Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Most Visited Libertarian Websites

Rankings here from the Capital Free Press, blog post here introducing the rankings.  Carpe Diem ranks #25 out of 114.

120 Comments:

At 4/11/2012 4:05 PM, Blogger Bob said...

Not bad for someone not named "Paul".

 
At 4/11/2012 4:40 PM, Blogger NormanB said...

Libertarian? I didn't know you were a member of an -ism. I've thought you just present facts. So if you are an -ism its Factism and therefore you are a Factian.

 
At 4/11/2012 4:56 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Congratulations, Mark! Well deserved!

And since I refuse to join Facebook to comment on Cafe Hayek, congratulations to Don and Russ on making it into the top 40!

 
At 4/11/2012 5:15 PM, Blogger rjs said...

looks like i dont rank...

 
At 4/11/2012 6:15 PM, Blogger AIG said...

All one needs to know about "libertarians" of today...Lew Rockwell.

How sad. Just like the religious right has corrupted conservatism, nut-jobary has corrupted libertarianism.

 
At 4/11/2012 6:35 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Yep, we can all be summed as "Lew Rockwell" because we are not individuals but a giant, indistinguishable mass identified as the Libertarian you like least. We are each interchangeable with the other.

That's the Soviet spirit, AIG!

 
At 4/11/2012 6:41 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Yep, we can all be summed as "Lew Rockwell" because we are not individuals but a giant, indistinguishable mass identified as the Libertarian you like least

Well not you! I put "libertarians" in parentheses for a reason. Its just a certain type...you know which type.

These days when you tell people you are a libertarian (as I AM), you necessarily have to add "but not that type of libertarian!". And I'm tired of having to add that.

 
At 4/11/2012 7:21 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I have to say that I don't know that much about Lew Rockwell (except that he's against fractional reserve banking and he's a gold bug, I think - which I disagree with) and I'm not that worried about it. It's not my goal to be an expert on the libertarian movements and all of its splinters and I was not dropped on earth to educate every ignoramous.

However, I did spend the 90's in New York City and because I am a Russian woman it was assumed that I was a slut. It was taken as a given that all Russian women were because after the demise of the Soviet system, many Russian women's best earning opportunity was in prostitution. Russian whores invaded Manhattan and tainted us all! They were called "Natashas".

If you think you have it bad as a libertarian, imagine introducing yourself as Not A Whore!

(I never did. Like I give a damn what they thought. Besides, I had more respect for the whores than the most of the guys I worked with on Wall Street.)

 
At 4/11/2012 8:18 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Yes well I have to remind people that I don't know people who know people, cause I'm not in the mafia :) But, our experiences with this case aren't similar to this whole "libertarian" affair. I agree with you on about 99.9% of things, but we're not dogmatic and whatever differences we may have on the other 0.1% of things, we understand that both of our positions are reasonable, and CAN be held by people who can be perfectly free market etc.

The problem is, when one becomes so dogmatic that one takes it upon themselves to condemn those who disagree with you as "the enemy", because they disagree with you on 0.1% of things.

As a Russian, this ought to remind you of something. Communists tend to splinter into such groups that in the end, end up killing each other over petty differences. Now of course, these are not communists. But this behavior exemplifies a certain personal characteristic (which, like Mao's gangs, is also mostly composed of young idealistic kids)

Alas, when you see Murry Rothbard fans attack Milton Friedman as a "statist"...one has to put one's hands on top of one's head, and walk away as fast as possible.

 
At 4/11/2012 8:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

But, our experiences with this case aren't similar to this whole "libertarian" affair. I agree with you on about 99.9% of things, but we're not dogmatic and whatever differences we may have on the other 0.1% of things, we understand that both of our positions are reasonable, and CAN be held by people who can be perfectly free market etc.

Isn't this a bit delusional of you? After all, you seem to have supported the growth of government all along the way and have made up all kinds of excuses for intervention as you refuse to see just how over-regulated your life really is. That is incompatible with supporting the free market.

The problem is, when one becomes so dogmatic that one takes it upon themselves to condemn those who disagree with you as "the enemy", because they disagree with you on 0.1% of things.

Nobody does that because the libertarian movement is not monolithic and there is honest disagreement on a number of issues. What cannot be tolerated is standing against principle and advocating 'practical policies' that limit liberty for the many as they enrich the few.

Alas, when you see Murry Rothbard fans attack Milton Friedman as a "statist"...one has to put one's hands on top of one's head, and walk away as fast as possible.

But Friedman was a statist. He tried to make government more effective and advocated that it steal 2-3% of your purchasing power every year. He did not believe in moral principles but in general utility. While his ideas on many subjects were great his methodology was not very good and his work on monetary theory was very inferior.

 
At 4/11/2012 8:48 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I caught a video of a talk Deirdre McClosky gave in England on her transition from male to female. She talked about exactly that very thing you describe - that you tend to fight the hardest with the people right beside you. Libertarians whack at each other harder than at others. In her case, one example was a reviewer of her memoir went so far as to insult her (deeply) by insisting on referring to her as "he" in his rather scathing review.

It's like I say to my husband: "If I can't scream at and terrorize you, my nearest and dearest, then who am I going to yell at and terrorize?"

I think you're right that it's not unique to communists. In part, it's a fight for control of the ideology and in part it's the fact that the people nearest you can offend you more deeply and evoke a stronger emotion. Plus, wasn't Rothbard kind of an asshole?

 
At 4/11/2012 9:01 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Also, AIG, I think that if the small part you don't agree about is a key issue, you're going to have some vicious disagreement.

Also, "statist" is a little arbitrarily defined. There's no bright line between "statist" and "not statist" so far as I can tell.

I have nothing but the deepest admiration for Milton Friedman. Yet, I don't agree with everything Friedman advocated. Certainly his son also prefers far less government than Milton Friedman did - and in his lifetime. As far as I know, father and son got along splendidly despite that difference.

To Vange, Friedman was a statist. Well, I can understand his argument even if I may stop short of labeling him so. But, I don't think Vange means it as an attack on Friedman either. It seems more like judgement of Friedman's philosophical views.

 
At 4/12/2012 5:06 AM, OpenID moneyjihad said...

The "Electronic Frontier Foundation" is #2? I'd never heard of them..

 
At 4/12/2012 7:09 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Also, AIG, I think that if the small part you don't agree about is a key issue, you're going to have some vicious disagreement.

Correct. If you abandon principle and make it possible for others to attack the position because it is not based on logic and principle you deserve to be attacked. That was the issue with Friedman for many libertarians. Although they agreed with him on many of the issues that he spoke out on they attacked his methodology. (As they should have.)

Also, "statist" is a little arbitrarily defined. There's no bright line between "statist" and "not statist" so far as I can tell.

It is not that ambiguous. When people argue that the government should make many of its activities more efficient rather than call for it to stop doing what should be done by private individuals and companies you are a statist. When you argue that there should be a monopoly on money creation by a government sponsored entity you are a statist.

I have nothing but the deepest admiration for Milton Friedman. Yet, I don't agree with everything Friedman advocated. Certainly his son also prefers far less government than Milton Friedman did - and in his lifetime. As far as I know, father and son got along splendidly despite that difference.

The problem is that David has some of the same shortcomings as his father and is essentially a moral relativist.

To Vange, Friedman was a statist. Well, I can understand his argument even if I may stop short of labeling him so. But, I don't think Vange means it as an attack on Friedman either. It seems more like judgement of Friedman's philosophical views.

I use Friedman's videos to teach my children and I do not have a problem with much of what he said or did. My issue is his moral relativist approach, which allows sound libertarian principles to be attacked. I also think that Friedman was weakest on the subject of money and offered legitimacy to the Fed even as he critiqued many of its policies.

For libertarians one of the most important issues is rights. Where do rights come from? On that front Rothbard, warts and all, was quite sound. But on that issue Friedman was a failure.

 
At 4/12/2012 7:53 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

It is not that ambiguous. When people argue that the government should make many of its activities more efficient rather than call for it to stop doing what should be done by private individuals and companies you are a statist. When you argue that there should be a monopoly on money creation by a government sponsored entity you are a statist.

It is that ambiguous. The ambiguity is here: "...rather than call for it to stop doing what should be done by private individuals and companies...".

Which activities should be performed by government and which by private industry are the focal point of the debate. Now, look, I think my preferences are very much in line with yours. I think I might have become an anarchist at some point in my journey and I realized this about a year and a half ago. However, that doesn't change the fact that who should do what is a legitimate debate for people and that debate is centered around preferences and perspectives.

So, you are inclined to categorize anyone who wants government to perform tasks you prefer private actors to perform as "statist". I may not be so rigid (and in some cases I may). The line for you may be bright, but the line in general is not.

 
At 4/12/2012 9:44 AM, Blogger AIG said...

sn't this a bit delusional of you? After all, you seem to have supported the growth of government all along the way and have made up all kinds of excuses for intervention as you refuse to see just how over-regulated your life really is. That is incompatible with supporting the free market.

You see Methinks. I am an enemy of the people.

Nobody does that because the libertarian movement is not monolithic and there is honest disagreement on a number of issues. What cannot be tolerated is standing against principle and advocating 'practical policies' that limit liberty for the many as they enrich the few.

You see Methinks. Like Comrade Mao said, people are free to express all their opinions. Except the enemies of the people :)

But Friedman was a statist.

You see Methinks. Enemies of the people, are everywhere.

 
At 4/12/2012 9:54 AM, Blogger AIG said...

I think you're right that it's not unique to communists. In part, it's a fight for control of the ideology

It is precisely ideology that is the problem. This sort of behavior isn't limited to communists, certainly. It is also found amongst religious fundamentalists.

Tendencies for "cults of personality", tendencies to start or end every statement with "you should do some reading on this!", ie the belief in holy scripture, as well as tendencies to be an attractive "ideology" amongst the young and impressionable.

As someone who did come from a communist country, like yourself, I find all these behavioral traits to be distasteful.

Markets, personal freedom, classical liberalism...human nature, the creation of wealth. These are not "ideologies". It is when people treat them as "ideologies", that one ends up with mass-psychosis like the Ron Paul phenomenon. But all I see when I see Ron Paul zombies...is Mao Tse Tung youth parading with little red books, beating up former communists who were not "revolutionary" enough.

Plus, wasn't Rothbard kind of an asshole?

I've been informed he was the greatest economist of all times. Its only a grand conspiracy from academicians that has kept him from being recognized as such. (he is like Trotsky, or Ali; the hero for the underdog in the ideological mind)

 
At 4/12/2012 10:03 AM, Blogger AIG said...

It is when people like VangeIV start to think that "economic utility" is a matter of "ideology", that one really gets a glimpse into the madness of ideology.

It's little different from communist "scientists" in Stalin's time making sure that "biological science" came to the "right" conclusions.

So it is with these people who call themselves "libertarians" these days. It is important to them that any study of inputs and outputs on any system come to the "right" conclusions. If they don't, it is usually attributes to "falsifications", "government propaganda", etc. A Toyota Prius gets 50 mpg? Certainly EPA lies! Unemployment numbers fluctuate? Propaganda! Inflation is not occurring? Clearly falsified data.

 
At 4/12/2012 10:41 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

It is important to them that any study of inputs and outputs on any system come to the "right" conclusions. If they don't, it is usually attributes to "falsifications", "government propaganda", etc.

==============================

Yup.

Ideology before facts. If the facts don;t fit the ideology, the facts are wrong and the delivery boy is a traitor.

 
At 4/12/2012 10:43 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Just like the religious right has corrupted conservatism, nut-jobary has corrupted libertarianism.

============================

Yup.

Let's grow our ism by only admitting peole exactly like us.

Good plan.

 
At 4/12/2012 10:45 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Where do rights come from?


We give them to each other. You are allowed to have as many as you are willing to give.

 
At 4/12/2012 10:48 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

It is that ambiguous. The ambiguity is here: "...rather than call for it to stop doing what should be done by private individuals and companies...".

Which activities should be performed by government and which by private industry are the focal point of the debate.


That is not very ambiguous at all. Stop taxing people to pay for services that they do not want and let the government compete. Given their poor quality do you really think that government schools would survive if they had to attract paying customers?

Now, look, I think my preferences are very much in line with yours. I think I might have become an anarchist at some point in my journey and I realized this about a year and a half ago. However, that doesn't change the fact that who should do what is a legitimate debate for people and that debate is centered around preferences and perspectives.

But it is not legitimate. The issue is who should pay and what should they pay for. Why should I pay for an Opera House if I do not like opera? Why should I pay for a public education monopoly that fails to educate kids properly and teaches propaganda rather than facts?

An anarcho-capitalist would argue that we should have open competition. Let the people who want the government to educate their kids pay the government out of their own taxes for the service. Let the rest of us choose the schools that we want. And let me remind you that we need to get rid of the certification monopoly that keeps some institutions from entering the education business and also open up the certification process to competition.

If that were to happen you would see the Ivy League schools come crashing down and would see all those PC oriented institutions get wiped out. While I am on this topic let me point out that one of the major reasons why we have seen a bubble in higher education can be traced to the government prohibition on employer use of 'discriminatory' testing and the difficulty of getting rid of incompetent employees. Correct that problem and you wind up with a leaner and much more effective system. Note that the problems were all caused by government meddling with the market and with individual liberty.

So, you are inclined to categorize anyone who wants government to perform tasks you prefer private actors to perform as "statist".

No. I am inclined to categorize anyone who wants people to pay for monopoly services performed by government as "statist". I have no problem with you and your pals directing your taxes to have government educate your kids. I only ask that I am permitted to divert my taxes to a private school that is able to teach my kids in the way that I want taught.

I may not be so rigid (and in some cases I may). The line for you may be bright, but the line in general is not.

That is because you are ignoring morality and property rights. The line becomes much brighter when you know what to look for.

Since I spent so much time on the public education issue let me leave you with this:

Pauline Dixon - How Private Schools Are Serving the Poorest

The Dark Intentions of Public Schooling

 
At 4/12/2012 11:09 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Where do rights come from?


