Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
Intentional misunderstanding, or just generalized misanthropy?
Posted by: Dale Franks on Thursday, September 07, 2006

I don't usually comment much about what goes on at other blogs. Oh, sure, I can be provoked into doing so on rare occasions, but, generally, it's not worth the bother.

Billy Beck has joined that list of exceptions, however. My purpose is not start a blogwar with Billy, who is a genuinely smart guy, and with whom I generally agree. In many ways, I admire Billy, and wish we could have friendlier relations.

Alas, that is, apparently, not to be. Sometimes Billy assumes facts not in evidence, because of his particular intellectual buggabears. And when that happens, Billy goes on the attack, even if that means attacking things that aren't even at issue.

That appears to be the case with his response to my recent post on divided government. He appears to have entirely missed the point of my post, stating:
"I realize that this is not an argument that makes many of our Republican readers happy. That's unfortunate, but the principle of smaller government should be one that transcends party sentiment."
Allow me only to point out something that is obvious at a glance to anyone who is actually thinking about this matter. Ready? Here goes:That argument is precisely analogous to the lefty assertion that a reduction in the rate of welfare-state spending increases represents a diminishment of the welfare-state, even though it's still growing.

How hard is it to understand?
Well, it isn't hard to understand. But, then, that wasn't the argument that either I or Steven Slivinsky of Reason was making. I thought it was abundantly clear that we were both talking about divided government restraining the growth of government. At no point did we even imply that dividing government between Dems and Reps would lead to smaller government. We merely argued that, at the end of the day, the government would end up being a bit smaller under a divided government than it would end up being under a unitary government.

My only invocation of the principle of smaller government was because, if given a choice between a larger government or a slightly less larger government, the principle of smaller government inclines you toward the latter rather than the former. If the choice is between a government of the same size, and a smaller government in absolute terms, then you incline towards the latter there, too.

That's it. I would've thought that would've been clear. And I would've thought that Billy was a smart enough guy to work that out for himself.
When the government is growing at 1.5% per year, it's bloody still growing. It is not "smaller" (Franks' word) or getting "smaller".
That's a fascinating point. And it's incontrovertibly true.

To bad that it had nothing whatsoever to what I was writing about, which is the choice available to the electorate in 2006. The choice in 2006 is not between larger government and some notional smaller government. It's between a) a larger government and b) a slightly less large government. If I cannot have a smaller government, then I'll pick b). Because the end state of b) is, obviously, a smaller government than would obtain at the end state of a).

If, at some point in the future, I get the option to choose a government that's smaller in absolute terms, I'll pick that.

Moreover, if the Republicans learn that failure to show commitment to truly smaller government is the path to electoral defeat, then I'd argue that, over the long term, forcing the Republicans to embrace smaller government in absolute terms would have a salutary effect on the size of government when they return to the majority.
Now, here is the moral cowardice in this: people like this — the whole "divided government" crowd — are content to pass on to their children the problem that they simply don't have the nerve to deal with today. At the very least, they know that this thing is headed directly toward something far more awful than it is now.
Well, I guess you can engage in the moral vanity of decrying the cowardice of others, if you like, but that doesn't seem particularly helpful.

In the real world (a phrase Billy despises, by the way), our choices are limited. Our form of government is a democratic one. Unless we're ready the grab guns, march on Washington, and throw the bums out, then the choices we have are the choices presented at the ballot box.

For my part, I will be voting, and doing so in such a way as to, hopefully, divide the legislature between the two parties, in the hope that the resulting government is gridlocked. That is the political choice open to us right now, in 2006, not some idealized of version of social organization that has never existed, and never will.
Someone, however, is going to have to live what these people so blithely consign with flagrantly ridiculous nonsense.

I wonder if those in the future will have sense enough remaining to curse those living now, who could have done useful work with principles, but didn't.
And frankly, I have to wonder what concrete proposals Billy has for changing the direction of American politics. What useful work with principles will Billy be doing?

