Print Story #72
Just a couple of political MLPs.


Reason mag interviews libertarians on Iraq.

Hitchens delivers quotable material as usual:

3. What should the U.S. do in Iraq now?

The United States and its allies should continue to stand for federal democracy, while making Iraq a killing-field for jihadists and fascists and a training ground for an army that will need to intervene again in other failed state/rogue state contexts.

The use of the term "killing field" aside, which is a horror unto itself, this man's disconnection from the fact that human beings live in Iraq is disgusting. Of course, people like Hitchens view democracy from the "neck up" only, so to Hitchens, removing Saddam and putting some elected dudes in place means mission accomplished. It's all quite academic - actual life and death doesn't factor into the equation, unless it serves rhetorical ends.

Op-ed on the French student riots

I'm fascinated by the Frenchpeople's (heh) relationship with their government simply because it's so different than the American relationship with the US government (unless you're a mega-corporation - their feelings of entitlement are quite similar). I enjoy North American rhetoric even more, however, for all the complete lack of awareness on many topics:

One young revolutionary was quoted as saying, "[This new fascist law the government is proposing] means that when I do get a job I will basically have to work as hard as I can to keep it!" (My emphasis, his accent).

I know this article is standard op-ed boilerplate, but that fact that so many people can't imagine a world in which we do anything other than working as hard as we can is a hilarious failure of imagination. Of course, that failure results in economic powerhouses like Japan, US, and Germany. I guess sharing the wealth instead of working yourself to an early, unhappy death would require too much use of the neo-cortex, though. Why bother thinking when the brain stem has pretty good ideas on how to annihilate your competitors in the never ending conquest for sex?

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#72 | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
libertarians by ucblockhead (4.00 / 2) #1 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 03:52:50 PM EST
There was a time when being a libertarian meant being anti-war (or, at least, anti-foreign war.) Fucking neo-cons took over that party too.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
there were some good replies in there by MillMan (4.00 / 3) #2 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 04:12:37 PM EST
but in general (as someone said on mefi) most libertarians are right wingers who don't want to admit that they're extreme partisans.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
I'm sure there's nobody like that on husi, though by DesiredUsername (4.00 / 1) #8 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:13:24 PM EST


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Now accepting suggestions for a new sigline
[ Parent ]
Today, yes by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #14 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:45:56 PM EST
Didn't used to be so much like that.

It used to be that the Libertarian party made you sign a statement saying that you disavowed the use of force other than for the direct defense of the country. Hell, it used to be that the libertarian position was to call for the abolishment of the defense department almost entirely.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
Dont you know? by LinDze (2.00 / 0) #23 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:44:02 AM EST
911 CHANGED EVERYTHING!!!11

-Lin Dze
Arbeit Macht Frei
[ Parent ]
yes by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #24 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:55:16 AM EST
Unfortunately, it did.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
As strange as it may seem, the french student by edward (4.00 / 3) #3 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 04:24:11 PM EST
is correct. The problem is not that the law requires anyone to work hard, it's that it applies only to people below a certain age. So the 25 year old must "work hard" while the 27 year old can slack off. And believe me, French people of all ages don't work very hard.

Consider the scenario of a 26 year old and a 28 year old working a shift together at a coffee shop. The 28 year old can basically sit on his ass and suggest kindly to his shift partner that if he doesn't do most of the work, the boss will hear some story...

Look, companies shouldn't be allowed to fire people without cause based on the age of the employee. Maybe this will just result in more unemployment, If I were under 26, I wouldn't bother finding work when I knew that I had no job security.

And I do happen to think that no-cause dismissal is wrong, but you don't have to argue against that to argue against the French law as it's written.

Wait, what? by edward (4.00 / 2) #5 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 04:51:46 PM EST


[ Parent ]
you tell me by MillMan (4.00 / 2) #7 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:07:05 PM EST
at any rate, dumbass student idealists did a lot for people's rights in the last century.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Hitchens by cam (4.00 / 1) #4 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 04:36:25 PM EST
I thought this one wa funny;

Not in the least: I wish only that Saddam had not been able to rely upon Russian and French protection and the influence of oil-for-food racketeers and other political scum.

The Australian Wheat Board were the most corrupt of all in the oil for food scandal, and it appears the Au government knew of its goings on. Downer and Vaile especially.

So Hitchens "coalition shoudl do this" in one breath and "oil for food scum" in the other, both include Australia.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

"Perhaps, But..." by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 3) #6 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 04:54:10 PM EST
I know some, um, Heavy Bushists who live...near me. They hold...strong views on the Middle East.

If one attempts to point out ways in which people living in the Middle East might be comparable (or even comprehensible) to ourselves, they begin their vehement denials with, "Perhaps, but..."

The attitude spans diverse subjects, and serves in many debates.

As far as I can tell, the idea is to dehumanize the way we think about even the human aspects of the lives of people who in places of strategic importance, in able to hold opinions that are...um...cleaner? I'm not sure.

I'm not convinced it helps objective analysis. Not convinced even a little.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
my favorite by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #10 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:19:39 PM EST
is when people hear reports about serial killers or baby rapists and declare that the perpetrators aren't human, which washes away all kinds of troublesome realities.

Human minds have some fantastically horrifying competing interests - usually between the "survive and dominate at all costs" impulse and the sharp logic and sense of justice and fairness of the conscious mind.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Inhuman Or "Insane" by CheeseburgerBrown (4.00 / 2) #12 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:30:46 PM EST
I've heard, "They are just not sane. There is no point in even trying to analyse the thinking behind what they do, or how they live. It's insane -- it doesn't make sense."

