Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Gloomy ruminations on an anniversary of 9/11...

On the Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we are drawn away from contemplations of peaceful development and Asia’s rapid rise*, back to the gritty Earth of America’s current predicament.

Even as General Petraeus asked Congress for yet another nine months of “surge” before we can “pull out” back to pre-surge levels, it has become clear that the Iraq War has everybody transfixed. So, contrarian that I am, let me take this opportunity to remind people that Iraq is not the principal issue before us, right now.

In fact, I feel it is a grotesque distraction from the real issue that lies before us. The issue of America.

Some people already grasp this. Take an interview with Prof. Gregory Cochran that appeared on the online intellectual salon “The Edge.”

What would be the consequences of a rapid USA exit from Iraq?

Cochran: Someone would win the civil war and then they'd sell oil.

So, why don’t we get out?

Yes, the Iraq War is a terrible thing. A wretched repeat of every blunder made in Vietnam, all the way down to “meddling in military matters by inept, draft-dodging politician armchair generals.” (The rant we heard for thirty years from the far right, but strangely absent from their rhetoric today. I wonder why.) Spurred by lies and arm waving motivations that shift with every week, the has accomplished a long list of things that even conservatives ought to find repellant, if they were true patriots:

* erosion of United States military strength and reputation

* devastation of our alliances and standing in the world

* ruination of the National Guard and Reserves

* squandering of hundreds of billions of dollars, including some billions that went missing when left by the side of an Iraqi road (an event that would have led to impeachment calls, if it happened under Clinton)

* destruction of American social cohesion, unity, confidence and belief in ourselves

* feeding the sense of resentment in the Muslim world and increasing, steadily, the number of recruits available to radical anti-western causes

* almost complete abandonment of standards of accountability, including contracting rules that used to prevent the handshake passing of billions of taxpayer dollars directly to “companies” owned by friends of the administration... another impeachment-level scandal, if Clinton had done it. Yet, no journalist even cares....

... and so on, and on. With no tangible results to show for this wasted trillion dollar calamity, but a long list of negatives, I have been asking: “If you were an enemy power, who suddenly found itself in secret control over a U.S. administration - able to make it do whatever you wanted - isn’t all of this EXACTLY what you would have ordered?”

After a century of amazing success in nearly all things... even miraculously controlling our own budget (under Clinton)... what great American mistake would such a foreign power have us make, if it had the chance to steer us from the top? What other than a repeat of the biggest and dopiest error we ever made. Abandoning every recent military and political doctrine of agility and care, turning away from jiu jitsu to sumo, and getting mired in a land war of attrition in Asia?

Oh, this war has only been a means to many ends, achieving deepening rifts in America’s “culture war” for example. And providing a competition-free gravy train to every contractor who has Bush family ties. But I refuse to be distracted.

Because the real issue... the only important one... is the issue of America.

Will this nation manage to thwart those who have their eye on permanent political power?

A monopoly of power sufficient to prevent a thousand cohorts from going to jail for defrauding the public and stealing billions?

A grip that will let them continue to degrade our professional civil service, intelligence community, law enforcement and military, so they cannot be used by the people as tools of accountability?

A trend toward secrecy that is already undermining the operation of all four of our basic processes: democracy, courts, science and markets, all of which depend ultimately on players who are well-informed?

Yes, the political winds seem to be blowing against these guys. Hence they now seem to be turning toward another actor-politician. Trying the tactic of criticizing and dissing the previous GOP administration. Claiming the next one will be different... while shouting the same slogans.

And yet - (God how I hope that what I see is just an author's over-active imagination at work!) - one can point to plenty of signs that they are confident for some unknown reason. The reason that they are stupid? Or mad?

Or for the reason that we haven't even glimpsed yet their real trump card. The big one that the Bushites haven’t played yet. A trump card that they already seem to be bidding toward, for example by striving furiously to strengthen a presidency that they seem about to lose.

As if they (or their masters) know something that none of us do.


* The twinge I felt, seeing THREE Asian buildings shooting skyward, each aiming to take a turn being tallest in the world. 9/11 was reason for bold determination. But not the thuggish, stupid kind that we have been led toward.


Woozle said...

Some 9/11-related humor (yes!) to counter the gloom:

They Might Be Giants meet 9/11 (parts one and two)

I'm working on the idea that satire may be the way to get through to people. Focus on the funny, and maybe a bit of message will slip in as well.

Anonymous said...


But see what the arabs are building in Dubai to counter those puny asian buildings !-)

the structure is already taller than taipei 101 the current world's tallest

Tony Fisk said...

Which anniversary, 9/11 or Sputnik?

These buildings all disappear (literally) into the shadow of the things architects were dreaming up ten years ago.

Monuments, to what?

An unrelated, but interesting, aside (New Scientist):
"Internet users may have to help distribute online video clips to combat the growing costs delivering such content. That’s the conclusion of researchers at Microsoft who have studied how peer-to-peer networks could reduce costs for sites like YouTube that spend millions every month to make videos available over the web."

Which would lead to an interesting tussle between telcos and distributors.

Unknown said...

(minor threadjack alert)


You've mentioned a few times that near the end of Desert Storm G. H. W. Bush told the Iraqis over the radio to rise up against Saddam and then didn't follow through with support.

Now, in a recent interview, Colin Powell says "we were not interested in taking down the government. It was never our mission to go to Baghdad."

[Also, he gives a classic I'm-sorry-if-you-were-offended type apology for bad intelligence...]

I was wondering if you could point me to some documentation of this radio broadcast.

Anonymous said...

