Libertarian Party Act IX

libertarian-party-sealWell we are finally out of the holiday season for me. And that means we can get back to business. The next to last section of the Libertarian Platform. We have certainly covered a lot in all of the first 8 acts, and we now near the finish line. But we aren’t done yet. There are some inportant areas still to be covered and analyzed. I look forward to your thoughts on these three areas…

As always, the areas that are orange are copied directly from the Libertarian Party website. My commentary follows each. Remember to address each other respectfully and use rational logic in your analysis.  

3.3    International Affairs

American foreign policy should seek an America at peace with the world and its defense against attack from abroad. We would end the current U.S. government policy of foreign intervention, including military and economic aid. We recognize the right of all people to resist tyranny and defend themselves and their rights. We condemn the use of force, and especially the use of terrorism, against the innocent, regardless of whether such acts are committed by governments or by political or revolutionary groups.

This is certainly a big area, isn’t it? But an important one. So let’s take it step by step. An America at peace with the world. How nice would that be? I think they are dead on with this, as I would like to see that as well. Realistically there should be very few instances where we are doing anything other than defending ourselves from attack from abroad. The only area I would change is in a situation like Kuwait, where a clear breach of International Law has occurred and the entire world is contributing to righting it. If the UN Security Council wouldn’t approve it, we couldn’t do it. This would mean Afghanistan and Iraq couldn’t have happened.

But a rare instance such as that would be the only time we would offer foreign military aid. And as far as economic aid, I say we stop that as well. The bottom line is that we cannot seem to find the money to do our own thing without fleecing our citizens, so the rest of the world should be on its own. Eliminating these entanglements and alliances with other countries would keep us out of trouble and perhaps even get the rest of the world to like us a bit more (even though the hypocrites who hate us would kill to come and partake in our freedom).

I believe that everyone absolutely has the right to defend themselves against tyranny, although my definition of tyranny is certainly different than some radical definitions offered. Part of only defending our own country from attacks abroad would eliminate much of the use of force. While I certainly don’t see government’s use of military force as “terrorism”, which I think is what is implied here, I do believe that force against civilians is not within the right of the government. Not within our country, and certainly not outside of it.

The tough part of this whole statement is when we get into situations such as Bosnia, where there is a level of genocide happening. I know that some people feel as though as the pre-eminent world power it is our responsibility to stop stuff like this. I respectfully disagree. It is not our government’s right to determine the fate of those outside of America. We don’t’ have the right to determine who is right or wrong in any conflict that isn’t with us directly. And we further shouldn’t be sacrificing our soldiers to support either side of that cause. National Defense always. National Offense never. It is tough to stay out of conflicts that aren’t our business when they are obviously heinous acts, but I believe we should stay out of it anyway. It isn’t our business to tell any other country what to do.

I also know people have issue with us having no say in situations such as Iran building a nuclear weapon. But I counter with this: If we are keeping our nose out of the business of others, Iran probably doesn’t concern themselves with us nearly as much. At a minimum we move down to low priority for Iran. On the flip side because our military is staying at home and training, Iran knows that should they decide to attack us the response will be overwhelming and may end their country’s existence altogether. I am not one of the “there is no retaliation people.” If Iran shoots a Nuke at us, we turn their country into an uninhabitable wasteland. We were minding our own business; you shouldn’t have poked the lion with a stick.

3.4    Free Trade and Migration

We support the removal of governmental impediments to free trade.  Political freedom and escape from tyranny demand that individuals not be unreasonably constrained by government in the crossing of political boundaries.  Economic freedom demands the unrestricted movement of human as well as financial capital across national borders.  However, we support control over the entry into our country of foreign nationals who pose a threat to security, health or property.

This is a bit of a conundrum for me. Open borders are the asked for thing here. Followed by supporting control of the borders to keep the bad men out. Two great tastes that don’t taste great together. Let’s take them one at a time.

Free trade. I am all about it except for a few small issues. If we play fair, that doesn’t mean other countries will. Japan and China have different philosophies than we do, which boils down to state sponsored and supported businesses in those countries. Toyota and Honda, for example, get tremendous subsidies from their government that Ford and GM don’t. Can US companies compete with those businesses in a truly free US market? I tend to think the answer is no. If you are OK with that, then perhaps you simply disagree with me. That means we would see a dramatic decline in US financial ability globally. I hate having government involved in business at all, but I would hate more to watch US businesses failing left and right against businesses with government support abroad.

As far as the movement of human and financial capital, I am again all for it. But free movement of human capital is tough to do while simultaneously securing our borders. The Visa system is broken, that is for sure. But we still need to control who comes and goes if we want to be secure in the modern world as it stands. Perhaps that changes if all the other things in this platform come to fruition as well.

I am still up in the air as far as the belief that I believe is espoused here. That would be the belief that borders as they stand are nothing more than political BS. It seems that statement means that our made up lines on the map shouldn’t mean anything. Unfortunately if we were the only ones to believe that in today’s world, we are setting ourselves up for failure. And while failure of the US is dream for some who are reading this, it is not mine.

3.5    Rights and Discrimination

We condemn bigotry as irrational and repugnant. Government should not deny or abridge any individual’s rights based on sex, wealth, race, color, creed, age, national origin, personal habits, political preference or sexual orientation. Parents, or other guardians, have the right to raise their children according to their own standards and beliefs.

I am pretty much in agreement with this. I used to not be, but was proven wrong on several stances and have therefore adjusted my thoughts. If Mormons want to have 10 wives, what business is it of mine? If Adam and Steve want to get married, what do I care? I hate bigotry. So I agree that it is repugnant and irrational. Eliminate bigotry of all kinds.

There is a caveat to this for me though. That doesn’t mean that I have to like everyone. And it doesn’t mean that I have to eliminate stereotypes from my mind. If 90% of the people I see with pants dragging off their ass act disrespectful, I retain the right to assume they all do unless they show me otherwise. It isn’t about bigotry; it is about recognizing trends and acting accordingly. And that means profiling is fair game within limits. If Arabs are blowing up planes at a high rate, I think it is OK to look at Arabs a little more closely at airports. That does not mean we have the right to take away their rights. Again it isn’t that I have anything against Arabs. It is just idiotic to ignore proven trends. We wouldn’t do in the stock market, and that is just money. So we shouldn’t ignore trends in people simply for the sake of political correctness (which is a giant load of BS anyway). I don’t dislike black people, as any of my friends will tell you, but I retain the right to dislike CERTAIN black people, and that has nothing to do with the color of their skin. I dislike certain white people just as much.

Finally that last part makes clear sense. Parents absolutely have the right to raise their children as they see fit. That means it doesn’t matter what the government thinks is the right way to raise their child. Government has no say. We may hate bigotry, but that doesn’t mean we have the right to tell a parent that they cannot raise their child to be a bigot. If they want to put their child at that much of a disadvantage in life, it isn’t our right to stop them.

One final part to this section and that is a question for all of you. Are there limits to what we can say about ANYTHING? For example, the ACLU defends the rights of the North American Man Boy Love Association, a group of the lowest scum on the planet whose name tells you what horrible travesty they are happy with. Should we have no say in that as well? If a child’s parents are OK with their little boy being used by a grown man like that, is that something we cannot say anything about as well? Because if we take the step of not allowing that act, as disgusting as it is, isn’t that the first step back towards the majority telling the minority what is acceptable? Next is telling the Mormons what to do again, then the same sex couples, and before you know it we are back where we started. Where is the line that we draw, or do we have to eliminate all lines what so ever?

So there is the second half of Securing Liberty section of the Libertarian platform. I look forward to everyone’s thoughts because there are some thought provoking questions that I am asking. Even when we are trying to do the right thing, we might be allowing some very wrong things. But to not do so would be a step backward according to the principles we are discussing. The final Act is coming soon to a blog near you!

