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Iraq: It’s the right’s fault
Posted by: McQ on Monday, August 07, 2006

Interesting couple of paragraphs over at Inactivst.
I submit that too many libertarians today, namely, those who supported the invasion of Iraq but who refuse to face the reality that it is a hugely expensive debacle, are not operating as Hayekian libertarians generally do. Rather, they are frequently evading the ugly truth and engaging in overt blame-shifting, deplorable scape-goating, and rank excuse-making. They are doing everything, that is, save for manfully (I know, I know) accepting responsibility for having been utterly wrong; most certainly these libertarians are not crediting those who have been tragically proven right.
Deconstruction time. Let's start with "Hayekian libertarians". A classic appeal to authority. The implication being that if you're not "operating as [a] Hayekian libertarian", you're simply wrong (and probably not a, ahem, real libertarian). One assumes that a Hayekian libertarian, whatever that is, wouldn't have been for the invasion of Iraq. It's a "What Would Fredrich Do" moment.

Of course left out in the cold is the fact that Hayek fled to England in the '30s, refusing to return to Austria after the Nazis took over. Eventually his mentor, Ludwig von Mises did the same. Neither were friends of totalitarians and mass murderers.

In fact von Mises made no bones about it in his book "Human Action"1:

"The only way for a refutation of Nazism left for foreign nations ... was to defeat them in war."

So appealing to Hayek is a marginally appropriate ploy at best. In reality it is transparent appeal to an icon of many libertarians in an attempt to question the morality and intellectual honesty of the pro-war libertarians, as you'll see in a bit.

Secondly, the "hugely costly debacle" isn't the invasion of Iraq. It is the occupation of Iraq. Those are two separate things. The invasion was pretty well done. The occupation has been less that satisfactory and seemingly becoming less so if the situation in Baghdad is any indication. But to simply declare it an abject failure seems to be a bit premature.

So, dealing with the "invasion" and based on the intelligence available at the time in the context of the situation of the time, I am still at a loss as to how that was "utterly wrong". Subsequent events have shown the intel was indeed wrong about certain issues, but if ever there was an attempt to rewrite history it falls on those now pretending that post invasion information somehow makes the decision to invade at the time "utterly wrong". It wasn't "utterly wrong" then nor will it ever be "utterly wrong".

The occupation, on the other hand, has been poorly executed as a result of poor or non-existent planning. I have no problem buying into that or admitting it. However, that doesn't then mean that no progress has been made or there is no possibility for success.

We've covered the problems, talked about the sectarian violence, militias, Iran's meddling, the Sunni insurgency, al Qaeda, al Sadr, Abu Ghraib, IEDs, torture, the rise of religiously based fighting, the slow progress of training the Iraqis and the consequences of failure. But we've also covered the vote, the writing of the constitution, the formation of the government and the progress in training the Iraqis to take charge of their own country.

Yet in true Greenwaldian fashion of gross generalization, "too many" libertarians - those who supported the invasion and have supported the occupation - are tarred with the same brush which asserts they are "evading the ugly truth and engaging in overt blame-shifting, deplorable scape-goating, and rank excuse-making", as if anyone here has any concept whatsoever of what the supposed "ugly truth" really is in Iraq. The rest of the post focuses on supporting the tarring. And the carefully offered "too many" qualifier allows the future claim that those who protest such prose probably weren't included in that "too many" group to begin with.

Of course no possibility is entertained that those who support finishing the job see it as necessary to ensure that the wrong message isn't sent to those who wish us harm. No analysis is evident which considers the premise that those who favor completion of the job do so in the best interest of the country and national security. Huh uh ... they can only be "evading the ugly truth", and engaged in "overt blame-shifting" and "deplorable scape-goating and rank excuse-making."

Wonderfully entertaining if not empty rhetoric.

We then are treated to a little premature triumphalism, having closed the book on Iraq and telling us that those who've been against the Iraq war have been 'tragically proven right'.

Have they? By what standard? Apparently assertion is now the standard for closing the book on "debacles". Obviously those who still support it simply can't really consider themselves intellectually honest unless they too buy into the assumption, based on an assertion, that the book on Iraq has closed for good.
And should our beliefs about the wisdom and relative ease of liberating Iraq and installing a stable democracy there prove to be dependent on factual assumptions shown to be incorrect — and this has happened by any reasonable metric — it would hardly be moral to defend them by refusing to acknowledge facts. Even less moral to engage in scape-goating a despised abstraction denominated as the "left," and/or those who at the outset were guided by an accurate base of factual assumptions.
Again the underlying assumption here is that those who are pro-war have been proven to be incorrect. An absolutist assertion is invoked, the phrase "any reasonable metric", which is, of course, designed to close debate, not invite it. And then aspersions are cast on the morals of those who "refuse to acknowledge facts" without as single fact being presented for acknowledgment.

Interestingly, the morality of those supporters of the war is further cast into doubt if they commit the mortal sin of "scape-goating". You know, like blaming the "debacle" on the "right" while those on the "left" - who helped get us into the "debacle" - ducked for the cover of declaring they had changed their minds and now pretend they had no hand in it.

The same group who now tries to convince us that leaving prematurely is a good thing and will have no effect whatsoever on our future national security.

But going with the assumptions laid out here, it would appear the only moral course then, if you buy the argument presented, is to assume the "debacle" has failed, give a hearty "mea culpa" and throw in the figurative towel. We should then, obviously do what those who were "right" about all of this have since demanded.

Abandon the project. Call it a day. Declare victory and go home. "Redeploy" to Okinawa. No need to take a long view of the effect on our national security or how our enemies will view us. No need to demonstrate our ability to see even a 'debacle' through to the natural end. Nope, the world is filled with reasonable people and we simply need to admit our mistake and all will understand.

No one would dream of taking advantage of a seemingly diminished US. No enemy would ever take comfort or encouragement from such a thing.

And then, should we follow that course, when the next embassy is destroyed, the next warship in port is holed and sunk by a suicide attack and the next mass casualty attack occurs on US soil, the conventional wisdom will assuredly blame those who got us into the Iraqi "debacle" to begin with, because, well, you know, the rest of the world hates us and we obviously made more terrorists by our actions and now we're paying for it.