We give them to each other. You are allowed to have as many as you are willing to give.


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

The great man who wrote the words above pointed out that we were born with our natural rights. (Life. Liberty. Property.) It is only to protect these rights that we form governments. We certainly do not get those rights from government or from other people.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Such sentiment would have the DHS categorize the writer of the Declaration as an extremist.

 
At 4/12/2012 11:40 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Ideology before facts. If the facts don;t fit the ideology, the facts are wrong and the delivery boy is a traitor.

Yup

Let's grow our ism by only admitting peole exactly like us.

Yup

Which is why these people who call themselves "libertarians" today, are more harmful than useful.

 
At 4/12/2012 12:11 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Funny you should mention it, AIG. I am an official Enemy of the People!

I have the documents to prove it.

I was declared an Enemy of the People (and possibly an Enemy of the Revolution - I can't remember what all they were yammering about. We were all sort of concentrated on the fact that they were letting us out of the country) in 1975. At the time, my birth certificate was shredded and I was stripped of citizenship by the Soviets.

It hasn't been that much fun to live without a birth certificate, but I am proud to be an Enemy of the People.

 
At 4/12/2012 12:14 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I'm also pretty sure that I'm on the list of Enemies of Hope and Change from back in the day when I was actively opposing Obama's Healthcare Miracle.

 
At 4/12/2012 1:15 PM, Blogger AIG said...

but I am proud to be an Enemy of the People.

I am also very proud to be an enemy of...these people ;)

 
At 4/12/2012 2:57 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

Vangy, the problem with your hardline stance is that you sound like a madman to 90% of the population. Now that's all fine and dandy because who cares what they think, but most of those 90% think it's just fine to vote to take your money.

I am a libertarian, and I think that the philosophical justification for minimalist government through libertarian principles is the best justification, but a LOT of people are incapable or unwilling to understand the philosophical approach. That's why I also like to use the utilitarian approach - I suppose I'd qualify as a bleeding heart libertarian because one of the reasons I'm so passionate about freedom is that it actually produces the best outcomes in almost all cases!

Many might despise my version of libertarian because I am an incrementalist. There is zero hope that we will be living in an anarcho-capitalist state in my lifetime, but what we CAN do is make things a little bit better. The end game for education is to remove tax dollars from it altogether right? No government schools, no vouchers, no nothing. That's just not going to happen, and so I advocate vouchers, or "packpack funding".

Finally, the worst thing about the Rothbardian faction is that it's hard for non-libertarians to find any common ground with them. If you can't find any common ground with the people in control, you have very little chance of actually achieving your goals.

 
At 4/12/2012 3:25 PM, Blogger AIG said...

but a LOT of people are incapable or unwilling to understand the philosophical approach...

...one of the reasons I'm so passionate about freedom is that it actually produces the best outcomes in almost all cases


But that's not a philosophical approach :) That's the opposite of it. Capitalism and markets aren't a philosophy, or an ideology, anymore than biological evolution, or language are. They are a force of nature.

Only in the Soviet Union, were forces of nature supposed to provide the "right" results. In the Soviet Union, and in Murry Rothbard's books.

Bill Buckley, I think it was Buckley but it could have been someone before him, said that conservatism is the absence of ideology. He was probably describing libertarianism, as it once was.

But gone are those days. Now "we" pride ourselves that "we" are a "youth movement". The "youth" are the vanguard of every idiocy in the world.

 
At 4/12/2012 3:57 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Misterjosh says a lot of good, sensible stuff. I'm not sure yours is a version of libertarianism, though, Misterjosh. It appears to be more of a method of getting closer to the ideal.

Ideally, I'd like to live in a world with virtually no government. But, I'll take more freedom over less any day.

We are forced to live in the world of the possible and the probable. The world of ideal is inaccessible to us.

 
At 4/12/2012 4:09 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

AIG - I don't really understand the first part of your last comment. Perhaps I am using the word "philosophy" poorly? What is the opposite of a philosophical approach? How are you defining the "right" results?

I was trying to separate two different ways of trying to convince others that liberty is a good idea. One is through reasoning & logic (what I referred to as philosophical) and the other is through objective evidence that liberty produces positive outcomes (what I called the utilitarian approach). I think that the reason & logic approach is the stronger one because, as you say, forces of nature don't always behave in predictable and/or desirable ways.

I've never understood the scorn for ideology. What's wrong with having a system of ideas and ideals? What do you have if you don't have an ideology?

I fear that your disdain for "the youth" might be as exclusionary and unproductive as Rothbardian purity tests.

 
At 4/12/2012 4:34 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Perhaps I am using the word "philosophy" poorly? What is the opposite of a philosophical approach?

Reason, logic and philosophy are not synonymous. Of course, every philosophy claims to be based on reason and logic.

I've never understood the scorn for ideology. What's wrong with having a system of ideas and ideals? What do you have if you don't have an ideology?

I think the definition of the word itself provides some insight:
1.the body of doctrine, myth, belief, etc., that guides an individual, social movement, institution, class, or large group.
2.such a body of doctrine, myth, etc., with reference to some political and social plan, as that of fascism, along with the devices for putting it into operation.
3.Philosophy .
a.the study of the nature and origin of ideas.
b.a system that derives ideas exclusively from sensation.
4.theorizing of a visionary or impractical nature.

If you don't have an ideology, you have a free market.

To illustrate why "ideology" is harmful, and I'm not talking about the self-evident examples of communism, fascism etc...but rather our dear old self-proclaimed friends of "freedom"; look at Ron Paul. We've had the conversation here for example, as to what exactly breeds this fascination with "gold". Why gold, after all, and not another system? If the evidence points towards something else, do their ideas change? The answer of course, is no. Their response to this inquiry is to tell you "well Hayek once said gold was good, and Milton once said that gold was good, therefore!". But is IMPOSING a gold standard on society, somehow related to FREE markets? A gold standard necessitates an imposition, after all.

But the point is, one can make an economic and practical argument for one or another. But when one makes an ideological argument for something, you end up with the Red Guard and Ron Paul. Ron Paul can scream freedom all he wants. The Red Guards did that too.

 
At 4/12/2012 4:41 PM, Blogger AIG said...

I fear that your disdain for "the youth" might be as exclusionary and unproductive as Rothbardian purity tests.

I have no disdain for the "youth" of course. I'm certainly younger than most people who post here. I'd certainly fall in the category of the "youth", that drool over Ron Paul, age wise at least.

My point was the self-gratification of the "libertarian" movement that they are "attracting the youth". Attracting the youth, is hardly an accomplishment.

If you turn the libertarian "movement" away from being one which attracted intellectuals and influencers in society...towards a movement that attracts social-misfits, under-achievers, pot-heads, and conspiracy theorists, you're only building a parallel movement to Occupy Wall Street.

My point was, don't pride yourself on the flash and dazzle of noise-makers. Pride yourself on the intellectuals you influence.

 
At 4/12/2012 4:46 PM, Blogger AIG said...

How are you defining the "right" results?

I don't. But if those results don't involve "gold", do "they" accept those results? Ahh...sometimes I crack myself up with my own questions!

 
At 4/12/2012 4:47 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vangy, the problem with your hardline stance is that you sound like a madman to 90% of the population. Now that's all fine and dandy because who cares what they think, but most of those 90% think it's just fine to vote to take your money.

Nonsense. The 90% have never written any laws and wind up being screwed. The people hurt the most are the middle class individuals who have earned income. Sadly, given the incentives in the system that makes up the 'sucker' class.

I am a libertarian, and I think that the philosophical justification for minimalist government through libertarian principles is the best justification, but a LOT of people are incapable or unwilling to understand the philosophical approach. That's why I also like to use the utilitarian approach - I suppose I'd qualify as a bleeding heart libertarian because one of the reasons I'm so passionate about freedom is that it actually produces the best outcomes in almost all cases!

Once you give in on the principles you have no argument to support libertarian ideas. After all who decides what makes sense from the utilitarian perspective? It certainly won't be you.

Many might despise my version of libertarian because I am an incrementalist. There is zero hope that we will be living in an anarcho-capitalist state in my lifetime, but what we CAN do is make things a little bit better.

Some would argue that by making an evil system a 'little bit better' you are just prolonging the suffering for most of the productive individuals who pay for that system. Why is that desirable?

The end game for education is to remove tax dollars from it altogether right? No government schools, no vouchers, no nothing. That's just not going to happen, and so I advocate vouchers, or "packpack funding".

That only prolongs the inevitable and condemns more children to a life of ignorance and mediocrity. Much of the rest of the world is choosing to compete by taking the very inexpensive route of finding useful educational material for free on-line. The children who take that route and avoid the mindless, PC curriculum that teaches students to be obedient will do better over the long run. There is no advantage to having children raised in bubbles of obedience and ignorance.

Finally, the worst thing about the Rothbardian faction is that it's hard for non-libertarians to find any common ground with them. If you can't find any common ground with the people in control, you have very little chance of actually achieving your goals.

I don't know about you but I have had little problem reaching my goals. The best way for me to improve society is to improve my own thinking and my own standard of living first. I have no desire to take from anyone or to get robbed by anyone. So far it has been easy to do both. Of course it helps to live in a freer country where the government is less intrusive and much less enthusiastic about oppressing the population.

 
At 4/12/2012 5:04 PM, Blogger Paul said...

AIG,

"Bill Buckley, I think it was Buckley but it could have been someone before him, said that conservatism is the absence of ideology. He was probably describing libertarianism, as it once was."

Think that was Russell Kirk.

 
At 4/12/2012 5:05 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

That only prolongs the inevitable and condemns more children to a life of ignorance and mediocrity.

To this I say the same thing I say to those do-gooders who want to deny work to children in underdeveloped countries: The alternative is worse. The alternative is not user pays education. The culture won't support it. Vouchers may be working within a less preferable system, but it's easier to take step two and three if you're already taken step one and discovered the world as you know it has not collapsed. It may even be better.

There's no reason to believe that if parents have a choice, schools won't compete and that competition is unlikely to produce the weird, homogeneous environment you describe. That's just the nature of competition.

Some would argue that by making an evil system a 'little bit better' you are just prolonging the suffering for most of the productive individuals who pay for that system. Why is that desirable?

Because full scale revolution is not as cool, romantic or predictable as people who haven't been through one would expect.

 
At 4/12/2012 5:22 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

AIG -
I think the definition of the word itself provides some insight
I think I've found the source of our "ideology" discord. I've been thinking of it as only the first definition. By that definition every thinking entity has an ideology. Same thing with philosophy - I was using it in the primal definition - the love of wisdom, the study of fundamental problems. "A philosophy" often has very little to do with philosophy.

is IMPOSING a gold standard on society, somehow related to FREE markets?
Ron Paul is not my favorite libertarian, but I think you incorrectly malign him here. He's certainly a gold bug, but to my knowledge he has not talked about imposing a gold standard. What I HAVE heard is that he would allow competing currencies, and end the imposition of fiat money.

Attracting the youth, is hardly an accomplishment.
Liberty isn't a particularly popular notion. I'll happily welcome anybody who is starting down the path of "hey - maybe less government and more freedom is a good thing..."

Vange
The 90% have never written any laws and wind up being screwed. The people hurt the most are the middle class individuals who have earned income.
I agree, but that 90% keep voting for people who promise to give them other other peoples' money.

you are just prolonging the suffering for most of the productive individuals who pay for that system
You are a more hopeful man than me. I am an cynical bastard & I think that we will always be stuck with an evil system & that the best we can do is to make it better. If I see a way to end the evil system, I will support it.

I don't know about you but I have had little problem reaching my goals
Good point - I spoke too generally. I think that if one's goal is to end or change an evil system, they will have a hard time accomplishing that goal without finding some common ground with the people who are currently in power.

 
At 4/12/2012 5:26 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"Some would argue that by making an evil system a 'little bit better' you are just prolonging the suffering for most of the productive individuals who pay for that system. Why is that desirable?"

What a load. If I earn an extra dollar, I'm a dollar richer. If government is rolled back a unit, we are a unit more free.

Vangel's sentiment is the guiding philosophy of the Lew Rockwell fan club. It's the Ron Paul path of sitting on your high horse, declaring everyone else corrupt, and accomplishing squat for the cause you supposedly believe in.

Nobody cares which way you want the wagon to go if you aren't willing to help push.

 
At 4/12/2012 6:48 PM, Blogger AIG said...

but to my knowledge he has not talked about imposing a gold standard.

A gold standard is necessarily imposed, otherwise its meaningless.

Liberty isn't a particularly popular notion.

Its only second in popularity to chocolate ice cream. Being for "freedom" is as old as the idea itself. It ain't much of an achievement to say you're for it.

Vangel's sentiment is the guiding philosophy of the Lew Rockwell fan club. It's the Ron Paul path of sitting on your high horse, declaring everyone else corrupt, and accomplishing squat for the cause you supposedly believe in.

Yep. Although, I'd say it could be worst, they could do something. Sometimes its best if "they " don't do anything.

 
At 4/12/2012 7:21 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I disagree that liberty is an unpopular notion.

Liberty for oneself is tremendously popular. It's those other people you have to pen in.

 
At 4/12/2012 9:59 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

To this I say the same thing I say to those do-gooders who want to deny work to children in underdeveloped countries: The alternative is worse. The alternative is not user pays education. The culture won't support it. Vouchers may be working within a less preferable system, but it's easier to take step two and three if you're already taken step one and discovered the world as you know it has not collapsed. It may even be better.

They perpetuate a morally and intellectually bankrupt system that harms children and their parents. And let me point out that I do not advocate the end of government schools because anyone who supports them can direct their taxes to them. I only ask that others are able to direct their taxes to the schools that they support.

There's no reason to believe that if parents have a choice, schools won't compete and that competition is unlikely to produce the weird, homogeneous environment you describe. That's just the nature of competition.

