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WSJ neocon scare-piece

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Clayton Posted: Sun, Feb 12 2012 3:25 PM

Here. (Accessed from Google News, let me know if the link doesn't work from here).

From the article:

There is little reason to believe that a return to multipolarity in the 21st century would bring greater peace and stability than it has in the past. The era of American predominance has shown that there is no better recipe for great-power peace than certainty about who holds the upper hand.


But international order is not an evolution; it is an imposition. It is the domination of one vision over others—in America's case, the domination of free-market and democratic principles, together with an international system that supports them. The present order will last only as long as those who favor it and benefit from it retain the will and capacity to defend it.

This article is a picture-perfect exposition of the neconservative apologetic for statism and imperialism. Basically, the neocon view is that the State is the operational arm of an ideological imperialism and the successful imposition of this ideological imperialism onto others - for their own good and despite their disagreement - is the only vehicle for "peace" "free trade" "freedom" and so on.

But let's wipe away the euphemisms for a minute. What we're really saying is that the world (i.e. non-white people) needs America (i.e. white people) to bomb and murder them and their children in their beds for their own good so they can be "free" and have "peace" and do "free trade" with the rest of the world. This is just a recapitulation of the same old apologetic for imperialism that Europeans have been peddling since at least the time of Cortez. And apparently, this apologetic is quite convincing in the echo-chamber of US media.

And the image of a Nimitz-class carrier plowing the waters of the ocean like we're on some kind of mission from God Himself to "protect freedom in the world" is pure propaganda. We're talking about weapons of mass destruction whose sole raison d'etre is to inflict death from above in the most efficient manner possible. So let's not besmirch God's character by implying he's a sponsor of murdering innocents, aka in duckspeak as "collateral damage."

And it's not like the US government's hands are mostly clean except for a few "oops" mistakes here and there. Quite the opposite. The US government is the most prolific purveyor of brutality in the world today. A lot of the dirty work and heavy lifting is outsourced to thugs who don't have US citizenship but they're on US payrolls one way or another so what difference does it make what the paperwork says?

Those aircraft carriers represent the power to destroy and the power to destroy is the power to threaten and the power to threaten is the power to make shit happen the way you want. When a CIA operative in an embassy in Podunkistan says to the local government, "You're going to do X, Y and Z for us" that basically translates to: "you can play along and we might throw some favors your way or you can do things the hard way in which case we're going to hurt people and blow shit up." Between the Federal Reserve and the aircraft carriers, we're fully equipped to follow either path.

Social order is an evolution and is not an imposition. Bastiat says in Economic Harmonies, "All men's impulses, when motivated by legitimate self-interest, fall into a harmonious social pattern."

Those who dismiss this point-of-view as hopelessy idealistic are completely missing the point. They say things like "human nature will always come out" in response to which it should be noted that the sitting members of Congress and the President and so on are human beings and perhaps we should ask how their nature really express itself given the exorbitant powers entrusted to them by the public?

They say things like, "but there will always be tribal loyalty and war, that's just how people are" in response to which it should be asked how most wars today are justified? For the last two centuries, has not most military action justified by noble ends? In particular, consider the noble end which is the topic of the WSJ article: the imposition of an ideology that is supposed to be conducive to freedom, liberalism, etc. If this end is good, and war is the means by which to attain this end, then isn't the very belief in the fact that harmonious social order is not possible without an overwhelming powerful monopolist of law and security the primary catalyst of all this war?

The warmongers go to war for whatever material ends they have in mind. The problem facing them, at all times, is the accusation of self-interest and avarice because this is, in fact, their true motivation. Hence, each military action which is proposed must be whitewashed with some sort of propaganda about how it's for the benefit of the public. The most flexible and reusable propaganda story to date is the "making the world safe for democracy" story which has been recycled a million times over.

But this new make-the-world-safe-for-democracy propaganda is the most over-the-top of any that the world has ever seen. Not only is it for our own good to go to war, it's actually for the good of our enemies! We're saving them from their own backwardness and darkness and, in the end, they will actually thank us for having slaughtered them until they finally "got it".

It is the apologists for war in the name of democracy and free-trade who are guilty of magical thinking, not those who understand that the conditions of social order are completely independent of an overwhelmingly powerful monopolist of law and security. Yes, human beings are self-interested organisms and they will expropriate one another wherever there is the opportunity to do so. This is the principle which ultimately motivates war.

But it is the costliness of such parasitic behavior which is the natural feedback against it. By reducing the costs of going to war by making others pay for it in blood and treasure and by reducing the public resistance to engaging in war by providing canned apologetics for it, we ensure that there will be a great deal of war and killing. The natural remedy to war is to not permit the warmakers to force others to pay for their wars or force others to fight their wars for them. If you want to go to war, you pay for it and you fight it.

Clayton -
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Autolykos replied on Sun, Feb 12 2012 3:29 PM

Great post, Clayton. As von Clausewitz said, war is politics by other means.

The keyboard is mightier than the gun.

Non parit potestas ipsius auctoritatem.

Voluntaryism Forum

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Gero replied on Sun, Feb 12 2012 5:26 PM

“When a CIA operative in an embassy in Podunkistan says to the local government, "You're going to do X, Y and Z for us" that basically translates to: "you can play along and we might throw some favors your way or you can do things the hard way in which case we're going to hurt people and blow shit up."”

People should look up John Perkins. There is more truth to this than Clayton may realize.

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Clayton replied on Sun, Feb 12 2012 5:32 PM

John Perkins

His credentials are a bit shaky but I think the stories he tells are basically true.

There's a reason everything they do is secret and, no, it's not "sources and methods" - that's just a bullshit cover. The real reason everything they do is secret is because it's criminal. Duh. If the public ever knew what really happens behind closed doors and under cover of night, they'd be appalled. Read The Prince and have the wool pulled from your eyes.

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Hard Rain replied on Mon, Feb 13 2012 7:39 AM

"The era of American predominance has shown that there is no better recipe for great-power peace..."

And when exactly did this "era" begin? It would only be fair to say that America had a global hegemony from 1989 onwards so 23 years with wars all over the place and this is supposed to be the era of pax Americana? Har har.

"I don't believe in ghosts, sermons, or stories about money" - Rooster Cogburn, True Grit.
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