quadibloc on May 06, 2011, 12:20:22 am
Thank you, Sam. It's interesting to see you make this sort of argument. Kind of like watching a surviving dinosaur walking around doing its thing.
I've seen some non-mainstream things that he has advocated here that I consider objectionable... but that one I wouldn't count among their number.

The danger of people voting themselves largesse out of the public purse - by taxing those who are productive - is one that is apparent to common sense.

I don't see alternatives to democracy, or to the equality of women, or to making rape an absolute taboo - not something we allow our soldiers to do when we need to demoralize an enemy, or that we tolerate for any other reason. But raising a common-sense issue with democracy doesn't at all approach the character of other things that I do object to as vile.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 05:35:33 am
Thank you, Sam. It's interesting to see you make this sort of argument. Kind of like watching a surviving dinosaur walking around doing its thing.
I've seen some non-mainstream things that he has advocated here that I consider objectionable... but that one I wouldn't count among their number.

The danger of people voting themselves largesse out of the public purse - by taxing those who are productive - is one that is apparent to common sense.

I don't see alternatives to democracy, or to the equality of women, or to making rape an absolute taboo - not something we allow our soldiers to do when we need to demoralize an enemy, or that we tolerate for any other reason. But raising a common-sense issue with democracy doesn't at all approach the character of other things that I do object to as vile.

Sure. Proposing monarchy as the preferred alternative, though ... what would that accomplish?

Britain had a big variety of kings back when their kings theoretically mattered. Some of them were brilliant, some mediocre, some of them frankly insane. And the effect of this variety on Britain was pretty much zilch.

There's a story that one of the czars said on his deathbed, "I never ruled Russia. Ten thousand clerks ruled Russia." I just looked that up and got several people saying it was Alexander and one Nicholas and no firm lead for the quote, so maybe he didn't say that. But he could have. ;)

It's comforting to believe in a king who will do the right thing for the nation regardless of what anybody thinks, who will not give in to interest groups or cronies, who will rule wisely and make his government servants do the right thing. Maybe that comfort would be valuable enough to justify a monarch. But -- during the purges, a lot of loyal Russians were saying "Oh, if only Czar Stalin knew the injustices that are committed under his name! He would take care of us!" But he didn't.

mellyrn on May 06, 2011, 05:53:01 am
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That either the nicest insult I have ever seen or the meanest complement.

With the added lustre of being perfectly honest.

mellyrn on May 06, 2011, 05:55:01 am
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The longevity of the American Republic silenced the arguments against democracy for a time, but now that the Republic is coming to its end, the old arguments have returned.

Coming to an end perhaps because the old arguments were spot-on.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 09:59:29 am
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The longevity of the American Republic silenced the arguments against democracy for a time, but now that the Republic is coming to its end, the old arguments have returned.

Coming to an end perhaps because the old arguments were spot-on.

Well, but the alternatives that have been tried -- rule by monarchs and by socialist committees -- have already been utterly discredited.

Some sort of meritocracy might be good -- but how would we test for merit? Presumably the ones who would be most competent at testing the merit of fresh candidates would be the ones who were already running things? Perhaps they would come up with ways to inhibit corruption and favoritism and such?

It's probably time to try some sort of anarchy. Give it a turn in the barrel.

quadibloc on May 06, 2011, 10:03:41 am
Sure. Proposing monarchy as the preferred alternative, though ... what would that accomplish?
I didn't interpret what you quoted that way.

Instead, I thought that the argument against democracy that he gave never really died. It just took on a modified form. Democracy can thrive in a land of gentlemen farmers or a strong middle-class - but if you have peasants or an urban proletariat, demagogues will take over, or, as happens often in Latin America, a military junta takes over in order to preserve a society in which people can safely invest productively.

So, from this perspective, the military juntas in banana republics are upholding the ZAP as best they can, by preventing a mobocracy from pillaging the rich - as opposed to the "Economic Hitman" narrative. I think the truth lies between both stories.

The idea is that intelligent politicians were supposed to preserve free enterprise by directing just enough government largesse to the ordinary voter so that the middle class would remain strong, thus ensuring moderate rather than demagogic politicians would be elected. This broke down at the end of the 'sixties, hence, both the Democrats and the Republicans have veered off into radicalism.

mellyrn on May 06, 2011, 12:22:50 pm
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This broke down at the end of the 'sixties, hence, both the Democrats and the Republicans have veered off into radicalism.

If you mean the 1860's, when the "When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them" concept that founded the nation was brutally overruled, I'd agree.

sam on May 06, 2011, 01:35:47 pm
Sure. Proposing monarchy as the preferred alternative, though ... what would that accomplish?