But charter schools don't compete all that well because the agenda and curriculum are still set by the government. I ask for real competition, not for the make believe kind that you seem to support.

Because full scale revolution is not as cool, romantic or predictable as people who haven't been through one would expect.

Governments depend on the consent of the governed and the ability to pay. The way I see it both of those factors are now in play.

 
At 4/13/2012 7:20 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Ron Paul is not my favorite libertarian, but I think you incorrectly malign him here. He's certainly a gold bug, but to my knowledge he has not talked about imposing a gold standard. What I HAVE heard is that he would allow competing currencies, and end the imposition of fiat money.

Our friend does not believe that the government mandated monetary monopoly should have any competition because without the ability to rob people by the printing of fiat money there would be no easy way to expand the warfare/welfare state. If American taxpayers had to pay for the war in Iraq directly they may have asked for actual evidence and a real declaration rather than blindly believe Bush's lies. If they had to pay directly for all of the current Obama adventures they would rise up and demand that their representatives put a stop to them.

I agree, but that 90% keep voting for people who promise to give them other other peoples' money.

My point stands. They keep voting for liars but don't have any say in the actual legislation that is passed and affects their daily lives. Both the Democrats and Republicans have fascist tendencies since they believe in a government-business partnership and both screw the average voter and taxpayer.

 
At 4/13/2012 7:20 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

continued...

You are a more hopeful man than me. I am an cynical bastard & I think that we will always be stuck with an evil system & that the best we can do is to make it better. If I see a way to end the evil system, I will support it.

Frankly, I am quite capable of navigating any system and believe that any rational person who is well informed can do the same. As such I have the luxury to stand up for principle rather than destroy the only sound arguments that I have for liberty by compromising on trivia. We either own our bodies and have right to our property or we don't. There is no 'practical' middle ground and if one gets stuck by taking the 'yes, but' approach the principles no longer matter as a part of the argument. That is a path to perpetual tyranny that 99.9% of the population has taken. But as long as the other 0.1% remains there is still a lot of hope. That is particularly true now that many young people have seen the truth and have began to switch sides.

I think that if one's goal is to end or change an evil system, they will have a hard time accomplishing that goal without finding some common ground with the people who are currently in power.

But that can't happen without giving up on liberty. The people in power are very corrupt and need to keep bribing special interests in order to keep growing the size and impact of the state. That takes stealing from productive individuals who are needed for support or by debasing the purchasing power of the currency. Neither road is a viable one and the end game for both is major instability.

My question is what happens when the ruled no longer give their consent to the political parties that dominate your system. Let me point out that as an optimist I do not see a huge amount of violence by ordinary individuals being a part of the end game. I just worry that the American state security apparatus now surpasses that of most governments and is perfectly capable of squashing legitimate dissent. You have a president who claims the right to kill citizens without trial, a security agency that is in position to read every e-mail or listen in to every phone call made in the country without worry about encryption, police forces that can detain individuals without any reason, the ability to keep people imprisoned indefinitely without access to a judge, etc. This all happened because good people like you tried to find a middle ground while people like our friend cheered and encouraged the loss of liberty because they were afraid of a few violent idiots hiding in caves.

Sorry but I do not see just how your muddle ground strategy makes anything better or advances the cause of liberty. Yours is still one of the greatest countries in the world and not all is lost. I would not lose the principles on it was founded by being tolerant of those that would take away your liberty because they seek power or are just afraid.

 
At 4/13/2012 7:27 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"Some would argue that by making an evil system a 'little bit better' you are just prolonging the suffering for most of the productive individuals who pay for that system. Why is that desirable?"

What a load. If I earn an extra dollar, I'm a dollar richer. If government is rolled back a unit, we are a unit more free.


But you are not supporting rolling back government. You just supported a GOP budget proposal that would increase spending and increase deficits. Even its unrealistic projections do not claim a balanced budget until 2040. Sorry but I fail to see the difference between a big government Democrat and a big government Republican. Shouldn't someone be talking about real cuts that begin this year and balance the budget within five or less?

Vangel's sentiment is the guiding philosophy of the Lew Rockwell fan club. It's the Ron Paul path of sitting on your high horse, declaring everyone else corrupt, and accomplishing squat for the cause you supposedly believe in.

Not everyone is corrupt. But it is clear that if you support more spending and bigger government you are not exactly a friend of individual liberty. You fail to understand that when you divert resources away from private use they are wasted by bureaucrats who are far less able to allocate them effectively. Of course, if you understood that I would not expect you to support a budget that increases the size of government next year and for years to come.

Nobody cares which way you want the wagon to go if you aren't willing to help push.

I am willing to push. But not against liberty. You might want to think about that the next time you blindly support corrupt power seeking charlatans who say one thing but do another.

 
At 4/13/2012 7:33 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

"but to my knowledge he has not talked about imposing a gold standard."

A gold standard is necessarily imposed, otherwise its meaningless.


You are missing the point as usual. Nobody imposed the classical gold standard on the world. It was chosen by the market. That is what worries Bernanke and the statists. If the monetary system is open to competition the days of the fiat USD would be over very quickly because few would choose to lend to a bankrupt government that can only pay them back by devalued units.

What problem do you have with competition to the central planners? Are you still stuck with the Iron Curtain mentality?

Its only second in popularity to chocolate ice cream. Being for "freedom" is as old as the idea itself. It ain't much of an achievement to say you're for it.

Really? Then why do people vote for politicians who would limit their economic liberty (Democrats) or politicians that would limit social liberty (Republicans). Both sides are for their own liberty but fear the freedom of others.

 
At 4/13/2012 8:43 AM, Blogger AIG said...

you are not exactly a friend of individual liberty.

enemy of the people.

Our friend does not believe that the government mandated monetary monopoly should have any competition

I have a thousand competing currencies I can put my wealth in, and a thousand commodities, and a thousand other forms. Yet somehow you understand "competition" to mean, imposing a "gold standard" on me.

blindly believe Bush's lies

Don't believe in Satan!

There is no 'practical' middle ground

There is no compromise in Revolution Off with their heads!

That is a path to perpetual tyranny that 99.9% of the population has taken. But as long as the other 0.1% remains there is still a lot of hope

The believers shall save the world. Allah Akbar!!

That is particularly true now that many young people have seen the truth and have began to switch sides.

The light shell set you free!

Sorry but I do not see just how your muddle ground strategy makes anything better or advances the cause of liberty.

There can be no compromise on Holy Scripture!

But you are not supporting rolling back government

Enemy of the people!!

But it is clear that if you support more spending and bigger government

Enemy of the people!!

Of course, if you understood that I would

You should read the Holy Book to understand what I do

You might want to think about that the next time you blindly support corrupt power seeking charlatans

The Devil will trick you!

Nobody imposed the classical gold standard on the world. It was chosen by the market

And if the market doesn't want it now? Of, wait, that's not possible. The market wants Murry Rothbard says it wants.

 
At 4/13/2012 9:02 AM, Blogger AIG said...

It is amazing the parallels in terms of language, mentality, cult formation etc between these types of "libertarians" and communists and religious leaders. Psychologists and anthropologists should study you.

All such movements have a very similar evolutionary path. They take almost identical forms too. They is always the underdog hero which must suffer for our sins (Jesus, Ali, Trotsky, Rothbard), but whose guiding light can save the world from sin. But it is up to a small number of us to spread the Good News. Have you heard the Good News friend? Do not believe the Devil and his lies!

Then there is always the cult of personality. There is some current disciple of the underdog hero who was sacrificed at the altar of Truth (truth, its always TRUTH, because there can only be one). The Pope, the Ayatollah, Ron Paul. All are suffering to bring us the truth, if only us sinners would listen. Worship at their altar, and repent. Do not believe false truths.

Then there is the factionalism. All good truth-seeking ideologies split into hundreds of factions. Christianity has several hundred. Islam has several dozen. The communists have several million. The "Libertarians" have left and right and anarcho and post and neo Murry and Rand. Of course, the KEY is to constantly accuse the other faction of not being TRUE to the revolution, not being TRUE to the scripture. "And on the 7th day God created Gold, and this he said thou shalt have as thy standard!"

And then, there is the seeking of truth. The absolute belief that there is only one truth, and that you, and you alone, can understand this truth by reading and studying holy scripture. When doubters and non believers invoke the Devil to challenge your belief, thou shall quote from the Scriptures and cast away any doubt.

And lastly, there are the mass followers. Young, impressionable, prone to jump from cult to cult, conspiracy theory to conspiracy theory. 9/11 was an inside job, didn't you hear? Did you watch that YouTube documentary on the Fed? Ben Bernanke is working with the Bildergburgs and the Carlyle Group. Did you watch Ron Paul yesterday at the Alex Jones show? Did you watch him on RT too? You THINK you are free? Cause you're not! Did you KNOW that America created the Khmer Rouge and the Taliban and Bin Laden and Saddam and the Ayatollahs and Communism? Its true! You should DO YOUR RESEARCH!!

Armies of young impressionable cult members. The most typical phenomenon among all such cults. The Bolsheviks, the Red Guards, the Pioneers, the SS, Occupy Wall Street, Ron Paul zombies at every single political event, Jehova's Witness. What do they all have in common? They are bright-eyed. They are sure. They have the truth on their side. They have history on their side. They have the Leader on their side.

And they're damned well not afraid to telly you...when you are an ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.

 
At 4/13/2012 9:14 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Oh and I forgot; the anti-christ!. Jesus had his Judas. Ali had his Caliph. Murry had his Friedman. Ron Paul has the GOP. And the "libertarians", have America.

America, the greatest evil and the only entity responsible for all the world's suffering, and for all the things that did not work out the way the Holy Book said they would.

I once made the terrible mistake of entering into a debate at Mises dot org. This was before I knew what they were.

It was on the topic of Iran and the sanctions on Iran. It was established Dogma on the discussion occurring there, that the ONLY reason Iran was suffering economically, and that democracy had not blossomed, was because of American sanctions which kept the economy underdeveloped.

So, silly me, I made the mistake of saying "but wait a minute, Iranian trade has multiplied many times over since American sanctions went into place. Sanctions fail, because Iran can still trade with anyone else it wants besides America". And, silly me, I posted trade numbers for Iran over the past couple of decades, showing that the Iranian economy was anything but strangled by "sanctions".

The explanation, I said, must lay inside Iran, as to why they remain underdeveloped.

HERRASY! Lies! Propaganda! Fabricated data! All this I was told from someone who was actually an economics PhD student. He had talked to some Iranian friends of his in the US, and no numbers I could give him could change that hearsay fact. America was to blame. America was preventing democracy. America was keeping them poor.

 
At 4/13/2012 10:17 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

That argument is familiar to me, AIG.

I don't know which ex-communist country you're from but Capitalists kept undermining our sacred efforts to build Communism over in Russia. That's why we lived in shit, see.

If the capitalists didn't spend every waking moment frustrating our efforts to build the perfect omlette from all those eggs we broke, we would have built Communism long ago and would have been living free from want and exploitation for decades now.

Alas, those bastards wouldn't let up. Sanctions are a moronic for many reasons, but I suppose the oppression and terrorism imposed on the Iranians by three hundred mullahs since 1979 is seen as encouragement for economic activity.

 
At 4/13/2012 11:28 AM, Blogger AIG said...

I don't know which ex-communist country you're from but Capitalists kept undermining our sacred efforts to build Communism over in Russia. That's why we lived in shit, see.

America created communism by financing the Bolsheviks in order to fight Germany. Didn't you know? Ask VangeIV. (he ACTUALLY made that argument)

PS: I'm from Albania, a wonderful wonderland of communism. We made you look like amateurs.

------

But you see Methinks, there is another pattern of these sort of ideological cults of truth-seeking; the fallen nature of society and the need for salvation.

Christianity has the fallen nature of humanity; we were good, until we sinned, and now we need to be saved. Shiias say: the Sunnis were fine, until they killed Ali, and now we must save them. The Protestant says; the church was fine, until it was corrupted, and now we must cleanse it. The Communists say; the bourgeoisie was revolutionary, until they became the oppressors, and now we must re-educate them.

VangeIV says: Milton was good, until he strayed from the path, now I must show him why Gold is good :p

The "libertarians" say: America was good, until it strayed away from the founding fathers, and now we must restore it.

Their fundamental hatred, is always framed as a "saving" attempt. The Christians don't hate human nature, they're just trying to save it. The communists don't hate society, they are just trying to save it. The "libertarians" of today don't hate America, they're just trying to save it!

 
At 4/13/2012 1:26 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I have a thousand competing currencies I can put my wealth in, and a thousand commodities, and a thousand other forms. Yet somehow you understand "competition" to mean, imposing a "gold standard" on me.

Your ignorance on the subject is astounding given your continued posting on it. We are talking about money, not speculating on forex. When the purchasing power of your money goes up you don't get taxed because of the gain. When it falls you don't get a capital loss write-off. What the advocates of liberty is to allow competition to the FRN as money, a point that your postings clearly miss.

Don't believe in Satan!

Actually, you are free to believe whatever you wish. The problem is when you impose that belief on others who want to be left alone.

There can be no compromise on Holy Scripture!

It is not holy scripture. It is principle. Of course I do not expect moral relativists to understand or believe in that argument. To them there is no good and no evil; no such thing as natural rights. There is only power and whatever licence it grants you.

 
At 4/13/2012 1:34 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

America created communism by financing the Bolsheviks in order to fight Germany. Didn't you know? Ask VangeIV. (he ACTUALLY made that argument)

You are confused again. I made the argument that the Kerensky government, which was actually socialist, would not have fallen hand the war ended when the European powers reached a stalemate. Without Wilson's entry the settlement would have come earlier and Hitler and Lenin would not have come to power. The argument is not original because many others have made it over the years.

The argument is still true today. Without arming and training the Mujahideen to fight the Russians the Balkan conflict, 9/11, and the Iraq and Afghan wars would never have happened. That point seems to be lost on people like you. You don't see the unintended consequences of meddling in the affairs of others or the loss of liberty during times of conflict.

