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Palin “Reeks of Local”/The phony populism of Stephan Kinsella

(See also Auto mechanic for President – The phony populism of Stephan Kinsella, reproduced below)

Palin “Reeks of Local” — The Dumb, Dumb Demonrats

Posted by Stephan Kinsella on August 30, 2008 11:55 PM

It’s long been my contention that if the demonrats would just jettison the relatively small elitist wing of their party–the condescending limousine liberals, the middle-America and normalcy-hating “urbane” and cosmpolitan condescending types–and just have a mildly populist, redistributionist, soft-socialist but culturally conservative platform, they could clean house and recapture all the inexplicably Republican Joe Sixpack types who are their natural constituency (but who are alienated by Barbra Streisand’s screeching). (See my How the Democrats Could Win.) But their stupidity knows no bounds. Why they need to anchor their image to the vapid Hollywood and libertine types is beyond me. Apparently abortion is all that matters to them.

Their inexplicable self-destructive behavior is on fully display in their reaction to the Sarah Palin VP nomination. A few choice quotes and examples below:As I noted here, after Hillary Clinton’s speech during the Democrat convention, Susan Estrich admitted that because of female demonrat disappointment over Hillary’s loss to Obama, if McCain just picks a woman VP, “it’s Cha-Ching” (i.e., he’ll rack up many female votes that otherwise could have gone to Obama). So, she said, “As a democrat, I hope McCain doesn’t pick a woman VP.” So she wanted McCain to discriminate against women. Nice.

In this post on HuffPo, David Sirota explains why Palin “is a pretty smart choice”:

1. Putting a woman on the ticket is McCain’s best hope to peel off some disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters. …

2. Palin comes from an energy state, and specifically, an oil and gas state. With Democrats’ pathetically (yet predictably) tepid behavior on the drilling issue, the GOP senses an opportunity to exploit it, and you can bet Palin will be making the drilling case, with first-person narratives and anecdotes.

3. It will be difficult — though not impossible — for the Obama campaign to make an experience argument against Palin. Even though Palin is probably the most inexperienced candidate for vice president in contemporary American history, the Republicans have spent months attacking Obama’s supposed lack of experience. So when gnats like Rahm Emanuel issue silly, over-the-top press releases about Palin’s career, they re-open an experience debate that John McCain probably wants to have with Obama.

4. As the Nation’s Chris Hayes reports, Palin is a die-hard right-winger who could help McCain solidify the Republican base.

Sirota fails to mention, however, another important factor: the condescending the way the left is sure to react–is already reacting–belittling normalcy, middle class, “beauty queens,” “small” states is also going to hurt them.

A good example of liberal condescension (and hypocritically sexist, at that) from Jane Smiley: “If the red phone rings in the middle of the night and she’s breastfeeding, will she answer it?” The contempt for normal America–the bizarre, sneering sexism–just oozes out of this liberal vitriol, doesn’t it? Think middle America won’t pick on up on this? Why vote for those who feel they are superior to you and who relegate normalcy to peon status?

And another, by “Michael Seitzman”:”She’s never actually used the word Shiite in a sentence before. She’s never had to. She’s never given any thought whatsoever to nuclear proliferation. She’s never had to. She’s never thought about Israel, Russia, Korea, or Iran. She’s never even thought about Mexico.”

How in the world does he know? He’s implying that unless you are a federal politician, or some savvy DC Denizen, you haven’t “thought” about …. Russia, Korea, etc. Hell, even mere state governors are peons and not worthy to sit at the table with the benighted Beltwaytarians–if you are only governor of “small state”, that is. Gee, I wonder what citizens of, say, most states outside Yankeeland, California, and DC think about that snub? These condescending attacks on Palin, small-town america, “small” states, and normalism are just amazing to behold.

And what’s that say about, say, housewives and career women? I guess they’ve never “thought about” these weighty matters either? I guess they’re too busy breastfeeding or running in beauty pageants or merely being mayors of “small” towns.

