Monday, June 6, 2016

They Swapped Positions and Their Partisans Never Noticed


This is a clip from a Bush-Gore debate in the year 2000. The topic is foreign policy. Please listen to it even if you think that you remember it. I thought I did, but once I heard it again I was shocked to realize just how fully and completely these two men changed positions. Al Gore justified foreign interventions on the grounds that America was the leader, and needed to continue to be "the leader." George W. Bush took the opposite tack. We should help people, but not go around imposing ourselves, and we should not nation build!

Amazing. The two completely switched positions and their partisans just continued backing the one and attacking the other. Could it be any more obvious that a very large segment of the American people has been programmed to follow Persons and not Principles? Is it not clear that they have been conditioned to rally around party labels and not ideas? 

All I knew in 2004 was that George W. Bush did not have the kind of foreign policy that he said he would have when running. That is why I did not vote for him the second time around. Now you may say that 9/11 changed "everything". But it didn't change everything. It didn't change the Constitution. It didn't change the principle that we shouldn't tell the rest of the world how to live, or nation build. A humble foreign policy which recognized our limitations was a good idea before 9/11 and it was still a good idea after it.

George Bush the elder ran for re-election on the basis of his ability to have a grand coalition and impose our will on Iraq. Bill Clinton said he would "focus like a laser beam on the economy." The American people chose the domestic promises of Clinton over the New World Order visions of Bush the Elder. But then Clinton got in office pursued the same policies as Bush. The interventions continued. We dropped bombs on more countries during the Clinton years than we did during WWII. So then Bush the Younger comes along and says things like in the video above. We voted for him over Clinton's successor Al Gore (who wants us to decide that we are the world's "leader" without ever bothering to ask the world about that).Yet he too goes on a global rampage- some of it justified by the 9/11 attacks, but much of it not. So then Obama comes along talking peace and people choose him. Then he continues the Bush-Clinton-Bush foreign policy of military meddling around the globe.

For twenty years Americans have been voting for whichever candidate promised them peace, and for twenty years no matter who we voted for, we got a globalist, interventionist foreign policy. The One Party with Two-Faces Cartel which has led this nation to ruin (both fiscally and morally) must hold this nation's people in great contempt. Too many people have accepted the conditioning to back team-red or team-blue, even when the teams keep switching policy positions. They switch positions while they are running, but once in office they quickly implement a foreign policy of global interventionism no matter what they ran on.

This problem, like so many others, will not be fixed from the top down. It must be fixed from the bottom up. I don't say that is true because I am a localist. I am a localist because that is true. We should work toward a nation where it is a lot less important who the President is because the legislature will do its job and check and balance the Executive. That will never happen under the two party system.  Legislative candidates should be elected by a completely different, and independent organization from the executive. A prerequisite for this is that the population must understand just how meaningless and utterly corrupt the current two-party system is, and that a third national party built with the same centralized structures won't solve the problem. Decentralization, like the Founders intended, will.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Why Libertarians Can't Have Nice Things

I am not a Libertarian. I believe they try to cram too much moral reality into too little moral philosophy. They take something that is good (the NAP) as a principle (a principle is something generally true but to which there are exceptions), and attempt to make it into a law (a law is something that is always true and to which there are no exceptions). 

That being said, I am glad they are around. I have voted for Libertarian candidates in the past, and the only candidate I am personally helping to elect this cycle is a Libertarian. I also donated $500 to his campaign, just as I donated $500 to a Libertarian in the 2014 cycle. That doesn't even count my work for Ron Paul. If there are any Libertarian readers out there inclined to be hostile to me for what I have written in this space, I ask that you moderate your hostility in consideration of my deeds.

But despite this, I can't take the Libertarian philosophy seriously. Not because one of the candidates for Party Chairman recently stripped down to his underwear at the podium at their national convention, exposing his large, red, unfit body to the crowd and cameras. That was a consequence of why I can't take it seriously, not a cause of it. The underlying problem is that, unless one wants to play games with the definition of "aggression" under the non-aggression principle, this fellow was perfectly within his libertarian view of rights to strip in front of the crowd and cameras. He did not force anyone to look. He did not sign any agreement saying that he would not strip on stage. There was no force and no fraud involved. By the Libertarian's own creed, he had every right to do what he did.

I was amused at the way a good number of those Libertarians who objected to this conduct dealt with it. It was the way they consistently deal with such matters. That is by torturing the definition of "aggression" so that whatever conduct offends them is re-defined as "aggression". It was "aggression" for him to "inflict" his body on them. As if him standing in front of them with his cloths off was in the same category as a punch in the nose.

Look, either one accepts a limited and narrow definition of "aggression" and "fraud" or one does not. If one does, then acts like this are permitted under libertarian ideas. Who are you to impose your morality on his actions? If one does not accept such definitions, then Libertarianism becomes more oppressive, and at the same time more chaotic, than almost any other philosophy of government. In an age of touchy people where "micro-aggression" is a thing, almost any words or behavior those in charge don't like can be relabeled "aggression". The non-aggression principle can then become a tool for tyranny. But if those key terms are interpreted strictly and narrowly, then behavior like that displayed at the convention, and even very much more offensive, must be permitted.

The funny thing is that in my first book on Localism as a philosophy of government I put in a chapter at the end about why libertarian ideas were not as good as localist ideas, though there was broad overlap. I developed a scenario about a man I called "Mr. Mayonnaise" who had a thing for going around dressed in nothing but dressing. This chapter got me some harsh feedback, but now I see that art became close to life at the Libertarian's national convention. Those discussions actually helped me because it led to the second book, where most of the book is dedicated to explaining why the more extreme forms of libertarian thought are uncompelling in theory and unworkable in practice.

In the end friends, mankind is either going to be Localist, or Globalist. This is true if for no other reason than because no other philosophy of government has a workable defense against the stratagems used to advance Globalism.