42 thoughts on “Look over there…

  1. I didn’t know you were a Neopagan, Eric! I thought you were irreligious! Apparently, not evidenced by this, which I uncovered recently after spidering your site. See Eric, your sites and blog are some of my famous locations on the web. Be proud.

    Aaron

  2. Well, Aaron, actually I am pretty irreligious. At least, if you think religion has to involve faith or religious authority or supernaturalism or nutty beliefs about cosmology or any of the other things that usually go with religion in the U. S. of A.

  3. I’m somewhat confused about the format of that web site. Does the front page depict a single thread or the beginnings of several threads?

  4. Aaron: you haven’t read closely enough. Read Eric’s essay Dancing With The Gods, in which he explains his religious history, his brand of neopaganism, and how he reconciles it with his scientific outlook.

  5. Eric-
    Please do pursue the Gramscian damage idea. I grew up academically in physical science, with only the odd leftoid making any noise, so everything I know about the academic pervasiveness of Marxism, lit crit, Derrida, or Gramsci I have gleaned away from the acadamy. I have the occasional PhD pissin’ contest with my friends who teach communications and philosophy, but I do research in industry, and frankly, most of what they say stumps me because it is unintelligible. But I begin to detect threads of similarity, if not coherence. The idea that they are spouting nonsense because their fields were subverted by Marxist is almost too delicious. But it will take someone with more knowledge than me to make the point.

    Really digging the give and take over at Cato. Lanier seems to be a genial fellow, though I find him a little obscure. You and the others wax poetic less, and consequently make more sense, but I think Lanier’s ideas are valuable to me just because I get to see you take them down.

    DE

  6. Anent your conversation with Gerenleiter concerning (1) Eastern European Jews influence in the Old Left and the New Left, and (2) the lack of anti-semitic backlash, the comment about the effect of the Holocaust is certainly the most plausible explanation. Indeed, the Roumanian-Austrian author Gregor von Rizzori in his Memoirs of an Anti-Semite said (I’m paraphrasing from memory since it’s been some 15-20 years since I read it) “The one truly unforgivable thing Hitler did was make it impossible to discuss the Jewish Question.”

    Having been a college and grad student in the ’60s and early ’70s, I think you and Gerenleiter are both spot on about the transformation of the universities after WWII.

    It’s not so much that the professoriat at the elite universities and colleges before WWII were not intellectuals — some were, many weren’t — but that most of the faculties came from old line primarily WASP families traditionally suspicious of “intellectualism” and whose sense of class status (as upper or upper-middle class) did not stem from their being professors. Rather, it was the fact that they were from upper class backgrounds and were educating the future upper class that conferred social cachet upon the elite professoriat. Younger sons, you know. America was never one for sending the younger sons to “the army, the church or the learned professions” the way the European elites were, but academia was a respectable place for a younger son not cut out for business (the dreaded “trade” in the European context).

    While there were increasing numbers of students from non-elite backgrounds beginning in the 1920’s, which gave rise to the Jewish quotas, it was not until the GI Bill after WWII that there was a huge increase in the number of college students and, with the increase in the number of students, a dramatic increase in the demand for faculty. That created openings on a vast scale that were filled, in not insignificant part, by the descendents of Eastern European Jews who had worked hard and excelled. Some of them were Gramascian style leftists, and many of them what we used to call Red Diaper Babies.

    One of the least remarked aspects of this change is that instead of faculties composed of those who were insiders in society, more and more faculty perceived themselves as outsiders, who owed their status to their positions, rather than having status independently.

    In my own undergraduate and graduate career, I actually saw both types of faculty: at the Virginia Military Institute, the faculty in the mid-1960s was almost entire of the old school — sons (all men) of good Southern families, many of the graduates of the Institute and descendents of prominent veterans of the Civil and Revolutionary wars and others who had made American history. Among my professors were the grandson of President Tyler and the great-grandson Mathew Fontaine Maury and of one of Commodore Perry’s officers (who spoke fluent Japanese, taught Asian history and had also taught at Wasada in Japan). Even when some of these men were liberal by the standards of the day (this being the South, they were all Yellow Dog Democrats), they were not anti-American.

    At the University of California, I saw both old American and English types of the old school and the “new men.”

