Foreign Policy

Nationalism is a Poison

Governments never fail to call on their flocks to "love their country," and make any sacrifice on its behalf, "sacrifice" being defined by politicians.


"Forward, the Light Brigade!"
Was there a man dismay'd?
Not tho' the soldier knew
Someone had blunder'd:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred

"The Charge of the Light Brigade," Alfred, Lord Tennyson

The reason for the venom directed at those of us who question American sniper Chris Kyle's status as a hero can be put into one word: nationalism.

Nationalism is a poison. It attacks the mind, short-circuits thinking, and makes self-destruction look appealing. Nationalism sows the seeds of hate and war. It makes the title warrior an honorific instead of the pejorative it ought to be.

We see naked ugly nationalism in many defenses of Kyle. Defenders appear to have but one operating principle: If Kyle was an American military man and the people he killed were not American, then he was a hero. Full stop. No other facts are relevant. It matters not that Kyle was a cog in an imperial military machine that waged a war of aggression on behalf of the ruling elite's geopolitical and economic interests, that he did his killing on foreign soil, and that no Iraqi had come to the United States seeking to harm him or other Americans. (Contrary to what Kyle defenders seem to believe, not one Iraqi was among the 19 hijackers on 9/11, although had that been otherwise, the murder of millions of other Iraqis and the displacement of millions more would not have been justified.) All that apparently matters to many Kyle fans is that this man was born in America, joined the American military, and faithfully obeyed orders to kill people he called savages.

That is what nationalism does to a human being.

The ugliness of nationalism is often perceptible even by those who harbor it and commit terrible acts as a result. So they rationalize. They don't openly cheer the killing of Iraqis because they are Iraqis (or Arabs or Muslims); rather they plead self-defense: if we don't kill them, they will kill us. Kyle and his comrades were defending America and Americans' freedom, his defenders say.

But if you've seen American Sniper, the movie based on Kyle's book, you heard Kyle's wife, Taya, reject that claim. I'm surprised that this bit of dialogue has been ignored (to my knowledge) in the voluminous writing about the movie. As Kyle gets ready for yet another tour in Iraq, his unhappy wife asks why he is going back. "For you," he says, and by extension, America.

"No you're not," she fires back.

He also invokes the welfare of the Iraqis, telling his wife that being away from home for another long stretch would not be a problem because their family could spare the time and the Iraqis could not. She didn't buy that line either. She is deeply disturbed that her husband would rather try to fix Iraq (as though he and his comrades could do that through military force) than look after his family.

It's curious that Taya Kyle (if this scene actually took place) had a clearer picture of the world than Kyle's vitriolic nationalist defenders, who praise the sniper for following orders without question. (One even approvingly alluded to Tennyson's poem.)

If not for nationalism, such contortions — the conjuring of imaginary threats, the conceit in aspiring to save a society one knows absolutely nothing about, the twisting of the warrior's ways into virtues — would be unnecessary. Things could be called what they are. Someone who swears an oath that in practical terms obliges him to kill whomever the current White House occupant tells him to kill, "asking nothing about the justice of [the] cause," would be called a cold-blooded contract killer rather than a hero.

Nationalism, to judge by how nationalists conduct themselves, is an unswerving religious-like devotion to the nation, construed as a quasi-mystical entity — "America" — that cannot be wrong and so has the authority to command reverence and obedience. The nation transcends particular political officeholders, but the government, or state, is integral to the entity. The nation (country) cannot be imagined without the state. It would not be the same thing. When an American nationalist thinks of his country, he thinks not merely of a land mass with distinctive features, the people (a diverse group indeed), and its history (a mixed bag) because that list does not fully capture what they mean by America.

Government represents and expresses the will and sentiment of the nation. (To be sure, a nationalist can think that the people have erred in picking their "leaders," in which case the nation is misrepresented and has to be "taken back.") The power of compartmentalization allows some people who think of themselves as individualists while  seeing the nation in these corporate terms.

Let's remember that this quasi-mystical entity is what it is only because of countless contingent events effected by flawed human beings. The United States did not begin with 50 states, of course. Had events gone differently, it might have included some or all of Canada and none of what was once part of Mexico. It might have been without the Florida territory and the 828,000 square miles that constituted the Louisiana Purchase. The current boundaries were the result of (often bloody) human action but not entirely of human design. So it was with other nations. At one time, there were no nations as we think of them today.

"Forgetting, I would even go so far as to say historical error, is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation," Ernest Renan said in his famous 1882 lecture, "What Is a Nation?," "which is why progress in historical studies often constitutes a danger for [the principle of] nationality. Indeed, historical enquiry brings to light deeds of violence which took place at the origin of all political formations…. Unity is always effected by means of brutality." (Ludwig von Mises praised Renan and his lecture in Omnipotent Government.)

This integral relationship between nation and state is why nationalists reject claims that one can love one's country while despising the government. That's impossible by their definition of country. To oppose the government is to oppose the country. You may oppose a particular president, but don't dare oppose the military. Now, you can try to redefine country to make it something properly lovable, but you won't persuade a nationalist.

It's no accident that governments never fail to call on their flocks to "love their country," by which they mean: be willing to make any sacrifice on its behalf, with "sacrifice" defined by politicians. Instilling nationalism is always the primary mission of government and its schools because, as Ernst Gellner wrote in Nations and Nationalism, "It is nationalism which engenders nations, and not the other way round."

That mission is behind the near-compulsory recitations of the Pledge of Allegiance (written by an avowed collectivist), salutes to "the troops" for "their service" on any and every occasion, and the playing of the national anthem and other nationalist songs at sporting events. It's what's behind the repeated, compulsive assurances that "America is the greatest country on earth." The ruling elite understands that love of country will inevitably find its application in fealty to the government, no matter what dissenters may say.

Some of us wish to distinguish nationalism from patriotism, but I don't think this works. Patriothas a lineage that includes the Greek words for "fatherland," patris; "of one's fathers," patrios; and "father," pater. This indicates the country's parental relationship to the citizen. It can't simply mean "land of one's fathers" because people believe they should feel patriotic about lands their fathers never set foot in. We're back to that quasi-mystical entity, America. Hence my definition of patriot: one who, no matter the difficulties, places power above party.

I understand the love of the place one knew as a child. I understand the love of home, of family, of community, of neighbors, and of people with whom one has shared experiences and beliefs. I understand the love of virtuous principles as expressed in historical documents (such as the Declaration of Independence). That kind of love does not ignite hate for the Other or create admiration for the warrior who enjoys killing the Other on order. That takes the poison of nationalism and an obsession with the nation it creates.

This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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  1. All that this says about Natinalism may well be true, but its flaws are eclipsed by those of Internationalism, which preaches smug falsehoods on the way to border spanning idiocies like the EU and the UN.

    1. It would be great if the world were such that we didn’t need a nation. We could just all do our thing and never have to bother with defending ourselves or paying others to do violence to maintain our civilization.

      That is not how the world works, however, and not how it ever will work. America renouncing its nationalism isn’t going to get anyone else to do the same. So, all America renouncing its nationalism will do is leave those who don’t renounce their nationalism free to prey on us.

      Sheldon apparently never matured passed the level of an earnest adolescent demanding to know why people have to be so mean to each other.

      1. Yep, complete adolescent nonsense.

        Tribalism is an inherent evolved trait of homo sapiens. Might as well complain about humans reliance on speech.

        1. There’s lots of traits that may have been naturally selected that we should probably try to overcome (think aggression or prejudice).

          1. You can’t overcome 3 million years of evolution.

            1. Sure you can. Racial prejudice was likely selected to the same degree general tribalism was (physical differences being indicators of tribal out groups), but we are right to work against that.

              1. I’d come to your side, Bo, but us Rockwell types have Misesorg, right?

                1. I’ve got no problem with Rockwell types in general, it’s when people come here and complain about Reason’s ‘cosmo’ writers I bring it up that maybe they’d be happier there.

                  1. Rockwell types complain about ‘cosmo’ writers? Who?

                    1. You’ve never heard commenters complain about the ‘cosmo’ writers here? What do you think is the orientation of anyone complaining about ‘cosmotarians’ other than paleolibertarians?

                    2. For a man who rejects tribalism, you sure like to throw around a lot of labels.

                    3. Of course you missed the part where mine were responses to people complaining about ‘cosmotarians.’

                    4. Who was complaining about cosmotarians here? Pretty sure you brought it up

                    5. Broad generalization without evidence. I’m an AnCap and I’ll appreciate the paleos, cosmos, etc. All are moving in the direction I like. I’m not out to piss them all off. Who are you to tell them “they’d be happier there”?

                    6. Again, we’re talking about paleos complaining about all the cosmo writers here. If they are there complaining then yes, perhaps they’d be happier elsewhere.

                    7. So run to your appropriate echo chamber is the message? Got it.

                    8. You’re really intent on coming back to where you started regardless of what went on between then and now. I’ll try this one more time: it’s only when you have someone regularly complaining about how this place’s hosts are too ‘cosmotarian’ that I invite them to go elsewhere (and since throwing around ‘cosmo’ is a pretty good indicator of being a paleolibertarian I naturally invite them to go to that kind of place).

                    9. You “invite” people to your house. This is not your house. You don’t realize how fucking annoying that sounds?

                    10. It’s really funny how you decry tribalism as something to overcome while constantly engaging in collectivist language when it suits you.

                    11. Objectivists. Breitbart fans. People who don’t want to see people like Weigel taking a paycheck from a supposedly libertarian publication to pad their resume for other places. People who have extensive personal experience with how the supposedly anti-war, pro-civil liberties left almost entirely stopped beating those drums when Obama came to power, and became disillusioned with aged Bush-era hopes of some kind of left-libertarian alliance.

              2. Racism, in the modern meaning, is a modern phenomenon, a manifestation of our eternal tribalism.

                And, as you yourself not downthread when talking about guns and violence, it still manifests itself among proggies.

                What we have done is to make black letter law color blind – even if the actual implementation is not quite there yet.

                Even so, tribalism is rampant throughout politics, the law and the criminal justice system; it is only the manifestation of such related to skin pigmentation that has been suppressed.

                1. The point is it’s worth trying to surpress it.

                  Lots of morality involves trying to overcome what might have been naturally selected. Nature is red in tooth and claw, but we don’t have to be, nor should we be.

                2. You should see Quebec.

                3. There is little or maybe even no racial injustices in our justice system.

                  It’s all about the money. A person can be any color and slide through the justice systenm if that person has money.

                  In this country one is considered innocent until proven broke.

                  See OJ Simpson. There was a nutcase trust fund baby of a very wealthy and politically powerful family in Galveston Texas who killed IMO (in the small possibility that a family member may read this ) his neighbor and cut the body up and hid it in a suitcase. After years of “justice” he finally pled guilty to cutting up a dead body and was sentenced to the hospital. His lawyers and some expert witnesses made bank. No one knows what investment oportunities or jobs opened up for those whose job it was to put the psycopath killer in prison instead of the hospital. I’m sure readers have other examples. Does the banking crisis strike a note with anyone ?

            2. “You can’t overcome 3 million years of evolution.” Of course you can. For millions of years, adults could not digest lactose. Then boom, 10,000 years ago, this all changed after people started milking goats, sheep, and cows.

          2. True, but making the assumption taht we already HAVE overcome them results in craptacular stupidities like the United Nations.

            Face it, Nationalism is an improvement on Tribalism. When we have gotten the whole world up to the sophisticatiion of Nationalism, THEN will be the time to try to take the next step.

            1. The nation-state was a huge step-up an a vital, necessary invention to get us where we are today. I think it needs to be tweaked ex city states/micronations and that we are going to start to see that.

              1. I’m waiting for the world to recover from the 20th century’s flirtation with Communism/Fascism before I go looking for new trends. That fever is going to take a while to recover from.

            2. “Face it, Nationalism is an improvement on Tribalism.” – Nope. It’s a step in the wrong direction, towards a higher degree of collectivism.

        2. Tribalism is an inherent evolved trait of homo sapiens. Might as well complain about humans reliance on speech.

          Or complain about homo sapiens’ tendency to rape and murder neighboring tribes rather than trading with them.

          Some of you haven’t absorbed even the most basic principles of liberalism.

      2. This article is bullshit in my opinion and as such incorporates a few veins of truth and a lot of false premises for the rest. Easy to criticize Kyle when he is dead and can’t speak for himself.

        1. Also easy to criticize him if he were alive and kicking.

          He lied about Ventura, he lied about the Superdome. He was a liar who happened to be a great shot and who almost certainly killed plenty of innocent people. Full stop.

      3. Oh you Satan’s arsehole! Your species betrayed the almighty and sold their asses to Satan. YOU created nations, religions, tribes, races etc to divide your own kind with pathetic borders. Oh you, the doomed children of homo erectus, just because you have superior intelligence than other creatures, so you settled on EARTH’s lands and installed borders and pieces of colorful cloths that you call flags to divide territories and claim what belongs to EARTH.
        Do you own the lands which you bastards call countries? It’s the same land which was once walked upon by Dinosaurs and it will still be there long after your extinction.
        It’s your species’ chance – change the world or you will perish from it.
        ACCEPT GOD and build a unified EARTH that it’s messiah – Christ intended.

