THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. THIS BLOG IS MY BLOG. Welcome to the Home of Hyperopia.: On Learning About Life - Part 1

Monday, November 13, 2006

On Learning About Life - Part 1


Recommended reading for the libertarian-ellectually curious:

Lew Rockwell on the Dangers we Face and how Capitalism and Freedom are Essential for the Triumph of Humanity over the Forces of Evil (including Government).

Dig it.

10 Comments:

Blogger Dongley Shlongford said...

You lost me after boobs.

2:35 PM, November 13, 2006  
Anonymous theboss said...

I read th article with great interest, but I have a issue with his premise of Imperialism. He does not make a distinction between Imperialism for the advancement of government and giving another country the opportunity for liberty and freedom? As much as you may think so, the US is not governing Iraq. That country had free elections and elected their own government, and now has a chance for liberty. No other country in the world would have taken the lead to fight to give the Iraqis a chance for freedom, certainly not a European country. I agree with you that imposing our government on others would be Imperialism, but I don't believe that is what we are doing. If the US together with the Iraqis can defeat the Terrorist insurgecy, then Iraq will determine how it will rule itself. For all the wars we have fought, and countries that we have defeated, we have not imposed our government on any of them, we have actually helped to rebuild those countries...Japan, Germany, Soviet Union, and now they are all free societies with self rule.

6:19 PM, November 13, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

I hate to sound jaded, but the self-rule of these governments you mentioned works insofar as these governments have "self-rule" that our government likes.

There are plenty of democracies out there that our government has toppled to achieve its foreign policy goals. We have also supproted a number of horrible dictators (see Shah of Iran) - provided they helped us achieve our foreign policy goals. I can't entirely buy into your premise that our involvement in Iraq is purely benevolent and that we would permit them to "self-govern" any way they see fit.

No, I posit that where Mr. Rockwell jumps the shark is when he makes the argument that small city states are more stable than a system of states with a central federal government. One major flaw in that plan is the availability of natural resources and the need to regulate those to some extent - at a minimum to play referee with respect to those resources. One small city/state would eventually run up against another small city/state over land, minerals, water, etc. Without some form of central government to act as referee with respect to these matters you end up with the same issues you had in ancient Greece and Rome - one state battling another for power or resources.

Thus, such small government units based solely on choice and laissez-faire philosophy would actually escalate our imperial drive rather than decrease it - albeit that drive would likely be directed at one another instead of to external populations such as Iraq.

I am not ready to give up the concept of a Federal government. I am prepared to vastly limit its role and provide more authority and autonomy to the individual cities and states.

10:29 PM, November 13, 2006  
Blogger garrett said...

Flamingo, would you please send me an email? I've recently been issued a new computer and lost my email list as a result.

Oh, and by the way, you're totally wrong.

Just kidding.

6:59 AM, November 14, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

I am not.

Now that is the kind of debate that keeps readers riveted!!!

9:21 PM, November 14, 2006  
Anonymous theboss said...

flamingo,

I am not naive enough to think that the US went into Iraq solely to liberate the country from Saddam Hussein. Of course, we had ulterior motives, mainly to rid that regime of biological and nuclear weapons. I know there is much debate on this issue so we won't debate it here, but I agree with you that there were reasons other than pure benevolence.

You mentioned in your reply that the US has toppeled many democracies. My question to you is what "democracies" have we toppled to achieve our foreign policy goals? And what, by the way, do you perceive our foreign policy goals to be?

I do agree with your statement that a federal government is needed in a limited role.

Looking forward to your response!

9:25 PM, November 14, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Boss,

The following is taken directly and entirely from Wikipedia. Draw your own conclusions as to the accuracy, but there are many instances throughout history in which democratically elected governments have been interfered with, threatened or overthrown by our government and its agents to facilitate our own foreign policy agenda.

Undermining Democracy in Latin America
America has frequently supported undemocratic governments, coups, or insurgent movements in Latin America - see Guatemala, Honduras with John Negroponte, the Chilean coup of 1973, and Operation Condor - and has on many occasions even invaded Latin American countries for the stated reason of preventing the spread of Communism in the Americas or of stemming the drug trade. This self-appointed role as regional power has roots that go back to the Monroe Doctrine from 1823.

The US provided significant support for General Augusto Pinochet in Chile, who came into power in the Chilean coup and went on to commit many human rights abuses. The role of the CIA in this context is the subject of fierce debate. The coup was particularly resented by supporters of Salvador Allende, the elected Marxist president whom Pinochet deposed.

It has also been alleged that the CIA was involved with the military coups in Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, including military training in torture skills and political intervention.