Hell, Alaska is even more backward and lacking of culture and interesting people than Auburn, Alabama. And forget about liberals for a sec–how could the Kochtopus support this ticket? Listen to these cackling hypocrites. Is dissing Alaska as some hick backwater supposed to help them with voters?

Seitzman continues: “There is not a fireball’s chance in Alaska that Sarah Palin could make that argument in a debate with Joe Biden. She lacks the gravitas, she lacks the knowledge, she lacks the experience. If she were a news anchor we’d say she reeks of local.”

Read that again: She REEKS OF LOCAL? Oh my God, if only I were a Republican so I could enjoy this self-immolation. These clueless condescending nabobs are going to just bury themselves, the condescending, these “cosmopolitan”, “urbane,” “hip” morons!

As a friend noted, “I must admit I found the statement about “mayor of a town of 9,000? particularly stupid. If somebody could pull out a map for me and show me where, precisely, they intend to pick up electoral votes with such a statement, I would be thrilled. In fact, if ever a party were determined from the outset to find a way to win the popular vote and lose the electoral college, it would look an awful lot like what the D’s are up to these days. Of course, maybe they are trying to lose both – here I had thought that the popular vote was a foregone conclusion, but Obama, et al. are trying to lose even that.”

Finally, see this collection of demonrat comments on Palin. It’s just incredible. As a friend of mine might say, LOL Democrats!

Update: S.M. Oliva notes in a post on the Mises blog: “… it seems to me that “experience” is more about the possession of certain credentials then time spent furthering the evils of the state. Mr. Obama may not have any particular legislative achievements or “executive” experience, but he does possess an undergraduate degree from Columbia and a law degree from Harvard. Mrs. Palin, in contrast, has only an undergraduate degree from the University of Idaho – her fourth stop in an extended college career – financed partially through her winnings as a beauty pageant contestant. She is, as one Democrat told me yesterday, one step removed from white trash.

Update 2: See Stefan Karlsson’s post Democrats Fall Into Trap:

Stephan Kinsella has an interesting post of how McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin will lure Democrats into showing their contempt for anything outside the small post-modernist libertine elite of the Party, and most specifically people with traditional values in rural America. Or in other words, the white working class “Reagan Democrat” types which the Democrats need to win over to win the election, and could have won over if they weren’t so patronizing against them. Obama’s gaffe about bitter rural Americans clinging to guns and religion in front of San Francisco donors was a prelude to this. While the Obama campaign has so far been smart enough to abstain from repeating this gaffe after Palin’s nomination, his media backers have not been so smart. Kinsella mentions several examples of this, and then there is also this piece by Obama supporter Robert Reich that heaps contempt upon her for having lived her life and had actual leadership experience in a small town in a rural state. If Democrats keep expressing this contemptuous attitude towards Middle America, McCain-Palin will actually win in a year that given the state of the economy “should” be impossible to win for a Republican ticket.

See, e.g., this comment by a liberal reader of the Reich blog post linked by Karlsson: “If McCain gets elected, whats next? Walmart check out clerk nominated for Sec. of Labor? NASCAR driver for Sec. of Transportation.”

Yet another enlightened liberal tells us, in a crass, hypocritical, sexist comment dripping with contempt for normalcy:

OK I’m gonna be rude here – Palin has nice hooters. This choice is beyond briliant. Only Mrs Clinton could have outdone this. I can’t help but belive that the Dems would win in a landslide with Hil as VP. Unless the Dems can exploit Palin’s scandals quick enough, her hooters will carry her to office. Yes they will, I’m sorry to say. We’re dealing with the American electorate here, not a bunch of geniuses.

