Monday, May 30, 2011

They say common sense is not common, and the bien-pensants' treatment of Ron Paul surely underscores that unhappy observation. Clearly, we live in a fallen world.

I am reminded of The Power Elite author C. Wright Mills' epithet for right-thinking nincompoops like Josh Harkinson. Libertarians like Ron Paul are cranks, nutters, utopians, loons, neo-Confederates, and (of course) racists and anti-Semites. As for Harkinson and his ilk on the "responsible" left and right, they're crackpot realists.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

"Termination with maximum prejudice," they used to call it. Michael Bradford ("A Network Disruption Worth Cheering About," Business Insurance, May 23, 2011) has no use for the squeamishness of more innocent times. No, Americans should just let go and revel in the whacking of Osama bin Laden. "If it's OK with everyone," he pleads, "could we just be the good guys this time?"

But that simple descriptive doesn't go nearly far enough. "We" (read: the knaves and nincompoops at the helm) are not the mere good guys, Mr. Bradford. We're the Greater Good guys.

When we decide a particular means, no matter how unsavory, advances the Greater Good, no matter how tenuous, nothing--not Constitutional constraint, international law, financial prudence, common sense, the just war hypothesis, Christian morality or simple human decency--can stand in our way. Madeleine Albright unabashedly endorsed this Marxist-pragmatist mindset in her 1996 Sixty Minutes interview. Widely publicized on the Arab Street, if studiously ignored on Main Street, it goes a long way to explaining, if not justifying, those alleged Islamist high-fivings of the 9/11 atrocity to which Mr. Bradford so bitterly alludes.

Lesley Stahl asked the former Secretary of State to defend brutal U.S. sanctions against Iraq. "We have heard that a half million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" A pointed question, to be sure, but our Greater-Good Gal didn't miss a beat. "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price--we think the price is worth it."

Worth 500,000 dead kids? To unseat erstwhile ally Saddam Hussein? In that case, all kinds of not-so-nifty applications ensue. Might not Islamist extremists have deemed the horrific slaughter of 3,000 Americans "a hard choice" but "worth the price"? The price for what, you ask? Well, to get the U.S. to stop meddling in their affairs, for starters.

Isn't that what the Greater Good is all about? To make an omelet, doesn't a chef have to break a few eggs? It all depends on who appoints the chef and defines the omelet, doesn't it? Earth to jingoist: that same Public Enemy Number One (and erstwhile Cold War ally), whose summary execution you now so lustily cheer, cited those same Iraqi sanctions as one of the motivating factors for the 9/11 attacks.

That's the thing about the Greater Good. It may seem a noble and attainable, if distant, abstraction when gazing down the barrel of a gun. It takes on a sharply contrasting flesh-and-blood immediacy staring up.


Sunday, May 08, 2011

Taxation is legalized extortion. We don't just pay taxes to avoid prison terms and penalties; we pay taxes, ultimately, because State agents will kill us if we don't pay taxes. The State is like the mob. If the Sojourners deem the analogy strained, they should try not paying their taxes and then resisting arrest. See what happens then.

So the better question is "What would Jesus extort?" or, perhaps more incisively if less succinctly, "In furtherance of what socially desirable end would Jesus menace somebody's life and property?" To pose the question is to answer it.


Saturday, May 07, 2011

Hans-Hermann Hoppe's case for a privatized social order:

Last and most importantly, a system of competing protection agencies would have a two-fold impact on the development of law. On the one hand, it would allow for greater variability of law. Rather than imposing a uniform set of standards onto everyone (as under statist conditions), protection agencies could compete against each other not just via price but also through product differentiation. There could exist side by side, for instance, Catholic protection agencies or insurers applying Canon law, Jewish agencies applying Mosaic law, Muslim agencies applying Islamic law, and agencies applying secular law of one variety or another, all of them sustained by a voluntarily paying clientele. Consumers could choose the law applied to them and their property. No one would have to live under "foreign" law.