Because, as is famously known, Billy certainly won't be participating in electoral politics. He is essentially an anarcho-capitalist, you see, so democratic politics are an anathema to him. To Billy, any form of social organization that is not based exclusively in the principle of consensual exchange is immoral, if not actively tyrannical.

But it's important to be clear about something: Billy is a Utopian. He posits the existence—indeed, the practicality—of a system of social organization that has never existed in any human society, at any time in history. Anarcho-capitalism, like Marxism, is a pipe dream, because it supposes that mankind can be perfected through politics.

That is not to say that principles aren't important. But principles, in and of themselves, are sterile and useless. Faith without works, as the Epistle of James informs us in chapter two, is dead. Pacifists are famously devoted to their principles, too. No doubt such devotion is of incalculable comfort to them as they feel the cold steel of the tyrant's pistol muzzle on the nape of their necks.

So, Billy, about that whole anarcho-capitalist deal, let me know how that works out for you. Until then, I will expect the arrival of a working anarcho-capitalist state at about the same time as the emergence of Soviet Man. Indeed, I'm tempted to take bets on which will arrive first.

So, since Billy won't be voting, and he won't be marching on Washington, one is left wondering precisely what, if anything, Billy will be doing to bring about the Anarcho-Capitalist millennium he believes in so fervently.

But, I tell you what, Billy: When you've got a large enough group of lusty, gusty fellows to march on Washington and overthrow the government for an anarcho-capitalist state, you be sure to get back to me. I'll grab my SKS and join you.

Until then, I'll go ahead and leave you to sit around and grouse about the "endarkenment" while doing precisely nothing, in concrete terms, to fight it, and criticize those who do. I mean, that seems to be your strong point, so it'd be best to leave you to it.

Because I know what I'll be doing. I'll be trying to vote in such a way as to restrain the growth of the Federal government. I other words, I'll try fighting the "endarkenment" in ways that seem more effective than simply bitching about it on my blog. Meanwhile, you go on and criticize my preferred methods of fighting that fight for their ideological impurity. After all, that's what you do best. I wouldn't even dream of trying to stop you.

If, on the morning of the first Wednesday in November, my preferred strategy has worked, I will know that the size of the government, over the next two years will, in all probability, be smaller than it would have been if Republicans are allowed uncontested control over all organs of the government.

If I follow Billy's strategy, on the other hand, I will do nothing but grouse about it on this blog, and have no effect on the outcome of the election. But, as the government grows ever larger, at least I'd be able to console myself with the intellectual purity of not having participated in the travesty of democratic politics. I will accomplish none of my stated goals, of course, but I'll be so damned pure.

Divider

Oh, and by the way, if Billy had comments operating on his blog, I'd be perfectly happy to have left this message in the comments to his post. But, of course, Billy isn't interested in letting us leave any comments over there. He feels perfectly free to utilize our comments section, though.

That's an interesting dichotomy, I think.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
"Billy Beck has joined that list of exceptions, however. My purpose is not start a blogwar with Billy, who is a genuinely smart guy, and with whom I generally agree..."

And whom would be *heavily* over your weight class in a blogwar. ;]
 
Written By: Ironbear
URL: http://oldwolves.co.uk/
And frankly, I have to wonder what concrete proposals Billy has for changing the direction of American politics. What useful work with principles will Billy be doing?
I asked that question directly of Billy in a comment thread at VodkaPundit a year or so ago, and never got a straight answer. It was the first time I’d ever been involved in a discussion with him, and genuinely wanted to understand what he wanted us to do. He could tell us why everything we could think of doing in the political realm was bad or stupid or ineffective or immoral or what have you. But I never saw "Do this instead, because it’s better".

The best I could abstract from his overall comments is that (1) he thinks we’re doomed anyway, so might as well prepare for the coming chaos, and (2) he just wants everybody to know that he got to that conclusion ahead of the rest of us.