I figure the Republicans have two things on their side. The first is a cowed and compliant media. The corporate media's been taking the Republican candidates seriously, and not pointing out the fact the major Republican presidential candidates are completely batshit insane. Or that the Republicans have failed on every measure of making us safer from "The Terrorists". They're expecting another repeat of 2000, where the corporate media was all "Earth Tones!" and didn't give a rat's ass about Bush's continuous string of failed businesses. Or 2004, when the Swift Boat liars were echoed, instead of debunked, and the media was babbling about "windsurfing!" instead of "Hey, we're fucking torturing people and invaded a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and we didn't find any WMD."

And two, they're sharpening their blades for the "Stabbed in the back!" line. Bush is madly stalling, so the Iraq war doesn't end on his watch. We ALWAYS "need another six months", because there's been "progress", which was what the whole kabuki with General Petraeus was about. And then, once the Republicans lose in 2008, and the Democrats are forced to start bringing back troops or break the army, then the Republicans will shout how the "defeatocrats" "lost" Iraq, and if we'd just stayed a little longer, and bombed thousands more people, and had a little more will, and sent in Rambo, all would be ponies and smiling kittens.

And we'll get another round of the "Liberals are soft weaklings who lost the war!" and it'll continue just like after Vietnam, and the dirty fucking hippies will be to blame, even though they were right all along this time too. And the Republicans will nourish that resentment and ride it back into power in another 20 years and start a stupid war with another small country and lose it to show how tough they are.

That's what they're expecting. That or another terrorist attack, which will somehow show we need to elect Republicans, even though the Republicans completely failed to prevent it. And every year, they'll trot out the zombie doppleganger they made of 9/11, and beat everyone over the head with it, until the real day, and the thousands of deaths, are completely eclipsed.

Enterik said...


GWH Bush exhortations are most rigorously documented in "The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East" by Robert Fisk.

On February 15, 1991 President GWH Bush on VoA is quoted as having said...

"There is another way for the bloodshed to stop: And that is, for the Iraqi military and the Iraqi people to take matters into their own hands and force Saddam Hussein, the dictator, to step aside and then comply with the United Nations' resolutions and rejoin the family of peace-loving nations."

Enterik said...

Nate, you think it will take twenty years for the Republicants to rebound from their current state of infamy? I say 4 years...max, if the Democrats/Liberals/Progressives/Moderates/Centrists/Biconceptuals don't get their act together.

Sure Republicants will lose big in 2008, they'll lose the Executive Branch and any pretenses on the Senate and House. The Democrats will wallow in success or at best toil like Boxer to clean the messes left by the Republicants. All the alluring visions of the campaign will fall by the wayside and in 2010 the GOP will win back the Senate, so the Democratic president will become a lame duck. Then in 2012, a gullible populace will elect a "fiscally responsible" Republicant to further gut our protective government institutions and common wealth for another eight years.

Just look what happened with Nixon. He bullocksed everything up and the GOP was in shame and disarray. Carter came in and instituted fiscal responsibilty, spent his term dealing with GOP messes and then four years later the so-called "flower child free love hippie generation" elected Republicants for the next twelve years, and if it weren't for Perot probably more.

Theophylact said...

Balancing the budget under Clinton wasn't "miraculous". It required compromises and hard choices, things this administration adamantly refuses to accept.

Anonymous said...

Brin said:

"And yet - (God how I hope that what I see is just an author's over-active imagination at work!) - one can point to plenty of signs that they are confident for some unknown reason. The reason that they are stupid? Or mad?

Or for the reason that we haven't even glimpsed yet their real trump card. The big one that the Bushites haven’t played yet. A trump card that they already seem to be bidding toward, for example by striving furiously to strengthen a presidency that they seem about to lose.

As if they (or their masters) know something that none of us do."

More and more I've been wondering if there might not be another explanation that they are (as of yet) unwilling to discuss openly.

I'm sure you've heard of the film "A crude awakening" or otherwise have read about the realization dawning on many people that there is a very real danger of a collapse of monumental proportions when we move past the point of "peak oil" and into the time where production can no longer service demand.

Here is one view of the scenario:


The first sentence makes them sound like one of those end-of-the-world cults, but don't let that put you off. Read the main page carefully.
There is a logic to what is being said that I'm finding difficult to dispute. I'd very much like to know your thoughts on this. Especially pertinent to your comments that I quoted are the references made to Bush and Cheney further down in the document.

David Brin said...

A more general way of putting this - and a bit less apocalyptic - is that smart men can see a period of ruction coming. They are positioning themselves to be winners. This means:

1) if the Enlightenment collapses, they want to be the new lords. (Note, I do not add them some of them may be pushing hard for that collapse.)

2) They must gradually unload heaps of dog stocks, or stocks that will be dogs in due time. The best way to do that is to create a vast pool of "greater fools" to buy the dogs. This was the central goal of the effort to put Social Security into the stock market. (What's unambiguous is that all that new money - all of it - would have benefitted those who already own stocks, whether or not the Greater Fool hypothesis is paranoid.)

Peak Oil scenarios are a subset of this.

Ah, but let me muse a bit. The real question is: ARE these "really smart men," after all?

All their lives have been spent in a (relatively) egalitarian Enlightenment civilization with the flattest social order in history -- one which coincidentally featured the most productive work force and most rapid development of science and the populace least obsessed with class resentments. One that nurtured these proto-lords, letting them glide smoothly into wealth and power, without confronting them with the genuinely arduous difficulties that used to face people - even aristocrats - in earlier times.

These men style themselves as geniuses and (as have all aristocrats) see themselves as inherently superior by nature, not by luck. What they will not do is entertain the possibility that, by pushing the great Enlightenment processes - science, democracy, courts and markets - into darkness and manipulated unaccountability, they may NOT be creating conditions that are beneficial to themselves or their heirs!

Consider it in a very general sense. One set of conditions fostered their position and engendered their wealth and status. They are pushing hard - out of inherited human-feudal reflexes - to END that benign condition and replace it with another. Yes, that other condition is one with long human precedent - a social pyramid of asymmetrical privilege. 4,000 years of precedent suggest that the new masters (augmented by technology) may be able to slip right into (relatively) stable dynasties of power.

