"So… Still Against the Civil War."

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That Ron Paul interview on Bill Maher's show has been thoroughly YouTubed, and it's… not very good. Maher sacked up to grill Paul on his less popular beliefs, which is admirable. But the lazy manner in which he does that and Paul's unwillingness to joke around with him leads to a waste of a six minute segment.

This is really strange. Obviously a sticky "you're so right, congressman!" interview would have been unwatchable. But compare this to Maher's soft-touch interview with Mike Huckabee, the Arkansas governor who's actually tied or behind Paul in the polls. "How's the campaign going?" "You are from Hope, Arkansas. No matter how good you are, what do you think the chances are that we'd have two presidents from Hope, Arkansas?" "In 2005 you said 'I think President Bush has done a pretty good job.' Do you still stand by that?" As a result, there are anti-drug war, anti-Iraq war HBO viewers who got a better first impression of Huckabee than of Ron Paul. 

NEXT: Loan Arrangers

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  1. Impression? You are making excuses for them. If people can’t spend 5 minutes, literally 5 minutes, researching Ron Paul to see his general stances then that is on them. Hell, I am a former statist who was converted to Goldwater Conservativisn (and I will eventually become a libertarian once I work out the intellectual kinks) due to Reason.com, Lewrockwell.com, Ayn Rand, Rothbard, Ron Paul, Cato, etc. With the exception of Reason and its “lifestyle libertarianism” all I knew was “bad impressions” and “caricatures” of the others. I still took the time to do research.

    Really, you shouldn’t say they came away with a bad impression, but instead, “They couldn’t do the research that is required to counter their impression.”

    STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE STUPIDITY AND INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS OF THE MASSES!!! We Have Paternalists and Nanny-Statists for that.

  2. Edit: Conservatism

    Edit 2: Not that you said “bad impression” in its worst form. Still, I am riding a hard line when it comes to excuses for Americans. Something like 95%-98% of voters vote for Dem/Repubs, and of that most vote for who they think everyone else is voting, or will vote, for (in primaries). Call a groupthinker a groupthinker.

  3. This interview was far to short to be worth much more than a Maher expose’ on “aren’t I cool” why can’t you kiss my ass. I’ve never thought much of Maher and this didn’t improve any of my processes.

    Ron Paul was… well, Ron Paul and could have called Maher a ‘F-wit’ (or did). He still has my vote since no other candidate comes close to my concept of an libertarian reality.

    Ditch the CIA, FBI, FAA, XXX and the rest of the cesspool. Replace NSA management with productive management from the available pool of reputable thinkers and achievers. Oh wait, those guys won’t take gov’t jobs.

    And while you’re at it, ditch congress.

  4. Watching the article, I think the interview came off pretty well myself.
    Bill Maher is a very liberaltarian. He is simply a lifestyle libertarian, not an economic anti state libertarian at all.
    Maher is very pro Israel, very Green, a member of PETA, and very very much riding the global warming hobby horse. Ron did a good job, as always, of sticking to the truth and not pandering to Maher.

    Too bad the war on drugs did not come up.

    PS Maher did the same thing to Harry Browne. Talked him up a little as a libertarian, but endorsed Ralph Nader instead.

  5. I had hoped Maher would discuss one of the many issues where he (supposedly) agrees with Ron Paul, but I guess it was easier to play “make fun of the libertoid” and bitch about corporations.

  6. Bill Maher is a very liberaltarian. He is simply a lifestyle libertarian, not an economic anti state libertarian at all.

    It seems like most “L.A.” or “South park” libertarians fit that description.

  7. you’re crazy, ron paul dominated.

    Anybody who watches the show with any common sense would have at least been intrigued by what he said. Maher tried to give him a tough interview but was totally outclassed. Anybody with any common sense who watches the show would at the very least have been intrigued by what Paul stands for and would be curious about the rest of his platform.

    in 5 minutes that’s all you can ask for.

  8. This is just me talkin’, but I thought Maher came off like kind of an asshole by going on about the civil war thing when there are clearly more important issues to be discussing…like, oh, I don’t know, the war on drugs maybe? Not only that, he didn’t even really listen to Paul’s response, he just wanted to use “Against the Civil War” as an all-purpose pejorative whenever Paul countered him with a serious point. Pretty intellectually lazy stuff there, i.e., exactly what you would expect from a TV talking head.

  9. i forgot to proofread and yeah that was a pretty horrendous post. sorry bout that.

  10. but I thought Maher came off like kind of an asshole by going on about the civil war thing

    The Civil War is enshrouded in myth and one that most Americans believe.

    “ike, oh, I don’t know, the war on drugs maybe”

    He already discussed that with Albright. Once again, if people can’t do the research…

  11. you’re crazy, ron paul dominated.

    I wouldn’t go that far. He seemed pretty spooked by some of the questions and kind of over-explained his positions while sounding a little less than confident about them. He also was underprepared for the GW question which he should have seem coming a mile away. If he had answered some of the questions a little more tersely with a little more confidence in his voice, his responses would have gone over much better.

    He also seemed really taken aback when Maher yelled “NO THERE AREN’T” in his face, which is something you just have to be prepared for if you are going to go on shows with these TV pundit asswipes. You have to take that intensity and either rechannel it gracefully with concessions or throw it right back with incisive points backed up by hard facts. Paul didn’t really do either, although he perhaps save a little face by shifting the debate to foreign inteventions and subsidies for oil companies. It was a little bit pandering and struck me as a dodge, but it seemed to play fairly well with the crowd. Overall, he seemed a little on edge and didn’t come off very well at all to me. Of course, I still support him, but his already slim chances of gaining the nomination seem even slimmer after seeing that interview.

  12. Considering he got applause from an audience conditioned to hate him and made bill maher look like a fool on his own show I think he did a pretty damn good job.

  13. The Civil War is enshrouded in myth and one that most Americans believe.

    Be that as it may, there are a lot of serious issues that need to be addressed in America today, and the burning question of whether or not the Civil War was justified isn’t really at the top of the list. Paul’s stances on the WOD, the Iraq War, free trade, corporate welfare, farm subsidies, immigration, etc, would probably have been much more germane to potential primary voters than his stance on the Civil War.

    FWIW, here’s how I would have responded to Maher: Bill, I have a lot of intellectual opinions on a lot of different aspects of American history, but only a few of them are relevant to the political issues that are before the voters, and this one isn’t. So I would prefer that we focus on some of those issues, like […].

  14. Bill Maher is a very liberaltarian. He is simply a lifestyle libertarian, not an economic anti state libertarian at all.

    Otherwise known as a “throbing boner libertarian”. His idea of libertarianism is that government shouldn’t interfere with his having a good time, but damned if the taxpayers shouldn’t pick up the tab for the consequences – just ask him about government health care.