(To date, nobody I've been discussing politics with has wheeled out a cardboard cut-out of Chewbacca, but I know it'll happen soon.)

I think you're right...they're just different ways of putting them into an out-group, so we don't have to care about them anymore. Boing! Presto! Meat!

On the other hand, I advocate the planet-wide kill-gassing of all male babies of Muslim descent in order to avenge our fallen blood so I suppose I'm not what you'd call an objective source.


I am from a small, unknown country in the north called Ca-na-da. We are a simple, grease-loving people who enjoy le weekend de ski.
[ Parent ]
Could it be that the lack of imagination ... by lm (4.00 / 5) #9 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:16:23 PM EST
I know this article is standard op-ed boilerplate, but that fact that so many people can't imagine a world in which we do anything other than working as hard as we can is a hilarious failure of imagination.

... it seems me that the real problem is that so many people condemn themselves to a dreary existence of working as hard as they can until the best years of their lives are all used up simply because they can't imagine anything better.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
that too by MillMan (4.00 / 1) #11 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:25:02 PM EST
it only gets stronger as the middle class feels the squeeze of greater competition from overseas and technology rendering them redundant - it's all downhill so fight for what scraps you can in the short run. My statement was based mostly on my own experience, growing up in a culture that only respects hard work and looks down upon those who succeed through other means. It hasn't been that many years since I first understood on an emotional level that just maybe there are other alternatives.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
Humans are productive animals by cam (4.00 / 2) #13 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 05:43:54 PM EST
the majority of us can't help ourselves. We would be achieving in art, science, blogging, sport, whatever. Just wouldn't be paid for by the mantm. I can see a universe where teenagers show of their prowess by developing prize winning mathematical algorithms to impress women. I reckon a leisure culture would remain a productive one.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
You'll get no argument from me on that by lm (4.00 / 4) #15 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 06:04:51 PM EST
The ancient Greeks thought that leisure was necessary for the complete development of the human person, that one does not become fully human unless one has leisure time to devote to the arts or the sciences.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
They also had slavery. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #16 Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 10:30:24 PM EST
Which enabled them to have this society.

[ Parent ]
This is true by lm (2.00 / 0) #18 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 02:27:00 AM EST
But irrelevant to the truth of falsity of their claim about leisure.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Sort of. by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #19 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 02:46:29 AM EST
But the point is that to achieve their ideal way of life, they had to make sure that a large proportion of the humans within their country had no such luck.

I suppose to achieve it now, we would have to make some serious robots, but there is still this whole issue of practicality.

[ Parent ]
Not quite by lm (4.00 / 1) #20 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 03:32:58 AM EST
Given that unemployment in the US is presently at about five percent (and seriously underestimated according to some accounts), I think it reasonable to think that the average work week could be significantly cut. In fact, I think the US economy could probably swing along quite nicely on a thirty-two hour work week and a month or two holiday for most workers. So, I think it quite possible to give the average joe more leisure without recourse to robots.

But as for the ancient Greeks, slavery is neither here nor there. Leisure was seen as an efficient cause for human development. How that leisure came about (slavery, robots, high productivity) was not relevant. And in truth, very few ancient Greeks had significant amounts of leisure. Further, the difference between selling your labor and slavery is one of extent, not of kind.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
US working day by Idempotent (2.00 / 0) #25 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 12:44:06 PM EST
Feel free to work yourselves into an early grave. It's more the culture of early death by corporate slavery exported to the rest of the world which concerns me.

[ Parent ]
I blame the French by lm (2.00 / 0) #26 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 12:47:46 PM EST
Specifically Jean Cauvin.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
wow 5 seconds on wikipedia by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #28 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:15:05 PM EST
and I can blame the French for even more of America's problems! fantastic.

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
We shall have nanabots soon by cam (4.00 / 1) #22 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:23:47 AM EST
to do all our domestic chores like manufacturing, production, blogging, reading CNN and all the other things that consume our work day. Wars will be done by proxy with Godzilla and Mathra fighting in place of Bush and Bin Laden.

cam
Freedom, liberty, equity and an Australian Republic

[ Parent ]
if the French want by jump the ladder (4.00 / 1) #17 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 12:04:02 AM EST
Protected employment and 35 hour weeks, let them have them so long as they realise it comes with price tag of fairly low wages and high rates of unemployment. But it's a choice that a society is allowed to make.

More jobs for us across the channel in 'liberal' Ukia

French riots by bob6 (2.00 / 0) #21 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:12:45 AM EST
I have read quite some foreign (non-French) reports about this and there are two things that are always missing:
  1. De Villepin (current PM, yes the same who says "non") did not provide convincing arguments this law will provide jobs. It even seems that it won't.
  2. For the last few years, the government has been ignoring common practice of French law design: negotiating with those who would be affected before issuing the law.
So youngsters lose a lot (same job protection as everybody else) but probably won't gain anything: they are perfectly right to express their disappointment. Furthermore people are just generally pissed off, Frenchies get angry from time to time and that's great. Which kind of democracy should be indulgent with it's own politicians?
Finally, countrary to common belief, French workers would probably agree in some sacrifices (salary, hours and flexibility). However they won't accept shit without negociation and proof.

Cheers.
I'm sure this is true by MillMan (2.00 / 0) #27 Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 03:38:58 PM EST
in the US, at least, stories are entirely molded to fit into the culture war "debate." Facts that can't be bent to that mold are discarded. The other big non-starter is your cogent populist rhetoric / sensical critiques of capitalism. For example, the WTO Seattle protesters "had no real message, they just wanted to break the windows of starbucks."

Everybody still hates me in this city and I hate everybody.

[ Parent ]
#72 | 28 comments (28 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback