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

From: Michael Lorrey (
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 19:07:05 MST

Neal Blaikie wrote:
> Michael Lorrey wrote:
> > Why is it so difficult for people to
> > grasp the concept of a competetive government services market?
> I have no trouble with this concept at all, and have never indicated otherwise. But I'm more
> interested in discussing how to achieve it rather than dismissing people by calling them names. To me
> this involves being open minded and examining many different angles, rather than just vehemently
> adhering to a fixed ideological position and lashing out at anyone who disagrees with me. I also
> think it's important to be mindful of the many ways this system, like any system, could be
> compromised or corrupted in order to keep it from happening. That's why I'm cautious, but optimistic.
> > Why do you assume that colonization is a burden? The British provided a
> > significant level of industrialization, infrastructure development, and
> > political and legal training that didn't exist whatsoever prior to their
> > arrival. They ended slavery, wife burning, religious genocides, and
> > increased the agricultural yeild of the nation such that it no longer
> > suffers famines every 11 years.
> As far as I'm concerned, James Corbally's excellent response to the imperialism issue is pretty much
> the final word. Since neither you nor I have experienced colonization, we're both being pompous and
> arrogant to think we can say anything valuable on the subject. Since you continue to try to speak for
> at least one group of conquered people, I can only assume you don't agree with this.

This is so much crap, like 'only us black people can use the 'n' word'.

> > I think that everyone can and should be as free as possible. Many, IMHO, would dutifully choose to
> > reaccept their chains and socio-cultural
> > baggage rather than accept the responsibilities of individual liberty.
> > Most immigrants who come to the US these days couldn't give a fig about
> > the concept of individual liberty. They come to get a job or get on the
> > dole. They mouth the words of their oaths of citizenship then
> > immediately go about promoting ideas that directly contravene the
> > Constitution they have just sworn to protect and defend from all
> > enemies.
> Since you can't honestly speak for everyone, this paragraph seems like a knee-jerk response to me,
> and frankly, comes across as bigoted. If that's not your intention, I apologize.

Depends on who you are accusing me of being bigoted against. Its funny
how you agreed entirely with Greg's commentary on the contrast between
low-trust and high-trust societies, but you can't accept what I am
saying despite it being the same thing.

Now, are you claiming that I am making a blanket statement about all
immigrants? Thats not accurate. Some immigrants do this, and is the
primary cause of low-trust infiltration into our formerly high-trust
society. I am reminded of an incident reported in the press of a citizen
swearing in ceremony where a dutch woman was interviewed immediately
after swearing to 'protect and defend the constitution'. When asked what
she thought of America, she said she loved it, but 'we need to get rid
of the guns'. Excuse me? I still fail to see how this could not be
construed as breach of oath.

This low-trust/high-trust dichotomy is the primary reason why many rural
people distrust immigrants and city dwellers: said immigrants and city
dwellers are, by continuous example, posessed of low-trust mindsets, and
therefore are treated as the low-trustworthy individuals that they are.
While this is stereotyping it is nevertheless real. Ever notice how city
people portray country people as gullible naive bumpkins? Its because
those country people are high-trust types who haven't had their bubbles
burst yet by big city cynicism and con games.

> > Total the numbers and compare. Aztec society, and most Carribean
> > societies, regularly practiced slavery, human sacrifice, body
> > mutilation, and cannibalism. The level of accepted violence in the
> > conquered societies as a matter of every day ritual was at least as
> > severe as that practiced by eurpeans on them as a matter of systematized
> > policy.
> So if we conquer these people and make them our slaves, it's okay because they're terrible anyway?
> Talk about crap. How about letting people decide their own fates? This, to me, is what liberty is all
> about. It doesn't mean you or I have to like or accept their way of doing things, just that we have
> to let them work out their own destinies. How would you like it if someone who disapproved of your
> way of life were to conquer you "for your own good"? Think about what you're saying here. Try to see
> beyond your own biases.

My own biases are that I like to maximize individual liberty for myself
and others. Its already a fact that there are millions and billions of
people in this world who want to conquer me for my own good, and who
consider me a wacked out right wing nutjob because I believe in my right
to defend myself. They are hard at work at it every day. They don't seem
to think that this is in any way 'cultural imperialism' because they see
it as a good thing to take my guns away from me. My analysis of this
situation is that the low-trust societies are winning, and their
low-trust ideas are ever more prevalent in American society, especially
in the big cities. Therefore I regard it as entirely proper for me to
use any and all means. Now, exchange 'my guns' with the technology of
your choice. The primary promulgators of anti-technology and
anti-individual liberty cultural imperialism are the same people who yap
on and on about cultural imperialism against any French or non-western
european culture: They are Greens. Wake up and smell the napalm. A
'balanced approach' won't cut it, as I've shown. They are not interested
in compromise, in cutting a deal, in being 'balanced'. He who sits on a
fence winds up nailed to a cross of fenceposts.