    I can honestly say that I saw little difference in the level of intellectual achievement between the groups (especially at the University of California) or in their ability to teach. What was different was the almost uniform socialism of the Jewish faculty, whereas the political views of the old WASPs were all over the map. I had mentors of both types and felt my experience the richer for having both worldviews.

    But what was notable, was how the faculties were changing. There were NO new hires from the old WASP elites — who seemed to be interested in other things — and slowly, as the old guard retired, one could see the changing character and the decline of tradition and the deep sense of attachment to American and its ‘mission’ in the world.

  7. I’m inclined to hear you discuss Gramscian damage as well, Eric; though I myself am still not convinced that your fifth column of Marxists is anywhere near as damaging, pervasive, or virulent as good ol’ Murkan-as-apple-pie normotic illness, if you can provide evidence to the contrary I’d surely lend an ear. And though your musings on American intrapolitics don’t hold water, you taking professional bloviator Jaron Lanier to school with your succinct understanding of the internet zeitgeist was most amusing. Bravo.

  8. Indeed, the Roumanian-Austrian author Gregor von Rizzori in his Memoirs of an Anti-Semite said (I’m paraphrasing from memory since it’s been some 15-20 years since I read it) “The one truly unforgivable thing Hitler did was make it impossible to discuss the Jewish Question.”

    A bit of a direct consequence of the other unforgivable thing Hitler did IMO. But Eric seems to be conflating anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism where he says:
    “Today, American politics does have a still minor but troubling problem of anti-Semitism. Curiously, in view of those historical facts, it isn’t a right-wing phenomenon but a left-wing one. I’ve sometimes wondered if, among the many suicidally stupid things American leftists have done, driving away the Jews that have provided them with most of their intellectual firepower will be the one that finally drops them in the dustbin of history.”

    He does like that ol’ dustbin of history. I can’t see why he expends so much spleen on liberals – they don’t seem to control anything except a few university departments that no one cares about. I get the impression he thinks questioning the logic of American military supremacy (and the uses to which it is put) is the same as hating America.

  9. Hi all. Just wandered over here after hearing that Eric was working on ideas related to Gramsci and the hollowing out of American political and academic institutions.

    I too would like to see more of your thoughts in this area, Eric. I explored a closely related idea in an extended essay on http://Wildmonk.net (“Europe and the Post-Modern Left”). I’m not a blogger – this is an essay borne of my experiences exploring courses in the humanities “next door” to those I took while pursuing my AI / Cognitive Science Ph.D. I encourage you all to take a look!

    In particular, I explored the emergence of Post-Modern thought in the academy, politics and culture from its root’s in Rousseau’s “The Social Contract” and other works. I linked this conflict with the Cold War and concluded that, while the political conflict had ended in a victory for Democratic Capitalism, the philosophical conflict was not over and that it was not at all clear that the West was likely to win.

    Given the lack of a workable philosophy of governance in the Left, their success in crippling our culture’s faith in itself and in practical republican governance (not “Republican” as in the party) leaves our future in considerable doubt. If anyone is interested in exploring any of these ideas, I can be reached at wildmonk@wildmonk.net (I don’t do a “comments” section any more because the moonbats made life way too difficult after this piece was first published).

  10. WildMonk, your essay has made parts of mine unnecessary. I think you have diagnosed the disease correctly, but you have the etiology partly wrong. In your model, the postmodern left (good term, I’m going to adopt it) is an organic and almost inevitable outgrowth of Rousseau. In mine, that’s partly true, but the most important driver of the ideology in recent times was a conscious program of Soviet memetic subversion conducted in accordance with the Gramscian theory of “positional warfare”. In particular, I believe the latter is the most important explanation for the prevalence of postmodern leftism in American and British academia.

  11. Ya’ll. I gotta say. I have no clue what Jaron is saying in the lead essay. I’m like, “What?” The only parts I understood were factually wrong. ESR points out plenty such instances, but I also submit the author’s ignorance of things like demo songs when talking about the un-leakiness of digital systems.

  12. Eric,

    I don’t think that we disagree regarding the talent with which the Soviets harnessed the “animal spirits” of post-modernism when they unleashed their program of subversion against the West. That being said, this is exactly why I am fascinated by your thoughts and work in this area; I’ve never been much of a student of Soviet intrigues (even though I worked in ASW intel for awhile in the 80s).

    Here is how I see your efforts in the larger context.

    The early 20th century post-modernists cast their program as a response to and repudiation of the Western (greek/roman/enlightenment/anglo) traditions in political philosophy, epistemology, literature and economics. But while their criticisms had some force – especially given the slaughter to which the Colonialist period led in WWI – it has always struck me that the alternative offered by the post-modernists was laughably crude and even bizarre. Truly, who the hell can take Heidegger seriously? Its almost as if, having been disillusioned by WWI and the Depression, people were ready to believe anything.

    By the end of WWII, though, anyone following the ebb and flow of ideas must be struck by the ferocity with which good ideas – ideas that had worked extraordinarily well in chasing away human material misery and the encrustations of centuries of political oppression – were chased out of the public forum.

    More to your point: given the shallowness of the ideological base of post-modernism it seems obvious that there *must* have been power politics behind the effort by which it supplanted better philosophies. And this, my friend, is exactly what you and others tilling this soil are uncovering. Indeed, I think you’ll find that the shallowness of post-modernism is what made it so attractive to the Soviets as a tool for dismantling the West. It is little more than savages pissing on those foolish enough to pursue their industry in the face of certain vandalism. Its ultimate expression is the glazed-eyed youth fondling his AK-47, bopping his head to savage rock while his cohorts gang-rape the farmer’s wife to teach him the futility of growing crops. As long as I get my turn, the thinking goes, why the hell shouldn’t I enjoy seeing this rich bastard get his due? At its core, post-modernism says that this is all philosophically defensible (thus Rorty’s retreat into “weak thinking” as a way to reduce cognitive dissonance).

    So…I’ll be interested to see where you take this and what evidence you find. I’m going to bet that there will be a number of very specific instances in which people of reasonably strong philosophic principle were forced to back down in the presence of near-violent threats. In other cases, it is certain that you’ll find open-minded supporters of civil rights who were blackmailed into abandoning the baby of Western liberal traditions for fear of being tainted with the bathwater of America’s racist excesses (never mind that the one worked to defeat the other). And, of course, sometimes the money, sex and power were just easier if you went with the program.

  13. Hanzie,

    One accessible and engaging book on Po-Mo theory is “Explaining Post-Modernism” by Stephen Hicks. I wish I had read it before writing my own piece because he explained much about the role of the German schools on the evolution of PoMo thought that I didn’t know. That doesn’t mean it is interminably long and boring! Its actually pretty short and quite an easy read.

  14. Most serious Marxists are strongly opposed to post-modernism though, as Marx himself was a modern, Enlightenment thinker, who believed in truth and in the here and now, and considered science, automation and technology important drivers of progress. In fact many Marxists are rather exasperated by the banality of “identity politics”, and all those critiques of a gender and race nature, especially since they move the focus from the issue of class and the productive relations.

    (I don’t consider myself a serious Marxist, only a serious student of Marxism, for now.)

  15. I don’t think anybody ever really knew what Marxism was, anyway. Try finding out what it is. When I found out that I couldn’t successfully complete that task, I ceased to be a Marxist. It’s more of a fashion statement these days than anything else. I mean, check out the marxism faq:


    Q. What is Marxism?

    A. Marxism is the system of Marx’s views and teachings. Marx was the genius who continued and consummated the three main ideological currents of the 19th century, as represented by the three most advanced countries of mankind: classical German philosophy, classical English political economy, and French socialism combined with French revolutionary doctrines in general. Acknowledged even by his opponents, the remarkable consistency and integrity of Marx’s views, whose totality constitutes modern materialism and modern scientific socialism, as the theory and program of the working-class movement in all the countries of the world.

    (http://www.newyouth.com/archives/theory/faq/what_is_marxism.asp)

    I mean, what the frag is that? What are Marx’s views and teachings? Is there some kind of executive summary available? This doesn’t explain a fraggin’ thing.

    In practice, Marxism is a laundry list of hobbyhorses which are purposefully ambiguous so that they can’t be proved wrong. The reason why so many people don’t properly understand Marxism is because it cannot be properly understood — it never bothered to define itself.

    Contrast against, say, libertarianism. Here’s something from ESR’s Libertarianism FAQ:


    A1. What is a libertarian?

    The word means approximately “believer in liberty”. Libertarians believe in individual conscience and individual choice, and reject the use of force or fraud to compel others except in response to force or fraud. (This latter is called the “Non-Coercion Principle” and is the one thing all libertarians agree on.)

    (http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/libertarianism.html#A1)

    Well, now, that makes sense. Regardless of what you think about it, at least you can easily know what a libertarian is.

    All that said, visit any college campus and take a look at what self-purported “Marxists” promote. If serious Marxists can’t define themselves in such a way that these people are clearly wrong, that’s their tough luck, and probably an indicator that Marxism is dead and bloated.

  16. Part of the problem with Marx is that he offered a “scientific” theory whereby entire classes of people could justify their hatred of others. Originally, he predicted – and to some extent justified – the rise of the proletariat in shaking off the “artificial” bounds of the Capitalist class. In this, Marxism must be counted a fairly dramatic failure. But, hey, who cares about the details? It works just as well for any class of people who can cobble together a historical justification for hating the existing liberal order of free people and free markets.

    When a movement has such a sweet, gooey appeal to weaknesses in the human character, it’s bound to be popular even if you can’t quite define it!

  17. Well, now, that makes sense. Regardless of what you think about it, at least you can easily know what a libertarian is.

    Er…what was it the Iraqis had done that enabled so many libertarians (well, the ones gathered here, anyway) to say Yes to invasion, again?

    I’ve got to think about this using fraud to compel others in response to fraud thing, too.

  18. Adrian10

    One thing you shouldn’t do is to assume that most intelligent people accept the argument that “fraud” had anything to do with the Iraq invasion.

    Essentially all of the pro-War folks I know saw the war as prophylactic: a means to remove Saddam from the picture before the sanctions regime fell and he was truly free to pursue his ambitions. In essence, it was not the risk he *did* pose – its the risk he *would* pose and our relatively strong position in 2003 compared to the war we would have faced had we waited. So the whole concept that war was justified only in the presence of overwhelming proof of WMDs – and that Bush was a fraud for ignoring contraindications to the established WMD consensus – is meaningless to us: we don’t accept the initial assumption.

  19. WildMonk:

    The pretext for war was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The proof presented by the Bush administration was gravely erroneous at best, and fraudulent at worst. Regardless of what Saddam might have done, that pretty well undermines our casus bellum in Iraq, when it comes to the people and when it comes to the international community (in 21st century realpolitik, looking like an imperialist is almost as bad as actually being one). Believe if you like that we received “faulty intelligence”, but isn’t it just a little bit odd that the Iraq action dovetails oh-so-nicely with the stated PNAC agenda of world peace at the point of American guns…

  20. One thing you shouldn’t do is to assume that most intelligent people accept the argument that “fraud” had anything to do with the Iraq invasion.

    That wasn’t actually what I was referring to – I meant that the principle of non-coercion as quoted by Pete seems to imply that it’s OK for Libertarians to meet fraud with fraud as well as meeting force with force. Which is interesting. Though as Jeff points out, the threat of WMD seems to have been essential in getting the mass of the electorate behind the invasion. I do understand that it wasn’t necessary for the guys who wanted to invade anyway.

    It seems to me the proof of this particular pudding is going to be in how the Iran thing plays out, if it comes to a head in the next couple of months as it looks as if it might do. Once you’ve intervened preemptively the first time, it’s got to be easier the second. It’ll be great if you don’t overreach yourselves.

    I enjoyed your essay, by the way. I did think it was a little one-sided – strong on what you could see looking at Europe but a little sketchy on what Europeans might see looking back, merely referring to America’s “admittedly expansionistic” agenda of remaking the Islamic world. Thought that was a bit of an understatement.

  21. Jeff –

    A few things about WMD (a fun topic to debate about but, truly, water under the bridge).

    I can’t help but disagree with two propositions that seem central to the anti-war, anti-Bush argument: that WMD were the only important reason advanced by the administration and that there was fraud involved.

    I have particular trouble with the WMD ‘centrality’ argument because I was arguing in 2002 (when Wildmonk.net was a blog) that an invasion was necessary and justified based on human rights concerns. Indeed, I had even taken arguments from one of Bush’s speeches to that effect and had extended them in support and defense of Iraqi prisoners of conscience. Of course, I’ve been fairly consistent since the 80s in arguing for a muscular international defense of human rights. Having read Kwitny’s “Endless Enemies” as my first book on foreign policy, I have no truck with those who argue that human rights should not play a role in international affairs.

    Unfortunately, it *was* a big part of the Powell presentation to the U.N. and you can argue that this makes it central in world opinion. It’s hard to disagree and, indeed, I think that Bush led with a weaker hand by doing this. Nonetheless, I can say with certainty that the WMD arguments were not what I perceived as central nor were they Bush’s only argument – just look at the congressional resolution and many of Bush’s pre-war speeches.

    Similarly, the only argument supportive of the charge of fraud, is that, in retrospect, we didn’t find any WMDs (of course, this argument is useless if you don’t make the first argument stick). But we weren’t dealing with a retrospective situation when the decision was being made: we were dealing with the information available at the time. Bush had more information than the rest of us, but as I understand it, this additional information was actually *more* alarming than the information released to congress and the UN – not less as it would have to be for the fraud argument to work. In sum, if the bulk of the *prospective* information supported the proposition that Saddam had WMDs, you simply cannot, logically, claim fraud. Even now, it is entirely possible (although certainly not proven) that the WMDs were transported to Syria in the long run up to the war.

    Finally, please don’t assume that hinting at conspiracies and coincidences that are “a little bit odd” builds a pursuasive case. For example, I’m sure the Russians and the German intelligence services would be surprised to hear that they were in on the PNAC conspiracy to enforce “peace at the point of American guns.”

    This is what I don’t understand! I don’t see how my own stance toward Liberal Internationalism has changed a bit since 1985 and yet back then I was a starry-eyed liberal and now I’m accused of being right-wing (or neo-con) warmonger. What is going on in the world for decent liberals to be falling prey to conspiracy theories and engaging in hit-jobs on efforts to liberate other societies?

  22. About Marxism being undefined:

    There’s a bit of a point to Marxism being undefined. Basically, it’s a school of philosophy, economics and history that has branched into a lot of different things. I wouldn’t say there’s no such thing as Christianity, but surely when I tried to pin it down I’d encounter the same problems: there would be Christian whackos in campuses saying things that, at least in appearance, are completely opposite to things Jesus said, or things other Christians say elsewhere. That doesn’t mean that Christianity is a null word, it means it stands for a tradition that cannot be encompassed in a single compact idea. If I said anything about Christianity (I support it, I deplore it) I’d be by necessity generalizing over a huge domain and talking about some meta-properties of a subset (hopefully a big one) of Christians.

    The semantic core of Marxism would come to be the labour theory of value, a dialectical approach to history, historical materialism and class analysis. Outside these things disagreement is more than likely. Even some parts of the core, like labour theory of value, are argued by some Marxists, as some core ideas of Christianity (immortality of the soul) are argued by some sects (seventh day adventists).

    Now, libertarianism is a very compact idea, but some of that compactness comes from using what we could call “terms of art”. Same as “class analysis” means something rather specific, packing a lot of complexity, ideas like “force”, “fraud” and especially “retaliatory force” are terms of art of libertarianism packing important amounts of complexity that are not clearly visible at the level of abstraction of “libertarianism is a political philosophy that affirms the inconditional renounciation of initiation of force and fraud”.

    I’m not trying to pretend Marxism is any better defined than it is, or that libertarianism isn’t characterized by some interestingly compact statements, just saying that there’s a lot more to it than it has been suggested.

  23. And here comes *adrian10* with the semantic warfare. What an asshole. I’m just going to start asking your questions for you, since you’re a failure in that regard.

    Er…what was it the Iraqis had done that enabled so many libertarians (well, the ones gathered here, anyway) to say Yes to invasion, again?

    The correct question is: What was it that the Iraqi government had done that enabled so many libertarians to say Yes to invasion?

    Man, look at how your mendacious insinuations just crumble like a dessicated turd when you are stripped of your chewbacca offense. The answer to this question should be blatantly obvious, WildMonk provides a compact summary above.


    I’ve got to think about this using fraud to compel others in response to fraud thing, too.

    Because that is just *so wrong.* I think you need to work on the whole thinking thing, in general.

  24. And here comes *adrian10* with the semantic warfare.

    Meaning is important, Pete.

    What an asshole.

    I’m disappointed in your rhetoric, too.

    The correct question is: What was it that the Iraqi government had done that enabled so many libertarians to say Yes to invasion?

    Yer a genius. But I think the Iraqi government were in fact Iraqis, no? When I say “the Iraqis” you automatically assume I mean the activities of *ordinary* Iraqis might have triggered the invasion? Why *bother* with such a clueless interpretation?

    The answer to this question should be blatantly obvious, WildMonk provides a compact summary above.

    Is he a libertarian? He was partly up for the invasion on humanitarian grounds, an aspect you don’t appear to give a flying fuck about.

    So, what we seem to have is that non-coercion now allows using force to respond to uses of force that some individual *might* participate in in the future. That’s a mighty proactive kind of non-coercion there. I can see how lots of people might want to take out insurance against that kind of stuff.

    Because that is just *so wrong.*

    So, we have this:

    Libertarians believe in individual conscience and individual choice, and reject the use of force or fraud to compel others except in response to force or fraud.

    Kindly explain how “rejecting the use of force or fraud to compel others, *except in response to force or fraud*” rules out responding to fraud with fraud (though clearly the quality of the compulsion will differ). Responding to force with force is obviously allowed. You guys aren’t keeping all those guns around *just* for fun, I’m thinking.

    I think you need to work on the whole thinking thing, in general.

    An ounce of example is worth ten kilos of exhortation. Your opportunity to demonstrate awaits.

  25. Why *bother* with such a clueless interpretation?

    Ha — yeah. Here you go, admittedly arguing about semantics, then attempting to justify some putatively intentionally vague language. Why *bother* with such indeterminate locution? Say what you mean — if I wanted to play “find the hidden meaning,” I’d read Faulkner. As it happens, I poop on Faulkner. So, when you’re speaking to me, do so clearly.

    Is he a libertarian? He was partly up for the invasion on humanitarian grounds, an aspect you don’t appear to give a flying fuck about.

    Well. I did not know that about myself. Thanks for clearing that up!

    http://gazuga.net/stuph/phone.jpg


    So, what we seem to have is that non-coercion now allows using force to respond to uses of force that some individual *might* participate in in the future. That’s a mighty proactive kind of non-coercion there. I can see how lots of people might want to take out insurance against that kind of stuff.

    “Now that’s thick headed.” You’ve got it packed up into your little noggin that only the coerced can respond. Better yet, you don’t even realize that that’s what you’re thinking, which is why you haven’t thought it through, leading you to the asinine conclusions polluting this thread.

    A criminal forfeits his right to be free from coercion, to an extent that scales with the nature of his crime. (How that should scale is the subject of much debate, but I digress.) This is a good thing, because sometimes the coerced aren’t strong enough to retaliate. If I walk out of an arcade and witness a 300lbs male raping a 90lbs woman, I am completely authorized to monkey stomp his guts out, even though he’s not raping me. Likewise, when a nation’s government acts like the one of Saddam Era Iraq, third parties are justified in implementing regime change.

    It also just so happens that eliminating criminals prevents the accumulation of criminal clout. So, providing humanitarian force can benefit you in the long run — this is sometimes called “enlightened self interest.” Which leads me to a point I disagree with WildMonk on: I don’t blame Bush for not pitching the humanitarian angle, because basically every liberal in the world doesn’t give a frag. He was trying to appeal to the base nature of the opposition. He didn’t need to do that for “us,” but he was probably doomed to failure with “them” — can’t blame a guy for trying.

    Kindly explain how “rejecting the use of force or fraud to compel others, *except in response to force or fraud*” rules out responding to fraud with fraud (though clearly the quality of the compulsion will differ). Responding to force with force is obviously allowed. You guys aren’t keeping all those guns around *just* for fun, I’m thinking.

    You fraggin’ retard. Do I need to precede anything sarcastic I type with a disclaimer? The point was that there is *nothing* wrong with using fraud against fraud.

  26. So, when you’re speaking to me, do so clearly.

    You don’t have to respond to my posts, Pete. Other than that the only control you can have over my style would be by providing a model I might wish to emulate.

    You’ve got it packed up into your little noggin that only the coerced can respond.

    Noooo, I can see how manly interventions by passing Samaritans could resolve things in a way that would be pleasing to all concerned except the perp.

    Better yet, you don’t even realize that that’s what you’re thinking, which is why you haven’t thought it through, leading you to the asinine conclusions polluting this thread.

    This is the sort of blind certainty about other’s thought processes that leads me to wonder a bit about you.

    If I walk out of an arcade and witness a 300lbs male raping a 90lbs woman, I am completely authorized to monkey stomp his guts out, even though he’s not raping me.

    It sure is a butch old life where you live.

