Patriotism versus Nationalism (versus Internationalism?)

Patriotism versus Nationalism (versus Internationalism?).

Also syndicated here.

Patriotism to me can be a love for the place where one lives, which need not necessarily exhibit irrational feelings of superiority or inherent exceptionalism. It also can mean a love for the exceptionalism (which may be incidental or dependent on factors other than race and geography) of a culture, often within geographical confines. It can extend to a willingness to die to preserve the place or the ideas in question. Patriotism can manifest itself in both agreement and dissent.

Nationalism, on the other hand, is blind love for a specific geographical or racial entity for irrational reasons, such as perceived inherent superiority or traditional feuding. Most often it is manifested in a subtle form of groupthink, the consequences of not conforming to include: ostracism, ridicule, bigotry, prohibitions of expressions of culture or language, and even confiscation of property. In extreme forms, and much less subtle, overt violence and genocide. It is often mixed with or perhaps intentionally covered by higher ideals. Democracy. Social justice. Equality. Brotherhood. Humanity. Liberty. To this extent is has an appeal with both the base and the virtuous, and is thus pervasive and not even all those who hold some of the views (for very few hold all of them) realize where they originate, or what their intended purposes are in the form they are presented.

Both ideas rest on that of taste. One acknowledges it as a personal preference and in relations with others it either defends from attacks (ideally not overreacting) or promotes its underlying ideas through persuasion and not force, and the other (according to its own idealism, though not always according to the practice of its leaders) seeks to foist it equally upon all (assuming, of course, you are one of the ones it suffers to live), the consequences and human rights be damned.

According to these definitions, which are my own but not too far distant from how they are defined by others, individual persons and conventions of persons, experts in fields and students of ideas, nationalism is very much the more problematic of the two.

And if you break it down further this is true for two reasons. One is the way it treats outsiders (geographical foreigners, ethnic inferiors, and so on). The other is the way it treats its own. Eliminating nationalism and replacing it with a generic internationalism (some would call this world government) only eradicates the first problem in the best case scenario. A highly decentralized internationalism (some would call this globalization) would go a long way towards reducing, and in some cases eliminating, both problems.

Amongst those that agree that globalization (even those afraid to use the word for fear of being associated with, or who recognize that the word has been misused by; those who either openly embrace, or whose proposals and ideas in some way perpetuate; world government) is a good idea, there is some disagreement about the way to go about it. I won’t go into arguments for or against (uni/bi/multi)lateral/free/managed trade or international law as it pertains to evident violations of human rights or other controversial subjects with well meaning and intelligent individuals on either side of the argument. I would instead like to delineate between potent attempts at world government and relatively impotent (but still menacing in their own right) attempts.

In the first category (potent) I would put imperialism, where it should be obvious that internationalism is in fact just nationalism applied to the world stage. Attempts such as this never fully succeed (partly because they may not really be conscious of what they are doing, or if they are, may have different goals in mind than that of tyrannizing the globe) in subjugating the entire world, but are potent in the sense that they cause much suffering and disorder and do so under a gradually increasing authority (in terms of both power and geography).

Also there is mercantilism. This often goes hand in hand with imperialism. Sometimes they have the same origin. Other times they just “benefit” from each other. And still there may be some combination thereof. In a sense, aspects of it have been practiced by every “traditional” empire going back to the Sumerians, but not until the rise of the modern, benevolent, humanitarian nations did it come into its own. France, Britain, the United States. And though not “true” mercantlism in the sense of application to one nation, several aspects of it have been incorporated into the cooperative efforts of the civilized nations (treaties and alliances; NATO being a prime example, the IMF another).

I wouldn’t even rule transnational corporations (in some instances being creations of, though not always faithful servants to, the state) and Non-Government Organizations out of having at least a small part in this category (potent attempts at world government), but at the present I would like to refrain from theorizing about possible conspiracies.

In the second category (impotent) I would put such things as failed attempts at international cooperation. Take the League of Nations or the United Nations. I do not deny that they were/are to be feared. But the reason has more to do with the stupidity and inefficiency of bureaucracy than it does the greed or violence of imperialism. But more than that it is not so much the bodies themselves that should be of concern, but rather the ways they may be used by the member nations in their imperialistic and mercantilistic endeavors. 

Things such as the World Trade Organization I would have a hard time categorizing. Besides, as I said, I do not wish to formulate arguments on the issue of trade nor delve into conspiracy theories.

New Discovery: Jacques Delacroix (I had not read his piece in its entirety until moments ago, so I hope no one thinks I wrote this as some sort of response to it) goes into all of this as well (I had no idea until, for the purpose of seeing what others had to say on the subject I did a search for “WTO” on my friend Brandon Christensen’s blog), but is far less charitable to these types than I am (I think mirroring his overall more establishmentarian variant of libertarianism).

Anyways, at this stage I am not a flag burner. But neither am I a flag worshipper. At the present, this one will do:

File:Flag of Montana 1905.svg

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Happy Armistice Day

Happy Armistice Day.

Please read it here.

That’s what it’s actually called. I have no problem with honoring veterans, per se, although taken to the logical extreme someone who volunteers for an unjust war is either ignorant or evil. Here are possible exceptions:

First exception. The war itself was not unjust. Therefore, the individual soldiers that fought in it may have been genuinely fulfilling a moral duty to protect them and theirs. A just war is a defensive war. There are many scenarios that could lead to a defensive war, not all of which necessarily require being fired upon first. But outside of the most obvious reason for going to war defensively, in retaliation or defense against invasion or attack, the legitimacy of the reasons for going to war come into play. Especially in the context of previous wars of aggression.

Consider this scenario: Iraq is alleged to have weapons of mass destruction that they intend to use against the United States, either directly against the homeland or against Americans abroad (let us ignore for now the fact that many Americans “abroad” have no business being so in the first place), or in conjunction with terrorists who intend to do the same. So we go to war against them only to later find out three things: there were no WMDs (that really does depend on how that term was defined), there were no intentions to attack America or Americans, and there were no ties to terrorists with a focus on attacking the United States or its citizens.

More than a decade later we find the exact same people making the exact same claims about Iran. This should lead us to a question: even if they are right (there is simply no reason to believe that they are as not only are they proven liars and have obvious conflicts of interest, but the facts point in the opposite direction than that which they would lead us), Would that war be just?

Of course that war would be just. But because of past deviations from a just and peaceful and honest foreign policy, there is simply no reason to risk it without actual proof first. Some worry that that proof might come in the form of a dirty bomb. Others in the form of a warhead sent right into the US or a region heavily populated with Americans. And others still in the form of an attack against our “ally” Israel.

The first possibility is not absurd, per se, but because of how tenuous it is, it in and of itself is not a justification for war. If there was a legitimate fear of that sort of thing happening, it would easily be prevented, then the answer is not going to war but security checks. And if it did happen, it was because there was no real effort made to prevent it, in which case the indication should be that the players would not have been known, as the attack itself was not ofreseen. The second and third possibilities truly are absurd, as there are such things as nuclear defense shields. The US and Israel both have that area covered. Further, there is the possibility of retaliation. For those that maintain that the Iranians just want to see the world go up and smoke and don’t mind dying to accomplish that, the idea of retaliation is not an objection to their fears. But it is still a losing battle for the Iranians. More than that, its a battle in which they wouldn’t even be able to land a blow.

And the possibility of an attack on Israel is the most absurd of all. And not because it can’t or won’t happen, but because it truly is none of our concern. Some think it is cruel to say such things, and not just because they are our “ally”, but because they are human beings. They might even be right were it not for the fact that Israel can and will take care of itself and doesn’t even need our help (though some interests in that nation and in ours will see to it that we are permanently entangled, and not always with simplistic or well-understood motives).

Second exception. The soldiers were drafted. This is slavery. There may have been ways for them to avoid this draft, but it won’t have been without its own set of risks. Some might feel it is better to go “over there” and risk their lives than it is to be in hiding the rest of their days and risk not only their lives, but their livelihoods, and to disquiet the lives or comforts of their families. Whether this line of thinking is right or not, and regardless of which route they take, they are no less victims for it.

Third exception. The soldiers volunteered on their own terms rather than be drafted on the state’s terms. There was a draft in effect, but in order to avoid getting the short end of the stick, they volunteered knowing the deal they got would not be quite so raw. Just as with the draftees, they are forced to choose between two choices, neither of which is entirely moral on their part and neither of which is moral at all on the state’s part. Thus, they are, once again, the victims.

Fourth exception. The soldiers volunteered in a time of peace expecting that their duly elected representatives would only send them to die for a just cause. But then an unjust war is waged and they have no choice but to serve or become a fugitive. This applies to the US Army, US Navy, US Marine Corps, and the US Air Force (although it is worth noting the Air Force is unconstitutional.)

Fifth exception. The soldiers volunteered for a branch of the service that is only called forth for combat duty in a time of invasion or rebellion, but then are sent to combat in a foreign land against which the United States is the clear aggressor. This applies to the various National Guard groups.

Of course, one can question the idea of a “public” military itself. But it is reasonable that so long as the Westphalian Nation State is the prime mode of political organization and that citizens a part of and within that paradigm are in need of protection that can not be adequately provided (in theory they could, but such a society does not exist yet) in some other way, that the state-controlled standing army is a necessary evil that can, and has at times, been used in a moral way, even with a nonvolunteer force. Though this in no way cancels out the underlying violation of rights that such systems of defense (and offense) are predicated on in the first place.

So, join with me to celebrate the Armistice that was declared to end the Great War. That war in which many men were enthralled and then brutally murdered. That war which ever since, every US-involved conflict can be easily traced to the entanglements that arose therefrom. And if you know a veteran, you might even consider understanding his story before you either thank him or condemn him.

Veterans Day, as it is now called, has become just another excuse to get into a flag waving frenzy and to feel good about things that perhaps no one should be feeling good about. But if you’ve read what I’ve written, don’t take this day for granted. Rather, commemorate the day in the way it was intended. Reflectively. Soberly. With an eye towards peace.

Something I Forgot

Something I Forgot.

I was going to add this to my about page, A Little More Background, but forgot. So I’ll make a new post. Why not?

My Dad was born and raised in the Placerville, Sacramento, and Oakland area. He went to high school in Sand Point, Idaho. Soon thereafter he joined the Army to go fight in Viet Nam, but was stationed in Germany and did plenty of traveling in Europe before shipping out to French Indochina. He has maintained that it was better to join and have your pick of the jobs than to be drafted and get stuck doing something you don’t like. Here is some information about some of the missions he went on, though according to him they are not completely accurate, though I suppose that is to be expected. He later became a rancher in Western Montana, though he met my mother in Eastern/Central Montana, and has more or less resided here ever since.

Dad’s favorite president ever is Calvin Coolidge. I think he is in a minority. I would definitely put “Silent Cal” in my top five list.

One reason I am sharing this is because I am going to link to it in a future post. That post has little to do with family history, but there is one thing in my current draft that needed a link to this information which I briefly allude to.

Wary of Gary

Wary of Gary.

Let me start off by saying that I would like nothing more than to be able to support a Liberty candidate and vote for him this November. I have tried so hard, many times to get myself in the mood for Gary Johnson. Each time I was kidding myself.

You should know that you are free to comment and argue with me, but the purpose of this post is not necessarily to convince people not to vote for Gary Johnson, but just to further explain why I am not going to do so. This may seem unnecessary, but seeing as how this blog had hitherto been given the expressed purpose of supporting Ron Paul, in its own limited way, and that I will be ramping up the volume and frequency of posts, I feel obliged to explain why none of these posts will be featuring support for Johnson’s candidacy, and will instead be more issue-oriented (with the occasional hit piece on Obama or Romney).

