Liberty & Power: Group Blog
"US Journalists Consistently Ignore Israeli State Terrorism" and
"Who Wanted Peace? Who Wanted War? History Refutes Israel's US Image"
In recent columns I've argued that a free society depends ultimately on people having a proper sense of just conduct. This means more than the words they recite or put on paper. Most crucial is how they act and expect others to act. For this reason it is futile to put undue emphasis on written constitutions as the key to liberty. The real constitution is within -- each of us. If the freedom philosophy is not inscribed in the actions of people, no constitution will help.Read the rest of this week's TGIF column at the Foundation for Economic Education website.
Cross-posted at Free Association.
Coincidentally, I believe that during a debate on this topic in the House of Commons, the Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, whom Lord Carrington called"the bigot of all bigots", supported a pardon.
The pardons are also likely to affect former soldiers from other Commonwealth countries—such as Canada—and their families now living there.
To date New Zealand, France and Germany have pardoned soldiers who were shot in the same way. May we expect the United States to do so in the not too distant future?
Last year the UK government said it would scrap the death penalty for military offences in the armed forces. The forces have not carried out the death penalty for more than eighty years, but it still applies to five offences: misconduct in action, assisting the enemy, obstructing operations with intent to assist the enemy, mutiny, and failure to suppress mutiny with intent to assist the enemy. It was last used in 1920 when Private James Daly of the 1st Battalion of the Connaught Rangers was found guilty of mutiny at Jullunder in the Punjab.
David T. Beito
Sizer rejects the bloodcurdling, and melodramatic"end times" scenarios of premillennialists like Hal Lindsey as based on a flawed interpretation of Biblical prophecies. He subscribes to a theology that most of these prophecies either do not apply to current events or were fullfilled thousands of years ago. Sizer urges fundamentalists to build bridges to Arab Christians who he sees as potential peacemakers in the conflict between Muslim and Jew.
According to a description of the book on Amazon.com:
The term"Zionism" was first coined in the late nineteenth century, and referred to the movement for the return of the Jewish people to an assured and secure homeland in Palestine. Ironically, this vision was largely nurtured and shaped by Christians long before it received widespread Jewish support. The origins of"Christian Zionism" lie within nineteenth-century British premillennial sectarianism, but by the early twentieth century it had become a predominantly American dispensational movement, and pervasive within all main evangelical denominations. The contemporary Christian Zionism movement emerged after the"Six Day War" in Israel in 1967, and it has had a significant influence on attitudes towards the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Middle East. Evangelicals are increasingly polarized over whether Christian Zionism is biblical and orthodox or unbiblical and cultic. In this book Stephen Sizer provides a thorough examination of the historical development, variant forms, theological emphases and political implications of Christian Zionism. His excellent and informative survey is interwoven with critical assessment that repudiates both nationalistic Zionism and anti-Semitism.
In the blog, the last-named asks, “Who Enforces International Trade?” In the course of his answer, the following points are made:
"Where there are sizable gains from trade, individuals find inventive ways of overcoming obstacles that stand in the way of realizing them. Out of this, in the international arena, emerged private arbitration, private international commercial law, and customs for dealing with disreputable traders. These spontaneously emerged private institutions are ultimately responsible for the boom in international trade--not government. Many economists I've discussed this with are surprised that state enforcement is so unimportant for trade."
Some historical observations:
1. Long-distance trade dates back to the Early Upper Palaeolithic, if not earlier. On the European continent:- shells; flint & other stone materials; ivory, coral, & other materials for beads -- were all traded long distances from their points of origin. In Australia: inland aboriginal tribes survived only because they obtained grinding stones from those tribes with suitable quarries on their land. The stones were necessary to grind the hard seeds that formed a significant part of their diet in the inland. --- Since the later Palaeolithic, long-distance trade has grown alongside other commercial activity, accelerating especially from the latter part of the 19th century onwards.
2. For the 20th century onwards: There are numerous textbooks of international commercial law, as well as international commercial arbitration. International contracts generally specify the law of the contract. In common law countries, it is usually English common law. It is also stated whether any dispute goes to a court (specified), or to arbitration. If there is a dispute, but the law of the contract is not stated, courts _&_ arbitrators apply the law most closely linked to the contract. Courts will not touch a dispute where there is an arbitration clause;& arbitration awards are routinely enforced (if necessary) through the courts. Because of their expertise, judges of the commercial division of the High Court in London are often asked to arbitrate disputes between parties with no connexion otherwise with Britain. ETC.
3. ‘Private’ international law deals with private individuals & other private entities, as distinct from ‘public’ law which tries (tries) to tame govt brigands.
4. Common law -- including, latterly, international commercial law -- has grown over a period of some 800 years or more, through the actions of individuals. The role of justices has been to settle disputes & in doing so, to clarify the rules _already_ being acted upon. Legislation intruded only from the late 19th century, accelerating in the 20th (of course.) Regular police forces appeared only from the mid-19th century onwards. So for the bulk of the time, common law was never enforced. Justices lived from their lands & from court fees. Anything the sovereign paid them was a minor part of the total -- & _always_ long in arrears.
5. Historians have to inquire into what actually goes on.
David T. Beito
David T. Beito
The steering committee of HAW is now polling members on whether HAW should take “positions on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, U.S. threats to Syria and Iran, the so-called 'global war on terror,' and the socio-economic impact of empire on the United States."(Go here to respond). Here is my answer.
Let's stick to a narrow gauge approach. Going beyond this on the Israel question will threaten to needlessly divide our membership and cut us off from potential allies. While individual members of HAW should be free to make such connections, the organization itself must remain focused on the unifying goal of opposition to the Iraq war. I write this as a long-time opponent of U.S. aid to Israel.
For similar reasons, a narrow gauge approach makes even more sense on highly divisive domestic issues related to the"socio-economic impact of empire in the United States." No matter what"positions" HAW endorses, the effect will be to push away members and potential members.
For example, if HAW calls for more domestic spending on government programs or increased economic regulation, it will alienate antiwar conservatives and libertarians who support smaller government, freer markets, and lower taxes. Many of these conservatives and libertarians regard the Iraq war as an illustration of the dangers of an expanding"welfare/warfare state."
While we should never be afraid to express individual opinions on these questions, it would be a fatal strategic mistake for any of us to try to impose our views on the other members by forcing HAW to take a"one size fits all" organizational stand.
Please note that a change in HAW's policy will only detract from the stated goal of HAW leaders to build bridges to conservative and libertarians and show greater sensitivity to their concerns.
1861, British armed forces, total: 281,611
As % of labour force: 2.64 %
Numbers at home (= 41.53 % of total)116,953
As % of labour force: 1.10 %
1891, British armed forces, total: 270,644
As % of labour force: 1.85 %
Numbers at home (= 50.42 % of total)
As % of labour force: 0.93 %
In sum: as the British Empire expanded to its fullest extent, & at its very peak: the total numbers in the armed forces _fell_ (fell) by some 4 %; the numbers stationed throughout the Empire _fell_ (fell) by some 18.5%; the numbers stationed _at home_ rose (rose) by about 16 %. As a proportion of the labour force, the total armed forces _fell_ (fell) from 2.64 to 1.85 %. Some ‘Empire’.
2. By contrast, in the late 20th century, when Empire had long since disappeared -- (the numbers now include the Royal Air Force):
1990, British armed forces, total: 305, 750.
(a) This figure is some 2.24 times _higher_ than the numbers stationed at home in 1891, & some 11.5 % _higher_ than the _total_ for that year, _including_ the forces guarding the world’s greatest Empire.
(b) In 1891, the armed forces at home came to 0.93% of the labour force. In 1990, this proportion was 1.06 %.
Clearly, in terms of the size of the armed forces, Britons were far better off in the days of Empire, since the armed forces were so much _smaller_ then.
3. What about the ratio of Imperial forces to colonised populations? We may contrast the British & the so-called American ‘Empire’:
1891, British armed forces stationed in (undivided) India: 90,666
Population of undivided India: 287, 223, 431
Number of Indians per British soldier: 3,168
2006, American troops stationed in Iraq: c. 150,000
Population of Iraq: 26,074,906
Number of Iraqis per American soldier: 174
In other words: Comparing Iraq in 2006 with undivided India in 1891: the American Empire (so-called) has _more than 18 times_ the military personnel, for _one-eleventh_ of the population colonised. It is true, of course, that in 1891 the British Empire was maintaining a garrison only, in undivided India, whereas Iraq in 2006 is in a state of civil war. But: Throughout 2002 & 2003, from the very highest level downwards, _no_ American official wanted to think _seriously_ about what course to follow in Iraq, post-Hussein. Australian officials (for one) tried hard. But no American wanted to know. Official American thinking stopped with the war.