    Likewise, when a nation’s government acts like the one of Saddam Era Iraq, third parties are justified in implementing regime change.

    Well, I’m glad to hear I was wrong about your humanitarian instincts, but now the 300lb guy that was Saddam’s security apparatus has been monkey stomped to such an extent that he can no longer rape the 90lb woman that is the Iraqi people, there are *still* a whole passel of others out there which don’t seem to have been much discouraged by all this monkey stomping. Sudan, Burma, the ChiComs (OK, low-hanging fruit first), some of the ‘stans, the Norks… Instead, we seem to be looking at…Iran. Better put those boots back on, this one looks like it might weigh more than 300lbs.

    I don’t blame Bush for not pitching the humanitarian angle, because basically every liberal in the world doesn’t give a frag.

    Such a thing, to know the thinking of every liberal in the world.

    You fraggin’ retard. Do I need to precede anything sarcastic I type with a disclaimer?

    Better sarcasm would be a start.

    The point was that there is *nothing* wrong with using fraud against fraud.

    *Thank* you. So is it fine to lie if your opponents are lying (or if you believe that they are)? I only ask because there are schools of thought that hold that truth is something to be adhered to rather more vigorously. I’m curious to know if it’s official Libertarian policy not to be counted among such weaklings, and whether I should consequently filter what they say a little.

  27. It sure is a butch old life where you live.

    adrian10’s brain: “Oh. Well, it turns out I was wrong and he was right. But I can’t say that. I’ll just dodge the subject and beat off to Sailor Moon some more.”

    You have been:

    http://gazuga.net/stuph/owned.jpg

    Sudan, Burma, the ChiComs (OK, low-hanging fruit first), some of the ’stans, the Norks… Instead, we seem to be looking at…Iran. Better put those boots back on, this one looks like it might weigh more than 300lbs.

    I support keeping the ball rolling, mkay?

    Such a thing, to know the thinking of every liberal in the world.

    That’s the only logical way to explain their repeated attempts to condemn Bush as evil. You can’t simultaneously think that Iraq needs regime change, and call the person spearheading that effort evil for trying.

    So is it fine to lie if your opponents are lying (or if you believe that they are)?

    Nice try, but lying and fraud are not the same thing. Lying is a technique employed in the comission of fraud. Fraud is not adhering to the terms agreed to in a transaction. If I tell you I can give you a 20% ROI if you give me $1,000, and then pocket the money, I have committed fraud. If I tell you that there’s a little man, up in the sky, watching every thing you do, with a list of 10 things that he really does not want you to do, and if you do one of those 10 things you’ll go to a fiery place of eternal pain and suffering the likes of which you can’t imagine, but that this man loves you, I’m just lying. And you can lie to your little heart’s content, so long as you don’t do it in a forum which disallows it (i.e., no shouting “Fire!” in a theater), just as you can be as fat and lazy as you want. Have fun with that.

    Tying it directly to the topic at hand, since I know you’re incapable of doing that correctly yourself:

    If Bush has intelligence which says there are WMD in Iraq, and reports that to the public in an effort to garner support for OIF, he is neither lying nor committing fraud.

    If Bush has intelligence which says there are *no* WMD in Iraq, and reports to the public that there *are* WMD in Iraq, in an effort to garner support for OIF, he is both lying *and* committing fraud.

    If Bush tells Cheney that the latter appears to have lost some weight, he’s lying, but *not* committing fraud.

    As it happens, retaliatory fraud is rarely used, since the cost incurred in the lessenned degree to which others perceive you to be trustworthy rarely meets or exceeds the benefits. A sting operation against a known hitman, or international espionage, are the only examples I can come up with off the top of my head where retaliatory fraud is worth it.

    For an example, if you and an opponent contract with a third party for an honest debate, and he lies, you still can’t justifiably lie because you’d be breaking your contract with the third party. On the other hand, if you and an opponent contract with each other for an honest debate, and he lies, you *could* justifiably lie right back at him — but then, you’re run a great risk of irreparably damaging your credibility in the eyes of your audience. So in both cases, proving your opponent to be deceitful is the choice of champions.

    Now, I know it’s mean of me to come here and crap all over your posts, but I got this thing about people being stupid. Just don’t get too frustrated over it — take it in stride.

    http://gazuga.net/stuph/image001.gif

  28. adrian10’s brain: “Oh. Well, it turns out I was wrong and he was right. But I can’t say that. I’ll just dodge the subject and beat off to Sailor Moon some more.”

