Politics

Instapundit on Ron Paul's New Blockbuster Book

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has a new book out titled The Revolution: A Manifesto (it's currently No. 8 on Amazon's bestsellers list).

Here's Glenn Reynolds, a.k.a the Instapundit, on it:

[The Revolution is] important because Ron Paul's candidacy has interested a lot of people in libertarian ideas who probably haven't read those other books, and because their exposure has come not in the context of academic dissatisfaction with the status quo, but in the context of political action. The book benefits from many of the Paul campaign's virtues, in the form of accessibility, clarity, and straightforwardness. On the other hand, it also suffers from some of the Paul campaign's vices, about which more later.

My biggest disagreement, and that of many libertarians with Paul, involves national security. Paul and I are both libertarians, but of different varieties. Paul is an old-fashioned Rothbardian. I'm more of a Heinleinian libertarian and we, like the Randian libertarians, tend to view national defense as more important than the Rothbardians do. Paul's view, essentially, is that if we quit sending troops abroad, other people and countries would quit wanting to kill us. I'm not particularly persuaded by this. First, even during the minimal-government era of Thomas Jefferson we wound up at war with the Barbary Pirates (in many ways, the spiritual antecedents of today's Islamic terrorists). And second, Paul is not an isolationist—he favors much more commercial and cultural engagement with foreign countries, something which, if experience is any guide, is as likely to anger Islamic fundamentalists and other varieties of terrorists and tyrants as is the establishment of foreign bases….

The main shortcoming in Paul's book, as with his candidacy, is in the follow through, the transition from critique to action. Although he does include a chapter entitled "The Revolution," about reducing the size of government, it's a pretty skimpy plan. Were we to see a Ron Paul Administration, with a House and Senate made up of, well, Ron Pauls, it might have a chance of succeeding, though even so he's a bit timid in places—proposing a freeze on the budgets of cabinet departments instead of their outright abolition, for example, despite noting that only State, Defense, and Justice have clear constitutional mandates. But given the unlikelihood of a Paul Administration, and the even greater unlikelihood of a Paul Congress, his policy prescriptions aren't likely to bear fruit. But those who want to see liberty progress right here and right now will look in vain for suggestions on what they might do, right here and right now, to make progress.

Rome didn't fall in a day, and today's monster government didn't spring up overnight. It was the result of incremental expansion. Given that we're not likely to see an opportunity to downsize the federal government overnight, or even in a single Presidential term, those of libertarian inclinations might well look to incremental approaches to reining in Big Government. They will be well advised, however, to look elsewhere than Revolution: A Manifesto. Still, if Fabian Libertarianism is to have a future, it will owe much to the consciousness-raising of the Paul campaign. Socialist candidate Eugene Debs, after all, never got elected President either, but within a few decades much of his platform was adopted by the Democratic Party. May Paul enjoy similar influence on the future of national politics.

Whole thing here.

reason on Ron Paul here.

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  1. reason sucks.

  2. All of this ignores the deep background–the Austin Illuminati and their man Nelson Linder, who handles Ron Paul for the international communist movement. Ron Paul’s task is to destroy the GOP. Who do you think controls which books get on the NY Times best seller list?

  3. Aren’t Heinlein’s militaristic viewpoints commonly perceived has having been conceptualized prior to Heinlein embracing a more libertarian philosophy?

  4. Revolution? Manifesto? Where have you heard those words before?

  5. come visit us : http://www.revolutionbroadcasting.com

    Radio home of http://www.Revolutionmarch.com

    Featuring the march on DC July 12th with Dr Paul

    Live radio and true news without the MSM spin.

    LIVE CHAT ROOM to interact with other fellow marchers and Ron Paul supporters.

  6. . Ron Paul to Eugene Debs is a pretty insightful comparison. Libertarians need to look to the far left and the evangelical right for inspriation. The thing is that the evangelicals are a spent force. Further, they have been seduced by big government and are likely to vote with the nanystaters anyway. Give it a few years and they will be voting Democrat because Jesus tells them they should drive a Prius and support high taxes. The nanny state Democrats are just fallen puritans anyway so they have a lot more in common with the evangelicals than either side would like to believe.

    The Libertarians could fill that gap in the Republican Party if they go their act together. You could actually see real realignment with the evangelicals going to their natural pro-government home in the Democratic party and the younger creative class and western conservatives reasserting control over the Republican Party and making alliance with middle class and small business people.

  7. come visit us : http://www.revolutionbroadcasting.com

    Radio home of http://www.Revolutionmarch.com

    Featuring the march on DC July 12th with Dr Paul

    Live radio and true news without the MSM spin.

    LIVE CHAT ROOM to interact with other fellow marchers and Ron Paul supporters.

  8. I await the inevitable savaging of Reynolds. Who will it be?

  9. MP, the time gap between ‘Starship Troopers’ and ‘Moon is a Harsh Mistress’ is only six years and there isn’t any obvious hard change in philosophy between them. In fact, Heinlein still agrees with his early muscular foreign policy in later books like ‘Expanded Universe’ (1980).

  10. I forgot to add you’re all fools and I’m done posting here.

  11. Paul and I are both libertarians, but of different varieties. Paul is an old-fashioned Rothbardian. I’m more of a Heinleinian libertarian and we, like the Randian libertarians, tend to view national defense as more important than the Rothbardians do

    Yeah, as with Glenn, that tends to be my major diasgreement with Reasonoids. For me, as a libertarian, the importance of liberty doesn’t stop at U.S. borders. I support armed intervention on behalf of liberty for all people at all places and times their liberties are threatened, whether they be South Koreans, West Germans, Taiwanese, Poles, Iraqis, French, British, Kosovars, etc.

    (Disclosure: Glenn links me fairly often.)

  12. the Randian libertarians, tend to view national defense as more important than the Rothbardians do

    Yeah, Glenn…national defense…not endless, open wars abroad that have nothing to do with securing the nation.

    Perhaps the man should read what Miss Rand thought about WWI (and WWII pre-Pearl Harbor), Korea and Viet Nam before he drags us all in with this “Sword in One Hand/Credit Card in the Other” version of “Defense”.

  13. I forgot to add you’re all fools and I’m done posting here.

    We’ll be sure to kill ourselves in our abiding grief.

  14. Aren’t Heinlein’s militaristic viewpoints commonly perceived has having been conceptualized prior to Heinlein embracing a more libertarian philosophy?

    Have you read TMIAHM recently? I wouldn’t call his vision of libertarianism peaceful.

  15. I think that the critic is off base;

    Governments don’t get incrementally downsized – they either get kicked out by a bigger, badder government, or collapse suddenly and abruptly after becoming too big and parasitical, when people decide they don’t want to deal with them anymore. The reason is obvious, government officials, being criminals participating in a set oh lucrative organized crime rackets will keep their criminal gang going as long as possible. They are loathe to show any weakness since it will encourage their victims to defy them. They are afraid of having to earn an honest living. Thus they will keep an iron grip on the power they already have and try to suppress anything that threatens it, violently if need be.

    Additionally, so what if trade angers foreign dictators? The locals being traded with will love it and advocate for their positions. They won’t send bombers to bomb GE plants here in the U.S.. They’ll try to beat up merchants in their homelands. And the merchants, being a part of the local culture will fight back. This critique is one which sounds obvoous at first blush and then falls apart when actually analyzed – kind of like the belief that the Earth is flat.

  16. Reynolds is no doubt a fine law professor, but he has a way to go as a historian. The belief that a non-interventionist foreign policy began with Rothbard is a howler. Has he never read Spencer? Is he completely unfamiliar with Cobden and Bright?

  17. Have you read TMIAHM recently? I wouldn’t call his vision of libertarianism peaceful.

    I never got around to Heinlein, and rarely read fiction anymore. What I know is from various profiles I’ve read.

    Thanks LLStone.

  18. “Perhaps the man should read what Miss Rand thought about WWI (and WWII pre-Pearl Harbor), Korea and Viet Nam before he drags us all in with this “Sword in One Hand/Credit Card in the Other” version of “Defense”.”

    Why don’t you cut out the middle man and just say what you think and you know make an argument? Appealing to authority, especially Rand, just reaffirms people’s notion that Objectivists are just third rate cultists.