This is the outlook of the _military adventurer_: short-term & short-sighted. It is the _opposite_ of the Imperial administrator -- who _must_ look to the long-term. It is ironic that _Australian_ officials were the long-sighted ones. That is because even Australian officials have experience of administering ‘colonies’ -- Papua New Guinea & Nauru were under Australian administration until 1975 & 1968, respectively. And Australians were themselves subjects of the now-vanished British Empire. Therefore Australian officials thought in administrative, not military terms. But the Americans’ only experience is with military adventures. So their officials could not conceive of anything beyond the immediate, military outcome.
The Mises Institute counts free-marketers from more than 30 states and at least 23 countries among its faculty. Its students' homes are equally far-flung: Poland, Peru, Argentina, Canada, France and China this summer alone."Every one of them is an idealist in a very courageous way," Mr. Tucker said."A lot of people think it's silly to be an idealist these days. But Mises always taught that ideas are the only weapons we have against despotism."
"Since we toss around complex with the same abandon as nuanced, I'll define how I think of complexity in history. Complexity in human affairs arises from the fact that human beings are never single-minded in their efforts and decisions, and events never slide along a predictable cause and effect continuum. Getting across this point has always been more important to me than raising consciousness about past injustices or rallying students to the heroism of dissenters and reformers."
"A hundred and fifty years ago, historians exalted the nation's commercial values as proof of democratic vigor; since the Progressives they have focused more upon those groups that failed to benefit from a profit-driven economy. Perhaps now, as the twentieth century closes, we may be ready to explore the social complexity of our entrepreneurial system while shedding the celebratory and compensatory burdens of our predecessors."
Kenneth R. Gregg
Gottfried Dietze (1920-7/10/2006), classical liberal historian, died recently in Washington, D.C. He devoted his life to his teaching at Johns Hopkins, and his scholarship on the nature of liberty, the rule of law, and government.
Dietze was a Wehrmacht soldier and friend of Otto Skorzeny, with a recorded 5 wins in air-to-air combat during WWII. A student and friend of Carl Schmitt who had studied with him at Berlin, Dietze would also study at Goettingen and Hamburg, and with Max Weber's brother in Heidelberg where he received his Dr. Jur. in 1949 under Walter Jellinek, professor of constitutional law. Following the end of his studies in Germany, he traveled to America to complete his education; his hatred of Hitler and the effects of national socialism would become a character of his personality. After a scholarship enabled him to enroll in the PhD program at Harvard, he left after a year for Princeton University, where he earned his Ph.D. with a thesis on"free government", later published as his influential work, The Federalist.
Author of the The Federalist and In Defense of Property, as well as many other acclaimed works (see below), he was a proponent of the rule of law, although his sense of law was more an emphasis of just law or natural law. He was a personal friend of F.A. Hayek, Felix Morley, the current Pope (when he was a professor), and one of the first members of the Mount Pelerin Society.
By 1954, Dietze joined the John Hopkins University in Baltimore and Washington (he marked his 50th anniversary there two years ago) where he had been Director of the Political Science Department and taught comparative government. It had been reported that Dietze was in peparation of a work, Germany Turning, with the support of the Earhart Foundation.I do not know the status of this work.