    2. False dichotomy alert. Nationalism and internationalism are not the only options.

  2. I think Sheldon needs a hug. Nationalism sucks. It would be great if we could all live in peace. Sadly, the world isn’t like it. People suck and they form tribes. And when they form tribes the only way to keep them from victimizing you is to form your own tribe. Sheldon hates nationalism, then he should renounce his citizenship and go off on his own. I wish him luck.

    This entire peace is nothing but a sad adolescent cry of why can’t life be fair and the way Sheldon wants it. This article is no different than some Prog whining about how unfair it is that not everyone can make $30 an hour; different subject but same level of immaturity and refusal to accept the world as it is and not as the author wishes it were. The whole thing is just pathetic.

    1. You can’t see how tribalism might be a suspect concept to libertarians, a group kind of known for their heightened focus on individuality over collectives? Maybe as you argue nationalism is a necessary evil, but it’s an evil nonetheless, not something we should encourage.

      1. No Bo I can’t because I give everyone the benefit of the doubt and assume they are rational and have some idea how the world actually works. It doesn’t matter how suspect you think it is. It is reality. If you and Sheldon don’t like that, go live in a different universe because this one is not going to change.

        1. Big government is a ‘reality’ too across the world, and we don’t accept that either.

          1. You do if reality requires it. You wonder why people think your stupid Bo. Then you say things like this.

            The world is a jungle requiring mutual self defense in the form of nations. You can’t have nations without some form of nationalism. So the choices are live with your own nationalism or be preyed upon by someone else and learn to live with theirs.

            1. You think it’s stupid to not just accept big government as ‘reality?’ Then you think libertarianism is stupid I guess. Which begs the question of why you spend so much time on a libertarian site.

              1. The point is that other people having big government doesn’t force us to have it. Other people having nationalism does for us to have at least some form of it.

                Indeed, even others having big government can force us to respond in kind. If one country wants to have a huge government in the form of an army that it intends to do us harm with, we are forced to build an army to defend ourselves no matter how much we like small government. We don’t live in isolation and sometimes other people’s behaviors can dictate ours because of the circumstances and dilemmas it creates.

      2. Moreover, Sheldon doesn’t even hate nationalism. He just doesn’t like the Iraq war. I bet he doesn’t have a problem with other countries’ nationalism. I don’t recall him ever bitching about Mexican or Swiss nationalism. He doesn’t like the Iraq war and doesn’t like the US. Instead addressing those things, he bootstraps a bunch of horse dung about nationalism.

        1. “I don’t recall him ever bitching about Mexican or Swiss nationalism. ”

          He lives in the US. Maybe that’s why he worries more about US culture and trends than Mexican and Swiss ones. You can’t assume he’s ok with Swiss nationalism because he’s never mentioned it, anymore than I can assume you’re ok with some awful thing in, say, Madagascar because I’ve never heard you mention it.

          1. See VG below. Richman is all for Iraq nationalism. He is so for it, he thinks terrorists who targeted and murdered civilians were the good guys because they were fighting to protect Iraq from US occupation.

            If Sheldon hates nationalism and not just US, why does he like Iraqi nationalism so much? Indeed, if nationalism is so bad, why is the US occupation of Iraq such a bad thing? The only reason the Iraqis should find it objectionable is because of their nationalistic sense of it being their country and not ours.

          2. When he writes columns about, say, ol’ Putin just doin’ what Putin does, which is to be expected, offering only half-hearted “of course he shouldn’t be doing it BUT WE’RE THE REAL PROBLEM HERE,” it turns into a pattern.

        2. Moreover, Sheldon doesn’t even hate nationalism. He just doesn’t like the Iraq war. I bet he doesn’t have a problem with other countries’ nationalism. I don’t recall him ever bitching about Mexican or Swiss nationalism.

          Even better he doesn’t have a problem with Iraqi nationalism. Or even worse pan-Arabic nationalism. As a lot of the ‘defenders of their homeland’ whose deaths at the hands of Kyle he so laments were in fact no Iraqi at all, but Arabs from other countries coming Iraq for adventurism and to defend Arab honor.

          Ultimately, Richman is a pathetic self loathing American fool.

          1. ” I understand the love of home, of family, of community, of neighbors, and of people with whom one has shared experiences and beliefs.”

            I think that would cover why he would give native Iraqi insurgents a pass.

            1. That just means Sheldon is confused. He just described nationalism or nationalism as he sees it.

              His problem is that he doesn’t like aggressive wars and considers Iraq to be such. That is not an irrational position, but it has nothing to do with nationalism.

              Richman admits that he has no problem with people killing to defend their own nations, though I doubt he would extend this privilege to Americans. Sheldon just doesn’t like it that the US went to Iraq and is not content with saying that. Sheldon can’t just say “I object to the war”, he has to convince himself and others that everyone associated with the war was somehow evil. So he makes the war about nationalism, calls nationalism evil and thus anyone associated with the war evil.

              The whole this is just pathetic.

              1. Nations are not the same as communities and families. They are a big order of magnitudes higher levels of collective abstraction. And, being so, are a bit more problematic for a philosophy based on devotion to individuality.

                1. a big order of magnitudes higher levels


                2. Any non-invidualist body — a community, even a family — runs against “devotion to individuality.” You’re just trying to rationalize reducing it to an absurdity.

            2. Which is a celebration of tribalism.

              And in this specific case is wrong. The Iraqi insurgency was most definitely not people defending their home, family and neighbors from an evil invader.

              It was a series of small tribes fighting to impose their own version of dictatorship on the larger, unwilling population.

              Sheldon, and you Bo, really owe an explanation of how the even which kicked off the insurgency, ie the bombing destruction of the Golden Mosque by a Tunisian terrorist was an act of self defense in the name of ‘the love of home, of family, of community, of neighbors, and of people with whom one has shared experiences and beliefs.’

              1. I doubt that event was or is behind most insurgents. Having US troops or the Shia militias they empowered boss your neighborhood around was probably the tipping factor for most Iraqi insurgents.

                1. More likely the tipping point was Bremmer’s stupid decision to disband the Iraqi Army and put a couple of hundred thousand armed men on the unemployment rolls when we could have had them working for us for about US20$ a month per soldier.

                  Peole gotta eat and there weren’t a lot of jobs and zero unemployment insurance in Iraq at that time. The forces wanting Iraq destablized put them on their payroll. and walla! instant insurgency.

                  1. The problem with not disbanding the army was that it was run entirely by Suni and was the major weapon Saddam used to oppress the Shia. Had the Army not been disbanded, the Shia would have very likely revolted. As bad as the Suni insurgency was, a Shia insurgency, because they are the large majority of the population, would have been much worse.

                    I don’t see how you could have kept the old army together without completely enraging the Shia. Maybe there was a way but I have never heard it.

                    1. We could have just cut off it’s head and purged the Bathist.

                      The rank and file could have been put to work directing traffic and maintaining order.

                2. IOW it’s America’s fault that Tunisian Wahhabi terrorist blew up a Shi’a shrine in Iraq.

                  That’s pathetic anti-Americanism. Ridiculous even by your standards, Bo.

                3. “I doubt that event was or is behind most insurgents. Having US troops or the Shia militias they empowered boss your neighborhood around was probably the tipping factor for most Iraqi insurgents.”

                  Yet they coordinated at level considerably higher than just “neighborhood.” If what you say is true, they wouldn’t have.

        3. He just doesn’t like the Iraq war.

          The Iraq War would not have happened without a nationalist “Yer either fer us or agin us” mentality by your tribe.

          1. Your tribe was in “your” tribe, fuckhead.

          2. Your team’s 2016 front runner write a book “It takes a Village” simultaneously advocating for children (young people) to be the property of the (nationalistic) collective whilst giving the collective the right to rob the citizenry of its belongs in an effort to realize the goal of raising/indoctrinating said children.

            She also voted “Yes” for the Iraq War.

          3. Bullshit. Attacking Iraq was supported by both republicans AND democrats. There were also dozens of other countries that supported the war to some extent. And, of course, there were the twelve UN resolutions against Hussein, many of which vowed retaliation. But let’s not allow facts to get in the way of PB’s narrative.

          4. Another nonsensical comment from a fetid piece of progressive shit.

      3. Nationalism isn’t necessarily evil. Saying nationalism is evil is sophomoric.

        1. do you have a point to make, or just name-calling?

          1. He just made it.

    2. The thing is, Tribalism and Nationalism are’t the same thing. A Tribe is a group of families, closely related. A Nation is a collection of Tribes that has learned to live together, usually with a certain amount of bloodshed along the way. Nationalism is a more sophisticated worldview than tribalism. In a sense, Racism is more sophisticated tha Tribalism, too. It takes a broader view of the world to despise a race, as distinct from “everybody who,isn’t from my valley/extended family”.

      Natinalism has some chance of working. Internationalism always seems to degenerate into twaddle.

      1. I doubt Richman sees internationalism as the better alternative. Why not individualism (or, at most, the identification with communities and families he describes)?

        1. And here is where I deviate from True Libertarianism. I think that if men are not government by a State of their own making, they will have one of another’s making imposed on them. I think that the vast majority of people are not strong enough, strong willed enough, and broadly skilled enough to live as autonomous individuals. I know I’m not. There is just so much that I simply do not want to be bothered with. Yes, government must be watched closely, and ours has, on many levels, grown out of all bounds. But government is like fire that way; a horrible threat when out of control, but life without it at all is going to be miserable under most circumstances.

          1. Shorter CSPS: Government is a necessary evil

            1. I won’t go so far as to say “evil”, except when I’m feeling cranky. It is, like most social forces, somethimg needed in moderation, which is harmful in excess.

              1. You forget that nearly a billion people have been assaulted, incarcerated, gulaged, mugged, murdered, slain and enslaved by, and in the name of, the state in the last couple of centuries.

                Not exactly a track record for which I would want to argue.

                1. You forget that nearly a billion people have been assaulted, incarcerated, gulaged, mugged, murdered, slain and enslaved by, and in the name of, the state in the last couple of centuries.

                  Still better than anarchy.

                  Blaming the horrors of communism and nazism on ‘the state’ is as retarded as blaming them on atheism btw.

                2. Last couple of centuries hell; that is largely what governments have done throughout history. But not having a State leads other States to move in to fill the void. And we in North America have a new model of State to try for.

          2. Im not sure you diverge from ‘true’ libertarianism so much as ‘any notion of’ libertarianism. Exalting the neccessity of the current state over the groveling & useless individual; you would find more in common with Hobbes than Mises, I would imagine.

          3. I think a lot of people here do not understand the difference between nationalism and statism. Statism is devotion to the government. Nationalism is devotion to your country. Chris Kyle was a nationalist and a patriot. I have no sense that he was ever a statist. People like Chris Kyle believe in our Nation’s ideals and principals. Not in any particular government official or regime.

    3. Well said, John.

    4. It’s important not to conflate nationalism with patriotism. The latter can dovetail with freedom just fine the former cannot.

    5. “This entire peace is nothing but a sad adolescent cry of why can’t life be fair and the way Sheldon wants it.” – Could not the same be said of your comment? You seem very upset that other people have different values from your own.

  3. In the spirit of Richman, have some Washington Post retard with your morning coffee. A Post local blogger wonders how it is that gun sales in Virginia are going up yet the crime rate continues to fall. The Fox Butterfield fallacy never gets old. Its always funny. That is, as they say, not all. There is also this. In the same article we get these two statements made within an inch of each other without irony.

    It’s anyone’s guess why crime has continually dropped. Theories include demographic shifts resulting in fewer of the younger, inner-city men who tend to be involved in violent crime.

    And this gem

    My view? Virginians are packing heat with gusto for the wrong reasons. They and their gun sellers are riding a wave of irrational fear that was vigorously promoted by socially conservative politicians in the 2010 and 2012 elections. As for Obama, any link between a desire for personal, deadly firepower and the election of the country’s first African American president raises some rather ugly questions.….._blog.html

    1. That is great. They’re buying more guns because their racist and scared of our Black President. Wow, just wow.

      1. From the same guy who thinks that the drop in crime might be because there are fewer young black men. So the people buying guns are racist not the guy who thinks crime increases the more young black men you have.

        1. Crime falling is due to many and mysterious reasons, a rise in gun sales could only be Racist Fear of a Black President!

          1. And that’s him blaming Republicans in 2010 and 2012 several paragraphs after he identified 2006 as the start of the increase in gun sales

          2. From my cold, dead racist hands!

        2. Maybe violence-oriented Americans are shipped off to third-world shitholes where they can embrace their proclivities. Then they come back and become cops.

      2. If, and I repeat IF the rednecks of Virginia were packing heat because that twit in the White House scared them, they would have managed to shoot the silly bastard by now.

        1. This provoked a giggle, because it reminded me of a bit of Mormon trivia:

          Orrin Porter Rockwell was Joseph Smith’s bodyguard. In 1838 he was accused of attempting to assassinate Gov. Boggs of Missouri. His defense? “I never shot at anybody, if I shoot they get shot!” and “He’s alive, ain’t he?”

    2. Curiously, this jackass failed to report whether African Americans have more or less propensity to purchase firearms than other racial/ethnic groups, and the trends in their purchases.

