Foreign Policy

How Foreign Policy Changes Domestic Policy

"Boomerang theory."

|

The late Chalmers Johnson, the great analyst of the American empire, warned that if Americans didn't give up the empire, they would come to live under it.

We've had many reasons to take his warning seriously; indeed, several important thinkers have furnished sound theoretical and empirical evidence for the proposition. Now come two scholars who advance our understanding of how an interventionist foreign policy eventually comes home. If libertarians needed further grounds for acknowledging that a distinctive libertarian foreign policy exists, here it is.

Christopher Coyne, an economics professor at George Mason University, and Abigail Hall, a Ph.D. candidate in economics there, have an important paper in the Fall 2014 issue of The Independent Review: "Perfecting Tyranny: Foreign Intervention as Experimentation in State Control."

Their thesis is at once bold and well-defended: "Coercive government actions that target another country often act like a boomerang, turning around and knocking down freedoms and liberties in the 'throwing' nation." This happens when the size and scope of government increases as a result of foreign intervention.

Advocates of foreign intervention—whether conservative or progressive—seem to believe that foreign and domestic policies can be isolated from each other and that illiberal methods used in foreign lands, such as bombing and military occupation, need not disturb domestic policy. In other words, freedom at home is consistent with empire abroad.

Coyne and Hall demonstrate that this is no more than wishful thinking that is contradicted by experience, both past and present; they present theoretical and empirical grounds for their conclusion that foreign policy is likely to have malign effects on domestic policy. After presenting their theoretical justification, they examine two contemporary examples of how methods perfected during foreign interventions were later applied inside the United States: surveillance and the militarization of the police. Of course the result in both cases has been a diminution of Americans' freedom. The imperial chickens came home to roost, as Johnson warned they would.

Domestically, a government may be constrained by the people's tacit ideology and their consequent interpretation of the country's constitution. That ideology and interpretation may prohibit politicians from exercising social control to the extent they might prefer. That government's conduct abroad, however, may face far weaker constraints. Under the right conditions—conditions such as those the U.S. government now finds itself in—the government may be in a position to exercise severe control over a foreign society, engaging in surveillance and repression as the armed forces take on the functions of police while maintaining their military posture as well.

Criticism of intervention abroad is often aimed at what the policy inflicts on foreign populations. "Often overlooked, however, is that a government's projection of power beyond its borders can also impose significant costs on domestic citizens due to changes in the character of government-produced social control at home," Coyne and Hall write.

They identify four "channels" through which "advancements in state-produced social control abroad may boomerang back to the intervening country." First, an interventionist foreign policy tends to build up power in the central government. To the extent that the dispersion of power—"federalism"—limits centralized authority and protects zones of freedom, centralization is obviously a danger for liberty. They quote Bruce Porter, who wrote that "a government at war is a juggernaut of centralization determined to crush any internal opposition that impedes the mobilization of militarily vital resources. This centralizing tendency of war has made the rise of the state throughout much of history a disaster for human liberty and rights."

"As this shift occurs," Coyne and Hall add, "one result is that the political periphery becomes dependent on and subservient to the political center, which weakens the checks created by dispersed political decision making."

The second way the boomerang effect operates is to put a premium on the skills required for social control. The interventionist state, the authors write, will need people willing and able to "implement the directives of the intervening government on an often unwilling foreign populace and the willingness to use various suppression techniques—monitoring, curfews, segregation, bribery, censorship, suppression, imprisonment, violence, and so on—to control those who are resistant to either foreign governments or their goals." People who lack those skills or the enthusiasm for exercising them will be weeded out. As a result, intervention "shapes the human capital of those involved in intervention."

In the third, related, channel, people with skills appropriate to social control will come home to find prominent positions in both the government and private sectors. In either realm such people are apt to lobby for or help transform public policy in the direction of greater control. "Specialists in state-produced social control are able to suggest and implement new techniques and organizational forms of state social control on the domestic population based on their experiences of doing the same to distant populations," Coyne and Hall write. Their skills complement the other forces driving the centralization of power and the transfer of social-control techniques from foreign societies to the domestic scene.

In other cases, the skills acquired through coercive foreign interventions are implicit, meaning they shape the person's view of government-produced social control.… [O]ne cannot help but be shaped by the organizational context within which one is embedded. In this scenario, activities that previously would have been thought of as unacceptable, extreme, or outright repugnant become normalized and natural. The way things were done abroad becomes standard operating procedure for how government activities are carried out. Domestic citizens begin to be treated as foreign populations were treated. Whether the skills accumulated through coercive foreign interventions are explicit or implicit, the result is that advances in state-produced social control developed abroad are imported back to the intervening country.

The last channel is the one through which physical capital, like social capital, changes under the influence of interventionist policies: "Technological innovations allow governments to utilize lower-cost methods of social control with a greater reach not only over foreign populations, but also over domestic citizens. Examples of such methods include but are not limited to surveillance and monitoring technologies, hardware and equipment for maintaining control of citizens, and weapons for killing enemies."

Interventionist policies will require particular kinds of equipment and technologies, especially those that permit more efficient social control. Where there is (tax-financed) demand, there will be supply provided by the industrial side of the military-industrial complex. In sum:

Together, the latter three channels cumulatively reinforce the initial centralization associated with coercive foreign intervention. The political center's power is reinforced by the inflow of human and physical capital conducive to state-produced social control. The change in administrative dynamics leads to a shifting mentality whereby the expanded scope of activities undertaken by the center becomes standardized and normalized.

Coyne and Hall caution that none of these effects are automatic or instantaneous. Many factors can determine how and how fast the transformation of domestic policy may occur. Moreover, the changes are not necessarily irreversible, although they are likely to be costly and difficult to reverse. "The theory of the boomerang effect is one of stickiness and not necessarily of permanence," Coyne and Hall write.

As I noted above, they apply these lessons to domestic surveillance, which they trace back to the U.S. occupation of the Philippines and the repression of the Filipino rebellion after the Spanish-American War, and the militarization of local police departments, which they trace back to the U.S. government's conduct in World War II and the Vietnam War.

Coyne and Hall have performed a welcome service for all who value liberty and therefore distrust the state. Read their excellent work and deepen your knowledge of how foreign intervention threatens freedom at home.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

175 responses to “How Foreign Policy Changes Domestic Policy

  1. “HARTFORD — Parents who home-school children with significant emotional, social or behavioral problems would have to file progress reports prepared by special education program teams, under a proposal being considered by the [Connecticut] governor’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission….

    “Under the proposal, home-schooled children with behavioral and emotional disabilities would have to have individualized education plans approved by the special education director of the local public school district. Allowing for the continued home-schooling of such children would be predicated on the individualized plans and “adequate progress” documented in mandatory annual reports.”

    http://www.ctpost.com/local/ar…..775275.php

    1. The kids have those problems from having been in government schools too long.

      1. I had a friend that was a truant officer in Wood County schools in WV.He told me ,at that time,almost half the male students in one jr. high were on ADA meds.The two high schools had a high rate also.This was in 2002

        1. Like the lady said, to the public schools, boys are simply defective girls.

        2. School districts in Texas get more money from the state for each problem child than they do for non problem children. They have a financial motivation to label as many children “problems” as possible.

    2. It’s always a good idea to base policy in general in what might have had some small chance in averting a single tragedy.

      1. Yep, make the exception the rule! What could possibly go wrong?

      2. It’s always a good idea to base policy in general in what might have had some small chance in averting a single tragedy.

        Dude. Really?

        1. I thought that was sarcasm at first, but then I considered the source …

          1. You might want to do some more considering there.

          2. Just because the guy has a boner for socons doesn’t mean that he is a secret Democrat agent despite taking consistently libertarian positions on pretty much everything. I don’t get it. Bo gets bogged down in stupid pedantic crap sometimes, but I see no reason not to believe that he is a sincere libertarian.

            1. Bo has freely admitted that he came to his brand of “libertarianism” (the One True Libertarianism, as it turns out) by way of the left. He canvassed for Obama just a few years ago. He’s obviously not a “secret Democrat”, but, like all of the top-secret Republican aggitators and SOCONZ!!! he finds lurking around every corner of Reason.com, those leanings certainly inform his views (his backlinks are rather informative). Considering his penchant for questioning the sincerity of everyone else’s libertarianism, it’s hard to have much sympathy for him when somebody borrows his own schtick and turns it around on him.

              1. “He canvassed for Obama just a few years ago. ”

                Where did you get that from?

                And as for ‘top secret Republican agitators and SoConz he finds lurking…’ I’ve labelled virtually no one here other than maybe Eddie or Robc as SoCons, though there are certainly more than a few not so secret conservative sympathizers here.

                Including you, of course.

                1. Where did you get that from?

                  I thought you had discussed it here before. If not, He canvassed for Obama just a few years ago.

                  I’ve labelled virtually no one here other than maybe Eddie or Robc as SoCons

                  As we’ve seen before, your memory of the accusations and labels you’ve used on here isn’t exactly a perfect mirror of reality.

                  Including you, of course.

                  Well that goes without saying. If all A (people who disagree with Bo Cara, arbiter of One True LibertarianismTM, Esq) are B (secret but not-so-secret conservative and Republican sympathizers), and I belong to A, it’s simple identity property.

        2. It’s clearly sarcasm.

    3. Because we know better than the parent (and the child’s doctor) as to what’s best for your kid.

      /People’s State of CT

    4. The bill won’t pass.

      The homeschool community (if you can call it a “community”) is amazingly politically active in the NE USA and will see to it that the bill fails.

      Many times in the past the Jersey legislature has attempted to regulate homeschooling and each time they fail because homeschoolers freak the fuck out and spend time and money actively defeating the measures.

      Also, the public schools really don’t want the responsibility of regulating homeschoolers unless there’s a payout attached via funding. Usually there’s no funding, therefore no interest.

      1. You say that like there’s nothing really stupid or freedom-destroying that won’t eventually come to pass in America.

        1. You say that like there’s nothing really stupid or freedom-destroying that hasn’t already come to pass in America.

          1. The NDAA already took away all of our freedom, the rest is just icing on the authoritarian cake.

            1. A man still has freedom as long as he is armed. The Aussies, they took all their freedom.

              We’re still provisionally free, though much less than we ought to be.

