Monday, July 30, 2007

RE: A Libertarian War in Afghanistan?

Over on Lew Rockwell, Walter Block continues his discussion of why the wars in Iraq, and even in Afghanistan, cannot be justified on Libertarian grounds. He gives the following scenario:
The problem we face in making sense of these horrible events is bias. We are all naturally biased in favor of "our" side: Americans in favor of their fellow citizens, and foreigners on their own side. In an attempt to obviate this, let us no longer speak of groups such as the United States, Al-Qaeda, Afghanis, Iranians, Iraqis, Arabs, Palestinians, Israelis, Jews, etc. Instead, let us attempt to look at this matter through less jaundiced eyes, in a more dispassionate manner.Accordingly, let us speak not in terms of the above categories, but instead, for simplicity’s sake, of A and B.

Let us posit that A begins our little drama by murdering 5 of B’s children. Now, the just thing would be for B to capture A, and to subject him to the full penalties provided by law for such an outrage. However, B does something very different, and totally unjustified. He murders one of A’s children. Why so few? Let us stipulate that A is much more powerful than B, and that the murder of only one of A’s innocent children was the "best" he could do.

Assume, that even though A is more powerful than B, both are so well entrenched that justice will not easily be meted out to either of these murderous scoundrels. So now what? What insights does libertarian theory afford us in this context? Several conclusions may be drawn, I think.

One, neither party should be encouraged to invade the territory of the other. To do so, given that both are strong enough not to be brought to the bar of justice, would only mean the senseless killing of still others, neighbors of A or B, whichever is the victim of subsequent hostilities. However, if we take a God’s eye point of view, and entertain the contrary to fact conditional that one but only one of these nefarious characters can indeed be punished for the murder of the others’ child(ren), then it is clear that A must be brought to justice. There are two reasons for this. The minor one: A killed far more innocent children than did B. Major reason: A was the first to engage in murder; in the street vernacular, he "started up." B is no saint. He, too, spilled innocent blood. But he retaliated, he did not begin. There is surely a lower rung in hell reserved for those who begin such dastardly chain reactions than those who "merely" follow suit.
I would like to add another party to this. Suppose, for a moment, that "A" is a more complex entity. Suppose that A actually retains C, paying C for representing him in certain circles, and for defending him from violence. C was actually the one that murdered five of B's children, and A was quite unaware of C's depredations (probably negligent in his oversight). When B murdered one of his children, he was understandably quite upset about it.

However, suppose A kept his head, and tried to find out why B would do such a ghastly thing. C simply insisted B was an unstable psychopath, but A did some investigating, and discovered C's murder of B's children... done in A's name. What would A be most justified in doing?

I think probably the smartest thing A could start with is terminating C's services, even offering C up for justice for the initial murder of B's five children. As to what should be done about B's murder, A should either pursue legal avenues against B himself (NOT retaliate against B by killing yet another child).

The real world extrapolation of this is a thorough electoral revolution on the part of the United States. The American People may be guilty of negligence, but we are not, as a whole, responsible for the acts our elites took upon themselves to instigate. For this reason, the Terrorists are as wrong to engage in their indiscriminate attacks upon regular people as B is, in the previous scenario, to attack A's child for what he perceived as A's act. However, we must not forget that it was the established political elite that started this whole thing.

Ron Paul, to the best of my knowledge, is not a member of this political elite. Unlike every nominee of the major parties for at least the past two generations, Ron Paul is not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (nor is he a member of Skull and Bones, of which BOTH major party nominees in the 2004 elections were a part). He consistently votes "No" on legislation not authorized by the Constitution. He successfully challenged a potential Democratic switchover in the Republican primaries, taking on the Republican National Committee's attempt to promote said Democratic switchover (details here). Even George W. Bush himself (then governor of Texas) supported Greg Laughlin, Democrat incumbent, against Ron Paul!

Voting for Ron Paul is, I believe, the closest realistic equivalent to rejecting C's services in favor of someone else. Vote for Ron Paul.

read more | digg story

Friday, July 27, 2007

Will The Youth Show Up (at the polls) This Time?

Recently, I have taken to monitoring, a conservative blog site. One of their bloggers recently wote a piece entitled "Save the Republican YouTube Debate." Apparently, most of the Republican candidates for the nomination are refusing to participate in the CNN YouTube Debate the Democrats participated in recently. It seems they are afraid of having to see a snowman asking them questions.

One of the points raised in the comments section is the question of whether Republicans can afford to ignore the youth. Here is an example of an answer to that question:

No YouTube by scarchin

I can't believe anyone thinks this is a good idea.

This YouTube crap continues us down the path begun when Clinton answered the "boxers or briefs" question.

Republicans should not participate and remind voters -once again - who the grown-ups are.

BTW - The original post states that "Republicans cannot write off the youth vote. A recent poll showed Democrats with a staggering 24-point advantage among 18 to 29 year old voters." Sorry pal - we CAN write off the youth vote. They don't show up - never have. A 24-point advantage of nothing is nothing.

So here's the question, my fellow "young people": will scarchin be proved right? Or are we going to show up at the polls in record numbers, just to vote for Ron Paul? I'm not talking just about the general election. We need people to show up for the primaries. Register yourself Republican. Show up. Vote. Our future depends on it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Fresno Freedom

I just got home from the second monthly meeting of the Fresno Ron Paul 2008 Meetup Group, and let me tell you, it's quite a rush to be there. There were probably about twenty of us there, every last one of us excited about promoting Ron Paul's candidacy for president. We've got people coming from as far away as Oakhurst to see what they can do to get the word out there. Many thanks to Michael Varin for organizing this group.

We've got such a range of ages and affiliations, from old Republicans who recognize the party's traditional message in Ron Paul's message and voting record, to the teenage sons of a fellow who brings his whole family (and a friend of one of his sons!) to the meetup. We've got independent voters who've never participated before. We've got well-to-do local business owners and poor guys (heh, like me). We're all united behind this man who dares bring a true message of freedom to a presidential election, and does so from a highly credible position.

First off, this isn't some Lbertarian, Green Party, Constitution Party, or Independent guy. Ron is a long time Republican, a congressman of ten terms who has never lost an election. He's the only candidate on the Republican side to be against the war (and has been since the beginning, and even before), and even among Democrats, is the only credible opponent of the Iraq War (given how certain Democratic candidates, like Barak Obama, would simply shift the troops from Iraq to places like Darfur and Iran). Simply put, the challenge for Ron Paul isn't winning the general election. I believe that between public disgust over the Iraq (not a) War, fascination with his well spoken message of liberty, his general reputation for actually doing what he says he'll do while campaigning, and the very real possibility that the Democrats might nominate Hillary Clinton, Ron is a shoe-in for the general election.

The challenge is the primaries. There are still a lot of Republicans out there who fervently believe that support for the Iraq War is the litmus test of Conservatism. This is, in my opinion, a preposterous notion, because, as Dr. Paul points out on a regular basis, the Republican Party has a history of winning elections where they campaigned as non-interventionist peacemakers, up to and including George W. Bush's 2000 campaign promising a "humble foreign policy." Just because one Republican started this war, doesn't mean another one can't step forward with the words "the whole thing was a mistake."

As to our meetup group, the people of Fresno can expect to start seeing us around town within the next couple of months or so. There is talk of street corner demonstrations, giant signs hung off the back of trucks, guerrilla flyer posting. I'm hearing things about holding movie showings to show Dr. Paul's speeches, liberty oriented documentaries, movies like V For Vendetta and The Matrix. One fellow has space to put up a huge sign in Oakhurst. I myself will be wearing a T-Shirt I recently purchased (it's being shipped right now) at every opportunity, as well as continuing to promote this campaign on a personal basis.

In other matters, Liberty Dollars are really fun. Over the past week, I've managed to spend forty liberty dollars: two one-ounce Silver Liberties. The Bobby Salazar's on Blackstone and Shields has taken them from me twice now, and I just spent another one at Perko's on Bullard and Highway 41 (where we held the meetup group). I'm about to pick up another seventy: two $20 Silver Liberties and three $10 Silver Half Liberties.

All if this is so exciting!

Monday, July 09, 2007


This is a response to Cranky Weasel's latest entry.

Personally, I think the modern stage magician is the greatest gift the West has given to the world. If you have never been personally acquainted with a person who genuinely believes in “true magic” you cannot understand the tragedy of a person lost in superstition, devoted to “mystery,” suborned to superior “magicians.” The worst is the one that knows she is a fraud, and wishes she had the real power possessed by her superiors! I can only imagine what a whole society caught in the grip of a terror or reverence of practitioners of “magic” would look like. I don’t imagine it is pretty.

The Stage Magician changes that for a majority of people. While his watchers are fully aware he is deceiving them, they are nevertheless entertained. Because he claims that he will do nothing more than entertain them (that his “powers” are little more than tricks), his profession is honest. In addition, his watchers, aware that deception is at the root of this magic, extend the principle to all claims to “magic.” Simply put, the stage magician completely robs the “real” (read: totally fake, but dishonest about it) magician of his power, thus freeing the non-practitioner from superstition.

This is far better than societies dominated by people who claim phenomenal cosmic power and derive authority from that claim, whose entire authority comes from their ability to deceive. In my book, the first magician to choose a suit and top hat over the robes (a man whose name I once knew, but have since forgotten) is a true hero.

Personally, I don’t seek out the “secrets” behind the big tricks. I do, however, enjoy expanding my knowledge of small tricks–ones I can personally perform. There is truly no better feeling than transforming a group of rowdy, undisciplined children into rapt observers with a few simple tricks. I sometimes dream of learning some of the more often “believed” tricks such as hot reading and, especially, cold reading, to be able to topple the remaining charlatans who still claim (to much public credulity) to practice “genuine” magic (such as contacting dead relatives).