    Maher is very pro Israel, very Green, a member of PETA, and very very much riding the global warming hobby horse….
    ….PS Maher did the same thing to Harry Browne. Talked him up a little as a libertarian, but endorsed Ralph Nader instead.

    In otherwords, libertarian my ass. He’s a standard-issue liberal, who probably calls himself a libertarian to let us all know how “unique” he is.

    Maher got it right himself – he is closer to Chairman Mao than Ron Paul.

    He also seemed really taken aback when Maher yelled “NO THERE AREN’T” in his face, which is something you just have to be prepared for if you are going to go on shows with these TV pundit asswipes.

    I expect part of that was due to an expectation of getting a fair hearing, given Maher’s insistance on calling himself a libertarian – an assertion that makes my ass water every time I hear him make it.

    For all that, Paul didn’t come off quite as badly as Weigal’s summary led me to believe. Not brilliant – but at least not a disaster, either.

  15. Considering he got applause from an audience conditioned to hate him and made bill maher look like a fool on his own show I think he did a pretty damn good job.

    How are those rose-colored glasses working out for you Stephen? Pretty well, it seems.

    I’ll meet you halfway…it wasn’t as bad as it could have been (we’ll have to wait for Paul on O’Reilly for that), and yes he did manage to wrangle some applause out of what was surely a mostly hostile audience, but it could have been a lot better with better preparation and a more direct and confident speaking style. Paul also needs to learn to deflect the really stupid questions or risk being beaten about the head with irrelevant rhetorical points from assholes like Maher. Hopefully he learned something from that appearence without it being a total loss.

  16. an assertion that makes my ass water every time I hear him make it.

    ?????????

  17. This is just me talkin’, but I thought Maher came off like kind of an asshole by going on about the civil war thing when there are clearly more important issues to be discussing…like, oh, I don’t know, the war on drugs maybe? Not only that, he didn’t even really listen to Paul’s response, he just wanted to use “Against the Civil War” as an all-purpose pejorative whenever Paul countered him with a serious point. Pretty intellectually lazy stuff there, i.e., exactly what you would expect from a TV talking head.

    The “civil war” thing wasn’t an insult so much as a bad joke. Maher was trying to inject humor into a dry interview (after all, his show is supposed to be funny, even if listening to D.L. Hughely opine about the rate at which Bush’s men are getting subpoenaed is hardly a gut-buster).

    Ron Paul did OK in the interview, even if he was a bit dour. Maher’s questions were weak, and obviously aimed to make Paul look like a loon (Hah! You want to ABOLISH THE CIA!). No surprise that there wasn’t a single mention of drug laws, the war in Iraq, or the PATRIOT Act. Maher is about as libertarian as a labor union boss.

  18. with the exception of the first part of global warming answer and perhaps some of the FAA answer, i thought Paul did quite well. as mentioned above, the applause that he received for his “stop subsidising oil corporations” line showed how clearly he explained his reasoning and how strongly his answer appealed to the crowd. you can even see Maher get flustered by the crowd’s response as he realizes that this “extremist” (as Maher himslef pretty much labels Paul at the start of the interview) is outclassing him.
    as far as Paul’s speaking style, well, that is how he speaks. as we can see from our current president and his father, crisp and clear speaking is not neccessarily going to make or break you. if people are smart, then Paul’s political views will more than make up for his speaking style when it’s time to vote.

  19. Paul did well at giving reasonable answers to unreasonable questions, but perhaps should have tried to steer the interview to issues that really matter. A simple “I’m not running to abolish the FAA or undo the Civil War, I’m running to restore the constitutional limits on presidential power, end the war in Iraq, and start whittling away at the 3-trillion-dollar federal budget” might have done the trick.

    I guess Ron Paul doesn’t do spin very well, and it’s unusual to see a politician actually answer the questions asked of him.

  20. as far as Paul’s speaking style, well, that is how he speaks. as we can see from our current president and his father, crisp and clear speaking is not neccessarily going to make or break you.

    That is true, but unlike Bush, Paul is at the disadvantage of coming from relative obscurity and advocating for some pretty unpopular issues. Selling people on the philosophy of limited government is much more difficult than taking a poll on the most popular position re the hot-button issues of the day and parroting that back to the audience. Also unlike Bush, Paul is a very intelligent individual, and I have no doubt he could become a top-notch speaker with some practice and coaching. In fact, he is already a very good speaker when working from prepared material, he just needs to adapt to the back and forth style of TV interviews to be really excellent.

    if people are smart, then Paul’s political views will more than make up for his speaking style when it’s time to vote.

    It’s the first part of that conditional that worries me. In any case, Paul needs to sell his political views, and that requires better interactional style. In a perfect world, of course, people would all do massive research on each candidate before voting for something as important as POTUS. Realistically, most people vote for a candidate based on pre-existing ideology and how the person comes off on TV. Paul is already at a disadvantage in that not many people share his ideology. I don’t want him to face the double disadvantage of coming off poorly on TV, that’s all.

  21. “Maher is very pro Israel, very Green, a member of PETA, and very very much riding the global warming hobby horse.”

    I haven’t watched Maher in a while (no HBO), but supporting Israel, environmental protection, and animal rights are all perfectly compatible with libertarianism. Libertarians believe that government has limited roles to play; there are definitely defenses to be made of government action on the latter two fronts, and support for Israel against perceived threats doesn’t necessarily entail any specific U.S. national policy toward Israel.

  22. I though Rep Paul made the single most important statement regarding the slavery issue that I have heard in years….that we needn’t have had a civil war to end the practice! Mechanized agriculture was not unheard of by that time and was only going to grow in importance. The issue of slavery could have been resolved (had we been more civilized) without the centralization of power that resulted from the civil war!

    When Rep Paul made this claim Maher looked like a dog who had just been shown a card trick! That should give a pretty good indication as to the kind of libertarian Maher really is!

  23. Perhaps a gentleman with the last name “Maher” is more likely find the argument that slavery and mechanization are incompatible to be less convincing than a man with the last name “Paul.”

  24. Holy smokes, he thinks the FAA was responsible for 9/11?

    I mean, I’m open to the argument that allowing guns on planes could have helped, but that’s not something you bring up on a show like that…

  25. joe,

    Yeah, especially since the two are quite compatible in Chairman Mao’s country today…

  26. I haven’t watched Maher in a while (no HBO), but supporting Israel, environmental protection, and animal rights are all perfectly compatible with libertarianism.

    Depends on how to achieve the compability – if Mahler is willing to foot the bill or his preferences, then he is a libertarian. Otherwise, he is just another fascist.

  27. Sorry – foot the bill ON his preferences.

  28. I’m suprised how Maher dogged Paul about the Civil War; I would had expected Bill to be against mutant registration.

  29. crimethink,

    Good example, although I was thinking of the Nazis.