(He may be right, of course. We’re all pretty familiar with the litany of reasons why. I’m not ready to give up, though, and I fail to see why he seems so contemptuous of anyone who is prepared to keep working in the current political environment. Or if he is so contemptuous of us, why he wants to make sure we know that.)

He is a smart guy, and is careful with his rhetoric. As best as I can tell from fairly superficial reading, he applies his principles consistently. But, like many other "high-principle" libertarians I’ve known over the years, I can’t tell that he exerts any positive influence on anything in the real world. Which is probably why he hates that phrase so much.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Tell you what, though. I’d like to see a cage match organized between Billy Beck and Mona. I’d buy tickets to that.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Unfortunately, we have a nearly-divided government.

The problem here are the moderate Republicans (AKA RINOs), especially in the Senate. They have managed to strangle near every program that projects a new truly Republican program. When every vote requires a few RINO votes, it seems to turn into a "food fight." Simple example, Jeffords extorted extension after extension of milk price supports for Vermont (until he finally had to get the Democrats aid to keep them going) or Chafee holding up Bolton yesterday.

But even when the RINOs are on board, the closeness of it all makes every Senator, a player. And they love it.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Billy Hollis,

Mona and Beck in a cage match? I might pay to see it, but I would feel guilty. Mona is stubborn, but she is in no way ready for that kind of thing. It would be, well, ugly isn’t the right word but it certainly wouldn’t be pretty. Mismatch all the way.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
All the remark that you deserve on this, Dale.

Except for this:

You can sit there and attempt to lecture me, son, on "doing" things if you want to, but you’re never going to change the fact that my life has been on the line over this stuff as long as you’ve know what politics is.

That’s a hell of a lot more than you can even pretend to, so far.

I actually like you, too, Dale. But you can jam your hope for "peaceful" relations right straight up your ass when you come at the thing like you have. Between you and me, I’ve gotten more done than you ever will unless you ditch all these platitudes that are playing so well for you around the ’sphere and start thinking. I’ve got news for you, boy: that — thinking — is "real world" too.
 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
...that a reduction in the rate of welfare-state spending increases represents a diminishment of the welfare-state, even though it’s still growing.
...that an increase in the rate of government spending under a rightist government is representative of a controlled managed reduction in spending in line with rightist best practice.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Here’s a comment from a proto-blogger on the "real world" of 1775, where the only republics were Switzerland and San Marino:

http://www.samueljohnson.com/tnt.html

As for Hollis’s question, here’s the answer:


"But you’re not going to see him take up the simply obvious, principally integrated, and proven tack of mass civil disobedience."

http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php?id=P2545

...something that Beck has mentioned repeatedly on Usenet and his blog.
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://saturninretrograde.blogspot.com
But it’s important to be clear about something: Billy is a Utopian. He posits the existence—indeed, the practicality—of a system of social organization that has never existed in any human society, at any time in history. Anarcho-capitalism, like Marxism, is a pipe dream, because it supposes that mankind can be perfected through politics.
You really ought to do your homework on this one, Dale. Perhaps Bruce can lend a hand. Though I don’t follow this blog completely, I have seen you willing to get underneath the surface of some of this stuff, such as recently with natural rights.

Simply stated, you have no real clue what Billy’s about (evidenced by this ridiculous quote of yours), and you have even less of an idea of what anarchism is (same evidence).

Try this, which I find particularly insightful. An excerpt:
But to be comfortable as anarchist, you need to identify there is no fixed point and there are no guarantees. Every argument you make is pro-choice and pro-freedom, it is not pro-system. You cannot ever say what will be, only what you think could be. At first, it seems you are pushed in the corner in each and every argument – how do you defend not knowing? How can you proudly claim you don’t know when everybody is ultimately out to get a detailed and warranted answer?

The problem, until you realize it, is of course that there are no answers about the future. You simply cannot tell. No one on earth or anywhere can tell. The only thing we can know about the future is that if statism prevails, there will be someone saying what should be and having the power to make it so. And that that can’t be right.