See also Scott Horton’s post, “I don’t know ya’ll, it really is a tough one

Are the Democrats more stupid or condescending? I know it’s a difficult choice, but if there was a gun to my head, I guess I’d have to say… Condescending.Hey Democratic Party, I know I speak for literally dozens of people when I say, go and f*ck yourselves. (You don’t realize this, so I’ll tell you: Actually, it turns out, it’s us average “white trash” Americans who work for voluntary pay rather than parasitically sucking off the state our whole live like you, who are the sh*t, while you are simply… sh*t.)

Personally, I kinda hope you lose, just so that when John McCain starts a nuclear war I’ll be able to remind you that it wasn’t anything good about him, but rather decent Americans’ widespread distaste for you, which allowed him the power.

Update: Re Palin “Reeks of Local” — The Dumb, Dumb Demonrats: One “Susan Reimer” writes: “You want to look good to the evangelicals? Choose a running mate with a Down syndrome child.” Wow. How disgusting.

She goes on: Palin is a “car-pooling supermom who went from PTA activist to mayor of her tiny (population 9,000) Alaskan town.” Note the sneering, condescending epithet tiny. All the liberals are working that one in. I guess they got their marching orders.

And then this horrendous comment, which would be attacked as sexist if uttered by a normal person: “The jokes started immediately: She won’t be able to hold her own against Joe Biden in a vice presidential debate. But wait until the swimsuit portion of the competition. …
Can you at least make a choice that doesn’t have Rush Limbaugh panting? (He called Palin a “babe.” It was another memorable moment in the ascent of women in this country.)”

I.e., she’s too pretty. We feminists don’t like pretty women.

Update: Wendy McElroy has two good posts on Palin: My Take on Sarah Palin and Smart Politicians Worry Me. From the latter:

This is exactly what Palin needs to do — embrace the you

ng man as family and publicly glow about the expected grandchild as wonderful news. Make the liberals (and not the conservatives) be the ones to cry out “OMG, a teenager had sex! The horror! The horror!” Make them look petty and ridiculous, anti-family and anti-forgiveness. Let them take the rap for politically exploiting the sex life of a 17-year-old; let them be the ones to smirk with glee or foam with faux outrage over a child that is wanted and welcomed. Meanwhile, as long as Palin’s daughter carries the fetus to term and marries the father, will show compassion and applaud the manner in which a commonplace — albeit unfortunate — situation is being handled. This kid’s pregnancy is a plus for the GOP.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Palin literally embraces Johnston on the GOP convention stage. What a photo op that would be! Not that Palin needs to draw media attention by dangling enticements. The woman has accomplished a near-impossible feat. She’s made Obama 2nd-page news.


PatroonPosted under Academia & Conservatism & Education & Election 2008

One of the stupidiest things that has ever appeared on Lew Rockwell.com’s website is this blog post by Stephan Kinsella. I never would have thought the editors would fall for the phony populism but they did hard in this case. Yes they were trying to defend Sarah Palin from attacks by the Democrats but are doing using the same wore-out old “snob/elitist/arugula-eating” arguments popularized by their supposed enemies, the necon Republicans.

You don’t have to go to Starbucks, which I don’t by the way, to wonder if someone who’s only served two years as governor of Alaska and who over a decade ago was on the Wasilla city council, is cut out to be president. Sarah Palin may make a very good vice president, but one of the pre-requisites of the job is being capable of filling-in in case something bad happens to head man. I need not remind anyone that politicans who are not ready for the prime-time stage can hurt themselves badly. Remember Dan Quayle? As much as Jimmy Carter’s “outsider” image was appealing, his lack of Washington experience really hurt his administration. In retrospect, he would have been better served running for Congress and winning in 1966 than running for Governor of Georgia that year and losing.  A couple years in D.C. would have helped. Certainly a George W. Bush II who spent some time in his father’s administration, might have better resisted the bad advice given to him by Dick Cheyney and the neocons.  It takes a fox to know where the jackels are.