So. What exactly is my problem with Gary Johnson? I’ll tell you. It’s not that he’s not a nice guy. It’s not that I doubt his sincerity. It’s not that I would prefer Obama or Romney.  And it’s not just the very few (or perhaps there are more than I initially anticipated) things that he and I disagree on.  But it is, in part, the things he, at times, seems focus on. I can’t listen to the guy without him blah-blah-blahing about gay marriage, taxing marijuana, flip-flopping on everything from heroin to NAFTA, and plenty of other meaningless distractions, all the while that they are mostly distractions he is still going in the wrong direction or not near forcefully enough in the right direction. Sure, he brings up the wars, the Pentagon budget, says he wants to bring the troops home, audit the fed, things like that. And the strange thing is I don’t necessarily disbelieve him. I just think that these things, the real issues, the real issues, the real issues, would be put on the back burner, or more so than they should be. It’s the economy stupid! And as long as you are going to talk about and do things that have virtually nothing to do with the economy, the very least you could do, if you want my support, or my vote, is talk about and do these things in a way I can agree with.

I have said that I would vote for Gary Johnson if he would address some of my concerns satisfactorily. When I originally listed them, I was mainly waxing rhetorical. In my mind, I was (and still am) certain that Gary would answer almost none of them to my satisfaction, which is why those particulars (re-listed below) were ever sticks in my craw in the first place.

What is it about Gary that makes me lose hope of he and I ever seeing eye to eye on these things?

I have seen and heard enough interviews where these things were touched on. None of the interviewers were anywhere near as precise on these issues as I was with my list. Nor would one think there should be a need for them to be so. You see, libertarians make a name for themselves being very rational and analytical about things. So when some radio host or some high mucky-muck in the freedom movement/free market blogosphere asks Gary Johnson, straight up: Do you support humanitarian interventionism? (just one example!), and he opens his mouth and fumbles but you think he’s eventually going to say something rooted in some clause of the Constitution or some fundamental libertarian axiom, and then he basically says “yes,” without hardly a qualification (and then one usually appealing to emotion), and changes the subject to his stance on the current wars, which are winding down and unpopular anyways, and therefore happens to be the same stance as 70% of the American public, who, and I hate to sound like an elitist, are some of the most vacuous and bloodthirsty people on the planet, I am forced to choose between two options in terms of what I can think of him: He is either weak willed (worse yet, a coward) or he is a complete ignoramus.  And let me tell you, I am not sure which one scares me more: Is he afraid of alienating the average Libertarian Party member who is a bleeding-heart socially liberal utilitarian minarchist (nothing necessarily wrong with any ONE of those things, or even a mixture of two or three, but I am not the biggest fan of the overall combination), or does he really know less about basic libertarianism, noninterventionism, and economics than some kids I know who aren’t even old enough to vote?

There have been times when I listen to him speak and after a while I am just cringing in dreadful anticipation of what answer he is going to give next. Don’t get me wrong, the man is a great orator when he gets a softball interview, which is just about all of them these last two months because his handlers won’t let him talk about the real details of the real issues with real people anymore. They already milked that cow and she’s bone dry.

Or maybe I shouldn’t blame it all on his handlers, maybe I should blame it on the fact that because Ron Paul is out of the picture and this is an exciting election, the media, even its libertarian wing, has chosen to fawn rather than vet. 

Anyways, lets delve into those particulars again:

1. Does his pro-choice stance mean he would uphold the Tenth Amendment or ignore it and further erode it?

Gary has stated that he thinks each state should decide. This is a stance I can live with and may even be the best of all possible political alternatives. Except…

Johnson is really in no position to alienate the pro-life vote, so it would stand to reason that he would bring up the states’ rights argument, that he says he adheres to in this case, just a tad more often. Unfortunately for him, he usually just says that he PERSONALLY BELIEVES in a woman’s “right” to choose up until the fetus is “viable.” He needs 15% polling nationwide to get in the debates with Obama and Romney, something I would have hoped for even if I was not going to vote for him, just to get some of his alternative views in the public square (his opposition, though at times mild, to things like the Federal Reserve, suspension of habeas corpus, the income tax, ObamaCare, executive orders, undeclared wars, budget deficits, entitlements, welfare, eminent domain, the UN, bailouts, gun control, etc.). I suspect after alienating a good portion of his potential base, the Ron Paul supporters, he will not get into the debates, let alone win the presidency. We basically have three pro-choice guys running. One is Planned Parenthood’s bosom buddy. Another has ties to abortion mill disposal companies, and has had every conceivable stance on the issue (except this one). And the other, while opposing public funding of abortions, and possibly in favor of states’ rights on the issue (thereby appointing judges who might overturn Roe v. Wade), still would not make life a priority in any way, shape, or form because a) he personally is pro-choice and b) he is against states’ rights on the marriage question and who knows what else.

Here is one article I read that says it is okay to vote for a personally pro-choice candidate because the president, not even through the courts, has absolutely no effect on policies regarding abortion: Abortion, Religion, and the Presidency by Laurence M. Vance. Mr. Vance is essentially arguing that you can vote for the lesser of two evils if the evil in question has no policy consequence. I would buy that argument if I knew for certain that that same candidate would reduce abortions through some indirect mechanism (states’ rights), if given the opportunity to do so, even if he is unwilling or unable to use more direct mechanisms (executive order, signing a law banning abortion, advocating an amendment banning abortion, or appointing judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade).

There are three ways to implement a states’ rights solution to abortion. One is to overturn Roe v. Wade by appointing pro-life or pro-states’ rights justices. Another is to pass a law taking jurisdiction over abortion away from the courts, thus invalidating Roe v. Wade and any other federal court’s decision in the past or future that overturn state laws against abortion. Both of these ways are direct. The third way is simply by refusing to prosecute or punish the states that choose to ban abortion, even if Roe v. Wade is technically still in effect. The President can direct his Attorney General, Justice Department, and other relevant officers to not go after states that nullify federal law or court decisions. Johnson has not clearly stated that would do any of these things. And until he does, no pro-lifer should even consider him. I hope he clarifies whether he would do these things or not. There are so many issues that he has made unclear or conflicting statements on.