The official American government view, which is shared by many, particularly more conservative, Americans, is that American influence (or interference) in Latin American countries was necessary to stop the spread of tyrannical Communism. Others, especially on the left, charge that America's main primary interest was economic, and that it was willing to do anything to further American corporate interests in the region. The Venezuela coup of 2002, taking place long after the collapse of the Soviet Union, can be read as confirmation of this view of US policy.

In Latin America, it has been alleged that the School of the Americas based in the US-owned Canal Zone taught Latin American officers torture techniques to combat subversion throughout the cold war, without concern for human rights.


[edit] Outside of Latin America
Another cause of resentment against America in the Middle East is that America supports regimes in many Middle-Eastern countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan that are unpopular with many people in those countries, and are seen as oppressive and tyrannical.

Critics have countered, however, that engagement with other countries is a way to promote democratic reforms. This approach is also adopted by European countries such as France and Britain. Though, of course, this has never been proven to actually work. And apart from that, 'engagement' and 'support' are not the same things; one can hardly claim that supporting oppressive regimes promotes democratic reform, for instance.

American support for the anti-communist government of George Papadopoulos in Greece (1967-1974), which many regarded as an oppressive military dictatorship and which compelled many prominent Greeks to flee Greece, has been a source of bad will across Europe. It is often held to have contributed to the split in NATO and the European Union over the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The United States was also criticized for meddling in the internal politics of some of its democratic allies. For instance, the US government funded some French unions through the National Endowment for Democracy, including some with links to far-right violent groups.

The CIA tried to assassinate democratically elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, until he was eventually killed by forces led by Joseph Mobutu, who was supported by the U.S.[1]

8:24 PM, November 15, 2006  
Anonymous theboss said...

flamingo1,
Thanks for the history lessons.
I agree that the U.S. has and is supporting oppressive regimes, but that was not my point of contension. I feel that a distinction needs to be made between the terms "toppled" and "supported". As I read your examples of our foreign policy history, it seems that in your response the terms begin to blur. My issue was with your statement that the U.S. toppled other democracies. I guess it can be argued that a democracy exists if a Marxist leader was elected. I don't happen to agree with that line of thinking, but I'm sure that the farther left you go on the politcal scale the more you would tend to agree with it. Would you also consider the result of the elections of Saddam Hussein or Fidel Castro to be democracies. (even though they were the only names on the ballot)? My point here is that just because an election is held, the country is not necessarily a democracy. And just to get the facts straight, it was John F Kennedy, in his inaugural address, who really set our foreign policy regarding this issue when he established the "Kennedy Doctrine" as he said “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” Sounds like something Bush would say. It pains me as a conservative that a democrat is credited with establishing this policy, but hey, let's give credit where credit is due. Kennedy's policy was established in repsonse to spreading Communism, today Bush is using the same policy against the global threat of terrorism. I guess this all hinges on your point of view of the uterior motives of our government. Are they pursuing the lofty goal of preserving liberty, or as most people on the left believe, that our government is imperialistic for other less idealistic reasons.

6:04 PM, November 16, 2006  
Blogger FLAMINGO1 said...

Boss,

you seem to buy into the argument that our government and society have been feeding us for years - no free society would ever elect a Marxist. Why not. Why is it so hard to believe that free elections were held and the people voted for a Marxist.

I do not live in Cuba. I am not Cuban. But the Cuban people in Cuba seem to actually like Castro. American Cubans do not. American politicians do not. What if the elections in Cuba are actually voluntary elections? What if the people of Cuba freely and willingly elect Fidel Castro.

Would our government give an honest assessment of those elections? If you answer that question affirmatively, you have more faith in the government than I have.

You asked for examples of where the U.S. supported dictatorships or toppled democracies and in less than 4 minutes after reading your question, I delivered. When I have more time, I have no doubt that there are several more examples in South and Central America alone.

11:40 PM, November 16, 2006  
Anonymous theboss said...

flamingo,
If Cubans acutally like Castro, why do thousands of them a year risk their lives in makesift boats and try to make it to America. I have no doubt that if the people of Cuba were to have a "true" choice of electing Castro (where there were acutally more names on the ballot than Castro's) or having a free Cuba, their choice would be a free Cuba. What I beieve in is the inherent right of liberty for all human beings, and given a choice, anyone who understands freedom or has lived it, would fight to his last breath to obtain it or keep it. I have a hard time believing that you believe Cuba is a democracy because there were elections, if you do, then you have bought into the leftest argument that America is bad and is always to blame for all the ills of the world. It is so easy to critize this country, it is not perfect by any means, but it is still the best country in the world. You should count your blessings to have been born here. I doubt that you would be who you are today if you had been born in Cuba, unless of course you were able to make it here in a makeshift boat!

5:57 PM, November 17, 2006  

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