But according to Mr. Kinsella, we cannot question Ms. Palin’s experience. To do so, is “elitist” because Ms. Palin is a “woman” of the people” and only such people are qualified for national office because they are of “the people.”  Education means nothing. Skills mean nothing. Experience means nothing. Connections mean nothing. Only those who are authentically “of the people”, meaning they can shoot guns and ride snowmobiles, are qualified to hold high office. If you happen to like classical music and went to four-year university, then you are considered a snob and enemy of the “real people” like Sarah Palin, and therefore not qualified.  I didn’t realize we lived in a communist state.

I hope Mr. Kinsella was in his bib overalls when he wrote this dreck with his degree from the two-year community college right next to him taped to the wall. I have no love for cosmos having dealt with the conservative and libertarian kind and I have no doubt that liberal/Hollywood cosmos look down on Palin as “too local.”  (Why are the Dems enthralled to them Mr. Kinsella? Because they give them money, end of explanation.) I don’t concern myself with what they think. But I get really, really REALLY tired of fellow elitists (and I doubt if many truck drivers read Lew Rockwell.com) trying to identify themselves with “the people” in a spasm of phony populism.  If they really wanted to be with “the people” they would quit blog writing and take a job in a factory, work on a farm, drive a truck or work in a mine and hang out after work not at some trendy sports bar but a roadhouse dive with deer heads on the wall and posters of scantily clad women selling Budweiser. Do I have any volunteers? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

It’s amazing this post would even appear on Lew’s site because every time I go there all I see are screeds against two of the most middle class occupations in the nation, the police and the military. Are they not just as parasitic as say, a social worker or a teacher? Or is it because they carry a gun that makes them less snobbish, right? I’m confused. And so long as we’re talking parasites here, the Scott Horton’s of the world better watch out because in small towns and rural areas where the ”bitter” people live, you will find that the biggest employer is: The parasitic  goverment! Yes indeed all the municipal workers, all the firemen, all the cops and prison guards and the highway department workers, they’re the only holding up the middle class as we know it.  You’re not going to find a lot of factory workers anymore because most of the factories have closed and moved overseas thanks to the free trade polices the “populist” Von Miesans support. You’re not going to find too many farmers because they’ve been driven off the land thanks to the cheap food economics the Von Miesans support. That just leaves government employees. And as Arnold Schwartzenegger found out the hard way, trying to cut costs on the backs of these government employees carries political consequences. Oh by the way, where does the military get most of its employees from?

If we’re really in search of authenticity in the White House, why don’t the Republicans, instead of nominating the son and grandson of U.S. Navy admirals (Gosh dang another gov’t employee!) this week, just nominate an auto mechanic at a garage down the street from the Xcel Energy Center. Then we can go to a nearby beauty shop and name one of the hairdressers vice-president (After all we have to have a woman on the ticket!)  And then we can go to a neighborhood bar on the east side of St. Paul and pick their cabinet from the patrons on the stools. Now that’s authenticity! I mean, aren’t we looking for people to elect we can all hoist a beer with? Well, these fellows know how to hoist a beer all right.

One would have thought after eight years of another well know beer hoister George Bush II, perhaps hoisting beer should not be a prerequiste of public office. But alas, not only are the Dems suckered by their elitism (which is a natural make-up of the people who support them, the well educated professional class), the GOP is too.  It’s just that theirs is the phony type. I’ll take the honest crowd any day of the week, because it seems that one of the pre-requisties to being one with the people is being anti-intellectual, anti-education and anything to do with intelligence of any kind. Book readin’ is for sissies apparently.

I’m not saying Governor Palin is stupid, far from it. But there’s no way she’s going to know everything there is yet because she hasn’t had a chance to. She’s is like most local office holders, she knows what she needs to to do the job.  I think she would benefit from a copy Ron Paul’s book, or maybe Russel Kirk’s The Conserative Constitution, or something from Von Mieses assuming she knows who he is. Otherwise she simply going to support whatever is politically expiedent without reagard to principle or reason. And that’s where conservative and or libertarian policy is ultimatle betrayed. Don’t believe me? Go ask David Stockman. Or look what happen to the intellectual Newt Gingrich. He was dumped in favor of Tom DeLay. And the intellecutal Dick Armey was out shortly thereafter to be replaced by the brillant John Boehner and Denny Hastert.