        2. Oh, the freedom destroying initiatives are endless and relentless, but this particular one will fail.

          So, good good news, bad news.

    5. We’re going to have your kids in the public system, even if they’re not in the system.

  2. Ecraser l’infame, y’all: Atheist gives invocation at Huntsville (Ala.) City Council

    http://www.al.com/news/huntsvi…..rt_m-rpt-2

    1. It’s cool that you posted this, Ed, but why the Voltaire tag?

      1. Just to be silly.

        1. *nods* OK. Cool.

    2. In more recent days, an American style of governance has led to approbation for newer enlightened values; we celebrate diversity, we enjoy protections of our freedoms in a Constitutional Republic, and we dearly value egalitarianism – equal protection of the law.

      We dearly value egalitarianism?

      1. If he means ‘egalitarianism’ in the political and legal sense, i.e. one man one vote and equal protection then yes.

        If he means totalitarian equality of outcome, then fuck off slaver.

        1. I was assuming this definition:

          egalitarianism

          The doctrine of the equality of mankind and the desirability of political and economic and social equality

          1. Eh, since he specified equal protection of the law I’d give him the benefit of the doubt that he meant only that sense.

      2. Where is this place where there is equal protection under the law? Are they taking new immigrants?

  3. We don’t even need to reference recent events–the civil war essentially transformed the US from a federation of states into an empire, with New England as the home country (I’m not defending the south, just stating the outcome of the war as it affected the future). Over the next century, it expanded from there.

    One big difference with other historical empires is, as conservatives often point out, that the American ’empire’ is based not on taking resources from abroad, but exporting Victorian-ish human improvement schemes. So, if the federal government comes across somewhat Venezuelan these days, there’s a good reason for it. It’s an imperial enterprise driven not [entirely] by profit motive, but by an ideology that demands nation-building everywhere beyond the capital grounds.

    1. I’m not so sure,after the civil war the nation turned inward until the Spanish war that was helped along by TR that brought the U.S colenies.,Then,after he became President he started a civil war in Columbia to build the Panama canal

      1. I think you could say the Mexican war was a empire war too,against another empire.WW I was a war of empires,which the U,S should have never became involved

      2. The problem with that is the the US considered the Indian tribes to be, nominally, independent states.

        If you take them at their word, the period between 1865 and 1898 is not a pause in imperialism at all.

        1. Manifest Destiny for the win.

        2. If you take them at their word, the period between 1865 and 1898 is not a pause in imperialism at all.

          I think of it as a period of a very progressive eminent domain policy.

          1. Eminent domain over independent sovereign states. Sounds like imperialism to me.

          2. I think of it as a period of a very progressive eminent domain policy.

            How else would you make them equal under the law?

      3. But the turning inward is what the article is about.

    2. American ’empire’ is based not on taking resources from abroad, but exporting Victorian-ish human improvement schemes.

      But we do like them United Fruit Company bananas.

    3. American ’empire’ is based not on taking resources from abroad, but exporting Victorian-ish human improvement schemes.

      Mossadegh disagrees.

      1. Besides which, a large portion of the American Empire is a direct result of the American policy of Soviet containment.

        1. The American empire is a result of the British getting the USA to take on the role, only not as cleverly & fiendishly.

        2. To fight demons you become demons.

  4. AFAIK, the process described did not happen in Britain. They treated foreigners under their dominion very differently from the people at home, and continued to do so over a long period.

  5. Faith groups vow to harbor immigrants

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the…..rship.html

    And, Catholic law profs argument that the Church could use RFRA to seek exemption from state laws barring harbor ing them

    http://scholarship.law.nd.edu/…..xt=ndjlepp

    1. Gee, the RCC demanding a special right to lawbreaking? I am shocked, simply shocked.

  6. Santorum takes swipe at Rand Paul

    “He said he didn’t think that Obama was the only political figure getting foreign policy wrong. Santorum took an indirect shot at Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and the libertarian wing of the GOP, saying that ‘the Constitution provides for limited government’ and argued that this shouldn’t be confused with ‘small government.’ To Santorum, ‘limited means limited to certain subject areas, but robust in those areas to protect our freedoms and keep us secure.'”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/a…..hadis.html

    1. Hey, Rick – no problem.

      Just try doing it with only the tools provided by the Articles and amendments as they stood in 1868 and no others.

      1. As defined by which black-robed gang?

    2. …but robust in those areas to protect our freedoms and keep us secure.

      I’ll translate from leftspeak: ‘I have no problem with the government getting bigger and more intrusive, as long as it is going after people I don’t like.’

      No thanks, Rick. I’m glad you are out of office, and may you forever remain out in the cold.

      1. Ive always said that for some people here libertarianism = just hating liberals. It makes the transition from plain conservatism relatively painless. Surely scribing Rick Santorum to the ‘left’ is a symptom of that way of thinking…

        1. Ive always said that for some people here libertarianism = just hating liberals.

          To me, there isn’t much difference between one who wants to control me monetarily, and one who wants to control me morally.

