Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Roderick T. Long
In last night's debate, did anybody besides me notice how much John Kerry's market-socialist plan for fixing health care sounded like President Bush's market-socialist plan for fixing Social Security?
In related news, I've recently posted on my website an article I wrote in 1996 trying (unsuccessfully) to persuade local gun-rights activists to vote for the LP; it's my attempt to deal with the"wasted vote" argument, and is obviously meant to apply more broadly than just the gun issue. Check it out here.
David T. Beito
Here is the third of four installments of anti-New Deal cartoons by L. Rogers from the Chicago Defender, the leading black newspaper in the United States.
This one is from May 26, 1934 and compares the Agricultural Adjustment Adminstration to a"Modern Simon Legree" because of policies that drove many blacks off the land.
Aeon J. Skoble
Terry Tempest Williams is touring the country to promote her new book, "The Open Space of Democracy." The board of trustees of Florida Gulf Coast University voted 11 to 1 to prohibit Williams from speaking at a convocation, unhappy with her statements lamenting the Bush administration's environmental policies and saying that her speech would lack "balance." All 11 of those who voted against her, including university President William Merwin, were appointed Gov. Jeb Bush. Merwin has given money to the Bush/Cheney campaign. Vice President Dick Cheney is holding a campaign rally on the university campus this Thursday. Hacks from beginning to end.
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Associated Press, 07 Oct 2004
This week in Grist: Terry Tempest Williams discusses the issue -- in Dispatches
I have less and less sympathy for those who find time to direct most of their intellectual fire at the left, which is out of power completely, while ignoring the Right, which is making a travesty of everything this country stood for that was worthwhile. Rather like shooing off the neighbor's dog for pooping in your lawn while your house burns down.
Websites, such as isbushwired.com" have been established as clearinghouses"for discussion of whether President Bush uses an earpiece through which he's fed lines and cues by offstage advisers." Others more bluntly ask "What's Hiding in His Back?". The story was officially broken by Indymedia and has since been analyzed to the point of exhaustion by anti-Bush bloggers. Other than the photos, the rumor is supported by a part of the 1st debate where Bush states,"let me finish," even though neither Kerry nor the moderator was interrupting in any manner. As Dave Lindorff wrote in an article entitled"What's the frequency, Karl?" which appeared in CounterPunch,"Even weirder was the president's strange outburst. In a peeved rejoinder to Kerry, he [Bush] said, `As the politics change, his positions change. And that's not how a commander in chief acts. I, I, uh -- Let me finish -- The intelligence I looked at was the same intelligence my opponent looked at.' It must be said that Bush pointed toward Lehrer as he declared `Let me finish.' The green warning light was lit, signaling he had 30 seconds to, well, finish."
The most interesting treatment I've found so far comes from Cryptome.org which analyzes the device for remote promoting most likely to have been used and gives a good break down of the technology from an expert's POV. The site also offers 28 time-stamped video images of Bush's back during the 1st debate.
Also of interest is Cannonfire, the blog-home of Joseph Cannon who is credited with being the first person to speculate about a"wired Bush". His Oct. 10th entry consists of confirmation from an interpreter for Bush who confirms that the President uses"an earpiece to assist him in communicating intelligently with others." This would certainly explain earlier photos being unearthed by avid bloggers which also show bulges in Bush's back.
The consensus in the blogosphere seems to be that Rove wants to put an end to"Bushism" - those embarrassing slips of grammar, context, and reality that pepper W's photo ops. The ramifications for debate #3 are interesting. If Bush was wired for the 1st debate and for the 2nd one as well - which an AP photo seems to indicate - then it may well become an issue prior to the 3rd debate. That is, the Kerry people and the moderator may insist that Bush be verifiably wireless. In the 3rd debate, we may finally meet the unadulterated, unfiltered Bush.
For more commentary, please see McBlog.
To be honest, this whole bulge flap (sounds like a body part on some sea creature...) seems to be an instance of what Charles Krauthammer has called "Bush Derangement Syndrome." BDS is when otherwise sensible rational people are driven to preposterous claims about Bush as a result of their, perhaps understandable, hatred of the man. All comparisons of Bush to Hitler, in my book, qualify as BDS symptoms.