 You would think Republicans are getting awfully tired of promoting people who are not intellectually serious.  You have to go back to Nixon and Reagan. Richard Nixon was a very smart individual but he let a corrosive populism descend itself into paranoia which destroyed his administration and that was a course he set for himself since he was first elected in 1946. In the end his vengence against his class enemies only hurt himself. Ronald Reagan had no class prejudices and was at least intellectually curious, but ultimately politics wrecked what ideas his administration was trying to promote because, as one wag put it “It’s not that Ronald Reagan lacks principals. It’s that he doesn’t understand the ones he has.” Dr. Fleming told of his concern about electing an actor president and was hushed up for his trouble.

What was nice about Ron Paul was that he was a genuine autodiadic. He learned Austrian economics on his own and grew intellectually from there. Barry Goldwater, though not an intellectual, was not afraid to surround himself with such people who provided the basis for his candidacy. Reagan combined elements of both men. This country was built by such persons, the learned farmer for example, or the country squire or the prairie intellecutal. Bobby Byrd was the son of West Virginia butcher and Gene McCarthy grew up on a Minnesota farm in Watkins and both became learned men. Hell, even Abraham Lincoln grew up reading books by the fire in his log cabin.

Have we become so needy of the “people’s” approval,  that we’re afraid to realize that maybe they’re not all they’re cracked up to be? Or better yet, if you feel that years of education in the ”government schools” has wrecked so many minds, why then would you want any candidate feel the need to be “authentic” for such ruined brains? Think about it and next time save the class warfare for the socialists.

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27 Responses to “Auto mechanic for President – The phony populism of Stephan Kinsella”

  1. Stephan Kinsella on 01 Sep 2008 at 1:26 pm #

    Sir: I believe you misread me. Just because I note that it is stupid for the liberal left to condescend to and show contempt for middle American normalcy does not mean I think that all elitism is wrong. My point, in part, is that (a) this will hurt the demonrats; and (b) it is hypocritical of them. Did you see the crass, hypocritical posts of democrats that I posted?

    In general, I would not say that education etc. “does not matter”. However, for VP or President, this is primarily a political or policy post. Harping on the candidate’s “experience” or whether they are “ready” is a way of quietly taking for granted that the state is legitimate. From the libertarian point of view, “the purpose” of a President is simply: it is to ensure that the executive branch abide by the Constitution, if not libertarian rights. This requires first and foremost a correct and principled understanding of the Constitution and the nature of the state. In short, I would rather any given libertarian–regardless of experience–as President, than any “experienced” mainstreamer.

    As for supporting Palin–I do not, and LRC does not. See Lew’s post http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/022585.html where he notes Palin “has sworn a blood oath to the neocons, Wall Street, and the military industrial-complex, to be Vice Sauron in Mordor.”

  2. Michael L. McKee on 01 Sep 2008 at 1:31 pm #

    “Much ado about nothing.”

  3. Filmer on 01 Sep 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    Both parties have elitist elements. Note the reaction in some Republican quarters against Huckabee.

    Default anti-intellectualism isn’t helpful, but it is understandable. In the past higher learning taught you about Western Civilization and why it was worth preserving. Today, higher learning teaches you why Western Civilization is the scourge of humanity and must be destroyed. That “Joe Six-pack” is skeptical about people who are too much the product of it is understandable.

    In today’s climate, anti-elitism is largely helpful as long as it is not completely unthinking. This is evidence of our upside down times, because conservatism has historically defended a certain type of elitism.

  4. Patroon on 01 Sep 2008 at 7:03 pm #

    Stephan, who do you think made this comment?