My greatest personal debt to Dietze is for his studies in property theory, which strongly influenced me in the late 1960's. His In Defense of Property was available through the Intercollegiate Studies Institute then, and greatly aided me in the process of understanding liberty. In his research on the Protestant tradition within general property theory in In Defense of Property (p. 18. See Calvin's Institutes, Book II, 8, 45-46; and Book IV,20, 3, 8, 13, 20, 24.), he pointed out that
"Luther’s support of private property was matched by John Calvin. Calvin was so emphatic about the value of property that he was said to have enthroned the doctrine of the divine right of property. He realized that common ownership is utopian and denounced the Anabaptists’ plan to abolish property and inequality. God, the supreme legislator, by decreeing ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ ordained the protection of property. What each individual possesses has not fallen to him by chance, but by the distribution of the Sovereign Lord of all. Criticizing idleness as sinful, Calvin felt that God ordained the possession of property as a reward for labor. Property gives man incentive and provides the basis of human progress. It can and should be used to acquire more property. It gives a man a vocation, enables him to provide for his family, and to help others. It is necessary for the peace of society. In view of its extensive blessings, Calvin urged that the institution of property be maintained and that counsel and aid be loaned to those who want to retain their belongings. The state should see to it that every person may enjoy his property without molestation. The prince who squanders the property of his subjects is a tyrant."Indeed, as he notes (p. 20. quoting from Six Bookes of the Commonweale), Jean Bodin wrote in 1606 that
"property is such a fundamental institution that the degree of civilization can be measured by the severity of punishment for infringements upon property, such as theft. A prince, no matter how great his authority...could not justify infringements upon private property. The claim that the king exercises dominium over all things within his imperium is based upon a misinterpretation of Roman law, for"every subject hath the true proprietie of his own things, and may therefore dispose at his pleasure." The king, no matter how great his temporal powers may be, is still bound by the law of nature and the laws of the realm, and cannot arbitrarily infringe upon property rights."and that William Blackstone (p. 27. from his Commentaries, 12th ed. 1794) explained that property could be expanded by law, but not restricted:
"The English government, whenever regulating private property, was bound by natural law. English law itself was part of the law of nature. The latter was coeval with mankind, and dictated by God himself,...binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times. No human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original."Gottfried Dietze was one of the pioneers of the modern libertarian movement as well as a great classical liberal thinker.
The following is a list of Gottfried Dietze's published books:
- Über die Formulierung der Menschrechte, 1956.
- Natural law in the modern European constitutions, 1956.
- Judicial review in Europe, 1957.
- The Federal Republic of Germany; an evaluation after ten years, 1958.
- America and Europe--decline and emergence of judicial review, 1958.
- The Federalist, 1960.
- In Defense of Property, 1963 (in Spanish, 1988).
- Essays on the American Constitution a Commemorative Volume in Honor of Alpheus T. Mason (editor), 1964.
- Magna Carta and Property, 1965.
- America's Political Dilemma: From Limited to Unlimited Democracy, 1968.
- Youth, University and Democracy, 1970 (in Spanish, 1972).
- Bedeutungswandel der Menschenrechte, 1972.
- Two Concepts of the Rule of Law, 1973.
- Freiheit und Eigentum in der amerikanischen Überlieferung, 1976
- Champions of Freedom, 1976 (co-editor)
- Zur Verteidigung des Eigentums, 1978.
- Herder: ein Lesebuch für unsere Zeit, 1978.
- Deutschland, wo bist Du? : suchende Gedanken aus Washington, 1980.
- Kant und der Rechtsstaat, 1982.
- Liberalism Proper and Proper Liberalism, 1984.
- Reiner Liberalismus, 1985.
- Konservativer Liberalismus in Amerika, 1987.
- Liberaler Kommentar zur amerikanischen Verfassung, 1988.
- Amerikanische Demokratie: Wesen des praktischen Liberalismus, 1988.
- Politik, Wissenschaft, 1989.
- Der Hitler-Komplex, 1990.
- Liberale Demokratie, 1992.
- American Democracy: Aspects of Practical Liberalism, 1993.
- Problematik der Menschenrechte, 1995.
- Briefe aus Amerika: Befreiende Essays zur deutschen Lage, 1995.
- Begriff des Rechts, 1997.
- Deutschland, 1999
- Amerikas Schuldgefühl, 2005
Amy H. Sturgis
In our culture of default victimhood, those who advocate nanny-state regulations enjoy playing the blame game because it advances their own special interests. TV is a reliable scapegoat.
Read the article.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra
A new book entitled Ayn Rand at 100, edited by Tibor Machan, makes its debut on Wednesday, August 16, 2006. And it is being published by the Liberty Institute in India!!! The book synopsis states:"Eminent authors discuss the impact [Ayn Rand] has had on their contribution to philosophy and, most importantly, Rand’s Indian connection."