It'll be the right's fault. And rightfully so. Scape-goating them would be the moral thing for any self-respecting Hayekian libertarian to do.

____________________

1. Human Action, p.187, Ludwig von Mises, 3rd revised edition, Regnary Press, 1966.
 
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And then, should we follow that course, when the next embassy is destroyed, the next warship in port is holed and sunk by a suicide attack and the next mass casualty attack occurs on US soil, the conventional wisdom will assuredly blame those who got us into the Iraqi "debacle" to begin with, because, well, you know, the rest of the world hates us and we obviously made more terrorists by our actions and now we’re paying for it.
Red Herring cleanup on aisle five please.

Are we talking about the Iraq War/Occupation or terrorism here? Geez, no wonder you didn’t want to respond in the comments.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
Where to start? How about here:
Secondly, the "hugely costly debacle" isn’t the invasion of Iraq. It is the occupation of Iraq. Those are two separate things.
The invasion was pretty well done. The occupation has been less that satisfactory and seemingly becoming less so if the situation in Baghdad is any indication
Less than satisfactory? That’s what you call it? You may have singlehandedly redefined the word "understatement."

You cannot properly analyze a problem unless you are willing to candidly acknowledge the factual basis of the problem. And it is quite apparent that you are not willing to do that.

As for the invasion and occupation being two "separate" things, so what? Of what possible good is a sucessful invasion if the occupation does not make the situation better or actually makes it worse? Tell me why Saddam - who had no nukes, and was a foe of the Iranians - is better than a fundamentalist Shia government allied with Iran, which does have nukes? Please explain that one.
Of course no possibility is entertained that those who support finishing the job see it as necessary to ensure that the wrong message isn’t sent to those who wish us harm.
Yes - it is entertained. And dismissed as nonsense. Finish what job? Ensuring that a Shiite/fundamentalist/Iranian-allied/anti-American "government" consolidates its hold over the country? Taking sides in a civil war?

And what message are we sending by staying? That we are so weak, so ineffectual, we cannot control the security situation in a third world country? That we will tolerate Shia militias run by non-state actors to operate without restraint in our midst? That our boys should die so hundreds of thousands of Shia fundamentalists can walk the streets of Baghdad shouting Death to America, all the while being protected by the "unity" government that my tax dollars are going to support?

By staying we look increasingly weak, and, at the same time, through our presence, we are aiding and abetting the fundamentalists in their propaganda war against the West.

If nothing else, this war has shown the ideological bankruptcy of the right. Because Bush started it, they cannot acknowledge the reality that is Iraq. Instead, the simply moan that things are proceeding in a "less than satisfactory" manner.

The Vietnam War was started by Dems. And when it came time to end that debacle, the political left took the lead. The Iraq war was started by Repubs. Will the political right show the same courage?

To answer the question is to answer it.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I read the excerpt and immediately thought "Hmm, sounds like Mona." And sure enough...

And you quite effectively pinpoint her short-sightedness. She adamantly refuses to look at the consequences of the actions she herself advocates.

One of the potential consequences, for example, is nuclear war with Islamic fanatics. Admittedly at this point a low probability outcome (rendered far lower because of the Iraq operation, I might add), but definitely a plausible one given certain circumstances. Those circumstances include disengagement from the Middle East, because in that case the range of options we have to resist the spread of nuclear weapons to Islamists becomes quite limited.

But no, such long-term possibilities never seem to matter to certain folks. Must be nice not to have to actually ponder such depressing matters, and to believe that everything would just be so simple and work out so well if we would just listen to their enlightended opinions.

I’m sure some of them are reading these very words and rationalizing how such a thing could never happen. It amazes me that there are folks who watched planes hit buildings and kill thousands of people, and don’t believe the Islamists would use nuclear weapons if they could. Or that believe, Peter-Pan-like, that if we just get out of the Middle East and wish hard enough, somehow everything will work out.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
One of the potential consequences, for example, is nuclear war with Islamic fanatics. Admittedly at this point a low probability outcome (rendered far lower because of the Iraq operation, I might add)
There is only 1 islamic fanatic government currently known to possess nuclear weapons (as well as having the single worst history in proliferating them) and one possibly on the way.

I really can’t see how eliminating the foe of the nuclear "comer" and installing a government friendly to them renders the likelyhood of nuclear war with Islamist fanatics less likely.
 
Written By: Davebo
URL: http://
"The Vietnam War was started by Dems. And when it came time to end that debacle, the political left took the lead."

Sure - but only because the Democrats shfited from pro-liberty to pro-communism during the 1960s. The Left supported the enslavement of the Vietnamese by a totalitarian state. Will MKultra admit that? Will the Right follow the left and support the totalitarian overthrow of Iraq?
 
Written By: Anti-War is Pro-Slavery
URL: http://
After reading several of Mona’s writings on this subject, I’m starting to believe that her diverging point of opinion is here (emphasized):
And should our beliefs about the wisdom and relative ease of liberating Iraq and installing a stable democracy there prove to be dependent on factual assumptions shown to be incorrect — and this has happened by any reasonable metric — it would hardly be moral to defend them by refusing to acknowledge facts.
I recall she also commented similarly on an earlier QandO post saying that the administration had "sold" us its Iraq plan. Mona’s initial support, I think, was founded on an expectation that Iraq would be easier to accomplish than it has been, and that the administration gave her that expectation.

I may be wrong. But Mona, if that is correct, then I can see how my position would look nutty from your vantage point. In forming my expectation, I listened to the administration, the critics, and the debaters in the media. I researched it, discussed it with other people, and debated it with myself. Based largely on the opinions of the early critics you cite, I believed it was entirely possible that American casualties would be higher, civilian casualties would be higher, and less progress overall would have been made by now. And I supported the effort based on that expectation — that it would be a very difficult, long-term endeavor.

Debating individual current facts with me would probably seem like debating a brick wall from your side. For you, if the critics are proven correct then a mistake is indicated. For me, that possibility was already factored in. I supported the war with the expectation that it would be worse than it is, so things have to get worse before I withdraw my support.
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
One more thing to realize is that if Pakistan becomes unhinged, the Islamist nuts won’t need Iran. They will have Pakistan which is already nuclear capable.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
The Iraq war was started by Repubs
Really? I though it was started by Saddam way back when he violated every clause of the cease-fire agreement.