I do not favor monarchy.  I mention that monarchy used to be the common wisdom, as less prone to disaster than democracy.  China and Chile are evidence that almost anything is better than democracy.  I don't agree with monarchy, but the evidence is that it is a lesser evil than democracy .

I think anarchy, or monarchy with a high proportion of anarchy, as eleventh century feudalism, is the best system, but pretty much anything is better than democracy, and monarchy is what one is apt to wind up with when democracy self destructs, after a few generations of colonels.

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 01:51:16 pm
Sure. Proposing monarchy as the preferred alternative, though ... what would that accomplish?
I didn't interpret what you quoted that way.

OK then, read the rest of his post.

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Instead, I thought that the argument against democracy that he gave never really died. It just took on a modified form. Democracy can thrive in a land of gentlemen farmers or a strong middle-class - but if you have peasants or an urban proletariat, demagogues will take over, or, as happens often in Latin America, a military junta takes over in order to preserve a society in which people can safely invest productively.

Aristotle claimed every city had a continuing war between the rich and the poor. In Rome they wound up giving the poor some tribunes who could veto but couldn't initiate legislation, when they were about to tear things up. It goes various ways in detail.

And when there are strong rich foreigners involved, sometimes your military junta is there to preserve a society in which foreigners can safely invest for gigantic profits.

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So, from this perspective, the military juntas in banana republics are upholding the ZAP as best they can, by preventing a mobocracy from pillaging the rich - as opposed to the "Economic Hitman" narrative. I think the truth lies between both stories.

Perhaps both stories are completely true at the same time.

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The idea is that intelligent politicians were supposed to preserve free enterprise by directing just enough government largesse to the ordinary voter so that the middle class would remain strong, thus ensuring moderate rather than demagogic politicians would be elected. This broke down at the end of the 'sixties, hence, both the Democrats and the Republicans have veered off into radicalism.

I don't know just when it broke down, but the end of the 'sixties is as good a line to draw as any. Back in those days pretty often people would say "If we can send a man to the moon, why can't we <insert expensive idealistic idea here>?". But what we actually spent a whole lot of money on was Vietnam. And pretty soon it turned out we couldn't keep sending men to the moon, it was expensive government waste that we couldn't afford.

We spent a tremendous amount for the Cold War. Later the Gulf War was pretty close to free unless you count indirect costs, but we've spent a whole lot on Afghanistan and Iraq. And one of the reasons we needed a middle class was to stop the communists here, and the communists are no threat any more.

I don't see much radicalism. There's a little talk, but when you look at what they do it's pretty much business as usual. We don't exactly have as much to go around so there are hard decisions about how to divide it up, who gets cut out. But nothing radical.

quadibloc on May 06, 2011, 02:27:34 pm
If you mean the 1860's,
In the 1860s, it became necessary for the black people to separate themselves from the South, but it wasn't the Union that overruled that. Preserving slavery is not "necessary" - slavery is in violation of the ZAP.

The rising abolitionist movement did not oppress the South in the sense that King George III oppressed the Thirteen Colonies.

I have seen here allegations of war crimes committed by the Union in the course of the Civil War. Those are not excused by the war being, in general, a legitimate defense of the human rights of black people. (That other issues were involved, and that Northern whites were, by and large, not that concerned with the well-being of blacks seems to me to be beside the point rather than material.)

mellyrn on May 06, 2011, 02:33:11 pm
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That other issues were involved, and that Northern whites were, by and large, not that concerned with the well-being of blacks seems to me to be beside the point rather than material.

So, the opinions of the people who actually waged the war are "beside the point" of the war.  Oookay.  <backing away slowly>

J Thomas on May 06, 2011, 04:12:24 pm
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That other issues were involved, and that Northern whites were, by and large, not that concerned with the well-being of blacks seems to me to be beside the point rather than material.

So, the opinions of the people who actually waged the war are "beside the point" of the war.  Oookay.  <backing away slowly>

I can imagine something like that. If somebody does a good thing for bad reasons, still he's done a good thing.

I'm not sure how far I'd go with that, but I can imagine it.

Aardvark on May 06, 2011, 04:15:10 pm
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quadibloc: I have seen here allegations of war crimes committed by the Union in the course of the Civil War. Those are not excused by the war being, in general, a legitimate defense of the human rights of black people.

The Civil War wasn't a "clean" war in any sense of the word. Until the South seceded, it was assumed that any state that wished to leave the Union could. Grant's autobiography had a paragraph where he described his reasoning for believing the Union was indissolvable. I found it unpersuasive. The war was originally fought to keep the Union together because Lincoln wanted to. In a sense, the war was all about slavery, too. The South absconded because they saw the writing on the wall: sooner or later, their way of life was going to be overturned by the majority, so they picked up their ball -- sometimes over their states' inhabitants' wishes -- and left.