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Comments

  1. International Affairs – (I volunteer to have affairs with foreign girls) – Do you believe the UN has a say in the actions of The US? It outranks the Constitution? Otherwise, if something is “right”, why wait for the UN’s go-ahead?

    And, concerning Kuwait…. Wasn’t Kuwait slant-drilling? Theft is no justification for war, but it seems some things are not as clear on the international front as some would like us to believe.

    Once again, “trade with all nations and entangling alliances with none” would solve a lot of problems.

    “Terrorism” is force used against non-governmental targets in order to create the emotion of “terror”. All war invariably involves terrorism on “both” sides.

    In cases of genocide, mercenaries should be free to step in and try to help. It simply is not within a government’s authority to do so. “Two wrongs” and all that.

    Why should the innocent inhabitants of Iran die for the aggressive acts of “their” government any more than I should die for the aggression of “mine”? Kill the guy who pushed the “nuke” button and the Rulers who ordered him to do so, if you can without harming innocent people, but don’t cross the line into being an aggressor yourself.

    Free Trade and Migration – If businesses in other countries want to send us real products in exchange for worthless fiat currency, who has really “lost” here? When the money becomes little more than uncomfortable toilet paper, we still have the cars and DVD players.

    The one thing I might suggest, though I don’t really like it either, is have a “mirroring policy”; any import restrictions or fees automatically get mirrored back to the offending government without any new “laws” needing to be passed. Of course, I still feel these things hurt regular people on both sides more than they hurt the bad guys.

    I really think any business that can’t compete in a free market should change or go out of business. Otherwise we end up with inefficient, bloated businesses that make products that no one likes at prices no one is willing to pay. That helps no one in the long run.

    Rights and Discrimination – You are right in that no “laws” should be aimed at any group, but that doesn’t mean you have to like anyone else. As you say, that hurts you more than it hurts the objects of your hatred. There is a basic right of association. It is so basic that pretty much all rights flow from it. No one has the right to tell you that you must associate, or stay away from, any other person, as long as you don’t violate the other person’s rights by initiating force.

    We have a right to SAY anything about any situation. We don’t have a right to act of our opinions, necessarily. Biologically, pre-pubescent children are probably harmed by sex. Post-pubescent teenagers are not. One is an initiation of force, the other is a cultural taboo that has no basis in scientific reality.

    The parents may choose to be OK with something, such as the NAMBLA situation, but in this case, I would also say the child has a valid say in it as well. I am not one of those who believe that our rights pop into existence at some predetermined age. If the child is unhappy with the situation and asks to be rescued, I would probably do so (without getting the state involved). My rights do not trump the rights of the parents, but the childs rights do. I can usually tell the difference between a whiny kid who wants to make trouble for his parents, and one who is truly in trouble. I’ll bet that most other people can as well.

  2. blackflag2012 says:

    Thanks, Kent.

    I was compiling an equivalent post – Iraq approached the UN many times regarding Kuwait’s actions – and was ignored. But even beyond this, Kuwait was guarded by Iraq during the Iran war – and then stuck Iraq with the bill!

    I agree – none of this is a reason that supports a war – but it’s not meant as an excuse, but explanation.

    Iraq was lead down a rosy path by the US vs. its action against Iran – and Iraq learned a global lesson; the US is the among the worst ally you can possibly have.

    “Terrorism” is the weapon of the powerless – believe me, if they had Abrams M-1 tanks or Merkava’s to reinforce their opinions, they’d use them instead.

    But they don’t. So they get to use their bodies, arms, and legs as shrapnel.

    And as far as NAMBLA – parents are compelled to act as guardians for their children – that is, must represent the children in the children’s best interest – no one else’s. As long as the child is incapable of understanding the consequences of their own human rights, parents are charged with protecting those rights – at least as equally (but far more often, even at the expense) of the adult’s own rights.

    If they fail, society can most certainly act to protect the rights of the children. However, the onus of action is massive upon society to demonstrate that guardianship failed.

  3. Kuwait may have been slant drilling. No one knows for sure. At best, if so, they would have been able to get about a mile under the surface and therefore wouldn’t have been able to do much of it, as a well sitting directly on the border would have only been able, at best, to get a mile underground. The reasons for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait are very muddled and there is a theory that the US had more to do with it than first thought. Although that theory has not shown any fruit, I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibilities given the history.

    Whatever the cause, the raping and pillaging of Kuwait was horrendous. I spent significant time there and what happened was horrible. Saddam had no right to do what he did. The UN stated so and asked for intervention from the world. The entire world agreed to step in and force him out. And that is what happened. Should we have been involved? That is tough to answer definitively, but the world responded, not just us. I do believe a policy of not intervening would be best for us.

    No, I do not believe that the UN has the right to tell us what to do. I do believe that they are considered the authority on world affairs, justifiably or not is your call. What I meant by my statement above is that if something horrible is happening somewhere in the world, I would prefer we have the option of addressing it. I also prefer that we have the support of the entire world community in our actions and that we are not alone in doing something. We don’t have to be the world police, and I don’t think we have the right to impose US will on the world. But if horrible things are occurring, and “the world” asks for our help because we have the ability to do so when others may not be able to, I suppose I would be OK with it.

    So to summarize, No I don’t think the UN trumps our constitution in any way. And they don’t get to tell us what to do. I do think they should have the ability to tell us what NOT to do in terms of applying force that isn’t in relation to a direct threat to our security. If we want to use force somewhere in the world because we see a wrong, I don’t want us being allowed to do so without world opinion behind us. This kind of parameter would keep us from furthering our own interests, instead only reacting to true crisis when asked or permitted.

  4. blackflag2012 says:

    USWeapon Says:

    Kuwait may have been slant drilling. No one knows for sure.

    Actually, we do know for sure.

    At best, if so, they would have been able to get about a mile under the surface and therefore wouldn’t have been able to do much of it, as a well sitting directly on the border would have only been able, at best, to get a mile underground.

    So “a little bit of a whole lot of stealing” is ok…. (gawd!)

    You are able to justify anything, cant’ you!!

    The reasons for Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait are very muddled and there is a theory that the US had more to do with it than first thought. Although that theory has not shown any fruit, I wouldn’t put it out of the realm of possibilities given the history.

    I think all three of us, so far, agree that whatever the reason, war was not reasonable.

    Whatever the cause, the raping and pillaging of Kuwait was horrendous.

    My gawd. Where you sucked in with the incubator babies too???

    I spent significant time there and what happened was horrible.

    War is hell.

    Saddam had no right to do what he did.

    Agreed.

    Kuwait had no right to do what it did, either.

    The UN stated so and asked for intervention from the world. The entire world agreed to step in and force him out. And that is what happened. Should we have been involved? That is tough to answer definitively, but the world responded, not just us. I do believe a policy of not intervening would be best for us.

    Though I was not in the military, my brother was. Though not sent to the Gulf, he was transferred to fill the vast empty posts of those that were.

    Had the UN acted appropriately with the issues as presented by Iraq, I’d be more comfortable with the response – but….

    yet…but… aggressive war is evil.

    Too bad the US failed the lesson such a few more years later.

    This kind of parameter would keep us from furthering our own interests, instead only reacting to true crisis when asked or permitted.

    I agree that always the option to act to protect one’s interest cannot be compromised .

    The challenge is the determination of what is our interest.

    63 bases in foreign countries exaggerates all our interests, most of them inappropriate.

  5. Threatening to kill just the guy who pushed the button is an impossibility. Do you think they will release a picture of him to us with a location we can find him? Even if they did, would the potential loss of one fall guy be enough to keep them from killing 8 million Americans with one Nuclear Strike on NYC? Terrorists were willing to lose 19 to kill 3000 on 9/11. This whole idea that there are very few consequences for anyone who can find a way to kill mass quantities of Americans is puzzling to me. I don’t want to see any innocent people die. But the surest way to ensure that OUR innocent people don’t die, is to make sure that people understand that we will make sure we retaliate in kind. Whether anyone will admit it or not, there are a lot of people in the middle east who are wishing they hadn’t supported Al Qaeda.