          Besides, most Republicans, in my experience, find being called a Leftist an insult. IMO, most mainstream national Republicans *should* be insulted since there is almost no difference between them and team blue.

          1. Both halves of TEAM BE RULED want to control you both monetarily and morally, anyway.

        2. Just because it’s “leftspeak” doesn’t mean it came from the left.

          But good luck with the rest of your Libertarian Purity Hunt.

          1. Wow, that’s literally some Orwellian convolution.

            1. Do you mean to say that political tactics don’t cross ideological lines?

              1. Well, at least you recognize lines were crossed…

            2. Here’s an example of what I have in mind:

              “Our faiths are inextricably linked on any number of things that we must confront and deal with in policy concepts today. Our faiths are inextricably linked on the environment. For many of us, respect for God’s creation also translates into a duty to protect and sustain his first creation, Earth, the planet,” Kerry said. “Confronting climate change is, in the long run, one of the greatest challenges that we face, and you can see this duty or responsibility laid out in Scriptures clearly, beginning in Genesis. And Muslim-majority countries are among the most vulnerable. Our response to this challenge ought to be rooted in a sense of stewardship of Earth, and for me and for many of us here today, that responsibility comes from God.”

              Who is more likely to invoke this sort of language – the right or the left?

        3. Lol.

          “I agree with you.”

          “FUCKING SOCONZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!(!!!!!!)!!!”

          Only Bo.

          1. You’re kind of raving at this point PM…

            1. It’s flattering to be recognized by a subject matter expert.

        4. SCWs and SJWs are both leftist at base–both seek to use the power of the state to exert control that the state should not have.

          Left=statism
          Right=individualism

    3. What’s that? Santorum? Is that silly cocksucker still around?

      1. Not really. He’s a widely despised (and easily ignored) loon. He just likes attention and power, so he keeps going for it.

        1. Man that makes Ron Paul look humiliatingly bad then. He got curb stomped by that loser?

          1. Actually, Paul got more delegates. So it’s the other way around.

      1. Smartest thing you’ve ever said.

        1. It’s a piece he calls “Silence”. So far, it’s my favourite!

      2. If only our political masters were so eloquent.

    4. Take 2

      “the Constitution provides for limited government” and argued that this shouldn’t be confused with “small government.”

      Wait, whu?

      Is that the establishment Republican mask I see slipping?

      1. He had a mask?

        1. He had a sweater vest. The sweater vest is slipping.

      2. The cognitive dissonance of advocating a huge limited government must be crazy strong.

      3. Do small and limited mean the same thing to you? His point is eminently rational and completely in line with the Federalist Paper’s view of political power. I haven’t even seen an attempt to rebut him just classic libertarian posturing. I guess by libertarian reasoning Belgium small government conservatism has prevailed in Belgium. I mean sure the state is involved in just about every facet of Belgian life, but you could still probably drown in an American-size bath tub.

        1. Do small and limited mean the same thing to you?

          Each is such a necessary condition for the other that treating them as synonymous isn’t unreasonable. A large government won’t long remain limited, and a limited government won’t grow too large. You could, theoretically, say that a government spending 50 trillion dollars a year on its military and conscripting all of its citizens into military service was “limited” to the purpose of defense, but a government with the power to do those things isn’t really effectively limited in a broader sense. That same military could have a “limited” engagement with tactical nuclear weapons, in the sense that the destruction would be “limited” to less than the entire planet. When you’ve gotten that far down the rabbit hole the terms have become utterly meaningless.

    5. to protect our freedoms

      Heh, Sweater Vest, he’s a funny guy, no?

      Did he also say that we have to continue to kill funny looking fureners because they hate us for our freedoms?

      1. I thought we were killing our freedoms so they’d stop hating us?

  7. It’s commonly thought among Anthropologists, FWIW, that cross-culturally, murder rates go up during wartime. And it isn’t about traumatized veterans coming home; apparently, it’s supposed to be about people having trouble calibrating the new morality. When it’s suddenly okay with society if you kill people so long as they’re the enemy, well, some people have all kinds of different enemies: wives, neighbors, et. al.

    These two researchers seem to concentrated on the policy makers, but I always think that’s putting the cart before the horse–social change comes from the bottom up. Authoritarian solutions aren’t something that politicians inflict on us from above. They’re something people clamor for. Maybe there is something about wars that makes people want violent, government sponsored solutions, generally.

    Certainly, LSD and marijuana were clearly connected to opposition to the Vietnam War in a lot of people’s minds, and I wonder if we’d have had the Drug War we had without that. Also, the tolerance for fist fights in schools back during the Cold War, I’ve often wondered if that might have had something to do with the presumption that we’d all be drafted to fight the Soviets, someday, so that urge to fight should be cultivated.

    1. Yea it has nothing to do with the wide-spread social confusion that comes with mobilizing a large portion of your young male population and sending them to a different part of the country for training and deployment. I suppose you also think that violent video games and violent movies cause crime right? No, you like violent video games so they can’t possibly the problem. But war is all stupid and lame so yea that’s the ticket.

      1. Were you responding to my comment?

        Yeah, I said it has to do with people having trouble calibrating the war time morality–where it’s suddenly okay to kill some people.