I believe that it was an unconstitutional war, but fought with good intentions to correct a great wrong. As hideous as it sounds, it might have been better to allow slavery to die a natural death and the government come to terms with the slave owners and buy them out, as had been done in other countries. It might have been another twenty years before slavery ended, but in the long run it might have been better done that way. Of course, the South, by seceding and then seizing the US Armory in Charleston, Ft. Moultrie, and attacking Fort Sumter, pressed the issue to a head.

At the beginning of the war, the reasons given for its prosecution were mainly of the "save the Union" variety, however, towards the end of the war, the enlistment posters were all about eliminating slavery, so it is incorrect to say that the Northerners were not fighting to get rid of that foul stain, or were largely unconcerned with it -- at least towards the end. The cost of the war on the Constitution was great, though. The fed's powers increased dramatically after that, although it lay hidden for a while, emerging most dramatically under TR, Wilson, Hoover, and FDR.

Tucci78 on May 06, 2011, 04:51:45 pm
The Civil War wasn't a "clean" war in any sense of the word. Until the South seceded, it was assumed that any state that wished to leave the Union could. Grant's autobiography had a paragraph where he described his reasoning for believing the Union was indissolvable. I found it unpersuasive. The war was originally fought to keep the Union together because Lincoln wanted to. In a sense, the war was all about slavery, too. The South absconded because they saw the writing on the wall: sooner or later, their way of life was going to be overturned by the majority, so they picked up their ball -- sometimes over their states' inhabitants' wishes -- and left.

I believe that it was an unconstitutional war, but fought with good intentions to correct a great wrong. As hideous as it sounds, it might have been better to allow slavery to die a natural death and the government come to terms with the slave owners and buy them out, as had been done in other countries. It might have been another twenty years before slavery ended, but in the long run it might have been better done that way. Of course, the South, by seceding and then seizing the US Armory in Charleston, Ft. Moultrie, and attacking Fort Sumter, pressed the issue to a head.

At the beginning of the war, the reasons given for its prosecution were mainly of the "save the Union" variety, however, towards the end of the war, the enlistment posters were all about eliminating slavery, so it is incorrect to say that the Northerners were not fighting to get rid of that foul stain, or were largely unconcerned with it -- at least towards the end. The cost of the war on the Constitution was great, though. The fed's powers increased dramatically after that, although it lay hidden for a while, emerging most dramatically under TR, Wilson, Hoover, and FDR.

Nope.  More and more it becomes plain that the War of Northern Aggression was initiated and fought to its catastrophic conclusion to enforce the Morrill Tariff of 1861 (see http://mises.org/daily/952 as an example of persuasive revisionist historical analysis on the subject).

It was no coincidence that the supposed "first shot" of that conflict was fired upon a customs post which had no military value whatsoever.  Ft. Sumter's only purpose was the collection of excises under the scheme of Whig (i.e., Republican) mercantilist protectionism. 

People intent upon maintaining the fraud that the "Civil War" had been fought for the holy purpose of ending slavery are admonished to read through the American Lenin's first inaugural address - which somehow never seems to get printed in the high school history books - where his message to the southern states was pretty much:

"Keep your slaves, but pay those taxes or there will be blood!"
"I is a great believer in peaceful settlements," Jik-jik assured him. "Ain't nobody as peaceful as a dead trouble-maker."
-- Keith Laumer, Retief's War (1966)

spudit on May 06, 2011, 05:21:22 pm
Civil War, nope
War of Northern Aggression, close
War Between the States, not even in the same space time continum.

Nope, it was Washington, DC versus everyone else. The Feds against everyone else. The last gasp of the Hamilton vs Jefferson, Federalist vs anti federalist fued. We know who won.

The fact that Illinois and Ohio climbed in bed with the Feral Government did not have to make them the enemies of Alabama and the Carolinas. What magnifcenr propaganda!

The Feds fought to keep the serfs in line, would have fought to keep any of them on their leashes. New England had talked long and hard about secession a generation before; Sherman would have just as happily torched Boston. Had say, the Oregon Territory decided to bail instead, same thing. Can you, States, squeal like a pig?

Mr Lincoln, from Kentucky not Illinois, Reagan was the only president born in The Land of Lincoln, killed a million Americans including civilians starved or just plain murdered to prove his point, pulled the income tax and the draft out of his ass. For that he gets a monument where his outsized figure sits on a throne? Again, what magnifcent propaganda!


Damnit, I had family in the Union Army. Damnit!
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