UPDATE: Or maybe the bulge is this. (Hat tip to ScrappleFace.)
"There was nothing under his suit jacket," said Nicolle Devenish, a campaign spokeswoman."It was most likely a rumpling of that portion of his suit jacket, or a wrinkle in the fabric." Ms. Devenish could not say why the"rumpling" was rectangular.Nor was the bulge from a bulletproof vest, according to campaign and White House officials; they said Mr. Bush was not wearing one.
For more commentary, please see McBlog.
Roderick T. Long
No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you've got to do in a way that passes the test -- that passes the global test -- where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing, and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.
-- John Kerry, 1 October 2004
He said that America has to pass a global test before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. That's what he said. Think about this. Sen. Kerry's approach to foreign policy would give foreign governments veto power over our national security decisions.
-- George W. Bush, 2 October 2004
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. ... The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
--Thomas Jefferson, 4 July 1776
He said that America has to pass a global test before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. That's what he said. Think about this. Mr. Jefferson's approach to foreign policy would give"the opinions of mankind" and"a candid world" veto power over our national security decisions.
-- George W. Bush, 5 July 1776 [alternate history timeline]
That is the problem. It is not about money. If the media covered the Libertarian candidates the same way it does the major party candidates people would know who they were and what they stood for . The necessary money would flow from that knowledge. Also, it is not about the program. The Libertarian Party offers the core values of what it means to be an American. It presents a political philosophy based on freedom of individual actions that has historically been responsible for unparalleled success in every field of human endeavor. Once enough people are aware of the life they could have without the oppression of the state they will use the power of their vote to obtain the liberty that they need.
Awareness comes from education but you can not educate someone unless you have their attention. The Libertarian Party clearly does not have the attention of the American populace. There are two ways to get it. First you could run someone famous who already commands the stage. When the Libertarian Party chose the distinctly unknown Michael Badnarik as their presidential candidate that option was foreclosed. The second way to obtain a national classroom is by deed.
In his post below Roderick T. Long, talking about the fact that Badnarik was arrested for civil disobedience at the last presidential debate, says “This doesn't strike me as a particularly useful tactic …” . I very much disagree with that sentiment.
Because the Democrats and Republicans already have all of the attention that they need and very much more than they deserve their fundamental task is to avoid turning people off. The job of the Libertarian Party, on the other hand, is to turn people on. I do not think that employing a tactic of Gandhi and Martin Luther King to demand a place, for someone on the ballot in 48 states, in the discussion of our future as a nation is crazy. I think it is inspiring and one of the best things I have seen a Libertarian candidate do in a long time. Michael Badnarik may not fully succeed in his effort to educate the American people but at least he is trying.
To those who say what happens with the Libertarian Party is of little consequence, I ask what is the alternative, abject slavery, bloodshed, one of the other parties will change? For the latter to happen the Libertarian Party must have some kind of achievement. If ten percent of the vote in this next election came the Libertarian’s way it would have a profoundly positive effect on the way we are governed. If you do not believe me here, ask yourself this question, which is closer to Ralph Nader’s worldview George Bush’s campaign rhetoric in 2000 or his domestic policy since taking office?
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
A very interesting article by Franklin Foer appears in today's NY Times:"Once Again, America First." Foer talks about how conservatives, with their typical distrust of government power, have begun to turn against the Bush administration's neo-Wilsonian desires to"democratize the Middle East." The critics include George Will, Patrick Buchanan,"the libertarian Cato Institute and the traditionalist Chronicles magazine," as well as congressman Henry Hyde and conservative commentator Tucker Carlson. More importantly, Foer rediscovers the almost-forgotten anti-interventionist tradition of the Old Right, and he includes a number of modern-day heroes of contemporary libertarianism:
One of conservatism's early and now largely forgotten folk heroes was Albert Jay Nock, the flamboyant author of ''Memoirs of a Superfluous Man,'' who wore a cape and celebrated Belgium as his ideal society. In 1933, Nock wrote about ''the Remnant,'' borrowing the term from Matthew Arnold and the Book of Isaiah. By the Remnant he meant an enlightened elite that rejected the phoniness of mass society. A few historians have used Remnant as a synonym for the pre-National Review right -- a group that included the economic journalists Garet Garrett and Frank Chodorov, Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane (Laura Ingalls Wilder's daughter) and, to an extent, H. L. Mencken. Nock's allusion to Isaiah works nicely for these polemicists, who issued thunderous, Old Testament-like warnings about American decline. Finding themselves at the forefront of opposition to World War II, they turned to the America First movement. Their hatred for war followed from their radical individualism. As the essayist Randolph Bourne (not a conservative) famously put it about World War I, ''War is the health of the state.'' Since these writers disliked the state, they came to dislike war, too. ...