Guess I was wrong.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Isn’t it more a “no true Scotsman”?
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
McQ, can you really separate the invasion from the occupation as you’re attempting to do? I’m not asking a rhetorical question; I’m genuinely curious about the answer.

It seems to me that such a separation would imply that the objectives of the invasion could be achieved without occupation. Could they? Further wouldn’t removing the government of Iraq and then leaving without replacing it have itself constituted a war crime?

Once again, I’m not challenging you. I’m hoping you’ll explain your thinking a little more closely for us.

I’m also skeptical that given the skills, inclinations, resources, and time available that the occupation could have been handled a great deal better than it has. But that’s another subject.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
You know, as a Libertarian I am starting to come around on this whole Iraq thing, You lefties are right we ought to just pull out now.

That way, when Iran takes over the region and starts their religious cleansing, absolutely no other nation in the world will ever trust the United States or look to us for protection for at least an entire generation.

And as a Libertarian, that would be cool, because we could just become isolationist again and pull our troops out of every nut job place in the world.

good plan.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
I think Mona has a far better argument than McQ about the current cost/benefit calculation of the Iraq venture—though the final accounting is still down the road a bit—and all the ’you can’t prove it!’ indignation McQ throws out doesn’t really obscure that. Schuler made a legitimate point, too.

And do you really think "Hayekian libertarian" was an appeal to authority? It seemed perfectly clear to me that she was referring to the spontaneous order issue for which Hayek is most famous and most revered in the libertarian fold. In that, she very clearly has a good point at this particular moment in the war.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Problem - occupation has been less that satisfactory

Proposed Right Wing solution - we must stay the course and it will get better.

Proposed Left Wing solution - we must quit and get Iraq to work it out for itself.

Proposed Islamist Solution - we must try every possible option (insurgency against foreign troops, beheadings, sponsoring political movements, suicide bombs, IEDs, sectarian violence...) until we find a way to remove the prospect of a democratic Iraq.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
McQ, can you really separate the invasion from the occupation as you’re attempting to do? I’m not asking a rhetorical question; I’m genuinely curious about the answer.
Militarily, you bet. Tell me Dave, do you believe the military we had there at the time was prepared to transition into an occupation force?
It seems to me that such a separation would imply that the objectives of the invasion could be achieved without occupation. Could they?
They were ... Saddam was toppled, their army was destroyed and the Baathist regime was pushed out of power. Regime change was effected.
Further wouldn’t removing the government of Iraq and then leaving without replacing it have itself constituted a war crime?
Well that wasn’t what was expected, was it? What was obviously assumed is that some level of civil authority would survive the invasion. It didn’t and we were left holding a big bag of "look what you won".
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"That our boys should die so hundreds of thousands of Shia fundamentalists can walk the streets of Baghdad shouting Death to America..."

Somehow MK adopting the Norman Rockwellian "our boys" here strikes a very false note. Lefies are now in the final throes of totally leaving the real world to join together in pure narrative. They desperately need a sign, some icon like the attacks on the Towers, in order to vivify their version of "truth". Sorry Charley, er..MK. In your desperate need you have seized on this march, but it’s all wrong. You see, having the freedom to make that march is a good thing. That fact bleeds through your message. You need something black and white [like Abu Ghraib] and this march just isn’t it. It will fade quickly as a propaganda tool.
Not a nice try, for reasons stated.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
I have one big problem with the isolated cost/benefit calculation of any foreign "adventure": what were the costs of our other possible actions?

I’ve posed this question about a thousand times to various war critics, including those whose opinions I respect and whose criticism is actually incisive rather than purely vitriolic.

The question is,
"It’s late 2002. You’ve knocked the Taliban out of power. Al Qaeda and the Taliban remnants have disappeared into the mountains and caves and across the Pakistani border. It’s been just over one year since the 9/11 attacks.

There are still several states and networks out there that pose a threat to the United States and its key interests. Some of those threats are clearer than others.

What now?"


Whatever the large costs and marginal benefits of the Iraq war may be, they do not exist in isolation. Let’s look at opportunity cost. What were our other options, and what were the likely costs and benefits of those options?

Some people try to counter with their own question, "So wait, you’re assuming we had to invade somebody, aren’t you?"
I don’t know. Make a case for the United States and its allies keeping the war to just Afghanistan after late 2002 if you want, but be honest and talk about the very likely costs and marginal benefits of such a strategy.

Where does that leave us vis a vis Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and Syria? Does Libya still make the moves they’ve made since we toppled Saddam? Without an invasion of Iraq, how many more resources could Al Qaeda have invested pursuing the destabilization of Pakistan?

Where does that leave us vis a vis Al Qaeda and the international terrorist groups that remain in place? Are they again emboldened by the West’s seeming unwillingness to go after other dangerous regimes, to take a few casualties? Do their networks remain intact? Do we have the same power to disrupt them that we might have if we followed a different strategy?

How long before sanctions are lifted off of Saddam’s regime and he starts pursuing weapons again? Will we be able to displace him without mass casualties during the invasion?

Late 2002 was not a simple time.

Now, I’m all for realistically assessing the costs and benefits of our invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, and other ways we could have gone about it. But I’m also listening for alternatives, because the opportunity cost matters in a big way to our strategic calculus.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I’m also skeptical that given the skills, inclinations, resources, and time available that the occupation could have been handled a great deal better than it has. But that’s another subject.
Well it would have been nice had there been a plan in existence for a transition from combat to occupation, but I clearly got the idea, as the troops stood and watched the looting, that no such thing existed. That caused most of 2004 to be a bust. It gave the insurgency time to gin up and we’ve been behind the power curve since.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t recoverable, but it certainly gave up a lot of space and time for no gain that didn’t have to be given up. Had we had a plan in place for the worst case scenario (the one we suffered) after Saddam was toppled, my guess is we’d be working our way out of there right now.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Tell me Dave, do you believe the military we had there at the time was prepared to transition into an occupation force?
No, that’s one of the several reasons I thought the invasion was a poor idea. I believe that with characteristic resourcefulness our military is mastering as quickly as can reasonably be expected the skills required for the mission they now find themselves in but I honestly don’t believe it was the mission they were trained for.

Saddam was toppled, their army was destroyed and the Baathist regime was pushed out of power. Regime change was effected.
I thought that there were other, somewhat more expansive objectives including finding Saddam’s stockpiles of bacteriological and chemical weapons and inroducing a democratic government into Iraq.

Again, I’m not being argumentative. I’m just trying to gain understanding.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
Once again, just for the record, although I disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq I believe that U. S. vital interests are such that withdrawal before there’s a viable government there would be very foolish. The bottom line is that we just can’t allow a failed Arab state in the heart of the Middle East with oil and water.
 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
I believe that with characteristic resourcefulness our military is mastering as quickly as can reasonably be expected the skills required for the mission they now find themselves in but I honestly don’t believe it was the mission they were trained for.
We agree. That’s police work. I said so at the time. Armies kill people and break things. Police forces enforce the law and keep order. Occupation is about the latter.

Giving it a little more thought, I separate the invasion from the occupation because of the differences in mission. Sure we’d have to have some military in country for occupation duty (and training), but in reality, the job isn’t a military job.
I thought that there were other, somewhat more expansive objectives including finding Saddam’s stockpiles of bacteriological and chemical weapons and inroducing a democratic government into Iraq.
Those may have been other objectives but neither are missions of an invasion force. It has one and only one mission ... win the fight. It did. And the foreign policy initiative, for which it was used, was accomplished ... regime change.
Again, I’m not being argumentative. I’m just trying to gain understanding.
I understand Dave and I’m not taking your questions as an attempt to be argumentive.

The fact remains that the invasion was a purely military mission. Occupation, as we all know (or have learned) is much more. It involves civil, military, law enforcement, financial, infrastructure, trade, you name it.

So I easily separate the invasion from occupation because one is all military and the other should be only a small part military. The problem is that transition never happened until late in the game (2005?) and as a result our military got stuck with the job.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Once again, just for the record, although I disagreed with the decision to invade Iraq I believe that U. S. vital interests are such that withdrawal before there’s a viable government there would be very foolish. The bottom line is that we just can’t allow a failed Arab state in the heart of the Middle East with oil and water.
Well, that’s kinda the point of the post Dave that gets lost in all the "I told you sos" and "we’re right and your wrong" stuff ... thanks.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think Mona has a far better argument than McQ about the current cost/benefit calculation of the Iraq venture—
Well that’s not particularly surprising, but as OrneryWP points out, quite well I think, it isn’t all about "cost/benefit calcualtions" and that’s the part on which Mona doesn’t seem to have a very good handle or argument.

 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Thanks for being so patient with me, McQ. I think I understand what you’re getting at now.

The distinctions in mission that you’re making are very reminiscent of the distinction that Tom Barnett makes between our present military and his suggested additional “SysAdmin force”. Our present military being the kind of people they are i.e. good they’re trying to create the SysAdmin force on the fly and it’s bound to be painful to watch the process.

And, like you, I don’t care who shot John.

 
Written By: Dave Schuler
URL: http://www.theglitteringeye.com
I supported the war with the expectation that it would be worse than it is, so things have to get worse before I withdraw my support.
Same here. I figured we were buying at least a ten year occupation. Japan took longer than that. (Of course, we didn’t have a left-wing in the USA at that time unwittingly egging on any recalcitrants in Japan to resist us.)

 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
on the title of the post: It’s the Right’s Fault.

It seems to me that there’s a fallacy of the excluded middle there. As I read Mona’s post, I think she’s saying that certain righties and libertarians are seeing an apparently failing occupation strategy and looking to lay blame anywhere but the administration.

now, even if Mona is correct and there is a "stab in the back" effort brewing, that does not mean that the blame correctly lies on the administration. For example, blame could be shared among the President, Congress, the Pentagon and the Iraqis themselves.

And maybe it was the case that the country simply was not governable by anyone other than a dictator, or only after a civil war. Maybe Abe Lincoln and Gen. George Marshall wouldn’t have had the collective wisdom to prevent the collapse of law and order in Iraq.

however, having an administration which doesn’t believe in nation-building launch the most ambitious nation-building effort in 60 years may not have been the brightest idea ever.
 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
on the title of the post: It’s the Right’s Fault.

It seems to me that there’s a fallacy of the excluded middle there.
Well I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in it Francis ... the title is a bit of sarcasm.
however, having an administration which doesn’t believe in nation-building launch the most ambitious nation-building effort in 60 years may not have been the brightest idea ever.
I don’t disagree ... but here we are. Now what?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
INACTIVIST
"An unpolitical demonstration by deeply uncommitted inactivists"
And this is where Mona has posting privileges?

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
now what? well ain’t that the 640 billion dollar question.

Militarily:

A. Grind it out. On the one hand, I can’t believe that the electorate will tolerate 2 more years of US forces stuck in the middle of an ever-growing civil war. On the other, I can’t believe that GWB will ever withdraw troops under fire, like the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon (last time around).

B. Withdraw. If the Democrats take one chamber, I could see an under-the-table deal where investigations are soft-pedalled once troops come home. If the Democrats take the House and Senate, then they’ll zero-budget the war and force withdrawal.

Domestic Politics:

It’d be really nice to have some reconciliation between the parties and have the sensible centrists govern. I also heard that a snowball cat was doing just fine in Hell, because it just froze over. If the Democrats even get close to parity in either chamber, I expect two years of some vicious payback. If they take a chamber, I expect investigations under subpoena of: Diebold voting machines, pre-war intelligence, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, Abramoff, V. Plame, Katrina response, DHS grants, etc. etc. Maybe in ’08 exhaustion will set in, especially if the Presidential candidates aren’t linked to either the GWB or Clinton administrations.

 
Written By: Francis
URL: http://
Militarily, you bet. Tell me Dave, do you believe the military we had there at the time was prepared to transition into an occupation force?
One rather got the impression that the invasion itself took far less time and trouble than anyone imagined. It’s not hard to figure, thereby, that the transition force... the police, if you will... was less than fully in place at the desired time.