2. Does “humanitarian intervention” mean things such as Letters of Marque and Reprisal and Spanish Civil War-type volunteerism (which is illegal these days) or does it mean more undeclared or unjust wars, unilateral or otherwise?

He still has never gone into detail on this, besides, just recently, specifically as it pertains to Kony. I mean, are we just supposed to make the assumption that he’s alright just because of the L that comes after his name? I thought that sort of thinking was what gave us the two-party duopoly! My gut instinct is that Gary really would send in taxpayer-funded US troops. He would probably go to Congress and get a Declaration of War first, and would probably define the mission, engage the enemy, win, and then pull out. Probably. This would therefore be a “legal” war, but by no means a “just” war. Ron Paul (yes, I know, he is not running anymore, but that has nothing to do with the point I am making) on the other hand would only go to Congress if we were attacked first, and then presumably in an even handed way. And if Congress on its own, with no prompting from the Commander-in-Chief, was to unjustly, but legally Declare War, Ron Paul as Commander-in-Chief would probably weigh the two following options: Resign or carry it out as quickly and painlessly as possible. Gary, so far as I can tell would weigh these two options: Carry it out because there is a humanitarian reason to do so or don’t carry it out because there is no humanitarian reason to do so. And need I remind you that George W. Bush campaigned on a humble foreign policy and gave us two quagmires and a world ready to explode. How much more should we be wary of someone who has stated they would go gallivanting across the globe in search of monsters to destroy (or am I wrong in thinking that is the corollary of using trained killers in a humanitarian fashion)? All other things being equal of course.

Gary Johnson did say, and I think this is only a recent thing as a result of pressure put on him by the Ron Paul vote, that he “think[s] Kony could have been more effectively dealt with by letters of marque and reprisal.” And while I could go on about why Letters of Marque and Reprisal are preferable to sending in the troops, the reality is that volunteers acting on their own, expecting no aid from the US government, whether their mission succeeds or fails, would be even better, especially in a situation that has nothing to do with US national security. Letters of Marque and Reprisal would have been the perfect thing to go after Osama bin Laden with, but in the case of Kony, this would be no different than the president having private mercenaries doing his bidding, taking out whomever he deems unfit to continue living. That kind of power in the hands of Johnson would probably not be of too much concern, but to establish that precedent would be unwise, especially in light of the fact that assassinating United States citizens, no charges, no trial, is an accepted prerogative of the executive office these days.

3. When he says, “end the war on drugs,” does he mean, “decriminalize all substances” on the federal level and let the states and individuals decide for themselves, or simply, “legalize marijuana, which we can then tax and regulate like we do alcohol and tobacco,” well?

He means the second one, which I am fundamentally in disagreement with.  I don’t think the Federal government should even be regulating alcohol and tobacco.

4. Is his love for liberty rooted, at least partially, in a hatred for injustice and tyranny, or is it more from a utilitarian, the-greatest-benefit-to-the-greatest-number philosophy?

I already know the answer to this. And as with most other questions, it is the second answer.

5. Should the federal government only prosecute and punish crimes actually listed in the Constitution, or just about any crime that may be a real or perceived problem?

You know, counterfeiting, piracy on the high seas, treason, and international crimes? Gary has never even touched on this issue, one way or the other, to my knowledge. This is a much bigger deal than most people give credit for, and though it is related to the drug issue, is a lot broader than that.

6. Will states be allowed to ignore laws they deem unjust or should the federal government take measures to prevent this, whether through the courts, the legislature, or the executive branch?

Gary has spoken about nullification, but this seems inconsistent with his view of marriage. He wants a nation-wide law providing for one, all-inclusive definition of marriage, all the while maintaining separation of church and state, but why bother with such laws (which, like provisions of the Civil Rights Act, are in clear violation of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments, as well as the Fourteenth, which is often misinterpreted in the same way that the Thirteenth is to give the children of illegal immigrants automatic citizenship, that is to superficially uphold the letter of the text through modern interpretation while completely ignoring the spirit of the text through original intent) on the one hand, when you support nullification on the other? It makes no sense!

7. Is getting rid of the income tax and replacing it with the Fair Tax part of a broader plan to eliminate all taxes unnecessary to the legitimate constitutional functions of government, or is it an end in itself?

I’m serious. Taxation is theft. Period. But I have further questions: Does getting rid of the income tax mean abolishing just the IRS and the tax code, or does it include abolishing the Sixteenth Amendment? This question has not even been asked, let alone answered. Given that fact, I would say it is because Gary does not want to waste time on politically inexpedient policy issues that bear no immediate fruit when all he has to do is say something popular. When most people hear abolish the income tax, they just assume you mean permanently. And perhaps in your heart of hearts you do, but that doesn’t cut it. Johnson has basically said (and here is the link) that he would push for the Fair Tax whether the 16th Amendment was gotten rid of or not, which to me is plain stupid. If you are not for completely abolishing one tyranny before you “replace” it with another, how can you guarantee that further down the road there won’t be both at once? You can’t. Especially not as the Government’s need for revenue increases, exponentially no less, with each passing year, thanks to our national debt and unfunded liabilities and the high interest rates that are inevitable in the future. In my book, bad things should not be replaced with slightly less worse things. Once you have gotten rid of the bad thing, that should be the end of it. If that is an impossibility, it should still be the stated goal. Why compromise before you are even asked to? As H.L. Richardson wrote in Confrontational Politics, ”When the liberals step dialectically backward, the conservative attack must be intensified, not diminished.” This means don’t stop pushing just because you have gained some ground. It applies equally to all corners of the political compass, not just “liberals” and “conservatives.”