        You don’t like that?

        You’d rather call that “social confusion”?

        Whatever.

        I don’t even understand what your beef is.

  8. The imperial chickens came home to roost

    I am really getting sick of that particular turn of phrase. As well as ‘skin in the game’ and ‘thrown under the bus’. I loathe them almost as much as I loathe pictures of chucK schumeR.

    /end rant

    1. A broken clock tells perfect time twice a day!

      1. A penny saved is a penny earned.

        1. You mess with the bull, you get the horns!!!

          *flexes****

        2. The horse is out of the barn.

        3. At the end of the day.

    2. You should have started your rant with, “Let me be perfectly clear”.

    3. None of those are as bad as the Big Three.

      :p

  9. Their thesis is at once bold and well-defended: “Coercive government actions that target another country often act like a boomerang, turning around and knocking down freedoms and liberties in the ‘throwing’ nation.” This happens when the size and scope of government increases as a result of foreign intervention.

    That reminds me of something… Hm… Oh yes…

    More: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law!
    Roper: So now you’d give the Devil benefit of law!
    More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
    Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
    More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast?man’s laws, not God’s?and if you cut them down?and you’re just the man to do it?do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.

    Not an exact correlation, but the sentiment is the same.

    1. More: You threaten like a dockside bully.
      Cromwell: How should I threaten?
      More: Like a Minister of State, with justice!
      Cromwell: Oh, justice is what you’re threatened with.
      More: Then I’m not threatened.

    1. It was obvious to Madison. He wrote at length about it and warned against it. But then, he was a white male patriarch slave owner from over a hundred years ago so we should never listen to anything he had to say.

      1. Same with his bud, Jefferson. Two bad white debils!

        1. So if we take away the political philosophy of the racist white debils from that period, who are we left with?

          Why it’s obvious, the next great thinker to come along of course, who didn’t own slaves, Karl Marx! We should follow him, he didn’t own slaves!

          1. There were lots of Founders who were not the fundamental affronts to liberty than were the slave owning Jefferson and Madison. Holding them up invites cynicism and mockery of us.

            1. Only from people who believe the ad hominem fallacy to be a persuasive argument.

              1. At some point saying X while doing anti-X undermines one’s credibility.

                Weren’t you just yesterday condemning Reagan for saying one thing and doing another?

                1. Bo, I am not holding anyone up. I am holding up certain ideas. The idea has merit or it does not. It doesn’t make a frothy fuck who came up with it.

                2. No it doesn’t. No by the rules of logic. It might invite cynicism and mockery of the individual but an eminent Esq. (were you in Bill and Ted’s rock band too) like yourself should know that logically their arguments are completely inviolable against criticisms of their personal behavior.

            2. Holding up Jefferson invites mockery of us? Who exactly is us?

              Maybe you should learn a lot more about Jefferson, I think he was more than you think. You simply cannot throw out everything about the man because he owned slaves, something that almost every wealthy white dude in those part did at that time.

              I suppose if Jefferson was alive today, you think that he’d immediately support a bill to re-instate slavery in the US?

              1. By us I mean proponents of liberty. A slave owning and supporting man us probably not the best front man for that, eh?

                Btw- lots of rich white dudes back then opposed slavery in action, including prominent Founders and even neighbors of Jefferson himself.

                I guess we should exempt FDR from criticism because big government statism was just the zeitgeist of his day?

            3. Bullshit.

              Their philosophy is sound, regardless of whether or not they lived up to it.

              You judge people by the standards of the times they lived in, not by those you live in. Jefferson and Madison’s thinkings/writings on the matter were very progressive for anyone living in the south at the time and were, in part, the seed from which emancipation stemmed.

              Anyone claiming Jeffersonian philosophy was incorrect, simply because he was a slave owner, is a moron.

              1. I bet you’d be the first person to look past, say, FDR’s flowery homages to liberty and free enterprise and call him a fascist based on his actual actions, but Founders who engaged in and acted to support mass, state enforced actual human slavery get a pass because ‘hey, they were men of their age?’

                1. Except, what FDR called liberty, was not liberty.

                  Calling rape, liberty, does not make it so. Jefferson’s words, were in fact, correct.

              2. Their views were part and parcel to them living in the South. Honestly, both you and Bob Cara are embarassments to logic because you are both engaging in a huge amounts of chronological fallacy. When it came to the power of the national government the South was always more “progressive” than the North. I get it the South is all just same big dumb Jesusland theme park too you. But that’s because you aren’t very familiar with history.

            4. The fact that many of the most prolific thinkers and writers on the liberty of men were slave owners, doesn’t discount their thoughts on liberty, it discounts their thoughts on slavery.

              I’m quite convinced that had Jefferson et al lived another fifty (or so) years they too would have realized their error.

              What’s unfortunate is the common progressive is wrong on his thoughts on liberty, and attempts to prove their thoughts correct by pointing out Jefferson’s thoughts on slavery. There’s a lesson to be learned on that.

              1. So, what were Jefferson’s “thoughts on slavery?”

                1. That his child slaves should be whipped if they didn’t work harder in his nail factory.

                  1. Ladies and Gents

                    I give you the product of a public progressive education.