A reprint of one of my Rand Centenary articles appears in the anthology, along with an essay by one of my L&P colleagues, Roderick Long. Here's the Table of Contents:
Preface : Tibor R. Machan: Ayn Rand at 100
Chapter 1: Bibek Debroy: Ayn Rand - The Indian Connection
Chapter 2: Tibor R. Machan: Rand and Her Significant Contributions
Chapter 3: J. E. Chesher: Ayn Rand’s Contribution to Moral Philosophy
Chapter 4: George Reisman: Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises
Chapter 5: Robert White: Ayn Rand’s Contribution to Liberal Thought
Chapter 6: Roderick T. Long: Ayn Rand and Indian Philosophy
Chapter 7: Chris Matthew Sciabarra: Ayn Rand - A Centennial Appreciation
Chapter 8: Fred Seddon: Ayn Rand - An Appreciation
Chapter 9: Elaine Sternberg: Why Ayn Rand Matters: Metaphysics, Morals, and Liberty
Chapter 10: Douglas Den Uyl : Rand's First Great Hit, The Fountainhead
Cross-posted to Notablog.
David T. Beito
A statistical analysis of four national intelligence tests indicates that the difference in scores between blacks and whites decreased by about a third between 1972 and 2002. The findings challenge a century-old argument that the racial gap in performance on IQ tests is primarily genetic and therefore invulnerable to social change, say the researchers who performed the new study.
They examined data that have only recently become available to researchers, says William Dickens of the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Using test results from a random distribution of people in the United States, he and James R. Flynn of the University of Otago in New Zealand tallied the increases in IQ scores of blacks and whites over 3 decades. Each of the four tests analyzed included two or three groups of people that took the test at different times.
David T. Beito
Jeffrey Rogers Hummel
The Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy by Adam Tooze.
Air Force Gen. John Jumper has announced that the American Empire's idea of Iraqi "Democracy" includes four, huge, permanent Air Bases, with all of the troops, etc., that will be needed to protect such enormous facilities in perpetuity. Welcome to four new versions of Guantanamo, East, folks!
Probably, that won't be in the new Constitution, but rather tacked on as a treaty, as we did in Cuba after 1898. Incredible, how the face of Empire changes so little over a century!
Eric Margolis suggests this is pretty much like the arch-Imperialist, Winston Churchill's, British plans of the 1920s, when Iraq was carved out of the Ottoman Empire as oil was discovered, and the RAF took charge.
I would point out, it is also very much like America in 1768, when the British sent 10,000 troops to occupy us, until that"Standing Army" was chased out of Boston in 1776, and settled into New York City until 1783. It was such imperial shenanigans that caused Patrick Henry to utter,"Give Me Liberty, or Give Me Death!"
The American historian, Mercy Otis Warren, writing her history in 1805, rightly called that October day in 1768, the real beginning of the American Revolution, and a"day" that would live"in infamy." Good, 'ol FDR later borrowed that phrase on December 8, 1941.
Many Americans, apparently, see no contradiction between mouthing the ideas and slogans of our own Revolution, while at the same time denying them to other peoples around the globe, all the while blathering on about bringing these people"Democracy." Nothing like Empire coupled with hypocrisy! No wonder much of the world hates us.
This is also the kind of stuff Joe Stalin preached and practiced in Eastern Europe after WWII. He was happy to help all of those captive nations write constitutions modeled on the Soviet Constitution of 1936, a great sounding document, under which he killed millions of Russians.
Since our"new" policy is built on what we did in Cuba a century ago, don't be surprised if this produces an Iraqi version of Fidel Castro somewhere down the line. The British policy, after all, produced Saddam Hussein, and the Insurgency now raging in Iraq, will probably simply continue.
While Fidel is a nasty dictator, he appears to be in charge, even in the face of even a Category 5 hurricane last year, when 1.5 million Cubans were safely evacuated, with no loss of life, and no looting, although 20,000 buildings were destroyed by the storm. Compare that to the fiasco today on our Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans, in the wake of hurricane Katrina.
Maybe Bush can hire some of those"nation building" Cubans who gave us such a hard time in Grenada in the 1980s, and are now active in Venezuela, and other parts of Latin America. Whatever else Cuba is, it has a lower infant mortality rate than does the US, and, apparently, a greater sense of community.