    But while we’re coming up with examples – and there are many – to refute the contention that mechanization would eliminate slavery, we needn’t go so far afield. In the 1850s and 60s, American slaves were contracted out as day labor to industrial and craft operations in the South – not in any great numbers, since the South didn’t have a great deal of industry, but in increasing numbers as it slowly grew. And as agriculture and mechanization become increasingly linked, the agrarian elite in the South would likely have diversified their operations to include processing of agricultural products. What we’re referring to as mechanized industry in the mid-to-late 1800s was quite labor-intensive.

  30. Well, no, not quite. If Maher has a good argument for why acting on those concerns is a legitimate function of a limited government, then that’s still within the borders of libertarianism. But again, that is what’s issue. It’s not that different from libertarians who disagree about other legitimate uses of government. Some libertarians supported the Iraq war, others didn’t. There was no need for excommunication there, just a debate about the merits of the action in question.

  31. Oh, I’m sorry, crimethink. Was that supposed to be a cheap shot at me, on the theory that poiting out the awful labor practices in China would irritate a labor-liberal like me?

    Ha ha, good one, my buddy Mao Zedong…

  32. i simply don’t understand how bill maher can consider himself a libertarian on any level.

    does the word have no meaning at all any more?

  33. I’ve got no idea what surnames bring to that argument. Though he represents Texas, Dr. Paul grew up in Pennsylvania, and his family is mostly old Protestant German stock. Mr. Maher frequently jokes that he is half Jewish, half-Irish Catholic, giving him an especially hybridized sense of guilt. 🙂 How all this is relevant is beyond me.

    Rep. Paul didn’t mention mechanization, did he? There’s a good case to be made that mechanization would have led to a reduced need for labor on Southern plantations. That would have produced a political crisis: either Southern farmers would clamor for access to new land in the West, where they could introduce the slave system, and thereby have someplace for their “excess” bondsmen to labor, or pressure for manumission would increase. The first possibilty was already an issue prior to the Civil War, and Western land being closed to the slave system was a major Southern grievance. Remember, it was the introduction of new tech – the Cotton Gin – that made planting cotton more profitable, and increased demand for more land to plant. That’s an argument against the pure “states’ rights” interpretation of the rebellion, BTW. The War wasn’t just about the South keeping the arrangements it already had, where they already obtained, but also about expanding slavery. The second impulse would not have been without its problems. As in the post-Reconstruction era, when outright slavery was replaced with a form of debt peonage (sharecropping), the legal and economic status the Freedmen would be likely to get would have been pretty unpleasant. I’d have expected second class citizenship, if citizenship at all, to start with. Poor whites forced to compete in the labor market with either slaves or free blacks pushed off the plantation would have been a recipe for political turmoil. It already was in our timeline, and was a major source of support for Jim Crow.

    Still, how does wishing that we had gone the route of compensated manumission, rather than that of war, make one a nut?

    Maher and the PETA crowd aren’t being libertarian when they push for animal “rights.” Rights belong to persons, so when some scientists develop a Federation Universal Translator? or discover the Babel Fish, and dolphins and primates can speak up for themselves, I’m going to go right along assuming that rights belong to sapient, not just sentient animals. Go ahead and oppose animal cruelty, and define it as widely as you care to. There are plenty of good reasons to favor humane treatment, not the least of which is that casual cruelty toward animals is a training ground for the same treatment of your fellow humans. Just don’t clothe your sympathy for lesser beings in rights-talk. Animals aren’t persons, and only persons have rights.

    Kevin

  34. joe,

    No, for once I’m not being snarky. I was referring to Maher’s line at the beginning of the video: “I think of myself as a libertarian, but I’m Chairman Mao compared to you.”

    Actually, didn’t slavery become far more important in the South after Eli Whitney* invented the cotton gin in 1793, eliminating the need for skilled labor in harvesting cotton? That’s one example of mechanization actually increasing the need for slaves.

    * or his wife, for you feminist revisionist historians out there.

  35. joe | April 1, 2007, 4:34pm | #

    Perhaps a gentleman with the last name “Maher” is more likely find the argument that slavery and mechanization are incompatible to be less convincing than a man with the last name “Paul.”

    Kevrob already did a better job of rebuttal than I could! Why don’t you skulk back to Pandagon now.

  36. Sorry, Kevin, I didn’t notice that you’d already brought up the cotton gin. Scooped again!

  37. Oh, God, why did he fall for the Civil War bait?

    If confronted with his stance, he probably should have said something like that “Look, I’m just about always against war.” And then change topics, perhaps to Iraq.

    At least on global warming he changed topics to the Iraq War and favors for oil companies. Say what you will about those topics, but as a rhetorical move it was skillful.

  38. thoreau,

    Or maybe he could have pretended he thought Maher was referring to a different civil war.

    “Yes, absolutely, I don’t think we should be fighting in the civil war in Iraq…”

  39. The reality is less than 1% of citizens are “LP” libertarians, or even “reason libertarians” for that matter.

    The number of “ron paul conservatives/libertarins” is VERY small as well. Combine ALL these people and maybe you get 2-3%.

    The same people getting mad at Maher ( who IMHO is NOT a bad guy. I am an extreme hard-core libertarian and I have always liked Maher. If you ever watch shows, you would get he usually gives everyone a hard time and tries to use comedy. For shows like this you need to know what you are getting into- just like Oreilly, Daily Show, Colbert,etc.) for being not libertarian enough or not a “real libertarian”

    -are probably the same people who ejaculate every time they read an article from the LP or the Advocates or Reason or wherever that implies some “celeb” ( Clint Eastwood, Drew Carey, Penn, Mojo Nixon, The dude from Ski School,etc) MIGHT be a libertarian/Libertarian.

    AND Wet their panties at every “Poll” with some INFLATED # of Libertarians ( like 16-30%, YEAH RIGHT) that obviously count people like MAHER.

    Now obviously Maher isnt the LP version of a 1%er, or even strictly speaking a libertarian ( I would say he is a liberal with some libertarian beliefs).

    But you CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

    If you want to be a 100% libertarian purist, you must realize that less than 1% of people agree with you. That is a Fact. Any of those bogus polls that make you wet yoursself are fantasyland.

    Almost no one agrees with you, and your ideas will never have political success in your lifetime. Thats just reality. Believe me, I know what its like. Ive spent most of my life being the only person I know with strict libertarian ( lifestyle and philosophical views)views. But Ive come to accept our differences. I am in a very small minority and I am not an Evangelist. Im not wasting my life trying to convert people to libertarianism it is a lost cause.

    Sometimes you have to face reality:
    MOST people will NEVER vote for a libertarian. MANY people are STUPID and will NEVER agree with our philosophy and “see the light.”