And those are my concerns and observations, and they are subject to revision. In any case, I do not think Gary Johnson will win, so as I have said before, the only reasons for someone who otherwise is not enthused to vote for him, are, to help him get matching funds, which in my opinion is not a worthy goal unless you plan on handing them back directly to the Treasury or better yet the taxpayer; or to send a message. Sending a message is a great idea. Unless of course, it is the wrong message. And what message would I be sending by voting for Gary Johnson?

I would be sending a message to the Libertarian Party that they can go ahead and keep sending in watered down libertarians and I will loyally support them because I don’t mind watered down libertarians and enjoy sending messages that are about how much I like sending messages rather than actually getting a real point across.

I would be sending the Republican Party a message that says I would vote for whoever they nominate as long as he has more in common with Gary Johnson than he does Barack Obama, which, though that hypothetical person would absolutely be better than Romney or Obama, is absolutely not true and therefore not a message I want to send.

I would be sending the Democratic Party a message that says I would vote for whoever they nominate as long as he has more in common with Gary Johnson than he does Mitt Romney, which, though that hypothetical person would absolutely be better than Obama or Romney, is absolutely not true and therefore not a message I want to send.

I am neither willing nor able to send any of these messages, all of which would emanate from a vote for Gary Johnson. This obviously does not apply to those who would be voting for Johnson for other reasons (like agreeing with his positions) or who think that sending messages that they may not entirely agree with is their civic duty or a dire necessity.

And what weight does winning (whether you define that as winning the election, changing the game, or simply as sending a message) have against violating one’s conscience? If I were slightly more of a compromiser, and if I thought Gary Johnson could win, something I did briefly think was possible, perhaps that would be heavy enough of a thing, for me to consider going against my conscience and making that expedient choice. But so long as there is no likely reward (a win), why would I, hypothetically more of a compromiser, even bother sticking my neck out? It would be pointless.

That is only a hypothetical; I like to think that I would not compromise like that, even with a chance at success. So if I find out on November 7th that Gary Johnson could have been a game changer or even a winner had he just one more vote, I will still not regret the decision I made to write-in Ronald Ernest Paul, M.D.

And in case you don’t believe me, here are some links that went into my decision:

Has the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) had an overall benefit for the US? – 2012 Presidential Election – ProCon.org

Gary Johnson disappoints:LP candidate doesn’t understand libertarianism – Richmond Libertarian | Examiner.com

The Humble Libertarian: Gary Johnson vs Ron Paul: The Respective Cases for Ron Paul & Gary Johnson in 2012

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Gary Johnson to Announce His Run for the Republican Presidential Nomination

Is Anybody Out There? I Am Back, With Thoughts on the Upcoming Election. « keimh3regpeh2umeg

Gary Johnson’s false claims spinning out of control – Washington DC Conservative | Examiner.com

Ron Paul or Gary Johnson? Division In the Liberty Movement | The Unconventional Conservative

Gary Johnson’s Foreign Policy: Libertarian or “Strange”? – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Gary Johnson, the Statist Alternative to Libertarian Ron Paul » Scott Lazarowitz’s Blog

“Where Is His Spine?” – Scott Horton & Tom Woods Discuss Gary Johnson – YouTube

Gary Johnson – “Libertarian” Candidate – is Out of His Element « Antiwar.com Blog

Gov. Gary Johnson: I Smoked Marijuana from 2005 to 2008 | The Weekly Standard

Interview: Is Gary Johnson a “Fake” Libertarian? | Washington Times Communities

TheDC’s Jamie Weinstein: Gary Johnson’s strange foreign policy | The Daily Caller

Why I Am Writing In Paul And Not Voting For Johnson « keimh3regpeh2umeg

Gary Johnson Is Seeking the LP Nomination | Lew Rockwell’s Political Theatre

There Is Still No Such Thing As a Fair Tax – Laurence M. Vance – Mises Daily

Somin on Gary Johnson and Ron Paul: A Reply — The Libertarian Standard

The Flat Tax Is Not Flat and the FairTax Is Not Fair by Laurence M. Vance

Ron Paul vs. Gary Johnson on foreign policy – Bob Zadek Show – YouTube

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Gary Johnson Does the National Press Club

Will Young People Choose Johnson Over Paul? « LewRockwell.com Blog

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Gary Johnson as a Lightweight Libertarian

Gary Johnson vs Ron Paul on the issues of the 2012 Presidential election

Yes, Gary Johnson Endorsed Humanitarian War | The Weekly Standard

The Consumption Tax: A Critique – Murray N. Rothbard – Mises Daily

Lustful Foolishness Does Not Mix With Principles in [Market-Ticker]

Gary Johnson: Caveat Emptor by Justin Raimondo — Antiwar.com

Tribalistic Libertarianism | Strike-The-Root: A Journal Of Liberty

Gary Johnson: Keep Guantanamo Open « LewRockwell.com Blog

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: How Libertarian is Gary Johnson?

EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Ron Paul versus Gary Johnson

Ron Paul vs Gary Johnson in 2012 Presidential Candidates

‘This Is a Libertarian?’ | Lew Rockwell’s Political Theatre

Gary Johnson’s Libertarianism « LewRockwell.com Blog

Getting It Straight on Johnson « LewRockwell.com Blog

Sarah Palin and Gary Johnson « LewRockwell.com Blog

Don’t Criticize Gary Johnson? « LewRockwell.com Blog

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Gary Johnson Gary Johnson; Libertarian failure.

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Gary Johnson: Statist » Scott Lazarowitz’s Blog

Paul vs. Johnson | The American Conservative

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Can a Tax Be ‘Fair’? by Laurence M. Vance

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BIG-GOVERNMENT LIBERTARIANS

Two Visions « LewRockwell.com Blog

If I Were Gary Johnson | Tom Woods

WHY THE PRO-NAFTA HYSTERIA?

http://www.lprc.org/tenpoints.html

Gary Johnson 2012?! – YouTube

What I Learned From Paleoism

Libertarianism lite

STOP NAFTA!