    It is up to the innocent people of Iran to pressure their government to not take that step. The same as it is up to us to pressure ours. I don’t justify the killing of innocent people, but I do understand the reality of the threat of massive retaliation. The fact that we could make the Soviet Union glow and that they could return the favor kept anyone from using Nuclear weapons for 50 years. Iran, and anyone else, should understand that there are dire consequences for attacking the US. On the flip side, short of them directly attacking us, they should never have to worry about us attacking them.

    There is no easy answer here unless we choose to simply say that there are no consequences for attacking us. Terrorists then get free reign to take as many shots as they want and to operate freely anywhere in the world that isn’t US soil. This line of thinking puts the US at a severe disadvantage and puts US citizens at risk when we have the power to limit that risk. Feeling that this is OK, perhaps that we deserve to be at risk because of the actions of the government you don’t agree with, is in my opinion a wrong stance to take. In both you and BF’s opinion, the government is fleecing us (which I agree with for the record). I expect at a minimum that the crooks that take my money ensure I am protected. If I was paying money to the mafia for protection, whether I wanted to or not, I expect to be protected.

  6. OK, look BlackFlag…. I know that you are just the smartest guy on the planet and everything, but I have about had it with the constant absolute bullshit that you peddle. So if you cannot make a point without twisting the words to fit your skewed stance, don’t bother. It is insulting and annoying because I have tried my best to give you the benefit of the doubt and to understand what you mean by what you way, instead of being juvenile and attempting to twist it into the worst possible definition. So one last time I will address your twists line for line. But if this continues to be your tactic I will simply refuse to acknowledge you at all. If you cannot find it in yourself to have a discussion with respect, honesty, and a true interest of discussing the issues on merit, then I will simply not discuss them with you at all.

    NO. We do not know for sure that they were slant drilling. Saddam says yes. Kuwait says no. I have researched this subject for ten years and you can find as many sources that say yes as you can that say no. I UNDERSTAND that you hate everything about the US government and you will take any side as pure truth that goes against it. But you are wrong here. WE DON’T KNOW. Unless you have been to a site and seen for yourself by crawling down the oil tunnel and seeing where it ends up you are stating your opinion based upon whatever articles you choose to believe. But there are plenty on both sides of this issue. I have the ability to acknowledge that the articles you believe could be true. You lack the ability to believe you could be wrong. That is your mistake, but it doesn’t change the fact that there are conflicting answers and you and I don’t know the truth. It also doesn’t take away the fact that Iraq had been making all kinds of claims against Kuwait for 15 years or that Iraq was also claiming that Kuwait belonged to Iraq in the first place and therefore they had the right to invade and take it back.

    I, AGAIN AT NO TIME, said anything like a little bit of stealing is OK. Never. Go back and read it again if you have to. I didn’t justify anything. It is just another example of you twisting what is said to say what you wanted it to say to justify your idiocy. I merely stated that at best they could get a mile. This was a precursor to the fact that regardless of what was going on there was no justification for Saddam to invade Iraq and burn homes, rape women, and kill innocents. You responded to that statement with some inane comment about incubator babies. So are you contending that Iraq did NOT rape and pillage in Kuwait. Because if that is what you are saying, you are simply being stupid. We have it on video. We have it from eyewitnesses. The entire world saw it happening. I went there and talked to the people it happened to. To claim it didn’t happen ends all respectability that you have ever had. War is hell, and keep in mind that at that point we didn’t have a single troop in the region. Saddam was doing this, and it wasn’t justified, nor was Kuwait stealing oil, if they were, justified. But raping and pillaging doesn’t compare to stealing a bit of oil (TO CLARIFY THIS BECAUSE YOU SEEM TO LACK THE ABILITY TO… stealing a bit of oil is NOT OK, raping and pillaging is MORE NOT OK than stealing a bit of oil).

    Your brother was in the military? So do you claim that he was nothing but a killer of women and children as well? You were fairly clear in that statement in other conversations. If so you must be a blast at Thanksgiving. I was in the military (and hence, for ten years, existed in your eyes to do nothing but kill innocent women and children), and I did go to the Gulf. That doesn’t discount your statements in any way. It does, however, lend a bit of credibility to mine. I saw what I saw with my own eyes and heard the stories with my own ears. I am not relying on word of mouth or hoping that whatever I have read is presenting me with an honest and unbiased account.

    Is your argument then, that because the UN didn’t do something to react to Iraq’s claims of Kuwait’s theft of oil, then the UN had no right to ask the world to stop the raping and pillaging that they could see with their own eyes? That is a bit twisted if that is your position. What happened to two wrongs don’t make a right? The UN might have done one wrong so they are required under your logic to follow that up with another wrong in order to be fair? Twisted logic.

    I am not going to bother with the 63 bases comment because I refuse to have any other military discussions with you. You lack the ability to look at anything in regard to the military rationally.

    Dude, the bottom line here is that you are intelligent and I would love to actually discuss the issues with you. I gain so much from discussing things with Kent, who I often disagree with but who has honest conversations and doesn’t try to distort my positions. There is much to be gained by having honest discussions with opposing views. But if you cannot do that, there is nothing to be gained. Distorting my positions and making outrageous claims about things makes it impossible to actually have a discussion. I end up spending more time simply trying to clarify statements that EVERYONE else understands, and that no one can understand why you are trying to distort. It doesn’t strengthen your position, it only makes it impossible to have a discussion. People have been telling me to ignore you for a month and a half. I have chosen not to because I thought I could get through to you and get you to have honest discussions where we stick to the issues and don’t throw insults or twist positions. Notice how I ask you what you mean if I am unsure? I don’t merely find the worst meaning I can from your statement and then attack you based on that. But that is what you continue to do with me. So if that is how it has to be with you, I will simply not reply. It is your choice. Knock it off, or find someone else to argue with.

  7. “The UN stated so and asked for intervention from the world. The entire world agreed to step in and force him out.

    But just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean that you should join them. The mob is often wrong. Once again, if you feel you should step in, go ahead. Just don’t involve people who feel that what you (or your government) are doing is wrong. That is my disagreement.

    If you give the UN authority to tell you what to do between governments, it assumes the authority to tell you what to do within “your own” government; like the UN initiative to ban all “small arms” owned by individuals.

    “Threatening to kill just the guy who pushed the button is an impossibility.”

    I doubt that. Anything can be discovered for a price. But the most important point I was making was that the person or people who ordered him to push that button should be the priority. The same goes for any government. The enforcer on the street should be a legitimate target because without his thuggery the state is impotent, but those who order him to be a thug are not immune from consequences for their actions either. Otherwise, as you say, they will keep finding more willing sacrificial victims to send to their deaths. Thugs really believe they are doing “good” in most cases.

    I am not saying to give terrorists free reign. There will always be consequences for being an aggressor. Especially if we stop allowing government prohibitions on self-defense. I believe that if America were free, a lot of other people across the world would follow our example and tell their rulers to hit the road or face the consequences. There will undoubtedly be some bad events.

    Sometimes doing the right thing is messy. No one is denying that. Would it prevent a lot of crime to rush in and kill the families of those who live in poor, crime-ridden inner cities? Yes. But it would be wrong to do so, no matter what the “benefit” might be. There are risks associated with doing the right thing, but they are worth it.

  8. Kent,

    Some good points. I don’t advocate the UN telling us that we have to do anything. My only point is that the entire world, the UN included, saw it as the right thing to do. I agree we shouldn’t be doing it simply because everyone else is doing it. Look at it from the opposite direction and I think you will see where I am at. I am not giving the UN the power to tell us what to do. I am taking away the US power to do whatever they want if they feel it is in the US interest to do so.