    However, if you work on specific issues with people who agree ( you might be working with Greens on drug reform, but no economics,etc)without beating them over the head with your Libertarian Bibles, you might get somewhere.

    OR if you say ” You know what, you are ONLY a 60-80% libertarian, but that’s good enough. You can work with us. We have a few disagreements over issues ( that no one other than libertarians and masturbatory philosophy clubs care about), but obviously you support freedom and want to work in the direction of moe freedom and less gov’t,etc- Welcome aboard.”

    But some things are just a lost cause. For example somewhere around 70-80% of people support Universal Healthcare..and its getting worse. And believe it or not a lot of conservatives and some libertarians see it as inevitable and even support it. Calling 80% of people statists because they support somthing like that is not going to help our cause.

    Libertarians offer NOTHING in the way of solutions. Libertarians only offer philosophy in a negative role. People dont give a fuck about that. And frankly a lot of my fellow Libertarians have no ideas for real problems and are a bunch of parrots ( “I am in the top 1% of superior humans. Everyone else is stupid..blah blah blah.”).

    For REAL people, “get the government out of it” is not a solution. Especially for very complicated issues where there IS NO FREE MARKET,etc.

  40. I thought Ron Paul acquitted himself quite well.

    I think that there are three broad themes to mass media opposition to libertarianism.

    1) The major one is that libertarian positions tend to point out the inherent contradictions in the currently accepted systems of American society, and it evokes the same visceral desire for suppression that all heresies who make the orthodox feel uncomfortable.

    The orthodox view of American society is that there is a grand, consistent march. In essence, the original libertarian-in-principle society of the U.S. seccession from England is then enhanced by the brutal suppression of the Southern secession and then the adoption of Bismarkian welfare/warfare state.

    The policies libertarians promote expose contradictions between the latter developments and the principles supposedly enshrined in the origin of the United States. Faced with this contradiction, and unwilling to reject one or the other contradictory ides, the orthodox naturally want the people who are bothering them go away.

    2) Less important than item 1) but certainly a significant reaction is a dislike amongst some media leaders of the implication of libertarian government. I call this the ‘Hearst Effect’. Basically, a government that broadly follows libertarian principles is boring. There are no aggressive wars or other ‘grand crusades’ that help sell papers. Of course, in a libertarian society, there would still be news-worthy events, there would still be people attempting to reshape society through propaganda – but, mass news media would have to work harder to generate public interest in their product.

    3) There are some who genuinely hate libertarian ideas, who are Progressives or Socialists or whatever, who wish to suppress libertarianism because they view it as dangerously radical. Personally, I think that this is by far the least significant factor in the hostility of main-stream media to libertarianism.

  41. kevrob,

    “I’ve got no idea what surnames bring to that argument.” It’s a roundabout way of pointing out that we have a fairly famous example of mechanized slavery in the recent past – the slave labor the Nazi work camps. Slavery can work very well in an industrial economy.

    “Still, how does wishing that we had gone the route of compensated manumission, rather than that of war, make one a nut?” Because it fails to eliminate slavery, fails to recognize the human rights of the enslaves, and enriches the people engaged in advancing slavery.

    fish,

    “Kevrob already did a better job of rebuttal than I could!” If you say so. I didn’t notice him actually rebutting anything I wrote.

    crimethink,

    Ah, my bad.

  42. Now obviously Maher isnt the LP version of a 1%er, or even strictly speaking a libertarian ( I would say he is a liberal with some libertarian beliefs).

    But you CANT HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

    If you want to be a 100% libertarian purist, you must realize that less than 1% of people agree with you. That is a Fact. Any of those bogus polls that make you wet yoursself are fantasyland.

    Bill Maher is NOT any kind of friend of the Libertarian movement. He favors socialized medicine, major changes to human lifestyle to fight global warming, bigger taxes, affirmative action, gun control, etc, etc, etc. His opposition to the Iraq war is based on hatred for Bush not principled non interventionist beliefs.

    Ocasionally we have to compromise. I sometimes vote Republican. But Maher is a fucking new age nature worshiping socialist.

  43. And one more thing. Maher voted for Ralph Nader in 00 and didn’t in 08 just out of strategic reasons.

    Ralph Nader, who one said “the comsumer needs to be protected from his own vanity,” and called big business “our dirty little secret.”

  44. I thought Ron Paul did pretty well, considering.

  45. Kevrob–
    I agree that rights talk is silly when it comes to animals (although apes may indeed qualify under some conceptions of personhood). But I think in general the animal rights crowd is only concerned with one interest of animals, the most important interest of all: The right to be left alone.

    I haven’t heard Maher or Peter Singer or Matthew Scully or anyone else you probably associate with “animal rights” talk about giving animals the right to vote or an education. They just operate under the burden of poor framing.

    I think a libertarian who has seen what factory farms look like would have to admit that it doesn’t fall under humane treatment under any definition and then consider what to do about it. And that’s a much fairer way of examining an issue than deciding government action is inappropriate and making the facts accommodate pre-existing anti-government sentiment (the way a lot of libertarians seem to do when it comes to global warming).

  46. What do Nazi work camps have to with the name “Maher”? It’s an Irish name.

  47. How can Bill Maher call himself a libertarian? Because if he doesn’t, he’s Al Franken.

  48. Al Franken is much funnier and better informed than Bill Maher. Pick up Lies and the Lying Liars and prepare to laugh your ass off.

  49. I thought Ron Paul did pretty well, considering.

    Agreed.

  50. And Bill Maher may not be a friend of libertarianism, but neither are social Darwinist creeps like Grand Chalupa.

  51. You, mr. shark, know nothing of me or my positions.

  52. Paul completely fucked it up. I was a lukewarm supporter until now. Sort of like I was a Perot supporter until I actually heard his ideas – from him. Depressing…

  53. Joe,

    You’re right I shouldn’t have tried to borrow Kevrobs’ statement/question and cite it as example of rebuttal. Since you want to revert back to debate class 101 rules perhaps you would like to present evidence of how the Mahers suffered under the heels of the Paul clan and this gives then some unique insight as to why mechanization would necessarily reinforce the practice rather than potentially lead to a reduction or eventual elimination. Remember Nazi slavery and slavery in the United States had two complete end states. Nazi slaves were generally worked to death and worked in lieu of going directly to the gas chambers. Slaves in the U.S. were property and as vile as the practice may have been were dealt with like farm animals, they had to be maintained, working them to death would have been an expensive proposition.

    Machinery, while expensive initially, generally performed the work better and almost never attempted to run away!

  54. Ha, private property saves the day again!

    All bow down and worship the Invisible Hand!

  55. “I’ve got no idea what surnames bring to that argument.” It’s a roundabout way of pointing out that we have a fairly famous example of mechanized slavery in the recent past – the slave labor the Nazi work camps. Slavery can work very well in an industrial economy.