      I can’t find a time-series of gun ownership by race, but here’s a pertinent study by political party identification:…..-1993.aspx

      Republican gun ownership has pretty much held steady at around 55% of households.

      Democrats, on the other hand, have increased their ownership rates from 36% before Obama to 43% after Obama.

      Perhaps this does raise “some rather ugly questions” in some fevered minds. I rather doubt they are valid but, if they are, they apply only to Democrats.

      Curiously, the Gallup data differ significantly from the General Social Survey data on this topic. The GSC reports declining household ownership while Gallup reports flat or increasing ownership. Considering that firearms have an exception long usable live and that firearm sales are so robust, it would seem obvious that the GSC data are crap.

      1. I’ve always said progressives are inherently racist.

    3. How on earth is this “in the spirit of Richman”?

  4. I always viewed the United States as patriotic. Not nationalistic of the European (even Quebec kind).

    There’s a difference, to me anyway, between patriotism and nationalism.

    1. Yes. The US doesn’t have blood and soil nationalism the way Europe does. Nationalism is the Czechs expelling the Germans out of the Sudetenland. Nationalism is not Chris Kyle joining the SEALs because he wants to serve the country. That is patriotism.

      1. I know nationalism when I see it, and I just don’t see it in the USA. Sure, there are elements of it but wanting to export foreign policy ideals abroad, however misguided, doesn’t qualify as nationalist.

        Until I start seeing Yanks talking of blood and race, I’ll keep it at patriotism – despite what intellectual and political pieces seem to be positing; like Foreign Policy I linked to below.

        1. ” The US doesn’t have blood and soil nationalism ”

          Manifest Destiny?

        2. The Iraq war was not motivated by nationalism but rather a couple of other misguided ideologies, one the universalism of American values, which motivates a lot of people to find dragons around the world to slay and the fetish for democracy that moar democracy is the solution to all ills in America and the world.

          1. I don’t think Richman is saying the Iraq war was nationalistic but that certain defenses of it and it’s participants are.

          2. Yeah. If the Iraq war were motivated by nationalism, we would have annexed the place. As I say above, this entire article is nothing but a adolescent temper tantrum.

          3. The problem with democracy is you end up with a government that reflects the views of the people, and the views of the people in the middle east are not very good.

            It’s far more effective and cheaper to just prop up strong men that are friendly to the U.S. It may offend people’s delicate sensibilities, it may not sound noble, but it fucking works.

            Thats how the British maintained it’s Empire, and it took two expensive world wars to topple that.

            1. The problem with democracy is you end up with a government that reflects the views of the people, and the views of the people in the middle east are not very good.


              I’ve asked democracy uber alles believers is prisons should be run democratically. All but the insane say no that’s ridiculous.

              But I think that they get the point that a democracy or murderers, thugs and sociopaths isn’t going to produce utopia.

              1. But I think that they get the point that a democracy of murderers, thugs and sociopaths isn’t going to produce utopia.

                But they can produce New Jersey.

            2. Except that didn’t seem to work out either, because the strong man often stops obeying orders (see, Noriega, Hussein, etc).

            3. Bard Metal that is not fair to the American public. The average American voter doesn’t give a shit if we prop up some dictator to protect American interests. That doesn’t offend their sensibilities. It offends the sensibilities of our political, academic and media classes. It offends the sensibilities of dipshits like Richman, who refuse to understand sometimes the best option is the least bad option.

              We didn’t wage the wars we did in Iraq or Afghanistan because of Democracy. The public would have been content with a punitive expedition. We waged those wars because of the delicate sensibilities of our political class couldn’t tolerate that.

              The thing that is most annoying about this peace is that it pretends the Iraq war was about nationalism. It was about internationalism. The Iraq war was far and away the most Wilsonian war this country has ever waged. Had Bush been a nationalist rather than a Wilsonian, he would have carpet bombed Iraq until it agreed to prove it didn’t have WMDs and would abide by the ceasefire. Bush invaded and tried to create a democracy because he was at heart a Wilsonian internationalist not an American nationalist.

              1. And, on that note, the Iraqi constitution is a horrific nightmare compromise. Islam as the official state religion, no right to keep and bear arms recognized, etc.

                1. SRC,

                  That is because the Iraqis suck and are happy to have a shitty country. We are not going to change them or make the place into anything other than what the people who live there want it to be.

              2. “Bush invaded and tried to create a democracy because he was at heart a Wilsonian internationalist not an American nationalist.”

                Wait a minute, didn’t you support that war?

                1. Sure I did Bo. Sometimes internationalism has its place. If you want to call me an internationalist for supporting that war, I am guilty as charged. That being said, that doesn’t mean in other circumstances I don’t support internationalist ends or that I supported all of the internationalist ends of that war.

                  Regardless, that war was about the credibility of the UN, which is ironic since it didn’t want to enforce its own UNSC resolutions but the US did it for them and the idea that aggressive, oppressive and dangerous regimes needed to be transformed into benign ones for the sake of world order. The left only lied and pretended it was about oil or Bush being evil to hide the fact that it was done for reasons they have always claimed to support.

                  1. I’m just saying, you’re going on about the delicate sensibilities of internationalists and yet you happily joined that parade yourself in the biggest debacle of that type in recent history.

                    1. Just because they are right sometimes or I have agreed with them, doesn’t mean they are right about everything. The fact that I supported the Iraq doesn’t prevent me from observing the facts as they are or make our internationalists any different than they are.

            4. It’s far more effective and cheaper to just prop up strong men that are friendly to the U.S. It may offend people’s delicate sensibilities, it may not sound noble, but it fucking works.

              It’s far more effective to leave it alone entirely and let it drown in its own squallor.

              They’ve got NOTHING we need. You don’t attack people you have no interaction with, unless you are planning to conquer them. They have no force capable of conquering the US and even if they did, they couldn’t get it here.

              Involvement in the ME is a COMPLETE waste of time and resources.

            5. So we should engage in wars of aggression to replace democracies with totalitarian dictators to manufacture Pro-US cliemt states “because it fucking works”.
              Ill let lie the consequentialist argument, despite the fact that such policies demonstrably do not “fucking work”.
              Human rights supersede the convenience of any one nations foreign policy. We should not engage in murder to deny others self-government for fear of a disagreement. Such a policy is not the cunning real-politik you present it as, it is the very essence of fascism.
              I find it repulsive that you would come to this site, a place devoted to freedom, to vomit up such a fawning effection for political violence and oppression.

          4. The Iraw war was, I hope, motivated by a need to deal with unfinished business. Saddam had never come within shouting distance of meeting the terms of surrender of the Gulf War. That had to be addressed if we wanted our efforts elsewhere in the area taken seriously.

            Where we screwed up was in the sequel. Nation building is a fool’s exercise. But the public, bless their black hearts, wouldn’t have been happy with “clobber them and leave”.

            1. Without getting into the right/wrong of it, I agree. I think this was Bush’s thought process…

              He believed that inside every raghead was a muriken trying to get out. (Had he actually had any real military training other than how to fly fighters in the Guard, he’d have known that’s not the case.) He honestly believed that installing a democracy in the ME would show the rest of the theocracies in the region the splendors of free market capitalism. And since democracies never fight democracies, HE would be the messiah to finally bring peace to the ME.

              But where? Well, it would be easiest in a more secular country and we’ve got this Iraq situation that’s been going on for a decade. Iraq is fairly secular (by comparison)…hows bouts we kill two birds with one stone?

              That is what I believe the thought process to have been that got us into this mess. The false premise, IOW the failure of the plan, being, inside every raghead is a muriken trying to get out.

        3. Same here, it’s just not the same degree as European nationalism. Some of it is just a product of not being around for as long and being an immigrant nation independent of its former colonial masters. Of course Canada has its own weird problems with ‘nationalism’ and ‘patriotism’ mostly stemming from its historical place as a colony of the resident superpower and then a neighbour to the next one.

          If you think American ‘nationalism’ is silly, go to Poland and shit on Tadeusz Koscuiszko or the winged hussars. The response is not pretty.

  5. sNationalism Pacifism is a poison. It attacks the mind, short-circuits thinking, and makes self-destruction look appealing.

    Fixed if your ya, Sheldon.

    1. Nationalism Pacifism

    2. It is one thing to be a pacifist and will to martyr yourself in the face of evil. It is quite another thing to be a pacifist who actively tries to prevent or discourage others from fighting evil.

      The first is an act of incredible, if often and sadly pointless, self sacrifice. The second is to use pacifism as a rationalization for supporting evil.

    3. Fuckin’ Pacific Ocean, thinking they’re all cool and stuff…

  6. I think the important takeaway fromAmerican Sniper is the toll that being away from family, fear, and the actual killing take on a man is tremendous and, perhaps even, tragic. It’s supposed to make us ask “is it worth it?” I realize that many here will say “yes.”

    I also hate how the Pledge is essentially forced in schools and every high school JV volleyball game is such a source of national pride that the National Anthem needs to be played or sung. Why can’t we decide the best team in the NFL until we’ve witnessed a well-choreographed flyover by F-16s?

    1. Forcing people to say the pledge at schools is idiotic. What the hell is the point? Saying it isn’t going to make people who are not otherwise patriotic become so. It is a waste of time and sometimes offends people’s sensibilities to accomplish nothing. They shouldn’t do it.

      As far as the national anthem, there isn’t a law that says you have to do it every time. People just like it that way. Same with the F16s. That is the NFL’s business. They are the business of selling football and have decided F16s flying over helps them do that. Who are we to say they are wrong or shouldn’t do it?

      1. Maybe it’s the fiscally-conservative libertarian part of me that thinks it’s just a big waste of money to fuel up fighter jets every day for a week and have some of our most talented pilots spend all those hours coordinating their arrival with the fireworks and a bunch people waving ribbons on sticks dressed in brightly-colored outfits.

        Don’t get me wrong. The military, in my opinion, is the single most important service that the federal government provides. We need a military. I just don’t understand how that gets conflated with faux patriotism.

        1. It is marketing and recruiting for the air force. It definitely might be a waste of money, depending how you look at it. On the other hand, the taxpayers payed for the damn things, maybe they like to see them fly once in a while?

          1. And the pilots have to maintain a certain amount of air time as a part of their never ending training.

            What’s wrong with letting hoi polloi see those planes their tax dolllars pay for.

            Also for those of us who only read about the bombings going on around the world if gives one a closer peek at the immense firepower and destructive capabilities of a modern warplane. For me it brings in focus a higher level of empathy for those on the receiving end of those bombs.

      2. Same with the F16s. That is the NFL’s business. They are the business of selling football and have decided F16s flying over helps them do that. Who are we to say they are wrong or shouldn’t do it?

        I’m the guy who was held at gun point to pay for those planes, their fuel and their pilots training that’s being used to ‘sell football’. That’s who the fuck I am.

        1. Then you bitch is with the Air Force, not the NFL. And if your bitch is with them, why is advertising and public relations always a waste of money? That is all that is. Moreover, you are not the only person who pays for them, every other taxpayer does too. If they like seeing some of their money used so they can see what they paid for, who are you to tell them they are wrong? Do you get a single veto on how every dollar is spent because you are just that special?

          1. Then you bitch is with the Air Force, not the NFL.

            By definition, those f16s are not the NFLs business, John. Lot’s of tax payer funding would help lots of people sell lots of things. But I as a tax payer, have grounds to tell them not to do it.

            And if your bitch is with them, why is advertising and public relations always a waste of money?

            ? Did they get tax dollars for those things? If not then what the fuck are you blathering about?

            Moreover, you are not the only person who pays for them, every other taxpayer does too. If they like seeing some of their money used so they can see what they paid for, who are you to tell them they are wrong?

            Because I was forced to pay. Their consent isn’t my consent to crime.Again, I’m the fucking guy who was extorted and robbed, that’s who I am to tell them they’re wrong.

            Do you get a single veto on how every dollar is spent because you are just that special?

            I dare say that the NFL’s discretionary use of the defense budget isn’t supported by their special little vote either. Your logic on taxation is not existent and you’d know that if you pulled the state’s cock from your mouth.

            1. Did they get tax dollars for those things?

              Yes they do. Unless you want to bring back the draft, you can’t have an air force unless people volunteer to join it. You can’t get people do to that or at least the best people without some form of advertising and public relations. Advertising and public relations is not an illegitimate expense for the Air Force as long as their isn’t a draft.

              Because I was forced to pay. Their consent isn’t my consent to crime.Again, I’m the fucking guy who was extorted and robbed, that’s who I am to tell them they’re wrong.

              So where they. And you can’t have a government without some kind of taxation to pay for it. If you think all taxes are evil and wrong, then you by extension think all government is evil and wrong and are an anarchist. Your right to be such, but you problem isn’t with F16s being flown over NFL games, your problem is with there being a government at all. It doesn’t really matter what they use the money for since it is all illegitimate theft anyway.

              I dare say that the NFL’s discretionary use of the defense budget isn’t supported by their special little vote either.

              Nothing is. We have a representative democratic republic, not a crude popular democracy. So the fact that we didn’t vote on that expense doesn’t make it any worse than any other form of government spending.