But! But have they really thought this out? Can they be so sure that this plan will work? We are inherently self-deluded creatures and aristocracies instinctively, reflexively, deny themselves the citokate feedback that would correct mistaken assumptions and errors. It is a bad habit that has recurred - UNIVERSALLY - in every non-enlightenment culture, leading directly to almost every calamitous error of statecraft...

...and to every vengeful peasant revolution. Ask the Czars. The Bourbons. The Shah. How well did their apparently secure positions hold, when the people grew resentful, then riled, then enraged?

Heckfire, are they ready for the INTERNAL rifts and knifings and assassinations and backstabbings that always tear apart aristocracies, when there is left no recourse to law? Oh, these guys (and I include the deep background uber-manipulators) are probably very sure that their alliance and mutual protection racket will hold. But all aristocracies featured temporary alliances against the people. And, once the people were brought low, the lords always, always turned upon each other.

Are they too naive and too deeply anchored in dogma-fantasies ever to see this stuff coming?

(Hint: the Neo-Confucians will be MUCH better able to maneuver in such a world, than our occidental media-kings and the petro-princes, who are managing the present putsch. When a once-vibrant America has been harnessed and gelded, what instrument will they then use to face off against eastern hierarchicalists who REALLY know how to play this game? With a ruthlessness that we cannot even imagine? (Many of the new titans of Shanghai were Red Guards under Mao. A few served in the Viet Kong. One even walked alongside Pol Pot. Do our new western lords even have a glimmer of what they will face, if it all comes down to a Battle of the Hierarchies? Have they even thought ahead that far?)

Hence, if they asked me for feedback - (and, like MAchiavelli, I suppose I'd rather be a court advisor than dead), I would offer the cabal at least a dozen hard questions that they would have to be ready to answer - at least among themselves. That is, if they REALLY are as smart as they think they are. And as inherently superior.

Above all "Are you really sure you want to slay the (enlightenment) golden goose that brought you this far?” All of its spectacular powers of error detection and creativity enhancement will die, if your plan unfolds. They MUST die because markets and democracy and science cannot operate in manipulated secrecy. Do not fool yourselves over what will go away, in exchange for a new gilded age. Wake up and see the tradeoffs. If you tame and castrate us, the first things to go will be our ability to serve you well.

Know also that the People WILL notice what's happened, eventually, despite all distractions (like Potemkin elections). Class resentment - the normal condition in ALL societies except post-1950 America - will return.

Moreover, when any waiter at a society function could drop designer bugs into the punch, do you really want your dopey trophy babes sneering "let em eat cake" and stoking the flames? Because that IS what will happen. Aristocratic dolts sneer. And that will end the egalitarian illusion.

That aristocratic pyramid is always more shaky than it looks -- especially to the smug.

Oh, and did I mention your children? Our society is filled with infectious egalitarian memes. You do not dare attack them directly, so your kids will be exposed to them, too. Along with your favorite henchmen. The very best of them will wonder. They will enjoy the company of genuine minds, rising from any caste. and start seeing things through those eyes. They may even decide that they would rather live in an Enlightenment, after all, and join in the struggle to turn things back around.

It has happened before. Witness the Marquis de Lafayette, and many more. Moreover, it won’t be the dumb frat jock son who does this, but your quiet, smart one.

I could go on, but what’s the point? All evidence suggests that you are committed to your plan. The cabal is trapped. It has to move forward or too many players will simply go to jail. (Unless you blow the whistle, of course. Then YOU will be a hero and some other proto-lords will share a cell. Again, there are precedents.)

So I guess I am wasting my breath. I won’t go on to a dozen more unasked questions. I have to save some for after the putsch, so that I can be offered a court position, instead of simply strangled in some camp. So enough for now.

Ah well. Flee to your luxury charters and corporate jets, while the rest of us take off our shoes and get frisked and poked and probed in "security" screenings, while the airlines decay and even First Class becomes a joke. And a myriad other clear signs of your New Order. Perhaps we'll just take it, as your model-projections suggest.

Maybe you'll use really clever and vicious shocks to frighten us all into acceptance.

For a while.

And perhaps you've already worked all this through, in marvelous simulations, created by Machiavellian advisors who are much smarter than me.

Still... I cannot help but marvel at how brave you are, to deliberately end a stable condition that gave you everything you have, just in order to create one where you can flounce around a little more and preen a bit and maybe push a dogma or two. New conditions that are likely to bring about your downfall, all for the chance of some years in the Master Seat.

Looked at in such a light, I guess there is a kind of courage. I can try to look at it that way. I had better. We all may need to hone our flattery skills pretty soon. Another latent human talent that went away for a while. During the Enlightenment.

Enterik said...

Being called a Talleyrand probably doesn't seem so bad after that monlogue ;-P

David Brin said...

Har! I really was trying for my own version of Danton.

Allons enfants de la Patrie
Le jour do gloire est arrive......

Tony Fisk said...

Well, that was a cheery thought!

My own sentiments run to Dylan Thomas:

'...Do not go gentle into that good night,
But rage rage against the dying of the light'

(and the more pragmatic Cromwell: keep your powder dry)

Anonymous said...

Point 1
The crash or collapse will be caused by the collapse of the US Dollar beyond the ability of Central Banks to prop it up. We will have gone beyond the ability of the world financial markets to absorb any more US Government Debt.

Point 2
Vive le Revolution
You have made previous comments about Ron Paul. They were negative in a way that was an Ad Hominem attack. He is crazy ( to paraphrase). The revolution is already occurring in the minds of many people and the ground swell of grassroots activity will overwhelm the rest of the Warfare Welfare Repugnants.