Conservatism emerged out of the McCarthyite moment with a new enemy: that small band of conservatives who continued clinging to isolationism. National Review, for one, didn't have any place for them in its pages. ... Upon the death of the libertarian isolationist Murray Rothbard in 1995, Buckley quipped, ''We extend condolences to his family, but not to the movement he inspired.'' ... Without a home in the conservative movement, the isolationists had no choice but to search for allies in unlikely quarters. During the late 60's, they often teamed up with the New Left, becoming stalwarts of the antiwar movement. ... And a few on the New Left returned the favor, heartily embracing the apostates. In 1975, the historian Ronald Radosh (then a man of the left) published ''Prophets on the Right,'' a book championing the prescience of Robert A. Taft and other ''conservative critics of American globalism.'' ...
Buchananite foreign policy has an intellectual wing, paleoconservatism. Long before French protesters and liberal bloggers had even heard of the neoconservatives, the paleoconservatives were locked in mortal combat with them. Paleocons fought neocons over whom Ronald Reagan should appoint to head the National Endowment for the Humanities, angrily denouncing them as closet liberals -- or worse, crypto-Trotskyists. Even their self-selected name, paleocon, suggests disdain for the neocons and their muscular interventionism. ... The paleocons explicitly hark back to Garrett, Nock and the Remnant, what they lovingly call the ''Old Right.'' ...
George W. Bush entered office implicitly promising agnosticism in the long-running debate between neocons and paleocons. On the 2000 campaign trail, he promised a ''distinctly American internationalism'' that would provide ''idealism, without illusions; confidence, without conceit; realism, in the service of American ideals.'' Of course, after 9/11, Bush dispensed with this doctrinal neutrality. And in adopting a neocon foreign policy, he rallied most conservatives behind his ambitious agenda, a dramatic turnabout in opinion from the 90's.
Will this consensus hold? Already, many conservative writers seem primed to abandon it. Even when they haven't gone as far as Will or Carlson in their criticisms of the war, they have flashed their discomfort with Bush's goal of planting democracy in Iraq. National Review has called this policy ''largely, if not entirely, a Wilsonian mistake.'' With these signs of restlessness, it's easy to imagine that a Bush loss in November, coupled with further failures in Iraq, could trigger a large-scale revolt against neoconservative foreign policy within the Republican Party. A Bush victory, on the other hand, will be interpreted by many Republicans as a vindication of the current course, and that could spur a revolt too. If the party tilts farther toward an activist foreign policy, antiwar conservatives might begin searching for a new political home.
I recommend the whole article to your attention.
Cross-posted at the Mises Economics Blog.
While I think it a good thing that someone like George Will now questions the war in Iraq, I do not see that his questioning of the tactics of Empire is the same as turning against Empire. People like Michael Scheuer, the “Anonymous” author Imperial Hubris are not against Empire, but simply the recent tactics of same.
It is perhaps more significant to observe how lewrockwell.com and antiwar.com have become part of those arguing for a more efficient war effort. William S. Lind, of the Center for Cultural Conservatism, has become a regular columnist at both sites. Given his constant writing about a more effective development of what he calls Fourth Generation Warfare, I find it difficult to relate his views even to “Kultural Konservatism.”
One of Mr. Lind’s heroes is the Israeli strategist Martin Van Creveld, an admirer of Stalin, who has been criticized by others at antiwar.com for his statements about killing as many Palestinian civilians as is necessary, 5,000 or more. Van Creveld has also been a favorite of the Mises Institute.