                  2. Bo, I’m not even an American or a fan of Jefferson and that’s a truly ignorant and moronic attitude towards Jefferson’s rather complicated opinions towards slaves.

                    1. You guys do realize there’s documentary evidence in his own hand Jefferson saying the child slaves forced to work in his nail factory should be beaten to increase productivity?

                      I mean, you’d scream for days about much much less from Obama, FDR, Wilson, etc but go to great lengths to whitewash Jefferson’s horrendous actions.

                    2. You guys do realize there’s documentary evidence in his own hand Jefferson saying the child slaves forced to work in his nail factory should be beaten to increase productivity?

                      Where did you get that Bo? A public school teacher perhaps?

                      a. I’ve read extensively of Jefferson. And, to say the least…[citation required]

                      b. Yet again…You judge people by the standards of the times they lived in, not by those you live in.

                      Another brainwashed, pussified example of a modern education. It’s not Bo’s fault he thinks this way. He was programmed to.

                    3. A. If I supply the citation do we get a big ‘golly, for all my extensive reading on Jefferson you and your ‘progressive education’ totally scooped me there?

                      B. So you have no complaints about, say, Woodrow Wilsons abhorrent racism (after all in his day quite common, especially for a Southern raised gentleman)?

                    4. From your link:

                      “When the productivity of the small boys who made nails for Jefferson lagged, he ordered them whipped,” Breen writes. Nothing in this sentence is true. There was no reference to lagging productivity at the time in question, and Jefferson actually ordered the manager of the nailery to refrain from use of the whip “except in extremities.” Jefferson was then experimenting with ways to mitigate the harsh punishment that was usual at the time.

                      You should try reading a link before posting it.

                    5. Bravo Bo.

                      “When the productivity of the small boys who made nails for Jefferson lagged, he ordered them whipped,” Breen writes. Nothing in this sentence is true. There was no reference to lagging productivity at the time in question, and Jefferson actually ordered the manager of the nailery to refrain from use of the whip “except in extremities.” Jefferson was then experimenting with ways to mitigate the harsh punishment that was usual at the time. Breen is not the only reviewer to have been misled by Wiencek’s arguments, which employ selective quotation, false chronologies, and emotionally loaded language.

                      Only you could post a citation that has been discredited by

                      Shannon Senior Historian at Monticello.

                      Thanks for saving me the time.

                    6. “Jefferson actually ordered the manager of the nailery to refrain from use of the whip “except in extremities.””

                      What do you think this sentence means?

                    7. It means he didn’t beat children “to increase productivity.” You fucking moron.

              2. Thank you Paul. I have never heard it put more succinctly.

            5. And yet Marx’s questionable attitude towards race, being financed by his buddy’s textile mills and his ownership of an indentured servant means nothing to the Marxist concept of exploitation and doesn’t undermine his arguments in the least. If we’re treating ad hominems as a legitimate argument it’s funny they’re only really applicable to certain people in the debate.

              (For the record I think calling Marxists on this is stupid when time can be better spent challenging his actual concepts)

              1. This invocation of ad hominen is a bit silly. There are limits to the uses of abstract, formal logic. If an expert witness in court had lived in stark violation of their testified opinion that would be allowed to impeach his testimony, and it would in most jurors minds. If tomorrow a leading anti-rape feminist had been found to have molested a teenage girl I think everyone here would rightly mock them relentlessly.

                At the very least being a raging hypocrite makes one a poor choice as the front man for any school of thought. That’s not a logical fallacy, it’s normal common sense!

                1. But Jefferson isn’t testifying in court. His personal credibility isn’t at issue. Everyone knows he owned slaves. And people aren’t saying you should believe what Jefferson wrote because of who Jefferson was, but because what he wrote was good.

                  1. My comment was about holding Jefferson up as a front man, invoking the man. That’s what is discredited.

                    If he’s flawed but his ideas are great, find a less discredited expositor of the same idea. Hypocrites of their own ideals make terrible front men for those ideals.

                    1. Weren’t you just yesterday condemning Reagan for saying one thing and doing another?

                      I said he talked the liberty talk while walking the statist walk. That doesn’t invalidate his speeches on the evils of socialism.

                      My comment was about holding Jefferson up as a front man, invoking the man. That’s what is discredited.

                      What are you talking about? People who invoke Jefferson are quoting his ideas, not his personal life.

                      A person failing to live up to the ideas they preach does not make the ideas wrong. It makes the person a flawed human being.

                    2. Do you know what a front man is and does?

                      I don’t if someone were the most eloquent writer about something if it were well known that he lived his life and gave support to the most flagrant violations of his stated writings he’d be dropped as a spokesperson in about one second. You know that.

                    3. It’s the enemies of liberty who hold up Jefferson as a front man. They do so because they embrace ad hominems as persuasive arguments. They attack the man instead of his ideas and writing, because they have no good arguments against his ideas and writings. When Jefferson wrote about liberty, the enemies of liberty point out that he owned slaves. That doesn’t invalidate his ideas on liberty.