    No it can’t. The slave labor of the Nazi system was a total failure. Despite using slave labor there was no way that Germany could possibly keep up with an all-voluntary economy like the U.S., or England. Nor was the slave system sustainable: the Nazis were clearly burning through their slave labor supply – They would have had no-one left to use as slave labor had they continued the way they did.

    One of the primary reasons Germany lost the war was BECAUSE of slave labor. They wasted a class of people who were disproportionatly buisness owners, scientists, and professionals by forcing them to do the least skilled and least valuable labor. Had Germany not adopted a racist ideology, and had all the Jewish scientists, mathmaticians, etc., not escaped Europe to come to the U.S. and instead worked for the Germans, WWII would have most certainly turned out a lot different (assuming, of course, that the war would have happened at all).

    But you are still avoiding the topic joe… If the Civil War was nessicary to abolish slavery, why did France, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc., manage to abolish slavery without it causing a civil war? Isn’t it reasonable to believe that a peaceful solution would be possible? The U.S. could have purchased the freedom of all the slaves, purchased the 40 acres and a mule for all the slaves, and wouldn’t even come close to the costs of the Civil War. Not to mention the creation of a Federal Army directly led to the conquest of the West and genocide of the natives living there.

    Give us one good reason why the U.S. couldn’t have ended slavery without a Civil War?

  56. Ron Paul, bless his soul (if an atheist like me can offer a blessing) simply doesn’t have the communication skill to make a libertarian case to actual human citizen/voters. He’s the nerdy PC guy up against the cool MAC dude in those Apple commercials. I am afraid the congressman’s presidential candidacy is probably undermining the libertarian case rather than helping it. Wish it weren’t so, but it is.

  57. Ron Paul comes off as a dorky, mild-mannered, humorless fuck. He’s not even worth a good laugh.

  58. PETA’s agenda/philosophy is completely incompatible with American Culture- much less the libertarian elements.

  59. joe responded to my “I’ve got no idea what surnames bring to that argument.” with

    It’s a roundabout way of pointing out that we have a fairly famous example of mechanized slavery in the recent past – the slave labor the Nazi work camps. Slavery can work very well in an industrial economy.

    Besides fish pointing out that the Paul clan had nothing to do with the Third Reich’s method of slavery, whether the Jewish side of Bill Mahers’s family was persecuted during the Holocaust or not, this next bit is nonsense:

    Because it {compensated manumission} fails to eliminate slavery, fails to recognize the human rights of the enslaves, and enriches the people engaged in advancing slavery.

    A constitutional amendment that freed the slaves without any compensation to their former masters would have been a wonderful thing. It would also have been as much of a fantasy as any Libertopia I or anyone else might dream up. The British Empire instituted compensated manumission 30 years before Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. Which was worse: the Crown authorizing payment of ?20 million to ex-slaveholders, or the U.S. and C.S.A losing over 600,000 lives to battle deaths and camp diseases? That doesn’t even begin to count the economic waste of that war. Attempting to emancipate without compensation might have started a rebellion anyway.

    As for not rebutting anything that joe wrote, if he had plainly stated his comparison of American slavery with the Nazi version, rather than making a cloudy allusion, maybe I would have had something to argue against.

    The idea that there was anything efficient about the Nazi death camps is ridiculous. The German war effort would have been better off not wasting the men and materials, especially fuel, needed to build, guard and administer those, even without the expense of the death chambers. Jews contributed mightily to the WWI effort, and if Hitler hadn’t been insane on the topic of anti-Semitism he could have exploited the talents of German Jewry, in the military as well as on the homefront, as the previous regime did in earlier years.

    Kevin

  60. Factory farming–which results in cruelty to animals–would most likely be much less profitable if the federal government ceased to subsidize big agribusiness.

  61. And one more thing. Maher voted for Ralph Nader in 00 and didn’t in 08 just out of strategic reasons.

    Wow. How much did the time machine cost to make? Or did you buy it prebuilt?

  62. Ron Paul isn’t the best speaker in the world. Is that news to anyone?

    Hopefully people are pissed off enough about the war to vote for him anyway.

  63. It could have been worse. It could have been better. The Civil War thing had one proper answer: “Gee, Bill, that may be an interesting historical debate but it really doesn’t seem to be one of the burning issues in this campaign. I’d rather worry about the war in Iraq today that a Civil War over around a century and a half ago. Wouldn’t you?”

    It is just wacko to spend much time on that topic outside of historical debates. And some pushing that topic, like the League of the South, have ulterior motives for it. Libertarians should really see it for what it is — a diversion from the actual issues we really do face.

    Ron Paul’s problem is that he tends to try to give long answers in a medium which simply isn’t structured to handle them. He needs to get his answers down to some simple, main talking points and not give lectures.

  64. Ron did okay, but I got very irritated with Maher. What made it worse was after paul got off of the screen, the panel railed on and on about how Ron Paul was wrong about “privatizing” VA hospitals using Walter Reed as an example, and they totally ignored what he actually said which was to dismantle the VA and provide private insurance to our vets allowing them to go to any doctor or hospital of their choice, instead of forcing them into a VA hospital.

  65. I thought it funny how Ron Paul attempted the old “there’s scientific controversy about global warming” and Maher just shut down that gambit with “no there isn’t!”. Ron Paul wisely gave up on that discredited talking point without a fight, and moved the conversation on to the oil companies and Iraq.

  66. There are more posts on this page than there are people who watch TV and think for themselves enough to vote Libertarian.

    What we need is a catchy phrase…

    Something like “We’re the guys who want you to take home your whole friggin’ pay check. And then you can spend it on whatever the hell you want. Yes, even that.”

  67. I thought Ron did a pretty damn good job, especially after reading Weigel’s summary.

    That being said, he has no chance. Too bad, because I would vote for him, even though that would really convince all my liberal friends that I’m just a Republican…

  68. You people are fools. US Government is only going to get bigger and bigger. 2008 will bring us a Dem White House and an even more Dem Congress, and taxes and spending will go through the roof. And the lackwits who comprise humanity will lap it up.

    You want a Libertarin society? You better go start another country somewhere, because it’s not going to happen here. Try to revive that Oceania project from a few years back, because with the current power structure, real freedoms will never be allowed.

  69. Actually, didn’t slavery become far more important in the South after Eli Whitney* invented the cotton gin in 1793, eliminating the need for skilled labor in harvesting cotton?

