Fantastic time this weekend! Thanks again to Bret who was host and guide extraordinaire.
Now, back to the battle! I enjoyed our political discussions in the desert. Sometimes talking through things opens up new doors. With regard to the impossibility of the government snuffing out terrorism, I was pleased to log on to the von Mises Institute site and find this article. Here's one excerpt:
"There can be no question about this administration's Iraq fixation. The Bush regime had it in for Iraq for a whole range of reasons, from personal vendettas to oil to regional political issues and probably a few others we are not privy to. It certainly cries out for explanation why this poor country, ruled by a man the US had long backed, suffering under sanctions for a decade after an unjustified war, should be invaded and occupied even though it represented no threat to the US."
The author, Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., concludes: "...the only real way to prevent terrorism is to do less in the way of government policy and more in the way of private provision and trade, which would be far easier to do if the warfare state would stop fomenting trouble all around the world."
Although I don't agree with every nuance, the article resonated with me, and, as usual, was more eloquent than I was in trying to make the case against militarism.
Before I close, I'll note one other article on the von Mises site about Republicanism. It's a pretty strong indictment of our current administration's big government policies. The author rightly notes that the Democrats are bad actors in this regard as well. But, as Bret noted, at least if we have a Democratic President we're less likely to accumulate corrupting power at the federal level. The bottom line is, the current administration is not even remotely close to the principles of libertarianism. It's hard for me to understand, Howie, how you can hang your hat on this premise.
Here's my abbreviated case against the Bushies:
- A strong preference for attempting to solve problems with military and policing solutions
- Poor trade policies: steel tariffs; ag and energy subsidies; lack of leadership in multilateral trade agreements (Doha round)
- Patriarchal positions on "morality" (desire to roll back abortion rights, Constitutional amendments against gays)
- Deliberately suppressing Medicare bill cost estimates (see Richard Foster)
- Deliberately suppressing/ignoring information contrary to preconceived goals (see Richard Clarke)
- Lack of leadership on environmental issues. By the way, I'm not way to the left on this issue; as this NOAA report - which strikes me as reasonably balanced and broadly participative - suggests, there is little doubt that human activity is raising the concentrations of greenhouse gases, and that this in turn is causing temperatures to rise (notwithstanding Howie's earlier post from 30 years ago about an upcoming ice age).
- Usurping issues that should be left to the states (e.g., school testing)
- Alienating allies and people around the world
- Allowing deficits to escalate to a point at which our economic options have, at best, become severely limited
Indeed, I find it difficult to identify one thing the administration has done well.