                      We’re not talking about the credibility of a witness in a criminal trial here.

              2. And that’s why Marx doesn’t get called on that stuff too much. His actual theories are so terrible that there is plenty to work with there, which there isn’t with Jefferson.

                Maybe Jefferson was a terrible person because he owned (and apparently fucked) slaves. I’d still say that what he wrote stands on its own. You don’t have to say that he was a pure and good human being in every way to cite what he wrote approvingly.

                  1. But dude wrote so well about liberty we should excuse the illiberal laws he supported!

                    A standard no one would apply to anyone other than the deified Founders, of course.

                    1. But dude wrote so well about liberty we should excuse the illiberal laws he supported!

                      That’s just stupid. That’s the argument used by the enemies of liberty. They say “Oh, well you say the 2A means the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed? Well then you must support the 3/5 clause! Ha, I win! Liberty is bad!”

                    2. Very similar to the argument used by the anticopy bigots in their best is the enemy of the good fallacy

                      It boils down to ‘the legal system sucks such as the fact that drugs are illegal therefore police are horrid and there aren’t good cops and it’s not a noble profession and if you ever arrest for a drug offense you are just as bad as a nazi excusing his conduct by I was following orders and derp derp police brutality durka durka jihad

                    3. I’ve got to admit, that was funny.

                      My major complaint with the police, which you of course will say is nonsense, is a lack of accountability.

                      For example a local couple is suing because they were arrested for interfering in police business because they failed to comply with an unlawful order to stop filming five cops harassing a young woman.

                      The law says that someone must be using force, getting in the way, or otherwise obstructing to be obstructing. They were not, and it’s all on video.

                      Yet the cops are all still employed.

                      And it’s all on video.

                      In a just world cops would have been fired based upon the video, and their fellows are sent an implicit message that they must thing twice.

                      Instead, their fellows are sent a message that they can arrest anyone who fails to obey an unlawful order. That all orders are lawful because of the mouth they came from.

                  2. Jefferson was homophobic?!

                    Like school choice was yesterday?

                    This is another troll job.

                    1. Never mind that he was a slave owner, or that he owned his own children as slaves!

                      No, he was homophobic, and there’s no excuse for that?

                      You went over the top, troll.

                      Never go full retard.

                    2. No, he was homophobic, and there’s no excuse for that?

                      Did you read the link? For God’s sake, he proposed a law to castrate homosexual men.

                    3. So what? I don’t really think that was too far off general sentiment of the day, so I’m trying to see how it’s a criticism.

                    4. Every time I start to like Bo, he goes full retard.

                      Thing is Bo, that history is littered with great thinkers and great men who didn’t always live up to their own ideals.

                      As a product of public education, I’m sure you have a full hard on for Lincoln. And I quote, “I have no purpose to introduce political and social equality between the white and black races. There is physical difference between the two which, in my judgment, will probably forever forbid their living together upon the footing of perfect equality, and inasmuch as it becomes a necessity that there must be a difference, I, as well as Judge Douglas, am in favor of the race to which I belong having the superior position.”

                      You have to take what people did in the context of the times. Otherwise, there is nothing to learn from history. The ideas of the founders and those great minds that preceded and followed them are not to be dismissed because they are not in line with 21st century ideals.

                      They set the foundation for our ideals. They aren’t the complete fucking palace.

                      Quit being a retard.

              3. Similarly Riefenstahl still made awesome movies

                1. Oh, and… The ultimate example

                  Rage Against the Machine

                  Recorded and live creation of musical awesome? Yes

                  Shrouded in the dumbest political viewpoints ever?

                  Yes

                  1. You’re just mad becasue they accused the cops of being the Klan.

                    1. Actually they are 100% correct that there are certainly some cops who are Klan members

                      I have never and will never get mad at anybody for speaking truth and that is undeniably with no equivocation whatsoever a truism sad as it is

                    2. “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
                      And what does the Lord require of you?
                      To act justly and to love mercy
                      and to walk humbly with your God.”

                      Does that make you angry? Because that has almost nothing to do with any police actions I’ve seen lately.

          2. So if we take away the political philosophy of the racist white debils from that period, who are we left with?

            The commerce clause.

  10. find a less discredited expositor of the same idea.

    Name names.

    1. For starters how about James Wilson? George Wythe?

  11. What is said in this article is basically true. One does not have to be a Libertarian to realize this. However, there are instances where the U.S. presence has been beneficial for a country. Take The Republic of Korea (South) for example. That country was occupied by the U.S. from 1945-1948, followed by the Korean War, and then a Dictatorship (in the South under Park to 1979). After Park was assassinated in 1979, there was another dictatorship that was short lived, and today (2014) The ROK (under Park’s elected daughter) is a real democracy.

    Other examples are the U.S. Occupation of Japan and Germany. Both of those countries are thriving democracies today.

  12. This would be interesting if someone could explain how nations have ever co-existed with ‘non-coercive’ policies.

    I’m not even sure what a non-coercive foreign policy is.

    1. for clarity:

      ‘carrot and stick’

      needs stick

    2. What ‘coercive’ policies do we have regarding , say, Canada?

      1. When we needed them we had them. We don’t need them now so we don’t have any (well other than soft wood tariffs from a few years back).