    Continuing with Kuwait as an example. We went to Iraq without a mandate from the world. It serves our own interests, not that of the world. And many countries hate us for acting in that manner. In Kuwait, the entire world agreed with our decision and thus we weren’t seen as pushing our weight around. Again, I don’t want to give the UN the right to tell anyone what they MUST do. But the UN is a group of representatives from every country. If the vote of the countries of the world is required before you can act, it will eliminate many actions that are out of line. It would eliminate the US ability to use force elsewhere in the world where they shouldn’t.

    In the end, I am trying to find the best solution within the strict confines of how things are set up today. Perhaps we can get to a better world. But for now we have to start from where we are. So I am putting forth an answer that may work under today’s circumstances as a step towards ultimately getting to the ideal. We have to start somewhere. We won’t go from the US acting wherever they want straight to the US acting in Defense only 100% of the time in one fell swoop. So let’s start with taking the US ability to act unchecked throughout the world away.

  9. And anyone’s initiative to ban any small arms is wrong. Again, I don’t recognize the UN’s right to tell anyone what to do inside of their own country. They can assume any right they want. We, as the US, are free to ignore their mandates of how we act inside of our country. I have a problem with anyone telling me I cannot own a gun. I don’t own any anymore. But I reserve the right to should I choose to do so.

  10. blackflag2012 says:

    Threatening to kill just the guy who pushed the button is an impossibility. Do you think they will release a picture of him to us with a location we can find him? Even if they did, would the potential loss of one fall guy be enough to keep them from killing 8 million Americans with one Nuclear Strike on NYC? Terrorists were willing to lose 19 to kill 3000 on 9/11. This whole idea that there are very few consequences for anyone who can find a way to kill mass quantities of Americans is puzzling to me. I don’t want to see any innocent people die. But the surest way to ensure that OUR innocent people don’t die, is to make sure that people understand that we will make sure we retaliate in kind. Whether anyone will admit it or not, there are a lot of people in the middle east who are wishing they hadn’t supported Al Qaeda.

    Your rationalizing is astoundingly insightful.

    Because you have a dangerously radical view that ‘your’ innocent people (whoever that might be) is some how “more valuable” then ‘their’ innocent people – somehow justifies this incredible evil of killing innocent people.

    First, you admit that attempting to use violent and deadly consequences upon your enemy will not deter him from killing innocent people. He has admitted the same – he’s killed lots of American soldiers and not one wit of difference.

    Therefore, according to your logic (and his), the obvious next step is to for each side to slaughter innocent people.

    That’ll sure to convince the other side to stop killing innocent people.

    And you don’t even see that makes you exactly the same terrorist he is – and, he’s holding exactly the same justification as you that if he kills enough of ‘your’ innocent people, you’ll stop killing his.

    Talk about looking into a mirror, and calling what you see “evil!”

    It is up to the innocent people of Iran to pressure their government to not take that step.

    Yet, Iran has not invaded another nation for nearly 300 years. Wonder why the US is so worried they’re going to now?

    It has been invaded by many countries over that time.

    It has never used a nuclear weapon on a foe.

    And you believe the US holds some moral ground higher than Iran.

    I shake my head at the inconsistency.

    The fact that we could make the Soviet Union glow and that they could return the favor kept anyone from using Nuclear weapons for 50 years.

    Actually, they acquired nuclear weapons so to demonstrate that they would make the US glow – they didn’t need them otherwise – they had the largest army in the world after WW2.

    On the flip side, short of them directly attacking us, they should never have to worry about us attacking them.

    Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Grenada, Panama, Vietnam, Korea, etc. etc. would really like to have a word or two with you about your belief in this matter.

    There is no easy answer here unless we choose to simply say that there are no consequences for attacking us. Terrorists then get free reign to take as many shots as they want and to operate freely anywhere in the world that isn’t US soil.

    Yep, because it’s not US soil.

    Leave those other nations deal with them. They are sovereign nations, right? That’s what countries do, right? Solve their own problems?

    And as long as we are in their country, we will be attacked. 63 bases and hundreds of military installations globally… and you believe THEY are attacking US!

    This line of thinking puts the US at a severe disadvantage and puts US citizens at risk when we have the power to limit that risk.

    The severe disadvantage for the US is that we are everywhere in everyone’s business. This is what makes us at risk.

    Don’t see Swedish nationals under attack – don’t see the Eiffel tower falling down.

    Amazing how once France stopped its colonist attitudes over seas that the number of terrorist attacks on the French disappeared. Just wonder if there is a less there….

    NO. We do not know for sure that they were slant drilling. Saddam says yes. Kuwait says no.

    Oh, actually Kuwait says they were – they believe they had a right to…

    CIA greatest Hits:
    Using equipment bought from National Security Council chief Brent Scowcroft’s old company, Kuwait was pumping out some $14-billion worth of oil from underneath Iraqi territory. Even the territory they were drilling from had originally been Iraq’s.

    Wikipedia: Leading up to the invasion, Iraq complained to the United States Department of State about Kuwaiti slant drilling. This had been ongoing for years, but now Iraq needed oil revenues to pay off its debts from the Iran–Iraq War and avert an economic crisis.

    BAGDAD (AFP) – Iraq accused Kuwait of stealing its oil for the third day running Sunday, with one report saying it involved 300,000 barrels of crude a day taken from oil fields in the border area.

    “The theft of Iraqi oil by Kuwait is not new,” Saad Qassem Hammudi, a senior member of the ruling Baath Party told AFP.

    “It is a fact established in Iraqi documents and reports since 1990”, when Iraq invaded the emirate after accusing it of taking oil.

    Hammudi said Kuwaiti Crown Prince Saad al-Abdallah al-Sabah “recognised the theft in 1990 during negotiations between Iraq and Kuwait in Saudi Arabia,” preceding the invasion.

    “The differences between the two were only over the amount of crude stolen,” he added.

    The Baghdad government newspaper Al-Jumhuriya said Sunday the amount of oil being stolen was between 300,000 and 350,000 barrels a day.

    I have researched this subject for ten years and you can find as many sources that say yes as you can that say no.

    The documentation is overwhelming.

    It also doesn’t take away the fact that Iraq had been making all kinds of claims against Kuwait for 15 years or that Iraq was also claiming that Kuwait belonged to Iraq in the first place and therefore they had the right to invade and take it back.

    Because, gee, before 1890 Kuwait was a part of the “Iraq”. I guess that makes the claim “right”, right? Or do you doubt that too, and need 10 years of research to figure it out.

    PS: You can’t find a map of ‘Kuwait’ before 1890 – but lots of Iraqi maps going back, oh, thousand years.

    You responded to that statement with some inane comment about incubator babies. So are you contending that Iraq did NOT rape and pillage in Kuwait.

    All armies are guilt of that – including the US – but it was the incubator baby lie that got the US people going to war, and you know it. As usual, the American people get sucked in by lies.

    Your brother was in the military? So do you claim that he was nothing but a killer of women and children as well?

    No, he was a doctor. He couldn’t kill a thing, so he dedicated his career to trying to save as many lives as he could. War brings lots of those opportunities.

    He has never shot a bullet at anything more deadly then a piece of paper.

    Is your argument then, that because the UN didn’t do something to react to Iraq’s claims of Kuwait’s theft of oil, then the UN had no right to ask the world to stop the raping and pillaging that they could see with their own eyes?

    I hold no moral equivalence issues, USWep – though you seem to. As long as THEY rape and pillage and kill innocent people, they are bad guys. When we do it, its just how things are.

    The UN had plenty of diplomacy – Saddam did not hide his intentions should the situation continue. From his point of view, it was most urgent – his country was going bankrupt.

    A little less game playing by the US in this matter, the better the world would have been.

    But the US has always loved playing games.

    I am not going to bother with the 63 bases comment because I refuse to have any other military discussions with you.