This is actually the most important point I can ever make: that it can’t be right. This is my most fundamental moral conviction. No one is my master, and I am no one’s master. No one is my slave and I am no one’s slave. And this, the morality of being anarchist and thus respecting each and everybody’s right to choose for themselves, is the fixed point of anarchism.

It doesn’t matter what blueprints, structures, fixed hierarchies or systems statists can present, and it doesn’t matter what cunning schemes they have made up to make sure it will be so. It doesn’t matter as long as they do not attack me, they mean nothing to me and they can have their corrupt coercive system for as long as they like.

But they do attack me, and that’s the reason to argue with them before they turn to brute force (which they eventually will). That’s the reason to push them to the point of no return, where there are no more lies and where they have to see the ugly principle they ultimately stand for. This is where I strip them of their lies and illusions and ask them to defend their faulty logic and offensive morality. This is where I win, as an anarchist.

Their fixed points are non-existent, and that’s what we need to make clear. The state may seem like a rock, but it is not. The rock is man; it is the stability from within – your moral conviction and the superiority from accepting non-aggression as motive, means and aim. The only rock in every man and woman’s life is him- or herself. That’s the truth people wish to forget, but it is also the truth they know deep inside.
Dale: anarchism is an individual state of being. I live in an "anarchist system" and have for many years. So does my wife and family. The only dog I have in this fight is that I’d like all youse to stop stealing from me and threatening to lock me up for all sorts of "offenses" that don’t appear to harm anyone, and I’d sincerly wish that you would stop your sanction of all this.

Most particularly, it is laughable to me that you would attempt to enlist my help, or the help of other anarchists, to impose "freedom" and "small government" upon those who don’t appear to want it.

My "government" is as small as it gets. I’ve always left you and your government alone. Wish I could say the same for you.

Our arguments are in defense of our liberties. Your arguments, in general, — and that goes for the three of you — seek to impose.

 
Written By: Richard Nikoley
URL: http://www.uncsense.com
Let me try to cut it closer to the bone, Rich:
"But it’s important to be clear about something: Billy is a Utopian. He posits the existence—indeed, the practicality—of a system of social organization that has never existed in any human society, at any time in history."
Oh...waitaminnit. I was about to remark until I realized that Dale wasn’t talking about America and that nothing like it had ever occurred before in human history before 1776.