> > Most revisionists tend to try to count epidemic deaths in their blame
> > games when accusing europeans of 'genocide'. The fact is that one
> > quarter to 90 percent of local populations perished when exposed to
> > western diseases over a period of a few decades, long before anyone had
> > any idea of how disease was transmitted.
> > What conflict actually occured is more properly described as low level
> > warfare, with one side almost constantly losing (indeed, the first
> > British colonies in NA were under attack almost from the start).
> And why was there warfare? Because an outside group came in and tried to take over their land.
> Wouldn't your response to this be the same? Wouldn't you fight the intruders?

Yes I would have. Warfare is not, however, genocide.

> > > 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.
> >
> > While you don't seem to be able to let go of the idea that in every
> > situation, leaving despotic and evil cultural practices in place
> > unmolested is better than educating and improving through nation
> > building efforts. Thats a rather black and white position you hold.
> Okay, Michael. Try to focus here. In the quote from me above, I say that I would never claim it's all
> black and white and that, in fact, this B&W way of looking at things is one of the things I am
> objecting to here. Then you go right on accusing me of having a black and white position. Am I not
> writing clear sentences here? I believe we speak the same language. And another thing, where exactly
> do I say that "leaving despotic and evil cultural practices in place unmolested is better than
> educating and improving through nation building efforts"? Nowhere.

I quote:
"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

Its all a matter of creating a greater good by choosing the lesser of
two evils over time. Would killing more Germans during WWI using more
terror weapons have possibly prevented WWII by killing the key Nazis,
and thus saved 50 million lives?

Had Lincoln lost his presidential election the South would have kept
millions of slaves in bondage and repression for another decade or more,
and the 'cultural imperialism' of the North would not have decimated the
practices of the genteel ante-bellum South. If we are to take a
'balanced approach' as you claim, how can you justify the decimation of
the South and the killing of 300,000 people in a war to forcibly end a
cultural practice that was perfectly legal in the states which legally
and Constitutionally chose to secede from the Union? Far more people
were killed or disabled in the War than were freed by the Emancipation
Proclamation, and Lincoln's goal of bringing the South back into the
Union was in contravention to the US Constitution's own basis. If you
are going to condemn imperialism, then what do you have to say about

> Please do not put words in my
> mouth. All I have ever contended in regard to this (now rather tiresome) subject is that acts of
> oppression cannot be justified in this way. Taking away someone's (or some group's, or some nation's)
> liberty is wrong. Period. I don't care what positive outcomes can be pointed to centuries later by
> apologists. If we are going to take the position that denying someone's liberty is wrong, then how
> can you continue rationlizing colonization and imperialism? This does not compute. Even if you want
> to call imperialism "nation building efforts."

See above...

> > Imperialism wasn't about denying individuals their liberty, it was about transforming non-western
> > societies so that they could appreciate the
> > concept of individual liberty more.
> Oh please, give me a break. This is just more rationalization through hindsight. Why can't you, a
> self-proclaimed advocate of liberty and self-determination, see how specious an argument this is?

It worked in the Civil War, the Spanish American War, WWII, and the Cold

> > Sometimes that involved conflict and
> > violence dealing with adherents of the old order who wanted to retain
> > their 'right' to continue to oppress their people. If you insist that
> > they have the right to oppress and be oppressed, then you must also
> > accept the idea that some cultures cannot become libertarian or
> > democratic, and that some people cannot appreciate individual liberty.
> Again (yawn), I'm not saying this. Please don't put words in my mouth.

Its a rational logical extension of your claims. Explain yourself or
concede the point.

> > Ah, 'taking into account the larger culture in which this took place'.
> > Damning the past from our own perceptions is a game that applies to all.
> I'm not doing this. I'm saying that even though Jefferson was wrong to own slaves, his actions can
> only be understood in the broader cultural context of his day. In his society, slave-owning was
> acceptible and "normal," and only changed when enough of his contemporaries (and later generations)
> worked to affect a change. This doesn't make his actions any less wrong, it simply provides a context
> in which we can look at the situation critically rather than just damning him from our (more
> enlightened) perspective.

> > I find it funny that leftists who claim to hate imperialism seem to
> > worship the idea of ancient Athens and its democracy, despite the fact
> > that Athens was an imperialist nation that dominated the Greek world
> > with its Navy, while the Sparta that leftists decry as militaristic, etc
> > was purposely structured to help avoid imperialism despite their
> > superiority in military arts.
> Hmmm. Where did this come from? Since I have neither claimed to be a leftist, or mentioned ancient
> Athens, I'm wondering why you threw this in. By the way, I agree with your assessment.