    Because you can’t dispute it, you run away. Good choice.

    http://www.militarybudget.info/overseas.html

    http://www.globalpolicy.org/empire/tables/2005/1231militarypersonnel.pdf

    I’ll save you 10 years of work.
    That’s what friends are for 😉

    USWep,

    Kent’s manner is his. He’s good at it because he’s obviously thought about it a lot and tested his thinking against some pretty hard attacks.

    Sorry that I don’t let you get away with self-contradiction. Sorry that I have to jibe you into recognizing your own self-contradictions. That’s my style. I don’t let you get away with approximations. I don’t let you get away with self-blindness. I don’t let you sneak around the edge.

    I’ve asked many questions that you refuse to answer. Yet, you continue to use the same justification as if those questions have never been asked. I know why. Your answers would be terrible and you know it. (Such as, if it was YOUR wife or child would you pull the trigger or drop that bomb? – The answer is obvious; and displays the duplicity of your belief system. As long as it isn’t ‘yours’, it’s ok to kill, for such an important reason, someone else’s kid or wife or family or friends or country….)

    It is this unforgiving inquiry that you will discover what Kent and I have discovered.

    When you do, you will be able to put your incredible talents to work to REALLY make a difference.

  11. OK you made a few false assumptions here so I will address them. First, I am not justifying anyone killing innocents. I am saying that the belief that there are catastrophic consequences for attacking us works in keeping them from doing so. I am unsure of how your “correction” about why Russia built a nuclear arsenal is different from mine. I say both sides having the ability to destroy the other kept both from doing so. You stated the same thing from the other side. Odd argument.

    In case you weren’t paying attention, the discussion here is about how the Libertarian platform can work or not work. So when we discuss a possible future where other countries don’t have to worry about us attacking them, we are not discussing what has been done in the past. So my hypothetical future world where I say “On the flip side, short of them directly attacking us, they should never have to worry about us attacking them.” has nothing to do with past actions. It is how I wish the world to be. Before you assume look at the context of the conversation.

    Why is the US worried about Iran attacking now when they haven’t in 300 years. They had a pretty good 10 year battle with Iraq. But regardless of any past. The current government in Iran is clearly stating that they intend to attack Israel and the United States. The President of Iran has gone on record stating that he believes his destiny in life is to eliminate those two countries from the world. Seems pretty clear why we are worried about it now. And they have not used a nuclear bomb in the past because they have not had one to use in the past, duh! I am shocked that you would even make that simple of a statement.

    So the best documentation you can come up with is quotes from Iraqi officials claiming that Kuwait did steal oil and your claim that Kuwait admitted to it is based on Iraq saying they admitted to it. Again, you can argue this all day and we can go back and forth with references. I will just agree to disagree and resolve myself to the fact that you couldn’t admit to being wrong if God himself came down and told you so.

    Half of the people in the United States have no idea what the incubator baby hoax even is, so let’s not make the claim that it was the reason we went to war. I will ignore your “all armies do that” comment, and take that as a yes you acknowledge that Iraq was raping and pillaging Kuwait. And almost every country in the world at one time was part of some other one. I guess that gives everyone the right to invade sovereign nations and “reclaim” them. So 100 years later, when no one is alive that remembers Kuwait being a part of Iraq, Saddam gets to just move on in and “reclaim” it. The lengths that you go to in order to justify your thought process is admirable.

    Funny you make an exception for your brother but previously didn’t make that exception for a single other soldier in the military. The military does absolutely nothing but kill babies and women, except your brother. When I pointed out that there were lots of people in the military that don’t handle a weapon and are doing good in the world, you rejected that claim outright. And now you don’t because it is your brother. Consistency…..

    No it isn’t that I cannot argue the point about US bases abroad. We are all well aware that they are there. I am not “running away” from anything, although I don’t much care if that is what you think. I simply understand before we even start that when it comes to the military, you lack the ability to look at anything objectively. You proved that when I tried to discuss it previously. Therefore I refuse to waste my time trying to have a rational discussion with someone incapable of doing so around that subject. But if you want to believe that my refusal to discuss the matter with you is cowardice or a feeling that I don’t have a defensible position, I will let you. I don’t mind. Your opinion of me and the military doesn’t matter one little bit to me. As far as the other questions that you feel I refuse to answer, write em all out. Shoot me an email. I will give you any answer you would like to have. We are all well aware that it doesn’t matter what answer I give, because you will twist it to be evil no matter what it is. But I won’t waste 5-10 hours writing back and forth on each question debating my position with someone who refuses to give me any benefit of the doubt or to respect my beliefs. There is a big difference between choosing to not waste my very limited time these days and not being able to defend my positions. But I was already aware that you would choose to characterize that decision the way that you did. And I am fine with it.

  12. blackflag2012 says:

    As far as the military – I did, in fact, discuss it objectively – I think you confuse your subjective “feel good about these things” as being an objective view point.

    Objectively, the military is created to kill and destroy. That is its job, USWep. I can’t be more objective than that – they are not there to help old ladies cross the street. Job 1: Kill Job 2: Destroy.

    You’re position is like claiming firefighters job isn’t to put out fires, but to wash fire trucks. You judge the firefighters, not on fighting fire, but how clean the trucks are…..

    Additionally, I’ve explained and posted why it is very dangerous for freedom to allow standing armies. As a claimed student of US history, you well know the alarm the Founders made regarding this.

    But, again, you subjectively ignore that argument, too.

    On top of that, I’ve explained why it is dangerous to include the military into any civilian task or duty… with references as well.

    But, again, you subjectively ignored that too.

    The matter is not what the military does when its not doing Job 1 or Job 2. That is merely a subjective view – if that is the measure, then why didn’t you include the crimes of the military (drug running, murder, rape in such as in Okinawa and other places) as well? If you did, that would be an objective view – while not fighting and killing, they do a lot of bad things too.

    Your judgment is impaired by your subjective view of watching only a few things you think it does as ‘good’. The success of the Devil is that it appears to be nice.

    As far as my questions, I appreciate you are willing to answer by email – but I’m not asking in an email.

    You raged against me publicly about my beliefs – and when I challenged you with a question to establish your core belief – you went silent.

    Either you cannot answer, because your answer is wrong or you will not answer because your answer is horrific.

    However, I do demand an answer, because you – publicly – demanded one from me, which I gave, and one which you ridiculed. Let’s hear yours.

    And yes, if it takes you 5-10 hours to defend your position, then so be it. I’ve defended mine and not avoided any answer about the principles of my action. Let’s see you do the same – logically and based on reason.

  13. Perhaps you should go back and read my answers again. You have subjectively ignored what I wrote. I did not judge the military only on part of what they do. That is only what you did. I was the one who chose to judge the military on ALL that they do. You said they only kill and destroy. I stated that no they also do a lot of good. I didn’t say that they don’t kill and destroy. I said they also do other things. Your brother would have been a good example. So while you claim that it is me that only looks at things one way, I say it is you who does so and the arguments back and forth previously prove that point.

    And you have avoided answers in a different way. You have instead used innuendo and twisting of words to ridicule other points of view. This military rant above is a perfect example. Rather than acknowledging that the military does things other than killing children, you simply continue to fall back and give examples of when that has happened. For you to claim that I have refused to give my positions and beliefs is a bit silly. Have I not created this blog which is nothing OTHER than my beliefs and positions and thoughts on today’s subjects? What part of this entire blog is something OTHER than my answers and my beliefs. As I said, shoot me that email full of what you want to know where I stand. I will be happy to answer whatever it is you think I think I have a “horrific” answer for. And I will print the answers right here on the site. I never claimed that I wouldn’t answer the email publicly. Heck I will give it its own new post. As I stated, I am not concerned with your responses at this point because we all know you will twist the answers. When You do, I will have an entire post with which to reference each twist. So I look forward to your email and its questions.

  14. I suppose that the argument could be made that the mafia does good, too, judging by the whole of their actions. Of course, I am ignoring any “legality” and making a simple moral observation here.