            2. FS, you are right. The NFL etc should pay for those flyovers. Cost ~ $450k. They can afford it. Same with MLB, golf, etc. Or maybe the NFL should sell the rights to the flyovers: “AF flyover brought to you by Drones R Us”

              1. BigT,

                I don’t disagree with you. That, however, makes it bad policy, of which there are a lot.

        2. The flybys actually count as training, pilots need to maintain a certain amount of flying time to remain qualified. In short, they are going to be in the air anyway, doing a little recruitment advert at ball game is hitting two birds with one stone.

    2. “Why can’t we decide the best team in the NFL until we’ve witnessed a well-choreographed flyover by F-16s?”

      But that’s A-OK patriotism, the US doesn’t have nationalism!

  7. Orwell’s notes on nationalism:…..lish/e_nat

    Foreign policy:…..tionalism/

  8. Another person blaming an -ism for what is in fact human nature. Human beings happily killed each other long before the first government was ever instituted, let alone before the first idea of a “nation” ever came to someone. Thomas Hobbes was wrong about a lot of things, but he wasn’t wrong that life for man in nature was nasty, brutish, and short.

    1. There isn’t a lot of nationalism going on in a place like Central Africa. Yet, it is still one of the most violent places on earth.

      We know from the archeological record that per-civilization man lived a very short violent life. Sheldon believes in this fairy tale that man invented civilization so leaders could convince people to kill each other. The reality is people invented civilization as a way to make the world more peaceful and less violent by using mutual defense to deter enemies and give them a chance to have at least a little peace.

      1. Ironically, civilization has also resulted in mass slaughter on a scale that primitive man could never imagine.

        1. How primitive?

          The Mongols were pretty primitive and could imagine levels of destruction that even Hitler would recoil from.

        2. Yes and no. In absolute numbers for sure. But that is because there are more people now, thanks to civilization. In percentages, not at all. Primitive man committed genocide in many cases.

          1. Primitive man committed genocide in many cases.

            Perhaps genocide was one of the first acts of civilization.

    2. The funny thing about blaming an -ism for a problem is that people tend to respond to it by creating a new -ism.

      The Europeans have responding to nationalism by creating a sort of internationalism like the EU.

      By the the way how come nobody blames wars on internationalism? Maybe thats why the United States gets stuck with the role of playing world police, and pursuing ridiculous Wilsonian goals in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.

      A more nationalistic foreign policy might result in shorter conflicts. It’s in America’s interest to blow up its enemies, but not to pursue this Wilsonian internationalist bullshit of rebuilding nations into democracies, which never seems to work out for us.

      1. By the the way how come nobody blames wars on internationalism?

        Bingo. It is not the right wing nationalists who are always wanting to go to war. It is the internationalists on both sides who do. They are the ones who see every tinpot dictator as another Hitler and every crisis as another Munich. Internationalism turns every regional crisis into a world one and by committing the US to alliances turn every act of aggression into an attack on US credibility.

        1. It’s domino theories all the way down.

    3. Machiavelli said this before Hobbes in ‘The Prince’ where the essential basis for his book was that humans were ‘wretched creatures’.

      1. They will no longer be supplying sand at the local transfer station because some wretched creatures took more than the allowed two buckets per storm (some actually filling the back of their trucks and then selling the stuff), threatening violence on the attendants who pointed out the two bucket limit.

  9. Alrighty then.

    I’m going to put on some Consolidated and listen to it ironically every time a Richman article comes up.

  10. So, without nationalism, what, exactly, is the reason to limit the use of the US military to protect the lives of Americans, but not of Kurds?

    1. Pragmatism? Consequentialism? Constitutionalism?

  11. I’m off to do some kayaking, you Stooopid mammals keep it sticky while I’m gone.

  12. I still haven’t figured out how killing goat farmers in Afghanistan keeps me and my family free. Seems as if this whole War on Terrorism is having the opposite effect.

    1. Goats can be mean as fuck. Just sayin’.

    2. If it were only goat farmers, you would have a point. The Taliban allowed people to freely operate in their country and attack us on 911. They have as far as I have ever seen never agreed to not do that again if they ever take over the country again. If the Taliban doesn’t like us killing them, why don’t they agree to make sure no one uses Afghanistan as a base to attack us again?

      You could argue that a punitive expedition to Afghanistan, rather than trying to install our own democracy would have been the better thing to do. I am sympathetic to that argument. Even if we had done that, the calculus would have been the same, “we will stop killing you when you give up and stop letting people use your land as a base to try and kill us”.

      1. It would be different if the people who would attack us followed some central authority with which we could negotiate. But they don’t. I don’t know the solution, but I fail to see how killing goat farmers is it.

        1. You are right. There are a lot of different smaller solutions. We shouldn’t be above paying some of these assholes off to kill others we can’t pay off. We shouldn’t be above just instilling enough fear in some of them, they decide other targets might be better.

          What we never should have done was try and put a new government into Afghanistan. You can’t make people for a nation or a government if they don’t want to. And the Afghans have no desire for anything like what we would consider a central government.

          1. If you look at a map of South Central Asia you can see why we are still in Afganistan a decade after we punished the Taliban for their part of 9/11.

            The geopolitical thinkers have for decades have wanted a pipeline to bring the oil from the Caspian Sea and the ‘stan countries out to the west without having to give up control of that oil to Russia, China, or Iran. Afganistan lies directly on that route.

            * looks around and futrively dons tin foil hat*

            And that desire for a pipeline controlled by the west could possibly even play a part in why 9/11 happened, or was allowed to happen.

            *quickly removes tin foil hat and hides it*

            Like John said most of us would have been satisfied if we had just blown up the Taliban and left. mMany of us would be happy if we just left right now. But those who want that pipleline know that the moment we move out the Taliban will move right back in. The Taliban aren’t going to play along with the wests control of a pipeline throught their country. Iran, Russia, China, and other Islamists don’t want the pipeline either. Who funds the Taliban or allows them to move herion out to the world’s heroin market? Where do they get their arms ?

            A democratic Afghanistan is the marketing campaign for the war, not the reason for it.

            1. This is bullshit. You have no proof.

              1. And what proof do you have that it is bullshit ?

                There is actually quite a lot of proof that there are those who want that pipeline. Google it and educate yourself.

                Maybe you should try to raise your consiousness level beyond,

                Send in the US Marines!

                Especially so since you’re a Canadian. Sned in your own Marines and money.

    3. I still haven’t figured out how killing goat farmers in Afghanistan keeps me and my family free. Seems as if this whole War on Terrorism is having the opposite effect.

      Seems like you haven’t figured much out if you think that America is just killing goat farmers in Afghanistan, but that’s no surprise. You’re marinated in wanton ignorance and mendacity.

  13. Do we hate them because we fear them, or do we fear them because we hate them?

    I can never remember.

    1. You don’t have to do anything Brooks except understand that the rest of the world really doesn’t give a fuck about you or what you think. So therefore it doesn’t matter whether you fear them or hate them or love them. They are going to do what they are going to do for their own reasons. And that often won’t end very well for you if they get their way.

      It is really that simple. Stop pretending the world fucking cares and wouldn’t exterminate you and everyone you know if they felt the need to.

      1. “Stop pretending the world fucking cares and wouldn’t exterminate you and everyone you know if they felt the need to.”

        That’s a bit heavy. Like the time Troy McClure told Timmy cows would kill his family if they had the chance.

        1. It is only heavy because you can get lucky. It just depends on where you are and who you happen to run into. If you live in a place like Nigeria or Syria right now that statement is reality. It is just not reality here because we have this big nice safe country around us. There is nothing to say that will last forever or that it can’t happen to us too if we have enough bad luck or let it happen.

          1. But he does live where he lives. And so do you. And me. So why should we live with a paranoia or concern that is unwarranted to our experience?

    2. They hate us for our freedoms.

      1. I’m hoping that is sarcastic because that is hogwash. They hate us because we are an occupying force in their country, have engaged in regime change, assassinations, sanctions, and all that fun stuff. Just read Osama bin Laden’s 2002 letter to America.

        1. They hate us because we are infidels. Not because of our ‘freedom’, not because we’ve responded to endless Islamic expansionism again.

          We are the Dar al-Harb. The Dar al-Islam cannot be while we exist. We arenow, and always have been, a threat to the ummah.

  14. I’m off to do some kayaking

    Don’t talk to any strange salamanders.

    1. Yeah, I read through a whole raft of articles about l’affair Williams the other day. The helicopter shootdown incident story changing at multiple points like the 2007 Fairfield appearance, the Katrina dead body floating along in the largely-dry French Quarter and supposed dysentery, the aforementioned puppies…

      It’s great because the guy’s profession is literally “talking head” so this shit is all recorded, people just have to dig it up. Schadenfreudelicious.

      If I were making the hiring decisions at NBC I’d replace him with Max Headroom.

      1. I just love how these stories happen on the MSM side (ie liberal media) more than it does on Faux News.

        1. I like the terms legacy media or lamestream media myself. The constant refrain of “but it’s OK when we do it” moral relativist nonsense among leftists makes it more likely, I think.

          I feel the need to point out that moral breaches are not unique to one side, but, for example, the reaction of contrition and asking for forgiveness (even when that is of questionable sincerity) is a very different one that the outright assertion that the rules are different because of X Y and Z racial/religious/gender/class/etc. identity politics statuses.

          1. I agree about moral breaches.

            But it’s hard to deny how they spin it. I mean, I’ve spoken to progs who think I lie whenever I bring up Rather and plagiarism from Biden to the examples from WaPo and NYT whenever they blindly invoke ‘Faux News’.

            1. Yeah, same with the years and years now of “Buh-buh-buh-but Buuuuuuush!” blubbering. My response is that two wrongs don’t make a right, but that’s wasted air on people who already believe that what is wrong and right varies based on aforementioned identity politics statuses.

              On a sadly related note, I used to be able to link Reason articles to people in the past and while they might not agree, they’d at least read them. Now I find that they’re often dismissed out of hand (“Kochtopus!”) by people whose news intake is 80% Soros-funded, because that’s like, totally different, man.

              1. I think how Rand Paul is being (mis) characterized has something to do with it too.

                Until they stop equating ‘libertarianism’ with ‘militia’ or ‘extremism’ expect more of the same.

                1. Well, I’m an extremist in the defense of liberty, a radical for capitalism, and I am friends and go out shooting with people in local militias. So they got me there.

                  The issue is the narrative framing attempt to pretend that their own far-left ideology is “rationally moderate” or “centrist” and attempting to pretend that people like Milquetoast Mitt the Republican socialist from Massachusetts and others of his ilk who support massive welfare states as “the most extreme Republicans EVER!”

                  1. I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!

                    1. What a downgrade John McCain is from Barry Goldwater. Even nowadays Goldwater would do a much better job in that Senate seat.

                    2. What a downgrade John McCain anyone is from Barry Goldwater.

                    3. What a downgrade John McCain is from anyone.

              2. We might as well get down to business soon, and thin the prog heard. one way or another.

    2. Williams asserts about Katrina that people ‘were killed by the botched response’.

      Has this ever been established as fact?

    3. There I was, in Mos Eisely telling the stormtroopers that these were not the droids they were looking for. – Brian Williams

  15. Stop pretending the world fucking cares and wouldn’t exterminate you and everyone you know if they felt the need to.

    What a pathetic, tiny, constricted little mind you have.

    1. Yeah Brooks, Everyone loves you. There is no one out there you wouldn’t want to meet. I suppose I should be happy that we are fortunate enough to live in a big enough and safe enough country to allow people as delusional as you to live and thrive. Your existence is a sign of how good we have it, as annoying and appealingly stupid as you are.

      1. What? Maybe you’re being a bit paranoid there, John. Sheesh.

        1. Shut up! He’s got the straw man on the ropes!

      2. What John are you suggesting that everyone around the world isn’t some NPR listening liberal, driving around in their Prius with the Coexist bumper sticker on?

  16. Who’s gonna pick the cotton if we abolish slavery?

    Human nature CAN be changed.

    1. No it can’t. Specific human evils can be ended. But human nature never changes. The circumstances just change.

      1. If it couldn’t be changed we wouldn’t have free markets. The entire concept of free markets is counter intuitive when you live in a might makes right society which most of human civlization lived under, no?

      2. But human nature never changes. The circumstances just change.

        Slavery was once considered a facet of human nature. State worshipers making claims like yours are proved wrong so monumentally that your talk of human nature is meaningless.

        1. Human nature didn’t change, technology changed and slavery was no longer as essential. This allowed people to let their reason and better judgement prevail and end slavery. Put the world back to some pre industrial state, and we will go right back to enslaving each other. Indeed, slavery still exists in some places today. You and I are only appalled by it because we were raised in a culture and in a morality that abhors it. Change that culture and we likely wouldn’t have a problem with it.

          1. You and I are only appalled by it because we were raised in a culture and in a morality that abhors it. Change that culture and we likely wouldn’t have a problem with it.

            Same could be said for statism, except people with an emotional attachment or mental impairment dependent on the state, will claim we can’t be rid of it “because human nature”.

            1. People have an attachment to the state because they view the alternative of a stateless society as being worse. The biggest fear people had though most of history was of civil disorder and unrest. This was not an irrational fear. We have just gotten so wealthy and used to stability that we have forgotten how horrible instability is. In the past people were one bad harvest away from starvation and one nomadic invasion or bad King who caused a civil war away from complete ruin. Those people were very attached to the state.