    That’s not how a cotton gin works. A cotton gin allows the individual working it to remove seeds from the harvested cotton much more quickly than they could by hand. An experienced slave could only deseed about a pound of cotton in a day by hand; the cotton gin made the process much less time-intensive. Cotton still had to be picked by hand even into the 20th century, which is why the characters in the Grapes of Wrath spend so much time looking for work in cotton fields. Though you are right that it made slavery much more economical; before the cotton gin, cotton wasn’t economical to grow because it took so much work for so little return, and since tobacco and other southern crops could be grown more easily by low-paid bondsmen than slaves who had to be taken care of, without cotton slavery probably would have died out gradually.

    That said, the idea that slavery would have died out in the south had the Civil War never been fought is wrongheaded. The increased mechanization in production that came in the decades after the Civil War would likely have given southern slave owners reason to mechanize themselves, and the slavelike conditions that prevailed in slums in the late 1800s would have worked just as well with black slaves as they did with the defacto white ones in the north.

    Paul was wooden and unlikeable, and the idea that he could ever win more than a few percentage points is crazy. He’d be the Republican’s McGovern. Too bad, he seems like a smart guy.

  70. I watched it and mostly cringed. Paul gave the impression of being a crank. You know, like LPers have for years now. Like the colloidal-silver guy. In retrospect, I’m relieved that at least he looked like a normal human, despite the huge bags under his eyes.

    Yes, he fell for the Civil War bait, and he’d damn well better be ready for those kinds of questions in the future.

    On global warming, at least twice he tried to say something about “the volcanoes”. “But what about the volcanoes???” Yeah? Yeah? What about the fucking volcanoes? Does anyone watching know what the fuck you are talking about? No, Ron, no one knows why you are mentioning “the volcanoes”! Don’t say that shit on TV unless you’ve got a lot of time and a lot of help, you clueless maniac!

  71. I didn’t actually mean to submit that yet; it must have been a fit of apoplexy.

    Maybe it’s time for a little public philosophizing by a charismatic libertarian. A chance to expound upon the principles that we embrace. I don’t think this is the last step on the road to the presidency, but maybe just a little bit of “statesmanship”? Let’s win over some liberals, for chrissakes. Let them mull this over:

    “…the liberal believes in the permanence of humanity’s imperfection, he resigns himself to a regime in which the good will be the result of numberless actions, and never the object of a conscious choice. Finally, he subscribes to the pessimism that sees, in politics, the art of creating the conditions in which the vices of men will contribute to the good of the state.” – Raymond Aron, L’Opium Des Intellectuels

    Give them a little bit of that vibe, Ron, instead of looking like the local weirdo.

    You’re not going to be able to do that, are you, dude? Because you kind of are the local weirdo. You want to put us back on the gold standard? Thank you, at least, for not talking about that…

    At least he didn’t talk about putting us back on the gold standard!

  72. You want a Libertarin society? You better go start another country somewhere, because it’s not going to happen here.

    Can’t the same thing be said for a race mixing society, a liberal society, a welfare state, an interventionist state, a non-slave society, a secular society, etc?

  73. RJ Lehman,

    Oops, right you are. Maher/Mahar, my bad.

    fish,

    I’m going to pretend not to notice your silly shtick about the Maher clan and the Paul clan, because I feel embarrassed for you. Waaaaaaaaayyyyyyy too much overthinking.

    “Remember Nazi slavery and slavery in the United States had two complete end states. Nazi slaves were generally worked to death and worked in lieu of going directly to the gas chambers. Slaves in the U.S. were property and as vile as the practice may have been were dealt with like farm animals, they had to be maintained, working them to death would have been an expensive proposition.” Um, so what? Is this supposed to relevant to the discussion of slavery after mechanization, or did you just feel like defending the honor of American slavers?

    As for mechanization eliminating the demand for slave labor, I already answered that, and don’t feel like re-typing.

  74. Rex Rhino,

    “Nor was the slave system sustainable: the Nazis were clearly burning through their slave labor supply – They would have had no-one left to use as slave labor had they continued the way they did…One of the primary reasons Germany lost the war was BECAUSE of slave labor. They wasted a class of people who were disproportionatly buisness owners, scientists, and professionals by forcing them to do the least skilled and least valuable labor.”

    These are both good points, but not relevant to the topic of mechanized American slavery, since the labor would not have been provided by pulling people out of the free economy and putting into lower-value jobs, but by moving agricultural slaves into higher-value jobs, as part of an industrialization process that was increasing the value of the whole plantation enterprise.

    “But you are still avoiding the topic joe… If the Civil War was nessicary to abolish slavery, why did France, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc., manage to abolish slavery without it causing a civil war?” Because their slaveowners were not remotely as politically powerful as ours, and had no chance to put up nearly as much of a fight. But let’s leave that discussion for another thread, and stick to the counter-factual of what would have happened to slavery as mechanization increased.

  75. kevrob,

    “Which was worse: the Crown authorizing payment of ?20 million to ex-slaveholders, or the U.S. and C.S.A losing over 600,000 lives to battle deaths and camp diseases?”

    False dilemma. The federal government didn’t beging the Civil War as an anti-slavery policy, comparable to the British system of paind manumussion, but in response to the secession of the slaveholding states (against whom no action had been taken, and no effort to free the slaves through any means implemented).

    I guess, ultimately, the answer to the question “Why was the Civil War necessary to end slavery?” is “becaue the South responded to the election of an anti-slavery president by waging war on the United States government.”

  76. Does anyone actually believe that slavery would still exist in The South if The Civil War hadn’t happened? Abolitionists in the USA would have armed runaway slaves. These former slaves would have terrorized the CSA. As time and technology progressed, slaves would have become more aware of the free world and would have risen up and murdered their masters eventually.

    Is this speculation? Yes. Is it unreasonable speculation? I don’t think so.

  77. I can see that, The Real Bill.

    The war to end slavery could well have looked very different when it came to pass.

  78. Abolitionists in the USA would have armed runaway slaves.

    And this would likely have resulted in a war between the USA and the CSA. As would the conflict that would have resulted when the CSA attempted to exercise its expansionist ambitions to the west.

    I’m afraid that everything I have heard or read about the Civil War has led me to conclude that the intransigence of Southern slaveowners was enough to make the slavery question in the US a more intractable problem than it was in the British Empire and elsewhere.

    I consider it unlikely that the problem could have been solved in America without bloodshed. Perhaps less than the Civil War produced but bloodshed nonetheless.

    Even so, I believe that Lincoln and Congress should have let the South secede. But as noted above they should still have prepared for war. It was pretty much inevitable, IMO.

    And BTW one can go on forever discussing the tarriff and alt the other southern grivances but I do not believe that any honest person can come to any conclusion but “No slavery, no war.”

  79. I see that this is another issue on which joe and I are in agreement.

    This is troubling. 🙂

  80. In the second decade of the 20th century the world went to war. Imagine the consequences had this continent been bitterly divided. I’m not talking about the consequences for Europe, I’m talking about the consequences for us.

  81. That said, the idea that slavery would have died out in the south had the Civil War never been fought is wrongheaded. The increased mechanization in production that came in the decades after the Civil War would likely have given southern slave owners reason to mechanize themselves, and the slavelike conditions that prevailed in slums in the late 1800s would have worked just as well with black slaves as they did with the defacto white ones in the north.

    No… every independent society abolishes slavery at the time of their industrial revolution (colonial holding, at the time of their Imperial Master’s industrial revolution). It is uncanny if you look at the time periods that slavery ends, and when industrialization begins. It is uncanny when you look at U.S. history, and find the abolitionist movement comes from upper class and middle northerners (the ones involved in industrial production).

    We either have to assume one of two things:

    1. Industrialism brings about some sort of “ethical awakening” that makes people turn against slavery. (I don’t think anyone believes this).

    2. Industrialism is incompatible economicly with slavery.

    Other than as part of some plan of extermination (i.e Hitler enslaving the Jews, Mao enslaving non-Han and political undesirables, as a method of genocide), the industrial revolution destroys slavery.

  82. Or…maybe serious politicians should avoid appearing with unserious left-wing jerkoffs like Maher and Stewart.

  83. In the second decade of the 20th century the world went to war. Imagine the consequences had this continent been bitterly divided. I’m not talking about the consequences for Europe, I’m talking about the consequences for us.

    Well, if that were the case, it’s not likely we or the Confederacy would have entered WWI at all. Churchill thought if the US had stayed out of WWI, England and Germany would have come to a truce on more or less equal terms, the Treaty of Versailles would never have been implemented, Wilhelm would have stayed on the throne of Germany, and Hitler would never had the opportunity to come to power, and WWII would never have occured. There would certainly would have been some consequences to us, but they wouldn’t necessarily have been bad.

    Of course, Churchill could have been entirely wrong, too. Who knows?

  84. Rex Rhino,

    The mechanizagtion referred to in that quote revolved around supporting the agricultural economy – the processing of grain and fibers, the use of mechanical processes in the fields, or the manufacture of farming equipment. This is different from true industrialization, in terms of moving away from the agricultural economy into a manufacturing economy, which was almost exclusively a northern phenomenon.

    To the extend that “industrialization destroys slavery,” it does so by allowing those without an economic interest in slavery to overtake, politically, those with an interest in maintaining it. This is what the seccessionists were trying to avoid – by splitting the union, they were seeking to make sure that their political culture would remain dominated by people with an.

    That was not happening in the South – the people who were the industrialists were a cohestive part of the agrarian elite. As a group, they still had a mighty interest in maintaining slavery.

    Now, at some point, the mechanization of the agricultural economy would likely have turned into true industrialization, but not for decades. Until then, a mechanized agrarianism would still have made slavery economically advantageous for the Southern ruling class.

  85. er, paragraph 2 should end “…with an economic interest in slavery.”

  86. Perhaps a gentleman with the last name “Maher” is more likely find the argument that slavery and mechanization are incompatible to be less convincing than a man with the last name “Paul.”

    Say what? Is this one of those ‘I know your ethnicity by your last name, and therefore I know you’ kind of things? I’m honestly curious.

  87. I can’t believe this is so difficult.

    Maher is part Jewish; ergo, he is more likely than someone without Jewish ancestry to know more about the details of the holocaust, including the rather extensive history of industrialized slavery that took place under the Nazis.

    This is a puzzler? Huh?

  88. hmmmm:

    – against the civil war.

    – thinks the government did a lousy job protecting us on 9/11.

    – wants the cia cut way back.

    – thinks the US fought a war for oil.

    This is the first I have seen or heard this candidate. He reminds me a lot of me (except I get more flak for these same opinions around here).

  89. Maher is part Jewish; ergo, he is more likely than someone without Jewish ancestry to believe that industrialized slavery was a likely or possible outcome for African Americans in the US and/or the confederacy absent the Civil War, maybe, joe.

    Not being Jewish, I think that having the Confederacy get rid of slavery on its own terms would have been a cleaner more lasting way to get rid of racial oppression and might have even lead the Confederacy, over the long run, to be more generous in accepting Jewish immigrants in the 1930s.

    On second thought, I don’t think being Jewish, or not being Jewish, should have anything to do with the way one evaluates the historical counterfactual of the Civil war being foregone by the Union. The Holocaust is not the appropriate paradigm for every historical counterfactual and Jews and non-Jews alike are smart enough to appreciate that.

  90. “Maher is part Jewish; ergo, he is more likely than someone without Jewish ancestry to believe that industrialized slavery was a likely or possible outcome for African Americans in the US and/or the confederacy absent the Civil War, maybe, joe.”

    That doesn’t make any sense; why would being part Jewish motivate your family to know more about the Confederacy? The “plugging other terms into people’s statments” gag only works if the end product is as internally logical as the original.

    “I think that having the Confederacy get rid of slavery on its own terms would have been a cleaner more lasting way to get rid of racial oppression and might have even lead the Confederacy, over the long run, to be more generous in accepting Jewish immigrants in the 1930s.” Yeah, and a pony. The problem is that whole “the Confederacy get rid of slavery” thing.

    “The Holocaust is not the appropriate paradigm for every historical counterfactual…” No, but it is an appropriate example of slavery existing within an industrial economy.

  91. That would have produced a political crisis: either Southern farmers would clamor for access to new land in the West, where they could introduce the slave system, and thereby have someplace for their “excess” bondsmen to labor, or pressure for manumission would increase. The first possibilty was already an issue prior to the Civil War, and Western land being closed to the slave system was a major Southern grievance.

    Remind me again how secession from the Union was supposed to help the South get that land out West for the expansion of slavery?

  92. Remind me again how secession from the Union was supposed to help the South get that land out West for the expansion of slavery?

    Conquest.

  93. Right of settlement. If every state remains sovereign, the areas out west settled by people from Confederate states become attached to those states.

  94. Also, athough I don’t have a citation handy, I remember reading somewhere that the Confederacy had expansionist designs on Mexico.

  95. Joe thinks my comparison of the way the UK got rid of slavery in its overseas possessions – by paying off the slaveholders – and the way the U.S. ended it – by force of arms – is a “false dilemma.”

    This much is true….

    The federal government didn’t beging the Civil War as an anti-slavery policy, comparable to the British system of paind manumussion, but in response to the secession of the slaveholding states (against whom no action had been taken, and no effort to free the slaves through any means implemented).

    …but essentially irrelevant. The Southern states seceded because they refused to accept the results of the 1860 election, and the reason they found that result anathema was because those who held political power in the South were convinced that Lincoln was a tool of Abolition. That Lincoln had supported compensation, such as in the bill he proposed to free slaves in D.C., back when he was in Congress, and colonization efforts did nothing to assuage the fears of the slavers. They would have rather had the slaves than the cash. He was certainly in open opposition to the spread of slavery, and, as I noted above, that was a complaint of the Southrons.