  19. TallDave,

    For me, as a libertarian, the importance of liberty doesn’t stop at U.S. borders. I support armed intervention on behalf of liberty for all people at all places and times their liberties are threatened, whether they be South Koreans, West Germans, Taiwanese, Poles, Iraqis, French, British, Kosovars, etc.

    I support it too, I just dont support using taxpayer money or our military to do it. When you arm up to free the Kosovars (or whoever), let me know, I will send you $20 to help out.

  20. “[The Revolution is] important because Ron Paul’s candidacy has interested a lot of people in libertarian ideas who probably haven’t read those other books”

    It should read:

    “[The Revolution is] important because Ron Paul’s candidacy has interested a lot of people in libertarian ideas who probably haven’t read any books”

  21. The belief that a non-interventionist foreign policy began with Rothbard is a howler.

    I don’t see where he said that, although he did say that the Rothbardians do have that viewpoint.

  22. Also, what did Ms. Rand have to say on the subject of date rape as wish fulfillment?

  23. TallDave,

    I might agree with you…if the US was any good at spreading democracy. So far, I can’t think of one country that became peaceful and democratic (that hadn’t had any previous history of democracy) as a direct result of US intervention.

    Pragmatically speaking, if you’ve shown no improvement at an action after several attempts and its costing you alot for each attempt, maybe you should stop doing it. Just a thought.

  24. And second, Paul is not an isolationist-he favors much more commercial and cultural engagement with foreign countries, something which, if experience is any guide, is as likely to anger Islamic fundamentalists and other varieties of terrorists and tyrants as is the establishment of foreign bases

    Does anybody have any idea what experience he is referring to? Has there ever been a terrorist attack in response to cultural engagement?

  25. uhh..John? It was a jab at the fact that Reynolds wants to lump “Randian libertarians” in with his (and TallDave’s) vision of America as endless Freedom Fighter, in complete disregard of America’s interests.

    So, when I want to set a (mis)characterization of “Randians” straight, I think pointing the gentlemen to what Rand thought would be a step in the right direction.

    Finally, I’ve made my arguments clear. “War forever” “conservatives” such as yourself and TallDave aren’t actually interested in hearing them. You’re just looking to argue, and I am not going to indulge you.

  26. Also, what did Ms. Rand have to say on the subject of date rape as wish fulfillment?

    “Go get yerself some unwilling pussy.”
    Especially if you’re SURE she wants it.

  27. TallDave,
    Help me please! a group of serial liars and corrupt thugs in my country are trying to force me to pay them about 50% of my income to them. They say they are using the money to “protect me” but it seems that the biggest threat to my family and I is that they will come stick me in a dungeon cell. This group has put more people in dungeons than any other group in the world and they seem to be greatly broadening their attacks. Please send forces to intervene on behalf of the liberty of my children! I already know that I will be paying these people my entire life( I am only 35), but I only hope to free my children from the promises these demons have given me to confiscate even greater portions of my son’s future earnings.

  28. First, even during the minimal-government era of Thomas Jefferson we wound up at war with the Barbary Pirates (in many ways, the spiritual antecedents of today’s Islamic terrorists).

    Because, like, they were Muslims, you know, and all Muslims are the same. Never mind the fact that the Barbary Pirates were in it for money, not religious or political reasons, and happily refrained from attacking Western shipping flying flags of govts that were paying them tribute.

    Seriously, do any of the libertarian hawks do five minutes of research on the Barbaries before equating them to al-Qaeda?

  29. John & TallDave: good points.

    Tarran: governments can get incrementally downsized. New Zealand did it. Governments can also slow or stop their growth, making them proportionately smaller over time.

    Ross: I see nothing in the piece indicating he thinks “non-interventionist foreign policy began with Rothbard.” He’s just using Rothbardian as a term for one strain of libertarianism.

  30. I support it too, I just dont support using taxpayer money or our military to do it.

    Well, I can understand and sympathize that objection. But I would argue its necessary, because nonstate militaries are illegal, and we probably want to keep it that way.

    Since the rise of city-states, it has been clear that the institution with the greatest ability to use force is, almost by definition, can and does impose its will on all other institutions. With the advent of liberal democracy and rule of law, it is necessary that the State have a monopoly on force, else it can neither enforce the law nor implement the will of the people. Thus independent military forces are pretty much forbidden from having any but the lightest arms, and are consequently unable to effect any kind of extranational defense of liberty. Only the State can.

  31. Paul’s view, essentially, is that if we quit sending troops abroad, other people and countries would quit wanting to kill us. I’m not particularly persuaded by this.

    Neither am I, and while libertarians are often able to see that Fundie Christians must oppose gay marriage they completely miss the fact that Fundie Islamics must hate us by virtue of their religion and our women going to the beach and tooling around town with the top down and no face gear.

    OTOH, minding our own business will help our standing in the world. I favor bringing our troops home from the far corners of the earth but I am under no illusion that somehow doing so will be a panacea.

  32. Yeash. Noninterventionism coupled with free market trade is the part Paul got exactly right. No one’s going to blow themselves up over Tia Tequila. Even if she pisses em off and they see the end of all that is good and right in the world in her, it’s still not enough to fly planes into buildings for. When they see “Made In The USA” stamped on the bombs falling on their heads, that’s what makes the martyrs.

    Where Paul gets off the freedom train is on immigration.

    I’m with him on the FED and fiat money too. Only I would have saved it for my second term.

  33. “Additionally, so what if trade angers foreign dictators? The locals being traded with will love it and advocate for their positions. They won’t send bombers to bomb GE plants here in the U.S.. They’ll try to beat up merchants in their homelands. And the merchants, being a part of the local culture will fight back. This critique is one which sounds obvoous at first blush and then falls apart when actually analyzed – kind of like the belief that the Earth is flat.”

    Trade doesn’t anger them. They just take the money and use it to make mischief. Also, if the trade threatens their position, they can always just shoot anyone who trades. Look at North Korea or Burma for good examples. What happens when someone seeks to destroy a trading partner? Take South Korea for example. Is it really in the US interests to let the North Koreans destroy the South and turn it into a prison state? The US does a lot of business with South Korea and all of that business would be gone or have never happened if the US had never defended North Korea. The same goes for Japan. At the end of World War II, had the US just gone home, Japan probably goes communist and there is no Toyota or Sony or any of the other great aspects of the Japanese miracle. Defending Japan and South Korea from the communists has paid for itself 100 fold at least. But had Paul been in power we would have never done it.

    Trade is great but you have to have someone to trade with. If it were up to some people in the world, there would be a lot more countries like North Korea than there are like Japan. At what point do we step in to help make sure we actually have free stable trading partners? That is a tough question. That certainly doesn’t justify endless war. But also, just putting your head in the sand and pretending that everything will take care of itself is not an answer either.

  34. (oops, missed an edit)

    Well, I can understand and sympathize with that objection. But I would argue its necessary, because nonstate militaries are illegal, and we probably want to keep it that way.

    Since the rise of city-states, it has been clear that the institution with the greatest ability to use force, almost by definition, can and does impose its will on all other institutions. With the advent of liberal democracy and rule of law, it is necessary that the State have a monopoly on force, else it can neither enforce the law nor implement the will of the people. Thus independent military forces are pretty much forbidden from having any but the lightest arms, and are consequently unable to effect any kind of extranational defense of liberty. Only the State can.

  35. Also, you’ll note that we didn’t attempt to invade the Barbary States and set up a democracy back then. If only Jefferson had had the vision and foresight of Dubya.

  36. So far, I can’t think of one country that became peaceful and democratic (that hadn’t had any previous history of democracy) as a direct result of US intervention.

    Wouldn’t pre-1945 Japan count? They didn’t have real elections or political parties before then, AFAIK.

  37. I support armed intervention on behalf of liberty for all people at all places and times their liberties are threatened, whether they be South Koreans, West Germans, Taiwanese, Poles, Iraqis, French, British, Kosovars, etc.

    I might be more inclined to support that too (ok, probably not) if the interventions weren’t detrimental to ourselves and actually, you know, worked. Seems to me that our interventionism is just a convoluted way of achieving national suicide.

  38. Since the rise of city-states, it has been clear that the institution with the greatest ability to use force is, almost by definition, can and does impose its will on all other institutions. With the advent of liberal democracy and rule of law, it is necessary that the State have a monopoly on force, else it can neither enforce the law nor implement the will of the people. Thus independent military forces are pretty much forbidden from having any but the lightest arms, and are consequently unable to effect any kind of extranational defense of liberty. Only the State can.