That over-estimation of the time involved for the actual invasion is understandable, based on the intel everyone had at the time.But still, there it is; we were the victims of our own unexpected success.
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Jon Henke, whom I have come [from a very low initial evaluation] to respect, is dragging Mona in and giving her a bully pulpit. So something is up. Her thinking is not as concise as I would like. She is riding the crest of the bad news from Iraq wave. She has lingering BDS. She thinks that modern neo-libs give a sh*t what Hayek said or did. Still, what she says makes a lot of sense.
Of course it does. It is desigined specifically to make sense. It is a narrative. She is free to move all over the board; and change positions without any restrictions due to actually having to decide real committments and keep real promises. Change positions daily. OF COURSE she can make sense.
Think of how logical it is that one should have thought to get gas [in addition to getting the tickets, making the reservations, planning for parking, planning the picnic lunch, etc. and etc.]. OF COURSE we should have realized that we should have [fill in the blank].
OK. We do whatever Mona decides fits into the narrative. First [and foremost] we elect Democrats. That is a given.

......
.......
.........



OH, I’m sorry. Then.....ugh...we get out of Iraq. Don’t worry, the Democrats are not responsible and are merely making do with a bad situation created by Bush. Ignore the fact that Democrats voted for....NOT RELEVANT [to the narrative]. Incidentally, that we all got into this together... not relevant to liberals [however they bill themselves now].
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
as OrneryWP points out, quite well I think, it isn’t all about "cost/benefit calcualtions"
Of course it is. Everything is questions of value. And opportunity cost is a part of that cost/benefit calculation.

Are you actually telling me that you’d enter a war despite a negative cost/benefit calculation? Perhaps Iraq will turn out well. I don’t know yet. But you’re certainly not making the case that it will, and that the expenditure will have been worth it.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Mona declares that those of us libertarians who supported the war in Iraq and who have yet to renounce it are guilty of overt blame-shifting, deplorable scape-goating, rank excuse-making, and failure to accept responsibility for having been "utterly wrong."

Meanwhile, Howard Dean and the netroots are now not only "prescient" but "thoroughly vindicated".

One of the commenters (Mona again?) goes on to psychoanalyze us blame-shifting, scape-goating, excuse-making, utterly wrong types as deeply resentfull of the profound prescience of the Deaniacs.

The problem that I have with all of this is that I spent the years prior to the invasion of Iraq deeply engrossed, on literally a daily basis, in internet debates with the profoundly prescient crowd, and I do not not recall them making the arguments that Mona wants to give them credit for now.

The arguments against the war that I encountered back then were: Bush just wants to steal Iraqi oil; Bush just wants to kill brown-skinned people; Bush just wants revenge for the assassination attempt on his dad; Bush is just a puppet for the PNAC/Jewish/[Fill-in-the-blank] conspiracy; Bush is just a warmonger; etc.

Certainly, the people who conceived, planned, and executed this war, and those of us who supported it (not all of whom, btw, are part of Mona’s "neocon" comic-book-villain cabal) made plenty of mistakes, and I have no hesitation to take ownership of them.

It seems to me that the people who are trying to avoid admitting their own errors are the anti-war types who WISH that they had made serious arguments before the war instead of engaging in over-the-top rhetoric and street theatre.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Of course it is. Everything is questions of value.
No one is arguing it isn’t.
And opportunity cost is a part of that cost/benefit calculation.
I’m sure I said "it isn’t all about "cost/benefit calcualtions". Yup, I did.

What part of that did you miss? And what in the world are you arguing?
Are you actually telling me that you’d enter a war despite a negative cost/benefit calculation?
Wha? What did I just say above?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
One rather got the impression that the invasion itself took far less time and trouble than anyone imagined. It’s not hard to figure, thereby, that the transition force... the police, if you will... was less than fully in place at the desired time.
Nonsense. There was no transition team in place or ready to be in place. If there had been they’d have been staged in Kuwait before the invasion. It wasn’t until late 2004 anything even got going in terms of transition.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Mona and others like her on the left (disclaimer: I am familiar with Mona’s claim that she is a Libertarian but find no evidence to believe it) are so concerned with making sure blame is properly accredited out over what they see as mistakes in this war (or for this war overall)

Do they really want to get into the blame game? To put it in the most clinincal, detached terms possible, I’d certainly rather be to "blame" for Iraq than for the mass slaughter in SE Asia after the left ran us out of there, or for the 9/11 attacks after the darling of the left’s feckless "law enforcement" approach utterly and dismally failed.

Again Mona, do you really want to go there?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
however, having an administration which doesn’t believe in nation-building launch the most ambitious nation-building effort in 60 years may not have been the brightest idea ever
An amazingly context-free statement.

I wonder what could’ve happened to make the administration change its mind?
 
Written By: Shark
URL: http://
There are many criticisms of the Iraq war that don’t rely on appeal to authority.

To name a few...

What libertarianism steals "tax" money by threat of imprisonment for war?
What libertarianism would imprison a soldier for refusing to take part?
What libertarianism holds people under military occupation?
What libertarianism "doesn’t do bodycounts"?
What libertarianism treats sovereign governments as client states?
What libertarianism is responsible for killing more than 100,000 people?
 
Written By: Nicolai
URL: http://www.ameswire.com
Jon, I may be misreading your argument about cost-benefit calculation, but it seems to me like this addresses the problem at the heart of dogmatic libertarian beliefs. Everything is economics to you. Everything has a cost/benefit ratio. Everything is neatly stamped, assigned a name and cost, and clinically evaluated. This is the soulless root of doctrinaire libertarianism. This is the result of staying up at nights reading Hayek, Friedman, etc. until you literally see everything in terms of economics. Can you not halt the accountancy for just one moment and evaluate something in terms other than economics?