    The politicians of the Northern states had some bad choices in the run-up to Lincoln’s inauguration. They could have brokered some compromise with the South, that would either have hamstrung the incoming President’s ability to deal with the slavery question, or even force a constitutional crisis by overturning Lincoln’s election, effectively giving the South a veto over any anti-slaver becoming Chief Executive. Perhaps war was unavoidable, if the Union were to continue to exist. That doesn’t mean it was to be preferred, and any political leader(s) who could have mollified the South, maintained the Union and put the country on the path to emancipation would have been far greater than Lincoln.

    One thing we perhaps can never know: to what extent Lincoln’s determination to save the Union was motivated merely by the desire not to have a rival state on the continent, versus the possibility that, as long as the Southern states could be kept in the fold, there would be a chance to end slavery in those environs. Prior to Sumter, there were Abolitionists who would have been in favor of the North seceding, and setting up a union of free states.

    In the end, I think that Dr. Paul’s supposition that the Civil War could have been avoided is problematic. That avoiding it would have been better or worse than what did in fact happen is arguable. Regretting that the war was fought is neither necessarily a pro-Confederate position, nor a pro-slavery one.

    As for this:

    Remind me again how secession from the Union was supposed to help the South get that land out West for the expansion of slavery? – Isaac B.

    The first possibility is that the Union would blink, invite the seceding states back in, and as part of a political settlement arrange for certain lands to be set aside as ‘slave territories.” Some version of Douglas’ “popular sovereignty” could be used, or a line could be drawn on a map, allowing slavery below X degrees. In the case of a negotiated secession, the North and South would split the old Federal government’s assets and liabilities on some agreed formula. That would include some portion of the western territories. That sort of thing is often a stumbling block to secession, and why there are so few examples of peaceful ones.

    Isaac is right. There were fireeater Confederates who dreamed of carving up Mexico, taking Cuba from Spain, and essentially fulfilling their own version of Manifest Destiny in Central America and the Caribbean.

    Kevin

  96. Why does Maher start so many sentences with “I’m a Libertarian, but…”? You’d think that, if he was a Libertarian, he could have seen his way towards being less combative of the closest thing to a viable Libertarian candidate, like, ever.

    Anyway, I think Maher jumped the shark a couple of years ago. I’m not sure when, exactly, but I was certain of it once I read his recent borscht-belt brand comedy editorial.

    larry

  97. Though I thought Rep. Paul did a good job overall, I agree that he allowed himself to get majorly sidetracked on the Civil War thingy. Geez, why not debate the propriety of the Glorious Revolution?

  98. No… every independent society abolishes slavery at the time of their industrial revolution…It is uncanny if you look at the time periods that slavery ends, and when industrialization begins. It is uncanny when you look at U.S. history, and find the abolitionist movement comes from upper class and middle northerners (the ones involved in industrial production).

    No, the ones “involved” in industrial production were the slum residents who were doing the work. Middle and upper classes were involved in management, but management was a small percentage of the overall workforce. And the abolitionist movement had it’s beginnings as far back as the 1790s, and was already a serious though minority power as of the late 1830s and 1840s. There was a reason that the Compromise of 1850 came at the time it did; abolitionists were growing in power, at a time long before the industrialization hit it’s stride, I must point out.

    And generalizing out and saying that the fact that all the other industrial powers dropped slavery means that every industrial power will drop slavery is specious. None of the other industrial powers maintained a large, politically powerful population of farmers during their industrializations. None of them made it to a fully industrialized state without going through an intermediary period in which workers were treated as virtual slaves. Even as virtual slaves, however, they still had some small number of rights. Had they been actual slaves, who possessed no rights under the law and whom the owners could dispose of however they saw fit, it’s difficult to say how things would have been different. You can’t just make up a bunch of ahistorical speculation to support your points.

    Also, athough I don’t have a citation handy, I remember reading somewhere that the Confederacy had expansionist designs on Mexico.

    The confederacy had plans to annex Cuba after hostilities had ended. If that had worked, they would likely have moved on to Mexico.

  99. Kevin,

    Please note that the question “Remind me again how secession from the Union was supposed to help the South get that land out West for the expansion of slavery? was posed by Seamus. It was I who made the somewhat snarky response “Conquest”, which I followed up with the more complete response about the CSA’s expansionist designs.

    Beyond that you and I are in complete agreement.

    I think so, anyway. I will still stand by my statement, “No Slavery, No War.”

    I am perhaps prejudiced by the fact that at least four of my eight great-great-grandfathers served in the naval or land forces of the Union*. And there are letters that indicate that they felt they were embarked on a crusade to end slavery. A couple of others were Quakers who while opposed to slavery were unwilling to take up arms in the cause*. And the there were the Kentucky ones who were neutral, though I suspect they may have had distinct Southern sympathies.

    *Although that is uncertain, since many Quakers have found that when faced with war they are unable to keep the “Peace Testimony”, especially when faced with dilemmas of personal self-defense or other seemingly more urgent moral questions.

  100. This was a good example of framing. Maher framed the debate this way, “Don’t you think some problems
    (insert any problem) are so big that we just have to
    have the government involved???” Libertarians should
    turn this around to, “Don’t you think there are some
    problems so big that we can’t just leave it to
    government to solve, that we need to bring in the
    creativity of inventors, businessmen, engineers, the
    social cooperation of the market and rule of law????”

    Of course then we also have to bring in free market
    economics and economic history into the schools (much
    like introducing Satan into Christianity) as from
    about age 8 most people mostly learn about how
    government supposedly solved big problems, many of
    those problems of business, whereas the market is seen
    as some sort of necessary evil at best. So if you try
    to frame a debate with ‘don’t you think….blah blah
    blah market’ they have little idea of what you’re
    talking about or a very distorted idea.

  101. framed:

    One good response to that question is along the lines of….

    Sure, Bill, but if we ask the government to fix every problem we have, it’ll do a poor job on most of them. Libertarians think the national government should stick to the limited menu of activities outlined in the Constitution: taking care of National Defense, providing a court system so we can have a national economy, dealing with foreign powers, etc. Other areas are to be handled by the states, or by the people. Once upon a time, the idea that the Congress could outlaw alcohol was seen as a reach, so we amended the Constitution to institute Prohibition. That was an epic failure, and we repealed that amendment. Tell me how it is then that national drug prohibition could be instituted by ordinary legislation? It’s because we’ve ignored the idea that ours is a government of limited powers, whenever some new “crisis” comes along.

    That might have to be tightened up for sound-bite purposes. I can talk a lot faster than Dr. Paul does on TV, though speedtalking your points may not be a good idea outside of a high school debate tournament.

    Keivn

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