    “At this point, ordinarily, I would say something about the problem of white backlash being worse than the anti-white racism of Obama. But there is no backlash to speak or complain about. Bubba has got better things to worry about than his second-class status. There’s the new truck, American Idol, and, if he is really ambitious, a meth lab.”

    Why it was Dr. Thomas Fleming over at Chronicles (http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/?p=706). Is this an elitist statement? Is it any worse than what’s been said at HuffPost? Hmmm?

    So liberals don’t like Sarah Palin and are saying bad things about her? What else is new? As I said, I don’t concern myself with their nonsense. What bothers me is hypocriscy, people who supposedly are opposed to class warfare and practice it everyday on people of their own class just so they can feel “one with the people.” People they never meet nor live next too. It quite easy because they exist only in abstract and I’m sure it makes on feel good.

    As Dr. Fleming points out, and I too as well, what you may think of as “the people” is not what you may believe. Now we hear Sarah Palin 17-year old daughter is pregnant. It looks like the abstinence-only education didn’t work with her. I think you’ll find the teens who get pregnant tend to be from poorer areas than the Upper East Side. Now this doesn’t mean that Sarah Palin’s a bad mother or would make a bad vice-president. But it does mean one should refrain about the weighing the moral habits of Red States and Blue State. Hollywood may very well be about wild parties, drugs, and affairs and lies and such but at least they never claim to have moral standards unlike some people in Nixonland who apparently don’t quite know how to follow them.

    I read your post perfectly Stephan. You think the libs and dems are condesending and snobbish towards Sarah Palin. They may very well be (although I don’t see why, she’s more a free spirit than most GOP church ladies). But to say that questioning her experience is off limits because she’s one of the people is silly. Do we attack Ron Paul then because he served so many years in Congress? Does that legitimize the state? Do think Gov. Palin the role of the executive branch in regards to the Constituion? That’s an open question. I know you have to start somewhere, I just wish Palin had some more time before this all exploded upon her. Now you’re going to see the results and it could be ugly. I hope not, but it could be.

  5. polemicscat on 01 Sep 2008 at 7:04 pm #

    Patroon provides more heat than light. Why so much ad homenim
    Filmer has it right.

  6. Patroon on 01 Sep 2008 at 7:20 pm #

    Filmer does have it right which is why I’ve always found the “we’re the real people because we know how to bowl” rhetoric pretty silly and irritating.

  7. Stephan Kinsella on 01 Sep 2008 at 8:38 pm #

    Patroon: “I read your post perfectly Stephan. You think the libs and dems are condesending and snobbish towards Sarah Palin. They may very well be (although I don’t see why, she’s more a free spirit than most GOP church ladies). But to say that questioning her experience is off limits because she’s one of the people is silly.”

    I personally think “experience” is irrelevant, if not a negative. I don’t want someone “competent”, who is “good at running” the machinery of the state. I want someone who sees it for what it is and respects the Constitution (not saying Palin does). But if “experience” is necessary, she is the most qualified of the bunch–being a mayor and governor is more relevant than being a Senator.

  8. Filmer on 01 Sep 2008 at 10:05 pm #

    I agree with Stephan re. experience, and I have been banging that drum at a couple of different blogs. That people are fretting about her experience reflects the current unconstitutional view of the President as CEO, General and Heaven forbid, “leader of the free world.” How much experience does it take to veto unconstitutional legislation which is the primary thing a constitutional President would do. (That there is some skill set that experience may enhance when it comes to actually having all those vetoes sustained is a different question.)

    I agree with Patroon that her freshness on the scene may make her malleable. That sort of experience could help. Her running from her support of Buchanan is already evidence of that.

    Re. populism, in an ideal world people would be proud of who they are and neither envious of or condescending to others. Snobbish elitism drives me nuts, but faux populism isn’t much better.

