The Friesian Correspondence: Letter 1: Hippie Stalinists and the Pro-Saddam Left

Kelley Ross
Kelley Ross, retired philosophy professor

One site I’ve mention before is Friesian.com. In terms of content, it’s one of the best websites created: tons of great stuff for history and philosophy lovers. Unfortunately, as mention in a previous post, the site’s creator, Kelley Ross, is also deeply emeshed in Republican politics. He considers himself to be a Libertarian, but has become more and more of a Neo-Con as time has passed.

The following is the first of several emails I wrote him, starting back in 2007. My main complaints were with his page on Ayn Rand, which said: “With exquisite irony, just as the Iron Curtain and the Soviet Empire fell in the years 1989-1991, American 60’s radicals, who were essentially Communist sympathizers, were completing their takeover of American higher education and other “circles,” as the Soviets used to say, of the American intelligentsia,” and “Early in 2003, the Left, with their useful idiot supporters in Hollywood and anti-American (i.e. anti-capitalist) forces around the world, committed themselves to protecting the neo-Nazi dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein.” On another webpage about climate change, he claimed that: “There are many who may sincerely believe this scenario, but with far too many activists it is a smoke-screen for an “agenda” (as they like to say) for something very different: for a virtuous eco-poverty (as in Cuba) and a government that will make the “hard choices” of forcing people into that poverty (as in Cuba).”

I’ve added his reply and my reply to it in the comments section below. I’m not particularly happy with the letter now since the arguments come off as stale and sloppy, not to mention the fact that the way I move from appeasingly polite to aggressively accusatory and back again makes me come off as a tad bipolar. I also no longer consider myself to be a “left-leaning Libertarian.” But I wanted to post the other emails I sent so I figured I should go ahead and start with the first one:

Letter 1: Climate scientists are “whores” and “We will be their peons”

I wanted to write you to let you know that I think your website is my absolute favorite in terms in history and philosophy, but my least favorite in the realm of politics. I especially loved Decadence, Rome and Romania, the Emperors Who Weren’t and Other Reflections. It has greatly helped in putting to rest with certain people the often-heard fantasy that Rome “fell” for ethical reasons. I was especially impressed by the level of professionalism you used in the piece in criticizing Christianity on your website without ever attacking it, something I have found lacking in books such as God Against the Gods by Jonathan Kirshe.

The same is not true for your politics. Your accusations in this department rate up there with Ann Coulter. American 60’s radicals were essentially Communist sympathizers? You know, I didn’t live back then (I’m 29), but I’m pretty sure Woodstock wasn’t about overthrowing the government and replacing it with a worker’s Utopia. The real objective in environemntalism is not to protect the future generations from man-made disasters but to curb economic growth and ensure people are living in poverty? What, no super death ray? You know, I could try to make a similar argument that the Right actually wants the world to end so that all non-Christians can hurry up and burn in fiery hell forever and point to the Left Behind series as proof, but that would be pejorative. Then there’s the accusation that the Left committed themselves to protect the “neo-Nazi” Saddam Hussein. This is a truly ironic accusation from the Right considering the shameful support Saddam got for 20 years previous to the Gulf War in order to shift trade away from the Soviet Union. Even after the Gulf War, the rebellions against Saddam received no support from the U.S. because everyone knew the choas that would result in a Post-Saddam Iraq, and sure enough it did. But its funny that those who now accuse the Peace Movement of being Saddam sympathisizers had no complaints when the atrocities were actually happening.

But that’s indicative of the Right, who still blame the Islamic Revolution on Carter for not maintaining relations with the tyrannical Shaw without even considering that part of the Iranian resentment may have come from Eisenhower and the British deposing a democratically-elected Prime Minister in order to reverse the nationalization of the Iranian Oil company now known as BP. Yes, and why shouldn’t the Iranians come up and hug us after we helped associate our Western values with corruption and Soviet-style secret police? At least Eisenhower figured out at the end how the military industrial complex were parasitically fermenting this kind of ideology and gave a speech warning us to that effect before he left office. This same war profiteering can be seen today with Halliburton and Lockheed Martin, the latter of whom pays for commercials on CNN assuring us “We never forget who we’re working for.” (My question is, if the company has no private consumers and only sells weapons to to the government, who are they advertising to?) And, although I do consider myself a left-leaning Libertarian, I would also like to point out that it was the Libertarians who were against fighting the original Nazis in WW2, since (just as today) they are against all non-defensive wars, especially wars of aggression, which includes this adventure into Iraq that the far Right still indignantly defends despite being wrong on every prediction that was made.

I was especially dismayed about your page on Unstoppable Global Warming. True, Albert Einstein isn’t going to be called a bastard because of his skepticism of quantum mechanics, but then again, nothing is at stake in that argument. When you set aside the verdict of the majority of climate scientists and are willing to risk disasterous reprecussions on the earth because global warming skepticism better fits your economic philosophy, you are taking on a huge responsibility, one that a single web page on the subject doesn’t remedy. And if you’re going to take offense to that, you may want to rethink calling Noam Chomsky a lunatic since he is well-read and whether you agree or disagree with him, his arguments do make more sense than Ann Coulter’s suggestion that we invade all Islamic countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity (I noticed her book is on your bibliography). And I would like to see proof that “unlimited government and command economics” means more “money and power” for Gore and his friends, especially since you seem skeptical that Bush, Cheney, and Rice would have any invested interest in the subject despite the fact that they came to the election directly off the rig.