 
At 4/13/2012 2:35 PM, Blogger Paul said...

"But you are not supporting rolling back government."

Yeah, I am. Your idiotic insistence that Paul Ryan is actually worse than Obama is so laughable, I can only assume you read about it from one of you anti-American heroes at Lew Rockwell.


"You just supported a GOP budget proposal that would increase spending and increase deficits."

Didn't you just say only next year counts? Under Ryan's plan, total federal outlays would fall from $3,624 billion this year to $3,530 billion next year. Those figures are $24 billion less than under President Obama’s budget this year and $187 billion next year.

So you're either a liar(yet again) or just ignorant.


Which is it?


"Even its unrealistic projections do not claim a balanced budget until 2040."

Add more conservatives to the ranks and watch that number move closer to the present. Ryan's job is to actually make progress where politically possible. He's unlike Ron Paul in that he's actually trying to accomplish something real rather than just penning racist screeds from his Congressional office because he has nothing else to do.



"Sorry but I fail to see the difference between a big government Democrat and a big government Republican."

Then you're just willfully obtuse.

"Shouldn't someone be talking about real cuts that begin this year and balance the budget within five or less?"

Yeah, and there's not a chance in hell it would be enacted under this current climate.

I'm for cutting as much as is practical. You and your master Ron Paul are just day dreamers.

 
At 4/13/2012 2:37 PM, Blogger AIG said...

What the advocates of liberty is to allow competition to the FRN as money, a point that your postings clearly miss.

You're advocating for gold. That's not competition.

But I see what you did there. By calling yourself "the advocates for liberty", you are therefore implying that the rest of us, are the advocates for slavery :)

You are confused again. I made the argument that the Kerensky government, which was actually socialist, would not have fallen hand the war ended when the European powers reached a stalemate. Without Wilson's entry the settlement would have come earlier and Hitler and Lenin would not have come to power. The argument is not original because many others have made it over the years.

Right. America caused Communism and Nazism. Of course they are not original. Idiots have existed in history for a long time. You're obviously not the first one. Why, did you think you were?

Without arming and training the Mujahideen to fight the Russians the Balkan conflict, 9/11, and the Iraq and Afghan wars would never have happened. That point seems to be lost on people like you. You don't see the unintended consequences of meddling in the affairs of others or the loss of liberty during times of conflict.

Your forgot the Barbary Wars. I think that is the main and real reason. But you're absolutely right; America created them. No no, I won't even try to argue against it. Your logic, and the evidence, is overwhelming. You have me convinced.

Now, what was it that you were saying cased the killings in the Balkans? Oh yes...America. How did that one go again?

You are SO much fun.

 
At 4/13/2012 2:51 PM, Blogger AIG said...

You and your master Ron Paul are just day dreamers.

You just don't understand VangeIV, and a large number of contributors from Mises dot org, have determined that we CAN get rid of the entire US Navy and replace them with fishing boats armed with missiles. That will save us a lot of money.

See I know what you're thinking right now, AIG is making a joke again. But I'm not! He actually said that!

Besides, we won't actually need an armed forces one we stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Peace would reign.

 
At 4/13/2012 3:24 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"You just don't understand VangeIV, and a large number of contributors from Mises dot org, have determined that we CAN get rid of the entire US Navy and replace them with fishing boats armed with missiles. That will save us a lot of money"...

Well aig its obvious that Ron Paul and these other alledged contributors have yet to leave mommy's basement and get an eyeful of the real world...

"Besides, we won't actually need an armed forces one we stop meddling in the affairs of other countries. Peace would reign"...

Said with a naiveness only another Obama_bot can truly appreciate...

 
At 4/13/2012 4:17 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Said with a naiveness only another Obama_bot can truly appreciate...

You're such a warmongerer Juandos. Why do you hate freedom so much?

 
At 4/13/2012 6:08 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Why do you hate freedom so much?"...

aig old son, freedom like lunch isn't free...

Let me pose a hypothetical scenario to you...

What if Panama all of a sudden decided it would no longer allow shipping traffic headed for the US (regardless of reason that is good, bad, or indifferent) to go through the canal, what would you do then?

Would it be worth it to you to have to pay more, maybe quite a bit more for goods and services that need the canal instead of making the long, expensive, and sometimes dangerous trip around Tierra del Fuego?

 
At 4/13/2012 6:40 PM, Blogger AIG said...

What if Panama all of a sudden decided it would no longer allow shipping traffic headed for the US (regardless of reason that is good, bad, or indifferent) to go through the canal, what would you do then?

Yeah but Panama wouldn't do that cause Panama would realize that now that America isn't an evil imperialist warmongering nation anymore, and Ron Paul is president and Lew Rockwell is Secretary of State...that the world no longer needs aggression.

You see, you just don't get it juandos. Its cause you hate freedom. Why don't you read a book by Ron Paul and learn about freedom.

PS: Juandos, you're starting to worry me. You do realize I'm being sarcastic, right?

 
At 4/13/2012 8:26 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

You don't see the unintended consequences of meddling in the affairs of others...

Of course not, Vange, they're uninteded! Maybe you meant you can't see that there are always unintended consequences of meddling :)

Your assessment of WWI is wrong. Russia had a huge army and even with its incompetent management (and the command was shockingly incompetent and disorganized), the Kaiser was getting mired on the Eastern front by his cousin's army.

The Kaiser hoped Russia's provisional government would end the war. Stupidly, it didn't.

Lenin was exiled in Switzerland during the war. From the moment the Russian monarchy began to crack, Lenin became desperate to return to Russia. He entertained a lot of plans including going in drag in order not to be detected.

In the hopes that Lenin would crush the fragile provisional government and pull out of the war once he took power, Germany offered Lenin, his wife and about 18 of his posse a closed train from Germany to Saint Petersburg. They smuggled him in.

Lenin's brutal assent to power had nothing to do with Wilson or America's entry into the war. The Kaiser had long been struggling to concoct a plan to knock Russia out of the war to disentangle Germany from the Eastern Fronts so it could concentrate on the Western Front.

While I do agree that constant meddling in world affairs is costly and provides little (if any) benefit (and that's generous of me because I actually think the benefit is negative), it's getting tiresome reading that everything wrong in the world can be traced back to some action undertaken by America. Even if America meddled, even if it shouldn't have entered WWI, it did NOT cause Lenin's return to Russia. It did NOT force the Kaiser's hand with regard to how he dealt with the Russians' involvement. The Kaiser wanted to knock Russia out to concentrate on crushing France and Britain, breaking the stalemate.

America's entry into the war did NOT cause the rise of Hitler. The Treaty of Versailles is far more responsible for the assent of Hitler. The most punishing provisions in the Treaty of Versailles were placed there by a vengeful France on whose soil most of the war on the Western Front was fought and who suffered the most. The Americans weren't egging the French on.

And you know what? There wouldn't have BEEN a first world war if the Kaiser weren't so eager to fight. It was the Kaiser who presented a list of literally unmeetable demands to the Serbs after the murder of Franz Ferdinand. He would be satisfied with nothing less than full scale war. And he got it.

If you're going to blame the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler and the Soviet Union on someone, why not the Kaiser? Why choose the entry of the United States into a war it didn't cause? How can you possibly justify that moment as the moment it all went sour?

The United States is not the center of the universe and all other countries and people do not revolve around it.

 
At 4/14/2012 10:41 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Yeah but Panama wouldn't do that cause Panama would realize that now that America isn't an evil imperialist warmongering nation anymore, and Ron Paul is president and Lew Rockwell is Secretary of State...that the world no longer needs aggression"...

Oh my! aig you're right...

Sign me up to support the new light of the western hemisphere...:-)

Meanwhile I'm going to catch up on how the Secret Service caused a temporary upwards spike in employment in a far away country...

 
At 4/14/2012 1:10 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Methinks. The developments in Russia, had noting to do with Russians. How Ruso-centric of you to think so.

It was America's fault.

These people are obsessed with conspiracy theories. Conspiracy theories don't always take the form of an X-files episode, but they usually take form of "America caused xyz to happen because it did abc and that led to mnop, which because Hitler overslept that morning thanks to AMERICAN whiskey which he had been drinking the night before, directly led to xyz!"

It's as if we, in our respective countries, had NOTHING to do with anything that happened there. It's not as if the Ayatollahs had been trying to gain power in Iran for centuries, and it's not as if a clash of civilizations was not bound to happen between the 20th century and the 6th century in Iran. No. It was America's fault.

How incredibly arrogant of other countries to think that they control their own destinies.!

 
At 4/14/2012 1:12 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Sign me up to support the new light of the western hemisphere...:-)

I am glad you finally stopped hating freedom, Juandos.

 
At 4/14/2012 2:10 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I am glad you finally stopped hating freedom, Juandos"...

Yeah and I blame that on the Secret Service...

 
At 4/14/2012 3:00 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

LOL, AIG! How can you possibly think that it is you and not the largest, most powerful country in the world who affects your country's politics. That's just crazy

But, I must correct you! Iran's battle was between the 20th and 7th century. In the 6th century, they were all backwards. By the 7th century, they got Islam and achieved a level of perfection they have not been able to replicate since.

 
At 4/14/2012 8:23 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

It's as if we, in our respective countries, had NOTHING to do with anything that happened there.

Really? Do you mean to say that the CIA and MI5/MI6 had nothing to do with the overthrow of a number of regimes in the Middle East? And when the tyrants that were put into place they did not kill off moderates and make the people hate them? Perhaps Albanians are comfortable with rewriting history and mixing up the facts but rational people are not. When you meddle in the affairs of other countries you often get unintended consequences. Both the Russians and Americans learned that the hard way.

It's not as if the Ayatollahs had been trying to gain power in Iran for centuries, and it's not as if a clash of civilizations was not bound to happen between the 20th century and the 6th century in Iran. No. It was America's fault.

It certainly was. They overthrew a legitimate government and put in a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist. When he killed off most of the moderates and the population rose up against his regime the radicals moved into the power vacuum.

 
At 4/14/2012 8:51 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Really? Do you mean to say that the CIA and MI5/MI6 had nothing to do with the overthrow of a number of regimes in the Middle East? And when the tyrants that were put into place they did not kill off moderates and make the people hate them?

Yes. If it weren't for America, the Middle East would be a blooming place for democracy, freedom, capitalism, and all sorts of wonders. I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with 7th century primitiveness colliding with the 20th century. Certainly the alternatives to those dictators, were all named Ben Franklin and James Madison (What's the Arabic version of Ben Franklin? Bin...Laden? :) )

Perhaps Albanians are comfortable with rewriting history and mixing up the facts but rational people are not.

We make history. We don't re-write it. Back in the 19th century, Albanians took over Egypt. We kept it till Faruk. So if you want to blame anyone, blame us, not America :) (but...but...you will say, back in 1912 US President Wilson supported the independence of Albania, so in a way Wilson plaid a role in the destruction of the Egyptian "moderates". Yes! I got it!)

When you meddle in the affairs of other countries you often get unintended consequences.

You get unintended consequences whether you intervene, or don't. Every human action, or inaction, has unintended consequences. However, one has to make the argument that the ALTERNATIVE, or possible alternative, would have been considerably different. Whether America got involved or not in the ME, it would still be a dictatorial hell-hole.

It certainly was. They overthrew a legitimate government and put in a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist

But there were whole armies of Shah's men who contributed to overthrowing Mosadeqh. They had nothing to do with it? And what made Mosadeqh a "legitimate government"? He canceled elections and stole private property. Were Iranians SO incapable of action of their own...that they were waiting for CIA orders at every step? As I recall it, the Iranian ARMY played a bit of a role in this.

When he killed off most of the moderates and the population rose up against his regime the radicals moved into the power vacuum.

What moderates? And who is to say any of these "moderates" mattered any tiny bit in Iran, or the course of events in Iran? And what made them "moderate"? Cause Lew Rockwell says so?

You're so silly. But I don't blame you for being silly, you've probably never met anyone from the ME, or any other part of the world. Reading Lew Rockwell, only gives you so much understanding of the world.

Did America side with certain groups over others? Did America influence certain directions over others? Of course. But there's 3 things to consider:
1) Simply because you side with someone, doesn't mean that they wouldn't exist without you.
2) The alternatives to whomever you sided with, certainly are not better, but are likely far worst.
3) No matter whether you side with someone or not, someone is going to win. And someone is going to lose. And the side that is going to lose, is going to cause problems. If it weren't Bin Laden, it would have been someone else. If it weren't Khomenei, it would have been someone else. If it weren't Saddam, it would have been someone else. These are systemic issues...not some idiotic conspiracy theory where if ONLY Hitler had woken up 30 minutes earlier on the morning of June 6 1944, the fate of WW2 would have been different.

I mean, you and your type are so pathetic, that you WILL find some sort of connection to America, at some point in time, for everything that went wrong. You're like the father from My Big Fat Greek Wedding...at some point, every word comes from Greek. You're just far less amusing.

 
At 4/14/2012 8:57 PM, Blogger AIG said...

In fact, if there's one place in the world where we can say with a good degree of certainty, that if America had not intervened, it would be a MUCH worst place...it's the Middle East.

I know, I know...Lew Rockwell disagrees. But Lew Rockwell is an insane.

 
At 4/14/2012 9:21 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes. If it weren't for America, the Middle East would be a blooming place for democracy, freedom, capitalism, and all sorts of wonders.

That is not an argument I am willing to make. I simply point out that much of the problem is traced to meddling by France, England, and the United States. Without them propping up failing monarchies and dictators the Middle East would look a lot differently today.

I'm sure it has NOTHING to do with 7th century primitiveness colliding with the 20th century.

The 'primitiveness' can only have an impact of the local institutions are damaged by tyrannical governments who encourage ignorance and poverty. Most people do not support the nonsense that you and the propagandists consider to be the norm.