Again, I may be incorrectly reading into your argument here, but to me it sounds like more old-guard LP blather about economic freedom, contracts, and legalisms. The things that just plain suck the humanity out of any argument. This is a big part of why I will always be a small l libertarian and part of the reason that the LP candidates will never be elected to any national office. You can rail on and on about the callous disregard for cold, detached logic that the left displays. Rant on about their embrace of pure passion devoid of reason. Some days, I nod my head in agreement with you. Others, like today, I begin to see their sheer vibrancy and, to a certain extent, joie de vivre, and their point about the soullessness of the libertarian concept.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
No one is arguing it isn’t.
Yes, you did. You said it wasn’t all about a cost/benefit calculation. Ok. What is outside that cost/benefit calculation?
what in the world are you arguing?
Which part confuses you? Be specific, so I can explain it.
Jon, I may be misreading your argument about cost-benefit calculation, but it seems to me like this addresses the problem at the heart of dogmatic libertarian beliefs. Everything is economics to you.
Every choice is economic; but perhaps we’re thinking of ’economics’ in different ways. When I refer to it, I merely refer to our tendency to place values on alternatives and choose the one that seems, at the moment, to be the most valuable alternative. "Value", in this case, has little to do with "money".
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
I wonder what could’ve happened to make the administration change its mind?
Shark, 9/11 did not, in fact, "change everything." You see, the limits of human knowledge and planning, as the good Mr. Hayek so capably set forth, remain. Social engineering almost always fails domestically, and frequently carries unpleasant, unintended consequences. Nation-building is social engineering writ large, expensively, and at the point of a gun.

It worked in Japan, which is the exception to the rule, and where there was a defeated nation-state that could and did surrender in a fashion the homogenous population accepted as binding upon it. But that reconstruction project took ten years, under those nearly ideal sociological circumstances. To understate, those sociological conditions do not obtain in Iraq or most of the rest of the ME. A lot of smart people in advance of the invasion said so, and warned against Bush’s plans.

As for McQ’s notion that I am appealing to authority by invoking Hayek, he should reread my post. Hayek respected facts, and among his quarrels with conservatives is that they eschew facts that do not fit their ideological preferences. Refusing to confront facts is what a lot of pro-war "neo-libertarians" have been doing. Jeff Goldstein wrote a post some weeks ago claiming we haven’t fought ruthlessly enough and it all has to do with the left’s imposition of identity politics, which keep us from fighting to win. That kind of thing is as absurd as it is dishonest. (Tho it is an indirect admission that we are failing in Iraq.)

Dan Riehl, as I said in my post, strongly intimates things are going badly in Iraq because we permit war dissenters to speak without resoundingly castigating them as traitors and cowards. He claims we have not been able to "effectively let unslip the dogs of war" becasue of these awful people. Again, as absurd as it is dishonest. (Another indirect admission.)

Finally, Nazi’s, and Hayek’s fleeing them, are unrelated to anything I wrote, just as Nazis are unrelated to whether invading and occupying Iraq has been the wise policy we were told it was. North Korea is a nasty place, too, and even if it didn’t have nukes, would it make sense to jump to war with that country? Or is Kim not quite Hitlerian enough for the favorite analogy around here?



 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Jon said:
"Of course it is. Everything is questions of value. And opportunity cost is a part of that cost/benefit calculation."
I’m reminded of the old saw: "She know the cost of everything and the value of nothing."
Just a supposition. Suppose we do withdraw from Iraq and several years down the road when Iran is fully nuclear and Iraq is a Shi’a subsidiary and the effort to establish a worldwide caliphate begins. What is the cost to regain what has already be surrendered? Should that figure into the cost analysis at some point?
 
Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
"Perhaps Iraq will turn out well. I don’t know yet. But you’re certainly not making the case that it will, and that the expenditure will have been worth it."
Earth to Jon. I think that 6 angels can dance on the head of a pin. Now that that is settled, let us consider the actual issue of the day. At some point it is necessary to conclude that the team in charge of a project cannot bring it to a successful conclusion. In making that determination, is it wise to rely soley on the report submitted by the team that lost the competition for the project? The team whose methods were deemed unsuccessful on the similar projects preceding the one in question?
Well, maybe. But they had best present something other than "We could have done better, somehow." Or a perfect scenario based soley on hindsight; which hindsight is inconsistent with their bid for the project initially.
I’m sorry. I want the project to succeed. It appears to me that others care more about which team is in charge as opposed to the success of the project.
 
Written By: Robert Fulton
URL: http://
This is the result of staying up at nights reading Hayek, Friedman, etc. until you literally see everything in terms of economics. Can you not halt the accountancy for just one moment and evaluate something in terms other than economics?
As one who has stayed up late many nights reading Hayek, I inform you that little could be more ignorant than that statement. Hayek did not write only, or even mostly, about economics. His arguments are often philosophical, moral, sociological, and psychological. His keen understanding of human nature, and his fundamental insight into the limits of human knowledge, are not, or are not only, arguments about economics.

Indeed, I would say Hayek was, at the end of the day, a psychologist and moralist. His morality included a requirement that beliefs about the world must accommodate new, or newly realized, facts. I share that morality.

That all said, I concur with Jon that almost every human activity carries a cost/benefit analysis. But it does not always involve money, tho it frequently does, and certainly war does. But blood is a price to consider as well.

 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Mona, Hayek was an economist pure and simple. Yes, his formal training was in law and political science, but he will forever be identified as an economist. Yes, he did dabble in psychology, neurophysiology, and philosophy, but if you have read as much of his work as you claim, clearly you can see the he expresses everything in the dry terms of economics. Everything is price mechanism this or business cycle that. His entire philosophy of how a proper society should be run is based on market order. So yes, some of his work, especially "The Sensory Order" delves into areas other than pure economics, but his association with von Mises and the Vienna (later Chicago) schools and the nature of the arguments that he makes are nothing but economic.

Another point many on the left and libertarian left (such as Kos claims to be), absolutely neglect to read further than the title, "Why I Am Not A Conservative." They are all quick to claim that Hayek is not a conservative based on this. What they forget is that the man is not speaking in the terms of American politics, but rather European. He denounced European conservatism for its lack of embrace of the free market, among other things. He also noted that the use of the term liberal in the US was quite at odds with his definition. Ask yourself who the classical liberals in the US are : leftists or right-wingers (notice that I am not using party names here, simply political positions).

You’ve also nicely avoided mentioning Friedman who I cited by name and several of the other rogues gallery of Libertarian writers such as Von Mises, Rothbard, etc. that I implied. Do you wish to posit that they aren’t anything but economists?

Again, you make the same error that old-guard LP’ers make which is to see everything in terms of stark black and white economics. You have become so inculcated in economic theories that every decision is automatically calculated on the cost/benefit ratio scale. Do you not the see the inherent lack of humanity in this mode of thought? No, I’m not referring strictly to money here and, as you point out, other considerations certain can enter into the old cost/benefit ratio. My point isn’t that you’re too capitalist; it’s that you are too mechanical. Perhaps this soullessnes comes from the corrupting influence of Randian Objectivism, which has been one of the poisons weakening the LP for so long. In the past, you have cited Reason magazine numerous times, and I think that I can safely conclude that you are an admirer of their positions. Despite the claims of more than a few there, at Hit & Run, and some of the Cato types to be against Randian objectivism, I suspect that Nathaniel Branden was right in that although many LP’ers attempt to disown Rand (and she them), the roots of Libertarianism are most assuredly tangled up with Objectivism. You need only look at their attitudes toward religion, among other topics, for this to be confirmed.

In short, what I’m suggesting here is that doctrinaire Libertarians are too reliant on the stale and unfeeling science of economics. They reduce everything to numbers and the above mentioned cost/benefit ratio. While these are wonderful arguments to make in textbooks, they have little appeal to the average member of the US electorate. Perhaps that’s part of the reason the LP has never been successful? What the left lacks in logic and reason it makes up for in emotional appeal. Say what you like about Kos, DU, etc., they certainly have no lack of humanity. Unlike the LP’ers no one will ever seriously accuse them of being dispassionate theorists. You’ll note who’s on the verge of winning their first major election (it’s not the LP).
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Omar:

I couldn’t agree more with you. When I was in law school I was stunned to see the American legal system reduced by Posnerites to pure economic cost-benefit analysis. While I find this blog — Q&O — to be one of the best, I think the relentless emphasis on economics is sometimes shortsighted. Surely, economics is a primary force in civilzation and capitalism — as the most successful refocusing of the primitive drives for domination and acquisition — is a touchstone that must be visited often. But, fortunately or unfortunately, the world of human existence is simply too complex to be explained by any single system, however close the analogue may be. Those who insist otherwise are doomed to frustration and failure.

P.S., Congratulations to you, Lance, and Michael on the new blog. I hope to participate soon.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Yes, you did. You said it wasn’t all about a cost/benefit calculation. Ok. What is outside that cost/benefit calculation?
Values such as "doing the right thing despite the cost", "finishing the job despite the cost", honor, national pride, duty etc. These sorts of values naturally ignore strict "cost/benefit calculations". Thus the point about it not all being about cost/benefit calculation.
Which part confuses you? Be specific, so I can explain it.
I’m not the one confused.
Every choice is economic; but perhaps we’re thinking of ’economics’ in different ways. When I refer to it, I merely refer to our tendency to place values on alternatives and choose the one that seems, at the moment, to be the most valuable alternative. "Value", in this case, has little to do with "money".
In fact that’s a gross oversimplification. Not all values involve economics as you’ve described them and as I’ve just demonstrated, so no, not all choices or values are based in economics. Unless, of course, you feel that man in general functions at no other level than Homo Economicus.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Finally, Nazi’s, and Hayek’s fleeing them, are unrelated to anything I wrote, just as Nazis are unrelated to whether invading and occupying Iraq has been the wise policy we were told it was.
It was Hayek confronting facts and acting on them. It also put to rest any implication that war, in and of itself, was off the table as a viable "policy" as concerns either Hayek or his mentor von Mises.

It narrows the argument to Iraq, not ’war’ or ’foreign intervention’ which is the doctrinaire libertarian position. Just ensuring that’s what we’re talking about and not the other.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Thank you David! We look forward to seeing you over at ASHC!
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Values such as "doing the right thing despite the cost", "finishing the job despite the cost", honor, national pride, duty etc.
How are those values not subject to cost/benefit calculations? Are you saying there is absolutely no demand curve for, e.g., ’finishing the job’? If the cost of ’finishing the job’ were the cratering of the US economy, you don’t think the demand to finish the job would lessen?

Everything is economic, in that everything is subject to scarcity and the commensurate demand curves.
I’m not the one confused.
You asked "what in the world are you arguing?" Clearly, you don’t understand something.
Unless, of course, you feel that man in general functions at no other level than Homo Economicus.
Yes, so long as it is understood that outcomes and actions are also subject to scarcity.

This is getting away from the central point, which is that the Iraq war has become very, very costly, and many libertarians (me, included!) seem to have abandoned their distrust of government-induced ’change’ and ’order’ for a big adventure. And the only prescriptions going forward seem to be to double down.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
I quote W. Glenn Campbell, the then-Director of the Hoover Institution, in his forward to the book The Essence of Hayek:

In an age when scholars have increasingly restricted their area of expertise, Professor Hayek has not constricted his fields of inquiry. True, he is primarily an economist, but only in the sense that Leonardo Da Vinci was primarily an artist and Isaac Newton a scientist. Like them, his interests have spanned many fields, and he left his indelible mark on all of them. He is, for example, a leading innovator in the fields of intellectual history, economic history, political philosophy, scientific methodology and jurisprudence, as well as in psychology, the field of his earliest interest.
Hayek was a Renaissance man, and did not, not even sort of, confine his enormous contributions to the area of economics. Anyone who claims great familiarity with his writing would have to know that, if they are being truthful. That is why the anthology that is the book whose forward I quote from, includes some of Hayek’s best contributions in the above-cited fields.

In any event, to rely on Hayek is not to draw from some obscure economics doctrine. The man was a political philosopher who understood and heavily discussed human nature, the role of tradition in culture, and the mechanisms whereby change is beneficial — and when it is not and how revolution is destructive whilst cultural evolution generally salutary. It is nothing short of preposterous to claim that libertarians have been disciples of Hayek purely for his (masterful) contributions in economics. He was a polymath, and a brilliant one.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
I must add, I am vastly amused to see ostensible libertarians tsk-tsking me and Jon for relying on Hayek or Milton Friedman as we go about making our political way in the world. Friedman has also made great contributions to political theory.

For a libertarian to reject the ideas bequeathed us by those two, would be almost as absurd as a Communist dissing Karl Marx. If the ideas of these men lead to conclusions y’all do not like, then you might consider that you are not, in any coherent sense, libertarians.

(And no, I am not arguing that one must accept everything either of those two wrote; among other things, they were not in complete agreement, and I side with Friedman over Hayek on the morality and utility of conscription.)
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Everything is economic, in that everything is subject to scarcity and the commensurate demand curves.


Explain that to Achmed, who is busy trying to saw your head off.

Men of Action vs. Men of Words.

Which category do you and Mona think you fall into?
 
Written By: Jeff
URL: http://
Finally, Nazi’s, and Hayek’s fleeing them, are unrelated to anything I wrote, just as Nazis are unrelated to whether invading and occupying Iraq has been the wise policy we were told it was. North Korea is a nasty place, too, and even if it didn’t have nukes, would it make sense to jump to war with that country? Or is Kim not quite Hitlerian enough for the favorite analogy around here? Mona
But NK has nukes, and delivery systems, so war is out, unless preceeded by a strike that destroys his delivery systems . . . and that seems very high risk. Further, without nukes NK is highly problematical due to the proximity to China (remember the Korean War?).

Clinton’s failed diplomacy of the 90s resulted in our problem in NK. Perhaps good diplomacy would have had as bad a result, but the $$$-for-lies plan of Carter, Albright, et al was the most incompenant diplomacy I’m aware of since the Carter administration.

The time to take down the Saddams and Kims of the world is before they have nukes.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Hayek respected facts, and among his quarrels with conservatives is that they eschew facts that do not fit their ideological preferences.


Most people eschew facts that do not fit their ideological preferences. It seems to me that this is mostly true of the left.

One failing of the Austrians such as Hayek is that they esteem theory and eschew experimental data (if I understand their position correctly). Now, I understand that point to some degree (the recent debate here on the minimum wage makes their point), but reality is described by two things: theory and experimental data. You need both. To eschew experimental data is to eschew facts.
Jeff Goldstein wrote a post some weeks ago claiming we haven’t fought ruthlessly enough and it all has to do with the left’s imposition of identity politics, which keep us from fighting to win. That kind of thing is as absurd as it is dishonest. (Tho it is an indirect admission that we are failing in Iraq.)
I don’t see that as either absurd or dishonest. Rather, it’s a valid point. Further, it does not mean we are failing, it means we are not as successful as we could be. It might mean we are failing, but it doesn’t necessarly lead to that conclusion.
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
So Mona, Trotskyites and Maoists aren’t communists? I’ve seen some pretty heated debates regarding Marx from both groups and neither are particularly fanatical about keeping to Marx’ original theories, preferring to refine and, in some cases, redefine them on their own terms.

Just because some of us small l libertarians lack the doctrinal purity of large L Libertarians like yourself, does not in any way invalidate our claim to libertarian legitimacy. It’s this kind of ideological purist thinking that has not only ruined the LP as a functioning entity, but is also now threatening to administer the same poison pill to the Democrat party.

Regarding Hayek’s legacy. Go to any univerity campus in the US. Chat with some economics or political science professors, grad students, or, heck, even undergrads who are well read and ask them how they would identify Hayek. 99.9% will cite his work in economics and mention him as an economist. Virtually none will credit him as neurophysiological scientist (which he was), psychologist (which to a certain extent he was), cultural philosopher (which he was), or any other title which his achievements warrants him having. I acknowledged earlier that Hayek most assuredly has written and lectured in other fields than economics, but what is his most basic legacy? If you believe it to be anything other than economics, you are badly mistaken.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Poet Omar, I have never been an upper-case "L" libertarian, and have never been a member of the Libertarian Party, nor have I ever voted for a LP candidate.

Further, F.A. Hayek is revered among libertarians for his insights into matters well beyond the field of economics. That is a simple fact, no matter what you think the results would be if you canvassed college students and found they considered him to be merely an economist. Point being, it was stupid to accuse Jon of being Homo econimus if he is reading and influenced by Hayek. The issue at this libertarian blog is what libertarians should know about the wide range of Hayek’s writing and contributions to political and philosophical discourse.

And I repeat, if you eschew Hayek and Friedman, and do not accept the broad contours of their factual assumptions and conclusions, then it is very difficult to see how you could be a libertarian. Maoists are and were Marxists. Whatever fine-tuning and spin this or that communist sect puts on it, they start with Karl Marx. At a minimum, the would have to embrace a good deal that Marx also did, or they could not, by definition, be communists.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
Mona, I cannot understand your positions. You claim never to have been a member of the LP, never to have been an upper-case L, and never to have voted for an LP candidate. Why on earth do you claim to be a libertarian if you have never actually supported any of the libertarian endeavors???

Is this just a case of "I support libertarianism, just not libertarians?" If so, can you not see the intellectual inconsistency of such a position? I am not, nor have I ever been a large L Libertarian. I most assuredly have voted for and supported LP candidates and the LP party nationally however, as I believe in many of the basic philosophies of the libertarian movement. I don’t see how you can question my credentials as a libertarian when I appear to have given more concrete support to the libertarian movement than you, a lifelong libertarian (http://www.qando.net/details.aspx?Entry=4032, see your comment), have.

In response to Homo Economicus, I didn’t make that comment, McQ did (not that I necessarily disagree with it). I have no objections to the basic themes of Hayek, Friedman, Nozick, Rothbard, etc. Your demand for doctrinaire acceptance of them simply cofirms my charge that this is nothing more than a libertarian ideological purity test similar to what the actual LP has been doing for years and what Democrats are doing now. My issue with Hayek and Friedman is that they speak the language of economists. Everything is cost/benefit ratio or free market versus controlled system, etc. They reduce their arguments to basic economic choices (even some of the discussions regarding liberty and freedom). Life is larger and more complex than this narrow-minded philosophy can ever appreciate. That this has influenced some like-minded folks (the libertarians at this libertarian blog that you mention) is not in debate. That their ideas and language couched in economic theory and terminology appeals to the masses is in question (see LP: failure to secure elected office).

Lastly, regarding communists and Marx, communist sects do not all necessarily revolve around Marx. A great diversity of collectivist/communist thinking has no roots in Marxism. Do you believe collectivism and/or communism begin and end with Marx? If so, please see Thomas More, Robert Owen, Francois Rabelais, Goodwyn Barmby, and Saint-Simon among others.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com

 
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