The Problem With Excessive Anti-Communist Rhetoric, An Edit

The Problem With Excessive Anti-Communist Rhetoric, An Edit.

I emailed Old Right celebrity Paul Gottfried about my Joe McCarthy piece because he had written one on old Joe that same day. I told him that I read his piece at Lew Rockwell and then asked him to read mine on this blog and give me some feedback, whether positive or negative. He had one main criticism:

I find it hard to buy your argument about the effects of McCarthyism. I for one don’t think McCarthy did much to change partisan loyalties in the US; and except for providing a rallying point for the early postwar conservative movement and a bugaboo for the Left, I really don’t see him as having been a significant historical figure. The Jews who backed him and who belonged to the Jewish Anti-Communist League had nothing to do with the neocons. They were an isolated minority of genuinely rightwing Jews.

Paul Gottfried is surely more knowledgeable on most of these subjects than I am. Here is a list of just some of his books. Not only that but he was kind and willing to take a look at what I wrote. So the purpose of this post is to make modifications of my argument to make it more accurate. This of course, requires me to do some extra research.

So instead of this,

It was not too long ago we had someone in town for a conference where one of his featured roles was to heap laud upon Conservative Hero Joe McCarthy. Ever since Obama and his Marxist rhetoric (but not so much deeds) have been front and center on the national stage, Conservatives have found it stylish to immerse themselves in the history and propaganda of all things Anti-Communist. And while there is a time and a place for this, I find it incredibly unhealthy for the Conservative movement at large, because it leads them to focus on words more than deeds. If someone uses the language of a wealth-envier, class warrior, what have you, he is automatically labeled a Stalinist, whether he is or not. But those that are more subtle in their wealth-distributing ways, and who may even have a few nefarious deeds under their belt, are just as quickly given a pass. Especially if they happen to have an R next to their name. But remember, the greatest danger to a nation or a movement is always from within. So, I will attempt to set the record straight on Joe and go off on several related tangents, including ones dealing with two August 15 Anniversaries: The unofficial Surrender of Japan which ended World War Two, and Nixon’s termination of the Bretton Woods System which put the last nail in the coffin of the gold standard.

Joseph R. McCarthy was largely responsible for the influx of East Coast (and very progressive) Jews (both religious and agnostic) and Catholics (both devout and nominal) into the Republican Party, which (because of the Neoconservatives this influx brought with it) ultimately has spelled its (still ongoing) demise (which, in my opinion, culminated in the year 2001, when George W. Bush reneged on his promises to pursue a humble foreign policy and end the Department of Education. I guess he learned that from his father: No New Taxes!). What I mean by this is that the Protestant Ethic that had come to be central to both major parties was replaced with either a virulent strain of secular totalitarianism (mainly Marxist) or religious totalitarianism. This is not to disparage either Catholics or Jews. Nor is it to let Protestants off the hook. And neither is it to diminish or downplay the other ideological inroads made into the two major parties over the decades that have also in some way contributed to their destruction.

Joe’s legacy, though not his intent, was to destroy his own party by building a coalition of Middle American Protestant Conservatives with East Coast Totalitarian Progressives, thus watering down the once Conservative GOP. Both of these groups, despite having little in common in terms of heritage, politics, or demeanor, opposed Stalin’s Soviet Communism (which bore more resemblance to Nazi Germany than it did the idealized Communist state). It is important to note that some key persons in the eastern part of the coalition were in fact Communists and Socialists themselves, though of a different strain than the Soviets. They were more intellectually aligned with Trotsky, Luxemburg, De Leon, and others than they were with Stalin, whom they viewed as an impure Marxist.

Joe was right about the influence of Stalinists in the State Department, but his jingoism played right into their hands. In the end Joe was betrayed by President Eisenhower (1951-1959). Vice-President Richard Nixon sided with Joe, which some see as a source of vindication. But during his presidency (1969-1974), on the 26th anniversary of the Japanese surrender, he enacted widespread wage and price controls for the first time since the Great Depression. On the same day he ended the Bretton Woods System. The Bretton Woods System was created in 1944 by the Allied Nations, and was the last vestige of the Gold Standard. The average lifespan of a fiat currency is 27 years (see thisthisthis, and this). Bretton Woods lasted exactly that. The post-BWS Dollar turns 41 next month. It is well past its date with destiny.

I would like to go with this,

It was not too long ago we had someone in town for a conference where one of his featured roles was to heap laud upon Conservative Hero and Anti-Communist Icon Joe McCarthy. Joseph McCarthy was representative of the Anti-Communist movement in post-War America. Ever since Obama and his Marxist rhetoric (but not so much deeds) have been front and center on the national stage, Conservatives have found it stylish to immerse themselves in the history and propaganda of all things Anti-Communist. And while there is a time and a place for this, I find it incredibly unhealthy for the Conservative movement at large, because it leads them to focus on words more than deeds. If someone uses the language of a wealth-envier, class warrior, what have you, he is automatically labeled a Stalinist, whether he is or not. But those that are more subtle in their wealth-distributing ways, and who may even have a few nefarious deeds under their belt, are just as quickly given a pass. Especially if they happen to have an R next to their name. It is good to remember that the greatest danger to a nation or a movement is always from within. So, I will attempt to set the record straight on “Anti-Communism” and go off on several related tangents, including ones dealing with two August 15 Anniversaries: The unofficial Surrender of Japan which ended World War Two, and Nixon’s termination of the Bretton Woods System which put the last nail in the coffin of the gold standard.