    If a mobster kills an opposing mobster, that can’t be taken as pro or con, since that would be just a consequence of the “war”. If innocents are killed, that is “collateral damage” and is regretable, but probably can’t realistically be avoided.

    You have to look at the businesses that are helped and protected from competition and vandalism. Look at the economic opportunities that are given to local kids who otherwise would have a bleak future. Look at how the strong “force” keeps “anarchy” at bay. Look at how the economy of the entire neighborhood is enriched by the presence of the rich mobsters.

    Obviously, I am not serious. Still, I see little real difference.

  15. And I acknowledge that point Kent. As I stated, I am not trying to claim that the military is all good. I am simply saying they also do some good. Unfortunately we CAN say the same about the mafia. They do bad things. They also do good things. Not quite at the same ratio as the military, but I get your point.

  16. Rule number 1: Military for defense only.
    Rule number 2: First learn rule number 1.

    That basically sums up the foreign policy stuff. I don’t have an issue with voluntary funding for defense of allies, or for contractual arrangements with said allies where they pay for it themselves. Outside of that, the military is in place for our own defense, not anyone else’s. Freedom means nothing if it is forced on you or given to you with no effort.

    I am with you on the free trade thing USW. I think that a tax or tarriff on items that are subsidized by foreign governments is justifiable, but no other restrictions are. Such tarrifs would be paid by the foreign seller, not by our consumers. Arguably the cost may be passed to our consumer, but the level of the tarrif could not exceed the level of subsidy, thus neutralizing an attempted market manipulation.

    The borders are great places for training for our military. If we were deployed to our own borders instead of abroad, there would be no problem with border security. That said, the borders should not be closed or restricted to any but those who break our laws. If we make it easy to get in, people won’t sneak in, unless they have criminal intent.

    I agree also on the rights issues. No discrimination. All acts are acceptable if all parties consent. The issue of children, however, is a concern. Children or mentally unsound persons should be in a different category. The rights of the parents should not be infringed, but evil parents are a concern. A father who raises his daughter by molesting her is out of line. So where is the line drawn and how do we draw it? What is illegal? What age is considered old enough to be an adult? How is one determined to be of unsound mind for the purpose of contracts and agreements? Tough questions, I am still working on those. More on that later. My initial position is to use the fixed age of 18 and the current mental standards of retardation that allow persons with the mental capacity of 16 and above to be considered of sound mind as the levels of adulthood and consent. The laws against child abuse are more tricky. I will put more into this in a day or two…

  17. blackflag2012 says:

    I am with you on the free trade thing USW. I think that a tax or tarriff on items that are subsidized by foreign governments is justifiable, but no other restrictions are. Such tarrifs would be paid by the foreign seller, not by our consumers. Arguably the cost may be passed to our consumer, but the level of the tarrif could not exceed the level of subsidy,

    I don’t understand why you’d want to do this.

    Simplifying, you are suggesting that because I pay half of my brother’s grocery bill at Smith’s Grocery , you demand city council to tax my brother – increasing yours, mine, and my brother’s costs – so to give the money to Sam’s Grocery, whose prices are higher and a store we’ve chose not to shop at!

    Why in heck would you want to subsidize Sam?

    Why in heck would you want to pay more so to punish my brother?

    Why do you want to punish my brother?

  18. blackflag2012 says:

    …especially, since you can take my deal that I’m giving my brother too!!

    (All analogy of course…)

  19. I don’t think your analogy is correct, but I could be wrong. You are oversimplifying it. You want a free market where everyone competes evenly. I do as well. But I don’t want to see all of the American companies failing because Japanese and Chinese companies give them advantages that we would be choosing not to provide for American companies. You, and I, want to take tax breaks away from American companies. You and I agree that having them compete on their own in a free market is better for the market in general. But you are refusing to acknowledge that foreign companies subsidized by their home governments are not operating on the same principles. Unless you can get the entire world to agree to operate in a truly free market with zero government intervention, then you are merely placing American companies at a disadvantage against all of them by forcing only them to play by the free market rules.

    I see the point of your analogy I think. We are forcing foreign companies to raise the prices that we pay in order to keep things fair. And that sucks because we all end up paying more for Toyotas and Hondas in that situation, when instead we could not do so and we could all take advantage of the lower prices from the foreign companies. All of that is true, but flawed in a simple kind of way. Failing to offer any protection to the American companies means only foreign ones will survive. And in that case our wealth in this country goes down because fewer wealth garnering companies are operating here and contributing to our workforce. So the first issue is that since the American companies don’t exist, forced out by Japanese companies that are subsidized, and therefore cheaper, then people here cannot afford to buy the cars even at the reduced prices offered by the Japanese. Secondly, once they are the only ones remaining, supply will be down, forcing prices up via the laws of supply and demand. I know the argument is that the foreign companies could raise the supply and fix that, but historically that isn’t how the market works. They want prices high to gain more profit. Furthermore it would give foreign countries the ability to severely control our economy by simply controlling prices since the American companies won’t be there.

    One other aspect that you are not covering as well is that with no controls like this in place the likelihood is not that the foreign companies would offer us significantly lower prices. They would see that our American cars are 40k and the foreign cars could be sold at 20k and still make the same profit as the American companies do. But that is not what they would do. They would raise their prices to somewhere around 36k to undercut American companies while still gaining radically higher profits (an extra 16k in profit per car in this scenario). It further simply undermines American companies and places them at a severe disadvantage without the significant savings to the consumer that you envision.

  20. Exactly USW,
    BF, in your example, you are comparing Japan to your brother. A more exact correlation would be that your brother’s family is in the grocery business, the steel business, and the energy business. The profits of all three of those businesses are taken and given to your brother. This allows him to sell groceries cheaper, and put my brother’s grocery out of business. Your brother’s family will not get mt business in the steel and energy products, but they will remain profitable because that whole family is forced through a combination of laws and geography to purchase from no one other than those family businesses, meaning that they are not permitted to buy groceries, energy, or stell from my brother’s family.

    This represents two attempts at a market manipulation. Much like Rockefeller, the grocery business would then take over and jack its prices back up once its competition was destroyed. Then, the extra profits from that would be used to subsidize the energy or steel business and the process starts again. This is not a natural market condition, it is an artificially created one, an attempt by a foreign government to manipulate the market and gain advantage. The tarriff is designed to equalize this. Also, the tarrif would be used to pay for government functions so that taxes were not used. This means that no one in this country, which would be a totally free market economy in this scenario, has any money taken from them. It also means that none have any money given to them either. This allows us to operate with a free market in spite of attempts by foreign powers to disrupt it.

  21. The short answer is:
    1) I do not want to give any money to Sam.
    2) I want to pay market prices, not subsidized prices, which are only lower because some poor sap got their money stolen from them so that your brother could sell cheaper.
    3) I want to punish your brother because he is a thief.

  22. blackflag2012 says:

    I don’t think your analogy is correct, but I could be wrong. You are oversimplifying it.

    As Kent said, I think you are over-complicating it.

    You want a free market where everyone competes evenly.

    NO! NO! NO! and one more time, NO!

    Right at this point, you describe a very, very common misconception of the free market.

    The free market is free! This has absolutely nothing to do with fair!!

    In the marketplace, there is no such as ‘even’ or ‘fair’. There are advantageous and disadvantages abound everywhere – which is why it works – as there is no such thing as only one answer to a problem.

    If Heinz Ketchup wants to subsidize my purchase – literally, taking money from their shareholders to bribe me to buy their product – by issuing coupons, SO BE IT! I cheer that they want to give me money!

    Is this “unfair” to Catelli Ketchup? Why would I demand the grocery store to artificially increase Heinz Ketchup to ‘make it fair’ for Catelli to compete for my business? Why should I be forced to pay more money for a product, so to compel me to buy somebody else’s product? It makes no sense.

    . But I don’t want to see all of the American companies failing because Japanese and Chinese companies give them advantages that we would be choosing not to provide for American companies.

