A Conservative

A Conservative.

WHY I AM ONE

The bizarre bohemian bilge that plagues conventionally left-wing schools of thought, whether from Marx or Rawls or Chomsky, is just not for me. For the most part anyways. Since I’ve become more (this is an understatement; I have gone much farther than, say, Glenn Beck) of a libertarian (a classical liberal while socialists are usually just reverse reactionaries), I’ve learned to make some exceptions. This has tended to be more on the level of semi-reluctant tolerance than on that of open-armed embrace. Continue reading

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Comments Related to Tucker/Wenzel Feud (Hint: ©)

Comments Related to Tucker/Wenzel Feud (Hint: ©).

The feud has to do with their respective stances on intellectual property, but seems to have spilled over into very petty nitpickery of late. Tucker criticizes IP as monopolistic. Wenzel defends it as no different than private property. I think that economics* and Natural Law Theory are on Tucker’s side and that Wenzel, like most anyone on at least one issue, has his blinders on. In a related debate between Kinsella and Wenzel, I see the same thing going on. My comments touch on this a little, but also briefly on the distinctions between Anti-IP Natural Law anarchists (Tucker, Kinsella, Hoppe), Pro-IP Natural Law anarchists (Rothbard and Wenzel), and certain minarcists (in this specific case, the Theonomist, Gary North, but for other minarchists that support IP, look to the Objectivist school of Ayn Rand, and for minarchists that despise IP, start with this wonderful article), as well as the similarity between Rothbard’s “Pro-IP” views and certain later Rothbardians’ “Anti-IP” views. This similarity resides in their agreement that the human will trumps contracts. So, technically, even Rothbard was Anti-IP where enforcement of copyrights as contracts amounted to “voluntary slavery.”

Continue reading

One Year Later at PTPOL

One Year Later at PTPOL.

Well, this blog has been registered at WordPress.com for one year now. It took a while to get it off the ground, but it hit the ground running. (How’s that for a mixed – and contradictory – metaphor, by the way?) Click here to learn more about the blog, and here to learn a little bit about it’s author.

140 posts, 6,602 views, 482 comments, 200 WordPress likes, 192 Facebook likes, 54 followers on WordPress, 1150 followers on Twitter.

Not bad for an amateur one-man team, right? Well, its the readers that are more to thank. Without them there really is no point in writing.

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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

From the Comments: Loose Fiscal and Monetary Policy is the Cause of the Problem, not the Solution

From the Comments: Loose Fiscal and Monetary Policy is the Cause of the Problem, not the Solution.

There is a comment on one of my posts. It is really off-subject, but since I rarely get comments that aren’t pure spam (I even suspect that the comment in question is cleverly disguised spam), and since it is something that I talk about here on the site, replying to it and bringing it to my readers’ attention seemed like a good option. I don’t do this with all of the comments, just the ones that give me a clear opportunity to get a point across. It is probably bad blogger etiquette to do it at all, but at the moment I am working on several fairly extensive projects so I need a quick and easy post.

Mercadee: We have used both monetary and fiscal policy to battle this recession, and without the Fed’s actions to limit the downturn things would have been much worse. Fiscal policy in the form of the stimulus package, though too little, too late, and too tilted towards tax cuts, also helped to limit the damage to the economy. But when it comes to promoting a faster recovery, both monetary and fiscal policymakers have failed to do enough to help the economy return to full employment.

Me: Wrong! You are suggesting that policymakers should do those things which brought about the bubbles in the first place. What caused the depressions of 1920-1921 and 1930-45, and what made the latter one so long that did not occur in the case of the former? Loose fiscal and monetary policy. Stimulus to fund World War One, stimulus to pay off debts accrued from World War One, stimulus to fund public works projects, and stimulus to fund World War Two. What caused the housing bubble and its burst? The malinvestment that arose from the stimulative monetary and fiscal policy that was supposedly necessary to soften the blow of the dot-com burst, which was itself the result of prior loose policies. And here you are arguing for the same thing again. This time the bubbles are in student loans, car loans, and sovereign debt. It would be fine if there was a never ending series of bubbles that could burst and re-inflate, but there isn’t. Sovereign debt and government bonds are the end of the line. When that bubble bursts it will destroy the dollar, as the bubble and the false confidence it gave rise to is the only thing that has been propping it up. What gave rise to this bubble? There are many factors, and I suspect that, unlike the case of the other bubbles, this one was intended. Whether it is/was the Nixon Shock and completely detaching from a commodity standard; or wars for oil (the first one arguably being World War Two, as evidenced by the events leading up to Pearl Harbor, but perhaps more notable than this being the 1953 coup in Iran); or the creation of Bretton Woods in 1945; or the creation of the Fed in 1913; or the strengthening of the Fed in 1917; or the price controls and confiscation of gold in 1933; or the social programs and public works projects that created the current high levels of National Debt and Unfunded Liabilities, leading to the need to print more unbacked dollars; that is/was the chief cause I know not. And I care not as they are all contributing factors and all were misguided policies. The effects of these policies must be diminished. And similar policies must be prevented.

Obama is NOT the Worst President in this Nation’s History

Obama is NOT the Worst President in this Nation’s History.

You can read this also over at Liberty’s Republic. They could use the traffic!

You keep hearing this (that Obama is the worst president in history and therefore if we don’t vote for the so-called alternative we are all going to go up in flames along with our great republic), mainly from conservatives (there still are some that refuse to give in!) who don’t like Romney but convince themselves that this is a good reason to vote for him. Well, I am here to cry “foul!” There are several presidents much worse than Obama, not just from a libertarian perspective, but from a conservative perspective (though their criticisms would be different, except on economic policies, at least on the surface), but conservatives have short memories and are easily distracted by rhetoric, coming from both the persons in question and the court historians of latter days. For now, I will call attention to just three presidents many orders of magnitude worse than Barack Obama, and then apply the rules that make these men conservative heroes, to their mortal foe, our current president. To start, here is a response I gave to a RON PAUL SUPPORTER saying he was going to vote for Romney now that Paul was not the nominee.

Sorry, but I can think of worse presidents. Like the guy responsible for the deaths of 600,000[1] of his fellow Americans, a draft,[2] suppression of free speech, indefinite detention, and acts of terrorism against civilians.[3] Or the guy who got us into a world war that had nothing to do with us, leading to a stronger Federal Reserve,[4] a new military-industrial complex, two depressions (1920-1921 and 1929-1945),[5] the blatant suppression of free speech, involuntary servitude in the form of a draft, and the set of entangling alliances that got us into another world war.[6] Or the guy who prolonged a depression by a factor of ten,[7] aided and abetted one of the worst dictators in history,[8]whose arrogance and machinations dragged us into a world war,[9] who re-instituted the draft, got the ball rolling on nuclear weapons, detained an entire ethnic demographic on the pretext of security,[10] and sold Eastern Europe and parts of Eastern Asia to the Soviets and Red Chinese for more than a generation.[11] Obama doesn’t hold a candle to Lincoln, Wilson, or Roosevelt.

So why is it that people think he is the worst president? I realize that he is an awful president, but unless you have a very poor knowledge of history and/or are easily led astray, where do you get off saying he is the worst? That’s not only wrong by probably their own standards were they actually to apply them instead of getting all emotional at the first sign of wrongdoing, its borderline offensive.

So what are these criticisms of Obama that conservatives have but not necessarily libertarians don’t necessarily? Most conservatives criticize Obama for being too weak on national security and the borders. What they don’t realize is that Obama has actually been tougher on illegal immigrants than amnesty Bush ever was. And though his rhetoric would lead one to think otherwise, he has carried on the “War on Terror” and the surveillance state like its a job he was born for. But people bring up red herrings like Fast and Furious or the 30,000 surge when the generals wanted 40,000.

But Fast and Furious had nothing to do with an open-borders immigration policy. My best estimation was that it was intended to increase border violence to justify gun control and a further crackdown on border crossing. How conspiratorial of me! Sorry but I don’t buy the idea simply that “mistakes were made.” And crossing the border is not just harder for illegal immigrants (which is a useless blanket term) but for US citizens as well!

And the troop surge should have been at 0 (and yet Obama is called weak on defense because he only sent in 30,000!) And then we should have gotten out.  ”We just marched in, we can just march out.” Did it really take 30,000 extra troops to find Osama and put a cap in him? No. And the fact that it took ten years is disgraceful as well. If that was really what going to Afghanistan was ever really about Bush would have gotten him in six months. And Obama in three because he at least had someone’s “legacy” to build off of. “Our” money was not worthless, “our” troops were not ill-prepared, and “our” intelligence agencies were not incompetent. And don’t get me started on toppling Gaddafi and drone warfare and the assassination of US citizens and the National Defense Authorization Act.

Do people seriously think these are things Bush wouldn’t have done (I refer here more to the national defense policies than the immigration ones) if he could have? And the only reason he couldn’t have, would have been the backlash coming from the left that is now blindly in the tank for Obama! And would the right say Bush was weak on defense for doing them? Hell no! Because he would have used fancy rhetoric about freedom and democracy and justice. Not only would he not be deemed weak, he would be lavished with praise. So why does Obama seem so weak on these pet “conservative” issues? The answer, as you have no doubt discerned by now, is rhetoric. It’s all perception. If you are casting your vote on that instead of reality, you are in fact wasting your vote, not those of us who plan on voting for neither Romney nor Obama.

Most conservatives today idolize Lincoln, Wilson, and Roosevelt. If not always for their economic policies, absolutely for their national defense policies or flag-wrapped rhetoric! But the policies are more or less the same as Obama’s, or at least in the same vein. So why don’t they just vote for Obama? Because it’s his non-flag-wrapped rhetoric that scares them, not his actual policies which they mischaracterize as somehow radical. But they are actually quite normal, just accentuated by his statements and the faux reaction coming from the establishment right.

By normal, I do not mean that they are in-line with how our nation prior to Obama’s inauguration was perceived by conservatives. What I mean is in-line with actual reality. And what is this reality? That every president from Hoover and Roosevelt, on up through Eisenhower and Kennedy, Carter and Reagan, and Bush and Obama has simply maintained the status quo, making no attempts to change it or utterly failing in their attempts to do so because they were not so courageous and upright and insightful as they made themselves out to be or once were.

If Obama had an R next to his name and was as eloquently conservative in his demagoguery as Newt Gingrich is most conservatives would support him. No questions asked. So much for vetting! For proof of this I give you Mitt Romney. And once the rhetoric is forgotten, give it 50 to 100 years, “conservatives” will idolize Obama too. The same thing has already happened right before our very eyes in the instances of the presidents I cited above.

1: That’s the traditional statistic. It has been revised upward to 850,000, but I digress. back

2: Bullying the Supreme Court, exiling of opponents, Union-busting, racism, a false flag attack, and maybe even voter fraud should be added to Lincoln’s list. Not to mention several forms of corruption and public-rent seeking long before having reached the highest office of the land. back

3: When ending slavery and cruelty is your excuse for enslaving and maiming others, you know there is something else that is afoot. back

4: Via the Liberty Bond Act, which fundamentally amended the relatively innocuous original charter; as well as exchange imbalances resulting from the different levels of inflation each nation suffered as a result of World War One, which resulted in an end to the gold standard that finally culminated with the 1971 Nixon Shock. back

5: These in fact have the same root, the fiscal and monetary policies around the world during and resulting from World War One. back

6: World War Two is often laughingly blamed on so-called isolationists. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was the interventionists during World War One and their subsequent failures (sometimes inadvertent, sometimes intentional) to seek peace and offer forgiveness after the war. back

7: The Depression of 1920-1921 only lasted about 18 months whereas the one from 1930 to 1945 arguably lasted at least 180 months. There is nothing in the fundamentals of their respective beginnings to suggest one should have dwarfed the other. The differences were the government reactions and the policies that ensued. However, part of the blame does rest on Herbert Hoover‘s head. back

8: Josef Stalin to you neophytes and deniers. back

9: FDR’s State Department refused to negotiate with the Japanese whom “we” had aggressed against and ultimately neglected to communicate with the lower echelons of the Defense Department about the threat that was posed. Pearl Harbor is not so shocking. back

10: Japanese Americans. There were a few exceptions of course. But these were made up for by the Italian-Americans and German-Americans that were detained separately. Oh, haven’t you heard? I guess the reverse-racist court historians forgot to tell you that white people have been mistreated in this nations past too! back

11: The Yalta and Potsdam Accords, as well as the occupation of former Japanese conquests by the USSR and soon-to-be Communist China. And this in spite of the fact that the pretext for the war, at least on Britain’s part (I said pretext; the reason, however, has more to do with Britain’s superiority complex, which happens to have been the same thing the Kaiser in World War One and Hitler in World War Two were suffering from; of course, a steady, sustained erosion of their century-and-a-half-or-so world hegemon status didn’t help the matter), was to “liberate” many of these regions! back