Well thats a switch. Not going to become an Athenian apologist?

> > > Why do you feel the need to label me a communalist when I have never once claimed to be one?
> >
> > Communists have always claimed to not be communists until they took
> > power. I judge by what you say and do, not by what you claim about
> > yourself. If you espouse concepts that are communistic, socialistic,
> > etc. then you label yourself. Revisionism, subjectivism, relativism, etc
> > are all propaganda tools of socialists and communists and are rather
> > indicative.
> Oh, I see. I'm a communist because you say I am, even though I repeatedly tell you I'm not.

If you are really not I apologize, however you are being way too much of
an apologist for their standpoints and propaganda memes for me to not
consider the issue.

> This is a
> weak and embarrassing way to conduct a discussion, and seriously undermines your credibility. And
> just because certain rhetorical techniques are abused as tools of propaganda (which we all engage in
> all the time, by the way, including you) by certain groups,

Correction: were invented by certain groups as tools of propaganda. I
suppose zyklon B, in the hands of a responsible exterminator, is just
dandy for termites, it's just an abused, misunderstood poison that
suffers from the revisionistic cultural imperialism of the Allies.... I
hope you are intelligent enough to comprehend irony...

> it doesn't mean that anyone who uses them
> AT ALL is somehow (unknown to themselves) a member of said group. This is ridiculous, and is the kind
> of useless labeling I will continue to call you on. Oh, and I'm not interested in "taking power" over
> anything except my own life.

Then stop making excuses for them.

> > So am I. You regularly (as many 'anarchist' socialists do), pay lip
> > service to opposition to government tyranny of the individual while
> > continually decrying corporate abuses of individuals and more
> > frequently, groups, despite the fact that governments abuse far more
> > people than corporations ever have.
> Oh, so now I'm an "anarchist socialist"? Geez, make up your mind. And again, you totally
> misunderstand and misrepresent what I said. I have clearly and repeatedly decried tyranny of all
> kinds, not just that perpetrated by governments or corporations. Is this too clear for you?

Then why have you been continually bringing up corporations?

> > You regularly claim that abuses
> > committed by governments are actually just the governments being the
> > lackeys of corporations. This focus on corporations as if they are the
> > primary source of power is indicative of your primary orientation (and
> > that of 'anarchist' socialists in general).
> Again, I have never said this. Why do you feel the need to make me into something I'm not? If you
> need an enemy that fits this description, look elsewhere. All I have ever claimed in regard to this
> matter is that corporations have and do commit acts of oppression, but ALWAYS in collusion with
> governments. And I have repeatedly said that I am interested in looking at all factors, not just
> blaming one group or another. Again, is this too subtle?

You have, at best, now that you have been called out, trying to portray
corporations and governments as equally evil. History demonstrates that
corporations are a speck of a pustule on the back of the history of
government oppression of the individual. Ok, who is more evil: a person
who kills one person so he can feed his family, or a person who kills
1000 people just because its fun (especially when they beg)? Time to
make actual DECISIONS here Neal. Pick a side.

> > People can and sometimes do commit evil acts. Should we thus confiscate
> > all individual liberties?
> Of course not.
> > Portraying corporations as the greater
> > evil is thus disingenuous.
> Again, I never said this.

Ok, portraying corporations as equally evil when governments commit the
vast majority of evil acts is thus disengenuous.

> > I don't deny that any concentration of power
> > greater than that of an individual is more prone to abuse than that
> > likely from an individual with no more power than their own.
> I'm glad we agree on this.
> > Trying to protect people from the consequences of their actions does
> > nothing but build up a debt of consequences that are devastating when
> > they (and the accrued interest) come due.
> >
> > Life in general is caveat emptor. Refusing to accept this is as futile
> > as trying to refuse to accept gravity or e-mc^2. If you want to live a
> > better life, guess what? Its best done do-it-yourself.
> I agree with you on this, and have never indicated otherwise. All I am calling for is a balanced
> approach to examining the problems we are discussing here, one that doesn't resort to name-calling,
> labeling or rigidly adhering to any one ideology. If this seems to fit your description of a leftist,
> or a communist, or an anarchist, well, whatever. I prefer to think of myself as someone who tries to
> think outside the box. Call me eclectic.

Thinking is fine, Neal. At some point you have to make a decision,
though, or your thinking isn't worth spit. Because liberty and
oppression always seem to come in shades of grey, you can't always make
a decision that will result in no oppression at all. Somebody is gonna
think they got shafted, whether they did or not. There were plenty of
Indian men who feel they got shafted when the British said,"You have the
cultural tradition of burning women, just as we have the cultural
tradition of hanging men who burn women." That isn't 'imperialism'. The
world isn't perfect that way. Deciding then that all decisions are
equally bad is wrong.

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