    It is NOT to the Japanese or Chinese having an advantage! We must be incredibly clear here, USWep.

    It is the Japanese GOVERNMENT at the expense of the Japanese CITIZENS, giving YOU money to YOUR advantage!

    Their government is taking money from their people and giving it to you. And why don’t you want to take it????

    Japanese the citizens are giving you money, via their government. Too bad for the Japanese citizens – and very good for you and me!

    If they continue, they will be bankrupt and poor. So, one day, they will stop since they can’t afford it for very long. Think about it very carefully.

    1) Their product is too expensive for the minor improvement of quality, the value difference is not sufficient for you to buy their product for the price they are asking.

    2) The company cannot make their quality product at a price equal or less than a less quality product at the difference that you would buy the product.

    3) Therefore, they have convinced their government to pay you the difference.

    4) Thus, you get a better quality product at a price of a lower quality product.

    And this is bad??

    . You, and I, want to take tax breaks away from American companies.

    .

    Again, clarity is VERY IMPORTANT.

    1)I want taxes to be eliminated.

    2)As long as there is taxes, I want the government to have as little money as possible. Therefore, as long as there is taxes, I champion as many and as broad tax breaks possible.

    Taxes and tax breaks are used to manipulate the market. Therefore, the elimination of all taxation is one of the most important ways to free the market place. Please note, the word “and”. Without eliminating taxes – which distort the marketplace – I demand tax breaks, for reason #2.

    However, I am vocally against increasing taxes to supply tax breaks for reason #1.

    The whole strategy is to reduce the funds to government at all possible cases.

    . You and I agree that having them compete on their own in a free market is better for the market in general. But you are refusing to acknowledge that foreign companies subsidized by their home governments are not operating on the same principles. Unless you can get the entire world to agree to operate in a truly free market with zero government intervention, then you are merely placing American companies at a disadvantage against all of them by forcing only them to play by the free market rules.

    .

    NO!

    Your logic about freedom is bumpy.

    You cannot improve the freedom of the market place by destroying the freedom of the marketplace.

    You cannot improve freedom by forcing someone to act free! Forcing freedom is a Bush-ism, and a horrific contradiction.

    I don’t care if the rest of the world operates on the free market system – in fact, (wait for it) it is in my benefit that they do not!

    As a freedom advocate, I would enjoy a world free market place on principle, the fact of the matter is if a foreign government enslaves and impoverishes their own people for my benefit, it does in fact benefit me!

    . All of that is true, but flawed in a simple kind of way. Failing to offer any protection to the American companies means only foreign ones will survive.

    .

    They cannot survive by selling below cost. The money is coming from somewhere, and slowly they are impoverishing their country for your benefit.

    So what about American companies? Don’t worry your head about them. They will simply adapt to produce something else. That is how free market works.

    While foreigners are impoverishing themselves, American companies would find different ways to work – they may shift business focus or one of the best ways would be to reduce capacity, and buy as many foreign products as possible!

    If you are able to buy a product as below cost, it is a grand strategy to buy as much as possible and resell them locally. Two things happen, you make some (small, maybe, but some) money and at the same time destroy your competitor – you exhaust their economy even faster~!

    . And in that case our wealth in this country goes down because fewer wealth garnering companies are operating here and contributing to our workforce.

    .

    The exact opposite is happening. If someone is giving you money, your wealth is INCREASING.

    What you are missing is, again, the “Broken Window Fallacy” that so many fall into, including those with PhD’s in economics. The root of the fallacy is that you only focus on the ‘seen’, and ignore the ‘unseen’.

    You see a small segment of the economy that may perhaps shrink.

    What you ignore is that you have extra cash in your pocket that you would not have otherwise which you can spend buying something else that would not have otherwise!

    So the ‘local’ economy (whatever that is – a bizarre concept, but that is another time) has actually improved. You have a product, PLUS ‘something else’ (savings or another product) for the price of one product!

    Do not confuse the natural movement of economic resources – it happens all the time in constant response to the mechanisms of the free market.

    The shrinking of one segment is a boon for another that is growing because of your increase in wealth (at the expense of some other poor sap).

    Artificially interfering (and thus, making our free market un-free) with OUR free market because other operate un-free markets is a detrimental response.

    . So the first issue is that since the American companies don’t exist, forced out by Japanese companies that are subsidized, and therefore cheaper, then people here cannot afford to buy the cars even at the reduced prices offered by the Japanese.

    .

    There are, literally, millions of economic markets in the economy. One market does NOT make the economy.

    In fact, if the Japanese people are paying you their wealth to buy their product, this total economy will be growing wealthier every day. Maybe not in the market where the Japanese are playing, but everywhere else – and substantially!

    .Secondly, once they are the only ones remaining, supply will be down, forcing prices up via the laws of supply and demand.

    .

    Then other companies, no matter where they are, will fill the demand. Do not forget, higher prices attract more companies into that market so to take advantage of the high prices!

    So the real scenario is: Japanese subsidize themselves to poverty, and gain a majority of a market. They no longer can carry on the subsidy (for whatever reason) and the price rises.

    More companies enter this market to avail themselves of the high price/return. The Japanese start to lose the market – but after exhausting their wealth – they find it hard to compete without the required subsidies that earned the market in the first place. They are big, big losers – and you are the big, big winner.

    . They want prices high to gain more profit.

    .

    And high prices/profit attracts more companies into that market – which floods the market with product, which lowers the demand, and lowers the price – the natural flow of free markets that is far best to leave alone.

    . Furthermore it would give foreign countries the ability to severely control our economy by simply controlling prices since the American companies won’t be there.

    .

    As long as this country does not infer with our economy, this will never be a problem. We will be richer than before, and they need our money. The customer is KING in a free market, not the supplier.

    Only in controlled market places is the supplier the KING. The only way your scenario would take place is by interference and control of this market

    Jon, read my post here and revise your complaints (if necessary). If you feel your current complaints have not been addressed in this post, let me know which one, and I’ll refer to that and respond – Cheers!

  23. blackflag2012 says:

    “The shrinking of one segment is a boon for another that is growing because of your increase in wealth (at the expense of some other poor sap).”

    To clarify my statement here – the “other poor sap” is the Japanese who are subsidizing us.

  24. BF – Bravo!

  25. Ok BF and Kent, explain to me again how J. D. Rockefeller developed his near monopoly on oil. The answer to this holds the key to my argument.

  26. By negotiating deals with the railroads. That is a free market thing to do. And, if you’ll notice, his “near monopoly” didn’t last. The market stepped in and corrected itself. Nothing is instantaneous; there will always be fluctuations. But that is the way it works, and isn’t a bad thing.

    A “near monopoly” is completely different than a real monopoly. A real monopoly, such as comes about only through government meddling, forbids competition, even when the price gets high enough to encourage it.

  27. blackflag2012 says:

    First, he was not a monopoly – there were hundreds of oil companies.

    He was brilliant and ruthless – two good traits in business.

    He did so by, quote, “using effective business strategies

    1) Bought out competitors.
    So why is this bad? He cashed out prospectors and speculators – and as being those in my past (gold) I can tell you how happy I was when we got bought out!

    No one had to sell – but they did. So obviously, the deal was good for both.

    2)He decentralized his control.
    This allowed a large number of concurrent actions across his growing empire to flourish without getting bottlenecked on his direct decisions. This allowed SO to move far faster then the typical company of his day to seize opportunities.

    3)He diversified.
    Like Ford, who saw that building cars needed steel, smelters, ore, railways to ship and thus bought up his entire supply chain requirements – thus trapping all the profits from the ore to the sale of the car – SO did the same – owning the pipes, the land, the rail, etc. Unlike his competitors, who saw themselves as merely oil companies – he realized that distribution control was equally, if not more, important.

