Eugene Koontz misses the point. Most people don’t pay close attention to the details of state policy because we’re biologically designed for a way of life in which all the major decisions affecting our lives are made in small primate social groupings. After the demands of work, family, friends, neighbors and the immediate community are met, the average person has only a limited amount of energy and attention to devote to the doings of policy-makers a thousand miles away.
For the people running the machinery of the state, on the other hand, policy is a part of everyday life not to mention their bread and butter. That’s why the people running the state apparatus will ALWAYS have an advantage in attention span, information, and agenda control over the allegedly “sovereign” public they represent, no matter how nominally democratic the method of appointing them. That’s why the state will ALWAYS be the instrument of exploitation by a ruling class. Robert Michels called this “the iron law of oligarchy.” The government, by its very nature, can never represent the general public only one elite or another.
Therefore, libertarianism answers this situation perfectly. If the centralized machinery of the corporate state can never be democratically controlled, it makes sense to dismantle as much of it as possible, and return control over the decisions to local direct democracies that people really CAN control.
It’s not that people are stupid. It’s that we’re not adapted to living in a society organized around the centralized state and corporation.
~ Kevin Carson, Mutualist.org
I read Rep. John Duncan’s article about Iraq and I loved it.
I understand why a conservative would not vote for John Kerry, but given the alternative, George Bush, I think that a conservative should stay at home on election day.
I am European and I think that you can see two kinds of conservatism historically. One is Burkean and in favor of a small peaceful and discrete government. This tradition has an element of libertarianism, but is still not libertarian.
The other type of conservatism is the Disraeli kind of conservatism, which is directly opposed to libertarianism.
I think that John Duncan represents the best kind of conservatism and I do not think that George Bush deserves as much as one vote.
John Duncan for President!
Mr. Raimondo’s comments about the possible motives of Missouri Republican Representative Roy Blunt and Steny Hoyer of Maryland concerning the Israeli infiltration of our government are possibly premature or misplaced. It is hard to believe that a mere $11,600 in contributions to Mr. Blunt’s election campaign during the 2004 election cycle from a pro-Israel PAC would be significant enough to cause him to “sell out” to Israeli interests. Who could believe that Mr. Blunt’s career campaign contributions of $30,850 from the same Israeli PAC could affect his honor? Now, if we begin using the same yardstick to measure Mr. Hoyer’s loyalty, we find he has accepted $36,500 from the same PAC for the 2004 election cycle and a grand total of $91,275 for a career total from this PAC. It might be that $91,000 is enough “silver” to cloud one’s judgment.
Eric Garris replies:
As a former Republican Party candidate, I can tell you that AIPAC’s campaign contributions are combined with threats of defeat if one doesn’t support their program. It is made quite clear I was quite surprised at how blatant it is.
What’s up, Justin? You are always so hard on the Bolsheviks (justifiably so), but I was just wondering if you’ve ever considered the role of the West in bringing Stalin to power; specifically the imperial powers’ funding of the white army in the three year civil war after the revolution, appeasement of the Nazis, and other sinister acts of subversion.
I am in no way trying to excuse the Bolsheviks, but I’m just surprised that you could be such a critic of American imperialism and yet never (to my knowledge) mention the role of the West in bringing misery and devastation upon the Russian people when you criticize Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky.
(I’m a huge fan, I read your column all the time and I just ordered your book Terror Enigma: 9/11 And the Israeli Connection. Keep up the good work, brother!)
Justin Raimondo replies:
You raise a good point. The Bolshevik Revolution was, of course, a consequence of World War I as was National Socialism in Germany. The intervention of the West doubtless gave the Bolshies the clout to play the nationalist card, and garnered them support them would not have otherwise had. Likewise, the Nazis were empowered by the evil Treaty of Versailles, the onerous reparations, and the humiliations visited on the German people by the victorious powers of England, France, Italy, and the U.S.
Pat is grasping at straws, hoping to find sanity where there is none. America is not coming home. The neocons have no interest in Germany and Korea. Their focus is the Middle East. The redeployment is to create forces for the invasion and occupation of Iran and Syria.
Steven Greenhut’s article on the “hard left nuts” in the march was frankly revolting.
I watched those people and they were deeply admirable, well behaved, and decent.
He gives a bad name both to traditionalist (in their own behavior) libertarians and to Christians when he presents his own silly prejudices and narrow-mindedness as American and the thoughts of others as anti-American.
His provincialism and insularity does Antiwar.com no credit and reflects on the narrow quality of his education and thoughts.
I suppose those who opposed the Nazis were also anti-Germans and those who opposed the Soviets were also anti-Russian.
Lending support to your story, “The Axis of Treason,” Al-Jazeera has some excellent quotes on how brave Israel would prefer to destroy Iran:
“I think the safest thing for Israel is to let the Americans do it.”
– Ira Sharkansky, Political Science Professor, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
The fuller story is typical of the confidence Israel has that by hook or crook, it will get its way. Kind of remarkable how much the pull this tiny country has but then many would share the opinion of Abdul Sattar Qassem, Professor of Political Science at the Najah University in Nablus who writes:
“I believe that Israel is the most dangerous state in the world today. Imagine what state the stability and security of the world would be in if the messianic Jewish extremists of Gush Euminim reached power in Israel and suddenly found themselves in control of Israel’s massive nuclear arsenal.”
The full story can be found at the following link: “Israel to US: Now for Iran.”