    You do understand that this reads like a machievellian nightmare right?

    those who have power have justification to use power to the greatest extent possible in their own interests.

    The problem is the “State” will never be “the will of all people”, merely the will “of 51% of people” and therefore you’re advocating tyranny of the majority with such a simplistic statement.

  39. “Fabian Libertarianism” sounds fine, except when you realize that such a thing would take decades of concerted effort to achieve. What’s more likely to happen, in the unlikely event that we move back to a more libertarian model, is that we’ll continue down the path of increasingly unlimited government until we reach a point of frustration that ushers in immediate change. Whether that happens within the system or through revolt will depend on how bad we let things get in the first place.

  40. We should bring almost all our troops home from overseas.
    Afghanistan showed us how rapidly mobile our forces are, and how quickly we can respond to a clear and present danger vis a vis our national security, even if it’s halfway around the world.

  41. we probably want to keep it that way.

    No, we dont.

  42. “Wouldn’t pre-1945 Japan count? They didn’t have real elections or political parties before then, AFAIK.”

    It would and so would South Korea I think. Further, Germany is a pretty close. The old German Empire was not totalitarian but it certainly wasn’t particularly democratic by our standards. Further, the Nazis wiped out whatever Democratic traditions Germany had. Pacifying and turning Germany into a modern democracy was a tremendous accomplishment.

  43. nonstate militaries are illegal

    The law also requires congress to declare war, but that hasnt stopped anyone in the last 60 years or so.

  44. Thus sayeth the warmonger libertarian. Reynolds is no libertarian. He believes in human liberty except for foreigners and brown people…

  45. Glenn Reynolds:

    Vhat vee Amerikans need to do ist to defent Amerika against oll those Untermenschen!

    Since all other nations in the world are potential threats, it totally makes sense to try to prophylactically wipe every other Nation from the face of the earth, no matter what the cost!

    Sieg heil, and death to anybody that doesn’t have credit-card debt, i.e. Jews.

  46. they completely miss the fact that Fundie Islamics must hate us by virtue of their religion and our women going to the beach and tooling around town with the top down and no face gear.

    Fundie Christians, Jews, Hindus, and atheists hate us for similar reasons. The difference is, we haven’t been treating those religions’ homelands like a Risk board game for the last 60 years.

    There are going to be people who irrationally and unquenchably hate America as long as America exists. That doesn’t justify a foreign policy that gives many, many more people justifiable reason to hate America.

  47. I support armed intervention on behalf of liberty for all people at all places and times their liberties are threatened, whether they be South Koreans, West Germans, Taiwanese, Poles, Iraqis, French, British, Kosovars, etc.

    You’ve got a nice mix of ethnicities in there, TallDave — slopes and Krauts and sand monkeys — but what of the niggers?
    We need to save the entire planet from itself. It’s for the good of all people! And it won’t cost us a dime.

  48. I favor bringing our troops home from the far corners of the earth but I am under no illusion that somehow doing so will be a panacea.

    I suspect few military isolationists harbor that illusion either. Military isolationists predict that retraction will simply reduce, not eliminate, foreign aggressiveness against the U.S. as it removes major bone of contention. When direct aggressiveness flares up, non-interventionists are perfectly willing to defend.

    Those who state that non-interventionists believe that world peace will result from non-interventionism simply do not understand the concept and are looking to launch straw man attacks against it.

  49. No one’s going to blow themselves up over Tia Tequila. Even if she pisses em off and they see the end of all that is good and right in the world in her, it’s still not enough to fly planes into buildings for. When they see “Made In The USA” stamped on the bombs falling on their heads, that’s what makes the martyrs.

    Actually, “Made in the USA” weapons were helping Muslims defend Afghanistan in the 1980s, and also Muslims in Kuwait and Kosovo in the 1990s.

    The jihadists don’t like Tia Tequila giving their women ideas. The first thing the Taliban did was outlaw VCRs and music and beat women who werent dressed properly. Then they started publicly executing prostitutes in soccer stadiums. It wasn’t a big stretch from there to help AQ strike at the perceived source of all this iniquity – the liberated West.

  50. And what if in response to the Barbary Pirates we embarked on Operation Barbary Freedom and spread our form of democracy to the Libyans?

    I know Reynolds the fucking retard would jump right on it.

  51. it is necessary that the State have a monopoly on force, else it can neither enforce the law nor implement the will of the people.

    Wow that is wrong. Im pretty sure the 2nd amendment, for example, exists solely to prevent the state from having a monopoly on force.

    In fact, you are so far wrong that you have everything exactly backwards. The thing that most guarantees tyranny instead of freedom is the state having a monopoly on force.

    You are either an idiot or a fascist. Im nice, so I will assume the first.

  52. PapayaSF,

    Japan did have a brief history of democracy, much like the early German democracy pre-Nazism. Also, they had an established civil law system. That’s besides the point though, as their society was not a repressed tribal system prior to US intervention (err…conquering).

  53. The first thing the Taliban did was outlaw VCRs and music and beat women who werent dressed properly. Then they started publicly executing prostitutes in soccer stadiums.

    Well, best we force liberalization on them then, at the point of a gun and to the tune of a trillion dollars, then.

    Forced Freedom! It’s the American Way!

  54. Reynolds is no libertarian. He believes in human liberty except for foreigners and brown people…

    Drink! And, charitably, you’re quite wrong.

  55. PapayaSF: Ross: I see nothing in the piece indicating he thinks “non-interventionist foreign policy began with Rothbard.” He’s just using Rothbardian as a term for one strain of libertarianism.”

    First, what you quote as something I said is in fact something said in response to me.

    Second, there already IS a word for describing the strain of libertarianism that argues for a non-interventionalist foreign policy. The word is “traditional”.

    It has only been in the last few decades that those associated with predominantly libertarian views were willing to accept a roll for American government abroad. The idea one can have a limited government with enough military and tax power to police the world is, as Rand would put it, a “contradiction in terms”.

  56. TallDave,

    Sure, the Loonies in TMIAHM start a war, but the situation is hugely analgous to that of the American colonies of England in 1776. Once Heinlein’s Loonies get independence from Earth, they stop the war, even though they could have probably used the catapult to get additional political concessions.

    Anyway, all the wars which I can recall Heinlein writing about were wars of self-liberation or independence (TMIAHM, If This Goes On) or direct responses to invasions territory (Starship Troopers, The Puppet Masters).

  57. It took a while, but we finally got some good hating on Reynolds.

  58. We need to save the entire planet from itself. It’s for the good of all people! And it won’t cost us a dime.

    Well, as a practical matter we can’t save the whole world, but we can alleviate some of the worst oppression. In the long run it actually is usually less expensive to fight.

    As expensive as WW II was, we’d all be a lot poorer if we hadn’t been fought it: Japan would have been a Soviet vassal, no free Western Europe. And consider S Korea and Taiwan’s inputs to our ecnonomy relative to the cost of defending them.

  59. Ron Paul is a communist agent. You guys aren’t very good at conspiracy analysis, are you? Look at the vocabulary he uses–revolution, manifesto. Why did Linder in Austin jump to his defense? Just who is Nelson Linder? the name Nelson linder is an anagram of Eds En Nil Lorn. Lorn was the Black Dragon of the Danish Illuminati! The International Communist Conspiracy has targeted the GOP ever since agent Eisenhower’s failure. Working with the Illuminati, the commies have been grooming Ron Paul for years. The Illuminati-controlled NY Times can’t endorse Paul openly, but it can and did get his book on its best seller list! Don’t be fooled.

  60. … but we can alleviate some of the worst oppression.

    So I assume you’re in favor of the United States invading and occupying most of the continent of Africa?

  61. I support armed intervention on behalf of liberty for all people at all places and times their liberties are threatened, whether they be South Koreans, West Germans, Taiwanese, Poles, Iraqis, French, British, Kosovars, etc.

    A libertarian friend once said that a free people have the right, but not the obligation, to do such a thing (tempered by reality).

    Obviously the US has made zero effort to free the enslaved Chinese. It’s because they have billions of soldiers and lots of nukes. Good choice.

    It’s like the biker neighbor who’s pointing a shotgun at you, telling you to GTF off his property while yammering that he’ll beat his Old Lady & kick the dog whenever he feels like it.

  62. “It took a while, but we finally got some good hating on Reynolds”

    You knew it would happen. Unsurprisingly it falls into two categories; that fucker neocon racist Reynolds cares about liberty for everyone except for foreigners and brown people, and that fucker neocon Reynolds wants to enforce liberty on the whole world at the barrel of a gun. Oh well consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds I guess.

  63. TallDave,

    As very few people disagree with the US going to war in WWII, trying framing US victories abroad in terms other than that war.

    South Korea was a victory of sorts, but was essentially a proxy war with China. All other wars we’ve engaged in have either inflamed or had little to no effect on underlying issues in various countries.

  64. Sure, the Loonies in TMIAHM start a war

    Even beyond that, look how violent their own society is. There are all sorts of situations in which killing other people is accepted. It’s much more violent than any libertarian would likely accept.

  65. Japan would have been a Soviet vassal, no free Western Europe. And consider S Korea and Taiwan’s inputs to our ecnonomy relative to the cost of defending them.

    Put away your crystal ball, Kreskin. You have no idea how the whole thing would have turned out. It’s convenient that your amazing Turtledovian abilities at history just happen to favor your favored foreign policy.

    Want to play dueling invented narratives?

  66. The jihadists don’t like Tia Tequila giving their women ideas. The first thing the Taliban did was outlaw VCRs and music and beat women who werent dressed properly. Then they started publicly executing prostitutes in soccer stadiums. It wasn’t a big stretch from there to help AQ strike at the perceived source of all this iniquity – the liberated West.

    Fair enough, they took action AMONG THEIR OWN PEOPLE to eliminate Western influence. But Osama himself says that what inspired him to take military action against the West was our occupation of “Muslim Holy Lands.”

    FWIW, I am in favor of doing whatever we can to bring liberty to any corner of the earth we can. However, I see no evidence that military actions are likely to accomplish that. If anything, it makes it easy for foreign governments to dismiss “liberalizing” ideas as being part of the evil influence of the invader.

  67. Wow that is wrong. Im pretty sure the 2nd amendment, for example, exists solely to prevent the state from having a monopoly on force.

    As I said, all but the lightest arms. Go try to form your own army with missiles, tanks, and subs, and see what happens.

    The thing that most guarantees tyranny instead of freedom is the state having a monopoly on force.

    You can’t have rule of law if you can’t enforce the law. We seem to be free despite the average citizen being unable to purchase an ICBM.

  68. Dueling invented narratives is a game the whole family can play.

  69. Here is a brief history of Taisho era (1912-1926) Japan. Their democracy was limited, but still better than say, Russia or Venezuela today.

  70. Ayn Randian,

    Well, best we force liberalization on them then, at the point of a gun and to the tune of a trillion dollars, then.

    Er, TallDave identified a problem, he didn’t offer a solution. Your criticism is really off-base.

    Forced Freedom! It’s the American Way!

    Vile and childish. So, what would you have done about Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11?

    Real-world problems need real solutions, not sullen eighth grader comebacks.

  71. Put away your crystal ball, Kreskin. You have no idea how the whole thing would have turned out.

    I don’t need to. It’s obvious that whoever won would not be a liberal democracy, unless you think tiny Britain was going to conquer the entire Axis on their own.

  72. “Put away your crystal ball, Kreskin. You have no idea how the whole thing would have turned out. It’s convenient that your amazing Turtledovian abilities at history just happen to favor your favored foreign policy.”

    That is a good point Randian. It is not like the Soviets occupied and enslaved Eastern Europe or anything. It is just utter speculation that they would have done the same in Asia. That whole Korean and Vietnam War thing was just a big misunderstanding I guess.

  73. You can’t have rule of law if you can’t enforce the law.

    That doesnt require a monopoly, however.

    I have more than enough firepower to take out my mayor whenever necessary (not that I have any plans too, for anyone reading this at the NSA or FBI).

    ICBMs dont help in a civil war (especially a non-geographic one). If the US ever needed an overthrowin’ the firepower exists in the hands of the US people to pull it off.

    A “balance of power” exists between the state and the people. Places where that doesnt exist tend to slide into tyranny. Some would say we are, Im not that cynical, just quite yet.

  74. Paul’s view, essentially, is that if we quit sending troops abroad, other people and countries would quit wanting to kill us. I’m not particularly persuaded by this.

    Right! After all, look at all those countries that were trying to kill the US prior to 1914.

    We had EXACTLY THE SAME number of threats from abroad before we entered the world of international power politics as we did before. [/snark]

  75. You can’t have rule of law if you can’t enforce the law. We seem to be free despite the average citizen being unable to purchase an ICBM.

    m4rk37 f41LUR3!!!!

  76. Sorry, one of those “befores” should say “after”. Doesn’t really matter which one.

  77. Even beyond that, look how violent their own society is. There are all sorts of situations in which killing other people is accepted. It’s much more violent than any libertarian would likely accept.

    It’s a fucking hypothetical society in a book. Heinlein felt like doing a thought experiment in government-less society and revolution. Don’t make too many assumptions, as that makes an ass out of you and…umption*.

    * who can name the movie?

  78. So, what would you have done about Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11?

    That had nothing to do with “forcing freedom” on a country, and everything to do with eradicating a clear and present danger to the United States.

  79. TallDave | May 12, 2008, 4:26pm |
    “The first thing the Taliban did was outlaw VCRs and music and beat women who werent dressed properly. ”

    Actually the first thing the Taliban did was cash their checks from the US Government to help “fight” the drug war.

  80. So, what would you have done about Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11?

    Asked for a declaration of war.

    Not shifted troops out of the country. Only fight one land war in Asia at a time (The Sicilian was probably right, but sometimes you gotta fight one).

    Like WW2, Afghanistan was justified. But that is as far as that needed to go.

  81. Real-world problems need real solutions, not sullen eighth grader comebacks.

    you presume, of course, that other nations’ lack of freedom mandates that we involve ourselves militarily.

    WRT Afghanistan, that was a nation that harbored the 9/11 perpetrators and I feel that invasion and capture of said perpetrators is a justifiable and proper course of action.

    In case you didn’t notice, we weren’t talking about self-defense; we were talking about finding unfree (and easy to invade) nations to promote “freedom”.

    TallDave identified a problem, he didn’t offer a solution. Your criticism is really off-base.

    If you had been paying attention, you would know the “solution” that TallDave has been proposing all along.

    Look people, I get it: you think that failed, unfree nations export terror. I got it. I think that’s contentious and even if it wasn’t, it doesn’t dictate remaking said nations into model republics.

  82. But Osama himself says that what inspired him to take military action against the West was our occupation of “Muslim Holy Lands.”

    Osama also said his Islamic movement was going to conquer the world, as long as we’re taking him at his word.

    Ironically, the troops he was referring to were positioned there to defend Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from Saddam, and have now departed as that threat no longer exists.

  83. Even beyond that, look how violent [Loonie society in TMIAHM] society is. There are all sorts of situations in which killing other people is accepted. It’s much more violent than any libertarian would likely accept.

    Luna was a prison colony in the novel. Novy Leningrad was hinted to be a gulag.

  84. m4rk37 f41LUR3!!!!

    Not sure on my h&r cliches, is there where I respond:

    DEMAND KURV!!!

  85. It is not like the Soviets occupied and enslaved Eastern Europe or anything.

    Aided and abetted by Churchill and FDR. If I were Poland, I still wouldn’t speak to the United States to this day.

  86. That doesnt require a monopoly, however.

    It requires a sufficient monopoly such that independent forces are unlikely to be able to engage in effective defense of freedom abroad, which was the original point: that is something only the State can do.

  87. Interventionism seems to be contingent in nature.

    TallDave,

    …but we can alleviate some of the worst oppression.

    Do you support intervention into the Democratic Republic of Congo then?

  88. Wouldn’t pre-1945 Japan count? They didn’t have real elections or political parties before then, AFAIK.

    They had liberalization (cf. kaikoku) beginning in the Meiji era (mid to late 1800s) and a legitimate democracy in the early 1900s. Expansionist military types remained powerful and came to dominate politics before World War II, but Westerners seriously underestimate Japan’s pre-War institutions (and wealth).

    On a more anecdotal note, Japanese laypeople overwhelmingly believe those wars were wrong. You don’t see many hinomaru flags flying (and you damn sure don’t see any of the Rising Sun sort) and politicians still won’t amend the anti-war article of their Constitution. I’d say both the US and Japan felt that dismantling the old system and installing a secular democracy were mutually desirable, something that’s not guaranteed in any particular occupation.

  89. Japan would have been a Soviet vassal, no free Western Europe.

    Instead, we got all of Eastern Europe enslaved for 50 years, a 10 year war in Viet Nam, Communist China and the constant threat of a good nuking from both the USSR and China. Not to mention, troops in Korea for my entire lifetime.

    I know at least two people in every generation for the last five who’ve been stationed in Korea.

    I’m not saying we had much choice about the BIG WAR, given Pearl Harbor, but there was an awful lot of bad that came out of it……

  90. “Look people, I get it: you think that failed, unfree nations export terror. I got it. I think that’s contentious and even if it wasn’t, it doesn’t dictate remaking said nations into model republics.”

    That is true. We are not going to make them into model republics. But, we do have some interest in defending the Republics that are out there from predator nations. Further, when those lousy nations do export terror and cause trouble we ought to do something about them when we can. Look, we are not going to be doing jack about North Korea or China because doing so would kill millions of people. But, maybe we should do something about Darfur and we should definitely continue to tell the Chinese and the Norks to leave Taiwan and South Korea alone. Those actions are well beyond anything someone like Paul would support.

  91. that is something only the State can do.

    No it isnt.

    I have No, zero, zip, zilch, problem with allowing blackwater (for example) access to the weapons (if they pay for them) needed to overthrow piss ant dictatorships. Which is generally some quality rifles and a truckload of blue jeans.

  92. “Instead, we got all of Eastern Europe enslaved for 50 years, a 10 year war in Viet Nam, Communist China and the constant threat of a good nuking from both the USSR and China. Not to mention, troops in Korea for my entire lifetime.”

    But what were the alternatives? We could have done nothing and let the Soviets have the whole thing or we could have had World War III. Doing what we did strikes me as by far the best of the bad choices available.

  93. Again, you all are getting caught up in philosophical and semantical debates, ignoring the fact that our country is bankrupt, our military is breaking down, and our politicians are mindlessly promising more of the same.

    Get over yourselves. Take action.

  94. Let’s amend generation to read decade.

  95. you presume, of course, that other nations’ lack of freedom mandates that we involve ourselves militarily.

    No. How did you pull that out of what I’ve posted on this thread? Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t mean I’m the convenient Straw Man you’d like to demolish.

    You got caught writing something really indefensible, and are now turning to personal attacks.

  96. “I have No, zero, zip, zilch, problem with allowing blackwater (for example) access to the weapons (if they pay for them) needed to overthrow piss ant dictatorships. Which is generally some quality rifles and a truckload of blue jeans.”

    They are called Letters of Marque. I think they perhaps ought to make a comeback. Further, I think maybe the US needs its own foreign legion. A light infantry force of highly trained nonAmericans sent out to fight various dirty little wars in the name of US interests.

  97. We could have done nothing and let the Soviets have the whole thing

    We could have fought Japan (the nation that attacked us) and let the totalitarian hells of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany wipe each other out.

  98. TWC,

    Decade/generation whats the difference? Okay, about 3 years. 🙂

  99. You got caught writing something really indefensible

    uhh, no. What did I write that was indefensible?

  100. John, I said:

    I’m not saying we had much choice about the BIG WAR, given Pearl Harbor, but there was an awful lot of bad that came out of it……

    I also think Patton was right.

  101. Article I, Section 8, paragraph 11 of the U.S. Constitution authorizes Letters of Marque, at least in the navel context. Why not just contract out Afghanistan to Blackwater via a Letter of Marque?

  102. m4rk37 f41LUR3!!!!

    Not sure on my h&r cliches, is there where I respond:

    DEMAND KURV!!!

    DRINK!!!

  103. Wine,

    We were broke and the country had no more stomach for war. The Army was worried that entire divisions migh mutiny had we had to invade Japan. I love the idea of their never having been a cold war, but I am not sure we really had the ability to beat the Soviets at the end of World War II.

  104. let the totalitarian hells of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany wipe each other out.

    How does that work, exactly? In the end, one or the other or both control Europe and Asia.

  105. I also think Patton was right.

    The Cold War might have been a lot shorter had he been allowed to head into Eastern Europe before the Russians got there, and perhaps nonexistent without our massive Lend-Lease aid to Russia (something like 2/3 of their six-wheeled trucks, critical for logistics, came from the U.S.).

    But that really is crystal ball territory.

  106. We could have fought Japan (the nation that attacked us) and let the totalitarian hells of Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany wipe each other out.

    That has a nice ring to it.

    We would have had to give Uncle Adolf the finger when he declared war on us after Pearl though.

    I often wonder, if we had stayed out if the Soviets and the Nazis would have simply extinguished themselves. We vanquished the Germans but at the same time strengthened the Rooskies and, handed over vast areas of land and countries without even a blink of an eye.

  107. I’m not saying we had much choice about the BIG WAR, given Pearl Harbor, but there was an awful lot of bad that came out of it……

    I also think Patton was right.

    Never forget the 1st of the classic blunders ever made, “Never fight a land war in Asia”

    Also, avoid going in against sicilians when death is on the line.

  108. We could have done nothing and let the Soviets have the whole thing

    What would’ve been wrong with that? Yes, certainly it would have been a more unfree world. But would it have been a more unfree U.S.? I don’t think so.

  109. I have No, zero, zip, zilch, problem with allowing blackwater (for example) access to the weapons (if they pay for them) needed to overthrow piss ant dictatorships. Which is generally some quality rifles and a truckload of blue jeans.

    Unlikely. Even Haiti has RPGs.

  110. How does that work, exactly? In the end, one or the other or both control Europe and Asia.

    Again, you don’t know what would have happened.

    I find deep irony that conservatives, who are usually the first (and rightly) to point out the atrocities of the USSR, are quick to defend our allegiance with them, and are additionally quick to gloss over the billions who lived in slavery for 60 years as a result of that fact.

  111. Unlikely. Even Haiti has RPGs.

    Yeah, you trade jeans for them.

    Then you have them.

    Win-win.

  112. Never forget the 1st of the classic blunders ever made, “Never fight a land war in Asia”

    Also, avoid going in against sicilians when death is on the line.

    Im having flashbacks to 4:48. 🙂

  113. perhaps nonexistent without our massive Lend-Lease aid to Russia (something like 2/3 of their six-wheeled trucks, critical for logistics, came from the U.S.).

    I have never been able to comprehend why the US would align itself with the USSR for any reason whatsoever.

    It’s the equivalent of South Central LA’s Korean shopkeepers joining East LA gangs because the Blacks in South Central don’t like Mexicans either.

  114. Never forget the 1st of the classic blunders ever made, “Never fight a land war in Asia”

    I don’t know, it worked for the Mongols.

  115. Oh, I have no trouble with Blackwater having RPGs for that matter.

  116. I don’t know, it worked for the Mongols.

    Yeah, they control Mongolia. Whoopty-frickin-doo. Just because something seems to work for the first 1000 years….

  117. TallDave,

    For Patton to get into some part of Eastern Europe first Operation Market Garden would have to have been more successful.

  118. I have never been able to comprehend why the US would align itself with the USSR for any reason whatsoever.

    Venona, Walter Duranty, etc. The Soviets had FDR convinced they were just aggressive socialist reformers rather than totalitarians.

  119. sorry robc, missed that.

    in any case, it was in reference to Patton’s remark that we should have chased the Russkis back to moscow.

    TallDave,

    Raiding and pillaging is not the same as conquering and occupying. The Mongols hit and ran through asia, and never had nor needed a supply line.

  120. We would have had to give Uncle Adolf the finger when he declared war on us after Pearl though.

    Meh, well, let him go ahead and declare his war. We should have waited until it looked like he was actually going to do something about it.

    Regardless, I’m not convinced that allying ourselves with the USSR was ever the right choice to make.

  121. Oh, I have no trouble with Blackwater having RPGs for that matter.

    That’s where the problems start. Say a local judge order a subpoena against them. They say “Come and get us.” The police are heavily outgunned. No more rule of law. This is why it’s not allowed.

    Also, what are you going to do if North Korea invades South Korea with tanks and missiles and planes?