              One of the biggest myths is that central governments were created by elites to oppress people. No. Strong central governments were demanded by the people to keep the local elites from oppressing them. Before the emergence of strong central governments various local thugs known as aristocrats spent their time waging war and preying on each others’ populations and there was no one there to stop them. Contrast life in say France the Pax Romana with the that big evil central government with life after Rome. I will take the Pax Romana any day.

              1. Those aristocrats and their thugs were government. Just a different form.

          2. technology changed and slavery was no longer as essential.

            Wait a minute. Are you suggesting that slavery may have ended without killing 600,000 Americans?

            1. Eventually it would have.

            2. Just because it wasn’t essential, doesn’t mean it wasn’t desirable for some people. Indeed, it still exists today in some places.

            3. Yes. If the Confederacy had just stood down, no Civil War.

              1. And once again Cyto misses the point.

                1. Was your point that all of slavery would have ended because of technological change? Because that’s wrong. Many kept slaves for cultural reasons, and the invention of the cotton gin meant made slavery an economic plus again.

        2. I wouldn’t call John a “state worshiper”. I don’t think he appreciates the give-the-state-an-inch-it’ll-take-a-mile argument.

          1. I appreciate it. It is just that there is nothing you can do. Having a state at all gives it an inch. So the choices are try to keep it from taking a mile or be an anarchist and argue that it shouldn’t be created at all.

            1. Yep. I prefer the ever shrinking state strategy. Which is why I don’t dislike conservatives or libertarians. When we have a shred left and they are arguing that we need to keep it, then we may have a fight. For now, let’s pare the beast down.

      3. But human nature never changes.

        “Human nature” is some combination of genes and memes. The genes can’t be changed (although that may change soon), but the memes can be changed. Slavery is an example of the latter, tribalism (racism, whatever) is partly genetic, part memetic (as far as I can tell). So tribalism ain’t going away completely.

      4. human nature never changes

        This is obviously wrong. Society is much improved over the last several decades. Public hangings aren’t attended anymore. Soviet Communism ‘changed’ people fundamentally for the worse. This is just more conservative ‘it’s fixed in stone’ BS.

  17. If you want to pass over the bridge you must first pay the troll Sheldon.

    1. Gotta pay the troll toll to get into this boys hole.

  18. Someone suggested the most likely answer to me: Sheldon saw Noam Chomsky doing this gig, saw how much money and trim it was giving him, then decided to start a cover band. Not as successful as the original, but it gets him a few gigs.

    I think you could write some random SR text generation software, much in the manner of Thomas Friedman.

    1. Somehow I don’t see Noam Chomsky getting laid. Ever (Thank God.). Though he is entertaining if you put him in a comic strip with a Dogbert like dog.

  19. “The nation (country) cannot be imagined without the state.”

    A state is often based on a nation, but a nation exists with or without the state base on it. For instance, the Irish nation existed despite being subsumed into the British Empire.

    “It makes the title warrior an honorific instead of the pejorative it ought to be.”

    If “warrior” is a pejorative then Richman would not utilize violence to defend himself, his family, friends? The ways of the warrior are tools, it is regrettable that these tools are necessary. It is regrettable that locks on doors are necessary but that is no reason to hate them.

    In all, it seems Richman is having a hissy fit from a lot of people here disagreeing with his premises on this subject.

    1. “The simplest form of moral behavior occurs when a man or other animal fights for his own survival. Do not belittle such behavior as being merely selfish. Of course it is selfish. But selfishness is the bedrock on which all moral behavior starts and it can be immoral only when it conflicts with a higher moral imperative. An animal so poor in spirit that he won’t even fight on his own behalf is already an evolutionary dead end; the best he can do for his breed is to crawl off and die, and not pass on his defective genes.

      The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for your own immediate family. This is the level at which six pounds of mother cat can be so fierce that she’ll drive off a police dog. It is the level at which a father takes a moonlighting job to keep his kids in college ? and the level at which a mother or father dives into a flood to save a drowning child, and it is still moral behavior even when it fails. –

      1. The next higher level is to work, fight, and sometimes die for a group larger that the unit family ? an extended family, a herd, a tribe ? and take another look at that baboon on watch; he’s at that moral level. I don’t think baboon language is complex enough to permit them to discuss such abstract notions as “morality” or “duty” or “loyalty” ? but it is evident that baboons DO operate morally and DO exhibit the traits of duty and loyalty; we see them in action. Call it “instinct” if you like ? but remember that assigning a name to a phenomenon does not explain it.

        The next level in moral behavior higher than that exhibited by the baboon is that in which duty and loyalty are shown toward a group of your kind too large for an individual to know all of them. We have a name for that. It is called “patriotism.”

        – Heinlein

    2. “The nation (country) cannot be imagined without the state.”

      The statement is also problematic when applied to Italy between 476 A.D. and 1871; particularly during the Renaissance with warring City-States including the Venetian Empire.

      1. Make that Venetian and Genoese empires; given how much the two hated each other.

      2. Those were states. They were just small ones. What drove their destruction and fusion into larger states was people’s dissatisfaction with the expense and hardship associated with their constant petty wars.

        Germany and Italy were both much more peaceful places after they unified than they were before under various small states. That unification also created tremendous economic grown by eliminating trade barriers. Before unification, you couldn’t get down the Rhine without paying every local thug with enough money to build a castle and put up a chain across the river. After unification, all those barriers went away and trade exploded.

        The is the flip side of centralized government that people like to forget, centralized market. Imagine how much poorer the US would be without the interstate commerce clause and where all fifty states were free to create their own markets to benefit their cronies and fuck outsiders.

        1. I think the interstate commerce clause would be a better example if the original meaning hadn’t been so perverted into it’s current form.

          1. Of course it would. But that is the positive commerce clause. The negative aspect of it hasn’t been perverted and has created enormous wealth. As bad as it is having an out of control federal government, it would be even worse if the states were allowed to destroy the national market.

        2. “Those were states.”

          Yes, but they were not necessarily nations. A state can be based on a nation, but it does not have to be.

          1. It is kind of semantics. Is Venice not a Nation? I don’t know why not. Venice had a military, colonies, a foreign policy. What else do you need to be a nation?

            1. A beer, maybe some nuclear weapons?

            2. So did Genoa and Florence yet few would claim they were or are ‘nations’.

              The interesting thing about not consolidating power (which is what you’re referring to I reckon) in the case of Italy, is if they amalgamated their armed forces, they had a bigger army (and wealth) than most nations in Europe including France.

              1. And shared government, for the most part.

            3. A ‘Nation’ in this context means all of a group of people that share a common language and culture. A ‘State’ means a government that exercises sovereign control over a geographic are. Sovereign control means that there is no higher power with a monopoly of legitimate violence.

              So Venice, while Italian was not a ‘nation-state’ but rather a multi national empire, as it’s empire controlled a number of areas that were not populated by Italians.

              1. And most Italians (the nation) were never under the control of the Venetian state.

            4. A nation is a cultural affiliation. I’m not sure if Venetians considers themselves a distinctly separate cultural entity than the rest of Italy.

              1. “not sure if Venetians considers themselves a distinctly separate cultural entity than the rest of Italy.”

                Don’t they all? By that I mean the Basques, Catalans, and to a lesser extent Galicians in Spain, Brettones in France and of course the area known as ‘Alt’Italia’ (Northern Italy) and all the places that make it up expressed under the banner of the Lombard League.

              2. there are a number of ways in which the word nation is used, apart from simple cultural affiliation.

            5. A Nation is defined by language, culture, and common interests.

              A State is defined by borders.

              Afghanistan is not a Nation. It is a State containing many Nations.

              1. FLUELLEN
                Captain Macmorris, I think, look you, under your correction, there is not many of your nation?

                Of my nation? What ish my nation? Ish a villain and a basterd and a knave and a rascal. What ish my nation? Who talks of my nation?

                Look you, if you take the matter otherwise than is meant, Captain Macmorris, peradventure I shall think you do not use me with that affability as, in discretion, you ought to use me, look you, being as good a man as yourself, both in the disciplines of war and in the derivation of my birth and in other particularities.

                I do not know you so good a man as myself. So Chrish save me, I will cut off your head.

                Gentlemen both, you will mistake each other.

            6. A nation is a people with commonalities. Think Sioux Nation. A state is a government. The nation state is a state large enough to encompass a people.

        3. True and in the case of Italy less vulnerable (to the extent it could be for a country like Italy) foreign invasion and the need to forge alliances with European powers against other Italian states. Germany was never really a playground for European powers.

          Part of the reason is many great powers wanted Italy as a ‘trophy wife’.

          1. Germany was never really a playground for European powers.

            Oh yes it was. Prussia basically just Western Poland. The reason why it developed just a martial tradition is because it spent most of the 15th and 16th and 17th Centuries getting its ass kicked by Austria, Sweden, and Russia. And France from Louis XIV through Napoleon constantly preyed on the Rhineland and tried to subjugate it as a neutral buffer zone against the Austrians.

            The German paranoia in the 20th Century didn’t come out of nowhere.

            1. I was going to say. The Seven Years War alone shows that a lot of “playing” occurred in what is not Germany.

              1. And the 30 years war, Charlemagne, Gustavus Adolphus, Napoleaon.

            2. It was always a martial state, it was a direct evolution of the crusading Teutonic Knights order.

            3. Yes but I should have made clearer Germany was not occupied and invaded to the extent Italy was. I could be wrong of course but that’s always been my take on things.

              The ‘barbarian’ Germanic hordes, the endless tribes from Celts to Normans, Arabs to the south, Austria-Hungary, Spain, France and later Germany in WW11 etc..

              1. WW11 ha!


                1. Always found interesting the trajectory of Britain and France took and the one Germany and Italy ended up on.

                  Like that old adage we here about the decisions you take now affect you later.

                2. I missed out serving in WW 6, but I did some time in during WW 7!

              2. Maybe not to the same extent but Prussian nationalism was to a large extent a reaction to the depredations of the Thirty Years War while Bismarck to some extent was reacting to the Napoleonic invasions

          2. Germany was never really a playground for European powers.

            During the Holy Roman Empire period it sure as hell was. The Reformation didn’t help, that’s when you start getting weird scenarios like Catholic France backing up German Protestants to piss off the Austrians.

            1. Yeah, it’s unforgivable to have overlooked this on my part. Especially given how interesting that period was.

              My bad.

  20. Nationalism is a poison.

    Then why, pray tell, is your webpage chock full of images of the Palestinian flag and frothing-at-the-mouth support for Palestinian irredentism, Richman?

    1. Because he’s obviously a hypocritical troll?

      1. Or he’s such a true believer that he can hold “2 plus 2 equals 5” in his head without the pains of cognitive dissonance?

        I’m split either way here.

        1. Something with him certainly does not add up correctly.

    2. Because he is a typical western civilization hating jackass leftist who wouldn’t choose to live anywhere else except an advanced western nation.

      1. And that’s what it boils down to, doesn’t it? Richman is able to adopt the affectation of full-throated support of those who would without a second thought slit his throat from ear to ear, merely due to the fact of his Jewish ethnic heritage, because he has the luxury of living 5,000 miles away from these same throat-slitters.

        I can’t imagine a more infantile and narcissistic mindset than that of Richman’s. Now, I’m aware of the historical ties between the Reason Foundation and Richman’s Future of Freedom Foundation, but Reason embarrasses itself every damn time they allow Richman to ascend their soapbox and take a rhetorical shit. I mean, Gillespie had no problem exiling Harsanyi, but he sees it fit to keep Richman? I suggest the board of the Reason Foundation sit down with Gillespie for a long and deep discussion about the current direction their editorial policies have taken.

        1. I understand Gillespie’s thinking. He wants to make sure that Reason isn’t thrown in with the rest of the right and wants to highlight Reason’s differences with the GOP in particular on foreign policy.

          The problem is that associating yourself with idiots like Richman who do things like apologize for Putin and cheer Hammas is no way to do that. Reason should want to distance itself from those clowns too.

          Reason has published plenty of articles against intervention and in favor of a less aggressive and more isolationist foreign policy. I don’t see why it has to associate itself with people like Richman. It needs to be principled. You don’t voice your objections to US policy by hiring people who defend even worse behavior by other nations.

        2. Hmm, now that you remind me, I just realized I hadn’t seen Harsanyi for a while.

        3. Richman has a FOUNDATION?!?! You can raise money for anything apparently. Reason won’t get mine as long as they run Richman’s retarded articles.

        4. They need to shitcan Ira Stoll while they’re at it.

        5. “more infantile and narcissistic mindset”

          O’Bumbles says hello.

    3. Hahaha, thanks very much for pointing this out, HM. Raising this orange juice in a toast to you.

    4. No kidding. I came here to post something to this effect.

    5. Because Richman fundamentally lacks self-awareness?

    6. Then why, pray tell, is your webpage chock full of images of the Palestinian flag and frothing-at-the-mouth support for Palestinian irredentism, Richman?

      Jesus, Richman, I was joking about you becoming an Al Qaeda spokesman…

    7. Sheldon Richman is essentially evil. So he supports evil things. It’s the same with all progressives.

  21. By “nationalism” I mean first of all the habit of assuming that human beings can be classified like insects and that whole blocks of millions or tens of millions of people can be confidently labelled “good” or “bad.” But secondly — and this is much more important — I mean the habit of identifying oneself with a single nation or other unit, placing it beyond good and evil and recognizing no other duty than that of advancing its interests. Nationalism is not to be confused with patriotism. Both words are normally used in so vague a way that any definition is liable to be challenged, but one must draw a distinction between them, since two different and even opposing ideas are involved. By “patriotism” I mean devotion to a particular place and a particular way of life, which one believes to be the best in the world but has no wish to force on other people. Patriotism is of its nature defensive, both militarily and culturally. Nationalism, on the other hand, is inseparable from the desire for power. The abiding purpose of every nationalist is to secure more power and more prestige, not for himself but for the nation or other unit in which he has chosen to sink his own individuality.
    – George Orwell

    1. Thanks for noting the important distinction. Would love to see a response from Richman.

  22. “The reason for the venom directed at those of us who question American sniper Chris Kyle’s status as a hero can be put into one word: nationalism.”

    Now, that’s just being a whiny kid. “My detractors are all unthinking robots!” Convenient for the ego, I guess.

    There are those who started savaging Chris Kyle because they hated the unambiguous themes of the movie, and had a general animus against Clint Eastwood and his politics, not because of any noble sense of “truth,” and it’s not “nationalism” which drives one to point it out. “Chris Kyle was no hero! Therefore this movie and anything it had to say is WRONG! WRONG!! Clint Eastwood is just an angry old white dude!”

    1. As has been pointed out by everyone on this board who has actually seen the movie, American Sniper is not some mindless pro war go kill the bad guys movie. And it was initially well received as being just that. It didn’t become another battleground in the culture war until after assholes like Richman and Matt Tiabbi had a fit because it wasn’t sufficiently anti-American or overtly political enough for them.

      Given that, it is now a bit rich for Richman to whine and moan about people attacking his position. No one made him take it.

      1. I can’t even read the name “Matt Taibbi” without the bile gurgling up in my throat. Human garbage, and unrepentant at that.

        Never encountered Richman before now, but he has all the reasoning skills of a 15-year-old.

      2. it was initially well received as being just that. It didn’t become another battleground in the culture war until after assholes like Richman and Matt Tiabbi had a fit because it wasn’t sufficiently anti-American or overtly political enough for them.

        Which is weird because The Hurt Locker, which is a great film and better than the totally respectable American Sniper, didn’t get this crap. I guess the peacenazis are getting insecure because people aren’t in lockstep with their dogma but are less so, and we get vitriol.

      3. In the military you follow orders. I hated Reagan, but my dislike of him was not a factor in the equation, except for my decision to not reenlist.

      4. If Richman had an ounce of conviction, he would move to some socialist paradise like Venezuela. Or a war torn shit hole like the Palestinian territory. Instead, he prefers to sit comfortably in the country he hates, oh so much.

        Such is the way of all progressive kind.

  23. Nationalism is religion in another form. We can debate its merits and utility, but it’s only as useful as any other mass lie, and it’s depressing to think that human beings need such a thing.

    1. It’s not a lie that I share a common culture, language, history, etc with a group of people.

      1. Without entering into the question of whether or not they are lies, there’s a pretty solid scholarship on the way enlightenment leaders fashioned nationalism to replace religion.

  24. “It’s no accident that governments never fail to call on their flocks to “love their country,” by which they mean: be willing to make any sacrifice on its behalf, with “sacrifice” defined by politicians.”

    This piece made me start thinking, perhaps this psychology is the reason they ( military men & women) tolerate abuse from the very govt they serve.

  25. “those of us who question American sniper Chris Kyle’s status as a hero”

    I don’t think anyone demanded that Richman call Chris Kyle a “hero”. And I’d like to see a single citation of people who did. If there was, it was entirely atypical of the criticism he DID recieve by the bucketload.

    Its a sign of Sheldon Richman’s intellectual dishonesty that he needs to revise history here, and pretend that his ‘critics’ were all RAH RAH ‘MURICA-Flag-Wavers, instead of Libertarians who were disgusted by his specific comparison of a dead US veteran to “Adam Lanza” – an insane mass murderer of children.

    If people were upset, it was because statements like that make libertarians look like frothing 9-11-truther morons. It was baseless, idiotic hyperbole that provided zero actual insight into any issues about American policy, and simply jumped on a left-wing parade of beating a man’s corpse like a Moral Narcissism Pinata.

    People weren’t upset because they were themselves overly ‘nationalistic’ =

    they were upset because Sheldon Richman discredits the *legitimate* criticisms actual libertarians make of US policy, and he destroys our credibility with people who will see Godwin-esque language like that, and dismiss all libertarians as part of a lunatic fringe

    1. What Richman tends to completely ignore in his columns is his own behaviour. Right after he writes a column about how libertarians can just be self-congratulatory, he writes some pointless, self-congratulating moral preening. And it’s not like he couldn’t have made his argument without that. Guess what, it’s not actually that hard to argue that Chris Kyle wasn’t a ‘hero’ without comparing him to a mass shooter. But that would require a degree of talent and skill that Richman is incapable of.

      1. THIS

        No man is a hero for simply doing his job. He’s got to do something above and beyond. I’ll agree with that.

        To compare soldiers and murderers, makes Richman a fucking asshole and takes any credibility he had and flushes it down the shitter.

        1. No man is a hero for simply doing his job. He’s got to do something above and beyond. I’ll agree with that.

          Exactly that. Most people who do really heroic things in war do them because it was a really bad day to be them and they were stuck in a situation where they had no choice.

          Kyle was apparently very good at his job. He is no braver or no more of a hero than a lot of people who served in Iraq. I don’t consider Kyle any braver than the people who literally drove trucks loaded with gasoline for 12 hours every day or medics who went out under fire to save people’s lives every day.

          That is in some ways the sorriest thing about Richman’s Kyle article. It would have been so easy to write a reasonable article pointing out the excesses of some but not all of Kyle’s defenders. Kyle wasn’t super man or perfect and he wasn’t any more of a “hero”, however you define that, than a lot of other people. And when you consider he came home alive and in one piece, his sacrifice wasn’t that high relative to others. Ultimately, Kyle didn’t get killed or permanently maimed and that makes him more than anything, really lucky.

    2. Kyle was a mass murderer, often of children, and possibly a psychopath, though insanity would if anything be a mitigating factor. Adam Lanza was clearly incapable of functioning or thinking as a normal human being. To the extent that Kyle could, doesn’t that make it worse?

      1. No Tony. He was just someone who didn’t do his duty to die so assholes like you could feel better about themselves. Kyle, to my knowledge was never so much as accused of murdering a civilian or doing anything contrary to the rules of war. You just are evil and judge people based on what group they belong to instead of their actions. Kyle is from the wrong group so therefore he must be evil. The people strapping suicide vests to children are from the right group and therefore worthy of your support.

        That is really all there is to it. Now if you don’t mind, go spew your ignorance on some other thread. The adults are talking here.

        1. I am not calling anyone evil (that’s you doing that). I’m pro-nuance. That’s all I’m saying.

          1. By your logic, anyone who ever took a life in combat is a murderer.

            1. Combat against the state, against the invader, or combat initiated by an aggressive multi-trillion dollar empire?

              1. Combat for an Islamic theocracy = evil.

                Combat for freedom = good.

          2. “Kyle was a mass murderer, often of children, ”

            Whomever is Tony this week is a sick puppy.

            Often children ? OFTEN CHILDREN ?

            You should be sued out of every penny your parents have you and any you might make if you ever reach adulthood you lying sack of “this week’s Tony” shit.

            Whomever you really are you are a disgusting sack of shit to say that, even though it is just troll speak. I can’t say it enough. You are a vile low life sack of shit.

            Once a freind of mine thought he wqas being funny . We were around a group of people of who we only knew a handfull. He started telling people in our neighborhood that didn’t know me that I was a phedophile. He thought it was a big joke. When I heard him say it I kicked his ass right then and there on the spot. He is 20 years younger than me but it infuriated me so much that I went full beserker mode.

            You deserve the same.

      2. A traitor to your very core, aren’t you? Completely unable to fathom the devotion to duty and sacrifices someone like Chris Kyle makes to serve and protect his country. Sometimes being forced to do unpleasant things to do his job.

        I suspect you idolize murderous terrorists who indiscriminately kill women and children for the sake of spreading terror. As opposed to being left no choice in the matter.

        But then, you are an evil soulless piece of shit.

    3. Well said, Gilmore, my take exactly. I may not be a “pure” libertarian in some aspects but Richman seems like a blooming idiot.

      I hope for more freedom for everyone everywhere, but shilling for Hamas (now there is a freedom loving bunch…BARF) results in my giving Richman zero cred that he is a libertarian like me.

  26. The ambiguity of collective terms like “country”, “Americans”, “Germans”, “Jews”, “atheists”, etc. is pretty much the first thing a libertarian should learn.

    So, when they say “love the country” and “defend the country”, they mean “love the government of this country” and “defend the interests of the politicians and their rent-seeking buddies in this country”.

    1. You don’t usually appreciate that until you’re in the position where you are given orders to do that.

  27. Nationalism may be a poison, but it’s not like Richman’s arbitrary and emotional argumentation (remember the NAZIS guys? And school shooters?) isn’t non-toxic. In the sense that having a spokesperson such as Richman for a position ultimately does nothing but destroy its credibility.

    Please, continue to offer up apologia for Putin’s blatant imperialism while holding the U.S. to an actual standard. Nothing poisonous and undermining about that position at all.

  28. Funny, the last time I visited this article (about 30 minutes ago) it had 826 comments, now it has 194. Something funny going on.

    1. ” it had 826 comments”

      you’re confusing this with his piece on American Sniper (linked above)

      You can be forgiven for reading a Sheldon Richman article and thinking its just the same thing over and over again with some selected nouns changed.

    2. Richman’d again is the new Weigel’d again.

  29. Sheldon Richman is in lock step with 0bama, where the United States is no more exceptional than any other country, or is exceptional in the same way that Greeks think themselves exceptional. What pacifist pajama boy, diversity for diversity’s sake crap. We live in a world of finite resources where competition, not cooperation, is the rule. See all of recorded history for supporting data. This includes the competition of ideas and alternative approaches for organizing an economy that yields a competitive edge in technology and different standards of living. Sheldon would feel more comfortable in a faculty lounge dreaming up additions to the list of burned words and new trigger warnings. What a fucking pussy.

    1. American exceptionalism is real.

      America is the only country in the world founded on an idea.

      That idea WAS individual liberty.

  30. Richman has now solidified his hold on the Dave Weigal Chair for leftist idiocy at the Reason Foundation.

    1. So leftists are anti-nationalist now? I’ll remember that the next time one of you guys accuses liberals of being responsible for Stalinism. This is a libertarian argument. It might happen to clash with the far-right views of most of the posters here, but it is a libertarian magazine.

      1. No Tony, leftists are at best profoundly stupid and at worst profoundly evil. You are one of the ones who manages to be both.

        And there is nothing “Libertarian” about rejecting the nation state. Libertarians are not anarchists. And as long as there are nations and laws there will have to be populations to support them and defend them.

        And yes tony you are responsible for Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot and the entire lot. Their actions are nothing but your ideology taken to its logical conclusion. Just because you lie and claim next time will be different doesn’t mean anyone should believe you or trust you with any kind of power.

        1. I wish you wouldn’t give in to the temptation of being a total idiot because as you know I align with you on the utility of the state.

          If any non-anarchist view is going to be skeptical of nationalism, it would be libertarians, along maybe with pacifist leftists.

          And if I have to take credit for all the evil dictators of history just because you say so, then you assuredly get Reagan. You monster.

          1. Yes tony, we get Reagan. And this totally the same thing as believing in a utopian ideology that gave us collective guilt, murder and Pol Pot. You have us Tony. We are just monsters because we want to leave people alone. You in contrast are wonderful because you just want to use force to make the world a better place. As your fellow idiot Eric Hobsbwan said “the millions of deaths would have been a small price to pay had the goals been achieved”

            1. I can’t speak for such bloodthirsty would-be tyrants as Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders, but you should know that I’m a pacifist and do not support the regimes of Stalin and Pol Pot. I’m so glad we cleared that up. Now, what else can we waste time on?

              1. I’m a pacifist and do not support the regimes of Stalin and Pol Pot.


                Yet you ardently support the philosophies that lead to regimes like those of Stalin and Pol Pot.

                Christ you are an imbecile.

                1. FdA, we should not overlook the personal cowardice of chickenshit commies close to Stalin, like Beria, Molotov, Yeshov et al, as significant factors contributing to the reign of terror.

                2. No I don’t.

              2. I’m a pacifist and do not support the regimes of Stalin and Pol Pot.

                Little late on my response, but nothing says ‘pacifist’ like supporting other people using violence and threats to get what you want. Yeah, your ‘pacifism’ is a blatant lie.

          2. If the shoe fits Tony, try it on, you know you want to.

      2. Tony|2.8.15 @ 2:24PM|#

        So leftists are anti-nationalist now? “

        No. ‘Nationalistic’ movements have originated from both left and right.

        Specifically, the type of

        America is an imperialist-capitalist totalitarian state that seeks global hegemony and its soldiers are all racist redneck baby-killing nazis“-rhetoric is what is generally meant by ‘Leftist Idiocy’.

        Hope that helps

        1. Oh, I see you already know what i’m talking about =

          “ony|2.8.15 @ 2:22PM|#

          Kyle was a mass murderer, often of children, and possibly a psychopath,”

          See? that sort of thing is ‘par for the course’ ignorant left-wing rhetoric.

          You can’t just be critical of military policy = you have to pretend that everyone involved in policies you disagree with are ‘culturally/morally/ethically flawed-and-inferior’. You need to dehumanize your opposition so that you never ever have to consider that there is any legitimate alternate point of view.

          But why am i explaining this to you? You’re already an expert.

          1. The point of view I am pushing back against is the chickenhawk masturbatory hillbilly bullshit that surrounds Kyle and this movie. I think uncritical celebration of the killing of brown people in illegitimate wars or elsewhere is perhaps one of the more pernicious threads in American political culture. Not really interested in tabulating a moral comparison of mass murderers. They’re both dead, who cares?

            1. I think uncritical celebration of the killing of brown people in illegitimate wars

              Except that is not what is going on. All that is going on is we are calling you an idiot for claiming he was a murderer. No one here is celebrating him. You just assume they are because in your sick twisted view anyone who doesn’t call him a murderer is celebrating him.

              You are exactly as Gilmore describes you. You only get angry because can’t stand hearing the hideous truth about who you are.

              1. You’re calling me a murderer and I didn’t shoot hundreds of people, so don’t blame me if I can’t keep up with whatever’s going on in your brain.

                1. I am not calling you a murderer tony. I am calling you an idiot supporter of a murderous ideology. You are not technically speaking a murderer, though you no doubt would be if you ever got in a position to do so in the name of the cause.

            2. “the chickenhawk masturbatory hillbilly bullshit”

              You apparently need to bring this perspective wherever you go and project it on people for your own moral satisfaction.

              Because no one here seems to be bringing that to the table expect YOU.

              You seem to think “failing to agree with Richman’s knee-jerk lefty foreign policy view” by default equals = “Hillbilly Nationalism”

              We already knew you were retarded, Tony. You don’t need to emphasize the point so strongly. We know.

              1. “except”

                1. I wonder how we would be discussing the Sniper movie if the title of the movie were: Nazi Sniper and it was about a German in WW2?

                  I think the devotion to his job and later to his family would still be a positive. It certainly gives one pause about his motivation and knowledge of what else was happening in the world. Could the theoretical Nazi sniper be unaware of the true nature of the regime he was supporting? Could his German ‘patriotism’ be a redeeming feature?

                  (Maybe I should write such book…)

            3. “Brown people.” If that’s the lens YOU see things through — race — don’t assign that to other people. It’s entirely your own hangup. A pernicious one, of course, but yours nonetheless.

              1. It’s the hangup of other peacenazis here like sarc.

      3. Libertarians are not anti-state. Richman is, radically so, and argues for same.

        1. Libertarians are not anti-state? What the fuck have I been arguing about all this time then?

          1. I mean “anti-state” as in “desire for NO state,” as in, anarchist.

            1. The cornerstone of libertarianism is the NAP, which, logically leads to anarchism.

              Belief in a nation state and support for it as somehow good for humanity is the apogee of adolescence. It is a puerile argument.

              A monopoly on the administration of justice and the use of violence is a recipe for disaster – as the last 150 years has demonstrated.

              How many hundreds of millions have been either slain or enslaved by the state?

              1. How many billions have been enslaved because they’ve had no state?

                If you simply ignore the other half of the argument, you’ll never have to address it. /anarchist

                1. FdA, that which I set forth is known; what you offer is rank speculation.

                  1. Upthread, you upbraided Tony (rightfully) for supporting a philosophy that lead to a regime like Stalin’s.

                    How did the nation state model fare under Uncle Joe?

                    1. How did the nation state model fare under Uncle Joe?

                      There is no such thing as a static utopia. All you can do is maximize your ideal. Government is such a balancing act.

                      You cannot have liberty without a force strong enough to defend it (and your property) from those who would take it. The fact that nation-states exist, and some are evil enough to take your shit, and they have nearly unlimited resources, means you need to have a force capable of repelling such a threat. No structureless band of brothers is capable of doing so. IOW…a last word in force.

                      I grant you that giving the state one drop of power beyond that of protecting the rights of its citizenry will lead to the government turning against that citizenry.

                      It’s a balancing act. You can’t have liberty without government. And you will certainly lose your liberty with too much government. It’s not a matter of the nation state being innately evil, it’s a question of the proper role of government and how much power you allow it. To maximize liberty, that role must be only that which protects the rights of the citizenry.

                      I agree with you that the NAP = anarchy. Where I disagree with you is that anarchy = liberty.

                      There will always be a last word in force. Do you want that last word to be you (as a country) or someone elses?

                    2. Furthermore, I agree with you that a miniarchy is a violation of the NAP.

                      If you can come up with a way to fund a sufficient force to protect liberty without coercion, I’d gladly listen. I would certainly prefer a voluntary system, but it needs to have a last word in force.

                    3. Our nation-state benefitted greatly from Uncle Joe, who sent millions of his own people to their deaths fighting against the Nazis.

                  2. FdA, that which I set forth is known; what you offer is rank speculation.

                    Nonsense. See any conquered people on the planet. You can start with the American Indian, if you wish. But there are thousands of examples where a superior force kills/conquers/enslaves an inferior force.

                    1. Since you mentioned Stalin, how did the nation state protect the tens of millions that were either murdered, enslave, repatriated, forcibly removed, raped, used as cannon fodder, starved, or given quarters in the gulag?

                      The peeps within the nation state. The very peeps who, according to your position, the nation state was designed to protect from the evil conquerors.

                    2. Since you mentioned Stalin, how did the nation state protect the tens of millions that were either murdered, enslave, repatriated, forcibly removed, raped, used as cannon fodder, starved, or given quarters in the gulag?

                      It didn’t.

                      Tell me how the anarchy-“esque” social structure of the American indian stopped a more powerful nation-state from taking all their shit?

                    3. Tell me how the anarchy-“esque” social structure of the American indian stopped a more powerful nation-state from taking all their shit?

                      It didn’t even prevent other tribes from raping and pillaging weaker tribes, and enslaving them sometimes.

                    4. FdA, you are on fire today!

              2. I repeat: libertarians are not anarchists.

                Anarchists are anarchists.

              3. “The cornerstone of libertarianism is the NAP, which, logically leads to anarchism.”

                Actually, it logically leads to self-imposed total isolation, and then suicide, because there’s very little you can do which can’t be considered an aggression.

                That’s if you want to reduce it to absurdity, which you seem hell-bent on doing by saying it must lead to anarchism.

                Besides, I constructed my own perfectly consistent libertarian philosophy long before anyone told me I somehow have to be beholden to the NAP, so I reject entirely the idea that libertarianism need be based on the NAP.

                1. You may reject the fact that the cornerstone of libertarianism is the NAP, but that does not thereby make you right.

                  The absurdity is the proposition that libertarianism is compatible with the nation state and a monopoly on the administration of justice and a monopoly on the use of force and a monopoly on currency.

                  What is breathtakingly na?ve is the notion that the nation state is the best way to secure liberty.

                  It is failed, miserably.

                  1. Force is always a monopoly so the phrase “monopoly on force” is meaningless.

                    “It is failed, miserably.”

                    In the grand scheme of things, it’s been vastly more successful than the alternative.

                  2. “You may reject the fact that the cornerstone of libertarianism is the NAP, but that does not thereby make you right.”

                    Ignoring that I said “need be,” rather than “is,” doesn’t mean I’m doing what you SAY I’m doing, either.

                    I constructed a perfectly libertarian philosophy based entirely on the idea that every person is a self-owning individual who may only be governed by others at his own consent, for there is nothing in nature which places one person above another OTHER than consent.

                    Just because YOU can’t find a different base for a libertarian philosophy than the NAP, it doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

                    Of course, the rest of what you say suggest that you missed the nuance of “need be” versus “is” because your thinking is quite binary — 1 or 0, is or isn’t, absolutes. According to what you say, there is either TOTAL liberty, or there is “failure.” Your inability to grasp anything other than those concepts is your own hangup.

                    As I said, if you want to take the NAP to its logical extreme, then suicide is your only recourse, because you can’t live without some kind of aggression against someone.

                    But enlighten me — how do YOU propose to protect liberty without the use of any aggression or force of any kind? Please be as detailed as possible.

      4. Leftists are definitely unpatriotic scum, to whom individual liberties are anathema. And must be subverted to the state.

        You evil piece of shit.

  31. Yeah, I have to agree with others — it’s pretty hard to reconcile libertarian ideals, even “left-libertarian” ideals, with a full-throated, unflinching support of “Palestine,” to say nothing of reconciling it with this misguided screed against “nationalism.”

    Let me guess — a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of a simple mind, right? Right?

  32. Nationalism is certainly dangerous.

    The author of this article though is failing to understand the deeper roots of the support for Mr Kyle.

    The strength of the support comes from the appreciation of tremendous bravery, sacrifice and dedication to quite skillfully save follow Americans. The ones in battle (yes at the behest of the political leaders) much more so than those sitting back sipping overpriced coffee and schlepping about their normal lives back in the states (practically all unconnected to the horrors of war). Sure there is -some- nationalism mixed in (along with many other things). Chalking it all to that sure makes things easier for critiques of Mr Kyle and the policies of the U.S. that put him in that position to be able to quickly dismiss supporters of him as ignorant rubes who know not what they do. However, simplifying it all down to broad blind nationalism is intellectually lazy.

    1. Yes. Richman’s problem is that he didn’t like the Iraq war and can’t be content with arguing such. He has to make everyone associated with it evil and every argument counter to his somehow made in bad faith and indefensible.

      It is intellectually lazy and cowardly. The whole article is pathetic.

      1. you expect something different from an intellectually lazy coward?

  33. Richman keeps an “Iraqi dead” counter on his blog page, which is up to 1.5 million dead Iraqis and counting, blaming every single death which happens in Iraq on the American invasion (and apparently it’s still going on even though we’re not there anymore).

    1. Er, this was supposed to be in response to John @ 2:42PM above.

  34. Of course, reading Richman’s column on Kyle seeing him end it with his not being able to see any difference between Kyle and Adam Lanza . . .

    Gosh, why would someone object to that? Why, NATIONALISM, of course. That’s the only thing Richman can conclude; he says so explicitly at the beginning of THIS column. But Richman thinks like an 11-year-old.

    1. “Richman thinks”

      You’re giving too much credit even there.

  35. Sheldon Richman is not anti-war he is a revolutionary defeatist in the Rockwell/Rothbard tradition.

    1. ” a revolutionary defeatist “

      i’ve never heard this expression.

      apparently its a particularly marxist idea. How did that become something Rothbard/Rockwell latched onto?

      1. Because Rothbard liked how Lenin went from a fringe radical revolutionary to leader of Russia. And it fit with their anti-war agenda during the Cold War.

        1. I looked into this, and stumbled across what is (at first glance) probably the single best takedown of the blinkered “Libertarian Foreign Policy Theory” that i’ve criticized for a long time…

          …which apparently Rothbard is the source of.

          “Rothbardian isolationism ultimately rests on the utopian premise that certain types of policy choices could be free of the uncertainties and moral responsibilities which are in fact inherent in politics, so that no policy can ever avoid them:
          It’s time to remember that when you can act, even doing nothing is to act. It is an illusion ? of a “precautionary principle” kind- to fantasize that action would have consequences while inaction would have none.

          “Another aspect of the illusion of innocent politics is the Rothbardians’ idea that they could take political positions without regard to their implications in real political society. …

          This surprise comes from their self-inflicted inability to do political analysis. For those for whom such analysis is natural, it is clear that in a conflict there are two camps, and if you denounce one of them you belong to the other ; self-evident that in times of war, those who want their government to quit fighting root for the victory of its enemies. If you do not understand that, you should not be surprised that others do, and draw the consequences”

          See = his piece above

          1. “His positions on foreign policy also reflected his philosophical errors in that field. Murray Rothbard could have acknowledged his own incompetence, as he did not read any foreign language and was afraid of flying. Instead, having adopted Senator Taft’s isolationist stance through an accident of history, and believing that he could directly apply his own principles, he argued for an a priori definition of a libertarian foreign policy as “non-interventionist”. Armed with this categorical error, knowing better than anyone the depravity of his own government and unable to assess the extent of the others’, he never ceased denouncing the foreign policy of the United States only, occasionally supporting the worst tyrannies and repeating their propaganda lies. Some of his successors still follow him on this path, less the genius and the care for accuracy. Devoid of any influence, they seek to attract attention by making outrageous statements in support of some genocidal murderer, provided he is the enemy of the United States: they are visibly content with the illusion of existence which some of the commentators who count on the right bestow upon them when, on occasion, they condescend to denounce them. “

            Sheldon’s “Adam Lanza, American-Nazis” stuff makes a lot more sense now.

            1. The utopians are those who believe that having a papers please society with multi-trillion dollar warfare / welfare states with a history of mass murder and bankruptcy represents mankind’s last, best hope.

              1. lol

                i assume you plan to wave away the existence of the world’s nation-states with a secret-magic-wand now?

                Or is the only thing stopping you *not enough support* from we ideologically-impure types who are willing to accept that improvements of the status quo are possible?

                I really think its a little hilarious that your reaction to people pointing out that Rothbardian Isolationism is a fundamentally meaningless and impractical approach to foreign policy…. is to *double down*, and accuse anyone who accepts the continued existence of Nation-states of being heretical.

            2. The only error here is calling Taft an isolationist. He was against the Vietnam War but in favor of countering the Soviets. This is another lie Ron Paul used to try and position himself as The One True Republican.

              1. “The only error here “

                FWIW, the quoted text is a piece criticizing Murray Rothbard’s Foreign-Policy ideas…

                …if you have specific problems with what’s quoted = take it up with the link.

                FWIW – i don’t really know what that source is about. I liked the piece. the rest of the site is… sort of a shambles.

  36. The reason for the venom directed at those of us who question American sniper Chris Kyle’s status as a hero can be put into one word: nationalism.

    Translation: “I couldn’t counter the real arguments against my retarded column comparing a killer of terrorists with a killer of children, so watch as I rip up this straw man.”

    No thanks Sheldon. We all get it: you’re a retard bereft of critical thinking skills or a reasoned morality.

  37. “…the title warrior an honorific instead of the pejorative it ought to be. ”

    Translation: “Wah! I want everyone to share my stupid prejudices and neurosis! Stop liking things I don’t like!”

  38. Kyle wasn’t a hero, Kyle was a really good and effective soldier. For his effectiveness at keeping our soldiers alive, he deserves our respect and honor.

    The war in Iraq and Afghanistan however, were completely pointless and a waste of good young lives, on both sides, as well as a few nasties. And a waste of money and resources.

    We can honor our soldiers for doing what was expected of them, while still not being in favor of a futile and pointless war in which none of us ought to have been involved.

    As for nationalism, well I think it’s fine, so long as that nationalism is celebrating everything that makes us great, as a nation that honors above all, the individuals right to pursue peacefully, life and liberty and happiness.

    1. Afghanistan was hardly ‘pointless’ seeing as how they based an organization that repeatedly attacked America.

  39. Worrying about nationalism today seems like much ado about nothing. In a world where people increasingly grow up on the internet and enjoy ever greater means of global mobility to live/work where they please, nation-states are doomed to irrelevance. Sorry for you people who apparently have some sentimental attachment to ‘your nation’.

    It’ll matter less and less to someone where they happened to be born (or live); for most, ‘nationality’ won’t form a constitutive part of one’s self-identity as it once did.

    Tribalism won’t go away, but will likely derive more exclusively from familial/personal bonds, as well as ideological+cultural kinships?in place of mere national fealties. Basically people will enjoy somewhat greater discretion in being able to choose their own tribe, rather than be regionally consigned to one as an accident of birth.

    1. “Apple” is already just that kind of tribe.

  40. “It makes the title warrior an honorific instead of the pejorative it ought to be.”

    Nice to see Sheldon’s nitwittism in full flower, displayed for all.

    No longer content to Blame America for all the world’s ills, he condemns every member of any nation’s armed forces who has every fought for freedom, anywhere, at anytime.

    Sheldon would damn all those who gave their lives at Omaha Beach for having a preference for the freedom afforded in their nations over the totalitarianism afforded in the Axis.

    Hello, is there anyone at home at Reason? Anyone with a brain?

    What is this contemptible cretin still doing on the payroll?

    1. e condemns every member of any nation’s armed forces who has every fought for freedom, anywhere, at anytime.

      Sheldon would damn all those who gave their lives at Omaha Beach for having a preference for the freedom afforded in their nations over the totalitarianism afforded in the Axis.

      Eh. At the end of the day, being in the military is just a job. Few are there to serve lofty ideals like “fighting for freedom.”

      1. Oh, I’m sure there are plenty of guys for whom it is just a job, but there are plenty of guys for whom *serving* in the military has real meaning – they offer themselves to fight because they believe in the value of the fight.

        And you’re just a fool if you think the guys on Omaha Beach thought it was “just a job”.

        1. The men on Omaha were slaves, though I suppose being enslaved by the state could be considered a job in some circles.

          The travesty of the modern military is that 18-year-old kids are brought on under the auspices of defending their “nation”–meaning their families, their neighbors, and loved ones–and wind up half the world away giving their lives for some abstruse political theory a cabinet member learned about in graduate school.

          Kids getting screwed by the propaganda machine while a sociopath in Washington swims in an infinity pool. Tell me again how this isn’t perverse.

      2. “Eh. At the end of the day, being in the military is just a job. Few are there to serve lofty ideals like “fighting for freedom.””

        You have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. If you really think people join the military because ‘being in the military is just a job.’ You are a total idiot.

        It makes me sick that part of my service was to defend a puke like you.

  41. The reason for the venom directed at those of us who question American sniper Chris Kyle’s status as a hero can be put into one word:You’re abject stupidity and insistence on being right even at the cost of, y’know…being right. This is a load of crap from someone who needs to seriously consider renouncing his citizenship and getting out of the country, if you are serious about such idiotic sentiments.

    1. YOUR…I hate autocorrect.

  42. i really like you guys, but just like some other Libertarians,you go and ruin it with gems like this. Let me explain: Human Nature. I know we all try to make believe it doesn’t exist, but it does, and it makes us mostly suck.The rule of unintended consequences always rears its ugly head. Everything he says if logically correct, just not real.

  43. I think Nationalism is a great thing, because it’s the only thing that can defeat tribalism. Look at most of the ongoing conflicts in the world. Most of them are caused by tribalism.

    Why do people hate their neighbor? Because they are a different tribe. But if you have a national identity that trumps your tribal identity (be it race, ethnicity, religion, etc), you won’t hate your neighbor.

    I think much of the problems today are because many like the author have derided national unity. People are no longer Americans, they are hyphen-Americans, which is breaking up back up into tribes.

    1. I think much of the problems today are because many like the author have derided national unity.

      What’s so great about national unity? So you can feel like a proud member of a 315 million member sports team?

    2. It is not breaking America up into tribes. More nativist fever-dreams.

  44. Defenders appear to have but one operating principle: If Kyle was an American military man and the people he killed were not American, then he was a hero. Full stop.

    Sheldon: You’re really messing up when you make a statement like this. For one reason, it is generally untrue. Lt. Calley had some gung ho apologists back after the My Lai Massacre, but most Viet Nam War supporters condemned the slaughter just as much as the war’s critics. And for another reason, it just pisses people off. And, it also embarrasses the rest of us who think that US imperialism is unjust.

    Kyle’s defenders do have an operating principle. They believe that the Iraq war was just. It is a simple fact that sniping is a tactic of warfare. Kyle’s defenders simply reason that, since the war is just, the sniping is just. It is much, much better to argue about the shoddy justifications that his defenders have for war rather than to impugn its pawns.

    It is also insanely obtuse to argue that there is “no essential difference” between Kyle and a crazed school shooter. I heard your argument on the Scott Horton Show. Sure, the “no essential difference” argument is shocking, but it simply fails, and fails miserably to persuade. It is also completely counterproductive because it is wrong, just pisses off war advocates, and embarrasses the rest of us.

    1. A good number of people he’s describing don’t actually even “defend Kyle” at all… (me included)… or need to.

      ….because doing so isn’t even necessary in pointing out that comparisons to “nazis” and “Adam Lanza” etc. are ridiculous, idiotic, meaningless, and do nothing but discredit Richman, and (worse) further damage the credibility of this publication.

      Richman should be disowned and forgotten.

    2. as for those who DO bother to ‘defend kyle’…

      Kyle’s defenders…believe that the Iraq war was just…. Kyle’s defenders simply reason that, since the war is just, the sniping is just.

      This isn’t necessary *either*.

      Why does the Iraq War need to be “just” to think that (insert anyone who fought for the US military) doesn’t deserve comparisons to Nazis or mass murderers of children?…

      People in the military have no control over the policy enacted by civilian leadership. Their own individual conduct can be called into question = sure.

      But Richman’s criticism isn’t about Kyles “misconduct” (or lack). Its entirely based on his book being a best-seller, and a movie about him making millions of dollars.

      indeed = Richman isn’t even really even criticizing “Chris Kyle”, the person, at all… he spends zero time building a reasoned case that the man was guilty of actual misconduct. He simply announces the verdict based on popular perception.

      His actual criticism seems to be of the General Public… who dares to treat the guy as something *other* than a War Criminal.

      Because in Sheldon’s fantasy world, that is the *ideologically pure* attitude to have.

      And in the process of pronouncing his verdict, he seems to need to disarm any criticism by suggesting that =

      No one of right-mind could *possibly* disagree… unless of course they are *war loving pigs who worship the state*

      And yes… its embarrassingly stupid.

      1. If the Iraq war was unjust, Kyle’ moral situation was identical to that of a German sniper in World War II: i.e., a soldier obeying orders in an unjust war.

        Neither Kyle nor the German sniper share the moral situation of Adam Lanza. It is absurd to say this in the first place, and Sheldon’s rationalizations since then fail spectacularly and make it even worse.

        1. not to niggle…. but i still think the issue of a war’s ‘justness or unjustness’ isnt even relevant. I’m not sure i subscribe to whatever ‘just-war-theory’ is being assumed here.

          e.g. If Germany was fighting an ‘unjust’ war in WWII… were the Allies fighting a ‘just’ one? Is the issue then not the just-ness of the war, and simply a matter of whose side you’re on?

      2. Bingo number 2 Gman.

  45. this guy thought VERY DIFFERENTLY… you should read him, he’s pretty smart

  46. Nazi Germany used nationalism to inspire its men to fight, but on the other hand the Soviets used different means. And what was it that kept the Soviets from inflicting their system on you? Perhaps you might consult a little Herman Wouk.

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  48. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start…
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  49. A lucid and well written polemic. I concur with Richman on all major points as expressed in the article.

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  51. I agree with a lot of what you wrote, and am an Iraq War veteran. Probably the one thing I objective to is “Warrior is a perjorative”. Do you prefer being a victim? Is being led into the gas chamber a good time perhaps to be a warrior?

    We have a country because we decided to fight and be warriors. In my opinion this single truth is probably why so many Americans react against your writing. We’re “hard coded” in a way to be receptive to “warriors”. In the main I agree with you, however. The past 15 years have been a disaster, much of it linked to blind nationalism.

  52. I find it heartening that Richman isn’t likely to get a more sympathetic audience than Reason (some International Marxist journal, maybe?) and he’s getting pretty thoroughly excoriated here. It reminds me that not all libertarians treat libertarianism as a suicide pact.

  53. Too bad Richman doesn’t know the difference between “nationalism” and “patriotism”. The reason many admire Chris Kyle is because we love our country and he defended her from bad guys, not because he was American and we’re American and he killed nonAmericans.

    Also, Richman is an SOB who can only win straw man arguments.

    “Defenders appear to have but one operating principle: If Kyle was an American military man and the people he killed were not American, then he was a hero. Full stop. No other facts are relevant.”

    That is total, unvarnished bullsh*t. If Richman really believes what he wrote above, he is a POS writer and thinker. I’d venture that virtually no one who considers Chris Kyle a hero considers the American soldiers who committed the M? Lai massacre against nonAmericans to be “heroes.”

    If this is the general quality of’s writings and thinking, it’s not worthy of respect.

    1. The reason many admire Chris Kyle is because we love our country and he defended her from bad guys

      When did he do that? Between lying about shooting looters in LA or lying about beating up Jessie Ventura?

      I’ve never heard anyone make the claim that Chris Kyle ever defended a single American civilian on American soil from a bad guy. Citation, please.

  54. Sheldon Richman and his ilk are a poison. A poison to America. Typical unpatriotic progressive bullshit. Not a shock coming from him and the kind of anti-american pablum he pukes in all his columns.

    Once again, I am aghast that nick keeps publishing his shit.

  55. Explanation of the law and policy, fact basis for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

  56. Nationalism and class warfare are the last gasp efforts of failed politics.
    Whether you are a fan of Kyle or completely indifferent about his missions, like me, I hope that people who bother to read this website at least know that americans are sheep in the nationalists propaganda campaign and the government is winning. And we are bankrupt. All of this shit is irrelevant.

    We should not be there and the best thing to do to support the troops is to bring them home. You never hear that chant because americans are nationalist puppets.

    And lastly, the comedic effect of stupid americans singing songs about freedom before sporting events almost makes us deserving of a dirty bomb for being so blind and servile to our government. We are not free and we have a communist as a president. What are americans so proud of? We act like the pathetic british who spent a century basking in their former glory.

    “Lay down and take it and don’t do anything about it” should be one of our anthems to sing during the stretch in the world series.

    This has all been done before and the outcome is always the same. Nationalism works and most americans are ready to jump right in and surrender their rights to protect “it”

    Remember that the only flaw in free market capitalism is that so many people get wealthy, they become complacent, stupid, and gutless. Thus they vote in any Marxist idiot who tells them their sloth and failure is not their fault.
    Do what you are told and give up.

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