Re: The IFG - Still don't think.....

From: Neal Blaikie (
Date: Sat Feb 10 2001 - 21:46:25 MST

Michael Lorrey wrote:

> I am in full agreement with concepts of limiting the power of
> corporations. Where do they get that power? From governments. The
> solution is in limiting the ability of governments to grant power to
> anyone but individuals in excess of the power posessed by an individual.

Thanks for clarifying your position on that. I am in full agreement with
you. However, I am concerned
with this: how do we accomplish limiting the ability of one gang of
thugs ("the government" in this case)
without leaving things so wide open that another gang of thugs (perhaps
a "corporation," perhaps the
"greens" or "anarchists") can just move in and take over? It is at this
nexus of change that I see the
most potential danger, which is why I am cautious about pronouncing any
one action a solution.

> Not necessary, as anyone with military experience can tell you,
> especially those who have studied unconventional warfare. Gangs are not
> interested in dying, they are interested in getting paid, making a
> profit on their risk. You need not kill all of them in order to deter
> their agression. Making the risk exceed the benefits is all that is
> needed. In an attack/defense situation, the defender always has the
> advantage in the order of 10 to 1 up to as much as 100 to 1 or more.

Thanks, this is much more clear now.

> Remove government's ability to do so, and corporations will be
> unable to victimize and abuse without just retribution.

This seems naive to me, but I honestly hope you are right.

> The question with India is to ask if it is in better condition than if
> the British had never dipped their hands in, no matter how selfishly.

How can either one of us decide this? Isn't this really only something
that each individual Indian can
answer for him or herself?

> All of the problems that India has, in my view, tend to be problems
> caused by cultural practices remaining that predate the British era.
> Left uninfluenced, India in my view would have currently become a rather
> nasty combination of Balkan politics and African chaos and brutality.

Again, how can we really say? The deed (colonization) is already done,
and the complex system we are left
with is too slippery to get a handle on. Perhaps you're right about what
would have happened to India if
left uninfluenced, but since that cannot now happen, there's really no
way to know. Maybe the individuals
of that country could have solved their own problems. With the added
burden of colonization to overcome,
it's not surprising at all that many of the old problems still remain.

> As a Scot whose family was brutally persecuted and forcibly removed from
> the Gordon lands after Culloden, shipped to Nova Scotia and left
> abandoned, I would never claim that the British colonial mentality was
> in any way considerate of individual rights or cultural heritage.

I'm glad we agree on this. Since I share an almost identical heritage
(my ancestors were also from Scotland and ended up in Nova
Scotia), maybe you can understand why I won't give them any slack. I
extend this attitude to all
oppressors, even if it's my own people or myself.

> However, I think its rather indicative that survive assimilation in
> British colonized nations tend to be far more civil and humane
> individuals than groups left to their own devices.

Are you actually saying that people in colonized nations would be less
civil and humane if they had been
left to their own devices? That for some reason they aren't as "well
behaved" as we are? I don't want to
believe it, but sometimes it really seems like you are suggesting that
some people (yourself, for
example) can and should be left to their own devices but that other
groups of people (pre-colonial
Indians, for example) should be colonized. Again, it sounds to me like
you are defending imperialism,
which is a form of oppression and removes individuals' liberty. This
seems to contradict your libertarian

> Most all of native american deaths occured during the Conquest period
> when conquistadors were not only completely unaware of the cause of
> diseases that killed off millions of natives in virgin field epidemics,
> they were typically hundreds if not thousands of miles away from most of
> the deaths when they happened. Calling this genocide is like accusing
> some ancient Babylonian of genocide for playing with rats.

Since I never mentioned the Native American deaths that were due to
epidemics, it seems odd you would
bring this up. Of course this isn't genocide, just a sad side-effect of
an already bad situation. I am
referring to the deaths that can be attributed to the direct actions of
the conquerors, and I would use
the term genocide for quite a number of specific incidents.

> > How is any form of serfdom irrelevant? To claim that's it was okay for one group to conquer another
> > because they're not quite as bad is ludicrous. Aren't all forms of oppression wrong? We see to be
> > agreeing here, but I feel like you're clinging to something.
> Clining to the idea of being humane versus inhumane. Its not all black
> and white. Do you claim that Jefferson was an abominable criminal for
> owning slaves?

Well, I'm with you on the humane over inhumane idea. I'm glad to hear
this. And I would never claim it's
all black and white. Quite the contrary, which can be evidenced by
looking at my other posts. Looking at
things only in black and white terms is one of the things I am objecting
to here. Again, I think we are
in agreement, but that you won't let go of your defense of imperialism.
If you believe that denying
individuals their liberty is wrong, why can't you say that imperialism
was wrong for doing this despite
the fact that centuries later we can point to some positive things that
grew out of it? As for Jefferson,
well, no, I wouldn't call him an "abominable criminal." That's too
simplistic. I prefer to honor him for
the good things he did, while at the same time recognizing that slavery
was wrong, he participated in it,
and is therefore responsible for his actions. He denied other human
beings their liberty by owning them,
was intelligent and educated enough to know it was wrong to do so, and
yet did it anyway. This doesn't
make him an abominable criminal, especially when taking into account the
larger culture in which this
took place; it just makes him wrong.

> > Why do you feel the need to label me a communalist when I have never once claimed to be one? This is
> > not only counter-productive, it is insulting. And to compare me to a Calvinist/Puritan is laughable.
> > I'm about as far from that position as Pluto is from the sun. If I said something that honestly
> > indicates this to you, please point it out to me and I will be happy to clarify it.
> You seem to cling to this idea, like many on the left, that government
> is good and private individuals are prone to do evil things if left to
> their own devices, so government of some sort is needed to save them
> from their own corruption. This is crap.

Since I've not once made the claim that government is good and private
individuals are prone to do evil
things if left to their own devices, I'm confused as to why you would
say this. If you read my posts here
you will not find this anywhere. This seems more like an empty retort
than an actual substantive
observation. Why do you feel the need to respond this way? I'm not
attacking you. I'm merely trying to
have a sincere discussion.

> I hope I am wrong in my impression of you, but it seems ludicrous to me
> that someone could claim that a group like a corporation, which has no
> inherent rights in and of itself, is more prone to commit evil acts than
> some group like a government, which is duly delegated power by all
> individuals in society, which is the body that empowers corporations to
> do the things they do. Anyone who feels thus can only logically do so if
> they posess some innate distrust of the individual as an evil creature
> in need of restraint.

You are wrong in your impression of me. Please read my posts more
carefully. I've never once said that a
corporation is more prone to do evil, just that they can and sometimes
do commit evil acts. And, of
course, this is always in collusion with whatever government in in
power. I'm just saying I'm not ready
to totally blame government for all of our ills, any more than I would
be willing to blame any one group
or cause. The world is a complex system, and we humans have made it even
more so. Thus I always try to
look at things from as many angles as possible, rather than trying to
fit what I see into any one
ideological box.


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