The people who are open to a message of personal liberty, personal responsibility, rejecting government aid ( which is a two edged sword) are building the means and numbers needed to nominate him. His fund raising in the next FEC report will blow the others away.

This I see as the revolution that you are calling for, just not with the trappings that you might prefer.

Ron Paul in my opinion is the only candidate who has integrity, who tells the truth, who has the economic knowledge to restore the republic.

Now it seems that many correspondents on this sight have a blind eye when it comes to government largesse. My question is how do we pay for it? Do we borrow more and hasten the collapse of the dollar due to runaway inflation when the world financial markets reject our bills of credit?

On social security issue above if I invested in a simple savings account the money the government takes from me in SSI which currently is 12.6% (self employed) in a simple annuity the return on my investment would outstrip the SSI benefit? by double, and to top that I would have the principle of the annuity that I could use to do a reverse amortization and increase my income over just the interest income from the principle. The break even point is about 1.5% interest rate compounded monthly with monthly contributions to the annuity.

To me that means that SSI is an extremely bad investment, the only reason I am in it is a the coersive force of the government theft.

David Brin said...

SSI is misnamed. it is an intergenerational promise, not and insurance program. Trying to fit the former into the latter has resulted in many stupidities.

While I respect Ron Paul and consider him to be the only interesting fellow (indeed, the only non-horror show) on the GOP side, I stand by my assessment for one simple reason. Because, at this moment, the entire libertarian movement is quite, jibbering crazy.

Sorry, but I know a lot of these guys. In fact, do you know anybody else who was a keynote speaker at a Libertarian Party national convention? I have tried repeatedly to talk sense into this movement, which SHOULD be part of the solution for what ails America...

...but instead keeps shooting itself in the head, ensuring its own marginalization, by giving into very simple self indulgences.

I haven't time to explain. But the question here is: are you even curious about the possibility that an essentially-true concept may be deeply and cockeyed wrong in the way it is currently dogmatized?

The core problem? See:

Political aspect: my essay in 4 parts:

Fundamental: current LP dogma stresses hatred of government over love of freedom. This us just plain sick. Adam Smith would have thought so.

Government CAN be a threat to liberty. We need a strong and relevant (and far better) LP to remind us of that.

But history shows that liberty has FAR worse enemies than government bureaucrats. Those who screech at government while ignoring the rise of aristocracy are today's biggest fools. Government civil servants are the one set of elites we can routinely use to keep in check unbridled power by "cronies of the king." Read your Adam Smith!

David Brin said...

Sorry. That link re libertarianism is:

The general site for those trying to shake some sense into the movement is:


Enterik said...

To me it seems that most self-identified libertarians are rights idealists infatuated with cheryy-picked economic myths of the Enlightenment (Smith's market but not it's integral morality) and mesmerized by a vision of anarchic liberty. Rare is it these days that I cross the path of a pragmatic consequentialist libertarian, one who is willing to compromise their ideals for the sake of getting something done that will actually promote their goals.

Now, the progressive cause in America is to promote liberty, egality and the willingness to remove leaders who miss the mark. Modern progressives have lost touch with their libertarian ideals and gave modern regressives (aka conservatives) the opportunity to baboozle the libertarian anti-authoritarian impulse for plutocratic ends that have effectively rendered the State more authoritarian and more invasive.

Boostering for Ron Paul is a dangerous game. On one hand, he does forward the uncomfortable critique of the Republicants agenda, even if his main effect is to induce yet another refrain of HONOR (cut to smiling Luntz in devil's costume). And on the other hand, he doesn't stand a snowballs chance in hell of receiving the nomination or vice-presidency. The The eventual nominees will not adopt Paul's positions and will take his voters for granted. The only reason he is allowed to play is because the Republicants are hoping that when he loses, he'll endorse the nominee and that his supporters will remain affiliated with the GOP as a matter of inertia.

So here's a reality check for GOP-affiliated Libertarians. Government is going away any time soon, both camps, progressive and regressive, love it for different reasons. Knowing this, I suggest Libertarians make temporary common cause with the Democrats, based on the premise that there is a real possibility of advancing personal freedoms and realizing true equality for all under the law.

Anonymous said...

Why a constitutionalist not a libertarian , I consider myself a small L libertarian and a big C constitutionalist. I am for the rule of law which sadly democrats are not.

They believe it is ok for the government to steal from me at the point of a gun.

I think that government should be limited to that which is written down and that the Constitution is written. That the Constitution should be read not interpreted. When judges go beyond saying yeah or neigh on the constitutionality of a law they go beyond what they are authorized by the Constitution.

Too many of our current laws are outright flouting of the Constitution.

Af far as the danger being from some elite, what is their weapon against the rest of us?

The force used by government which is unconstitutional.

If you read Article three on the judiciary the jurisdiction of 'direct' law enforcement is limited to Washington DC and to lands ceded by statute of the state legislatures to land purchased by the federal government.

Nuf said on National Police powers, used for the control and perpetuation of a corrupt force.

The other thing is that democrats believe they should protect you from yourself. If this is not tyranny, I do not what it is.

Democrats do not believe in private property. They believe if it is in the greater good theft is OK in fact it is a good thing.

( an aside Read Fred Thompsons platform or motto it reads like tyrannical collectivist manifesto)

What do we have government for but to protect us from the depredations of the criminals that are part of every population. Those that do not believe in the social contract are the criminals.

Whoa that seems to make the government in it's current state a criminal.

As far as the democratic candidates they are all Welfare Warfare Statists with just a different order to the cant. None of them has integrity, or virtue.

All of the members of Congress at the time of the Authorization to use force are as complicit in going to WAR they just wanted a fig leaf, We did not actually cause the country to go to war we just authorized the president to use force. Just a bunch of poltroons , mealy mouthed blame shifting.

In every case main stream politicians which seem to differ only by their cant, have dropped the ball, they have refused the responsibility and have shifted the power to the Executive and the Courts.

And it still continues. Now that the democrats are in control, The Speaker has not pushed for a show down. All they have to do is stop funding the insanity. But no they are afraid that George the Decider will defy them.

This all points to a disrespect for the constitution.

That is why we need Ron Paul the only constitutionalist in the pack of ambitious curs.

He is not a libertarian in the sense that David and Enterik imply some kind of total anarchist, he is a Constitutionalist, for LIMITED government but government.

He does not believe in Rouseau or in Hobbes but that self interest and trade and truly free markets not the sham we have now.

The government is used as David has said by rapacious monopolists, mercantilists, to get an advantage, to cheat. So why shouldn't we look hard at some of the organs of government and excise the cancer.

What I object to the most is your dismissal of Ron Paul as some sort of wild eyed anarchist. He is not even close to some of those big L Libertarians that you talk about David.

Mark said...

Too many of our current laws are outright flouting of the Constitution.

Af far as the danger being from some elite, what is their weapon against the rest of us?

The force used by government which is unconstitutional.

I disagree.

Now, if only we had a system to reconcile these sorts of disagreements, some way, using checks and balances to come to reasonable conclusions about which reasonable people might disagree. Seems I heard of some theoretical concept like this once, only I can't remember....

Anonymous said...

David you and Enterik skipped over the most important thing I thought was in my post which is:

The questions I asked.

How do we pay for government?

If we continue to borrow will that not cause a collapse of the value of the dollar?

As far as SSI what is the purpose of it?

Is the purpose to provide support/income for retirement?

If the answer is YES then it is equivalent to an insurance annuity. The intergenerational promise mumbo jumbo doesn't hack it.

Last question :
Where in the Constitution (Law of the Land) does it authorize Social Security?

And do not put words in my mouth about the current recipients of this program. Anything we do would include continuing their benefits.

But must include opting out if you want to. Because no matter what you say it is theft. The involuntary taking of property without recompense. I consider that I have to qualify(beg) to get my property ( fruit of my labor) back in some portion as at least a partial taking. And I do not get back the principle I only get a very small interest rate return from the principle.

Anonymous said...


Your assertion that: no way no how Ron Paul can be nominated is what is called Whistling in the Dark, or as I like to call it the hope and fear method of planning for the future.
You Hope it won't happen but you Fear it may.

My assertion: No other candidate of any party has the support of so many ordinary citizens. No other candidate has as many individuals of ordinary means who donate to his campaign. No other candidate has as many donations from active duty military personnel. No other candidate has supporters who can articulate why they support their candidate. Who can say something other than 'because'.

I detest the counting of money in the bank as a measure of support but it does have consequences so it must be taken into account. The reason is the money that candidates who are sponsored by the aristocracy as David mentioned had an early lead in campaign war chests, or in some cases loaned it to themselves.

As far as why people who believe in liberty will never join with the democratic party I submit the following:

Noun 1.egality - social and political equality; "egality represents an extreme leveling of society"

Noun 1.equality equality - the quality of being the same in quantity or measure or value or status

The difference is sublte but the import is tremendous.

Egality, pound down the nails that stick up, no one can excel, in effect drive everything down to the lowest common denominator.

Equality having the same value and status, having the opportunity to excel, not the societal imposed limit to excelling. Everyone has the oportunity but not the ability or desire. This is biology.

Egality = tyranny. There is an equality, having the same value.

If you believe in equality then that is a whole nuther story. We would welcome a convert to the liberty revolution.

Anonymous said...


Ok you disagree but what do you disagree with?

Government uses its force in illegal ways?

That there are laws that are unconstitutional?

That the aristocracy (lack of a better word) does not use government to take our liberty?

David Brin said...

ernieg, I understand that you have an elaborate edifice of rationalizations to despise all Democrats as statists, ranging from their support of “unconstitutional” social secuty and income tax laws to ... whatever. These are issues I would gladly debate with you if
(1) I had a kiln copier and could devote a gray duplicate to such a time sink and
(2) if the great experiment of America were not itself at desperate risk, right now.

Alas, none of your rationalized grievances against the Dems even begins to touch upon basic and stark facts before us:

a) The dems reduce secrecy. Goppers send it skyrocketing. Since knowledge is the fundamental that every libertarian and constitutionalist scholar - from Adam Smith to Hayek - recognizes as the fundamental food for democracy AND science AND markets, this devastatingly proves which party at least WANTS our system to work and improve.
You may despise the dems’ set of solutions for problems. But at least they are the ones who want you to continue to be ABLE to argue knowledgably with your neighbors about these things.

This is absolutely fundamental. It is a moral black-vs-white issue. It is the total on-off switch. All else is nibbling at the edges.

b) The mythology that goppers want fiscal prudence is pure psychosis. Anyone who still credits it deserves certification as a loon. 70% of our debt came under Reagan-Bush-Bush. %0% of it only under Bushes. Writhe all you want, to explain away Clinton’s balanced budgets. They are there in front of you. They happened.

c) Moreover, the ONLY time the non-defense fenderal manpower/payroll and paperwork went DOWN since WWII was after Gore’s “re inventing government” won a JD Powers award for actually and sincerely trimming federal bloat. Reward from the libertarians? Zilch!

d) Across 40 years, despite their relentless and lying “pro-market” rhetoric, goppers have only deregulated two industries. The S&L industry, just becore using the “deregulation” to steal billions, and Energy, just before using dereg to steal TRILLIONS.

Other than those two cases, they have never even tried to de-regulate. In contrast, the dems de-regulated.... AND NOTE THE DE- prefix... banking trucking telecommunications the airlines and... the whole damned internet, giving as a gift to the world the greatest tool of freedom ever. Reward from the libertarians? Zilch.

e) Your statement that dems do not believe in private property is utter, stinking hogwash. It is simply fatuously and diametrically wrong. SMALL businesses thrive under dems. The stock market thrives. Small investors thrive. You believe a complete slander in order to maintain a comforting stereotype.

Case in point. Under dems “privatization” means opening a service to competitive bidding. Under goppers, this same word means declaring “war” and “emergency” over-rides on all contract vetting rules so that lush sweetheart deals worth hundreds of billions can be handed over to family friends.

f) Even AYN RAND despised the privatization of force! She said the state should have a monopoly on coercion (and then should be severly watched.) Bot goppers are pursuing sepoy armies that answer only to the rich. While the Army and FBI are eviscerated.

No... you MUST read the article on indignation addiction. Please. Do it now. Our libertarian friends are addicts who cannot break their high long enough to even notice bald facts. Until they kick their bad habits, they will never see the fine role they have to play in saving the republic. Rather, they will remain shills and tools of new lords. And Barry Goldwater keeps spinning in his grave.

BTW, I NEVER called Ron Paul an anarchist!

You just proved that you simply do not read what other people write, but instead talk only to strawmen. I just wasted all this time talking to a wall.

Anonymous said...

I am sorry.
It your party and you can do what you want.

I do not hate democrats I think they have a fiscal blind spot.

We disagree on overall philosophy or strategy of government so be it.

The arguments you put forth are tactics. They are good things. Any time we get some relief from government is a good thing.

You did not call Ron Paul an anarchist.

What I said is that you implied he was an anarchist, which there are from the far out fringe of libertatrian thought, anarchists, no doubt about it.

I amend my rhetorical remark about private property. Democrats believe in private property only to an extent.

I do not support GOPers as you say, I have my own beliefs which are antithetical to your beliefs. There is no (semantically loaded, attack the messenger?) rationalizations here.

Exactly pro market rhetoric! BS.
That is why a large and growing population of this country are fed up.

I am not indignant , more disgusted, fed up , and I am doing something about it.

I keep hoping that some democrats will get over their blind spots. Bu Ce Sera

In the end it is your party, I just like to interject some opposing ideas once in a while.

Oh by the way so called progressives do not have a lock on innovation as Enterik said, I dispute that very strongly.

Mark said...

I amend my rhetorical remark about private property. Democrats believe in private property only to an extent.

I have a theory that basically all sane people share the same base values, they just prioritize them differently. The belief in Private Property is on the list, but if by "only to an extent" you mean other values have higher priority, then I agree.

David Brin said...

ernieg: remember an earlier remark I made about incuriosity?

Well you just displayed it. I issued a number of challenges. You could have tried either to demonstrate your disagreements by first PARAPHRASING me, if for no other reason out of curiosity to see if you really do disagree...

...or else you could try actually reading some of the links I offered you, and dissected disagreements there.

Instead, you fell back upon generalities, vague dismissals. I really had expected better of you.

But then, I keep expecting better of all libertarians. They have never ceased to disappoint, turning what could be a fine political philosophy into a silly cult.

Anonymous said...

I have read your essays many months ago, There are things we agree on but there are key principles we do not agree upon. That is one take, your opinion.

But you disavow property rights, or as you say are eclectic about property. I do not know exactly what you meant by eclectic but I take to mean my property might not be mine, that you ( society) reserves the right to take it when you want it.

You also mention redistributing wealth. Which as I have said is the involuntary taking from one to give to another, ie theft.

As far as the populist leaning message, I think Ron Paul has captured that but then again he is not a Libertarian capital L. He is his own man and the start of a new sensebility in American politics, perhaps a new party.

I stated my case against the democratic party because I see no difference in the cause of liberty between the Demos and the Repugs.

To wit :

None of the leading candidates will commit to repealing the patriot acts, repealing the real id , loss of habeus corpus, or to rolling back the imperial presidency. They are silent or they think we need these attacks on our liberties.

I think it is particularly significant that Senator Leahy in his hearings on the firing of the US attorneys did not make the point that 10 or so were fired for not following orders but the rest as you have said are presumably following orders. There was no condemnation of the use of the attorneys prosecutarial powers in a political witch hunt, only the tacit acceptance that the party in power has the power to abuse the public trust.

The case of the Duke Lacrosse team shows the same lack of virtue in the abuse of prosecutarial powers which the above corruption leads to.

So that is why I think you are dead wrong on the Democrats being the liberty party.

I have found a man who has integrity, has the virtues needed, and has a plan that is not as radical as you have implied.

Unknown said...

ErnieG: I don't feel I have the time to put in a proper response to everything you've said.

However, you seem to think that Ron Paul having a lot of popular support means he has a strong chance. As nice as that would be to believe ...

... have you already forgotten Howard Dean? People were saying similar things about him. And look where he went.

David Brin said...

Ernieg, your interpretations of my beliefs are so cockeyed and absurdly off-base that I genuinely guffawed. I mean that. There is no correlation between your strrawman and me. Moreover, there is no conceivable logical pathway between the two. A more clearcut case of strawmanning I haven't seen.

Now what is a man obliged to do, when told what I just told you. Here is what fanatics of all sides, left-to-right, do. They tall themselves "I know the other guy's meaning well enough. Maybe better than he does."

An honorable man says "maybe I misinterpreted." He then goes on to carefully paraphrase and...

why am I wasting my time. Prove you have read my articles, by paraphrasing. They are unusual views.

Enterik said...

ErnieG, Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel :-) It's just as well that I editted out the more inflammatory parts of that post. Clearly, you are emotionally invested in Libertarian notions and the candidacy of Ron Paul. Rather than wade into your morass of red herring and billingsgate distortions of my positions, I'll attempt to reiterate my thesis more concisely.

Ron Paul is not going to win the GOP nomination. He is polling nationally at 1% to 3% of Republicant-leaning voters. Ron Paul's campaign is akin to those of Ralph Nader, Lyndon LaRouche and Pat Buchanan; Idealistic, Impractical, Extreme, Marginalized. Ron Paul serves the same function for the Republicants as Mike Gravel serves for the Democrats, to ward off nascent insurgencies from their idealogically allied extremists while luring their supporters into a political gill net.

Ron Paul enables the other candidates to peddle their tripe while sounding more moderate/centrist. Ron Paul provides a straight man for their carefully-crafted voter-deluding Lunzt-speak. I think you'll find most GOP primary voters find Ron Paul to lack sufficient loyalty and honor. The media bias against Paul only makes all of the above more intense. Come Super Tuesday, I fully expect Ron Paul to become and also ran.

Unanswered questions remain, "What will you feel/think/do when Ron Paul doesn't get the nomination"? "What would you feel/think/do when Ron Paul endorses Mitt Romney?"

We will have to wait for reality to catch up to see whether it is you or I who is whistling dixie in the dark. Until then you can whistle for it...

Anonymous said...

Gentlemen I give you:

Montrose's Toast

He either fears his fate too much,
Or his desserts are small,
Who dares not put it to the touch,
To win or lose it all.


No matter what that toast embodies the courage of my convictions.

If the only reason to vote is to vote for what people of questionable motives tell you is a winner then stay home.

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” John Quincy Adams

Ron Paul will not endorse any of the other candidates.

Now the polls are commisioned by main stream media outlets, the pollsters are hired contractors, they get paid on the pleasure and rehired on the pleasure of their employers. That leads me to one conclusion. You may infer from that anything you want.

Emotion is good it gets you motivated. We are supposed to be emotionless robots? I would be an indignation junky if my only action was to act as a troll on this blog, but as I said above I am putting it to the touch.

I'll do a David on ya, When you can show me that you have read his platform and can paraphrase it to me then I will listen to you on the substance of both his campaign and his message.

You may think what you like about whether he is a dupe of the repugnants. He is not. What do we as Ron Paul supporters say to this, we quote Mahatma Ghandi, " First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

Another point when was honesty, faithfully executing his office a marginal or extreme position.

What really gets me is your dismissal of Notions about Liberty , if you believe that these are notions then you are part of the apathetic ones in this country who do not care. Do not pigeon hole me in the Libertarian party.

Ron Paul is running in the Republican party because the way this country has set up it's election laws.

As far as Loyalty and Honor who among other elected officials professes and lives his oath of office? I will grant there may be others but if the total exceeds more than a handful I will be very surprised.

You have said that I misunderstood your positions

BUT LIKE DAVID, you never correct me on my errors. You go off in some jargon loaded way about how I misunderstand you.

I did not paraphrase your arguments above in responding to you because,

You simply went off on a tangent, you did not make an honest attempt to answer the questions I asked.

I made a statement backed up my financial mathematics that as a retirement plan SSI is crap, any one would do better by doing the saving for retirement on their own.

You did not refute my statement that it was unconstitutional, you just dismissed it as beneath reply.

As far as deregulation, the effect is problematical, Telecommunication deregulation let the phone companies freeze out competitors. The effect of the telecommunications deregulation on ISPs was to decimate them and all but eliminate independent DSL ISPs.

So as a pro free market person I could say that removing regulation resulted in a market adjustment.

But another argument might be that we chartered the telephone companies and in that charter was a requirement to serve the public interest as a public carrier of electrons because of the monopoly status they operate under. The states dropped the ball here because they are the ones who charter companies and they did not enforce their own laws.

As a matter of constitutional law the federal government has no power to regulate in this area.

The expansion of the commerce clause to justify unconstitutional regulation is one of the worst attacks on a free market.

I agree that your statement that secrecy is the enemy of liberty, but I reserve the right to disagree that the democrats will be less secretive as a general rule.

What has your paragraph on Republicans fiscal prudence or lack there of have anything to do with the two questions I asked:
How do we pay for government?
If we decide to continue to borrow to sustain the federal government will that not lead to the collapse of the dollar (extreme devaluation) due to the inflation in the money supply?

Both of these questions are not a right left or Dem Repub issue. They are the what will cause the bankruptcy of the USA. Because both parties are addicted to the money from debt feeding trough.

What has small business have to do with private property?
What is this paragraph about privatization to with with private property?

And where did this privatization of force come from?

Again I asked a question about how to pay for the federal government. But I got bubka.

Enterik said...

ErnieG, believe me when I say that I understand your situation. I voted for Nader in several elections and in local elections I definitely vote my conscience. Luckily, I have always lived in the bluer of the fifty purple states, so I have had the luxury of voting idealistically. Even in this current election cycle, amongst the Democratic candidates, my favorite contenders (Kucinich, Dodd and Gravel) get short shrift by the cult of personality horse race calling media conglomerates. Yet I recognize none of them will receive the nomination as presidential or vice presidential candidate. That doesn’t stop me from being their advocate in conversation, but does lead me to acknowledge potential unpleasant outcomes and plan accordingly. I suggest you consider contingencies as well.

What I infer from big business biased media and the pollsters is what I have deduced as I look back through time. The polling methodology is flawed and biased and seldom precise, but it is generally accurate for large differences. Regardless of Paul’s donor statistics or web celebrity, he is just barely on this side of the decimal point with likely GOP primary voters. I know it’s early and that might change over the next fourteen months, predictions based on prior performance are not guarantees of future returns, anything could happen, so be it. "Lay on Macduff, and damn'd be him that first cries, 'Hold, enough!”

As to the subject of emotion, cognitive science has revealed that it is essential for rationality and in the political spectrum conveys authenticity to the values and morality asserted. But idealogy and conviction need to be supported by something more substantive which is why the neoconservative rhetoric deflates, it is frequently dishonest linguistic slight of hand. This is the Luntzspeak (is this the jargon of with which you are not familiar? Google Frank Luntz), loyalty and honor, of which I speak, not the real loyalty and honor, like the sort Ron Paul displays, but the product of expert deceivers.

It is true that I disagree with Ron Paul, and probably you, on way too many issues to list exhaustively, much less debate it ad nauseum in this forum. Yet you seem intent on a pankration. I demur. I ask you to put down the caestus and appreciate that Ron Paul may be offering his political gift of the magi, you will not possess/obtain what you desire but you can feel good about your integrity. So again I ask, what will you think/feel/do why Ron Paul doesn’t get the nomination? What do you hope Ron Paul will do?

Anonymous said...

I have a realistic appreciation of what he can do when he is president, In fact I know what he is going to do, he will institute the rule of law.

No one not the congress, not the supreme court, not his own administrators will be able to get away with anything that is not in the constitution. By this I mean he will hold their feet to the fire until they see the light.

What he will actually do is right there out in the open. He will be the first President in a long time that will faithfully execute the law.

No signing statements, no weaseling around with smirking AG's.

What will not happen is some drastic change that is unconstitutional. I think that many democrats see the goals of this new sensibility this proto political movement as inconsistent with their goals.

But a debate must be had about the ultimate goals and powers of the central government.

Too many democrats and republicans see short term.

What do you want for your family?
The freedom to do anything as along as it harms no one?
The right to keep the fruit of your labor to provide for your family?
The right to not have someone force you to do something?
The right to be left alone?

We are for freely arrived at contracts between voluntary participants.

Our party will be for those things.

It will also be for the powers of
the government to extremely limited.

Why , because we are the center, we have been pushed around and abused from both ends and we have had enough.

The party is about taking back from idealogues and pundits of all persuasions whose ultimate goal is to tell us how to live.

Many of these so called political scientists, sociologists and theorists of all stripes could not pour piss out of their boots if the directions where on the heel, theories are meaningless unless tested. Do I think that libertarian philosphers of the anarchic capitalist stripe are any different , HELL NO.

So we have the observations of Adam Smith, John Locke, who I think tried to deduce principles from observation to guide us, not to follow slavishly. We have tried central banking, I think we have seen that the power is not used wisely. We might try the Austrian school of economics that might work, what we have now is certainly not working.

I know that there will be compromises, but if honestly approached from all participants and we know what the other guys ultimate goals are, they will happen because I can deal with someone who has principles and is open about them. I know what he wants he knows what I want, it might be the same thing ... ultimately.

My argument here is that what we have now is like all the lemmings heading for the cliff, and snarling and fighting over who goes first and the path we take to the cliff.

Put everything on the table no sacred cows.

What if Ron Paul does not win the nomination?

He has said ( with a little quibble) that he will not run independent. I think he will not, because of the restrictive two party election system we have.

I think that the numbers alone will give a message to all of the other ambitious curs out there, that there is something here, and they better pay attention.

We will perservere. Next representatives, senators, local government. The only handicap we will have is the lack of the bully pulpit. But Ron Paul will still be in congress.

As far as our ultimate success, for your consideration:

What do you think all the militia organizations are about? The are the precursor or a sign if you will.

What do you think the current size of the libertarian party is about?

What do you think of a Constitution party, what is that about?

What do you think about an Organization called The Future of Freedom Foundation, and what it is about?

What do you think of a government that tells police officers that anyone who quotes the constitution is a possible terrorist?

You may say this is a symptom or action of the current administration or their ilk. But I say it is an overall sea change from the police being there to protect and serve to their being there to control and subjugate.

This did not happen in the last 6 years it did not happen only during republican administrations.

It is a general attitude among the elite or 'aristocracy' that the state (federal government) has all the power. The attitude that the state must use extreme force against its own people when they dissent. The proliferation of swat teams paid for by the central government is an example. Once you have them they are used for ordinary arrests .

The arrogance of refusal to even acknowledge and the dismissal of the right to petition for redress of grievances.

All of these things are pissing people off, it just needed someone to come along at the right time to seed a saturated solution, well it has crystalized.

I don't know if it will reform the current republican party I don't really care, as long as whatever party we have is for the principles above.

Enterik said...

ErnieG, I separated the wheat from the chaffe of your posts, and excerpt below what I consider to be your on topic responses...

Ron Paul will not endorse any of the other candidates.

Again I ask, "But what if he does"?

[Ron Paul] has said (with a little quibble) that he will not run independent. I think he will not, because of the restrictive two party election system we have.

Again I ask, "What will you do then"?

And I add a new query, "Would you vote for any ticket with Ron Paul as the vice-presidential nominee"?

I don't really expect you to offer a contingency plan for the possibility of Ron Paul's failure. I expect you to use every opportunity you have to afflict us with another round of objectivist just-so stories parading as constitutionalist politics.

I know as one of the faithful, you are duty bound to promote your idealogy. I also know that for Ron Paul to have a snowball's chance in hell of garnering the Republican nomination his boosters must project an air of momentum and inevitability against all reason. Remember, I am a Nader voter, I've been through this particular electoral dynamic myself. It is my prediction that the candidacies of Paul and Gravel will demonstrate the Nader asserted futility and danger of trying to run an insurgent campaign in an established party.

Anonymous said...


You have my sympathy, please, take comfort in your illusions.

Enterik said...

ERNIEG: Enterik, You have my sympathy, please, take comfort in your illusions.

ENTERIK: Thank you for abstaining from another is-ought soliloquy and tacitly confirming your unwillingness to entertain what is clearly an unthinkable cognitively dissonant possibility for you. I will desist in prodding you.