The Anti-Communist movement, over the decades, has been largely responsible for the influx of East Coast (and increasingly progressive with each new wave) Jews (both religious and agnostic) and Catholics (both devout and nominal) into the Republican Party, which (because of the Neoconservatives, like Kristol, and New Righters, like Buckley, this influx brought with it) ultimately has spelled its (still ongoing) demise (which, in my opinion, culminated in the year 2001, when George W. Bush reneged on his promises to pursue a humble foreign policy and end the Department of Education. I guess he learned to break his promises from his father: No New Taxes!). What I mean by all this is that the Protestant Ethic that had come to be central to both major parties was replaced with either a virulent strain of secular totalitarianism (mainly Marxist) or religious totalitarianism. This is not to disparage either Catholics or Jews. Nor is it to let Protestants off the hook. And neither is it to diminish or downplay the other ideological inroads made into the two major parties over the decades that have also in some way contributed to their destruction.

Anti-Communism’s legacy, though not its intent, was to destroy the Republican Party by building a coalition of Middle American Protestant Conservatives with East Coast Totalitarian Progressives, thus watering down its Conservatism. Both of these groups, despite having little in common in terms of heritage, politics, or demeanor, opposed Stalin’s Soviet Communism (which bore more resemblance to Nazi Germany than it did the idealized Communist state). It is important to note that some key persons in the eastern part of the coalition were in fact Communists and Socialists themselves, though of a different strain than the Soviets. They were more intellectually aligned with Trotsky, Luxemburg, De Leon, and others than they were with Stalin, whom they viewed as an impure Marxist.

Joe was right about the influence of Stalinists in the State Department, but his apparent jingoism played right into their hands. In the end Joe was betrayed by President Eisenhower (1951-1959). Vice-President Richard Nixon sided with Joe, which some see as a source of vindication. But during his presidency (1969-1974), on the 26th anniversary of the Japanese surrender, he enacted widespread wage and price controls for the first time since the Great Depression. On the same day he ended the Bretton Woods System. The Bretton Woods System was created in 1944 by the Allied Nations, and was the last vestige of the Gold Standard. The average lifespan of a fiat currency is 27 years (see thisthisthis, and this). Bretton Woods lasted exactly that. The post-BWS Dollar turns 41 next month. It is well past its date with destiny.

Ron Paul Hater Barry Germansky’s Comment

Ron Paul Hater Barry Germansky’s Comment.

In April I posted a transcript of a part of a YouTube video (which is no longer available) by Barry Germansky. He was making his case against the Pauls. I also posted my responses to his video, which are linked to the transcript, in defense of Ron and Rand Paul. And even though lately I have been less than enamored with the younger of the two, I  stand by my defenses of each, the comment Barry left (which is below) on my posting of his transcript notwithstanding. Over the next few days/weeks I plan on dismantling some if not all of his statements, depending on the amount of ignorance or lies (I am not yet calling Barry a liar) I find. This will likely be interrupted at times by other posts. In addition to the comment he left (April 11th) I am posting my immediate comment/response to him (April 12th). At first glance, his comment looks like it was copied and pasted from something else he had written, given that it spouts some of the same arguments that are in his video, and given that he is apparently “published” and even gave his comment a title. But if you google the title, the only thing you will find is my site. 

BARRY GERMANSKY’S COMMENT

This is Barry Germansky writing. Since my video is no longer on YouTube, perhaps you’d consider posting my op-ed on your site instead.

P.S. I’m not a “self-appointed” film critic or philosopher. I’m the Arts Editor of MACMEDIA, a magazine published through York University in Toronto.

Tea Party Heroes Ron and Rand Paul Make for a Bitter Brew

By Barry Germansky

Ron and Ran Paul advocate a form of free market libertarianism that is not only highly contradictory in nature, but is falsely appropriated by this father-son duo in an attempt to hail their extremist ideology as a fixture of the United States Constitution. Far from representing the individual as they pride themselves in doing, the Pauls endorse big businesses and neglect every other facet of human thought other than economics. It is through their reliance on the free market as an umbrella paradigm that their views on different societal sectors become distorted. The Pauls cater to naïve utopian ideals, in which all humans are as perfect and bland as numbers on a page. Since economics is the language of the free market, economics becomes their only lens on society as a whole. These Tea Party poster boys have a giant kettle of political poison and are spewing it across the American landscape.

The primary flaw in the Pauls’ mandate to implement a free market libertarian society is that they claim it is the constitutional way to manage federal government. Furthermore, they argue that most federal programs – from the department of education to the FDA – are unconstitutional for the sole reason that they are not mentioned in the Constitution. The Pauls are empirically incorrect on both fronts. First, the Constitution does not once mention the words “free market” or “capitalism” or “libertarianism”. Second, it does not specify what the people can decide to implement through the appropriation of tax dollars. Therefore, the Pauls have either misread the Constitution or purposely distorted it to suit their personal ideology. They also seem to use the “reference the Constitution” rebuttal whenever they are questioned by the media for wanting to dismantle federal departments. The Pauls do this because they know most Americans have no knowledge of the document, and will be unable to counter their fundamentalist interpretations. This allows their grotesque and highly contradictory misreading of the Constitution to go uncontested. But, now that this dishonest manoeuvre has been revealed, it alone discredits their free market libertarian mandate.

Essentially, Ron and Rand Paul’s brand of free market libertarianism equates to radical totalitarianism. They impose a societal yardstick of free market economics on every sector. This explains, for example, why the Pauls do not differentiate between property rights and any other kind of human freedoms. Under the umbrella paradigm of the free market, every entity is considered “property”. They dismiss the factors inherent in specific societal issues, from health care to education, and gun control to global warming. They claim that all rights are the same as the right to property. Therefore, the Pauls sidestep the individual matters at hand, resorting to their magic wand term of “property” to solve any unrelated issue. Even when they say people also have the right to “life”, they are treating life as a property.

The Pauls’ mandate of applying economic terms – demonstrated in microcosm by their free market beliefs – to all societal sectors creates an enormous disconnect between their personal ideology and the individual matters pertinent to humanity, society, and government at large. The Paul’s free market gospel would be appropriate for a CEO who deals with money all day long, but not for the leader of a nation comprised of so much more than money. In fact, by examining the free market libertarians who seek to put money ahead of all other human considerations in government, the importance of a democratic government in preserving equality and social justice is revealed. For example, contrary to what the Pauls will have you believe, property rights are not the most effective methods of combating global warming. This is an environmental issue and should be explored using science before any other school of thought. But, the Pauls stubbornly resort to an economic solution. It is through their free market brand of ideological tyranny that economics becomes their sole societal lens.

Of course, nothing about the free market is “voluntary”. It functions by its own set of rules. The Pauls treat the free market as truly “free”, but are simply ignoring the fact that it is nothing more than another restrictive ideological construct. They happen to prefer it to other theories, but that does not make the free market a universal fact of life. But just watch how the Pauls, in their unique brand of economic collectivism, dismiss all non-economic concerns and aspects of human existence. One swipe of their wrists makes the public’s multi-faceted social concerns disappear from the political agenda.

Naturally, the Pauls’ preference for putting economic values first – by believing in free market libertarianism, which uses economics in totalitarian fashion to run society – caters to big businesses far more than the average citizen. Perhaps this is best demonstrated by Ron and Rand’s constant support for the abolition of government-issued money in favor of currency minted by private banks. As is commonplace with the Pauls, they choose to ignore history or simply distort it. Their plan to abolish the Federal Reserve has already been tried to varying degrees, and does not lead to utopian freedom. Instead, it creates an influx of fraud and currency debasement, followed by the concentration of financial power in the few banks that survive the ensuing “big fish versus little fish gladiatorial match”. Without government regulation to protect the country, individual autonomy among the masses becomes victimized by those with greater influence. The rich and powerful, who account for a small percentage of the country’s total population, have more wealth than the majority. In a free market, some unfortunate people – for example, those who are physically disabled or grew up in poverty – will automatically be disadvantaged and have no assistance from society to overcome these factors (which the current system tries its best to accommodate). For these simple reasons, corporate monopolies would be even more widespread without government intervention. The little fish would have no chance.

The Pauls’ default stance of misrepresenting the historical record also helps them peddle the absurd Austrian School idea to deregulate all private businesses and subsequently create a utopian free market. The Pauls refuse to believe that deregulation caused the Great Depression and the 2008 recession, despite vast quantities of evidence to the contrary. Following the Great Depression, when FDR introduced strict, compartmentalized regulation of the marketplace, the United States enjoyed a forty-year period of virtually uninterrupted growth, transforming the country into a superpower. Then, when Reagan took office in the 1980s, he was aided by Alan Greenspan and company to remove the historically-proven regulations. This helped big businesses make more profits while sending the rest of America into the gutter. This culminated in the 2008 recession. The Pauls are able to ignore all of these historical events because they treat their personal ideology as more credible than primary evidence. This is a big no-no for any serious historian.

Furthermore, without government regulation of societal sectors like the economy, there would be no way for the public to investigate or discover institutional wrongdoings. The people have no control over private enterprises, but they do have control over their government. Government regulation allows all citizens to have a say in the governance of society. By contrast, a free market favors the rich by its very nature of treating money on a higher pantheon than any other sociological construct. Similarly, the Pauls’ stance that the free market will regulate itself by forcing companies to offer higher quality products and services to drown out the hyper-capitalist competition is absurd. History has shown us that companies cut corners in terms of quality and safety to generate ever-greater profits. The last thing on their minds is to increase quality, as this would cost them more money.

The BP oil spill helped discredit the Pauls on their stance that companies will have to take responsibility for their failures in order to stay in business under a free market system. Predictably, BP did not rush to do anything to clean up the spill, nor did it provide financial compensation for the families of the deceased oil rig workers and the local businesses on the Gulf Coast. In a display of his unhealthy and deluded devotion to big businesses over people, Senator Rand Paul shifted the criticism not to BP’s brass, but to Obama for threatening to put his “boot heel on the throat of BP” in metaphorical terms. Obama did this to pressure the company to live up to its responsibility for the disaster it alone created. Even more disturbing was Rand Paul’s assertion that BP should be cut some slack because “accidents happen”. Of course, it is widespread knowledge that BP knew its rig was unsafe and failed to make the necessary repairs. Rand Paul decided to ignore the human and environmental tragedies in favour of his abstract free market views.

The Pauls will have you believe that the federal government is unnecessary for regulating most societal sectors because such decisions can be made at a state level. In this regard, the federal government was wrong to intervene in the BP crisis because it should have been the responsibility of the individual states whose shores were being polluted from the monstrous result of a private enterprise’s greed. But there is a blatant disregard for common sense in this argument. The reason the “United States” became a country is because individual states realized that pooling their resources together helped out everyone in the long run. Simply put, some states have resources that others do not have, and no one state has all of the resources it requires. The Pauls ignore this factor and not only become isolationists, but isolationists of the fundamentalist variety. Forget about foreign policy; the Pauls do not want to help the states who are members of the same country. According to this gospel, the United States should disband.

Far from being folk heroes or sensible leaders, Ron and Rand Paul are emblematic of all that is wrong about capitalistic greed. They unfairly treat abstract economic terms higher than any other equally abstract ideas. They also prioritize these ideals to a greater degree than the tangible realities they are supposed to theoretically represent, thereby contradicting the existence of their beloved free market terms in the first place. There is no need for an ideology when it becomes more important than the real world it was designed to defend. It is a mistake to apply capitalist efficiencies to the whole of society, but the Pauls are content with marching down their self-satisfied parade of ideological tyranny. The Pauls must stop being taken seriously in order for personal autonomy to survive in America. The time has come to pour out all of the lies from their Tea Party-endorsed kettle, exposing these marketplace fundamentalists for who they really are.

MY IMMEDIATE RESPONSE

I am glad you found this (I did use your name, your blog, your philosophical theory, and your YouTube username as tags after all). I will introduce you properly, post what you said, and attempt to counter it. Not immediately, as I currently have other things under way.