Certainly the alternatives to those dictators, were all named Ben Franklin and James Madison (What's the Arabic version of Ben Franklin? Bin...Laden? :) )

Bin Laden was a CIA asset who was trained to kill Russians. Not exactly a James Madison type. But you missed my point. When your tyrants kill off the moderates you will never learn their names and all you will have left are the extremists that scare you so much that you are willing to give up your own liberty to the incompetent boobs that created the problem in the first place.

We make history. We don't re-write it. Back in the 19th century, Albanians took over Egypt. We kept it till Faruk. So if you want to blame anyone, blame us, not America :) (but...but...you will say, back in 1912 US President Wilson supported the independence of Albania, so in a way Wilson plaid a role in the destruction of the Egyptian "moderates". Yes! I got it!)

Irrational fools only 'get it' by accident. You still fall quite short and look for any narrative to support a view you consider to be pro-liberty even as it stifles it.

You get unintended consequences whether you intervene, or don't. Every human action, or inaction, has unintended consequences. However, one has to make the argument that the ALTERNATIVE, or possible alternative, would have been considerably different. Whether America got involved or not in the ME, it would still be a dictatorial hell-hole.

Perhaps. But the evidence suggests that it was made worse by propping up the tyrants. The US tried to make the same argument about Vietnam but now trades with it and has good diplomatic relations. The hard liners in the State Department and DoD believed far more in Communism than the opponents of the Vietnam conflict. The same is exactly true today as the irrational neoconservative hard liners and their dupes believe that Radical Islam is capable of governing the Middle East and threatening the world. It isn't. Moderates will ultimately prevail and once we stop supporting radicals and tyrants they will be replaced by regimes that will have to be more moderate and more stable if they are to garner public support.

 
At 4/14/2012 9:21 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

But there were whole armies of Shah's men who contributed to overthrowing Mosadeqh. They had nothing to do with it? And what made Mosadeqh a "legitimate government"? He canceled elections and stole private property. Were Iranians SO incapable of action of their own...that they were waiting for CIA orders at every step? As I recall it, the Iranian ARMY played a bit of a role in this.

The Shah was out. He only got back because of Western support. And the rest is bloody history.

What moderates? And who is to say any of these "moderates" mattered any tiny bit in Iran, or the course of events in Iran? And what made them "moderate"? Cause Lew Rockwell says so?

Moderates usually matter because they are respected by the community. What made them moderate was their belief that government should be more limited. The Shah did not have many limits on his power. He did what he pleased and used force whenever it suited him without regard for morality or the consent of the governed. You could learn a lot from Rockwell. But only if you had an open mind and chose to look at the facts.

 
At 4/14/2012 9:29 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

1) Simply because you side with someone, doesn't mean that they wouldn't exist without you.

No. But when you take sides in foreign intrigue you have responsibility. When you put a tyrant in power you cannot claim that you have nothing to do with the murders he committed.

2) The alternatives to whomever you sided with, certainly are not better, but are likely far worst.

Look at the Vietnam example. Your meddling wound up killing millions and destroying governments in Laos and Cambodia as well as Vietnam. But after the conflict was over the US saw that Vietnam could not do what the hard liners claimed and began to establish diplomatic relations and trade agreements.

3) No matter whether you side with someone or not, someone is going to win. And someone is going to lose.

That is not your call. Other nations have the right to determine what they do. As George Washington advised, the US should have no entangling alliances but should be an example to all and have commercial relations with all.

And the side that is going to lose, is going to cause problems. If it weren't Bin Laden, it would have been someone else. If it weren't Khomenei, it would have been someone else. If it weren't Saddam, it would have been someone else. These are systemic issues...not some idiotic conspiracy theory where if ONLY Hitler had woken up 30 minutes earlier on the morning of June 6 1944, the fate of WW2 would have been different.

You have just provided an excuse for continued meddling. The moral relativists would be proud of you.

 
At 4/14/2012 9:38 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

In fact, if there's one place in the world where we can say with a good degree of certainty, that if America had not intervened, it would be a MUCH worst place...it's the Middle East.

I know, I know...Lew Rockwell disagrees. But Lew Rockwell is an insane.


You are deluded and ignorant of reality. You know far less than you think that you do and what you think is right is often wrong.

Stop buying into all the propaganda and learn to think on your own. I know that is not what Albanians are usually taught in school but it is easy to learn to be an independent thinker if you want to.

 
At 4/14/2012 9:51 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

They overthrew a legitimate government and put in a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist.

They overthrew the communist Mossadeqh who had the backing and support of the Soviet Union and commenced to nationalizing (i.e. violating property rights) as soon as he hopped into power. How many communist "leaders" do you know who live peacefully with "moderates" (whatever that means) and don't go on killing and expropriation binges? I can count...um...none.

Your point on U.S. meddling is well taken (although, it was at the insistence of the British. The U.S. did not want to do it). That will be a standard response from me, so just mentally preface everything with that from now on.

However, what's your justification that if it weren't for America, everything in Persia would be totally cool when Iran fell into a Communist dictatorship instead of the guy he was replaced with. You know, communists are elected once.

Your arguments are so crazy, they're easy to knock down. Can't you see that, Vange?

Your strongest argument is that the United States shouldn't meddle because it is too costly, it requires violence against those U.S. citizens who don't wish to pay for these military excursions, it raises the probability of the United States becoming a focal point of hatred and action against it and it diverts resources from better uses. That's a strong enough argument without making up ridiculous crap.

 
At 4/14/2012 9:56 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

I hereby nominate Methinks for most sane commenter. Or would that be commentress?

 
At 4/14/2012 10:02 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Vange,

One more thing. You've got history tunnel vision.

Vietnam was a French colony long before the Vietnam war. You don't think French meddling was at all responsible for anything.

The Soviets got their grubby paws into every conflict from Vietnam to Iran and Egypt. You don't think the Soviets had any impact?

And that's before we even consider the internal conflicts raging in any given country.

According to you, though, only America is responsible and it must bear sole responsibility because it was ONE of the outside forces that meddled. Why is America's burden of responsibility so much greater?

Furthermore, it's clear to me that you and AIG have been in a few tousles before that I have not been witness to and I don't want to insert myself into that. But, in this case it is you, not AIG who is ignorant of history. It is you who is making unsupported claims and ridiculous accusations.

Do you not think you should perhaps consider if you are forced to so gingerly cherry pick your way through history in order to blame everything on the United States, your case is not as strong as you think it is?

 
At 4/14/2012 10:45 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Thanks, Misterjosh. I'm the female version and if what you say about me is true, we have a deeper problem in this comment section than we previously thought.

Vange,

I simply point out that much of the problem is traced to meddling by France, England, and the United States. Without them propping up failing monarchies and dictators the Middle East would look a lot differently today.

Now, this is interesting. My husband is Egyptian and his family was right there in Tahrir square. I assure you that Mubarak is not "propped up" in any meaningful way by the Americans. When the shit hit the fan for the man last year, the Americans could do f*ck all about it. He didn't go down because he lost the "propping up" of the American government but because the military junta lost control of the population and had to cut off the head of the snake before the people burned the country down.

After the 1952 revolution when Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Faruk in a military coup (which had nothing to do with America), he fell got the support and backing of Nikita Khrushchev. Enamored or power, Nasser began the standard nationalization and expropriation campaign and robbing and exiling the Jews. He dreamed up a Middle Eastern version of communist internationalism called "Pan Arabism" and ruled in the hardline style of most dictators until his death and Sadat's assent. Mubarak took over after Sadat was murdered. The existence of the Egyptian dictatorship has nothing to do with the West at all.

The two billion Egypt receives from the United States mostly in training for its military officers (which doesn't work. Or so says my brother in law who spent most of his army duty milking goats in the desert on the Libyan border) is a condition of the peace treaty signed with Israel to end the 1973 war. It's not enough money to prop up any dictatorship in Egypt.

AIG,

My husband got his back up about that Albanians ruling Egypt thing. It's not true.

Egypt was under Ottoman rule from 1517 until around the time Mohamed Ali (who was Albanian) took over. Mohamed Ali was in the Ottoman military, was sent to Egypt to deal with the endless but escalating Mamluk infighting and cleverly rose to power by gaining support of the population and playing the warring Mamluks against each other.

Although Mohamed Ali was Albanian, the Albanians never conquered or ruled Egypt, you dreamer :)

 
At 4/15/2012 8:22 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

However, what's your justification that if it weren't for America, everything in Persia would be totally cool when Iran fell into a Communist dictatorship instead of the guy he was replaced with. You know, communists are elected once.

I have never said that everything would be great if the US and other powers stopped meddling. I have said that it isn't our place to meddle and to support murderers. I do not agree that Iran would have gone Communist because the Persian culture has very little with communism and there is no way to make communism work socially or economically. The way I see it, these are excuses being provided by the hard liners who got so many things wrong in the first place. I also note that the people who have defended individual liberty never fell for the Lange-Lerner vision of market socialism. They understood that the road of central planning and meddling led to ruin and they were proven right.

From what I see the foreign policy debates are being led by economic illiterates and the fearful. Radical Islam is not a threat to the world because in the absence of provocation Radical Islam is marginal even in the Middle East. Educated Arab and Persian men do not think of their wives and daughters as fools like AIG believe. They love their families just as we do and want to see their children succeed as we do. They are threatened by the radicals even more than we are and resist the radicals' pursuit of power.

What I find ironic is that the people of the Land of the Free were so fearful of a few fools hiding in caves in Afghanistan and Pakistan that they gave up much of their individual liberty in the hope that they can somehow gain a bit of safety. They now live in what is turning into a Police State and cannot even install toilets and shower-heads that work because their overseers have passed laws against them. If your laws tell you what toilet tanks or lightbulbs you must use are you really freer than a shop owner in North Tehran?

 
At 4/15/2012 8:22 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Your arguments are so crazy, they're easy to knock down. Can't you see that, Vange?

Since when is the argument that you have to mind your own business and stop supporting tyrants crazy? The last time I looked more than 70% of Americans supported my position on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Note that I never changed my position. The public did. So why exactly am I crazy and you sane?

Since when is the argument that the Constitution be followed crazy? Or observing that some of the historians were right about the American entry into WWI? Without Wilson's entry into the war the stalemate would have forced an end to the war much sooner. Germany could not win and the allied side was hit with a rash of mutinies among the troops. There was clearly no desire on the part of the Russians to continue fighting.

Without a continued war in the West the Kerensky government, not Lenin would have ruled Russia. The German government fell because of the Treaty of Versailles. Had the war ended a year sooner that would not have happened and Hitler would have been a little known minor politician.

The Pity Of War Explaining World War I

Wilson's War: How Woodrow Wilson's Great Blunder Led to Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, and World War II

The fact is that meddling in foreign affairs has caused a great deal of damage to Western society and to the world. Stop listening to the court historians and the promoters of war and pay attention to the facts as they were and are. To do otherwise is crazy.

In case you actually want to learn something that is factual I suggest that you look at an alternative to the court historians.

The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898

Nothing Less Than War: A New History of America's Entry into World War I

Freedom Betrayed: Herbert Hoover's Secret History of the Second World War and Its Aftermath

A Century of War

 
At 4/15/2012 8:39 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Your strongest argument is that the United States shouldn't meddle because it is too costly, it requires violence against those U.S. citizens who don't wish to pay for these military excursions, it raises the probability of the United States becoming a focal point of hatred and action against it and it diverts resources from better uses. That's a strong enough argument without making up ridiculous crap.

What ridiculous crap? The fact that you do not read history and are not aware of many of the disagreements is not my problem. Did you know about the allied mutinies during WW I as men got tired at being used as pawns by incompetent generals? Did you know that there was a stalemate that was pushing the sides to an inevitable peace settlement before the US entry in WW I?

Did you know that Churchill called the shots at the Cunard line after it was nationalised? Did you know that the Germans informed Wilson's secretary of state William Jennings Bryan that the Lusitania, which carried illegal weapons and ammunition was going to be sunk. Or that they told Bryan that he should advise Wilson to warn American citizens to stay off the ship? Ot that Wilson, who wanted a reason to get into the war, refused to do it.

Did you know that Churchill gave orders for the escort to leave the Lusitania and for evasive action to stop? Or that Churchill was aware that there was a German sub in the area? All that deception was geared towards getting the US to enter the war so that the stalemate could end and England and France could defeat Germany rather that have a tie and a reasonable peace settlement. If peace came sooner and the terms were acceptable to all sides what would cause the Bolsheviks to come to power? After all the Tsar, who began the war had been deposed and a new government was in place. And without the humiliation and damage done by the Treaty of Versailles why would Hitler ever come to power?

The fact that you were not taught something in your public school or heard it on MSNBC or FOX does not mean that it does not exist or that it is not right. I suggest more research.

 
At 4/15/2012 8:48 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Vietnam was a French colony long before the Vietnam war. You don't think French meddling was at all responsible for anything.

Of course they were. But they lost and pulled out. The US chose to take their place. It should not have done so because the conflict caused huge damage to SE Asia and did a great deal of harm to the US economy.

The Soviets got their grubby paws into every conflict from Vietnam to Iran and Egypt. You don't think the Soviets had any impact?

Yes they did. But the USSR could not survive economically over the long term because it did not have an effective price mechanism or a market to allocate resources effectively. It could never be a real threat to the West as long as the West had functioning free markets.

The hard line argument believed in central planning and bought into the Lange-Lerner vision of market socialism. The neoconservatives, who still dominate this debate in the US, still believe in central planning. This is exactly why you have Republican candidates proposing that spending is 50% higher than that under Clinton while pretending to be for small government.

It is easy to see if you want to look at the data. It is all out there for any clear thinker to put together. But that requires that we shed ourselves of false narratives and ideological bias and that is far too difficult for those who have never realized that they were taught to be obedient and to believe the court intellectuals without question.

 
At 4/15/2012 9:14 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

According to you, though, only America is responsible and it must bear sole responsibility because it was ONE of the outside forces that meddled. Why is America's burden of responsibility so much greater?