He believes that nothing is possible until it’s already happened. I think you can see through the logic in that.

~~~~~~~~

Look, Dale: I’m even less interested in a "blogwar" than you are. In fact, I am less interested in any of this than anyone you know. If American politics wasn’t in the state that it’s been in all my life — and getting manifestly worse all the time — none of you people would ever have heard of me, and that would have been just fine by me. However, what I’m interested in doesn’t count anymore. This fight has to be fought, on exactly the terms and conditions that I’m fighting it, and the people ready, willing, and able to do it — so far — are precious few and far between.

Just this very afternoon, I was told that someone I know is having action taken against him to seize his recently deceased mother’s house in lieu of property taxes. Naturally, I went off like a bomb in front of people who’ve known me personally for three decades. At one point, one of them said, "Yeah, but it’s still the greatest country in the world."

"Tell it to Steve," I said, "when they steal his house."

None of this reasoning — to include your Impossiblity Thesis — is good enough anymore. It’s not stopping any of the evil or even slowing it down. And there have been times in the past when I would ask people like you and my old friend: "How bad would it have to get before you could at least stand up and say it’s wrong?" — what you’re pleased to call my "grous[ing] about the endarkenment". Well, I don’t want to know, anymore, where your threshold of outrage lies — because the horror necessarily implicit in that, based on what you’re already living with while you console yourself that the "concrete" action of voting is going to do something about it — would be far more than I could abide.

"Do" something?

Pointing out wrong ideas is the most important thing that anyone could do, today.

Yours are dead wrong: up, down, in and out. I know damned well that your heart’s in the right place, and I’m always a sucker for that. (And there are bloody imbeciles around the net who give me hell about it: they say that I’m pandering to people like you, Kim du Toit, or Martin McPhillips for approval. The fact that it never happens goes right past them, but that’s part of their idea: they think that I want you to invite me into the club or something.) And if I am a fool, then it is over this and nothing more: the hope, which won’t die, that you guys will somehow, someday, open your minds to the power of ideas (this is the root of my objection to your so-called "real world") and call to being an actually radical, bottom-ended assertion of the importance of freedom right now in the time of actually living human beings before it ever has to come to guns as a simple commmon-sense matter of defense.

Now. You go ahead and vote in November. I know that nothing between now and then is going to deflect your enthusiasm. But I’m going to be here after this election, and the one after that, and so on into the future, pointing out how the light that once lit this place for the whole world is going out, until I die or until you realize the reality of what you’re involved with.

You can call it a "war" if you want, and I’ll even stipulate. It’s not the way I want it, but it’s just the way it is.

There’s some "real world" for you.

You’re wrong.


 
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—four.net/weblog.php
Split the difference between the 2 sides - vote for a 3rd party you actually like. If this party gets enough of the vote it will attract politicians looking for the issue.

Or .

If you ain’t going to raise an armed rebellion then abstaining from vote or voting for someone you don’t like are counterproductive.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
unaha-closp,

Did you read anything that Billy had to say?
 
Written By: billy-jay
URL: http://billy-jay.blogspot.com
I remind you all that, for example, the government of thh Soviet Union fell because a critical mass of individuals simply decided to ignore it and, instead, did what they wanted no matter what plans the government had. They did not vote for its dissolution.

Billy’s on the right track.
 
Written By: Ron Good
URL: http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com
unaha-closp,

Did you read anything that Billy had to say?
No I did not. Read Dale as saying that Billy does not vote.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Anarcho-capitalism, like Marxism, is a pipe dream, because it supposes that mankind can be perfected through politics.

Mr. Franks, your grasp of AnCap theory is seriously weak if you honestly mean this. The strict application of the nonaggression principle is not intended nor is it expected to produce saints. None of the AnCap theorists I know are seekers of Utopia, precisely because they (and I, and Billy) know humans make mistakes and possess free will to do right and wrong. One of the very reasons we argue for a society of voluntary interaction is because we don’t trust humans to rule over us.

We aren’t trying to perfect anyone. We want people to stop interfering in the rightful affairs of others, period. That doesn’t mean crime will end. it doesn’t imply external threats will evaporate. This isn’t in any way a politics that assumes total harmony will sprout forth across a the land.
 
Written By: Charles Hueter
URL: http://www.drizzten.com

I’ll be trying to vote in such a way as to restrain the growth of the Federal government. I other words, I’ll try fighting the "endarkenment" in ways that seem more effective than simply bitching about it on my blog.
Dale, here’s a sure-fire method to shut Beck and the other anarchists up about voting. The day after the election, do up a little chart that shows how your vote affected the results, and how things would’ve gone down had you voted differently. Be sure to also include a section to numerically prove how bad the poll would have been had you stayed home.
 
Written By: John Lopez
URL: www.no-treason.com
Another reason that Billy hates the term "real world" is that the people who use it have no actual desire to truly understand political reality, unlike the gentleman who is the subject of the following book:


http://www.gutenberg.org/dirs/etext01/plnth10.txt


Pay special attention to chapters 1, 4, 6 and 14.
 
Written By: Ernest Brown
URL: http://saturninretrograde.blogspot.com
Beck,
You can sit there and attempt to lecture me, son, on "doing" things if you want to, but you’re never going to change the fact that my life has been on the line over this stuff as long as you’ve know what politics is.
Yes, you’ve been in jeopardy for years for your refusal to pay income tax. And therefore what?

Is jeopardy a political credential?
 
Written By: John T. Kennedy
URL: http://no-treason.com

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider