The Friday Political Thread: Did You Know Pat Leahy Has a Cameo in The Dark Knight?

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Off-Message Quote of the Week
"The Muslims have said either we kneel, or they're going to kill us."
– McCain spokeshero Bud Day (whom I believe has permanently glued his Medal of Honor to his shirt)

The Week in Brief
Bob Barr kept up his offensive on John McCain over judicial appointments.
– Dick Heller tried to register his guns.
– The GOP opened up its platform online and was promptly overrun by Ron Paul supporters. Seriously, they didn't see that coming?
– Congress's other Dr. No headed back to Congress.
– Barack Obama made advances in the war on poverty.
– Congress overrode the president's Medicare veto.

Below the Fold
– Tom Knapp, a Libertarian who's un-endorsed Barr (and is running as the Boston Tea Party's VP candidate), has interesting ruminations on the purity fight within the movement.
– Richard Spencer reviews Grand New Party.
– Ben Friedman tells Obama how to handle Iran.
– The Algernonization of the Right continues apace.
– Naomi Klein vs Jonathan Chait: the long-awaited sequel to Bambi vs. Godzilla.

The new issue of the Believer includes—of all things—a Gentle Giant appreciation by Rick Moody. The perfect excuse to post this.

SATURDAY UPDATE: I think Ed Morrissey is rattling the chains too wildly here. So: When she left the presidential race, Hillary Clinton's close allies bought hillary2012.com. Is it evidence that she wants Obama to lose? I seriously doubt it. One, her Senate re-election bid is coming in 2012. Two, if Clinton is as Machiavellian as the Right spent the last 20 years saying she was, would she actually telegraph her Obama doltschuss plan by buying a web domain? It's more likely her team bought the domain to stop Clinton's more Alex Forrestian followers from launching their own "defeat Obama now and get Hillary later" site. (Party Unity My Ass, the much-hyped if little-populated anti-Obama group, geared up days after this web domain was purchased.) Obama's fundraising and consistent poll lead over McCain are dripping pesticide over any left-wing or Clinton revanchist movement to stop him.

Oh, and who's that at Netroots Nation in Texas?

NEXT: Lesbians Are Cool, and Straights Are Fools

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  1. The Algernonization of the Right continues apace.

    I am a trepidatious fan of neologisms, such that if they work and are suitably punchy, they can sometimes be better than tired or overused stand-bys. However, they can just as easily be terrible aural train-wrecks.

    I’m not sure how I feel about the aesthetics of “Algernonization”, but any comparison of GOPers to Charlie from Flowers for Algernon can’t be *all* bad. It’s like they took an economics 101 course once and they became *super smart*, and then being in power burned out their brains so now they are all slobbering retards.

    You know, the more I think about it, the more it works.

  2. Thanks for the link to the Jonathan Chait article. Knowing that there’s at least some people on the left who can see through Naomi Klein’s BS makes me feel a lot better about this world.

  3. 1. Barack Obama wants to build his own “force” that would be as well-funded as the U.S. military. Oddly enough, Reason has completely ignored this story. Meanwhile, I’ve gotten thousands of hits to that page from HotAir, email, and forums. I guess “Sargeant Weigel” has better things to report on.

    2. Bob Barr continues trying to fool people.

    3. “GreaterMexico”? Yep: peekURL.com/zdrldr1

    4. Peace through anti-prog.

  4. Only four today, LoneWacko?

  5. That Lou Aguilar piece was truly painful.

    He writes for USA Today. All their stuff is Algernonized.

  6. I’m old enough to have heard about Horatio Alger. Also about when Jimmy Carter flubbed and called Hubert H. Humphrey ” Hubert Horatio Hornblower. The Little Woman and I saw that one live.

    This much I know is true:
    “Obama gets support from Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, and every weenie in Hollywood. Plus, Susan Sarandon has vowed to leave the country if McCain gets elected. ”

    Anybody named Horatio will easily forsake politics to live in the same country as Susan Sarandon.
    I’m just sayin’.

    Did everybody see her as Brooke Shields’ momma in “Pretty Baby”?
    I’m just sayin’. You can get the DVD at your local library.

    Ruthless

  7. Jonathan Chait’s takedown of that blithering idiot Naomi Klein is the best yet.

  8. Maybe it was announced too recently to make the list, but I think this should get mentioned in the comments of any general political thread:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/18/AR2008071801308.html?nav=rss_email/components

  9. McCain spokeshero Bud Day (whom I believe has permanently glued his Medal of Honor to his shirt)

    This is totally off the subject, but if I had a Medal of Honor, I’d glue it to my shirt too.

  10. Gentle Giant? That could be any random group of 2008 hipsters.

  11. The “civilian security force” thing is the new birth certificate gate.

    Besides, isn’t the FBI kind of a “civilian security force” anyway?

  12. I cannot wait to see this flick. I never go on opening weekends because I really hate crowds.

    JT
    http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

  13. If it weren’t for Politics ‘n Prog, I would’ve killed myself long ago. Keep it coming. My life is in your hands.

  14. 2. Bob Barr continues trying to fool people.

    Disturbing link. Of course, not for the reason’s that you, Lonewacko, think it’s disturbing.

    Too many brown people becoming U.S. citizens through birth — we white people had better revoke birthright citizenship. That was one of the first warning signs of Ron Paul’s racism.

  15. He still hasn’t answered my question about why taking the Metrorail makes one an “elitist” or “globalist”.

  16. Mike Laursen,
    You got an issue with UPS?

    By the way, the UPS guy gave me a “Big Brown” button just before the Kentucky Derby.
    (Sorry about his–Big Brown’s–luck.)

  17. Where the F*CK is the Keith Emerson clip? I see that the Mexican government is honoring Prince Teddy K. When’s Reason gonna get its reward for pushing open borders and assuming the Mexican govt’s shift of burden to U.S. Taxpayers?

  18. The GOP opened up its platform online and was promptly overrun by Ron Paul supporters.

    And 99% of the responses were “abolish the Fed and get on a gold standard.” What about free trade? Oh right, they don’t want that. They want to “keep our jobs from going overseas”. I had an argument with a guy Monday who claimed Mises was his hero, yet he wanted trade to stop. He kept trying to convince me that all international trade was conducted by government agents, and that by stopping trade we would have freedom.

    Ron Paul is still my hero, but he did a lousy job of getting his message across.

  19. I said this before on the analogy.

    Algernon and Charlie got really really smart before they got *SPOILER*

    When did the republicans get really really smart? (to be fair, when did the democrats?)

    And, IIRC, Algernon was never retarded to begin with.

  20. I’m also willing to give a medal of honor winner a pass on saying any kind of crazy s***. As long as he does no evil, he’s got a free ride in my book to say whatever he wants. There’s only about 100 of these guys around, and there’s about a 2 in 3 chance to begin with that you get it drapped around your picture vice your neck.

  21. Besides, isn’t the FBI kind of a “civilian security force” anyway?

    Um, NO. They are not. Please turn in your Libertarian card for even thinking so. Unless the concept of an American Stazi has merit here?

  22. (Sorry about his–Big Brown’s–luck.)

    David, I was saying I have a problem with people who have a problem with brown people.

  23. The “civilian security force” thing is the new birth certificate gate.

    Now, if by that he meant, “armed individuals vigorously exercising their 2nd amendment rights, that would be great.

    But, he means the fucking opposite.

  24. Obama has voted the left-wing line every single time, and been designated the most liberal Senator in Congress.

    Actually, McCain is the most liberal Senator in Congress.

    There, I did it – he has been designated – he’ll never live this one down, bwahaha!

  25. So, if illegals (not just Mexicans are here illegally) just had less melanin in their skin, the average US citizen would suddenly welcome them and Ron Paul wouldn’t have said the things he did? Wow. Lots of assumed racism here, but all I can see in realityville is people who’d prefer it if immigrants maybe followed the law for a change. A radical concept, to be sure…
    JMR

  26. So, if illegals (not just Mexicans are here illegally) just had less melanin in their skin, the average US citizen would suddenly welcome them and Ron Paul wouldn’t have said the things he did?

    If the average immigrant (legal or illegal) were an female eatern european supermodel, do you think there’d be any complaining?

  27. So JMR,

    What if the law were changed and 95% of those who applied would be issued Green cards?

    Would that satisfy your objections to illegal immigration?

  28. Bud Day (whom I believe has permanently glued his Medal of Honor to his shirt)

    I’d just like to point out, this should be who here, not whom, because Bud is the subject of the sentence (or sentence fragment, or whatever).

  29. Brandybuck
    Every body I’ve talked to that had a Paul sticker on their car seemed to be for him in the main not beause of the fed issue (though an alarming number mentioned this imo) but because of the abortion and ol’ time religion issue, immigration opposition, and/or gun rights. Many of them, oddly enough, indeed hated “big government” but seemingly because they worried about 1. their guns being taken 2. the government imposing on their religion. I say oddly because another concern was shutting down illegal immigration which would certainly take some “big government.” Interestingly, I never met one (in person) that mentioned ending the War on Drugs or Iraq as a prominent concern.

    I’m certainly not saying that is a representative sample of his supporters btw. From interactions here it would seem not to be. I also don’t imply that this strange comingling is not a result of Paul’s statements themselves. I simply submit that for some significant number of his supporters his seemingly traditional conservatism was a big selling point. Which strikes me as very, very interesting…

  30. Attention anti-islamofascist red state warriors.

    Since y’all got so up in arms about Barack Obama’s willingness to have talks with the Mad Mullahs of Iran?, WTF do you think about this ominous development?

    Color me curious (yellow).

  31. I’d just like to point out, this should be who here, not whom, because Bud is the subject of the sentence (or sentence fragment, or whatever).

    GrammatikNazi, I’ve noticed that the grammar SS has gotten awfully fucking sloppy as of late.

    Shape up or it’s a trip to the eastern front for you.

  32. I think that “GrammarEinsatzgruppen” is more accurate.

  33. I doubt there’d be objections to supermodels of ANY color or shade. And my objection has to do with breaking the law, so either a change in the law or a change in behavior or a change in enforcement all might work better than what we’re seeing now, but my main objection is to those who, for dishonest reasons IMO, conflate racism and respect for law. Any comments on that aspect of things??
    JMR

  34. I’ll tackle it:

    100 years ago it was against the law in some states to teach black people how to read and write.

    Would you throw teachers who flouted that law into jail?

    Should the Lovings done time because they flouted the law forbidding them to marry each other?

    What about any pacifists living in that town in Arkansas where the town rulers passed a law mandating that all households keep a firearm on the premises? Should they go to jail or pay a fine for refusing to violate their moral principles?

    Bad laws deserve contempt, not respect. And, frankly, you are the first person whom I have ever encountered who claims to be opposed to illegal immigration who has been willing to accept relaxing the law. Every other opponent of “illegal immigration” who has ever bothered to answer my questions has also been opposed to permitting a similar number of people to immigrate legally. In my experience the opposition to the “illegal” part is usually a convenient front for the opposition to the “immigration” part. And, all too frequently they bitch about Mexicans and people speaking Spanish.

  35. I think that “GrammarEinsatzgruppen” is more accurate.

    Lead by the ?bergrammatikf?hrer?

  36. I wouldn’t — the government would. I don’t have to like laws to follow them as a citizen-unit. As a juror, I’d nullify such a law, of course. But we’re talking about people whose first act is to do something that’s not legal. I have no problem with relaxing immigration laws IF the welfare state is drastically cut back. If someone wants to come here to work, it’s one thing. If they’re coming for the great medical care and welfare BS, it’s another, and that’s the magnet.

    No comment besides the final words, maybe, about the false accusation of racism, but I still maintain that makes much of those who argue against me look very, very stupid. It’s the last rhetorical gasp at an attack they know is not true, but pointing it out infuriates them. They’d best get used to it, though. I have a question for you. Why not implement an exact English translation of MEXICAN immigration laws in the USA, complete with prisons for breakers of such laws with Mexican-style conditions? Sound good to you??
    JMR

  37. Also, there might not be any objection on this board to the massive importation of supermodels, but I suspect fat girls everywhere might rise up against immigration laws were they to become ubiquitous.

  38. What about any pacifists living in that town in Arkansas where the town rulers passed a law mandating that all households keep a firearm on the premises? Should they go to jail or pay a fine for refusing to violate their moral principles?

    You mean Kennesaw, in 1982? That was in Georgia, and the law exempted those who conscientiously objected.

    Every other opponent of “illegal immigration” who has ever bothered to answer my questions has also been opposed to permitting a similar number of people to immigrate legally.

    Agreed. That’s been my experience as well.

    there might not be any objection on this board to the massive importation of supermodels

    Given how massive an importation of supermodels would be necessary before any of us here had a chance to do more than look, I’d rather concentrate on admitting folks who were eager to mow lawns, pick fruit, and harvest Christmas trees. Along with the supermodels, of course.

  39. Lots of assumed racism here, but all I can see in realityville is people who’d prefer it if immigrants maybe followed the law for a change.

    Moving to another country without filling out the paperwork doesn’t make you part of a criminal class. “Follow the law for a change,” as if they’re all holding up gas stations.

    This is what calling people “Illegals” gets you. That’s why the term was invented; to get you to think about people who live here and work under the table as a dangerous criminal class, instead of people.

    You like the rule of law? Get ride of the laws that forbid a class of our society from availing themselves of the courts, police, and even the ability to open sell their labor. That’s do wonders for the rule of law.

  40. What about any pacifists living in that town in Arkansas where the town rulers passed a law mandating that all households keep a firearm on the premises? Should they go to jail or pay a fine for refusing to violate their moral principles?

    You mean Kennesaw, in 1982? That was in Georgia, and the law exempted those who conscientiously objected.

    Catron County New Mexico passed a law requiring all heads-of-household to own a gun as well. It did not pass constitutional muster when challenged.

  41. If they’re coming for the great medical care and welfare BS, it’s another, and that’s the magnet.

    Pretty sure the magnet is the chance to earn money through honest labor.

  42. I am very pro-immigration, it’s one of the key things I disagree with Dr. Paul about (but I still like him better than any of this years candidate crop).

    Being anti-immigration has little to do with race, though, at least as I think of race. It has to do with outsiders. In the past other european immigrant groups were treated similarly.

  43. JMR:

    I have no problem with relaxing immigration drug laws IF the welfare state is drastically cut back.

    Can you tell me the difference between your argument about illegal immigration and the similar one I “fixed up” above?

    After all, there most assuredly (at least, in my mind) would be an ever-so-slight increase in use of State resources (like State hospitals, welfare, WIC/food stamps, on and on) if more folks were addicted to drugs. Does that mean that we have to continue to wage the “War on Some Drugs” just like the “War on Some Class of Immigrants”?

  44. It isn’t racism, its xenophobia. I really do think the minuteman crowd would be just as upset if it were millions of pale-white Russians.

    Its xenophobia combined with some weird fear of the “one world government” BS.

  45. After all, there most assuredly (at least, in my mind) would be an ever-so-slight increase in use of State resources (like State hospitals, welfare, WIC/food stamps, on and on) if more folks were addicted to drugs.

    It wouldn’t be slight (unless they were all just smoking pot), but it’s still a a good argument.

  46. I’m an opponent of immigration, but I’ll readily admit the “they are bad because they are illegal” argument to support keeping it illegal is not going to wash. It’s like arguing to someone who wants to end drug illegalization that the drugs should be illegal because they are bad and bad because they are illegal.

    My opposition to immigration is that currently that immigration will not be very diverse, in fact it will be largely from Mexico. And I don’t want to live in either Mexico or a U.S. with a large influence by Mexico.

    I think a nation’s current institutions and situations are largely products of their people’s and their requisite histories, culture, social capital, etc.,. And I vastly prefer the institutions that dominate in the United States today over the ones that dominate in Mexico. If a crapload of folks from Mexico suddenly appear in the US then we will move closer to the culture, institutions, etc., of Mexico. I agree that we will “Americanize” them, probably more than they will “Mexicanize” us, but they will most certainly have an effect and judging from their institutions and culture I don’t see that effect being in a direction I would prefer.

  47. Elemnope
    I agree about the drugs. It would be a huge public health problem, though one imo vastly preferable to what we get with the WOD.

  48. I have no problem with relaxing immigration laws IF the welfare state is drastically cut back.

    These measures are only necessary during a transitional period, until the withering away of the welfare state.

  49. MNG,

    You’ve put that argument out many times before.

    I can’t help but see it as an attempt to rationalize xenophobia.

    It seems you over estimate the homogeneity of US cultural roots, and under-estimate the shared history of Mexico and a large chunk of the US.

  50. Mister Niceguy,

    I disagree on precisely the point you raise, and think that the cultural changes that immigration produces on our country is a huge net positive.

    But, regardless, there are going to be a whole lotta Mexicans coming here, and I don’t see that as optional. It has always been that way, and it will always be that way. It’s like people drinking alcohol.

  51. MNG argument boils down to: I don’t want the rest of the country to start looking more like the Southwest United States.

  52. NM
    I think a person can prefer the institutions and culture’s of some nations (and even people’s) without necessarily being xenophobic.

    For example, I’m a huge Anglo-phile. To me English history is hugely inspiring, with it’s relative decentralization and (admittedly slow and imperfect) steady “march of liberty” through the development of their culture and institutions. I like the English system of common law, and English institutions like grand juries for example. I find the distinct brand of English analytic philosophy to be superior to any other. I like English novelists and hell I like English food.

    I’m no fan of French culture. The absolutism that reigned so long then broken by a manic Revolution. I have to look very hard to find a novelist from France I like. French (in fact all Continental philosophers) seem purposely vague and unenlightening to me.

    Does this make me a xenophobe in relation to France and xenocentric in relation to England?

    (btw-my heritate is German so no dog in that fight)

    joe
    I think a common argument of proponents of immigration is “it’s going to happen anyway.” I don’t think that is true (even were it that would not be a conclusive argument to embrace it). To use your example, Prohibition did not get rid of drinking alcohol, but it did cut it down a great deal. If we really want to and apply some will we could cut a huge dent into illegal immigration.

  53. For the Prohibition claim, check out Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History by R. Shenkman. He cites more scholarly sources.

  54. NM
    In a sense you are right, though I would add that SW US is in great flux now. I think if that flux does continues in its current direction it will be something I really do not like, yes.

  55. MNG,

    I think a person can prefer the institutions and culture’s of some nations (and even people’s) without necessarily being xenophobic.

    It only becomes xenophobic when you use that preference as a rationalization for your fear of the change you predict will be wrought by immigration.

  56. though I would add that SW US is in great flux now. I think if that flux does continues in its current direction it will be something I really do not like, yes.

    It has been in flux for 500 years…as has the rest of the country.

  57. I really do think the minuteman crowd would be just as upset if it were millions of pale-white Russians.

    I really don’t. Even when the natalist folks of yesteryear were raging against immigrants that we would call “white” today, there was always a racial subtext. Consider the Irish, eastern Europeans, etc.

  58. FWIW,

    I think the history of New Mexico is one that libertarians should look at carefully. The SW US in the 19th century was a working example of minarchy. Most of the population lived in NM. The question on a historical front comes from the question: did the SW benefit from the relatively greater central authority that came with joining the US officially and grew over time from that point?

  59. So, if illegals (not just Mexicans are here illegally) just had less melanin in their skin, the average US citizen would suddenly welcome them and Ron Paul wouldn’t have said the things he did?

    yeah, i think that’s entirely true.

    out on long island, ny, there were (and are) a tremendous amount of illegal aliens within a certain population set. like, A LOT.

    but they’re from ireland.

    oddly enough, you don’t see LoneWacko posts about the IrishGovernment, or local irish-american support for terrorism abroad.

    this doesn’t mean every anti-immigration person is racist; but i have no real difficulty believing that it counts for a tremendous amount of anti-immigration support. you can call it xenophobia if you like, since that is probably less antagonistic and a bit more accurate, but it’s still mindless parochial bigotry.

  60. Also, FWIW,

    The arguments that delayed for 50 years statehood for New Mexico were couched in exactly the same language used by MNG today. Allowing NM to enter the US was said to be too risky due to the corrosive nature of allowing so many people with a different cultural history/language/traditions into the US.

    So has having NM, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and California been a positive or negative influence on the country? Would the US be better off if they had not been admitted?

  61. Gore: Carbon-free electricity in 10 years doable

    Former Vice President Al Gore called Thursday for a “man on the moon” effort to switch all of the nation’s electricity production to wind, solar and other carbon-free sources within 10 years, a goal that he said would solve global warming as well as economic and natural security crises caused by dependence on fossil fuels.

    Is he just blowing smoke

  62. Please allow me to finish ny previos post. Remember, boys and girls, Preview is your friend!.

    The closing should read

    Is he just blowing smoke (bullshit artist) or does he really believe this is possible (batshit insane)? Either way, I’ll have to search elsewhere in my continuing quest for rational environmentalists.

  63. JsubD,

    Please notice this sentence:

    To speed up the transition to new energy sources, Gore said the single most important policy change would be to “tax what we burn, not what we earn,” advocating a tax on carbon dioxide pollution.

    Single most important…he’s not just blowing smoke but advocating the elimination of the income tax in favor of a tax on material throughput as the primary mechanism for achieving a major change in the way things are done. It isn’t his idea, but he has been advocating this mechanism as the primary policy change fairly consistently.

  64. As for the 10 years timeline, I don’t see it as realistic, but if the goal is 10 years, we might get it done in 25.

  65. “U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama talks about 16 months. That, we think, would be the right timeframe for a withdrawal, with the possibility of slight changes.”

    It is the first time he has backed the withdrawal timetable put forward by Obama, who is visiting Afghanistan and us set to go to Iraq as part of a tour of Europe and the Middle East.

    Obama has called for a shift away from a “single-minded” focus on Iraq and wants to pull out troops within 16 months, instead adding U.S. soldiers to Afghanistan.

    Asked if he supported Obama’s ideas more than those of John McCain, Republican presidential hopeful, Maliki said he did not want to recommend who people should vote for.

    “Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems.”

    Can you imagine if Maliki had said exactly the opposite? “U.S. candidate John McCain talks about American forces staying in Iraq until the ‘bad guys’ are defeated, and I think that sounds right. Whoever is thinking about maintaining troops indefinitely until conditions are right is closer to reality. Artificially cutting off the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems.”

  66. dhex stupidly says: oddly enough, you don’t see LoneWacko posts about the IrishGovernment

    No, you never see anything like that.

    The bottom line is that I cover this issue closely and have for years. All the wimpy arguments provided by supporters above are easily destroyed, as I have on my site and in past comments here. What they support would give a great deal of power inside the U.S. to people who shouldn’t have any power to begin with, and they’ll use that power in ways destrimental to the U.S.

    Scan through my archives if you want to find out what’s really going on with this issue.

  67. Neu,

    I think that half a century is a realistic hope.

    also fron the AP article

    Gore told the AP that his plan counts on nuclear power plants still providing about a fifth of the nation’s electricity while the U.S. dramatically increases it’s use of solar, wind, geothermal energy and clean coal technology*.

    [emphasis added]

    “Clean coal technology means sequestering massive amounts of CO2, typically by injecting it into the lithosphere. It’s a technology neither developoed or proven feasible. Nonsense like this gives rational carbon dioxide reduction supporters a bad image.

  68. Lonewacko,

    WhatAreYouAfraidThey’llDo?

    Seriously, why are you so scared of people from other countries? Is it their food?

    I’ll admit, boiled potatoes aren’t my favorite, even though I’m from ScaryLeprechaunStock for the most part. But I do enjoy a burrito. Does this make me a BadAmericanInThrallToForeignPowers?

  69. LMNOP, You’re a mick? And you admit it? Are you a papist as well? I’m only asking because loyalty to foreign potentates applies.

    😉

    P.S. Hope ya had a racous birthday.

  70. Would you throw teachers who flouted that law into jail?

    The big difference is that those teachers were not engaged in crimes. If you do not know the difference between civil disobedience and criminal activity, then I suggest you reread your Thoreau. To the government the two may appear identical, but in moral terms they are quite different.

    What happens when narcotics are legalized? Do you free all the drug dealers in prison? The vast majority of them engaged in, and were convicted of, violent crimes. These include extortion, assault, murder, theft, etc. Ditto for many drug users. No matter how moral you think getting high is, robbing a liquor store to get money for your fix is still a violent crime!

    Thus you do not give blanket amnesty to all drug users and dealers when the WoD finally ends.

    Illegal immigration is not an identical situation, but there are several similarities. Coyotes (the smugglers) routinely engage in extortion, slavery and rape. These violent crimes must not be pardoned by hand-wringing do-gooders. And while most immigrants themselves are mere pawns in this powerplay, their illegal status does lead to a scofflaw attitude. Immigrants convicted of crimes need to be deported if they are not to be incarcerated domestically.

    I do support the radical liberalization of our immigration laws. But as long as any immigration restrictions remain on the books (disease checks, background checks, etc), then any amnesty must require illegal immigrants to exit the country and get back in line, before they can get legal residency status.

  71. J sub D —

    I have a rich a diverse background; my ScaryLeprechaunStock is balanced out by TartanWearingHighlander, and when I feel like it, I wear a MickmackMohawk while DrinkingBottlesOfMapleSyrup.

    Approximately the only thing my ancestors had in common was that they all liked killing Limeys.

    ———

    As for the B-Day, I don’t normally celebrate *on* the B-Day. It so happens that a few of my friends have very close birthdays to mine, and so we all celebrate in a giant party which shall occur next Friday. For now, just the Pecan Pie. Mmmmmm.

  72. “But as long as any immigration restrictions remain on the books (disease checks, background checks, etc), then any amnesty must require illegal immigrants to exit the country and get back in line, before they can get legal residency status.”

    You have a very vivid imagination Gogol. Personally I like to fantasize about winning the lottery.

  73. The vast majority of them engaged in, and were convicted of, violent crimes.

    *Vast* majority? That’s quite a claim. Even if it is true, I still don’t see the problem; you vacate their drug charges and relevant sentences, and they’re still on the hook for anything else illegal they may have done like the aforementioned extortion, assault, murder, theft, etc..

    This is much like the people who want to keep pot illegal because they are afraid that someone might drive while under the influence of pot! Why not just make it illegal to *drive while under the influence of pot*. Simple, direct, makes the point, doesn’t overreach.

  74. “War on Some Class of Immigrants”

    Middle class skilled/educated/ professionals?

  75. Pecan pie is a good thing.

  76. Why not just make it illegal to *drive while under the influence of pot*. Simple, direct, makes the point, doesn’t overreach.

    Because driving while in another state other than “Hands at ten and two and full concentration on the road” is not an initiation of force by any stretch of the imagination.

    If you want to outlaw “dangerous driving habits”, outlaw having passengers! 😀

    Middle class skilled/educated/ professionals?

    What does that mean?

    If you do not know the difference between civil disobedience and criminal activity, then I suggest you reread your Thoreau. To the government the two may appear identical, but in moral terms they are quite different.

    Oh I get it:

    civil disobedience = criminal activity with a moral purpose (which Gogol will conveniently designate to conform to his prejudices).

    Civil disobedience is BREAKING THE LAW, Gogol. That doesn’t mean that I don’t support it, akin to how silly immigration laws should be broken.

  77. Ayn_Randian,

    You aren’t being a very good helper! One step at a time with these people. They’re fragile! First, pot in homes but not in cars. We’ll cross the driving bridge when we come to it, eh?

  78. My fault; my pragmatic incrementalism sometimes gets overridden by the the little devil of absolutism.

  79. LMNOPE & NM

    I can’t and won’t speak for Lonewacko.

    I will also say for the record that it’s undoubtedly true that for some people their opposition to loosening our immigration stance is rooted in either racism or xenophobic “irrational fear.”

    But what I “think they’ll do” is to make our nation’s culture, institutions and politics more like Mexico’s. I’d like to hear folks suggestions about how plopping down millions (and one could only imagine the millions if we had truly open borders) of Mexicans into this nation would NOT have such an effect.

    I readily admit that some of this change could be positive (yes, yes, I like burritos too). I also readil admit that we will “Americanize” them, probably more so than they would “Mexicanize” our institutions, politics and culture.

    I just find Mexico’s history and current situation of politics, culture and institutions to be something I’m not much in admiration of…

    Why would we assume that immigrants would only bring the positive cultural features of their homeland and not the negative? And if the cultural/political/institutional scence of their homeland is a net negative in our opinion then why is it irrational or crazy to assume that the net result of their contributions would be negative as well?

    I also worry about what social scientists call “balkanization” but I have no crystallized stance there. I also worry about the nature of much current immigration which involves poverty unheard of here and it’s attendant social pathologies (lack of education, disease, superstition, etc.). I don’t think influxes of all that are good for us.

  80. I should lastly add that for conservationist reasons I would like to not see the population of the US grow, and to the extent that immigration is a cause of recent population growth and would be the cause of future population growth it troubles me.

    I’m not just trying to throw whatever arguments exist against the wall to see what sticks (for example I don’t care if I have to “press 1” for English and I don’t think, from what I’ve read, there is any clear evidence that immigration is causing big unemployment or economic problems).

    I’m not dogmatic on this issue. I think there are certain cultural pluses to this kind of thing (for example, I think that if you look at cultural/intellectual centers throughout history (e.g. Athens) and today I think there it’s amazing how many of them were ports where diversity was common).

    I also think a powerful argument on the side of opening up immigration is that who is anyone to tell another person where they can or cannot go as long as they are not tresspassing on their specific land?

  81. Suggestions that “everyone imprisoned due to the drug war need to be released immediately” are even more fantasy based than my suggestion to require illegal immigrants to get back in line and go through the process.

    There have been two violent incidents in my nearly five decades of life: I was once mugged, and my neighbor’s home was once straffed by gangland bullets. Both were caused by the black market in drugs. I want narcotics legalized, completely. Not decriminalized, but fully legalized. But I don’t want these violent criminals released just because some bleeding heart libertarian thinks they’re poor victims of DEA.

    No, not all drug dealers are violent. But to suggest that violence in the drug distribution business is rare is to live in a fantasy. All “gangland” violence and organized crime in this country is the result of black markets in proscribed goods, whether it be narcotics, prostitution or gambling. Even the protection racket exists because of the black market, as there would be no “territory” to extort without it.

    Calling for a blanket pardon of all drug dealers is ludicrous. Ditto for no-questions-asked amnesty for illegal immigrants and their coyotes. Pardon the act of immigration, but do not pardon any other crimes they may have committed.

    p.s. And if you think selling crack on the street corner is a moral act of civil disobedience, you’ve been smoking too much of your inventory.

  82. And if you think selling crack on the street corner is a moral act of civil disobedience, you’ve been smoking too much of your inventory.

    Yes, because if you do it with the right “intentions”, then it’s all kinds of special. If you do it in the pursuit of happiness or pleasure or for selfishness, then you deserve locked up.

    You have weird priorities.

  83. p.s. And if you think selling crack on the street corner is a moral act of civil disobedience, you’ve been smoking too much of your inventory.

    I used to sell reefer to my friends and co-workers, an act different only in degree, not in kind. I actually considered it (breaking a dumbass immoral law) an act of civil disobedience.* Might the street crack dealers that I see daily also feel that way?

    * The profit, taken in free dope, was an incentive as well.

  84. I’d like to hear folks suggestions about how plopping down millions (and one could only imagine the millions if we had truly open borders) of Mexicans into this nation would NOT have such an effect.

    Well, that they are leaving Mexico to come to the United States tends to indicate that they like at least some aspects of the United States as it is, and dislike at least some aspects of Mexico as it is.

    Also, part of opening up the border could be to let people come here to work, and then return home. Thus, if they like Mexico better than the United States, they could return there.

    I also worry about the nature of much current immigration which involves poverty unheard of here and it’s attendant social pathologies (lack of education, disease, superstition, etc.). I don’t think influxes of all that are good for us.

    Are you implying that we don’t already have loads of the uneducated and superstitious? As for disease, I have no problem with checking folks for disease before they cross the border — liberalizing our border laws would make it more likely that folks would enter the country at a checkpoint, making it possible to check them for disease.

  85. think there are certain cultural pluses to this kind of thing (for example, I think that if you look at cultural/intellectual centers throughout history (e.g. Athens) and today I think there it’s amazing how many of them were ports where diversity was common).

    This is one of the most important arguments for more open borders. You’re doing pretty well presenting arguments against your own premise — keep going!

  86. Elemenope: why do you and most others here continue to embarrass your “movement” by failing to understand and accurately represent your opponents’ arguments? Don’t you realize that normals who read these threads think much lower of libertarians because of that?

  87. There are a number of things wrong with Bud Day, being proud of his Medal of Honor is not one of them

  88. Lonewacko —

    I didn’t represent your position in any way. I *asked* you a *question*.

    Namely, what terrifies you so specifically about immigrants?

  89. Lonewacko,
    In the cause of improving the libertarian image, I, and others, consistently treat you like the ignorant, monomaniacal fool that you are. I would like everybody who stops by these board to realize that you are in no way considered libertarian or respected by libertarians.

    That you are tolerated is nothing more than an advertisement that libertarians believe in free speech, no matter how obstreperous and misinformed the speaker may be.

  90. The idea of a spinoff from the LP strikes me as very “People’s Front of Judea.”

  91. Every body I’ve talked to that had a Paul sticker on their car seemed to be for him in the main not beause of the fed issue (though an alarming number mentioned this imo) but because of the abortion and ol’ time religion issue, immigration opposition, and/or gun rights.

    MNG — I would say that the Paul supporters who chose to talk to you are not a representative sample of the full populace of Paul supporters. I have a Ron Paul sticker on my car. I went to a Meetup group of Paul supporters to watch one of the debates. The people I’ve met are a broad cross-section of libertarians and constitutionalists who, for the most part, want a much smaller government across the board.

  92. The idea of a spinoff from the LP strikes me as very “People’s Front of Judea.”

    One such spinoff: an Objectivist Party has been formed recently. Bumper sticker: “Like libertarians, but without all those pesky NIOF principles or sense of humor!”

  93. “War on Some Class of Immigrants”

    Middle class skilled/educated/ professionals?

    What does that mean?

    Our immigration policy is most restrictive of immigrants who are least likely to strain our social services. We tolerate and subsidize the entry of relatively impoverished and uneducated people while severely restricting the entry of a higher social class.

    I would prefer open immigration but if we are to have a restrictive policy isn’t it kind of backwards?

  94. I should lastly add that for conservationist reasons I would like to not see the population of the US grow, and to the extent that immigration is a cause of recent population growth and would be the cause of future population growth it troubles me.

    I am OK with anybody who feels that way not having children, in accordance with their principles.

    Or do you mean you want other people, especially those with less skin melanin than you, to not be cluttering your landscape?

    And do you live in a big city? Because then your revealed preference would be for massive population growth.

    Or perhaps your point is that you’ve got yours, and those others who also want to move here and live under a somewhat less coercive government can suck it up and deal, because their obtaining more freedom and happiness might inconvenience you?

    /snark

  95. I should lastly add that for conservationist reasons I would like to not see the population of the US grow

    Oh, and those people are going to live somewhere, and impact the environment there, so closing off the borders here isn’t going to make the world a more sustainable ecological paradise.

  96. “A Little Perspective” is a little silly.

  97. Our immigration policy is most restrictive of immigrants who are least likely to strain our social services. We tolerate and subsidize the entry of relatively impoverished and uneducated people while severely restricting the entry of a higher social class.

    I hear there are some Iraqi doctors looking for a home. Probably some economists, as well.

  98. Oh, and those people are going to live somewhere, and impact the environment there, so closing off the borders here isn’t going to make the world a more sustainable ecological paradise.

    To nit pick here, those living in the US have a bigger impact per capita than those living outside the US…

    MNG,

    much current immigration which involves poverty unheard of here and it’s attendant social pathologies (lack of education, disease, superstition, etc.). I don’t think influxes of all that are good for us.

    It is not like people are coming here bringing their poverty. They are coming here to escape poverty by offering their labor to the more robust economy. Most also come with the hopes of education (for their children at least)…as for the diseases of poverty, keep out the contagious until they are well, sure, but improved nutrition and sanitation take care of most of the others.

  99. We are going to need to have a lot more supermodel immigration if we want to have 10 girls for every dude in the bunkers after the 2012 apocalypse. We must fill the supermodel gap.

  100. The vast majority of drug dealers in jail are NOT there for violence, and for Ayn Randian, Amsterdam exists. Their usage rates, despite conservatives pretending otherwise, are lower than the rates in the USA. Therefore, I needn’t concede high health care costs for drugwar sanity in the first place. This will remain true no matter how many times people insist legal = higher usage rates in the face of the facts…
    JMR

  101. I know economists are giving many reasons for the recession we’re in. I wonder if there are one or two who could control for the crackdown on Mexican immigrants and estimate how many points of GDP that has cost us.

    Is everyone aware Adam Smith said the best indicator of a healthy economy and good wages is a rapidly increasing population? Ironically, he was using the US of A as his example.


  102. It is not like people are coming here bringing their poverty.

    They don’t leave their culture at the border.
    European immigrants and southern Blacks increased the poverty and “social problems” in the northern US cities they migrated to..

    I am not making an argument for restricting migration but to suggest we aren’t “importing poverty” is wrong.

  103. We are going to need to have a lot more supermodel immigration

    In 1963, we had two girls for every boy.

    Will Obama restore the national greatness achieved by his mentor, JFK?

  104. JMR,

    Apples meet Oranges. We don’t know what effect “legalizing drugs” would have on usage and “abuse” here in the USA. Drugs aren’t exactly legal in Amsterdam either.

    From a libertarian perspective the social impact of drug legalization is irrelevant.

  105. Did my screwup with the tags at 1:34 somehow make LoneWacko’s comment appear in italics, too?

  106. “I know economists are giving many reasons for the recession we’re in”

    they are?

  107. Elemenope says it isn’t misrepresenting my positions, and then does. Thankfully, the irony won’t be lost on those lurking here.

    Anyway:

    CLEARANCE HAS BEEN GRANTED!

    Now that Barack Obama’s creepy plan has been discussed at Volokh – and linked by Insty no less – Reason can feel free to discuss the plan. Or, perhaps they’re waiting for the NYT to give them the go-ahead.

  108. European immigrants and southern Blacks increased the poverty and “social problems” in the northern US cities they migrated to…

    Could that be because of restrictive renting and selling covenants and ghettoization, and discriminatory hiring practices driven by racism?

    Did my screwup with the tags at 1:34 somehow make LoneWacko’s comment appear in italics, too?

    One need never apologize for thwacking a Lonewacko comment.

  109. “Or do you mean you want other people, especially those with less skin melanin than you, to not be cluttering your landscape?”

    I don’t especially want people with less skin melanin than me to, but yes I want other people to have less children. Their having children directly impacts on myself and my children’s life. More people=more pollution, more use of the resources that I and my children, as a citizen, are entitled to enjoy (state and national parks for example). In addition we probably disagree here but as an American and citizen of this nation I and other citizens have a stake and interest in the overall conservation picture of this nation (this is the idea behind statutes like the Endangered Species Act which protects endangered animals for me (as well as others of course) even if NONE of them live on my “particular” land).

    “Oh, and those people are going to live somewhere, and impact the environment there, so closing off the borders here isn’t going to make the world a more sustainable ecological paradise.” I can dig the idea of a global eco-system worth protecting, but that does not mean that I can’t also be for making my direct local environment more livable and pleasing. So yes I don’t see why I can’t coherently want to guard this nation, or my state’s, or my neighborhood’s environment and resources distinct from Gaia as a whole…

  110. LoneWacko, since I in particular, and libertarians in general, are apparently too stupid to understand your awesome wisdom, please start slowly and in small words:

    When did I misrepresent your position?

    What exactly is your position? (See, this is key, since you are too totally awesome of an intellect for me to comprehend what your position is, so how could I intentionally misrepresent what I do not understand?)

    Why do you *fixate* on immigration as your issue of choice?

  111. “Well, that they are leaving Mexico to come to the United States tends to indicate that they like at least some aspects of the United States as it is, and dislike at least some aspects of Mexico as it is.”

    I’m not sure that necessarily follows. They might just assume there is more dough to be made here in their case. In fact, quite a few seem to prefer and identify with their mother nation apart from those material benefits (I don’t argue a majority, I don’t know about that)…

    “Are you implying that we don’t already have loads of the uneducated and superstitious?” We don’t have anything like the volume Mexico has. It is, at best, a second world nation, what do you expect? Something like 3 out of 5 border jumpers don’t have a high school education. That’s a bit higher than our national numbers…

  112. Obama’s public service proposals discussed

    hier

    and hier

    and hier

    and in passing hier

    Did you read the Volokh post? and grok his (Lindgreen’s) point?

    Obama is saying that ‘nat’l security’ is not obtained by guns alone, but by every good deed america does at home and abroad. Now, this is usual left-liberal boilerplate (and, in Lingreen’s – and in Reynold’s – and imo, a bit of nonsense, but not entirely without merit) But it is hardly a mechanism to create a shadow army beholden to the new fuhrer.

    (btw, red state calling Obama a nazi is a bit rich, but that is the world in which Jonah Goldberg has found success.)

  113. It is, at best, a second world nation, what do you expect?

    You mean it’s allied with the USSR? Wha…??!

    Man, that rubric has fallen fast and hard.

  114. “It is not like people are coming here bringing their poverty.”

    Huh? They are coming very poor, if that is what you are getting at (lacking wealth that many Americans have and upon which our government and some policy debates rely on most of its citizens having btw). But more to the point people who are crazy poor have a host of characteristics that I bet you’d not enjoy living, voting, etc., right next to you (belief in the supernatural and supersition, credulity, low self control, illiteracy [both actual and functional], etc.). I don’t hold that it is there “fault.” Usually it can be traced to force/fraud in origin and then incredible bargaining imbalances causing unequal opportunities existing for generations. But they are there…

    “European immigrants and southern Blacks increased the poverty and “social problems” in the northern US cities they migrated to…

    Could that be because of restrictive renting and selling covenants and ghettoization, and discriminatory hiring practices driven by racism? ”

    Certainly not all of it (been to one of those cities lately, with most of the things you mention [at least de jure] stricken?).

    Anthropologists and sociologists talk about the “culture of poverty” (and criminal subcultures) all the time (though many dispute it I admit). Institutional economists do as well.

    This isn’t to say, LMNOP, that oppressive practices did not start these pathological social trends among certain populations at some time, in fact most theorists that entertain such notions think that is in fact their origin.

    Also, LMNOP, in reference to Lonewacko, it could be argued that when you asked him this:

    “Namely, what terrifies you so specifically about immigrants?”

    You were implicitly “misrepresenting” him by implying that his immigration views are driven by “terror” or “fear.” It’s common among immigration proponents…I think it’s as respectable as when people who criticize those who advocate civil liberties for terrorist suspects claim those people must be motivated by “anti-Americanism” or insufficient patriotism…

  115. At the beginning of the 20th century, most of the black population of the south was poor, illiterate and ‘superstitious’.

    Was it a tragedy that millions moved north in one of the most massive migrations in human history? Were there long term catastrophic consequences?

    I’m even willing to grant you that there were deleterious short term affects and that endemic poverty exists in this population to this day.

    The question is, did Chicago become exactly like Mississippi?

  116. i see you have answered in the cross post

  117. Mexico GDP per capita: 12,800
    Russia GDP per capita: 14,7000

    That’s what I mean, that it’s economic characterstics are analagous to a traditional 2nd world nation. You are right that the concept 2nd world, as I learned it in school, usually included “formerly communist nation.” However, that actually adds to my point: one reason to distinguish 2nd from 3rd was the higher (though much lower than 1st world) economic indicators. But a bigger one was the “social characterstics”, that is infant mortality, literacy rates, age distribution of population, etc. Mexico is actually WORSE on these indicators than Russia, for example…

    *these figures are from the CIA World Factbook

  118. “I’m even willing to grant you that there were deleterious short term affects and that endemic poverty exists in this population to this day.”

    And in these populations with endemic poverty that you admit exists to this day there are few social pathologies rampant, eh? Yes? Well then why admit more of same poverty to this nation?

    A lot of people here dump on the Progressive movement (and I defend them a lot here). Are you guys aware of how the Progressive movement was largely empowered to deal with the “social problems” that were seen as endemic to urban areas during periods of high immigration?

  119. This isn’t to say, LMNOP, that oppressive practices did not start these pathological social trends among certain populations at some time, in fact most theorists that entertain such notions think that is in fact their origin.

    That was basically my point. At the turn of the 20th century, northern urban whites took out all their insecurites on black people and immigrants, and ghettos and endemic poverty among those groups resulted, thus helping to perpetuate the very reasons why they were afraid of them in the first place. Since then, victim-psychology and self-destructive community behaviors have for the most part taken over to perpetuate those conditions.

    Point being, if we didn’t repeat those mistakes with Hispanic immigrants but instead tried very hard not to be complete dicks, we may avoid much the problem we anticipate.

    Also, LMNOP, in reference to Lonewacko, it could be argued that when you asked him this:

    “Namely, what terrifies you so specifically about immigrants?”

    You were implicitly “misrepresenting” him by implying that his immigration views are driven by “terror” or “fear.” It’s common among immigration proponents…I think it’s as respectable as when people who criticize those who advocate civil liberties for terrorist suspects claim those people must be motivated by “anti-Americanism” or insufficient patriotism…

    I would not make such an assumption about most anti-immigrant folks. Just the ones, like Lonewacko, who see shadow puppetry by foreign governments behind the eyes of everyone who arrives at our shores. (Even the Irish, apparently, are looking to score some ‘influence’ according to him, by his own proud admission.) When someone portrays themselves in a very specific way and adopts rhetoric to reinforce that assumption, they are not allowed to bitch about being called on it without being laughed at.

    IMHO.


  120. The question is, did Chicago become exactly like Mississippi?

    Nah, we ‘lectrified our guitars.

  121. VM | July 19, 2008, 6:52pm | #
    “I know economists are giving many reasons for the recession we’re in”

    they are?
    ………………

    Are you a one-handed, amateur economist, VM?
    Go ahead. Share your pet theory with us.

  122. LMNOP
    I think Lonewacko is, well, wacko myself (and I’ve said so previously here). So I see your point. I’m not much worried about other governmens trying to take us over or such via immigration (I am concerned about nations like Israel who make such concerted efforts to effect our politics, but boy is that another thread).

    “Point being, if we didn’t repeat those mistakes with Hispanic immigrants but instead tried very hard not to be complete dicks, we may avoid much the problem we anticipate.”

    What in the world makes you think that is going to happen, given as you and I admit, the level of irrational xenophobia in this nation (“Mr. McCain, why do I as an American have to press 1 for English when I call the bank?”).

  123. What in the world makes you think that is going to happen, given as you and I admit, the level of irrational xenophobia in this nation (“Mr. McCain, why do I as an American have to press 1 for English when I call the bank?”).

    Oh, I have absolutely no hope that this will in fact occur. I’m just saying that *if* it did, we could avoid a world of hurt.

    re:Israel, I think that has a lot to do with us digging our own holes. But you’re right, it’s a whole other thread.

    Unless you wanna thread-jack with me. C’mon, you know you wanna!

  124. Ok, Ok, Ok…Technically I don’t think you can “threadjack” the Friday Political Thread…

    I read an article in Mother Jones (an old article) about how the Israeli government intentionally sends reps to fundie Christian churches to exploit their literalist readings of the Bible in order to get Americans to support a “Greater Israel” policy. That strikes me as as wrong as wrong can get…

    I cannot believe the large number of people who think we should take a Likudian position on the Israeli-Palestine issue because, and I’ve heard radio preachers say this, “the land belongs to Israel because the Bible says that God promised it to them.”

    There is a lot of good to say about Israel and Israelis. And a lot of bad to say about the actions of many Palestinians. But it is simply untenable that we are so actively supporting a situation in which thousands upon thousands are presently occupied militarily, with virtually no autonomy or self-rule.

    I really think that the Israelis count on our more foolish variants of Christianity (which, of course, is a religion built upon the writings of the ancestors of the Israelis).

    You should know I don’t blame the Israelis for this. Far from it. It’s the Christian Zionists that boggle my mind…

    Ok, that’s the thread jack for the evening…

  125. I’m also open to threadjacks about superhero movies (which would not be threadjacks imo because, well, look at the title of this weekend’s thread).

    I have not seen Dark Knight yet, going this week, during the day when everyone else is at work.

    But I really enjoyed Iron Man, though not as much the critics seemed to, and The Incredible Hulk, much more than the critics seemed to. Hancock I thought was just terrible.

  126. Oh, and I kind of liked Hellboy 2. My beef with it: the way it used the Bureau of Paranormal Agents as Star Trek ensign fodder: they are just folks to be killed in strange ways. Is it bad to have just ONE be very resourceful and interesting and not just Demon-food?

    For that matter, if the humans in the pre-historic past could pummell the elves-trolls-goblins alliance, why are they so helpless against a small number of the same in the present? WTF?
    But, ya gotta love Perleman as Hellboy. A joy to watch…

  127. If there was a really stupid wealthy neighbor in your community, who was religiously predisposed to giving you lots of cash and weapons on account of a two thousand (plus!) year old set of scrolls, would you be tempted to take advantage?

    Especially if your other neighbors really, really sucked?

    I have not seen Dark Knight yet, going this week, during the day when everyone else is at work.

    I’m goin’ on Tuesday (delayed b-day present; Tuesday nights the local Showcase cuts ticket prices in half); from friends’ reviews, it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Can’t wait. Haven’t seen the others yet, but they’re on the list.

  128. Dark Knight would be a blip if Heath Ledger hadn’t croaked.
    Reminds me of the historical/hysterical blip, JFK. Like, give me a break, hysterically speaking.

    The movie to see is “Journey to the Center of the Earth” starring the guy who was “George” of “George of the Jungle.”

    For any comic book fans here, I never could get with Bat Man. Too dark. Same reason I didn’t care for Steve Canyon.
    Comic strips do not lend themselves to “dark.”
    We are talking groundwood newsprint. A severe limitation. Too severe. The creator of Nemo used his medium as it should have been used.
    A tip of the Hatlo hat to William R. Hurst for appreciating the “funnies.”

  129. SIV is absolutely right about skilled and middle class workers. I think Canada’s immigration system is one he would like. It is basically our system turned upside down. They get tons of skilled, educated, and English-speaking folks from the former Sovier Union, China, and India/Pakistan, while limiting unskilled immigrants.

    Lonewacko would still hate them because they’re foreign, of course. What IS it about foreign people that makes you scared of them, Lonewacko? This is asked in all seriousness.

  130. Elemenope and the others just don’t seem capable of reading and understanding, which helps explain why they visit Reason. Further, my goal here is to respond to Reason’s contributors, not sockpuppets who can’t even create a blogspot blog.

    Commenters who want to discuss this with me should try and do some research first, then be intellectually honest enough to understand and accurately represent my points. When they can figure out what’s wrong with the following, then you’re able to discuss this with me in an intelligent fashion: “who see shadow puppetry by foreign governments behind the eyes of everyone who arrives at our shores”. Try and figure out what’s subtly wrong with that, and also all the many related data points I’ve uncovered over the years. Because, as it is you’re making Reason and libertarianism look very, very bad.

  131. I’m not sure that necessarily follows.

    You’re not sure. That’s cool. We’re all speculating here about what motivates Mexicans to come to the United States. Except Lonewacko, who knows exactly what they are up to.

  132. Elemenope and the others just don’t seem capable of reading and understanding, which helps explain why they visit Reason.

    If you would answer ELemenope’s question, then we could test our ability to read and understand: What terrifies you so specifically about immigrants?

  133. “Elemenope and the others just don’t seem capable of reading and understanding”

    Oh, the delicious, delicious irony!

    “…you’re making Reason and libertarianism look very, very bad.”

    No, you’re making Reason look very generous since they continue to allow you to spew here; and you’re making other posters look very smart, because we pretty much all recognize the fact that you’re a useless halfwit tool.

    Keep on posting, Lonewacko! It just provides more opportunity for us to look good by shooting down a dipshit.

  134. I just read Chait’s review of “Disaster Capitalism.”

    Wow. Naomi Klein doesn’t know shit about political thought on the American right, does she?

    Cato is neoconservative? The Iraq War was Freidmanite?

    I don’t think she knows what she’s talking about. Haven’t read the book, not gonna.

  135. Oh, and who’s that at Netroots Nation in Texas?

    This is the best thing he’s done since the convention.

    It had seemed that ever since memorial day, Barr has been extremely reculcant to embrace anything or anyone that is seen as ‘left’, almost to the point of antagonism. All the media appearances I had seen emphasize drawing disaffected republicans (which is important), but what seemed to be at the expense of trying to create a broader coalition (which is more important – in fact it was the whole point of his candicacy.)

  136. If the social element is irrelevant that doesn’t change the fact that the other side doesn’t get to make up bullshit data without being called on it by me. Amsterdam exists. Regardless of specific legal BS, it’s generally less stupid about drugs, but it still has LESS NOT MORE usage, whether drugwar worshippers like it or not, and spewing falsehoods will not change that hard reality. Basically, I’m right.
    JMR

  137. But more to the point people who are crazy poor have a host of characteristics that I bet you’d not enjoy living, voting, etc., right next to you

    Again, I have a hard time reading this as anything other than basic xenophobia.

    Despite all the verbage, your argument still boils down to “change bad…outsiders bad.”

  138. Ruthless,

    no I’m not. I do work in health econ and do some behavioral econ stuff (macro isn’t exactly my area)…

    but you definitely appear to be! so what’s your pet theory?

  139. I hear there are some Iraqi doctors looking for a home. Probably some economists, as well.

    The economists are all Keynesians. Fuck ’em.

  140. To nit pick here, those living in the US have a bigger impact per capita than those living outside the US…

    To double nit pick, define environmental impact. A disinterested observer from off planet would likely note the relative cleanliness and disease free status of the US and come to a different conclusion.

    Do you think Cuban and Zimbabwean societies are somehow ecologically friendlier then the west’s? Chad? Burma? PRC?

  141. Their having children directly impacts on myself and my children’s life.

    No response here. I just want to give everybody a chance to savor that statement’s incongruity.

  142. But more to the point people who are crazy poor have a host of characteristics that I bet you’d not enjoy living, voting, etc., right next to you

    Well, if you’re living in a mansion in, say, Kahala, the poor will tend to be living some ways away from you — except for the live-in maid cleaning your house, etc. Neighborhoods tend to be stratified somewhat by income level.

    As for voting — is it your theory that the Americans already here tend to do just a bang-up job of voting for lower taxes, an end to the Drug War, and libertarianism in general?

  143. Their having children directly impacts on myself and my children’s life.

    No response here. I just want to give everybody a chance to savor that statement’s incongruity.

    J sub D wins the thread!

  144. Joe, I’m glad you figured that out. Now, if only The Nation would realize that and stop employing her as a columnist. They’re usually a smarter magazine than that.

  145. To double nit pick, define environmental impact. A disinterested observer from off planet would likely note the relative cleanliness and disease free status of the US and come to a different conclusion.

    We could use:
    1) pounds of toxic waster per capita
    2) pounds of resources used
    3) pounds of C02
    4) eco-footprint– usually calculated in terms of hectares. The calculations vary, of course, but the average person worldwide uses about 2.4 while Americans use about 12.

    I am pretty sure your assessment fails the “disinterested” criteria.

  146. I’m not sure why it’s controversial that other people having children in my locale could effect my life. It’s not like overcrowding, pollution, availibility of natural resources, etc. are not big issues these days and not like these issues might not be have some rational relation to population growth.

  147. We could also use deforestation, potable drinking water supplies, life expectancy, endangered species protection and desertification. How are those things working out in the “developing” eco-friendly world?

  148. We could also use deforestation, potable drinking water supplies, life expectancy, endangered species protection and desertification. How are those things working out in the “developing” eco-friendly world?

    You are ignoring the fact that much of the industrial production in countries without the kinds of eco-friendly policies you cite provides products for American consumption. Sure, we have off-loaded our environmental impact to other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a result of our life-style.

  149. You are ignoring the fact that much of the industrial production in countries without the kinds of eco-friendly policies you cite provides products for American consumption.

    You are impling that these societies are somehow not responsible for their own ecological decisions. I reject that interprtation.

    One thing I’ve noticed in life, by and large, the weatlthier a neighborhood (or nation) gets, the cleaner it gets.

    I know the first stages of industrialiation can be dirty. The lack of environmental restrictions enables them to be more competitive in the marketplace. It turns out that many poverty stricken societies have made the assessment that cancer at 65 is preferable to amoebic dysentary and malnutrion in childhood. Who’d a thunk it?

  150. You are impling that these societies are somehow not responsible for their own ecological decisions. I reject that interprtation.

    No I am not.

    Rather, I am implying that the United States IS responsible for their own ecological decisions, which include measures to protect the local environment that send much of the eco-damaging activities to other parts of the world. We say that we want OUR local environment clean and protected, but we also want a house full of, say, cheap Chinese products. We, on the whole, don’t care that the production of those products at that price (the trade off you mention) has environmental consequences somewhere.

  151. I’m not sure why it’s controversial that other people having children in my locale could effect my life. It’s not like overcrowding, pollution, availibility of natural resources, etc. are not big issues these days and not like these issues might not be have some rational relation to population growth.

    Only the most logic-impaired person would dispute that having children affects others. Some effects are positive from your POV, some are negative, again from your POV.

    The question is whether your wish for a depopulated landscape gives you the right to stop others from pursuing their own happiness by putting restrictions on their ability to have as many children as they desire.

    Whether this desire of yours gives you the right to prevent others from entering into voluntary exchanges of labor and money that may involve crossing invisible lines drawn in the dirt.

    Whether your preferences give you the right to dictate how others live their lives when they are not directly harming you.

    Or to put it another way, would you be willing to grant a person chosen at random the power to dictate how you live your life, thus making you into their serf? If not, on what moral basis do you seek the power to turn others into YOUR serfs?

  152. J sub D, you are simply ignoring the fact that the environmental consequences of Americans’ consumption patterns often shows up in other countries.

    Which is radically at odd with how you look at the economic consequences of those patterns of consumption.

    If a factory in Thailand makes stuff for American consumers, you are always at the head of the line to note that the jobs and paychecks that factory produces are a consequence of American consumption, but suddenly we’re not supposed to notice that the effluent and deforestation it produces are also the consequence of the same consumption?

  153. Rather, I am implying that the United States IS responsible for their own ecological decisions, which include measures to protect the local environment that send much of the eco-damaging activities to other parts of the world. We say that we want OUR local environment clean and protected, but we also want a house full of, say, cheap Chinese products. We, on the whole, don’t care that the production of those products at that price (the trade off you mention) has environmental consequences somewhere.

    The United States doesn’t make decisions. The U.S. is a philosophical construct that is incapable of acting. Phrasing it the way you did muddies the actual transactions taking place.

    INDIVIDUALS make decisions. Individuals decide how to promote their own happiness. And if these individuals make mutually beneficial trades that enhance both of their lives, by what moral code do you have the right to step in and say no, so long as they aren’t inflicting direct harm, such as by polluting without compensating those affected by the pollution?

  154. You are impling that these societies are somehow not responsible for their own ecological decisions. I reject that interprtation.

    No I am not.

    Rather, I am implying that the United States IS responsible for their own ecological decisions, which include measures to protect the local environment that send much of the eco-damaging activities to other parts of the world.

    I’m confused. Is Indonesia responsible for the degradation of their environment or is the U.S. responsible? I do refer you to the fact that we have no troops or overlords setting environmental policy for these nations (Iraq excepted). Is it because we send them money (other goods and services)? Would the people in Vietnam and Bangladesh be better off without trade with the west? Should the west demand that environmental standards we can afford apply to those who can’t yet electrify their country?

    As these nations rise to first world status wouldn’t you expect that local pollution concerns will be addressed? I point to the ROK, Taiwan, eastern Europe.

  155. If a factory in Thailand makes stuff for American consumers, you are always at the head of the line to note that the jobs and paychecks that factory produces are a consequence of American consumption, but suddenly we’re not supposed to notice that the effluent and deforestation it produces are also the consequence of the same consumption?

    If the people running the factory feel their happiness is enhanced by producing stuff for us in exchange for pay, what gives you the right to step in and prevent this mutually beneficial trade?

    If the factory is harming others with pollution and other uncompensated harm, why is it my responsibility to step in for the people who are being harmed, instead of them taking care of their own welfare?

    And how do you know that these alleged harms, by their value system, exceed the benefits they accrue? What direct experience do you have living as a peasant in Thailand that makes you such an authority that you feel you should have the power of overriding the decisions of the folks over their each acting to enhance their own welfare? Are you willing to grant peasants in Thailand the same power over your life?

    Or are you so wise, and they so stupid and ignorant, that you feel justified in assuming this godlike power without giving them the same opportunity to screw up your life — with the best of intentions, natch?

  156. Is Indonesia responsible for the degradation of their environment or is the U.S. responsible? Both. We can work out the levels of responsibility, if you’d like.

    Would the people in Vietnam and Bangladesh be better off without trade with the west? No, but they’d be better off still if they had the trade without the environmental harm.

    Should the west demand that environmental standards we can afford apply to those who can’t yet electrify their country? This is the important part here: the question “Does the United States cause environmental damage in Indonesia?” has absolutely nothing to do with the question you just asked.

  157. joe, the money (goods and services) that western consumers trade for developing nations produced goods and services is not coerced. It is apparently beneficial for Vietnam and Guatemala to to trade with the United States. You may wish to ask the formerly starving workers and their governments why they continue to do things that are obviosly (to you, not to them) contrary to their own self interest?

  158. prolefeed always flubs that question, too.

    Q: Do our actions have harmful consequences on other?

    A: ZOMG!!! You want to enslave people blah blah blah.

    Unless you write otherwise, I’ll just take that little outburst as “Yes, our consumption can cause environmental harm to other countries.”

  159. J sub D,

    joe, the money (goods and services) that western consumers trade for developing nations produced goods and services is not coerced.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with the question.

    The question, since there seems to a great deal of amnesia, is “Are Americans responsible for the environmental damage caused by the production of the consumer goods they buy?”

    You may wish to ask the formerly starving workers and their governments why they continue to do things that are obviosly (to you, not to them) contrary to their own self interest? Who said it’s against their (the specific individuals employed in the factories) self interest? If we are only to look at them, it probably isn’t. If we are to look at, say, the people whose drinking water and livelihoods depend on the quality of the water downstream from the factory, it probably is.

    It’s interesting how you discuss the actions of governments in developing countries as if they are perfect representations of the collective opinion of those countries’ residents, as opposed to representing the interests of some particular class with lots of access to the government. You certainly don’t discuss our government in those terms.

  160. Or are you so wise, and they so stupid and ignorant, that you feel justified in assuming this godlike power without giving them the same opportunity to screw up your life — with the best of intentions, natch?

    Thanks. I tried to avoid being that blunt. The devloping countries of the world are not fucking children. They are presumably intelligent and rational beings that can make decisions on what policies bring the most good to themselves. They may make bad ones. Oh, well, that is reality.

    Lord knows, the west certainly isn’t batting 1.000 on economic and environmental decisions.

  161. If I pay somebody to pick up my trash and dump it on someone else’s lawn, the arrangement we’ve made is not coerced, it is in both of our self-interests, and we are both adults.

    I don’t think that bit of sophistry will cover the fine, though.

  162. I also like the argument “If the government doesn’t ban it, that means it’s good for you.”

  163. Let’s assume the mantle of empathy that leftists say they possess in copious quantities. Let’s imagine that you’re a peasant in Thailand, growing up on a farm performing backbreaking labor for little pay. Your ribs are sticking out from being underfed, you can’t get a date because no girls want to go out with a peasant, and you have a painfully short life expectancy.

    So you leave the farm and find a job in a factory that pays five times as much. Suddenly you have a motorcycle, an apartment, you have access to some fine pussy, and you’re getting to eat MEAT every now and then. Life is good.

    Then you hear that some guy working in an airconditioned office in Massachusetts, who has never been to Thailand and never talked with you, thinks you’ve made some bad personal choices and should quit the factory job.

    Do you:

    A) Meekly give up the pussy, the motorcycle, the regular meals, and the enhanced life expectancy, and shuffle back to the farm, because this wise person you’ve never met most know what’s good for you?

    B) Laugh at the chutzpah of this assertion, and head back for your next shift at the factory to produce goods this guy in Massachusetts with buy in a month or two?

  164. What I wrote: Who said it’s against their (the specific individuals employed in the factories) self interest? If we are only to look at them, it probably isn’t.

    What prolefeed took away: Then you hear that some guy working in an airconditioned office in Massachusetts, who has never been to Thailand and never talked with you, thinks you’ve made some bad personal choices and should quit the factory job.

    Apparently, my actual arguments are so far beyond prolefeed that he’s reduced to making up more convenient ones.

    Dude, you haven’t been able to follow a single line I’ve written, have you?

  165. prolefeed, just accept the undeniable fact that joe and Neu Mejican know what is best for developing nations. Certainly much more than developing nations do themselves. Thus, it logically follows that any problems that occur as a result of economic developemnat in said impoverished nations is your fault.

    No, I don’t quite follow it either.

  166. I wonder, is it part of the uber-individualist ideology of somebody like prolefeed that he’s only able to consider any one individual’s interest at a time?

    That would go a long way towards explaining why my rather simple argument sailed over his head.

  167. Oh, well.

    As graceless as it was, I’ll still accept J sub’s surrender.

    If he had a counterargument, I’m sure I would have seen it by now.

  168. No, I don’t quite follow it either.

    Obviously. But then, you so rarely do.

  169. Oh, and don’t worry:

    I’m sure nobody noticed that you completely changed the subject from the question of who’s responsible for the environmental harm caused by a factory (the people who built it, the people who work there, the people who buy its goods, or some combination).

  170. joe, in the past I’ve taken objection to others calling you an idiot.

    Never let it be said I don’t admit to my own mistakes.

  171. Factory workers in Thailand get to decide what their employers’ environmental policies will be?

    Srsly? It isn’t just a “this is how we work, take it or leave it” situation?

    Hell, my boss won’t even let me change the setting on the air conditioner.

  172. “If not, on what moral basis do you seek the power to turn others into YOUR serfs?”

    A quite evident moral basis, if their behavior causes me and mine harm (for example we are choking on pollution that is increased by their decision to have more kids, or our nation’s strength, economy, bargaining position, etc. is weakened due to a lack of natural resources caused by poor stewardship [and therefore me and mine are effected as we are citizens of the nation and its strength translates into benefits for us]).

  173. It’s funny: Neu Mejican began discussing the “ecological footprint” purely in terms of whether individual American’s should choose to alter their own behavior, to reduce the ecological harm their actions cause.

    It’s always funny to watch the chain reaction such subversive thinking engenders.

  174. MNG, how many rugrats are you responsible for?

    Me? My best guess is zero, by inaction, I’m somewhat responsible for the dumbing down of humanity.

  175. Please mentally remove the second comma in my previous.

    Thank you.

  176. “If the factory is harming others with pollution and other uncompensated harm, why is it my responsibility to step in for the people who are being harmed, instead of them taking care of their own welfare?”

    If you are supporting the factory which is directly harming people I would say you’re responsible. More so if you are aware of all this. I think I have the right and moral obligation to coerce you to stop for the sake of those people harmed in the same way that I would have the right and obligation to make you stop, say, buying drugs from a gangster who uses some of the profits to hire muscle to beat up shopowners.

  177. J sub D
    I have one child (that I know of ;)). It’s all I plan to have.

  178. Or sell bullets to kids whom you know conduct drive bys with said bullets.

  179. Or, at a minimum, it can be said that it is a moral act to cease buying drugs from said thug.

  180. If you are supporting the factory which is directly harming people I would say you’re responsible.

    MNG,
    Don’t buy from polluters then. Good luck with that.* 😉

    Of course we adults realize there are tradeoffs in life. Likewise we also believe that sovereign nations should make their own decisions. The US could demand that in order to trade with us that other countries follow our environmental standards, workplace safety laws, and rights for workers to organize. The funny thing is, that even democracies that are impoverished hate that sort of meddling. It is viewed as arrogant and counterproductive to their economic aspirations.

    They are correct on both counts.

  181. If a factory in Thailand makes stuff for American consumers, … but suddenly we’re not supposed to notice that the effluent and deforestation it produces

    Quibble: Industrialization reduces deforestation; increases in resource extraction (for domestic use) are balanced by less marginal subsistence farmers hacking them down.

    (caveat: {citation needed})

  182. And on the general topic: You must walk before you can run.

    If you try to go directly to first world standards for labor and environment, it’s like trying to accelerate from a stoplight in 4th gear – you’re economy is going to sputter and fail.

    Look at the divergent paths of development in Africa and East Asia over the last few decades. The former tried to crash start their development with huge centralized projects and industries modeled after what was in Europe in the time – and so not only inherited the infrastructure that is necessary, but also the huge inefficient bureaucracies, and the politicization of business. So what you have now is countries that have gone backward, or in the best case (say Egypt), a status quo that still huge amounts of unemployment and underemployment, and endemic poverty for a few generations now – and no sign of it getting better. And environmental conditions that are getting worse, because if your just trying to survive, you really don’t care about sewage, endangered species, or some invisible metals in your water.

    Compare with East Asia. Yes the environmental degradation is far more visible – you can literally see the air. But this is a temporary phenomenon as was present in Victorian London and turn (of the last) century Pittsburgh. And people shout “sweatshops.” Well, I admit this is is purely hypothetical to me. But if I had the choice, I’d rather spend 60 hrs a week making sneakers, than 80 hours a week stooped over in a rice paddy. This is the choice they have – *for now*. It will change. Just like we don’t send 13 year olds into coal mines anymore. The emerging middle class (in China, some estimates place it as big as the entire US, I think it’s no more than 2/3 this size, but that’s still an incredible number in basically one generation) will eventually demand and get the QOL improvements. (and I even think these will be independent of political reform).

    But if you try to do everything all at once, you will get nothing; neither economic development nor environmental protection.

  183. Would the people in Vietnam and Bangladesh be better off without trade with the west? No, but they’d be better off still if they had the trade without the environmental harm.

    One last thing. Ok, but who defines environmental harm? There’s the rub. (my preference would be the Thai’s and Bangledeshi’s define it where they are, the Bay Staters where they are, etc.)

    But, the anti-trade (to be precise, those on the left that call themselves ‘anti-globalists’) side wishes as their goal (and please let me know if I am strawmaning here) a universal set of environmental and labor regulations ‘to level the playing field,’ ‘prevent worker exploitation,’ and ‘save the environment’. (Now, the anti-global right also wants these things, but only for parochial concerns, they don’t pretend to care about people in the rest of the world, so it doesn’t matter)

    So they do wish that the Chonburi province has the exact same rules and regs as Middlesex county. And not only is this impractical, it would be disastrous.

  184. Of course we adults realize there are tradeoffs in life. Likewise we also believe that sovereign nations should make their own decisions. The US could demand that in order to trade with us that other countries follow our environmental standards, workplace safety laws, and rights for workers to organize. The funny thing is, that even democracies that are impoverished hate that sort of meddling. It is viewed as arrogant and counterproductive to their economic aspirations.

    I am not the one conflating “America” with “The American Government” nor am I the one conflating the responsibility that individuals bear for their consumer choices with the environmental policies of foreign governments.

    It is the collective effect of the individual choices that American consumers make that has an environmental impact beyond that of the individuals living in other countries. Those individual consumer choices are paired with voting decisions that result in ecological policies that protect our local environment.

    Individual consumers can make buying decisions that lessen this disparity. There are private voluntary organizations that give consumer information about the ecological impact of certain buying choices. Government policy is only one tool that Americans have for reducing their ecological impact.

    Sorry JsubD, but on this one you are off-base. If American consumers demanded products from China with a lower ecological footprint, the Chinese would figure out a way to produce them that would benefit their economy at a lower environmental cost. Since their consumers don’t ask for this parameter as part of their product, they don’t address the problem.

    Human labor can provide many eco-friendly solutions to production. Recycling materials is often too prohibitive in the US because the human labor costs are too high. This barrier is not presently a problem in China, for instance.

  185. If you try to go directly to first world standards for labor and environment, it’s like trying to accelerate from a stoplight in 4th gear – you’re economy is going to sputter and fail.

    While I think this is an important point, I think it needs also to be kept in mind that there is not need to implement the same technological solutions that the developed world used when they were in a similar point in their economic development. There has been sufficient technological advancement to allow the development in developing countries to have a much smaller environmental footprint…but they will only be used if a priority is placed on environmental costs. If those costs are not figured into the equation when development strategies are being formed, it would be easy to make unnecessarily eco-hostile decisions.

  186. Quibble: Industrialization reduces deforestation; increases in resource extraction (for domestic use) are balanced by less marginal subsistence farmers hacking them down.

    (caveat: {citation needed})

    Industrialized farming, however, increases deforestation…South American deforestation to make American Ketchup and Salsa is clearly tied to American consumer choices. On this front, however, gaining American preference for sustainable farming practices is gaining hold as a valuable feature of the product, so a shift in practices is certain to follow.

  187. Do you:

    A) Meekly give up the pussy, the motorcycle, the regular meals, and the enhanced life expectancy, and shuffle back to the farm, because this wise person you’ve never met most know what’s good for you?

    B) Laugh at the chutzpah of this assertion, and head back for your next shift at the factory to produce goods this guy in Massachusetts with buy in a month or two?

    or

    C) Hope that your factory manager gets the message that this guy (and millions of others like him) in Massachusetts is not going to buy the product because of the environmental harm the current production procedure causes?

    You are making my argument for me.

  188. Sorry JsubD, but on this one you are off-base. If American consumers demanded products from China with a lower ecological footprint, the Chinese would figure out a way to produce them that would benefit their economy at a lower environmental cost.

    Is the US consumer ever going to do that? In numbers that matter to the developing nations bottom line?

    No. They will make purchases based on their own perceived self interest. How much particulate matter the steel mill in China spews will not appreciably affect the automaker in America that purchases the steel. That the steel is 4% less in cost than Canadian/Pittsburgh steel will. Environmental solutions have to come fromm the society that is affected, the one that bears the brunt of the harm. As I pointed out, we can mandate that with trade restrictions, but poorer nations understandably resent this approach as interference in their affairs.

  189. Is the US consumer ever going to do that? In numbers that matter to the developing nations bottom line?

    No.

    You’re answer flies in the face of current trends in consumer purchasing.

    I seem to recall seeing a car commercial just yesterday with the car company bragging about the fact that they did pay attention to the environmental harm caused by the materials they used in production. From the steel to the foam in the seats. Hmmm…maybe it was because consumers are signaling that they take those things into consideration when they buy stuff.

    Environmental solutions have to come fromm the society that is affected, the one that bears the brunt of the harm.

    We are all part of a global society tied together by economic activity. You need to break out of your nationalistic box and start seeing the world as 6 billion individuals rather than several hundred states.

    ;^)

  190. As I pointed out, we can mandate that with trade restrictions, but poorer nations understandably resent this approach as interference in their affairs.

    As I pointed out, consumer demand is a more effective tool than trade restrictions. Why do you see the state as the primary solution to this problem?

  191. Why do you see the state as the primary solution to this problem?

    Because everyone else on the anti-global (left and right) sees it as the primary solution?

  192. just accept the undeniable fact that joe and Neu Mejican know what is best for developing nations

    I just noticed this one.
    Dude. You are the only one here claiming to “know what is best” for developing nations.

    I am talking about the environmental harms that are caused by the consumer choices made by individuals. Remember how this started? Someone said a person who does not immigrate to the US would have the SAME environmental impact as one who did. I pointed out that the chances were that once the person immigrated to the US and started, presumably, making typical American Style consumer choices they would have a greater impact on the environment.

    You then went off on some unrelated tangent about trade policy and the environmental policies of foreign governments.

    You are usually not so ill mannered as to blame your idiocy on someone else.

    I’ll assume you’ve been hit the ganga a little too hard today.

  193. That would be ganja… my mojito has ruined my spelling reflex.

  194. Because everyone else on the anti-global (left and right) sees it as the primary solution?

    That’s a bullshit response given that no-one in this discussion has expressed any anti-globalization views.

  195. Well, I guess Mr. Nice Guy and LoneWacko’s views might be considered anti-globalization, but they were not involved in this particular branch of the thread.

  196. Do you:

    A) Meekly give up the pussy, the motorcycle, the regular meals, and the enhanced life expectancy, and shuffle back to the farm, because this wise person you’ve never met most know what’s good for you?

    B) Laugh at the chutzpah of this assertion, and head back for your next shift at the factory to produce goods this guy in Massachusetts with buy in a month or two?

    or

    C) Hope that your factory manager gets the message that this guy (and millions of others like him) in Massachusetts is not going to buy the product because of the environmental harm the current production procedure causes?

    You are making my argument for me.

    Neu Mejican — I’m OK with C) because then everyone is voluntarily acting to further their perceived values/interests.

    Of course, the factory manager, if aware of this situation, would likely calculate the additional cost of making things greener, version the marginal profits from losing some market share by preserving the status quo. The altruists who demand “green” manufacturing might have to pay a steep premium to get these changes — and some might quietly buy the “dirty” product when their hippie girlfriend isn’t around, thus preserving their market share of nookie while maximizing disposable income. 😉

  197. Neu Mejican-
    There is a world that exists outside this particular thread 🙂

  198. That is to say, maybe there was a bit of a strawman to your position, but there are widely held beliefs that the state should ‘do something’ about trade.

    Although this has been true since the dawn of civilization.

  199. prolefeed,

    Again, you are making my argument for me.

    8^)

    Kolohe,

    True, but the outside world wasn’t part of the discussion. JsubD seemed to want to attribute to me some desire to force via government regulations…that’s just rude.

  200. To further clarify:

    If American consumers demanded products from China with a lower ecological footprint, the Chinese would figure out a way to produce them that would benefit their economy at a lower environmental cost. Since their consumers don’t ask for this parameter as part of their product, they don’t address the problem.

    No disagreement, because this is my prefered mechanism as well. But there are a non-trivial number of people, from anti-WTO rioters to Democratic Primary Presidential Candidates, who believe that regulations should be put in place that would *require* products to have a lower ecological footprint (and tightened labor regulations etc), or else it can’t be imported.

    Am I also misstating their position?

  201. Neu Mej @ 7:43

    rgr. it’s hard to distinguish nuance; most of my posts were response to upthread by joe and MNG, whom I assume* are in favor of what mainstream trade-skeptics are selling.

    *ass/u/me

  202. I said: “If the factory is harming others with pollution and other uncompensated harm, why is it my responsibility to step in for the people who are being harmed, instead of them taking care of their own welfare?”

    MNG said: If you are supporting the factory which is directly harming people I would say you’re responsible. More so if you are aware of all this. I think I have the right and moral obligation to coerce you to stop for the sake of those people harmed in the same way that I would have the right and obligation to make you stop, say, buying drugs from a gangster who uses some of the profits to hire muscle to beat up shopowners.

    I love that — “the right and moral obligation to coerce you for the sake of the people harmed”

    Moral coercion — military intelligence — Communist free markets.

    As I’ve pointed out upthread, it is arrogant to assume you know better than the factory workers what is best for them, when you’ve neither visited their country nor talked with the people you presume have made some bad choices that, in your wisdom, you propose to reverse. Basically, you’re proposing to coerce me to do something that will most likely leave the people you propose to help worse off from their POV, leave me worse off, with only you “benefiting” from a smug sense of a job well done.

    If the factory workers want the fresh air of the bucolic countryside you imagine they prefer, why don’t they choose to do so? Is there someone chaining them to their machines and forcing them against their will to make far more money for far less manual labor?

    Do you live on a farm doing manual labor for about 1/10 minimum wage in a rice paddy? Would you be happy if I forced you to do that, saying it was for your own good? Would you resent me immensely? Do you think the factory workers would feel any different? Would they consider you a “Nice Guy”?

    Some people may be harmed more than benefited from the factory, but they are in the best situation to weigh that and decide if in fact harm is taking place, and decide on the appropriate response. You don’t have the info to make that nuanced judgment based on intimate knowledge of the individual particulars — the actual individuals affected do.

  203. prolefeed,

    Again, you are making my argument for me.

    8^)

    That’s because we agree about this. Strong work!

    8^)

  204. “The US could demand that in order to trade with us that other countries follow our environmental standards, workplace safety laws, and rights for workers to organize.”

    We could just demand that in order to trade with us they have certain basic standards in those areas, we need not say they must follow ours. Everybody thinks we have to restrict trade based on SOME standards (anyone here for trading with Hitler during the Holocaust?).

    Kolohoe

    You bet I’m for such trade restrictions.

    I’m also for NM’s idea of responsible consumer buying. I also think many people will never be responsible consumers, for the “self-interest” reasons discussed here, but if one values “justice” and “environmental action” then that can be factored into one’s calculations about self interest. In other words there IS a trend in consumer spending reflecting social concerns, and this trend will never get everyone on board, so both sides upthread were “right” on this.

    NM argues that it is immoral to support companies (I really mean “projects” more than companies but it makes things easier to talk this way) that are damaging third parties (note: when you speak of environmental damage then not only third parties but MY and your self interest are at stake). I submit that if support for such companies is immoral because it in fact is harming myself or others then it is morally correct to not only not support them myself and urge others to do so, but morally correct for me to use measures, including government coercion, to make others stop.

    Coercion is bad, but everyone here thinks it is justified to stop SOME moral harms (murders or robberies for example). I submit that environmental harms and product safety concerns can certainly justify such coercion, and to the extent that certain unfair labor standards are seen as egregious harms to third parties and self (I realize I’m not going to get much support on that one here btw) they may justify such coercion as well.

  205. This is cute. I see morons like Neu and joe (and yes, you’re being morons in this case) blaming the United States for demanding ecologically unfriendly products.

    Newsflash: no one fucking forced Indonesia, China or Taiwan to provide supply for that demand. If I demand a million dollars from you, and you give it me, that’s your own goddamned fault, not mine. You didn’t have to give me anything. (or produce anything).

  206. prolefeed
    Whether something harms the environment in a way that can cause harm to others is to a large degree just a factual question. A difficult one, but a tough one. Where two people enter into a transaction which in fact harms the environment, thereby harming either myself or third parties, why could I not use coercion to stop it? I could certainly use it to stop two people from agreeing to kill someone or myself, or agreeing to break into my neighbors house and take his stuff.

    As to the peasants choosing to work in these “sweatshops” or polluting factories you mention, I certainly don’t think that many of them, in the economic bargaining position they are in, are in much of a position to have made anything like the voluntary, intelligent and informed choice you rever as the standard of all good and evil. Many of them are in that position btw because of massive exploitation and opression at the hands of government coercion (whether it be the past actions of their quasi-feudal ancient regimes, colonial governments or their current thuggish autocracies).

    But don’t worry too much about them: in Liberaltopia because though they may lose their job at the factory that beat paddy farming we liberals will make up for it by forcibly extracting your hard earned money and sending it to them in the form of foriegn aid 🙂

    And government funded abortions, don’t forget them.

  207. (anyone here for trading with Hitler during the Holocaust?)

    Sure, Why not?

  208. A-R
    Don;t you believe in the laws of supply and demand? Demand will produce supply. Therefore to consciously create demand that brings a supply knowingly involving something immoral is to contribute to the immorality. That seems simple enough.

  209. Demand will produce supply

    Again, no one said that said demand has to be fulfilled. That was willfully done by other places of production around the world. Like I said, just because I “demand” whatever wish or whim I have doesn’t mean you have to supply it. If you do it freely, that’s on you.

  210. “Newsflash: no one fucking forced Indonesia, China or Taiwan to provide supply for that demand. If I demand a million dollars from you, and you give it me, that’s your own goddamned fault, not mine. You didn’t have to give me anything. (or produce anything).”

    This is a farily large misunderstanding (I think an equivocation to be exact) of “demand” in “supply and demand.” It’s not demand as in “I demand you give me x” it’s demand as in “I will give you y if you will give me x.”

    No one “makes” me provide x for y in the latter example, but if y provides a mighty incentive then the laws of supply and demand suggest that x will indeed get produced with almost positivistic detmerinism…Knowing that, when one makes is the source of such demand and x involves a knowing immorality then certainly one is complicit in bringing that immorality about.

  211. And the irony of an unrepentant statist like myself having to explain the theories behind supply and demand and how markets work to someone with the handle Ayn Randian is not lost on me 😉

  212. MNG – shut up. I have my degree in econ. I know what supply and demand is. Markets also generally require the freedom to choose to participate (else it’d be called “slavery”).

    it’s demand as in “I will give you y if you will give me x.”

    No kidding. “I will give you one million dollars to you and your wife if she sleeps with me.” She’s under no obligation to do so; if she provides a market in Having-Sex-With-Her, that’s on her as a supplier.

    Knowing that, when one makes is the source of such demand and x involves a knowing immorality then certainly one is complicit in bringing that immorality about.

    your communistic attitude of “well, we’re not TRULY FREE at the hands of Teh Evil Capitalists and their millions and billions” is a tiring shtick.

    If I demand a Chinese Air Conditioner for 350 dollars, else I’ll buy the Indonesian one for 360, the Chinese manufacturer doesn’t have to oblige, especially if he cannot do so profitably. If his factory is producing so-called “immoral” results (i.e. pollution, which I don’t grant as immoral, but for the sake of brevity…) then his government can deal with that. I didn’t force him to place that coal in his furnace, and I won’t be held morally responsible or made to feel guilty about it.

    The Environmental Left has a lot more in common with Evangelicals than it likes to admit.

  213. Demand will produce supply

    Where is my flying car?

  214. MNG-
    You bet I’m for such trade restrictions…Coercion is bad, but everyone here thinks it is justified to stop SOME moral harms (murders or robberies for example).

    I am willing to stipulate that environmental harms rise to the level of infringing on inalienable rights that governments instituted among men (and chicks) are instituted to secure. (and note that the principles of limited government and common sense says that these harms, like murder and robbery, can only be mitigated not eliminated. Go to far in the mitigation – even in the case of murder and robbery – and the cure is worse than the disease).

    My point remains is that it is the job of the government of Thailand, Bangledesh, Vietnam, China, etc., to secure these rights. It should not be the job of someone sitting in the Cannon Office Building or some random desk in Lowell, MA. Because besides being the the height of presumptive arrogance for the former group to say what’s better than the latter group – again besides that – as a practical matter the local governments are closer to the problem, indeed they have to live with the problem, and so are much better positioned to ascertain the trade offs.

    If some dude at the cannon office building says, ‘ok the United states will not allow the importation of any products unless all workers are limited to 40 hours/ week with a minimum pay of $5.75 /hour unless there are less than 10 ug/ml of Hg in the effluent, etc.’ this will ruin the economy of the developing world. There will be no such products, and no alternatives (but subsistence farming). Ok pick lower limits – you’ll ruin somewhat less of the economy, and increase the delay development to first world standards for the polity at large. (and this is putting aside any issues of regulatory capture)

    However, is some dude at walmart is saying “I’m not going to buy a product unless…”, no problem, the sort of thing *will* cause a slow equilibrium shift toward this sort of production. It’s always shifted this way. And more importantly, this equilibrium shift will happen in Thailand, India, etc, due to domestic political concerns far before some dude at walmart decides to make the change.

  215. Whether something harms the environment in a way that can cause harm to others is to a large degree just a factual question. A difficult one, but a tough one.

    Some harms are not tough at all to discern. If your factory is belching black soot, and people around the factory are getting smoke-related medical conditions at far above the normal rate, the factory is harming others. But, if the factory was there first, and the people knowing this choose to build next to them anyway, and deliberately put themselves at risk in exchange whatever benefits they perceived they would get for building there, the factory owes them nothing. They brought the harm onto themselves. Daviddfriedman.com goes into this in fascinating detail.

    Other alleged harms, like a factory emitting only carbon dioxide, are largely if not entirely imaginary. But, let’s leave that GW threadjack for another day.

    Where two people enter into a transaction which in fact harms the environment, thereby harming either myself or third parties, why could I not use coercion to stop it? I could certainly use it to stop two people from agreeing to kill someone or myself, or agreeing to break into my neighbors house and take his stuff.

    If you allege you’re being harmed, then you’re welcome to take that case and press for damages.

    If you’re alleging people you’ve never met in a country you’ve never visited are being harmed without any knowledge of, say, whether the factory was built in an unpopulated area and people flocked there for employment, knowingly accepting the air pollution or whatnot — well, if no one explained why you were wrong, then you would be advocating doing bad things but at least for the right reason.

    Now, if several people explained the fallacy in your logic, in excruciating detail, and you insisted on trying to intervene in a situation where if you weren’t blinded by ideological blinkers you would have known what you were proposing would fuck up people’s lives — does that seem moral to you?

  216. This is cute. I see morons like Neu and joe (and yes, you’re being morons in this case) blaming the United States for demanding ecologically unfriendly products.

    Newsflash: no one fucking forced Indonesia, China or Taiwan to provide supply for that demand. If I demand a million dollars from you, and you give it me, that’s your own goddamned fault, not mine. You didn’t have to give me anything. (or produce anything).

    I am guessing that degree in economics from DeVry can’t be blamed for the idiocy of this particular post.

    So what could be to blame?

    Hints abound:
    your communistic attitude of “well, we’re not TRULY FREE at the hands of Teh Evil Capitalists and their millions and billions” is a tiring shtick.

    Careful Mr. Nice Guy may be trying to corrupt your vital bodily fluids too.

  217. Thanks for the complete non-response, Neu.

    Sorry JsubD, but on this one you are off-base. If American consumers demanded products from China with a lower ecological footprint, the Chinese would figure out a way to produce them that would benefit their economy at a lower environmental cost.

    Likewise, if the Chinese manufacturers chose not to make products that caused high impacts on the environment, we would go elsewhere or be stuck.

    If you want to play games and twist this one around to blame Americans for the choices of Chinese manufacturers, be my guest. Just don’t expect me not to call you on dumb shit like that.

    Frankly, I tire of tolerating stupidity.

  218. If I demand a Chinese Air Conditioner for 350 dollars

    Your demand is more specific than price…you are looking for features, some of which will be worth extra bucks. If you as a consumer don’t take into account the environmental harm done by the product throughout its life primarily because that harm is distant rather than local, then that harm will be largely your moral responsibility.

  219. If you as a consumer don’t take into account the environmental harm done by the product throughout its life primarily because that harm is distant rather than local, then that harm will be largely your moral responsibility.

    I didn’t force anyone to make it, Neu. And how far does this go? How guilty should I feel and how much research do I have to do so I can probably atone to Gaia?

    If you want to feel guilty for buying something that someone has voluntarily produced, that’s your bag.

  220. Ayn Randian,

    Frankly, I tire of tolerating stupidity.

    Must make your life tough since you live with it some intimately.

    I didn’t force anyone to make it, Neu.

    No you didn’t force anyone to make it.
    Who said you did?

    What you did was give them an economic reward for making it. You encouraged them. You gave them props for their good work.

    And how far does this go? How guilty should I feel and how much research do I have to do so I can probably [sic] atone to Gaia?

    What a pussy you are, truly.

    Individualism! Enlightened self interest! but you can’t fathom the concept of taking even moral responsibility for your own purchasing priorities?

  221. err…

    somewhat intimately.

    whose rule was that?
    RC Dean? joe?

    I forget.

  222. I buy from this guy…I hear he uses slave labor, but he does good work. I don’t force him to use slave labor, I just like his products. I find slavery morally repugnant, but I appreciate good workmanship.

    If he chooses to use slave labor to make the products, that’s his choice. I have no responsibility for his actions. The money he gets from me is simply for his excellent products…and at such a fair price.

  223. “your communistic attitude of “well, we’re not TRULY FREE at the hands of Teh Evil Capitalists and their millions and billions” is a tiring shtick. ”

    A-R, you better check your old econ notes, and my posts. I don’t think we are not “truly free” under the hands of “Teh Evil Capitalists”, I alluded to the idea that we are not “truly free” under something called the invisible hand. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. The central idea of economists is that even folks with “the communistic attitude” are forced to work within the constraints of the laws of supply and demand. Btw-this is not necessarily incompatible with free choice, it’s just that given such choice, certain incentives, and motivation based on self interest, some results are very predictable…

    But really A-R, you’ve got a strange take on “demand.”

    “But, if the factory was there first, and the people knowing this choose to build next to them anyway, and deliberately put themselves at risk in exchange whatever benefits they perceived they would get for building there, the factory owes them nothing. They brought the harm onto themselves.”

    Really? You can actually put something (particles maybe, but something) onto MY land that makes me and my kids sick and that’s OK because you were there first? You’re kidding right. How do you justify such a tresspass with “well, I was dumping stuff on your land for a long time so deal.” (I know of the legal doctrine of “coming to the nuiscance”
    btw, I’m asking you morally).

    I don’t see how someone belching pollution onto my land or into my air which then kills my kid or my livestock as being any different than if they stood on their land and shot my kid or livestock where they were in my yard. And I don’t think “well hell I’ve been target practicing on other people’s land for years” will do it. Perhaps you can explain it to me…

  224. As I pointed out, we can mandate that with trade restrictions, but poorer nations understandably resent this approach as interference in their affairs.

    As I pointed out, consumer demand is a more effective tool than trade restrictions. Why do you see the state as the primary solution to this problem?

    I don’t. You may have missed this part of the post.

    Environmental solutions have to come fromm the society that is affected, the one that bears the brunt of the harm.

    Don’t let context get in the way of a poor attempt at making a point.
    Your yearned for, and as yet unrealized, dream of gigantic consumer demand for green manufacturing in developing nations will go just as far as the consumer boycotts of Chinese goods in protest of their brutal one child policy. The average consumer overwhelming majority of consumers do not give a good goddam about pollution in Asia and Africa.

    I do part ways with some of my more doctrinaire libertarian cohorts in supporting government regulatory prevention/minimization of domestic environmentally harmful practices.

    In the free market price trumps green. The relatively miniscule size of the “organic” food market buttresses that point.

  225. JsubD,

    In the free market price CURRENTLY trumps green.

    and

    Environmental solutions have to come from the society that is affected, the one that bears the brunt of the harm.

    The solution will come from the local society, but the motivation to change need not be the local harm (which may or may not be seen as important in the short term). A change in the demands of the customers can motivate the creation of a solution quite effectively. The current signal being sent to manufacturers (price trumps green) provides no motivation to reduce environmental harm. As that signal shifts, solutions will come.

    Information is the main tool to create that change.

    If there were to be a role of the government in this issue, it might be something like a labeling law for sales within the United States that mandated information for consumers on the eco-footprint caused by that product.

    Private organizations are already providing this type of information for consumers.

  226. JsubD,

    Last point.

    Thinking of environmental harm as a local problem flies in the face of current understanding of ecosystems and their interconnectedness globally.

  227. Thinking of environmental harm as a local problem flies in the face of current understanding of ecosystems and their interconnectedness globally.

    I dunno. It depends on what the environmental problem is. Sometimes, for example, it is something that is local to a particular watershed. Say, the extreme pollution of the Yellow River in China. Ultimately, the Chinese are the only people who can deal with it.

    Even some of the predicted effects of global climate change can be mitigated with local action. (Maybe its the only feasible way of mitigating global environmental problems.) For example, if sea level rises, it is thought that some areas in my neck of the woods will flood. The most direct way of dealing with it would be to beef up our levies and make sure our marsh lands are healthy.

  228. Ultimately, the Chinese are the only people who can deal with it.

    Even some of the predicted effects of global climate change can be mitigated with local action.

    That is a statement about the local nature of solutions, not the distal effects of local environmental harms.

    For example, is an oil spill that reduces krill in a specific region of the arctic a local problem?

  229. Tom Knapp is such a tool. I remember him posting before the convention about how the will of the majority should speak at the LP convention. Then he doesn’t get his way and like all the other whiner fundamentalists he wants to have his cake and eat it too: sit in the BTP circle jerk as the Veep but show up and represent the LP because he feels entitled to do so. Grown ups don’t behave that way.

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