Because the previous meddling failed as the imperial ambitions of the British, French, Russians, etc., ran into the wall of economic and political reality. They stepped aside either because they had to or realized that reality did not make it possible for them to meet their goals. The US kept going and used its greater military and economic power for the benefit of small political gains for presidents, senators, and congressmen even as the economically connected insiders got very rich from the war spending.

Please note that I am just as critical of Canada for many of the foreign policy blunders it has engaged in over the years. I would be very happy if Canada left the UN and got out of all military adventures abroad. It has no place giving aid to al Qaeda in Libya or radical terror groups in Syria, protecting some stooge in Afghanistan or meddling in Africa.

Furthermore, it's clear to me that you and AIG have been in a few tousles before that I have not been witness to and I don't want to insert myself into that. But, in this case it is you, not AIG who is ignorant of history. It is you who is making unsupported claims and ridiculous accusations.

Note that I provided references to support my claims. There are many distinguished historians who support my views and oppose those of the court historians who have conveniently ignored facts not supportive of the regimes that they support and get grants from. And I have pointed to specific facts that neither you nor AIG have addressed.

And keep in mind that my position on Iraq and Afghanistan were no more popular several years ago than my position in Iran is today. But the passage of time has proved me right and the proponents of the wars wrong. If the polls are to be believed most American voters have switched over to my position and abandoned AIGs.

In case I am too subtle for you let me be clear. The passage of time proved that I was right.

I believe that time will also prove me right on the Middle East. Getting rid of people like Muammar Gaddafi or Bashar al-Assad is not that difficult if you arm extremists and support their attacks on the regime. But once these idiots are in power it is hard to see much of an improvement. Given the ethnic and demographic profiles in the region it is clear that many protected minority groups will be put up against the wall or expelled. You can certainly expect that the radical Islamic groups that were supported by the UK, France, and US will kill or expel the old Christian sects that have been in the regions for the past two thousand years. They will go even harder against some of the minor Muslim sects and will try to impose laws that most of the population was happy not to see in a secular regime.

On the economic side, which is what the American concerns are really about, we will see an inevitable explosion in oil producing regions that could reduce supply at a time when spare capacity is at a historically low level. That should cause a global contraction in economic activity and could bring about the end of both the Euro and USD as reserve currencies.

 
At 4/15/2012 9:16 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Do you not think you should perhaps consider if you are forced to so gingerly cherry pick your way through history in order to blame everything on the United States, your case is not as strong as you think it is?

I do not blame the US for everything. In fact, I believe that the American Republic was an example to the rest of the world. I merely point out that the freedom that used to make the US as strong as it was no longer exists. And that makes it a more dangerous and difficult world.

Interesting how you attack the people who advocate less meddling and more freedom but support the charlatans who are for a bigger government and more military adventurism.

 
At 4/15/2012 9:30 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Now, this is interesting. My husband is Egyptian and his family was right there in Tahrir square. I assure you that Mubarak is not "propped up" in any meaningful way by the Americans. When the shit hit the fan for the man last year, the Americans could do f*ck all about it. He didn't go down because he lost the "propping up" of the American government but because the military junta lost control of the population and had to cut off the head of the snake before the people burned the country down.

The last time I was in Cario, around 1996, there were tanks in front of Mubarak's residence. I do not believe for a minute that he would have been able to hang on to power without all that money that the US sent to Egypt. No money for his regime would have meant no Mubarak.

After the 1952 revolution when Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Faruk in a military coup (which had nothing to do with America), he fell got the support and backing of Nikita Khrushchev. Enamored or power, Nasser began the standard nationalization and expropriation campaign and robbing and exiling the Jews. He dreamed up a Middle Eastern version of communist internationalism called "Pan Arabism" and ruled in the hardline style of most dictators until his death and Sadat's assent. Mubarak took over after Sadat was murdered. The existence of the Egyptian dictatorship has nothing to do with the West at all.

How long do you think that Mubarak and the military dictatorship would have been in power without the US sending $2 billion a year?

The two billion Egypt receives from the United States mostly in training for its military officers (which doesn't work. Or so says my brother in law who spent most of his army duty milking goats in the desert on the Libyan border) is a condition of the peace treaty signed with Israel to end the 1973 war. It's not enough money to prop up any dictatorship in Egypt.

The $2 billion allows the dictator to buy support for his position by hiring people who want to be paid to oppress the population. It allows for the military to purchase and establish factories that allow it to make a profit. It allows for the purchase of real estate that can generate income. All this happened over time as the money kept flowing year after year. Total aid from the US has been over 50% of the current Egyptian GDP. That is a huge flow of funds for anyone capable enough to see the potential and allocate it properly.

My husband got his back up about that Albanians ruling Egypt thing. It's not true.

He has a lot to learn about history and reality.

I wonder what he would think of radical Islam when he sees how the daughters of Wahabi princes behave at the bar in the Marriott Cairo Hotel in Zamalek. Some of them make drunk American coeds look tame in comparison.

 
At 4/15/2012 10:32 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

I wonder what he would think of radical Islam when he sees how the daughters of Wahabi princes behave at the bar in the Marriott Cairo Hotel in Zamalek. Some of them make drunk American coeds look tame in comparison.

He doesn't give a damn and I have to wonder why you, as a supposedly libertarian, do and what that has to do with anything.

Me:My husband got his back up about that Albanians ruling Egypt thing. It's not true.

Vage: He has a lot to learn about history and reality.


Is that so? Well, you know absolutely nothing about my husband except that he's married to me and you're angry with me because I challenge your assertions.

But, we're open to being wrong. Enlighten us. When did the Albanians climb into their little row boats and wrest Egypt from the Ottomans? We both missed that part of history, please show us.

 
At 4/15/2012 10:52 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/15/2012 10:53 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

How long do you think that Mubarak and the military dictatorship would have been in power without the US sending $2 billion a year?

You seem to have developed reading comprehension issues.

1.) The $2B is not in cash and it's a laughably small sum if it were. Not enough to keep a dictator on the throne.

2.) The military elites all piss on your $2B because their individual net worth is greater than that. Why? Well, to access the Egyptian market, companies are forced to pay them bribes, the sum total of which make the $2B of officer training the U.S. provides a rounding error.

3.) The dictatorship preceded Mubarak and preceded the peace treaty. Why would it suddenly become dependent on a tiny subsidy from the United States?


The last time I was in Cario, around 1996, there were tanks in front of Mubarak's residence. I do not believe for a minute that he would have been able to hang on to power without all that money that the US sent to Egypt.

The last time I was in Washington D.C., there was massive security around the White House and Capitol building. Based on this super solid evidence, I assert that the president wouldn't have been able to hang on to power at all were it not for the $6.00 he got from some other country annually.

No money for his regime would have meant no Mubarak.

Suuuure. Except they were not getting money from the United States, their worthless army was getting military training valued (by the United States) at $2B. The actual cash was flowing from the bribes paid by Vodafone, Motorola, 100% tariffs on imported vehicles (which are all imported), money extorted from Egyptians dumb enough to start up successful businesses and....well, mostly bribes by foreign companies.

In light of all this, aggressively asserting that the only thing keeping Mubarak together was the $2B of in kind services provided in the U.S. is quite foolish.

 
At 4/15/2012 11:26 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Interesting how you attack the people who advocate less meddling and more freedom but support the charlatans who are for a bigger government and more military adventurism.

Sigh. I don't know what to do with you, Vange.

Which charlatan am I supporting? Which people am I attacking? As far as I can tell, I have taken issue with your assertions, not with you or any other person.

I haven't, as far as I can tell, supported any other person either. Certainly not one who threatening my freedom.

And on what do you base this? On the fact that I repeatedly state that, in my opinion, meddling in any form in the affairs of other countries is bad for the citizens of the United States and bad for the countries in which the U.S. government is meddling?

My lack of support for and my advocacy against such escapades do not make me sympathetic to your cherry-picked data in support of assertions that outcomes would have been better if xyz didn't happen.

The number of variables in any such complex situations are so large, that you simply can't make the claims you make. You ignore the Kaiser entirely in your assessment of WWI. You claim that a treaty was inevitable and you expect your counter-factual assertions to go unchallenged by facts we actually know.

You could have skipped the entire Lusitania lesson because I don't think the Lusitania (even if sunk for no good reason at all) was enough justification to force Americans to pay the heavy price of war to avenge. I'm asking you to re-examine a certain set of your assertions, your justifications, not your conclusion (with which you agree).

Whether or not the United State's involvement worsened outcomes in other countries (which is open to debate even if you are certain - unless you think that challenging your assertion is akin to Holocaust denial), its involvement is a bad because it hurts American citizens.

Note that I provided references to support my claims.

No, you didn't. Specifically, you point to no facts that would indicate that any of your assertions about the rise of Hitler or the Soviet Union. I pointed to facts that challenge your assertions and you were unable to counter argue with anything more than assertion. That's sad because this is an internet discussion and your Ph.D. isn't riding on it, so I don't understand the religious zeal with which you defend your indefensible position.


There are many distinguished historians who support my views...

Appeal to authority is not science.

...and oppose those of the court historians who have conveniently ignored facts not supportive of the regimes that they support and get grants from.

So, anyone who disagrees with your preferred scholars is obviously an untrustworthy schmuck. Are you taking lessons from Paul Krugman now? Maybe Don Boudreaux and Russ Roberst ARE shills for the Koch brothers since they disagree with Statists and the institutions for which they work get funding from the evil evil evil Kochs (who are evil because they disagree with statists).

The debate is over, eh, Vange. If Your guy says he has perfect knowledge of what WOULD have happened, then it is the unvarnished truth that is beyond challenge! Repent by accepting this holy scripture from the disciples or burn in hell forever!

 
At 4/15/2012 11:55 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

He doesn't give a damn and I have to wonder why you, as a supposedly libertarian, do and what that has to do with anything.

It does. AIG is telling us that somehow the radicals will roll over the world and threaten us with a 7th century morality. I merely point out that many of them do not follow that morality. The West is strong enough not to worry about minor players like al Qaeda that it created in the first place.


Is that so? Well, you know absolutely nothing about my husband except that he's married to me and you're angry with me because I challenge your assertions.

You misunderstand again. The HE is not your husband but our friend AIG, who is ignorant of history. Your husband was right. AIG was wrong.

But, we're open to being wrong. Enlighten us. When did the Albanians climb into their little row boats and wrest Egypt from the Ottomans? We both missed that part of history, please show us.

They did not. That is a vision in AIG's deluded mind.

 
At 4/15/2012 12:38 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

It does. AIG is telling us that somehow the radicals will roll over the world and threaten us with a 7th century morality. I merely point out that many of them do not follow that morality. The West is strong enough not to worry about minor players like al Qaeda that it created in the first place.

2 things:

1.) I missed that part. Is this from another conversation? Mind, there is no morality in any of this. The Ullema likes to bludgeon in the name of the 7th century and its unquestionable perfection.

Yes, it is their goal and I think their ability to execute on it is a number that is not statistically different from 0%. I'm much more worried that our government will commence to robbing us further in a vain attempt to fight a ghost and waste resources which could otherwise be used used to figure out how best to defend against attempt of random idiots to take over the world by having a whack at the United States.

2.) Musings about what might happen in the future are not historical facts. I said AIG got his history right (except those Albanian ethnic fantasies :). I never said anything about his predictions. Why am I being held to account for those (if he made them, which I still can't find)?

In defense of AIG wrt Mohamed Ali, he could have either seriously or jokingly been exaggerating the situation. Although in the Ottoman army, Mohamed Ali was Albanian and spoke only Albanian fluently. He also commanded a loyal Albanian regiment of the Ottoman army which was instrumental in his ability to eventually rule Egypt. So, AIG could make the exceptionally weak claim that the Albanians conquered and ruled Egypt and it wouldn't be a complete falsehood, but neither would it be true. Also, given his love of sarcasm, he could have been kidding.

Sorry that I didn't understand but the pronoun "he" could have applied to either mon mari or to AIG.

 
At 4/15/2012 3:24 PM, Blogger AIG said...

In defense of AIG wrt Mohamed Ali, he could have either seriously or jokingly been exaggerating the situation

I never jokingly exaggerate a situation. I take my work very seriously.

------

Wow. 11 nonsensical posts back to back from VangeIV. That's a new personal record for me. I am so proud.

But all your points are very well taken VangeIV. Especially the ones where you try and throw some sort of thinly veiled ethnic slurs at me, for no particular reason. I enjoyed those very much, especially since I'm quite sure that in your frozen tundra in Canada, you've never met anyone from Albania or from a 2,000 miles radios of it. (our Reptilian blood does not allow us to survive in such temperatures. What...you didn't know about the Reptilians? I'm pretty sure Lew Rockwell had a show on them)

And I also enjoy your points of historical fabrications very much. You're absolute right...democracy was blooming in Iran. Iran in the 1950s, with its 90% illiteracy rate, was indeed the one place on earth where we could expect to find "democratically elected legitimate governments". Where else? Certainly, the Shah and his hundreds of thousands strong army and embedded interests, had NOTHING to do with overthrowing a communist puppet who was trying to take away their property. Nothing.

America, I hear, played a hand in the creation of the first Persian Dynasty, all the way back to Xerxes...which would explain the use of the Phrygian caps in American revolutionary-era paintings to depict "liberty". You see?

Actually, here's some conspiracy theory food for you. Wasn't Reza part of the Russian-trained and led Cossack Brigade? Then in 1917, Woodrow Wilson created Bolshevism, and led to the Russian Revolution, which led to the Russian commanders of the Cossack brigade leaving Iran...which directly allowed Reza Shah to raise the necessary troops and influence to take over the country in 1925.

Sooo...if you follow me here, America was responsible for the creation of the Pahlavi Dynasty, which led directly to Khomenei, which led directly to Ronald Reagan, which led directly to the Gorbachev, which led directly to Ben Bernanke. I think you know what I'm getting at here!!