You site three studies that do not agree very well saying that carbon dioxide is unrelated to temperature, but the graph at RealClimate.org shows a 90% correlation, and I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to take the word of a climate scientist over that of a philosopher.

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/12/22/231145/76

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/6096084.stm

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/03/science/earth/03climate.html?ex=1328158800&en=3a845c84e21df549&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

My question is, shouldn’t a “conservative” take the safest route? Risking mass extinctions and global famine for the sake of oil expansion doesn’t seem like the “conservative” approach to me. Even if the chances for this happening were at 10% instead of 90%, are nuclear power and alternative fuels really so poor a substitute that we shouldn’t even bother investing in them for the future? Are we really going to try and pretend that the oil companies work in some free market economy completely independent of the government and foreign policy? As seen in the second article I have linked there, Tony Blair backs a study done that global warming will cause 40% of earth’s species to become extinct, cause the global economy to shrink 20%, and will cause water shortages for 1 in 6 people. Shouldn’t that mean something to someone interested in “conserving” the way things are now? Even Bush has left his previous stance of “needing more research” and has made the “liberal talking point” that we are addicted to oil and need to get off it, something much akin to a drug dealer telling a customer to cut down. So who exactly can you say is “on your side” now other than Micheal Chriton? You also say that the ones who would most be hurt by any due changes are the non-Industrialized countries, yet the fact that they are the ones getting a free ride are exactly what has helped drum up so much support against Kyoto.

Cutting oil dependence would also ensure that no American money is used in terrorist plots against us, but even that doesn’t phase the morally indignant Right. Instead, scare tactics are used to associate the Drug War with the War on Terrorism. The Right was horrified that border guards who illegally shot a Mexian marijuana smuggler then tried to cover up their crime by filing false reports would actually be punished as if what they did was a crime, but they could care less that the government, still expounding a “Zero Tolerance” policy, is actively protecting the explosion of poppy growth in Afghanistan that would never have been allowed under the Taliban. By continuing the War on Drugs, they ensure the crop will yield maximum profit for our allies, which goes to show that if anything, buying smack helps the War on Terrorism.

But what really gets me is the contempt you have for the people who take up the cause, with these green and “watermelon” rats that say “Global Warming Scaremongering,” as if the answer to the question is doesn’t even deserve contemplation. *Of course* climate scientists from many different countries and backgrounds are all participating in a global conspiracy to limit America’s economic growth. Everyone knows they’re really just neo-Communists working to put everyone back on the farm. We shouldn’t even “fear” that it might happen since it goes against the economics of Thomas Jefferson. I want to let you know that Jefferson is one of my personal heroes, but I think if he was alive today, he would say worrying about the planetary catastrophe takes precedence over worrying about the American economy. For that matter, he’d probably say that gun nuts should just chill out because he included the freedom to bear arms so that the U.S. government wouldn’t get too uppity, not because he thought gun collectors deserved the right to shoot machine guns with armor piercing bullets. And his statements would probably make him as hated by the Religious Right now as he was in his own time.

I’m sorry so much of this e-mail is negative, but its always easier to talk about what you disagree with than what you agree with. Once again, I’d like to point out that no one has put up another site that even comes close to rivaling yours in impeccable content. I also included a link below to my web site on the historical Jesus, which I thought you might find interesting.

Jeff Querner

http://www.lost-history.com

This entry was posted in History, Politics, Science by Jeff Q. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jeff Q

I live in New Orleans. I have a Bachelors in Computer Science and a Masters in English Literature. My interests include ancient history, religion, mythology, philosophy, and fantasy/sci-fi. My Twitter handle is @Bahumuth.

7 thoughts on “The Friesian Correspondence: Letter 1: Hippie Stalinists and the Pro-Saddam Left

  1. Dear Mr. Querner,

    I have answered you at length here, to an e-mail (14K) so long that Iwould usually ignore it. I do not have the time to answer this wayagain, and I doubt that a continued debate would do much good. Benjamin Franklin’s motto was “never contradict anyone.” I’m not quite at the point, but it is appealing.

    At 03:54 PM 11/6/2007, you wrote:

    The same is nottrue for your politics. Your accusations in this department rate up therewith Ann Coulter.

    I like Ann, but she’s a bit off the deep end and I don’t always agree with her. Her anti-Darwinism, like that of many Republicans, is anembarrassment in the modern age.

    American 60’s radicals were essentially Communist sympathizers? You know, I didn’t live backthen (I’m 29), but I’m pretty sure Woodstock wasn’t about overthrowingthe government and replacing it with a worker’s Utopia.

    I wouldn’t be too daring to say that it would have been difficult at Woodstock to find anyone in favor of the war in Vietnam. At the same time, Jane Fonda is still saying that we “caused” the Communists in Vietnam and Cambodia to massacre their own people. That Communists tend to do that wherever they have been in power seems to have escaped her notice. Perhaps the North Koreans are being starved to death by their government because the government knows that we still don’t like them. But the most telling Sixties quote may be from the movie Easy Rider, which was being filmed as Woodstock was happening: “You can’t be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace every day.” There is little in Democratic party politics or political correctness that cannot be deduced from that statement — though Dennis Hopper, who wrote that line, seems to have sold out to American Express and some investment firm.

    The real objective in environemntalism is not to protect the future generations from man-made disasters but to curb economic growth and ensure people are living in poverty?

    That depends on the environmentalists, but there is no doubt that a body of opinion and motives to those ends exists and is influential. “Saving the Earth” means limiting the human presence.

    What, no super death ray? You know, I could try to make a similar argument that the Right actually wants the world to end so that all non-Christians can hurry up and burn in fiery hell forever and point to the Left Behind series as proof, but that would be pejorative.

    Quite a few Christians do expect the world to end, sooner rather than later, though meanwhile they do take the injunction seriously to “be fruitful and multiply.” That doesn’t have much to do with The Proceedings of the Friesian School.

    Then there’s the accusation that the Left committed themselves to protect the”neo-Nazi” Saddam Hussein. This is a truly ironic accusation from the Right considering the shameful support Saddam got for 20 years previous to the Gulf War in order to shift trade away from the Soviet Union. Even after the Gulf War, the rebellions against Saddam received no support from the U.S. because everyone knew the chaos that would resultin a Post-Saddam Iraq, and sure enough it did. But its funny that those who now accuse the Peace Movement of being Saddam sympathisizers had no complaints when the atrocities were actually happening.

    Nothing ironic about real politik. We also supported Joe Stalin because Hitler was worse. The judgment was that Iran was worse than Saddam, which at the time was true. Then there is a difference between chaos we could do something about and chaos we couldn’t. Nevertheless, I have found leftists arguing to my face that Saddam was “progressive” in many ways and that he was a positive good for Iraq. Perhaps you didn’t get the memo.

    But that’s indicative of the Right, who still blame the Islamic Revolution on Carter for not maintaining relations with the tyrannical Shaw without evenconsidering that part of the Iranian resentment may have come from Eisenhower and the British deposing a democratically-elected Prime Minister in order to reverse the nationalization of the Iranian Oil company now known as BP.

    That old chestnut. Really. Why don’t the Iranians hate the Russians (and British) for occupying a pro-Nazi Iran during World War II? The resentment is a little selective. Quite a few Iranians now are a bit nostalgic for the “tyranny” of the Shah. As it happened, it was the Shah (like the Saudis) whoeventually got most of the revenues from his own oil. BP is North Sea oil. It is no longer in Iran.

    Yes, and why shouldn’t the Iranians come up and hug us after we helped associate our Western values with corruption and Soviet-style secret police?

    No one ever pretended that “Western” values characterized the regime of the Shah. I think your objection is to ever having allies who aren’t up to your own moral perfection, despite the nature of the common enemy. I don’t know about you, but with many this attitude is disingenuous, since the problem was that the common enemy (the Soviet Union, North Korea, North Vietnam) was not regarded as an enemy at all by the left. The peculiarity of international politics now is the alliance of the left (e.g. Hugo Chavez) with Islamic fundamentalism (e.g. Iran). This is certainly a marriage of convenience far more extreme and hypocritical than of the Shah with the West. The sudden intake of breath was palpable when Ahmad-i-Nejad told the (previously applauding) Columbia University audience that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

    At least Eisenhower figured out at the end how the military industrial complex wereparasitically fermenting this kind of ideology and gave a speech warning us to that effect before he left office.

    I don’t think that Eisenhower suggested that “the military industrial complex were parasitically fermenting this kind of ideology.” That is the addition of modern leftist conspiracy theorists, would didn’t think that the Soviet Union needed to be opposed (they were the good guys) any more than Islamic terrorists do now (they are the good guys). Eisenhower had no doubts about the threat of Communism, nor did Jack Kennedy ever spend much time battling the parasitic corporations.

    If you want to persuade me that the modern left is not the moral, practical, and spiritual descendant of Communism, this is not a very good way to do it, since it is simply recycled Soviet propaganda.

    This same war profiteering can be seen today with Halliburton and Lockheed Martin, the latter ofwhom pays for commercials on CNN assuring us “We never forget whowe’re working for.” (My question is, if the company has no private consumers and only sells weapons to to the government, who are they advertising to?) And, although I do consider myself a left-leaning Libertarian, I would also like to point out that it was the Libertarians who were against fighting the original Nazis in WW2, since (just as today) they are against all non-defensive wars, especially wars of aggression, which includes this adventure into Iraq that the far Right still indignantly defends despite being wrong on every prediction that was made.

    So this means you are against the U.S. participation in World WarII? That is really another can of worms. Meanwhile, the issue is not “profiteering” when the objection is against the undertaking in the first place. You belief seems to be that the undertaking only exists to benefit the companies. That relies on the judgment that there are no political or moral reasons for the undertaking in the first place. That is what is comes down to: “Bush lied, people died.” I’m surprised you haven’t used that slogan here.

    I was especially dismayed about your page on Unstoppable Global Warming. True, Albert Einstein isn’t going to be called a bastard because of his skepticism of quantum mechanics, but then again, nothing is at stake in that argument.

    It doesn’t matter what is at stake when the issues are scientific. But the concern about what is at stake can be turned around, since Al Gore et al. have always wanted unlimited power for the government and a command economy.

    When you set aside the verdict of the majority of climate scientists

    Well, let’s see: The majority of climate scientists who profiteer from Big Government grants? The majority of climate scientists who are part of the military industrial complex of government funded university research? The majority of climate scientists who are whores bought and paid for by the Federal Government? That majority of climate scientists?

    Or perhaps the issues are really the ad rem content of the science.

    and are willing to risk disasterous reprecussions on the earth because global warming skepticism better fits your economic philosophy, you are taking on a huge responsibility, one that a single web page on the subject doesn’t remedy. And if you’re going to take offense to that, you may want to rethink calling Noam Chomsky a lunatic since he is well-read and whether you agree or disagree with him, his arguments do make more sense than Ann Coulter’s suggestion that we invade all Islamic countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity (I noticed her book is on your bibliography).