  9. Weaver on 02 Sep 2008 at 6:30 am #


    There’s perhaps nothing wrong with being mildly condescending to those groups that are less virtuous. I find virtue to be an excellent measure of worth, and peer pressure can be a powerful force of social restraint.

    The federal government isn’t going away overnight. It’d be reckless to veto every bit of legislation – such might create chaos. However… it might well be better to have a president who does that than the alternative we have today.

    Ideally we’d want someone who understands the Constitution, knows people in Washington (and understands how to get things done), and has a plan for working towards a smaller government – a plan more sensible than one of Stalin’s 5-year plans.

    I have my doubts whether people would even vote for a smaller government nowadays though. The best I hope for for the Presidency is a populist big spender who’s anti-war and anti-free trade/mass immigration – someone like Lou Dobbs.

  10. Weaver on 02 Sep 2008 at 7:13 am #

    Or that someone like Palin inherits the throne and surprises us. There’s a minute chance of such happening, but there’s an infinitesimally small chance that a libertarian will win outright, and nearly as small of a chance for someone who’s only a strict Constitutionalist like Baldwin.

  11. Patroon on 02 Sep 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    This reminds me of the old P.J. ORourke joke, “Republicans tell everyone that government doesn’t work and then get elected to prove it.”

    I’m sorry, I guess I’m just not nilhistic enough to advocate someone’s election so they can smash the state with their incompetence because they don’t know what they are doing. Yes I do believe there is Cult of the Presidency, but even the Constitution allows for a chief executive and I would think this person shoudl at least be able to walk and chew gum at the same time.

  12. roho on 02 Sep 2008 at 3:07 pm #

    Will she continue the Alaska vs United States law suit, that charges that it is Alaska’s oil to drill in Anwar if they so wish?

    Or, will the VP assume that she herself as Governor was wrong?(Closed door GOP deals anyone?)

  13. Andrew T. on 02 Sep 2008 at 5:31 pm #

    “The best I hope for for the Presidency is a populist big spender who’s anti-war and anti-free trade/mass immigration – someone like Lou Dobbs.”

    I truly doubt that a populist would be any step in the right direction. If anything, he and his style of governing would be popular (!) and therefore legitimize the State tenfold.

    Free trade and mass immigration aren’t just two sides of the same coin, you know.

  14. Weaver on 02 Sep 2008 at 7:51 pm #


    Like Burnham I’m not entirely an isolationist but to me war, trade, and immigration are all three interrelated.

  15. Andrew T. on 02 Sep 2008 at 8:02 pm #

    I’m not an “isolationist” either, whatever that means. Visiting your neighbor or buying bricks from him is certainly a lot better than throwing a brick through his window.

  16. Weaver on 02 Sep 2008 at 10:07 pm #

    Isolationist would be to minimise all contact with said neighbor. The ideal is to figure how to maximise the long-term durability of one’s society and loved one’s and act accordingly with trade as with other things, without going outside morality. One’s society doesn’t necessarily have to be the dominant power in one’s land, so I don’t mean defending the US government as it is today.

    If you don’t trade with him as much, you won’t be as tempted to interfere. War’s often about profit for someone.

  17. Andrew T. on 03 Sep 2008 at 2:33 am #

    “If you don’t trade with him as much, you won’t be as tempted to interfere. War’s often about profit for someone.”

    In fact, this is exactly false. It is vastly more difficult to justify going to war with a country (especially ideological wars) if the two nations share a trade relationship.

  18. Weaver on 03 Sep 2008 at 6:55 am #

    In von Misean theory, sure. In von Misean theory, nations would be at each other’s mercy due to dependence in trade.

    The reality is that if America trades with China, every policy affects America and so America has an interest in Chinese politics, policies, etc. And the American government is lobbied by business as well, so the result is oligarchy. In von Misean theory, businesses don’t use force. In reality, force is used where it’s beneficial, and those who use force, or bribe another for force, often have an advantage. Just look at the gangster Oligarchs in Russia – why trade freely when you can make more by taking?

