zardoz.
    Have you seen it? Stars Sean Connery.

    To answer your query, how much more sub of a subset could there be than the perverts here on Hit & Run?

    You can’t scare me with your brandishing Kryptonite.

    The fact we are a Republican-owned trout farm just shows how pathetic Republicans are. They need to pull on their hip boots and venture out.

  43. “Does anybody else here ever get the feeling Hit & Run is like a trout farm where Republican proselytizers think they can land us with a miniature, colored marshmallow?”

    I came from the Republican Party; I registered Libertarian the day after Bush senior broke his tax pledge. For people who grew up in the eighties the Libertarians were a refuge for people who thought that Gordon Gekko made a lot sense and hated the culture war.

    The Republicans probably could land me again, but it would take more than a miniature, colored marshmellow. They would have to permanently cut marginal rates and cut them in a big way. They would have to abandon the culture war, do a 180 on foreign policy and jump back on the free trade bandwagon. That still wouldn’t get me to jump ship, but I’d be interested again.

    Can you imagine the Democrats doing any of those things?

    P.S. Some people thought it was really hokey, but I liked Zardoz. There may never be another movie made like that again.

  44. Say it again, Woodie.

    I am not too sure I will renew Reason, after an almost lifetime of subscription. Kinda like when a few years ago I finally dumped “Scientific American” when it ceased to be scientific and it ceased to be American.

    Pity.

  45. “Who said it?”

    Slightly worried, I looked, and to my relief no one of any conceivable importance said something so ludicrous as to consider Harry Browne “decent”.

  46. woody-

    So, let’s say for the sake of argument that a leftist agrees with libertarians on some issue. And, let’s just suppose that the leftist says “Well, because I think this issue is important, and because I disagree with all of the other candidates out there on so many things, I endorse this libertarian candidate.”

    What, exactly, is wrong with saying “Hey, look, our side got some cross-over support! Whoo-hoo!”

    Perhaps you’d be happier if the LP had poll-watchers to monitor cross-over votes. At every polling place a pre-screened purist would confront voters. “Excuse me, ma’am, are you planning to vote for an LP candidates today? Oh, really. Well, I have to ask, do you disagree with the LP on any significant issues? Hmm, that’s a shame. Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to vote for some other candidate. Thank you for your discontinued support.”

  47. BTW, I suppose a less stringent purity cop would be acceptable to Woody:

    “Ma’am, on those issues where you disagree with the LP, is your stance closer to the Democrats or closer to the Republicans? Really, the Democrats… Well, here’s what I can do ma’am. I’ll let you vote for the LP candidate, but you have to sign a non-disclosure agreement certifying that you won’t tell anybody else that you voted for an LP candidate. It would be an embarassment to us if word leaked out that you agree with us on something. Yes, right there on the dotted line. And just initial here, and don’t forget to include today’s date. OK, thank-you for your undisclosed support. Feel free to donate to our campaigns, but please make sure the donation is via an anonymous Swiss account.”

  48. I’ve got plenty of complaints about the current state of Reason, and have openly expressed them. I don’t understand this particular beef, though. Gillespie’s post didn’t read to me as, “Whoo-hoo, cross-over support!” and it certainly didn’t read as an endorsement of Cockburn.

    The vibe I got was more like, “Check out this weird thing — kinda funky!”

  49. Re: Russo’s crackpot tendencies:

    If the best you can come up with to liken a candidate to crackpottedness is to point out a taste for alternative medicine and the gold standard, then you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do regarding Reagan who wanted to get the country back on the gold standard as was a believer in astrology.

    I disagree strongly with the gold standard, and I also believe that quackery isn’t confined to “alternative” medicine. Our current president considered a country with a bare-bones air force and an even smaller navy as a “grave threat to America.” If you really base crackpot tendencies on two relatively innocuous beliefs, then any cursory analysis of history would indicate every US President to have crackpot tendencies.

  50. John Hood:

    “WMD stockpiles have not been found, but programs, research, and intent have. Links between Hussein’s regime and anti-American terrorists abound.”