        I’m sure there is an invasion plan for Canada sitting in a dusty cabinet somewhere at the Pentagon if only because you can find one invasion we put into action awhile back on wikipedia. It didn’t happen in this century so it was probably homophobic though.

      2. “Bo Cara Esq.|9.28.14 @ 3:23PM|#

        What ‘coercive’ policies do we have regarding , say, Canada?”

        That is not even an attempt to answer the question.

      3. Bo Cara Esq.|9.28.14 @ 3:23PM|#

        What ‘coercive’ policies do we have regarding , say, Canada?”

        Maybe you should read about the issue rather than just project from your assumptions.

    3. Invading Uganda and bringing the gift of gay rights would be perfectly cool with at least half of Reason’s writing staff. That’s an example of “non-coercive foreign policy.”

      1. A non-coercive “Foreign Policy” is not ‘isolated examples of non-coercive relations

        it has to be an ‘all inclusive set of policies’ to deal with all contingencies.

        The entire point of calling a national foreign policy ‘non-coercive’ would be to presume that coercive elements are forbidden BY DEFINITION.

        Otherwise its not a ‘policy’ – its just a handful of cases where we have not used any of the otherwise-coercive FP elements.

        and i’m not even sure you’d get by with any single examples as being purely ‘non-coercive’ in any case.

        In the case of Canada = have we not made treaties with them, Forcing them to take shared responsibility for NORAD that would otherwise have resulted in punitive action?

        Do you really think every relation we have with our ‘friendly’ nations are wholly free from any potential for ‘policy pressures’ which would otherwise coerce compliance?

        1. In the reality-based community there never has been and there never will be an all-inclusive set of policies

          International relations are much like criminal investigation and police patrol work in that it is impossible for there ever to be a comprehensive enough body of policy and procedure to deal with all contingencies

          That’s part of what makes both so interesting in that there is a requirement for a certain kind of mind that engages in a certain kind of data collection analysis synthesis etc. process

          It’s notable that when it comes to ignorant criticism in both areas the overwhelming bulk of the ignorant criticism such as here among anticop bigots is that it suffers from results and not process-based analysis

          Just like in poker as well it always must be a process-based analysis

          1. “The artist known Dunphy|9.28.14 @ 5:37PM|#

            In the reality-based community there never has been and there never will be an all-inclusive set of policies”

            Tell it to Sheldon, Mary

            1. Again this ‘Mary’ idiocy

              Maybe after I have the opportunity to bitch slap several more ignorant fake allegations of police brutality here under this name you and your ignorant elk will finally grok that I am not Mary

          2. That’s part of what makes both so interesting in that there is a requirement for a certain kind of mind that engages in a certain kind of data collection analysis synthesis etc. process

            Yes, truly only the finest of analytical minds could justify blowing somebody away in their own home for the crime of holding a weapon while answering the door to uninvited strangers in plain-clothes at 1:30 in the morning, because everybody in that situation should presume that the callers are cops too fucking brain dead to find the correct address.

            hth

        2. I wasn’t being one bit serious. Of course foreign policy is coercive or why else would you have a military. You could say that in the years following the defeat of Napoleon Talleyrand conducted a successful and non-coercive foreign policy during the congress of Vienna.

  13. Speaking of Canada, and the ‘non-coercive relations’…

    Canadian military posture during the cold war was predicated on the fact that regardless of their stance relative to the soviet union (e.g. a desire for neutrality), they would be necessarily obliterated in any Nuclear conflict between the US and Soviet Union, and therefore were compelled to consider themselves party to a conflict by default – e.g.

    “Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s 1987 Canadian White Paper on Defence acknowledged this reality citing that, “Soviet strategic planners must regard Canada and the United States as a single set of military targets no matter what political posture we might assume.”[24] This sums up Canada’s Cold War predicament well, as Canada’s geo-political relationship with the US meant that Canada would inevitably be widely devastated by any US-Soviet nuclear exchange – whether it was targeted or not. It led to a familiar phrase of the time, “incineration without representation”.[25]

    Would the US have been entirely cool with the idea that Canada instead decided to ally itself with Soviet Interests?

    Don’t even pretend for a second that what have been defined as ‘mutual security interests’ came into being in “non-coercive’ ways. It was a Deal that Could Not Be Refused.

    1. Is that a rhetorical question?

    2. So Canada determined aligning with the US was in their interest, they did so align, and this proves…what? That there was a coercive relationship with Canada?

      That’s like saying that because I come work at the factory you own because the other ones in town would fire me anyway I’ve been coerced into working for you.

  14. How trade relations with ‘allies‘ has even more coercive elements than with so-called ‘adversaries’.

    1. As everybody from sun Tsu to the Goddather knows, we keep our friends close and our enemies closer

      1. Hey buddy! Can I give you a hug?

  15. Your article helps me, thank you so much.
    Jobsdhamaka

  16. my buddy’s ex-wife makes $68 hourly on the computer . She has been laid off for 9 months but last month her income was $20250 just working on the computer for a few hours. site link…..

    ???????? http://www.netjob70.com

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.