    They either have to be so heavily armed they can’t be controlled, or so lightly armed they can’t intervene effectively. Thus, we’re left with only the State.

  122. I have never been able to comprehend why the US would align itself with the USSR for any reason whatsoever.

    Two words: FDR.

  123. Raiding and pillaging is not the same as conquering and occupying

    A common misconception. They did conquer and pillage, but they weren’t as undisciplined as they’ve been made out.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mongol_Empire

    The Mongol Empire was governed by a code of law devised by Genghis, called Yassa, meaning “order” or “decree”. A particular canon of this code was that the nobility shared much of the same hardship as the common man. It also imposed severe penalties – e.g., the death penalty was decreed if the mounted soldier following another did not pick up something dropped from the mount in front. On the whole, the tight discipline made the Mongol Empire extremely safe and well-run; European travelers were amazed by the organization and strict discipline of the people within the Mongol Empire

  124. Do you support intervention into the Democratic Republic of Congo then?

    For some reason, TallDave never answers questions like this. Only Iraq is worthy of democratic transformation at the point of a gun and trillions of dollars.

  125. That is true. We are not going to make them into model republics. But, we do have some interest in defending the Republics that are out there from predator nations.

    Like Iraq?

    Further, when those lousy nations do export terror and cause trouble we ought to do something about them when we can.

    Like Iraq ?

  126. TallDave,

    I said nothing of their military discipline, but honestly, the mongol empire was ephemereal at best, as they never tried too hard to hold it together once the army moved through and they never tried to hold supply lines back to mongolia. That’s why the Mongol “empire” existed for maybe 50 years before it broke apart into many different constituents. There simply wasn’t any strong ties nor an organized beauracracy left to manage it or an army inplace to enforce it.

  127. Regardless, I’m not convinced that allying ourselves with the USSR was ever the right choice to make.

    Couldn’t agree more.

  128. Sure, the Loonies in TMIAHM start a war

    Even beyond that, look how violent their own society is. There are all sorts of situations in which killing other people is accepted. It’s much more violent than any libertarian would likely accept.

    Ummm, many if not most of the Loonies in TMIAHM are libertarians. They start the war because the alternative is certain starvation — not just going hungry, everyone actually DYING — a few years down the road. And the “throwing perps out of the spacelock” stuff was for pretty flagrant violations of the social contract in a extremely harsh and unforgiving environment that couldn’t afford the luxury of incarcerating people for decades, even if it doesn’t seem justified viewed by the standards of our current wealthy society. Raping a women in a society where they are outnumbered by men 30-1 or more would be a really big deal, just like hanging horse thieves in the old West was in response to an action that could wind up killing the victim.

    But seeing all that would require, you know, reading the book and understanding the context of the society Heinlein outlined — Teh Hard.

  129. Episiarch —

    Since everyone else around here appear to be movie retards, the quote is from the surprisingly excellent “The Long Kiss Goodnight”.

    Though, my personally favorite exchange from the movie:

    “Ah, fuck this.”

    “Do you normally curse this much?”

    “Why? Are you a Mormon?”

    “Yes, I’m a Mormon. That’s why I just finished two vodka tonics and a pack of Newports. What I’m saying is, when I met you, you were all like ‘ah, phooey, I burned the darn muffins.’ Now, you go into a bar, and ten minutes later sailors come runnin’ out. What up with that?”

  130. Do you support intervention into the Democratic Republic of Congo then? – For some reason, TallDave never answers questions like this.

    Actually, I just didn’t see it. But I’m happy to answer.

    While they had their problems, it doesn’t seem necessary to free the DRC at the moment, from what I can tell.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Republic_of_the_Congo

    After 4 years of interim between two constitutions that established different political institution at the various levels of all branches of government, as well as different administrative divisions of the country, politics in the Democratic Republic of the Congo are settling into a stable presidential democratic republic.

    Of course, had we intervened in 1998, we might have prevented the largest war-related death toll since WW II.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Congo_War

    Iraq was a unique confluence of factors: a regime that had invaded two neighbors to seize their oil fields, used WMD, and brutally repressed its own people. That made intervention there more acceptable to the international community.

  131. Ummm, many if not most of the Loonies in TMIAHM are libertarians.

    Yes, that was my point. There was a question raised whether Heinlein became less militant and more libertarian. I would argue his vision of libertarianism was itself pretty militant, much more violent than any modern, real person calling himself “libertarian” would accept.

  132. I hate arguing with neocons about Iraq because it always seems to devolve into entirely irrelevant WWII discussions.

    Iraq was a unique confluence of factors: a regime that had invaded two neighbors to seize their oil fields, used WMD, and brutally repressed its own people. That made intervention there more acceptable to the international community.

    So what? Nothing in there demonstrates that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States…nor does any of that have anything to do with the Global War on Terror.

  133. Nick, your views here on foreign policy kinda surprise me cuz I remember you saying, while on a panel during one of your many TV appearances, that you thought that 9/11 was probably engendered by our government’s foreign intervention.

    Paul’s view, essentially, is that if we quit sending troops abroad, other people and countries would quit wanting to kill us.

    Not only sending troops abroad and also giving our money foreign governments who do things to folks with it that we certainly wouldn’t want done to us.

    First, even during the minimal-government era of Thomas Jefferson we wound up at war with the Barbary Pirates

    This is different from our government’s Iraq war and other current foreign interventions. Dr Paul’s/Rothbardian foreign policy wouldn’t object to the war on the Barbary Pirates cuz they were stealing stuff, taking slaves, and killing folks, unprovoked.

    (in many ways, the spiritual antecedents of today’s Islamic terrorists).

    I don’t think I see that cuz the terrorists are in more of a reaction mode. They’re both Muslims but religious doctrine was not instrumental in the 9/11 attacks and I have no idea as to the Barbary Pirates. Note that some of the 9/11 hackers drank and went to strip clubs just prior to the attacks.

    BTW, just last night I caught an interview on PBS with a Muslim gal who conducted a worldwide survey of Muslim opinion. Among her findings was that the 7% who approved of 9/11 the most (A 5 on a 1 to 5 scale) tended to be less religious than Muslims as a whole.

  134. Lost,

    True, their success in Asian land war was attributable to their mobility and ability to forage:

    In addition, soldiers of the Mongol army functioned independently of supply lines, considerably speeding up army movement.

    Another advantage of the Mongols was their ability to traverse large distances even in debilitatingly cold winters; in particular, frozen rivers led them like highways to large urban conurbations on their banks.

    So maybe the adage should go “Never get involved in a land war in Asia unless you’re highly mobile and can re-supply.”

  135. Averaging ~1 comment/minute. I’ll have to read some of them.

  136. Nothing in there demonstrates that Iraq was an imminent threat to the United States…

    Except that he had his forces shooting at ours every day.

    Also, at the risk of invoking WW II again, Germany and Japan invading various countries wasn’t a threat to us either, but we started arming their enemies anyway, which they naturally took as an act of war.

    Did you know the American thumbs-up gesture actually comes from China? Our soldiers picked it up there in WW II.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thumbs_up

    The gesture’s popularization in America is generally attributed to the practices of World War II pilots, who used the thumbs up to communicate with ground crews prior to take-off. This may have originated with the China-based Flying Tigers, who were among the first American flyers involved in WWII. The appreciative Chinese would say “??” (“ting hao”), meaning “very good,” and gesture with a thumbs up, which in Chinese means “you’re number one.” High officials in Chinese government see it as a sign of respect. Any person from China will recognize this numerical gesture, and it can be seen in movies and photos of the era, though this has not been verified in print by AVG pilots. American GIs are reputed to have picked up on the thumb and spread it throughout Europe as they marched toward Berlin.

  137. Nick:

    And second, Paul is not an isolationist-he favors much more commercial and cultural engagement with foreign countries,

    This has been a formula for peace throughout history.

    …something which, if experience is any guide, is as likely to anger Islamic fundamentalists and other varieties of terrorists and tyrants as is the establishment of foreign bases….

    I think that the evidence is just the opposite. Note that the three items of complaint on Bin Ladins 9/11 Fatwah all involved actions of our government. Note as well that the findings of the 9/11 commission reveal:

    “Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel, said the final report of the Sept. 11 commission.”

    http://www.kentucky.com/mld/heraldleader/news/nation/9222612.htm

    Also, the chief exporter of pornography into the Arab world is Sweden. The Islamic clerics complain bitterly, but of course there were no 9/11 attacks on Stockholm. It took our government’s interventionist aggression especially the taxpayer funding of the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestinian land to motivate 9/11.