    Even with the most generous construction of the terms, there were no Iraqi “programs”, research, or intent that posed a credible threat to our security, let alone sufficient to justify a war. The “links”, of the Hussein regime to anti-American terrorists do not constitute anything close to a war worthy threat, and if that criteria was applied to other regimes, including friendly ones which receive US tax dollars, as a suitable pretext for war, our government would be at war with over 10 nations for sure!

    Another thing that we no for sure is that the US government engaged in a lot of neo-con inspired duplicity to make the WMD and terrorist connections seem war worthy. These lies are now called “Intelligence failures”.

  51. …make that “…we know for sure…” Sorry about that.

  52. RE: Dan at April 18, 07:23 AM,

    The errror in this post is that the actions of the government are not the same as “America” or “We”. The evidence is that US government actions percipitated the murderous 9/11 attacks:

    In his 9/11 Fatwa, Bin Laden told us his three reason for the 9/11 attack:

    1. The American military in the Arabian Peninsula too close to Mecca.

    2.The blockade if Iraq.

    3. American government support for the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land.

    http://www.ict.org.il/articles/fatwah.htm

    If our government had listened to the admonitions of the founders of our republic the 9/11 tragedy would likely not have happened:

  53. What is wrong with the gold standard? It seems like a good idea. What is the argument against it?

  54. “Enjoy your Kerry Libertarianism.”

    Kerry’s ideas make me nauseous! I think antiwar.com is a fount of wisdom and I am indeed a Republican. (take heart, Ruthless)

  55. Sam,

    There are 3 ways to get international friends

    1. Common interests
    2. Bribery
    3. Beat them into submission

    If #1 doesn’t work and #2 is too expensive try #3 until one of the parties comes to its senses.

  56. Kwais,

    The problem with the gold standard is that due to the currenrt price level there is not enough gold in the world to support the current level of financial activity.

    To make it work you would have to inflate the price of gold, creating havoc in markets where gold has actual uses like electronics. BTW what happens when government tries to hit gold holders with a windfall profits tax? Or you would have to deflate every thing else.

    What would you choose? How would you make it happen?

  57. Ruthless:

    I am not a Republican, if that’s what you were implying. More generally, if you find the loony Antiwar.com persuasive and the excruciating Zardoz enjoyable, then you and I will just have to agree to disagree.

  58. While I am not ready to mount a scholarly disertation about the current trends of Reason, neither will I spend too much time rationalizing not renewing. Reason obviously has passed me by, just as the majority of contributors here seem to have. Enjoy your Kerry Libertarianism.

  59. For Dan and others, some other quotes from Mr. Browne, which I was able to find on his website inside of five minutes. It’s not hard:

    “I hope anyone responsible for the attack who didn’t die in it will be found, tried, and punished appropriately.”

    “I didn’t say they [terrorists] could [be reasoned with]. I said we shouldn’t give them legitimate reasons to direct their misguided zeal at the U.S.”

    In other quotes, which can be found in his essays and heard on his weekly radio programs, Browne has made clear that it makes no more sense to blame Americans for the terrorism directed against them, as it did to blame the Afghanis or even the Iraqis for 911. The specific people who committed acts of aggression, and the leadership who enabled and encouraged them, are those who deserve blame, and those who should bear the punishment, insofar as we can manage. As horrible as the deaths of innocent Americans were, have been the deaths of innocent Afghanis and Iraqis. The American people as a whole aren’t killing the Iraqis; the Afghani or Iraqi people as whole populations didn’t endorse the killing of Americans. Browne does, however, offer the people of all these countries, especially the US, an alternative: quit supporting the bad behavior of their leadership that give other leaders the opening they need to keep the cycle of violence going for another round.

    Browne doesn’t advocate “isolationism.” He, like many libertarians, wants an America that is actively engaged in commerce and cultural exchange with the rest of the world, through the decisions and actions of individuals and private organizations, not through some centralized government agency or policy. Putting our military everywhere and leaning on first one foreign government and then the next — interventionism, which is well-documented in our history — is not the proper foreign policy of any government that professes to respect and secure freedom, whether for its own citizens or the world. Browne and others who think as he does are anti-interventionists, which is quite different from being “isolationist,” just as non-busybodies are quite different from wallflowers.