Ron Paul 2012!

 
At 4/15/2012 3:28 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Radical Islam is not a threat to the world because in the absence of provocation Radical Islam is marginal even in the Middle East"...

LMAO!

Good one vangeIV

 
At 4/15/2012 3:32 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Why am I being held to account for those (if he made them, which I still can't find)?

Because you hate freedom. That is why you are responsible.

Plus, the man is insane. I don't know where I said any of the things he pretends I said, but he is clearly insane, so there is no arguing with him. I just try to make fun of him until he goes away...a tactic, which I will fully admit, has failed every time!

Also, there is no reasoning with him. This guy ACTUALLY said once...that the Bosnians and the Serbs would not have killed each other were it not for America's interference. His logic was, that if both sides realized that they would not get assistance from outside, they would realize that it would be in their best interests to stop fighting, since neither side could win.

Now, this guy not only clearly doesn't understand history, or ANY other culture or mindset of people's around the world...but he is also clearly delusional.

 
At 4/15/2012 3:35 PM, Blogger AIG said...

because in the absence of provocation Radical Islam is marginal even in the Middle East

Yes but, what do you do when a woman's ankle is considered a provocation..

 
At 4/15/2012 3:46 PM, Blogger AIG said...

AIG,
My husband got his back up about that Albanians ruling Egypt thing. It's not true.
Egypt was under Ottoman rule from 1517 until around the time Mohamed Ali (who was Albanian) took over. Mohamed Ali was in the Ottoman military, was sent to Egypt to deal with the endless but escalating Mamluk infighting and cleverly rose to power by gaining support of the population and playing the warring Mamluks against each other.
Although Mohamed Ali was Albanian, the Albanians never conquered or ruled Egypt, you dreamer :)


WHY do you go and ruin a perfectly good conspiracy theory? It would have been awesome to see VangeIV spin into some anti-American theory.

Now, we shall never get the chance.

PS: Lots of Albanian-Egyptians still left in Egypt from those days. No self-respecting Egyptian would admit to being ruled by others, of course.

 
At 4/15/2012 4:03 PM, Blogger AIG said...

See here is the major flaw in VangeIV reasoning (well, there are so many, that pinpointing a major one, isn't too difficult).

He says...IF THEY ARE NOT PROVOKED, or IF THEY ARE LEFT ALONE, or IF NO ONE INTERFERES etc etc, to describe the supposed better alternative outcomes that he imagines.

But there's a problem with this logic. There is no foreseeable scenario in a world of global communication and trade and travel...that 7th century barbarians would NOT be provoked, or 7th century barbarians could be LEFT ALONE, or that someone in any part of the world would not "interfere" (real or imagined) in any other part of the world.

Capitalism leads to interactions. Interactions lead to complex social and economic arrangements. What we see in the Middle East is the 7th century colliding with the 21st century. It has NOTHING to do with America, since America is by far one of the least interfering nations in human HISTORY.

These people are pissed at Israel. They are pissed at someone who isn't them, living next to them. They are pissed at women driving. They are pissed at the concept of private property. They are pissed at satellite TV. They are pissed at the color pink.

There is no scenario in which the ME wouldn't be in as much trouble as it is today.

But vanegeIV's, and Ron Paul's and Lew Rockwell's etc world view, is 1 dimensional. There is no room for complexities.

Their mind works like an 18 year old's...literally. I remember when I was 18 and there was this girl named Lisa at college. Boy did I have a crush on her. I was going to ask her out right before Thanksgiving break, and then my mom calls me and asks me to come for Thanksgiving break. I didn't want to, but you can't say no. So 1 week goes by and I come back, and I find out that Lisa has started seeing some other guy.

My 18 year old brain's conclusion??? Its my Mom's fault for making me go away for 1 week, and if I had asked out Lisa 1 week earlier, I'd totally be doing her!! (actually, I think it was the US government's fault for decreeing that Thanksgiving be on that particular day! I blame Benjamin Franklin!)

This is how these guy's brain works. There is no room for any complex relationships. It's just simple 1 dimensional cause and effect. Which is quite astounding...for someone claiming to be a "libertarian", considering the classical liberal tradition.

This is why they are just like religious fanatics, as well. Religious fanatics don't understand complex things. They read the bible, the bible says that "Jedediah held snakes in one hand"...or something like that...and they go and hold snakes at church. God said so, we do so, end of story.

There is no possibility of penetrating the mind of people who are simpletons.

 
At 4/15/2012 6:10 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

AIG, you're hilarious.

There is no scenario in which the ME wouldn't be in as much trouble as it is today.

Again, mon Mari disagrees with you. He claims that the region would have benefited from 1,000 years of British colonialism.

Every Egyptian knows that they were conquered repeatedly throughout history - by the Persians, Alexander the Great (the namesake of Alexandria), Romans, Arabs, Ottomans and then a stint as a British mandate before finally commencing their current regression under the leadership of Egyptians.

And the reason they all know this is it all provides a super convenient excuse for every problem they've created for themselves.

This is a country where my husband ducks out of the men's circle (oh, yah, he comes from a conservative Islamic family which separates the sexes. I do not socialize with the men.) to update me that he's having the same conversation. Again.

Israel is responsible for 90% of our problems and we must drive it into the sea. Well, Israel doesn't want to be driven into the sea, so they will fight back and kill you. By saying you want to scrape Israel off the map, you are saying you don't want peace. Oh, we want peace. But, peace is impossible until Israel has been driven into the sea.

And round and round we go. Lovers of conspiracy theories would love Egypt. I was informed by a very smart and educated Egyptian that American farmers were farming radioactive corn to send to Egypt to kill Egyptians because they are the Keepers of Islam (notice how everyone is THE Keeper of Islam?).

PS: Lots of Albanian-Egyptians still left in Egypt from those days..

I'm sorry to hear it. Egypt used to be a pretty cosmopolitan place - pre-Nasser. Alexandria had a large Greek, Italians, Albanian, Armenian, French, British and Jewish community (among others). This is why especially Alexandrians do not assume right away that I'm not Egyptian.

Sadly, Nasser destroyed all that with his Socialism and Pan-Arabism. And Egypt is significantly worse off for it.

Strangely....all under the rule of "their own".

My husband just interrupted me to say he's changed his mind. It's America's fault after all. America uses oil. Oil is exported from Saudi Arabia, which gives them the funds to export Wahhabism. Wahhabism has existed for centuries, of course, but until America's involvement in the oil market, Wahhabism wasn't exportable :)

I don't understand the attraction to these arguments. They are inane and cheapen the libertarian message - even the message of non-interference.

 
At 4/15/2012 6:48 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Again, mon Mari disagrees with you. He claims that the region would have benefited from 1,000 years of British colonialism.

Well, I couldn't disagree with that. Say what you will, but a 1,000 years of British rule, never hurt anyone.

 
At 4/15/2012 8:53 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

1.) The $2B is not in cash and it's a laughably small sum if it were. Not enough to keep a dictator on the throne.

But you are wrong about the sum being small. The money was provided every year and allowed the military to finance many business operations that made it very important in the Egyptian economy. The billions of steady cash flows did not just buy weapons and buy off soldiers. They provided a way to build a huge business conglomerate with holdings in all kinds of activities across the Egyptian economic spectrum.

2.) The military elites all piss on your $2B because their individual net worth is greater than that. Why? Well, to access the Egyptian market, companies are forced to pay them bribes, the sum total of which make the $2B of officer training the U.S. provides a rounding error.

You forget that the money that the Egyptian military has today was made possible by the constant funding from the US government. And even if we just looked at the cash provided each year you are still looking at more than 1% of GDP. That is not a small amount of money.

3.) The dictatorship preceded Mubarak and preceded the peace treaty. Why would it suddenly become dependent on a tiny subsidy from the United States?

It is not tiny. The US gives Egypt around 1% of its GDP to fund the military. Given the fact that Egypt only spends 2% of its GDP on the military that is a large number. And as I said, you miss the impact the continued funding has had on the military. You give me 1% of Canada's GDP each year for 20 years and I will wind up building a set of companies that dominate the Canadian economy in short order. That is not insignificant.

The last time I was in Washington D.C., there was massive security around the White House and Capitol building. Based on this super solid evidence, I assert that the president wouldn't have been able to hang on to power at all were it not for the $6.00 he got from some other country annually.

That is hardly a valid argument. In the case of Egypt the military gets just over 1% of GDP in aid to keep hold of power. That is a big number and it does help keep the government in power. The US has had elections. And while they were not exactly clean they were a hell of a lot better than what was happening in Egypt, which had no elections.

 
At 4/15/2012 9:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Which charlatan am I supporting? Which people am I attacking? As far as I can tell, I have taken issue with your assertions, not with you or any other person.

Take your pick. Do you support Obama and the Democrats? Then I am correct in saying that you support big government charlatans. Do you support Romney/Ryan/Santorum/Gingrich and the GOP? Then I am correct in saying that you support big government charlatans. That is my point. Both major parties are for gig government and less freedom.

My lack of support for and my advocacy against such escapades do not make me sympathetic to your cherry-picked data in support of assertions that outcomes would have been better if xyz didn't happen.

I do not cherry pick the data. It is what it is. There was a stalemate in 1917 and there was a great deal of pressure to end the war as there were mutinies on both sides. The Russian people did not want to keep fighting the Germans and preferred to end the war. The French and German soldiers got tired of being slaughtered just so that some general can claim victory as the front advanced a few hundred yards . The only reason why the war did not end during the stalemate was because Wilson broke his promise and joined the allies. That led to the fall of the Duma and the rise of the Bolsheviks. That gave us Lenin. The German government fell after the war because of the terms it was forced to accept at Versailles. That gave us Hitler.

The fact that the British conspired with Wilson to get the US into the war is not some new discovery. Historians have known about that for more than 80 years. The fact that the Lusitania was carrying arms and that the Germans had threatened to sink it has been known as long. The propaganda about Belgian babies being killed and many other lies came from the British foreign office.

None of the material that I referenced is new to anyone familiar with history. Of course, popular history tends to ignore many of the facts. And our friend AIG and you tend to stick to popular history written by the court historians. That is like reading a book on the political history of Egypt that has been written by someone in the employ of Mubarak's regime or reading about Stalin's heroism from his 'official' biographer.

 
At 4/15/2012 9:30 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Vange,

Your entire post conveniently ignores two key things I told you:

1.) The $2B is not cash. The vast majority of is teaching Egyptian military officers how to do jumping jacks. Training, incidentally, which is provided on U.S. soil.

2.) The amount the Egyptian military junta receives from firms who want access to the Egyptian market is orders of magnitude larger than the $2B from the U.S. even if it were all in cash. Which it's not.

3.) The dictatorship preceded the tiny subsidy. In fact, Egyptians don't have a problem with dictatorship, btw. They're cool with it. They're just looking for "the right guy". Sound familiar?

Until your argument includes at least a hint of a nod to important reality, I can't take it seriously.

I'm sorry you don't like my evidence for Obama's survival as el presidente of the USSA because it's basically your argument.

 
At 4/15/2012 9:30 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

three key points. My editing skills suck

 
At 4/15/2012 10:00 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The number of variables in any such complex situations are so large, that you simply can't make the claims you make. You ignore the Kaiser entirely in your assessment of WWI. You claim that a treaty was inevitable and you expect your counter-factual assertions to go unchallenged by facts we actually know.

I do not ignore the variables. I only pointed out that the biggest problem was the treaty Germany was forced to sign at Versailles. That humiliation led to the failure of the government and to rise of the National Socialists.

You could have skipped the entire Lusitania lesson because I don't think the Lusitania (even if sunk for no good reason at all) was enough justification to force Americans to pay the heavy price of war to avenge. I'm asking you to re-examine a certain set of your assertions, your justifications, not your conclusion (with which you agree).

That was the primary excuse for entry into the war. Wilson needed an excuse to break his promises and that worked as well as any. The evidence clearly shows that the Germans warned the US government but that Wilson did not warn Americans not to travel on the ship. And as I pointed out, my assertions are supported by the events.

Whether or not the United State's involvement worsened outcomes in other countries (which is open to debate even if you are certain - unless you think that challenging your assertion is akin to Holocaust denial), its involvement is a bad because it hurts American citizens.

My claims are factual. As I pointed out, the French were already putting their own soldiers against the wall or in prison for mutiny and there was no will to fight much longer on either side. Without the energy provided by the American entry into the war a peace would have had to be reached quickly.

No, you didn't. Specifically, you point to no facts that would indicate that any of your assertions about the rise of Hitler or the Soviet Union. I pointed to facts that challenge your assertions and you were unable to counter argue with anything more than assertion. That's sad because this is an internet discussion and your Ph.D. isn't riding on it, so I don't understand the religious zeal with which you defend your indefensible position.

I gave you two books that deal exactly with those questions. You are free to look at them. There are many more by the way but I doubt that you will bother looking at something that is not coming from the court historians.

Appeal to authority is not science.

I never said that it was. I also do not see history as science and wonder why you would think that it was. My references are sufficient for any clear thinker to see that the official story is not exactly consistent with the facts. Many of the 'good' guys were just as evil as the 'bad' guys that we were told that we must hate.

So, anyone who disagrees with your preferred scholars is obviously an untrustworthy schmuck. Are you taking lessons from Paul Krugman now? Maybe Don Boudreaux and Russ Roberst ARE shills for the Koch brothers since they disagree with Statists and the institutions for which they work get funding from the evil evil evil Kochs (who are evil because they disagree with statists).

I have never said that anyone who disagrees with me is an untrustworthy schmuck. I simply point out that the court intellectuals have incentives to support those that pay them. Krugman is a perfect example of a panderer to power.

And for the record, I do have problems with the Koch brothers. They are just as stupid as the fools at Cato who oppose them and are getting what they deserve.