It was Van Creveld who advised the US over a year ago to use the Israeli tactics in Iraq, simply bulldozing whole towns as we are now doing: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,927780,00.html
Now Lind tells us in his latest that the 4th Generation Warfare Seminar will be meeting again with the notion of updating the Marines’ Small Wars Handbook, which when completed, will be published in its entirety at lewrockwell.com. In the meantime, those interested in better military tactics for the Empire can read his Maneuver Warfare Handbook (1985). Perhaps, if the new Handbook is read by a large number at LRC, the Marines will publish it for their commanders. After all, it might be a little difficult for a Marine in the field to pull out his laptop and log in to LRC. To quote Lind:
“The Fourth Generation seminar met Friday for the first time since last spring, and we have decided to write our own field manual on Fourth Generation war. It will be modeled on the excellent field manuals the U.S. Marine Corps issued when General Al Gray was Commandant. We plan to have it out in the first half of next year; LRC will offer the whole FMFM.”
My own comments on the Marine Handbook can be found at: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1286
Those of us who oppose Empire have always differentiated between: 1) anti-war, which can also be examined on a spectrum from absolute pacifism to those who oppose aggressive war-making; 2) anti-intervention, which can also mean using powerful economic levers even to the point of starving people; and 3) anti-imperialism, opposing a whole system of Statist centralization, encompassing all of the above.
The above cited sites have been very good up to recently in giving us a day to day listing of articles about the three above factors, if a little light on the last, but accepting such war making columnists on a regular basis, seems to me far worse than anything that these people have accused the Cato Institute of, with respect to capitulating to the folks around the Beltway.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
As a follow-up to yesterday's discussion of fascism as a species of statism, I had a nice offlist exchange with Robert Higgs. Higgs' work, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, published in 1987 by Oxford University Press, includes a crucially important chapter on the subject of the mixed economy. Higgs asks in Chapter 10 if the mixed economy is on a march toward Socialism or Fascism. He concludes that the best descriptive term for the present political economy of the United States is"participatory fascism." Higgs reminds me that it's a term he borrowed from his friend and former Ph.D. student Charlotte Twight, who first used it in her 1975 book America's Emerging Fascist Economy.
There is an interesting myopia at work in the acceptance of this phrase,"participatory fascism," even among the friends of liberty. As Higgs explains, many seem incapable of accepting the current system as a fascist derivative, equating fascism with Nazism and the practice of genocide. In his just-published book, Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society, Higgs characterizes the system as"quasi-corporatism," but, as he expresses in his correspondence with me, the system"still walks and quacks like a participatory-fascist duck."
Higgs has done a lot of important thinking about this subject, and I think his notion of"participatory fascism" captures an essential aspect of what actually goes on in American political economy.
The Times' take on the role of foreign policy in the history of the American Right:
Aeon J. Skoble
Not to speak ill of the dead, but his influence in the Academy has been quite pernicious, so don't look for any eulogizing. I'm simply passing along the information.
(Sorry if that's not an accessible link, I can only do the magic linking trick from my office.)
Roderick T. Long
Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik and Green candidate David Cobb deliberately got themselves arrested at the Bush-Kerry debate in St. Louis last night in order to protest the exclusion of third parties from the debate process.
This doesn't strike me as a particularly useful tactic, though given that they did it I'm glad they did it together; people may be (somewhat) less likely to say"oh, those crazy Libertarians" if the Green candidate was involved also (and ditto, mutatis mutandis, for the Greens). But the question as to whether this would be good or bad publicity may be moot, since the establishment media have been almost entirely silent on the incident.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
The headline on the front of the Boston Herald announced this morning :"GO YANKS! We want to kick your butts on our way to the Series!" One of the few times any Boston periodical called for a Yankee victory. And the Sox fans have been salivating at the thought of avenging the beating they got in last year's historic 7-game American League Championship Series.
Well. Here we go again. The Yanks beat the Minnesota Twins, 6-5, in extra innings, and advance to the ALCS against the Boston Red Sox. Last year, the Red Sox fans took to calling their team" cowboys" (as in"Cowboy Up"). This year, Bosox star outfielder Johnny Damon said their new nickname is"idiots."
He said it. I didn't.
May the best team win.