    Browne doesn’t advocate “isolationism.” He, like many libertarians, wants an America that is actively engaged in commerce and cultural exchange with the rest of the world, through the decisions and actions of individuals and private organizations, not through some centralized government agency or policy. Putting our military everywhere and leaning on first one foreign government and then the next — interventionism, which is well-documented in our history — is not the proper foreign policy of any government that professes to respect and secure freedom, whether for its own citizens or the world. Browne and others who think as he does are anti-interventionists, which is quite different from being “isolationist,” just as non-busybodies are quite different from wallflowers.

    Browne doesn’t advocate “isolationism.” He, like many libertarians, wants an America that is actively engaged in commerce and cultural exchange with the rest of the world, through the decisions and actions of individuals and private organizations, not through some centralized government agency or policy. Putting our military everywhere and leaning on first one foreign government and then the next — interventionism, which is well-documented in our history — is not the proper foreign policy of any government that professes to respect and secure freedom, whether for its own citizens or the world. Browne and others who think as he does are anti-interventionists, which is quite different from being “isolationist,” just as non-busybodies are quite different from wallflowers.

    Instead of throwing around such words as “Loonyville” and “diseased,” why didn’t Dan include the following quotes from the same article of Browne’s that he cited:

    “Perhaps you don’t agree with me. You may think our government was justified in everything it has done. Or maybe you think I’m overstating the importance of American support of oppressive foreign governments.

    “Fair enough. But you must admit that this is a legitimate issue to be debated. So why isn’t the 9-11 Commission studying it? Why aren’t journalists and TV hosts interviewing people on both sides of the question to help form opinions?”

    Or try this one:

    “Americans may not know about the support provided to these tyrants by the U.S. government, but I can assure you that plenty of people in those countries do know what our government has done to them.

    “Because Americans know so little about the history of our government’s adventures of the last 50 years … it’s easy for Americans to buy George Bush’s logic when he says, ‘See, these people hate freedom.’ Consequently, most people believe that the history of violence began on 9-11, when it’s actually been building for 50 years.”

    These are thoughtful comments, in my opinion. Reading Browne’s ENTIRE essay, I get the impression that, while he has strong opinions that he is willing to support with examples and facts, he acknowledges that others may disagree with him, and he encourages a discussion of that disagreement based on facts and, where appropriate, even logic. If Browne blames Americans for anything, I think it is for being ignorant of and disengaged from the government policy decisions that yield horrific consequences — and willfully remaining so, which has left our elected leaders free to play war games over the past several decades. That is just my opinion, however: I don’t want to put words in Mr. Browne’s mouth.

    Listen to the words of Osama bin Laden, the designated bogeyman of the hour. Thanks to Rick Barton, in his post above, for saving me the trouble of repeating them here. Osama bin Laden does not call for destruction of the infidels because they are infidels, but because of specific oppressions, which resonate with the everyday middle-easterner on the street. Osama and those swayed by his words are fully to blame — and should be held fully responsible — for 911 and much of the terrorism that plagues the world today. But would he have a leg to stand on — could he convince people to give up their lives to cripple “The Great Satan” — were America’s foreign policy truly a peaceful one? Browne’s point, it seems to me, was never to blame America First, but merely to warn us not to play — or to keep playing — into the hands of middle eastern politicians and demagogues. What is wrong with having a smart, peace-oriented foreign policy, at least going forward, instead of a stupid, belligerent policy? If we can’t ask and answer honest questions like that, without people descending into denial and vitriolic, ad hominem attack, then we’re apparently stuck on an endless carousel ride of death. Haven’t you had enough? We have to stop this crazy thing. It’s clear that our so-called leaders have either no ability or insufficient motivation to do so.

  60. Sorry about the repeated paragraph that begins “Browne doesn’t advocate isolationism…” It should have appeared only once.

    I don’t know how that happened. The paragraph only appeared once in the original “Comments” window, before I clicked the “post” button. Perhaps the same mechanism that caused the “burp” also led the message posting subsystem to suspect yesterday’s attempt to post an earlier version of this message, of being a case of “spam.” See my “what the f” message further back in this thread. I think the comments mechanism is not well…

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