    The irony of Ann’s suggestion is that it is precisely the program of the Islamic radicals. Perhaps you missed the joke, or the reference.

    Chomsky is a lunatic without Ann’s irony, or wit — or looks.

    My question is, shouldn’t a “conservative” take the safest route? Risking mass extinctions and global famine for the sake of oil expansion doesn’t seem like the “conservative” approach to me. Even if the chances forthis happening were at 10% instead of 90%, are nuclear power and alternative fuels really so poor a substitute that we shouldn’t even bother investing in them for the future?

    No conservative here. But you are willing to risk the impoverishment of millions with a limitation of energy resources, when by your own conspiratorial principles the source of Al Gore’s research, and his motives, should be suspect, if not unbelievable.

    Are we really going to try and pretend that the oil companies work in some free market economy completely independent of the government and foreign policy? As seen inthe second article I have linked there, Tony Blair backs a study done that global warming will cause 40% of earth’s species to become extinct,cause the global economy to shrink 20%, and will cause water shortages for 1 in 6 people.

    So then, I take it, Tony Blair is a reliable guy who was well motivated when it came to the invasion of Iraq? If “Bush lied,” then Tony must have also, but then he isn’t when it comes toglobal warming and species extinction.

    Shouldn’t that mean something to someone interested in “conserving” the way thingsare now? Even Bush has left his previous stance of “needing more research” and has made the “liberal talking point” that weare addicted to oil and need to get off it, something much akin to a drug dealer telling a customer to cut down. So who exactly can you say is “on your side” now other than Micheal Chricton?

    http://www.climateaudit.org/

    http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/trc.html

    http://www.worldclimatereport.com/

    http://icecap.us/

    http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/doomsday.html

    http://www.kusi.com/home/11131801.html

    Etc.

    If you think that Crichton is alone, you haven’t been looking very hard. But since global warming fits in with your statist preferences, you don’t need to.

    Cutting oil dependence would also ensure that no American money is used in terrorist plots against us,but even that doesn’t phase the morally indignant Right.

    Or the morally indignant Left, which will restrict energy at vast expensewhatever the effect on people’s lives. I gather that the conspiracy view is that cheap energy alternatives exist but have been suppressed bythe military-oil-industrial complex. It is about time to put up or shut up.

    Instead, scare tactics are used to associate the Drug War with the War on Terrorism.

    Since this has nothing to do with me (regarding as I do the Drug War was unconstitutional, immoral, and tyrannical), I gather that you are just venting against a straw man Right, even while you seem to be accusing me of doing the same about the Left.

    *Of course* climate scientists from many different countries and backgrounds are all participating in a global conspiracy to limit America’s economic growth. Everyone knows they’re really just neo-Communists working to put everyone back on the farm.

    Well, yes. We will be their peons.

    Good luck with your planetary catastrophe and terrorist friends,

    Kelley Ross

  2. I have answered you at length here, to an e-mail (14K) so long that I would usually ignore it. I do not have the time to answer this way again, and I doubt that a continued debate would do much good. Benjamin Franklin’s motto was “never contradict anyone.” I’m not quite at the point, but it is appealing.

    Thanks for making me an exception. I won’t expect such a graciously complete reply since I’m sure you get tons of email, but I hope you can spare the time to read through my attempt to clarify the points I was trying to make in the last e-mail.

    I wouldn’t be too daring to say that it would have been difficult at Woodstock to find anyone in favor of the war in Vietnam. At the same time, Jane Fonda is still saying that we “caused” the Communists in Vietnam and Cambodia to massacre their own people. That Communists tend to do that wherever they have been in power seems to have escaped her notice. Perhaps the North Koreans are being starved to death by their government because the government knows that we still don’t like them. But the most telling Sixties quote may be from the movie Easy Rider, which was being filmed as Woodstock was happening: “You can’t be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace every day.” There is little in Democratic party politics or political correctness that cannot be deduced from that statement — though Dennis Hopper, who wrote that line, seems to have sold out to American Express and some investment firm.

    I was actually thinking of mentioning both Jane Fonda and Easy Rider in the earlier email. Like Manson, Fonda in many ways epitomizes the dark side of 60s culture, but I’ve never got the impression that either Manson or Fonda really embodied what the movement was about. Fonda took her anti-war position to a pro-Communistic extreme, but the peace movement itself never seemed to me to be so much about making friends with North Koreans as just getting out. The desire for the Right to inflate her role can be seen in the stories that surfaced of her sneaking notes from the POWs to their captors and the doctored photo of her and Kerry, but in the end no one would really care if she wasn’t some hot actress from Barbarella. She’s really more of an exercize model than a hippie anyway. The 60’s culture was made up of non-interventionist doves with no sense of circumstance, just like the official creed of the Libertarian party. So if all hippies are Soviet sympathizers, then you are too.

    The Easy Rider quote epitomizes the fantasy of the time of going back to a simpler time of living off the land, farming your own food, etc. The most radicalized hippies may have wanted to live in small communes, but that kind of isolationism is the exact opposite of wanting one gigantic “commune” in state-controlled Communism. I really don’t see the connection between that and anything in the politics of political correctness of either the Democrats or the Republicans.