  138. What Ayn_Randian said, which was:

    Yeah, Glenn…national defense…not endless, open wars abroad that have nothing to do with securing the nation.

    Perhaps the man should read what Miss Rand thought about WWI (and WWII pre-Pearl Harbor), Korea and Viet Nam before he drags us all in with this “Sword in One Hand/Credit Card in the Other” version of “Defense”.

    Ayn_Randian, do you have any quick citations for her views on those matters?

  139. Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the man who conceived and directed the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was motivated by his strong disagreement with American support for Israel,

    Great, we can end terrorism, and all we have to do is let all the Jews be slaughtered!

  140. Just like bestowing freedom on Iraq by slaughtering lots of Iraqis!!!!

  141. Just like bestowing freedom on Iraq by slaughtering lots of Iraqis!!!!

    Actually, our troops try very hard to avoid killing innocents. But yes, as in every other country we intervened in, we have to Fight those trying to oppress others.

  142. TallDave (re: Mongols)

    Land wars in Asia cannot be fought convetionally and we’ll leave it at that.

    Concerning Iraq…the US is really just too much of pussy…we need to NUKE anyone who disagrees. Sure, we’ll probably be retaliated against by the rest of the world, but atleast in a few years of nuclear holocaust, nobody will have the stomach to terrorize anybody anymore (as their stomachs will be all cancerous and glowy). People always avoid the simplest solution even when its so elegant. Fools!!!!

  143. Ayn Rand (at least from my reading) thought that we have a moral right to invade a dictatorship but should do so only for self interest. She might have approved of our current Iraqi situation, but I doubt it:

    Dictatorship nations are outlaws. Any free nation had the right to invade Nazi Germany and, today, has the right to invade Soviet Russia, Cuba or any other slave pen. Whether a free nation chooses to do so or not is a matter of its own self-interest, not of respect for the nonexistent “rights” of gang rulers. It is not a free nation’s duty to liberate other nations at the price of self-sacrifice, but a free nation has the right to do it, when and if it so chooses.

  144. Not meaning to kill someone, civilian or not, doesn’t make them any less dead, TallDave. Pay lip service to your idea that one day there will be democracy in Iraq. It’s only going to happen when the people want it, and a large portion of these people obviously don’t, or at least, they’re not willing to do it for themselves. Whether they are or not, the government and taxpayers of the US aren’t bound to help them.

  145. Not meaning to kill someone, civilian or not, doesn’t make them any less dead,

    No, but making an effort not to kill civilians makes a lot of civilians not dead (that’s as opposed to “We will drive the Jews into the sea!”). Given that the average rate of death under Saddam was around 7,000 a month, we’ve probably actually saved a large number of lives by removing him.

    Pay lip service to your idea that one day there will be democracy in Iraq.

    There’s democracy now. They’ve held 3 free and fair national elections and there will be provincial elections later this year.

    It’s only going to happen when the people want it, and a large portion of these people obviously don’t,

    They had higher turnout than we did, and we didn’t have people credibly threatening our polling stations with RPGs and car bombs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_elections

    After the elections in December 2005, where 76,4% of registered voters participated, the Iraqi government is considered by many international governments to be a legitimate government

  146. Since everyone else around here appear to be movie retards, the quote is from the surprisingly excellent “The Long Kiss Goodnight”.

    The quote rang a bell, but I couldn’t place it. After you did the reveal, I was gonna comment that Tony Scott was underrated. But then I looked it up. My bad…that was a Renny Harlin film. In fact, it is the only Renny Harlin film worth watching (although Die Hard II is tolerable).

  147. Hmmmm…

    Given that the average rate of death under Saddam was around 7,000 a month, we’ve probably actually saved a large number of lives by removing him.

    I wonder what role sanctions against Saddam played in that number?

    And although he certainly should shoulder the majority of the ethical burden for the results of sanctions that resulted from his own policies, there is certainly some legitimacy to claims that the sanctions were unjust…

    We certainly could have predicted their results on Saddam’s people, since the point was to burden the people so much with Saddam that they would rise up against him…in essence manipulating the populace towards our preferred end.

    We seem to have under-estimated Saddam’s indifference to his people’s suffering (the kind read) despite plenty of evidence that Stalin was his idol. The less kind read is that the international community was indifferent to the suffering of Iraq’s citizens compared to their preferred ends.

  148. There’s a lot of discussion of what the jihadists will do if the US follows a traditional, George Washington-style foreign policy.

    Why not find out?

    Try out peaceful intercourse with other nations, leaving democracy-building to the people in those particular nations.

    If the jihadists aren’t content because we’re still exporting racy music videos, then let them come and try and f___ with us, and we’ll see who’s *really* willing to fight in defense of their homeland.

    But the jihadists will no longer be able to recruit the fence-sitters who are genuinely angry at US military interventionism in the Middle East. Only the internally-consistent fanatical Islamists will want to wage war over Shakira music videos. Let those fanatics put themselves in the position of being the aggressor, so their “self-defense” excuse will be exposed as a pretext.

  149. Neu Mejican,
    So sanctions were wrong. Invasion was wrong (at least I think that’s your take from other comment threads, feel free to correct me).
    What exactly should have been done with Saddam? Once he was chased back over the border should we have just let bygones be bygones?

  150. I can feel the hate. You Beltway libertarians must be ex-democrats. I feel violated and I’m not kinky enough to like it.

  151. What is Fabian Libertarianism? Really, has anyone ever heard this before? Joe, John Sub D, Ayn Randian? Please help me here. Does anyone know what in the hell this means? My best guess is that it means you are for the new deal and the Iraq war but still want medical marijuana legalized.

  152. Oops, I meant “if the U.S. follow,” not “if the U.S. follows.”

  153. Gabe Harris,

    My best guess is that the term is a riff on “Fabian Socialism.” In England, the Fabian Society urged an incremental approach toward achieving socialism – I think they based their name on some Roman general, but I’m not fully certain. Anyway, the idea was to achieve the socialist agenda one piece of legislation at a time, salami-style, until one day Englishmen woke up and found themselves in a socialist state.

    The Fabians were basically the intellectual wing of the British Labour Party. They seem to have been influential, because the UK by the 1970s was about as socialistic as a democratic country can be. Thatcher rolled back some of it, but not all of it.

    I would guess that the idea is that if the libertarians can achieve the same kind of success with the same kinds of salami tactics, then we will have libertarianism in a couple of generations.

    Did I guess correctly? Is there a prize?

  154. Ayn Rand on WWII:

    Germany and Russia needed war; the United States did not and gained nothing. (In fact, the United States lost, economically, even though it won the war: it was left with an enormous national debt, augmented by the grotesquely futile policy of supporting former allies and enemies to this day.)

    On both world wars”

    World War I led, not to “democracy,” but to the creation of three dictatorships: Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany. World War II led, not to “Four Freedoms,” but to the surrender of one-third of the world’s population into communist slavery.

    Speaking on the Wilsonian (now GWB, TallDave’s and Reynolds idea of spreading institutions by force):

    “Once again [the first time being the first world war], the American public, which was strongly ‘isolationist,’ was manipulated by a pro-war administration into joining an ‘idealistic’ crusade.”

    Take that for what you will.

  155. So sanctions were wrong. Invasion was wrong (at least I think that’s your take from other comment threads, feel free to correct me).
    What exactly should have been done with Saddam? Once he was chased back over the border should we have just let bygones be bygones?

    Why did anything have to be done in the first place?

    In that same vein, why did the United States side with the repressive, reactionary Kingdom of Kuwait in the conflict?

    I’m not here to say that Saddam was some kind of good guy, but I don’t see where the constant tribalistic conflicts of the Middle East should be our business.

    You commit the fallacy of the complex question: you assume that something “had to be done”…neocons are nothing more than liberal do-gooders, just on foreign policy instead of domestic.

    “What shall WE DO??!” cry the hysterical. To that, I say “How about nothing?…How about minding our business?”

  156. I hate the internet… my post got eaten by a black hole…

    Here’s a good book on revolutions.

    What ultimately sets the American Revolution apart from other major world revolutions, and IMHO made it a success was the total lack of any real effort to “export” the revolution to the rest of the world. Such attempt at export usually fail (Iran, Cuba) and even when they don’t fail completely they either set up a grand downfall (USSR) or are the direct cause of a revolution’s downfall (Napoleonic France).

    If America begins now to try and ‘export’ democracy, it is nothing more than a delayed reaction to the revolution. It will similarly lead to a grand downfall. Successful revolutions are not exported by force of arms, but by example.

  157. A_R,
    At the risk of running into the alternate histories again, I’d say that letting Saddam have Kuwait and then Saudi Arabia would probably be a bad idea. If one madman starts to control too much of the world’s critical resource, oil, then he gains too much power. That war has a much easier case to make than the current one.

  158. LLStone…

    There is plenty of oil in America, Russia, Europe and South America. We’d have survived just fine without any of that oil. Besides, he’d almost be forced to sell that oil on an open market to get rid of it.

    What’s the worst he could’ve done? Stop pumping oil? Unlikely if he wanted the money. He’d have kept the oil flowing just like before.

  159. LLStone,

    I’m not overly concerned with GW I for the simple reason is that it had defined, simple goals that served America’s (short-term) interests. However, that being said, I think that it is still better for America to peacefully trade for its goods, even if it would have been with a POS like Saddam.

    Furthermore, it’s not fair to the people of the ME that we arbitrarily keep some idealized “Balance of Power”.

  160. Lost_In_Translation writes: “TallDave, I might agree with you…if the US was any good at spreading democracy. So far, I can’t think of one country that became peaceful and democratic (that hadn’t had any previous history of democracy) as a direct result of US intervention.”

    Germany. Japan. South Korea.

    While I agree that the U.S. is far from perfect, our founding ideals are at least rooted in the right place.

  161. Ken, did you miss the whole thread? We covered how Germany and Japan had histories of liberalization.

    Also, can I just scream that the United State is NOT a democracy?

  162. I think you right Mad Max, thanks. I should have been able to think that through…I’ve been calling that the gradualist strategy, but I’m a yokel.

  163. Glenn Reynolds was quoted as writing this: “Paul’s view, essentially, is that if we quit sending troops abroad, other people and countries would quit wanting to kill us. I’m not particularly persuaded by this.”

    Paul’s view is more charitably paraphrased as, “if we quit sending troops abroad, many fewer people and countries would hate and want to kill us.” Paul endorses a powerful, vigorous national defensive force. But what we have now is a highly offensive force, in many senses of that word. Certainly many people around the world are offended by our interventions and even our mere presence in their homelands. It only makes sense, and is neither cowardly nor stupid, to remove reasons for their provocation whenever we can.

    The point is not — and NEVER HAS BEEN — that if we bring our troops home, everyone will love us and not want to hurt us, only that the number remaining who would be mad enough at us to strike violently would be much reduced, and could be handled by a smaller, smarter, less costly defensive force.

    That is to say, Instapundit attributes a straw man to Ron Paul and then expresses dissatisfaction with it. Well duh. What else is new in the way that people who don’t understand libertarianism or libertarians characterize the latter? But Paul’s true views on defense are a lot more satisfying than the straw that Reynolds is peddling.

  164. Mad Max wrote,

    “There’s a lot of discussion of what the jihadists will do if the US follows a traditional, George Washington-style foreign policy.

    “Why not find out?”

    Why not, indeed?

    I very much appreciated your post, which I believe encapsulates the libertarian view of foreign policy and national defense sincerely and succinctly.

  165. I support armed intervention on behalf of liberty for all people at all places and times their liberties are threatened, whether they be South Koreans, West Germans, Taiwanese, Poles, Iraqis, French, British, Kosovars, etc.

    Apparently at the expense of our own liberty.
    Start your own private army.

  166. Black Dragon of the Danish Illuminati

    With the utterance of this phrase, I can now die a happy man. Thank you for the clever satire, MK2.

  167. “our founding ideals are at least rooted in the right place.”

    invading other countries?

    wow. just wow.

    danish illuminati? B.S. Ingeman? Stefen Brandt?

    warren. sigh. just sigh. Colin Clout would second me in suggesting that you learn some econ…

  168. LLstone,

    What exactly should have been done with Saddam?

    Containment.
    Help his neighbors defend themselves, punish aggressively an aggressive moves by Saddam outside of Iraq.

    Which, btw, does not require sanctions…but could.
    You could, of course, also design a different sanction regime.

    Free trade with private companies, but no trade with state-owned industry.

    Just riffing…no perfect solution for evil in the world, but there are lots of bad approaches.

  169. With the utterance of this phrase, I can now die a happy man. Thank you for the clever satire, MK2.

    It was well-played, wasn’t it?

  170. “Paul’s view, essentially, is that if we quit sending troops abroad, other people and countries would quit wanting to kill us. I’m not particularly persuaded by this.”

    Below is from the offical Ron Paul campaign website. Ron Paul has been endorsed by these experts as well as hired them. Dr. Pape is considered to top terror expert in the U.S. and he as well as other international terror experts agree with Ron Paul’s foreign policy. I find it funny people who know nothing about terrorism try to critisize Dr. Paul’s foreign policy views yet his views are backed and supported by almost all U.S. and internationl experts including Michael Scheuer who is the former head of the CIA search and task force for Osama bin Laden. See link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7W_GO0es8Js
    Ron Paul has facts, domesitic and international experts and common sense backing his foreign policy views.

    RonPaul2008.com – University of Chicago professor Robert Pape has joined the Ron Paul 2008 campaign as a foreign policy advisor. Dr. Pape is the foremost expert on suicide terrorism and the founder of the Chicago Project on Suicide Terrorism. He is also the author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism and has published numerous articles on suicide terrorism and the use of air power in war. Regarding the campaign, Professor Pape said, “Ron Paul’s campaign is making a lasting contribution to the security of the United States and its allies. Indeed, I often tell audiences ‘Ron Paul has the right foreign policy to safeguard America.'”

    Middle East expert Leon Hadar and national security analyst Ivan Eland have also joined the Ron Paul campaign as foreign policy advisors. Leon Hadar is a Washington-based global affairs analyst whose commentary on U.S. foreign policy has been published in leading newspapers and foreign policy journals. A former UN correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, he is the author of Quagmire: America in the Middle East and Sandstorm: Policy Failure in the Middle East.

    Ivan Eland is senior fellow and director of the Center on Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute. Dr. Eland spent 15 years working for Congress on national security issues, including stints as an investigator for the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Principal Defense Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. He is the author of several books, including The Empire Has No Clothes: U.S. Foreign Policy Exposed.

  171. Oh yea one thing I forgot to add. 90% of all suicide terrorism attacks since 1975 have occured in countries that the United States occupied at the time of the attacks and 10% where there was no U.S. occupation.

  172. Ron Paul’s theory reduces capitalism to a means to an end, with his outright attack on usury culture and the form of moral inattention that allows large corporations to strike from behind government as a shield in the name of civil rights. He suggests instead making the individual less obligated to those corporations, thus removing their shield, while cutting out the illusion that government is here to help. By doing so, he makes capitalism secondary to the question of individual survival and the ability for the smarter among us to escape the rest.

    http://www.extremepolitics.org/2008/01/06/how-ron-paul-changed-conservatism/

  173. To Glenn Reynolds:
    The perfect is the enemy of the good.

    And in reference to some of the posts above:
    Could someone please provide a link to where the Constitution authorizes the executive branch to wage undeclared wars which preemptively invade nations in an attempt to “fix” their governments?

    Assuming it’s not actually constitutional, but simply a matter of conscience in which all Americans should be taxed to engage, how would this endless series of undeclared wars be any different that our currently endless cycle of entitlements?

    Ayn_Randian beat me to my point: What I find troubling about neo-conservative and hawkish Libertarian reasoning is that they seem to have exactly the same weakness for assuming all citizens should financially support their concepts of geopolitical equity, as socialists have for assuming that all citizens should support their concepts of economic equity.

    Perhaps that’s why there’s so little difference in the platforms of the other three candidates. Senator McCain focuses on geopolitical military intervention; Senators Obama and Clinton focus on domestic economic intervention. All this at the taxpayers’ expense. All this on top of almost $10 trillion of debt.

    When it comes to issues beyond what is provided for in the Constitution, perhaps people should indulge their interests using their own time, money and lives.

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