    It’s funny, Raimondo calls Burnham a neocon, a claim that is intellectually void for Burnham is no globalist and was only an interventionist because of his justified concern of communist aggression, and yet the libertarians are far closer. While Burnham falls into the category of traditional conservative who rejects globalism, Raimondo, von Mises, and all the rest are just more globalists, with more in common ideologically with the neocons.

    Free trade is meant to bring about an interdependent global society, something Burnham would have likely rejected.

  19. Weaver on 03 Sep 2008 at 7:06 am #

    To be clear, interdependent global society is Orwellian for empire. Someone always has the upper hand and the option of using said power. The libertarian ideal is, de facto, empire even if in theory it’s a peaceful group of trading hamlets.

  20. Andrew T. on 03 Sep 2008 at 2:56 pm #


    A free society requires a very specific mentality. America during its secession from Britain is a good example.

  21. Weaver on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    As someone put it recently: globalisation leaves all nations vulnerable to exploitation by others. It brings about unnecessary conflict, quite the opposite of how von Mises had dreamed.

    Btw, I wish America had remained with Britain. Post-secession, it seems to have decided it’s “not a real nation”. The roots weren’t deep enough it seems.

  22. Weaver on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:57 pm #

    Not to make contradictory statements:

    both empire and vulnerability to exploitation are issues, and similar ones at that.

    Reg. empire: The barriers to empire are many and include trade and ethnic barriers.

    Reg. vulnerability: man has throughout history exploited others. It’s in his nature to fall for this temptation. However, he’s at least less likely to exploit those he cares for and has some attachment to, and the only way to enjoy any sort of order, peace, and yes freedom is to defend our own people in more rooted societies, as well as to provide an environment where virtue can flourish among those natives. Even natives will be more likely to exploit if they’re allowed to be corrupted.

    Humans don’t like truth though. They prefer symbols and ideals founded in fantasy. I don’t have a fantasy ideology to replace libertarianism, so I can’t win an argument here. All I have is the truth revealed behind its mask: human nature is what it is, and all we can do is pursue a slightly better world for loves ones and kin.

    The ideals of freedomism will never be realised but chased in perpetuity, and the results of its pursuit often seem to bring about the opposite of what the believer believes he desires, e.g. again trade as well as legalised prostitution, drugs, and gambling etc. That this destroys society and brings about less freedom doesn’t matter.

    For libertarians it’s the pursuit that’s important, results and reality be damned.

  23. Andrew T. on 04 Sep 2008 at 5:42 pm #

    It was good that America seceded from Britain. The British monarch threatened our freedoms and our means of living healthy lives, so we told them where to put their muskets. Sort of like what I think people should do now. As if the geographical distance between us (certainly then even as now) wasn’t enough by itself.

  24. Weaver on 04 Sep 2008 at 6:40 pm #

    Immigration into the US tipped the scale in favor of secession.

    The newer immigrants, especially the Presbyterians and French, favored it, and so it happened.

  25. Andrew T. on 04 Sep 2008 at 10:13 pm #

    Well, so it is.

    Note how you can’t countenance peaceable trade between individuals, but armed imperialism and taxation without representation (by a European country) is desirable.

  26. Weaver on 07 Sep 2008 at 8:22 am #

    Things weren’t bad then relative to today. That European country was America’s chief originator anyway.

    Btw, the “revealing the truth” phrase I used was admittedly a little odd. It’s really what I associate with this area of thinking, not a sign of megalomania on my part haha. I could probably have reworded it better, though it does convey the idea of a nonideology well. And an elitist view point is going to sound… elitist haha. Anyway, just pointing that out.

  27. Andrew T. on 07 Sep 2008 at 2:21 pm #

    “Things weren’t bad then relative to today.”

    You know, Weaver, in a way I would have to disagree with you. Technological improvements make us safer, healthier, more entertained and more educated than we have ever been. Our moral integrity and our politics? Not so much.

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