    4)He contracted large.
    He guaranteed, for example, 60 car fulls a day of oil for a railway company – in return for a substantial decrease in the shipping rate. His competitors remained ad hoc in their shipping – but by SO offering certainty to the suppliers, them suppliers were able to offer ideal pricing. This strategy now is passe in business today – but new in his day.

    and 5) Standard’s actions transport deals helped its kerosene price to drop from 58 to 26 cents from 1865 to 1870. Competitors disliked the company’s business practices, but consumers liked the lower prices.

    He, contrary to the myth, reflected the savings to his customers. Of course he did this – because cheap oil used meant more sales, and he was in the business of selling.

    And on top of all of that, money flooded in from investors, keeping SO well capitalized to make all these deals. Why did the money come in from investors at such a rate? Because SO gave the highest dividends for any company. From 1882 to 1906, Standard paid out $548,436,000 in dividends at 65.4% payout ratio. So, SO was great for customers and great for stockholders! What a business! No wonder it grew to the largest company in the world of its day!

    Of course his competitors hated him. But that does not mean a thing. And certainly he did everything he could to evade competition – he contracted rail rights, and by contract disallowed the use of that rail for his competitors, etc.

    The fact is, there was not one of his strategies that he did that his competitors could not do. He was simply faster and smarter than they were.

    So here is the government complaint:
    The government identified four illegal patterns: 1) secret and semi-secret railroad rates;(My contracts are secret today too, what right does anyone need to know my deals and arrangements?) (2) discriminations in the open arrangement of rates; (Why should I have to sell at the same price to anyone, including my enemies?)(3) discriminations in classification and rules of shipment;(Again, why should I be forced to treat everyone the same?) (4) discriminations in the treatment of private tank cars.( They are MY property – why can’t I use or rent them as I see fit?)

    Of course, we can’t get up with “illegal” – the government makes anything illegal – what we need to look at is freedom.

    If this was you as a person, why can’t you keep secret your deals and your financial affairs? Why can’t you sell or not sell to whomever you want? Why do you have to be forced to give your property to someone else to use?

    The conclusion – SO made cheap oil possible – good for the consumer – and made good money – good for the shareholders.

    Sounds like a good business to me.

  28. SO did not have compaints (except from competitors) until he reached national level with his distribution. Up to that point, I agree with his tactics and with your assessment. Once he reached a level of enough power, he sold under cost in a specific geographic region until his competitors were destroyed, then he jacked the prices in that region back up so that he could fund cutting in another area. I have no problem with him being cheaper because of his brilliance in diversification and handling more than just one part of the oil business. However, the market was unable to correct the effects of his pricing once an area had been taken over by his undercutting. Competitors were unable to start back up in those areas because he was higher priced than when there were multiple distributors, but too low to justify the investment of a new place. Additionally, competitors were unable to gain investors because of the threat of aggressive action. So, once a monopolistic advantage was gained, the customer ceased to benefit.

    Yes, be paid shareholders well, and yes he was brilliant, and I do not have an issue with that. However, when I brought this up before, the response was that government had granted him property, and that he gained a competitive advantage through the gain of resources. This advantage went unchecked, and his antagonistic actions against other companies made it possible for him to shut down competition and then overprice his product as he chose.

    To return to the previous example, there are certain aspects of business that continue to last even after the business is deprived of subsidy. If government subsidy helps to purhcase property and equipment for the car industry, and then the subsidy ceases because it is being focussed elsewhere or because it is no longer affordable, the business still retains a competitive advantage. It has this advantage in brand recognition, in the removal of costs related to startup (versus a new competitor on the scene), it has an advantage of cash flow because of its sales. In a monopolistic situation, market recovery is very slow at best. That is not to say it will not happen, because if nothing else, technology will change and make at least some of the resources of the initial company obsolete.

    I don’t think that it is a bad move to counter an opponent government. It is the same reason for the use of a military. If a foreign competitor is attacking our market by the use of whatever means, we are within our rights and ideals to defend ourselves against such aggression.

  29. blackflag2012 says:

    Jon Smith Says:
    January 15, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    SO did not have compaints (except from competitors) until he reached national level with his distribution.

    I take it you mean from complaints from government.

    First off, there was no law of “anti-trust” before SO existed, so there was no form to make a government complaint. That probably explains most of it.

    Secondly, the law was created to attack SO specifically and was the first victim of these new laws.

    Once he reached a level of enough power, he sold under cost in a specific geographic region until his competitors were destroyed, then he jacked the prices in that region back up so that he could fund cutting in another area.

    By what law of freedom do you declare was violated by selling under cost?

    the market was unable to correct the effects of his pricing once an area had been taken over by his undercutting.

    Your contention is not true.

    A point needs to be made very, very clear here. As Kent said, SO was earning very successful competition already by the very same free market principles.

    In areas where his prices were high attracted competition – so that by 1911 – and the start of the anti-trust attacks, he was surrounded by competitors, such as Texaco and Gulf Oil in the Gulf Coast, Cities Service and Sun in the Midcontinent, Union in California, and Shell overseas and in California.

    These guys followed his example and had organized themselves into competitive vertically integrated oil companies!

    As I said, he did nothing that someone else could not do as well!

    On top of that, because of his cost cutting strategies, demand for oil skyrocketed and outstripped even his ability to keep up.

    By the time of the anti-trust attacks, his market share was dropping across all regions. He was unable to continue his strategy of price-dropping – the competition was starting to move as fast as he could.

    The market, contrary to your contention, more than ably improved the wealth of the people.

    So, once a monopolistic advantage was gained, the customer ceased to benefit.

    Where in the free market does the customer have a right to a benefit?

    To return to the previous example, there are certain aspects of business that continue to last even after the business is deprived of subsidy. If government subsidy helps to purhcase property and equipment for the car industry, and then the subsidy ceases because it is being focussed elsewhere or because it is no longer affordable, the business still retains a competitive advantage.

    Correct. When ever government acts in the market, it distorts the market place, thus – the market place is, logically, distorted!

    You cannot fix this distortion by warping it some more with more government.

    It has this advantage in brand recognition, in the removal of costs related to startup (versus a new competitor on the scene), it has an advantage of cash flow because of its sales.

    Yet, shockingly to you I’m sure, Dell, Compaq/HP, Microsoft, Adobe, etc. etc. etc. all overcame this problems vs IBM. Do you ever wonder why?

    Ever wonder how a small town general store owned by one Sam Walton became the largest (non-government) employer in the world – and overwhelmed the likes of Sears, K-Mart, etc.?

    Somehow, these advantages are not immutable, are they?

    In a monopolistic situation, market recovery is very slow at best.

    Sorry, but nonsense.

    The monopoly (a real monopoly because government prevented competition) of Bell –

    March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell formed the Bell Telephone Company in 1877 which in 1885 became AT&T.

    Bell’s original patent expired 15 years later in 1894. There were 285,000 phones.

    By 1907, there was over 6,000 phone companies and 3,317,000 phones, and one devastated AT&T.

    AT&T convinced government to give it a monopoly again – and by 1918, there where 5 phone companies left.

    ….

    By acting upon our own economy to respond to a government’s action on their economy will devastate our economy.

    First, it creates the draw of subsidy – which always tends to support inefficient and badly run companies. Subsidies attract more companies that would not have been effective otherwise to enter the market.

    Second, the companies can never leave the subsidy – they will have organized their entire business around it. Removal will kill them.

    You claim “rights” as a reason for defense – by actions that contradict ‘rights’. Hmmm….

  30. I will have to further research my history. If I am as far in error about what happened concerning SO as it appears, then I may need to revise my stance on this issue and possibly a few others. Thank you for the information, this is why I blog, I always learn a great deal. I look forward to sharing my findings…

  31. I have some thoughts around this but not the time to respond just now. BF, well put together argument. This is more of the intelligent conversation around facts that I had in mind. You are much more effective when you eliminate the dogmatic approach and stick to debating the issue. Well done. This is more in line with what I expect from someone with your intellect.

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