I would like to commend Mr. Reese for his critique of our military victory over Saddam. Much has been written about Shock and Awe, our brilliant generals, and our courageous hero soldiers. Very few writers, if any, have put our military victory in its proper perspective, namely, the most powerful military in the history of the world beat up at best a third-rate army. I told my friends at the time I felt like the Germans must have felt when their armies overran Poland in 1939. I felt no pride in our military’s achievement. I used the analogy of a professional football team demolishing a high school team. Mr. Reese’s analogy of a “heavyweight boxer beating up a 3-year-old” is better. I cannot understand why so much of the media and so many of my fellow citizens are thrilled by our military victory. Perhaps that is a question only psychiatrists can answer. In any event I would like to thank Mr. Reese for raising this important issue.
By the way, I won a bronze star while serving as an officer with the 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry, 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam from November 1968 to September 1969. I hope my bronze star doesn’t make me unfit to offer an opinion.
As always, your latest piece is cogent and persuasive. I do differ with you in one critical respect however. Does the ultimate blame for such follies as Vietnam and Iraq really lie with the politicians and the profiteers? I think not.
When I lived in Seoul for 8 years I had daily opportunity to observe forward-deployed American military personnel. This prolonged exposure to the reality of “boots on the ground” made me realize that the final responsibility rests with those 18-year-old Iowa farm boys who think picking up a gun to go kick some gook (or rag-head) ass is pretty damned cool, and with their families who vote into office the politicians who direct such actions.
Mao said, “Power comes from the barrel of a gun.” He was wrong. Power comes from the ability to convince some fool to pick up that gun and shoot the “enemy.” And while, historically, one may have been able to sympathize with a public that could rely only on a narrow range of news media for the information upon which it formed opinions, no such excuse exists in the age of mass media, narrowcasting, thousands of alternative journals, and, of course, the Internet.
The sad truth is, those farm boys and their families do not want to form opinions. They do not wish to be confronted with mountains of often contradictory material and to have to assess it to come to a conclusion. Evening news sound-bites and jingoistic demagogy are just fine with them.
All of the points you raise about why this war is unjust, foolhardy, and cynical have been raised repeatedly in a hundred places since long before Iraq was invaded. Yet, here we are, less than 3 months from an election, and the polls have the vote split about evenly between a wannabe president who is a confessed war criminal from 30 years ago, and the incumbent war criminal and illiterate liar. With respect to militant foreign policy, this difference in the temporal order of their crimes would seem to be the only dissimilarity between the candidates.
Those young men and women who died in Vietnam, and Afghanistan, and are dying in Iraq along with 2 million dead Vietnamese and uncounted Afghans and Iraqis are less the victims of contemptible oligarchs and avaricious businessmen than they are of American intellectual sloth and moral relativity. As the Republic rushes headlong into Empire, stripping the Constitution of its most precious elements en passant, it would seem that the most ambitious, provocative, and enlightened political/ social experiment in history is doomed to fail. To paraphrase a wiser man: America is wasted on Americans.
Thank you for your coverage of the tragic events in the north Caucasus this week. The massacre of innocent school children in Beslan, the near simultaneous downing of two Russian passenger airliners and the car bombing outside a Moscow subway station are really going to place an enormous amount of pressure on Vladimir Putin to take military action on an unprecedented scale.
There seems to be some doubt as to what are Mr. Putin’s options. Given the fact that several “Arabs” have been identified among the terrorists in Beslan, Mr. Putin could, were he so disposed, adopt the American model witnessed recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. The formula is as follows:
1) Declare the Kingdom of Saud a part of the axis of evil.
2) Proclaim the foremost goal of Russian policy to be regime change in Saudi Arabia.
3) State without any real evidence that Saudi Arabia is attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction and that Russia need not wait for real evidence which could take the form of a mushroom cloud over Moscow to effect regime change.
4) Petition the UN for a resolution authorizing use of preemptive warfare.
5) Declare that any nation that is not for mother Russia is against mother Russia.
6) Impose an arbitrary deadline by which time the rulers of Saudi Arabia are to cede sovereignty and abdicate.
7) Invite all foreigners (including tens of thousands [sic] of U.S. troops stationed there) to evacuate Saudi Arabia in the face of impending military action by Moscow.
8) Launch a war of aggression using the most deadly weapons in Moscow’s arsenal and blame Saudi Arabia for the resulting carnage for its failure to comply with Moscow’s demands when it had the chance.
9) If the following occupation does not go according to plan blame the countries that did not support the aggression in order to divert voter attention at home.
These simple steps if followed carefully should result in maximum profit for Russian defense contractors for many years to come.
George W. Bush’s twin daughters and nephew are the perfect age to help carry out Bush’s vision for the world. So suit up kids! Help bring freedom to Iraq and fight the war on terror.
Oops, I forgot. The twins are busy with other things, and handsome George P. is a newlywed who recently started practicing corporate law in Dallas. The political class lives on.
Can you tell me the number of terrorists that have been captured or killed since Sept. 11, 2001 (or where I might find this information)?
Eric Garris replies:
There is no such figure. The US has called Iraqis who are fighting in their hometowns against foreigners coming into their homes with guns, terrorists. Most of the people the US has called terrorists in the last two years would never have been called terrorists a few years ago.
A new Zogby poll reports that 50% of NYC believes that the Bush administration allowed 9/11 to happen on purpose.
Perhaps you should reconsider referring to 9/11 Truth activists as crazy conspiracy theorists. There is now a treasure trove of research available that all points in this direction. Educate yourself and COVER this movement. Thousands upon thousands of protesters on Sunday carried “Expose the 9/11 Cover-Up” signs. … Open this up for debate.
~ John J. Albanese, ny911truth.org
Editor, do you think that Zell Miller is a Democrat MOLE inside the Republican party? I am just asking.
Matthew Barganier replies:
He’s a Demopublican rodent of some variety.