    You have been:

    http://gazuga.net/stuph/owned.jpg

    I have indeed, but not by you this time. By all means congratulate yourself on that roundhouse-punching way you answered my questions, though. Really, call me all the names you like.

    I support keeping the ball rolling, mkay?

    So that’s what it’s doing. OK, let’s come back to this when the action’s underway.

    That’s the only logical way to explain their repeated attempts to condemn Bush as evil.

    I don’t know many liberals who think Bush is evil. A spoilt frat boy with Dick Cheney’s hand up his bum, maybe. Part of it’s frustration with the Democrats’ inability to throw up any leadership worthy of the name. When democracy is a choice between Bush and Kerry you have to ask yourself (not you personally, I realise you don’t) whether much of substance is at stake.

    You can’t simultaneously think that Iraq needs regime change, and call the person spearheading that effort evil for trying.

    “Figureheading”, most of them would say. But hey, once Iraq has that stable democracy you guys keep insisting is just around the corner the respect will be forthcoming, don’t worry.

    As it happens, retaliatory fraud is rarely used, since the cost incurred in the lessenned degree to which others perceive you to be trustworthy rarely meets or exceeds the benefits.

    That was the bit I was after, thanks.

    Now, I know it’s mean of me to come here and crap all over your posts, but I got this thing about people being stupid. Just don’t get too frustrated over it — take it in stride.

    http://gazuga.net/stuph/image001.gif

    The only thing insulting about that is the idea that I might be bothered to click on it, I’m afraid. Text-based is what it’s about around here.

  29. While you guys are wiseacring about when and under what circumstances fraud is morally admissible, you would do well to consider Greg Palast’s excellent analysis of shenanigans during the ’00 and ’04 election cycles:

    http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=27&row=2
    http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=411&row=1

    Add to this the fact that the laws of physics do not support the official narrative concerning the WTC towers’ fall, the cell phone calls, etc. and you have a recipe for fraud against the American people that makes WMD in Iraq seem like a minor epiphenomenon, a single data point in an unsettling pattern, with funding and institutional support that Saddam and Osama can’t even fathom.

  30. Jeff: remember, you are not to speak unless spoken to. You are a walking example of projection in action. Your name should be next to the word “simulacrum” in the dictionary. The next time you prattle on ignorantly about the laws of physics as they pertain to the towers collapse, without any evidence, I’m going to hack into your brain and try really hard to make you dumber than you already are (I might fail). So you might want to tighten your tinfoil beanie a bit.

    Gore lost in 2000. Kerry lost again in 2004. Afghanistan is vastly improved. Iraq is on its way. A Palestinian state was created, and they elected Hamas to the leadership. Iran is pursuing nuclear WMD.

    Truly, the 21st century has not been kind to the sheep. If their discordant bleating is not a dead giveaway of the intellectually crippling cognitive dissonance they are experiencing, the unintelligible drivel representatives such as Jeff pass off as prose should drive the nail into that particular coffin.

  31. Adrian has the most roundabout way of saying “I was wrong and should have kept my mouth shut,” that I have ever seen. Just sayin’, is all.

  32. Oh wait, I get it.

    You are Scott McCollum, and you owe me five pounds.

  33. Adrian has the most roundabout way of saying “I was wrong and should have kept my mouth shut,” that I have ever seen. Just sayin’, is all.

    Whereas Pete has the impression that successfully answering a question is a cue to run round in circles punching the air as if after a Mortal Kombat smackdown. I think he’s a little unsure of what’s at stake in these discussions. But he’s young.

  34. I think I struck a nerve.

    You would.

    like your vagina just got bead-blasted

    You think about sex way too much. All those MySpace chicks not putting out?

    I was looking at the Wikipedia entry for these guys, and it says they’re for non-interventionism *as well as* non-coercion. Can you believe that? I think they must hate America.

  35. Freudian analysis: the true sign of a failure of a human being.

    I was looking at the Wikipedia entry for this guy, and it says he was for interventionism *as well as* gays in the military. Can you believe that? I think he must hate non-sequiturs.

  36. Freudian analysis: the true sign of a failure of a human being.

    That was Freudian analysis?

    I think he must hate non-sequiturs.

    You’re *such* a rube sometimes.

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