The debate is over, eh, Vange. If Your guy says he has perfect knowledge of what WOULD have happened, then it is the unvarnished truth that is beyond challenge! Repent by accepting this holy scripture from the disciples or burn in hell forever!

I prefer to look at facts rather than narratives. From what I see the facts support my conclusions.

 
At 4/15/2012 10:06 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Take your pick. Do you support Obama and the Democrats?...etc.

Huh? When did I say I supported Democrats or Republicans? What the hell is this confused crap?

You accuse me of supporting big government charlatans, then you have to ask me which big government charlatans I support because you can't find anything to quote from me (because you've got nothing to quote) and the a priori assumption is I MUST be supporting big government charlatans because...well, who the hell knows why. Maybe it's because I basically have expressed views consistent with anarcho capitalism. Maybe it's my deep and growing distrust of government. Maybe in Vangeland such views are considered beating up on people who protect liberty and supporting big government charlatans.

Frankly, it seems you've been drinking.

That led to the fall of the Duma and the rise of the Bolsheviks. That gave us Lenin.

Oooooh, I see. I get it now. As soon as Wilson decided to wiggle into the war (on the side of the Russians, mind), the Duma toppled over. From over-excitement, I guess. And then Lenin magically appeared from the Duma's cloud of rubble. Like bad genie.

The sad and convoluted Russian politics, mismanagement of the war, backwardness, the reliance on Rasputin to help choose key political figures and the sealed train the Germans provided Lenin in the hopes of knocking Russia out of the war had nothing to do with anything. Facts that nobody disputes and that you avoid like the plague. It was America and magic.

I can see the craziness now. Or maybe it's just impenetrable ignorance.

Really, Vange, the Serbs and Croats have been at each other's throats for centuries and (magically. Again) we are to believe that THIS time, in the 20th century, they were going to realize how futile fighting is IF ONLY AMERICA HADN'T INTERFERED WITH THEIR INEVITABLE EPIPHANY! DAMMIT!

I don't know what a "court historian" is, but one of my parents (and a grandparent) is an historian and I can assure you that this parent was not rewarded for writing fictitious history and that's not how the academy, for all its faults, works.

What's really sad is that you bang on about some cartoon "court historians" while making the mistake of conflating "fact" and "counterfactual". Real historians don't cheapen their work with counterfactuals except for fun at dinner parties and other casual conversations.

This is my last go on this merry-go-round.

 
At 4/15/2012 10:21 PM, Blogger AIG said...

In fact, Egyptians don't have a problem with dictatorship, btw. They're cool with it. They're just looking for "the right guy". Sound familiar?

That's impossible. If only America would leave them alone, Egypt would be rivaling Hong Kong today.

As soon as Wilson decided to wiggle into the war

I blame Wilson for everything. Communism, Hitler, Glenn Beck. So many horrors. Wait...did Wilson decree which day Thanksgiving was to be on? Cause if he did, boy do I have a problem with him!!!

 
At 4/15/2012 10:25 PM, Blogger AIG said...

And for the record, I do have problems with the Koch brothers. They are just as stupid as the fools at Cato

That's the spirit! Tell those revisionists!! Death to revisionists! Long live the Revolution!

 
At 4/15/2012 10:26 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Still dreaming of Lisa?!?!?!

You forgot to (correctly, of course) blame Wilson for 9/11 and the 2006 Tsunami.

And Chernobyl (no Wilson, Duma doesn't shake apart from giddiness, no Bolsheviks, no Soviets, no Chernobyl. Makes perfect sense).

It's all so simple if you you just make stuff up.

 
At 4/15/2012 10:27 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

AIG, you're killing Mr. Methinks and me.

Don't stop!

 
At 4/15/2012 10:42 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Still dreaming of Lisa?!?!?!

Alas, Woodrow Wilson took her away from me.

 
At 4/16/2012 8:10 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes, it is their goal and I think their ability to execute on it is a number that is not statistically different from 0%. I'm much more worried that our government will commence to robbing us further in a vain attempt to fight a ghost and waste resources which could otherwise be used used to figure out how best to defend against attempt of random idiots to take over the world by having a whack at the United States.

This is really what my argument with AIG is really about. He supports meddling, foreign adventures, and the loss of personal freedom because he fears Islamic Fundamentalists. He believes that they will rise and threaten Western Civilization and will impose their rules and laws on the rest of us. This is why he wants a war with Iran and has supported the wars in the Middle East even though his government is actually supporting the tyrannical fundamentalist extremists against secular tyrants it does not like.

For some reason he ignores the fact that the US government lied about the Iraq WMDs and orchestrated a totally unnecessary war. Now we can try to argue that Iraq could have lost all those people and destroyed its Christian community without the Bush war but that is not the type of speculation that I like to engage in. I merely point out that it was the US that invaded and the US that was responsible for the death and destruction. I have also pointed out that we have seen the same manipulation of data to try to get the US to attack Syria, Libya, and Iran. Clearly the public intellectuals were complicit in the lies and helped turn the population to support the war efforts. And just as clearly they were wrong.

My argument is that there is no reason for us to believe these apologists for the state about what is going on now or about the past. A prudent and reasonable person would look at all of the facts and come to a reasonable conclusion based on those facts, not on propaganda designed to support the previous actions of the state.

2.) Musings about what might happen in the future are not historical facts. I said AIG got his history right (except those Albanian ethnic fantasies :). I never said anything about his predictions. Why am I being held to account for those (if he made them, which I still can't find)?

I think that you are a bit confused. The panderers to power who are our public intellectuals make clear statements that are easy to check out. For example many of them used 'evidence' to justify Bush's war without bothering to see if the evidence was real. It wasn't a simple case of partisanship because leading voices from both parties spread the same lies. Those voices have yet to apologise for leading the country into an unnecessary war and are far more likely to try to spin a narrative to justify it instead.

My point is a simple one. If the apologists and panderers to power are so transparently wrong and partisan about interpreting events that are so recent in our memories why do you trust their narrative about events that are further in the past? As I pointed out, I prefer facts and logic to be my guide.

In defense of AIG wrt Mohamed Ali, he could have either seriously or jokingly been exaggerating the situation. Although in the Ottoman army, Mohamed Ali was Albanian and spoke only Albanian fluently. He also commanded a loyal Albanian regiment of the Ottoman army which was instrumental in his ability to eventually rule Egypt. So, AIG could make the exceptionally weak claim that the Albanians conquered and ruled Egypt and it wouldn't be a complete falsehood, but neither would it be true. Also, given his love of sarcasm, he could have been kidding.

But that is my point. Most of the 'history' that you are taught is based on such exceptionally weak claims and self serving interpretations. I prefer the facts and logic instead.

 
At 4/16/2012 8:26 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

But all your points are very well taken VangeIV. Especially the ones where you try and throw some sort of thinly veiled ethnic slurs at me, for no particular reason. I enjoyed those very much, especially since I'm quite sure that in your frozen tundra in Canada, you've never met anyone from Albania or from a 2,000 miles radios of it. (our Reptilian blood does not allow us to survive in such temperatures. What...you didn't know about the Reptilians? I'm pretty sure Lew Rockwell had a show on them)

LOL, you keep getting it wrong time after time.

First, I was born about a two hour drive from the Albanian border. Second, my neighbours had many very close Albanian friends that I knew very well and played with as a child. Third, I would say that most of the fruits and vegetables that we purchased when I was a child came from Albanian merchants. I have never had any problems with 'Albanians' and whenever I criticise anything to do with Albania it usually has to do with its government or nationalist groups, the same as when I happen to criticise anything else that may seem to be nationalistic.

So you have no clue what it is that you are talking about. As someone born in the shadow of the Iron Curtain I take individual liberty very seriously.

And I also enjoy your points of historical fabrications very much. You're absolute right...democracy was blooming in Iran. Iran in the 1950s, with its 90% illiteracy rate, was indeed the one place on earth where we could expect to find "democratically elected legitimate governments". Where else? Certainly, the Shah and his hundreds of thousands strong army and embedded interests, had NOTHING to do with overthrowing a communist puppet who was trying to take away their property. Nothing.

There go the deceptions again. I did not make any substantive statements about Iranian democracy or literacy rates. Iran's poor rural population has never been particularly literate. I simply made the observation that the Shah was restored to power by a CIA coup and the terror and oppression that followed had American support. Now you can create narratives about how things would have been worse had Mossadegh stayed in power but that is the type of speculation that you accuse me of.

America, I hear, played a hand in the creation of the first Persian Dynasty, all the way back to Xerxes...which would explain the use of the Phrygian caps in American revolutionary-era paintings to depict "liberty". You see?.....

Nice switch. After you make a number of false claims pretend that you are being sarcastic or ironic. This does not change the fact that you are supporting foreign meddling today and that your previous support for war was based on lies. It seems that you have no desire to see the American taxpayer stop paying for useless wars and have no trouble with the growing deficits and unfunded liabilities that threaten to destroy what used to be the greatest country in the world not all that long ago. bin Laden would be proud of such goals and such support from his Albanian brother.

 
At 4/16/2012 8:54 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Yes but, what do you do when a woman's ankle is considered a provocation..

Why must American kids die to protect Arab women's ankles? There is a great deal of injustice in this world. Do you want us to destroy ourselves fighting for others? Since when it is your business or your right to interfere in the affairs of others? And why exactly is it that the US can take such a stance in one country, support another in which the same rules apply, and attack another that has kept radical Islam away from power? If women's rights were the banner that you want to run behind why are you supporting the attack of Syria but not Saudi Arabia? Didn't the Soviets claim to support a woman's right to be educated and show her ankle? Than why did we train bin Laden to fight them in Afghanistan?

See your problem? Women's ankles are not the issue. Power and money are.

 
At 4/16/2012 9:00 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

But there's a problem with this logic. There is no foreseeable scenario in a world of global communication and trade and travel...that 7th century barbarians would NOT be provoked, or 7th century barbarians could be LEFT ALONE, or that someone in any part of the world would not "interfere" (real or imagined) in any other part of the world.

I guess that you failed logic. Anger against badly made porn (which bin Laden seemed to like) or the Beatles does not provoke terror attacks. But supporting of local dictators or invading a country does provoke terror attacks. al Qaeda did not attack Sweden because its porn stars made its members inadequate. It attacked the US, as it said that it would, because the US had stationed troops on 'sacred' soil. bin Laden actually spelled out what was bothering his band of fools. It had nothing to do with the fact that Americans let their daughters act like strippers or drink too much. It had to do with the American military and state department propping up tyrants.

And why exactly should we fear a few fools hiding in caves? Is you liberty worth so little that you would give it up so easily for the promise that the same band of fools that allowed 9/11 will improve its performance?

 
At 4/16/2012 9:12 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

1.) The $2B is not cash. The vast majority of is teaching Egyptian military officers how to do jumping jacks. Training, incidentally, which is provided on U.S. soil.

There is plenty of 'cash' provided, thank you. That cash has been used to buy businesses and real estate over the years. That has made the men in charge much richer than they could have been if they had to pay for everything out of tax revenues. It is no secret that a steady and guaranteed flow of cash will allow you to build up a huge economic empire without taking much risk. That empire gives you influence over a vast number of people that depend on it for their livelihood and further cash flows that can be diverted into off shore bank accounts as 'insurance' against the turning of the tide.

2.) The amount the Egyptian military junta receives from firms who want access to the Egyptian market is orders of magnitude larger than the $2B from the U.S. even if it were all in cash. Which it's not.

I do not dispute this. But I still point to all of that external aid that allows the military to hang on to power.

3.) The dictatorship preceded the tiny subsidy. In fact, Egyptians don't have a problem with dictatorship, btw. They're cool with it. They're just looking for "the right guy". Sound familiar?

Yes it does. But the large sums of cash change the dynamic greatly. Early in the game the offer that is made cannot be refused because the additional money is huge. As I said above, that allows all kinds of acquisitions and power consolidation on the part of the insiders. That puts them in a much stronger position than the dictators who had failed.

Until your argument includes at least a hint of a nod to important reality, I can't take it seriously.

Well, if you don't take a steady flow of billions seriously I doubt that there is anything that you will take seriously.

I'm sorry you don't like my evidence for Obama's survival as el presidente of the USSA because it's basically your argument.

Actually, it isn't. The last time I looked Obama had to face voters and could not hide behind barriers for decades. That is a big difference that you have failed to note.

 
At 4/16/2012 9:14 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

If only America would leave them alone, Egypt would be rivaling Hong Kong today.

Hardly. Egypt was a failed country long before the Ptolemy's took over. It is actually the perfect example of what happens to a people when they are taxed too much.

 
At 4/16/2012 9:16 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

AIG, you're killing Mr. Methinks and me.

Actually, he is advocating killing Iraqis, Afghans, Iranians. Egyptians are not very high on his list. Yet.

But wait until the Muslim Brotherhood takes over. At that point you will be his enemy and he will fear your extremism.

 
At 4/16/2012 12:46 PM, Blogger misterjosh said...

I just want to say it's been fascinating to watch this conversation between three people who speak ESL talk through/around each other. The most interesting thing for me is that you probably have more in common with each other than different, but the personalities, assumptions, and conversation styles keep getting in the way.

 
At 4/16/2012 3:06 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I just want to say it's been fascinating to watch this conversation between three people who speak ESL talk through/around each other. The most interesting thing for me is that you probably have more in common with each other than different, but the personalities, assumptions, and conversation styles keep getting in the way.

If you are thinking of Methinks I agree. But not AIG. On that front the disagreement is purely based on principle, not assumptions, personality, or style.

 
At 4/16/2012 4:15 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I think it's fascinating that we all can meet on the internet without ever even knowing each other's names or where we're located and have such a debate.

For most of my life, such a thing was impossible.

Thank God Algore invented the internet :)

 
At 4/16/2012 8:43 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Incidentally, I must apologize.

All of the typos in my posts cannot be blamed on ESL. They're attributable to carelessness and the fact that I find the little box provided for comments exceptionally difficult to edit in.

 

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