    However, maybe it’s just me, but I often get the vibe that some Libertarians court a similar but more gun-oriented Survivalist strain of this fantasy since incidents such as Ruby Ridge and Waco are the worst offenses that are brought against the government by them. I get it from this idea that the idea that we should still be using guns to protect ourselves from the government, as if that’s even a viable option at this point these days. It’s this variety of Libertarian who probably love your political page that associates cigarette laws with the Soviet police state (I was against cigarette laws at first, but I have to say its nice not to get a whiff every time I exit a building, and I haven’t heard of any smoking nazis breaking into anyone’s house to stop it yet). And only a Libertarian would have the guts to say he’s pro-nudist colony and still expect to get elected, but somehow, being pro-nudist and anti-hippie just doesn’t jive straight in my mind.

    That depends on the environmentalists, but there is no doubt that a body of opinion and motives to those ends exists and is influential. “Saving the Earth” means limiting the human presence.

    I don’t think overpopulation is the problem yet but I can understand those who do. It probably will be a problem at some point in the future unless we can populate other planets. But this kind of fear is very different from the very small number of crazies who believe humans are some kind of pestilance, no where near enough to label the entire group after them, just as it’s unfair to consider everyone on the Right to be an apocalyptic Christian who doesn’t have to worry about the earth’s future. Bad ideas tend to gravitate to the sides.

    Quite a few Christians do expect the world to end, sooner rather than later, though meanwhile they do take the injunction seriously to “be fruitful and multiply.” That doesn’t have much to do with The Proceedings of the Friesian School.

    I know. The point was it’s grouping the entire side (Left or Right) with a fringe element of that side. Overgeneralizing the “bad” side while overarticulating the “good” side is a typical element I’ve seen in these kinds of arguments. Let me try this example: in the religious sphere, Right-wing Christians in modern times often make the overgeneralization of Buddhism = Paganism = Satanism = Atheism with irrational arguments, while the splitting of Christian sects can be calmly rationalized as minor mistakes in dogma. It doesn’t matter that Christianity and Buddhism have some things in common or that Catholics and Protestants have a long history of seeing each other as polar opposites and committing a great amount of violence against one another now that they’re allies against the common foe of the Secularism.

    Similarly, you and other Right-wingers seem to make the overgeneralization of Democrat = Socialist = Communist = Soviet, despite the fact that Democrats have a lot more in common with Republicans than with the Soviet Union. And you aren’t the first to try to associate Enviornmentalism with Communism. Meanwhile, those allied to your side, which include people who believe that the Founding Fathers were Fundamentalist Christians, that American law is based on the Ten Commandments, and that evolution is a hoax: they’re just a small “embarrasment,” a minor heresy of the True Religion of Capitalism. As you point out in Why I’m Not a Christian, Christianity tends to go against Capitalism, but it’s a good thing most of the Religious Right don’t know that. So they can be calmly rationalized with since they at least accept your far-right economic plan, unlike the completely irrational Left, who are more concerned with the earth than the people on it.

    Nothing ironic about real politik. We also supported Joe Stalin because Hitler was worse. The judgment was that Iran was worse than Saddam, which at the time was true. Then there is a difference between chaos we could do something about and chaos we couldn’t. Nevertheless, I have found leftists arguing to my face that Saddam was “progressive” in many ways and that he was a positive good for Iraq. Perhaps you didn’t get the memo.

    So first it’s all right to side with a tyrannical dictator against Democracy in Iran because the Soviet Union was worse, which ultimately resulted in the Islamic Revolution. Then it’s all right to side with an even worse dictator in his attack on Iran because the Islamic Revolution is worse. As a consequence of this war, Saddam then attacks a small oil-rich monarchy we now have to defend, and according to you, we can now use the atrocities he committed with the weapons we and other western nations sold him before this point to browbeat any dissenting opposition. Then, after restoring Kuwait to it’s monarchy, it’s all right for the president to accidentally cause a Kurdish rebellion, then sit back and do nothing as Saddam commits more atrocities against them. If that’s all realpolitik, then fine, at least put it all into context instead of starting at the Gulf War (which I did support) and making it seem like it’s the anti-war demonstrators who were in league with Saddam rather than the U.S. government.

    And, yeah, I definitely missed the memo. I guess this is a product of you working at a universtiy in California with a bunch of Marxists (which you apparently think are in every university — no wonder you hate public schools so much) and me living in Texas and Louisiana, but i’ve never heard anyone try to defend Saddam’s moral or political character. I have heard plenty of complaints of hawks acting as if being against going to war is the same as being pro-Saddam, and that’s what you seem to be doing when you say “The “peace” movement, therefore, like the “peace” movement in the Vietnam era, is not really for peace, it is for the defeat of America, by Communists if possible, but by anyone (like Hussein) if necessary.” You probably could call him progressive in the same way the Shah was progressive, meaning he was a secularist, and if you searched anyone’s records you could probably find something good they did, but I’ve never heard the opinion that he did more good than harm. And not to be nit-picky, but I would call Saddam a Stalinist, not a neo-Nazi. I think most neo-Nazis probably wouldn’t like the idea of a non-Aryan being called that. I also don’t like the term Islamo-Fascist: for one thing Fascist implies a pseudo-Darwinian belief in a Master Race coupled with nationalism, and seems to be some kind of attempt to connect amorphous, pan-Arabian terrorist organizations with the Nazi Empire to give the impression that we need to fight them in the exact same way: through military offense rather than tactical defense.

    I don’t think that Eisenhower suggested that “the military industrial complex were parasitically fermenting this kind of ideology.” That is the addition of modern leftist conspiracy theorists, would didn’t think that the Soviet Union needed to be opposed (they were the good guys) any more than Islamic terrorists do now (they are the good guys). Eisenhower had no doubts about the threat of Communism, nor did Jack Kennedy ever spend much time battling the parasitic corporations.

    His words are “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Maybe I’m misunderstanding him, but it sounds like the “undue influence” is the “huge industrial and military machinery of defense,” not Global Warming science.

    I’ve never heard anyone suggest that Eisenhower didn’t think the Soviet Union needed to be opposed, nor have I ever heard any American call Islamic terrorists “good guys.” Again, I’m guessing this is probably a California thing. However, I don’t think we would have had much of a chance in Vietnam without expanding the war into China (which probably would have been a bad idea), the “domino effect” didn’t happen, the U.S. was never in any danger of becoming Communist itself (nuked by Communists maybe, but not becoming Communist), and the Soviet Union fell regardless. Although I do have certain reservations against the draft (as do most Libertarians), I don’t consider the war itself unethical, but like the war in Iraq, it does seem to have been a tactical mistake.

    If you want to persuade me that the modern left is not the moral, practical, and spiritual descendant of Communism, this is not a very good way to do it, since it is simply recycled Soviet propaganda.

    I’m not a dove but this “Soviet propaganda” is most often used by Libertarians. Ron Paul has said, “Most Welfare goes to the military industrial complex.” (I don’t agree with him on everything, but a lot of times he does seem like the only sane man in a room full of Jack Bauer crackpots and Reagan wanna-bes.) McCain has accused Boeing of refusing to reveal its pricing policy or to disclose its communications with the Defense Department and calls the lease arrangement a waste of money, a sweetheart deal for Boeing and “one of the most unsavory, inside, military-industrial complex deals.” In contrast, the Left wants an interventionist policy in Darfur, so they must not hate the military-industrial complex that much.

    So this means you are against the U.S. participation in World War II? That is really another can of worms. Meanwhile, the issue is not “profiteering” when the objection is against the undertaking in the first place. You belief seems to be that the undertaking only exists to benefit the companies. That relies on the judgment that there are no political or moral reasons for the undertaking in the first place. That is what is comes down to: “Bush lied, people died.” I’m surprised you haven’t used that slogan here.

    I said “although I do consider myself a left-leaning Libertarian…”, as in: I sympathize with the party but don’t agree with them on the following point. I am not against the U.S. participation in World War II, and that’s one of the reasons I don’t consider myself a “true” Libertarian like you seem to. My point was that Libertarians are the biggest doves there are, far more than any Democrat or Leftist, and so your equating of pacificism with collaboration comes off as an attack against your own party. Libertarians, like anti-war protestors, are just against interventionism in general.

    I don’t really like simplistic slogans, but certainly the administration has greatly mischaracterized the war regarding Saddam’s suppossed links to 9/11, that they “knew” where the WMDs were, and how close Saddam was to getting nuclear capabilities (“the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud”). Powell’s chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson has chaarcterized the falsehoods Powell delivered to the U.N. as “a hoax on the American people” that he unknowingly participated in. I know I had a lot more sympathy for the war when I thought Iraq was getting close to being a nuclear power, although I always hated the gratuitous 9/11 associations, and it worried me that the war started close to them time I read reports that there was no evidence behind the African uranium deal. Jane Fonda may have called on soldiers to desert, but she never outed an agent, which the Right now tries to justify by saying Plame was some kind of overglorified secretary.

    I don’t think we declared war on Saddam to give an excuse for military industrial welfare, but I do think they have a lot of influence and when you’re in the job of making hammers, every problem starts to look like a nail. I don’t think any previous post-WW2 war has had so much money wasted and lost as this one. When I hear how much money is being spent on no-bid contracts, it does make me think they’re profiting from it on the side.

    As for lives lost, the Iraq War is nothing compared to Vietnam, which was nothing compared to WW2, but it’s still more deaths than 9/11, which itself caused a smaller number of deaths than the number of car accidents that year. However, having that many deaths the war would have had to of stopped a terrorist attack that was worse than 9/11 for it to be justified, but as you probably know, every U.S. report on the subject has showed that the war has only increased global terrorism. Had we had smarter leaders who were more concerned with subjects like dismissing the army (an incident which Bush says he doesn’t remember) instead of creating a flat tax for Iraq, and perhaps installed people knowledgable about Iraq instead of 20-something political hacks from Pat Robertson’s clown college who didn’t even own visas before their assignments, then maybe, just maybe, it could have worked, and your “anti-war Left” would be crowding themselves to try and get partial credit for it.

    It doesn’t matter what is at stake when the issues are scientific. But the concern about what is at stake can be turned around, since Al Gore et al. have always wanted unlimited power for the government and a command economy.

    You mean the same Al Gore who presided over NAFTA and the gutting of welfare? It’s always amazing to me how much the Right complains about government spending yet refuse to accept that the Clinton Administration cut spending, cut taxes for the middle class, and presided over the largest surplus ever while spending in the current administration has grown to 5 times that of Clinton. But it’s still the Democrats who are Socialists; that’s nothing new I suppose, but “command economy”? Even China isn’t a command economy anymore.

    Bush Sr. and Clinton/Gore have always tried to strive towards the center economically. Bush Sr. called Reaganomics “voodoo economics” and even Reagan’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, David Stockman, blamed the national debt on Reagan’s 1981 tax cuts, saying in the Atlantic Monthly, “I mean, Kemp-Roth was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate…. It’s kind of hard to sell ‘trickle down.’ So the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really ‘trickle down.’ Supply-side is ‘trickle-down’ theory.” and “Do you realize the greed that came to the forefront? The hogs were really feeding. The greed level, the level of opportunism, just got out of control. [The Administration’s] basic strategy was to match or exceed the Democrats, and we did.”

    As for unlimited power, it’s the current administration that has been constantly clammoring for increasing executive power and all the trappings that Libertarians have been screaming “1984” for years on.

    http://nymag.com/news/imperialcity/26014/

    Well, let’s see: The majority of climate scientists who profiteer from Big Government grants? The majority of climate scientists who are part of the military industrial complex of government funded university research? The majority of climate scientists who are whores bought and paid for by the Federal Government? That majority of climate scientists?

    Let’s continue this comparison: is it crazy to think that companies that make weapons would try to influence military solutions to (what I fully admit are) grave international problems, but completely normal to think that thousands of climate scientists will make up a problem where one does not really exist and be able to keep up the farce?

    What sticks out the most in “Unstoppable Global Warming and Michael Chrichton” is that the main argument isn’t so much the statistics as “the general agenda and ideology of the Left, they deserve at least as much in terms of ad hominem attacks as they dish out.” This comes with the assumption that all climate scientists are “on the Left,” who you say want to limit world prosperity for no good reason.

    Or perhaps the issues are really the ad rem content of the science.

    I have already praised the huge amount of content on your site, but when it comes to global warming, the IPCC has more than all the blog sites you sent me put together (the first of which being the only one that even looked remotely authorative).

    The irony of Ann’s suggestion is that it is precisely the program of the Islamic radicals. Perhaps you missed the joke, or the reference.

    Chomsky is a lunatic without Ann’s irony, or wit — or looks.

    I do notice how close Coulter’s suggestions are to our enemies and that’s why it worries me that you like her so much. I guess I did miss the joke, but she did say that she is still asked if she meant really that and always replies “Now more than ever!” If that was really suppossed to be a joke, she hasn’t done a good job of clarifying it. Bill Maher, who gave her many spots on his two shows long before she was popular is a much better Libertarian and a much better comedian. In any case, I think you have to decide to either to forego name-calling on your website or make it a point not to be offended by it.

    The part where you bring up Ann Coulter’s beef with McCarthyism is a good example of what seems to me your siding with Conservatism over Libertarianism. Okay, yeah he was friends with Kennedy, but that doesn’t mean he agreed with him. I also have friends I disagree with. The reason Kennedy never attacked him, besides the fact that McCarthy dated two of his daughters, is that McCarthy, like Kennedy, had a huge Catholic following. When asked why he never said anything, Kennedy replied, “Hell, half my voters in Massachusetts look on McCarthy as a hero.” But what neither you nor Coulter ever mention is that McCarthy’s attacks weren’t limited to Democrats. When Eisenhower arrived in office, McCarthy changed his catch-phrase of “twenty years of treason” to “twenty-one years of treason.” When McCarthy started burning books, Eisenhower said, “Don’t join the book burners… Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.” And when he was censored, it was supported not only by Democrats but half the Republicans. There’s been a lot of new scholarship vindicating him, and I’ve read very little of it, but from what I understand there is still little in incontrovertible evidence regarding the 15 or so people (out of 57? 205?) that are suppossedly “correctly indentified” by him. Decrypted Soviet messages show there was more espionage than was generally believed, but it doesn’t change the fact that many were falsely accused and the entire resurrection of the debate is Coulter’s attempt to impart this fantasy that Republican anti-communists were wronged by Democratic sympathizers, when in fact his downfall was brought about mostly by Eisenhower (who referred to the events as McCarthywasim”) and other staunch anti-Communists who felt he was hurting their cause.

    No conservative here. But you are willing to risk the impoverishment of millions with a limitation of energy resources, when by your own conspiratorial principles the source of Al Gore’s research, and his motives, should be suspect, if not unbelievable.

    I don’t know about impoverishment of millions. Certainly it will be more expensive, but it would have been a lot cheaper had there been more investment in alterantives back when there was a lot less evidence for it. I don’t think you can claim that the death toll figured by the “global warming scaremongerers” is smaller than those affected by more expensive energy, especially given the heavy political prejudice against industrialized nations. You’re taking the (now very) minority position on behalf of a minority of potential victims.

    So then, I take it, Tony Blair is a reliable guy who was well motivated when it came to the invasion of Iraq? If “Bush lied,” then Tony must have also, but then he isn’t when it comes to global warming and species extinction.

    Britain and the U.S. have a long history of supporting each other in war. I doubt Blair would have led the charge if Bush hadn’t set the policy. In any case, they’re different issues.

    >http://www.climateaudit.org/

    I have more:

    NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS): http://www.giss.nasa.gov/edu/gwdebate/

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html

    Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/index.htm

    National Academy of Sciences (NAS): http://books.nap.edu/collections/global_warming/index.html

    State of the Canadian Cryosphere (SOCC) – http://www.socc.ca/permafrost/permafrost_future_e.cfm

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): http://epa.gov/climatechange/index.html

    The Royal Society of the UK (RS) – http://www.royalsoc.ac.uk/page.asp?id=3135

    American Geophysical Union (AGU): http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html

    American Meteorological Society (AMS): http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/climatechangeresearch_2003.html

    American Institute of Physics (AIP): http://www.aip.org/gov/policy12.html

    National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR): http://eo.ucar.edu/basics/cc_1.html

    American Meteorological Society (AMS): http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/jointacademies.html

    Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS): http://www.cmos.ca/climatechangepole.html

    Academia Brasiliera de Ciencias (Brazil)

    Royal Society of Canada

    Chinese Academy of Sciences

    Academie des Sciences (France)

    Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (Germany)

    Indian National Science Academy

    Accademia dei Lincei (Italy)

    Science Council of Japan

    Russian Academy of Sciences

    Royal Society (United Kingdom)

    National Academy of Sciences (United States of America)

    Australian Academy of Sciences

    Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts

    Caribbean Academy of Sciences

    Indonesian Academy of Sciences

    Royal Irish Academy

    Academy of Sciences Malaysia

    Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand

    Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences

    BP

    Shell Oil

    http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/environment/world_warmth.html

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/05/AR2006040502150.html

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2004399,00.html

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=global_warm&id=4998615

    http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=global_warm&id=4998615
    http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/302176_whatabout02.html

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17553

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=aUz4GduWQv34&refer=energy

    http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1978

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1229_041229_climate_change_consensus.html

    If you think that Crichton is alone, you haven’t been looking very hard. But since global warming fits in with your statist preferences, you don’t need to.

    I’ve read plenty of articles against Global Warming, but they are always by individuals and never institutions, and even the individuals give different reasons. And I don’t know about having “statist preferences.” I’m glad the state builds roads and went to the moon before G.E. did if that’s “statist.” I sure don’t desire to use global warming as an excuse to increase federal or U.N. power if that’s what you’re insinuating. I want politics to react to the science and not the other way around. If human-caused global warming was a hoax, i’d expect most scientists, especially ones from industrialized countries, to prove it, or in the very least, show a lot more divisiveness.

    Or the morally indignant Left, which will restrict energy at vast expense whatever the effect on people’s lives. I gather that the conspiracy view is that cheap energy alternatives exist but have been suppressed by the military-oil-industrial complex. It is about time to put up or shut up.

    There is an alternative that has gone over 10 years without any reinvestment: nuclear power. The last reactor to go online was in 1996. Unfortauntely, the political resistance for this one has come from the Left (yes, they are flawed!), with unrealistic worries stemming from Chernobyl and the relatively minor incident at Three Mile Island. There’s another ridiculous contention that there is no where to put the waste when Yucca Mountain was designated back in 1987, though its still in so much red tape the current agreed-for date for starting is still in 2017!

    Since this has nothing to do with me (regarding as I do the Drug War was unconstitutional, immoral, and tyrannical), I gather that you are just venting against a straw man Right, even while you seem to be accusing me of doing the same about the Left.

    I know you are against the Drug War, but when I go through and read all your venting against the Left and continuous defense of the Right, then I feel the need to remind you that Libertarians are suppossed to be criticizing both sides, especially considering its the current administration that’s making all the mistakes right now. I don’t see any mention of Bush’s farm subsidies, and the only thing that could even remotely linked to “religious supression” comes from the Right. Bush Jr. joined Strom Thurman is denouncing Wiccan accommodations in the military. Bush Sr. has said atheists were neither citizens nor patriotic. Political correctness comes from both sides, but if it’s a far more irritating aspect of the Left, social incorrectness is the more abundant aspect of the Right. The last campaign finance reform bill had both a Republican and a Democrat name attached to it.

    Well, yes. We will be their peons.

    And climate scientists will rule the world?

    Good luck with your planetary catastrophe and terrorist friends,

    I guess that means I’m not allowed in the Friesian fan club. Perhaps I can offer an olive branch in the form of site corrections:

    http://www.friesian.com/ross/CA40/ohno.htm#text-2

    women should not allowed to participate in the porn business

    http://www.friesian.com/ross/CA40/ohno.htm#text-7

    Is it not difficult to locates sites and beaches where people who are “offended” by nudity

    http://www.friesian.com/ross/CA40/ohno.htm#text-11

    where workers are “protected” by a vast system of labor rights, [un]employment has been stuck at more than 10% for the better part of a decade.

    http://www.friesian.com/ross/CA40/ohno.htm#text-8

    Either way, somebody, either working taxpayers or “beneficiaries,” is going to be really mad

    Jeff

    http://www.lost-history.com

  3. I get kind of tired of self-proclaimed defenders of capitalism. Capitalism is not defended through laissez-faire economics, but rather though appropriate regulation in the marketplace. The marketplace needs to be a just and fair competition, which it is not if companies become de-facto governments due to excessive power. The problem with the current right-wing ideology is they don’t acknowledge that leaving things unregulated leads to fewer and fewer independent competitors–essentially too few capitalists.

  4. By the way, every time I see that “we never forget who we’re working for” commercial, I laugh a little. I bet they don’t, but who exactly are they working for? They should be working for their stockholders, and maybe this commercial is just a little “inside joke”

  5. Yeah, but that commercial makes me wonder how they justify it in terms of profitability. Does letting people know that there are a bunch of people in a dark room fighting terrorism make CNN-watchers more likely to vote for increased military spending?

    The guy is pretty smart. He’s obviously very well-read, unlike most of the douchebags on Fox News, but he’s completely blind to the glaring contradictions and huge hypocracies he uses.

    Like he defends his statement that “the Left committed themselves to protect the ”neo-Nazi” Saddam Hussein” by saying the United States allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler. So by his own logic, the Allies were really just defending Stalin.

    And you got to love how the same guy calling the world’s climate scientists “whores” who wants us all to “be their peons” is concerned about “ad hominem attacks” from the Left.

  6. Pingback: Political Rants » The Friesian Correspondence: Letter 4C: Democrats Believe Islamic Fundamentalism is “Fully Redeemed by Its Hatred of America”

  7. Pingback: Political Rants » The Friesian Correspondence: Letter 5: Fred Singer and the “Jihad Victory Mosque”

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