We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Bill Moyers embraces libertarianism

He wrapped up his Friday broadcast with carefully bracketed video of young Republicans in Washington. His softly presented outrage leads to the inevitable conclusion that he is embracing the libertarian principle of individual, personal action. The only other possible interpretation being that he is a sanctimonious hypocrite.

Ending his July 27 broadcast of Bill Moyers Journal, he makes his opinion very clear that unless someone has committed to personally experience the greatest possible cost of what they are advocating, their opinion is without standing and worthy only of ridicule and moral reprobation. His quiet anger is directed at people who advocate actions for which others will bear the burden. I for one consider this to be a marked improvement in Moyer’s politics. Prior to this he has always identified strongly with activists who want to force the rest of society to bear the burden for their projects. I look forward eagerly to seeing him apply his new standard to every guest that he invites onto his program. It will be refreshing to only hear opinions from people who have first made a total personal sacrifice to a cause, before they may express belief in the justice of that cause. Because, Bill’s right. If you have not given yourself totally to some great endeavor first, ‘volunteering’ others is the very essence of hypocrisy.

transcript excerpt:

BILL MOYERS: … Less than a month ago, July 6, Private First Class LeRon Wilson, and another member of his platoon were killed when their military vehicle hit a roadside bomb south of Baghdad.

I was thinking of LeRon Wilson a few days later as I came upon this internet video the independent journalist Max Blumenthal. He had gone to a gathering of young Republicans in Washington and interviewed some of them. Here are some excerpts:

JUSTIN YORK, UNIV. OF CENTRAL FLORIDA ’10: We are all supportive of the war; we all believe that it is very important to win the war and to fight Al Queda in Iraq so we are not fighting them here in the United States.

DAVID CLARY, UNIV. OF ILLINOIS ’09: I like the Republican standpoint, fight them over there not over here. That’s what we’re doing right now and we should keep doing it.

RACHAEL DAVIS, UNIV. OF ARKANSAS ’09: Um, basically, what I don’t think people understand is that, if it’s not fought in Iraq, we don’t win over there, it’s going to happen here.

CLINT PETERSON, UNIV. OF NORTH TEXAS, ’08: I think frankly we went there because Al Qaeda was already there, they may not have [had] the forces they have now but they were there and essentially if we leave there we give them a stronghold.

BLUMENTHAL: Why are you not fighting them over there?

DAVID CLARY, UNIV. OF ILLINOIS ’09: Why am I not fighting them over there?

BLUMENTHAL: Yeah?

DAVID CLARY, UNIV. OF ILLINOIS ’09: Because I’m in college right now.

BLUMENTHAL: Do you plan to enlist?

DAVID CLARY, UNIV. OF ILLINOIS ’09: I haven’t ruled it out.

BLUMENTHAL: Are you going to serve?

JUSTIN YORK, UNIV. OF CENTRAL FLORIDA ’10: I’ve thought about it, thinking about it, haven’t decided.

BLUMENTHAL: Undecided? Why aren’t you serving currently?

JUSTIN YORK, UNIV. OF CENTRAL FLORIDA ’10: Well I’m an undergraduate right now and I had a scholarship…I just didn’t have any real urge…I just didn’t have any strong urge…

RALPH KETTELL, COLBY ’09: Why am I not serving? I don’t know…I mean… I really support this country strongly and I…you know… I didn’t enlist. There is not much else I can say. I don’t think that you can’t talk about this issue if you’re not serving.

BILL MOYERS: Private First Class LaRon Wilson has been posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was the 30th 18-year-old American soldier to be killed in Iraq. That’s it for the JOURNAL. I’m Bill Moyers.

27 comments to Bill Moyers embraces libertarianism

  • Why has Moyers not joined Al Qeada? He wants to see America defeated and humiliated in Iraq and elsewhere. Why can’t he take the trouble to strap a bomb to himself and try and kill a few Americans ?

  • I haven’t hit the ‘read less’ button so fast in a longgggggg time.

  • Bret

    Moyers hasn’t changed.

  • Perhaps you should check your premises. Now it could be that Moyers actually wants to see America defeated. In this case, it would be consistent with the principals implied by the piece that he did that he should make a personal effort to see that happen and bear the consequences of his preference.

    Of course, it could be that Moyers thinks we were wrong to attack a nation which had done us no harm, and for that matter was militarily incapable of doing us any harm. In that case, we would have been defeated and humiliated the first time we invaded this harmless nation, and staying longer would only make it worse. In that case, Moyers’ responsibility would be to make the personal effort to get us out with the least possible damage to America, and to bear the consequences of his belief, which would be your foolish approbation.

    A is A.

  • Jack Olson

    “A nation which had done us no harm, and for that matter was militarily incapable of doing us any harm.” That sounds like Lord Lothian’s comment when Hitler occupied the Rhineland, “After all the Germans are only going into their own back garden.”

    Hitler’s occupation of the Rhineland was, of course, a violation of the post-WWI Versailles Treaty, just as Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was a violation of the post-Gulf War treaty. Both dictators did what they did to gain a military advantage their countries had agreed to give up. The difference is that in Hitler’s case Britain and France permitted him to gain that military advantage, which encouraged him to launch a war of vast destruction; by contrast Bush forced the issue and put an end to Hussein’s nuclear saber-rattling.

  • So you can’t talk about crime if you’re not personally willing to become a policeman? You can’t advocate fire safety regulations if you aren’t personally willing to become a fireman? You can’t tell your children to brush their teeth if you aren’t personally willing to become a dentist?

    Is there no end to the “chickenhawk” meme? Please!

  • @Stephen, is it – in your opinion – really so radical to expect people to pay a security guard, pay insurance premiums in exchange for access to fire fighting services, or buy toothpaste?

    Is it also equally unusual to expect those advocating, say, increased workers rights to have experience running companies and employing staff?

  • @Simon – I do not think it is radical at all to pay a security guard, what I think is foolish is to disparage someone for being in support of stamping out terrorists by invading terror-sponsoring countries because (the supporter) is not/has not served in uniform.

    Just because one has never fought on the battlefield does not invalidate their opinion or reduce their moral standing.

    Blumenthal, in the interviews, openly mocks the students for their “pro-war” attitude that is not somehow validated by any intention to “serve” their country. The “chickenhawk” meme is invalid, as I remarked above, because it it becomes absurd on its face when applied to other endeavors.

    I vote and pay taxes, therefore I have the right to voice my opinion and support (or oppose) whatever policies I choose. As a citizen I have the right obligation to urge my government to go to war against the enemies of my country.

    I mean, really, other than ending Nazism, Fascism, Slavery, etc. what has war ever accomplished?

  • Stephanie

    The “chickenhawk” meme is invalid, as I remarked above, because it it becomes absurd on its face when applied to other endeavors.

    In fact, it’s a classic example of the ad hominem fallacy. That it still gets bandied around is misanthropy-inducing.

  • Anonymous Coward

    Is there no end to the “chickenhawk” meme?

    The Donkey Cong were willing to put it aside during the presidential campaigns of 1992 and 1996.

    I’m sure it won’t be brought up in 2008.

  • My greatest fear, for the past 6 years, is that there will be another attack on US soil by Muslims, and then things get really ugly. Because “Jacksonian” Middle America will not put up with too much more baloney from the Democrat party.

    The good’ol’ boys with the gunracks in their pick’em-up trucks are gonna go huntin’ for bad guys. And there will be an “ethnic cleansing” that will make Kosovo look like a walk in the park. Especially if there is a “nukular” or bio-weapon that kills a hundred-thousand plus.

    Islam will, to paraphrase a famous admiral, become a religion that is only practiced in Hell. I am as tolerant of other beliefs as the next guy, but if you wipe out Denver, you are gonna reap the whirlwind.

    Yippee-ky-ay, mother-f****r.

    (This may sound like an overly “cowboy” attitude, but it was the cowboys that saved Europe in the Great War and the horrific sequel. If it weren’t for us cowboys, the EU would be the GU, and y’all would still be goose-steppin’ all over the place. The next time we have to come over there and pull your fat out of the fire, everybody gets rescued except the Frogs.)

  • To me, Sun Tsu makes it very clear that Generals decide the “how” and “where”, but kings decide the “whom”.

  • guy herbert

    Saddam Hussein’s pursuit of nuclear weapons was a violation of the post-Gulf War treaty.

    What treaty was that?

  • Kim du Toit

    “The only other possible interpretation being that he is a sanctimonious hypocrite.”

    I’ll take “sanctimonious hypocrite” for $200, Alex.

    Sorry, I can’t take the headline seriously. Bill Moyers is about as big a statist as can be imagined outside (or perhaps even inside) the 1960s-era Comintern.

  • Midwesterner

    What po’ed me Kim, is that he didn’t even say what he said. He did it all with carefully selected edits. This way, he can never get his videotaped words shoved back in his face the way journalists are so wont to do with others. The magnitude and calculation of the duplicity is impressive.

    Prior to now, he has been one of the people I reference to see what thoughtful leftists are thinking. With this little game of his, he has convinced me that none of the leftists are thoughtful anymore.

  • neil

    Students should have the right to voice their concerns about enemies of the US (even when the enemies are imaginary, as in the case of Iraq) and urging their government to war (even when it is unnecessary, costly and unhelpful, as in the case of Iraq). This right/obligation should not be in question.

    That these students have no wish to involve themselves in the war should not impede their right/obligation to agitate for the action. It should not earn them the name “chickenhawk” (not actually a “meme”) when the word “coward” is more accurate, stronger and perfectly acceptable. These students have the right to be outspoken cowards, it should never be in question.

    Similarly, Republicans have the right to call themselves “libertarian”. They can march lockstep with Republican big-government, power-hunger and fiscal irresponsibility, and be outspoken egg-faced neocon-apologists – this doesn’t deny them the right/obligation to flee the distinctly unsexy, anti-intellectual image of Republican.

  • neil

    Students should have the right to voice their concerns about enemies of the US (even when the enemies are imaginary, as in the case of Iraq) and urging their government to war (even when it is unnecessary, costly and unhelpful, as in the case of Iraq). This right/obligation should not be in question.

    That these students have no wish to involve themselves in the war should not impede their right/obligation to agitate for the action. It should not earn them the name “chickenhawk” (not actually a “meme”) when the word “coward” is more accurate, stronger and perfectly acceptable. These students have the right to be outspoken cowards, it should never be in question.

    Similarly, Republicans have the right to call themselves “libertarian”. They can march lockstep with Republican big-government, power-hunger and fiscal irresponsibility, and be outspoken egg-faced neocon-apologists – this doesn’t deny them the right/obligation to flee the distinctly unsexy, anti-intellectual image of Republican.

  • Jack Olson

    Mr. Herbert, you are right, Hussein never did agree by treaty to refrain from pursuing nuclear weapons so the analogy is flawed. The nearest thing he had to a treaty to this effect was membership in the United Nations, which demanded he refrain from pursuit of nuclear weapons and imposed sanctions he evaded as best he could with the complicity of bribed European politicians. At least no French, British or League of Nations officials took bribes to let Hitler occupy the Rhineland.

  • Thomas Jackson

    Neil:
    The Klingons never had a term for sanctimonous hypocrite till they met you. Did you memorize that from bumper stickers or were you force fed it by Michael Moore?

  • Paul Marks

    Rich Paul – yes A is A.

    But what you type does not fit with that.

    You remind me of why I (who opposed the 2003 operation) feel more comfortable with people who supported it than most of the people who opposed it (that was even true back in 2003).

    The United States did not attack “a nation” it attacked the the regime of Saddam. If the “the nation” wished Western forces to leave, the democratically elected government of Iraq could tell them to leave – and they would.

    It is no accident that the vast majority of the victims of the “resistance” in Iraq are Iraqi (the vast majority of who are civilians) – would you like to explain that if the United States and Britain are fighting the “nation of Iraq”? If so why target (almost all the time) Iraqi people?

    As for the regime being “harmless” that is a flat out lie (i.e. you are writing something you know to be untrue). Not only did it kill millions of people (most of whom were Muslims) it also financed terrorism around the world – including operations against Americans (such as the plan to kill George Herbert Walker Bush – but ordinary Americans also).

    As for “W.M.D.s” (an issue you have not raised, but might wish to) it is now accepted that Saddam DID what to build more (he had built lots in the past – in spite of such things as the Israeli attack on his nuclear program in 1980) and that sanctions were falling apart.

    I do not think even you would deny that Saddam would have had no problem at all with giving such weapons to terrorist groups who wished to use them against the United States (including terrorist groups that did not regard him as a proper Muslim – after all they were still quite happy to accept his support even whilst they denounced him).

    I can continue to hold that the 2003 operation was a mistake (although once such an operation has been started in must be won), but reading your stuff makes me doubt my position.

    Still I suppose I should be greatful that you did NOT describe 9/11 as “blow back” for “bombing Iraq for ten years” and all the rest of the Ron Paul stuff (not that I believe that any of this really comes from the head of Ron Paul – one day someone is going to write a history of the campaign and we will find out who ruined it).

    In short:

    If you wish to oppose a war do so – after all I opposed the operation in 2003 (and still think it was a mistake) and so can hardly blame you for opposing it.

    But do not throw dirt all over the United States, by saying how it “attacked a nation” or that the enemy was “harmless” or all the rest of the bullshit.

    When there is a war against suicide bombers and head hackers (who do not care about “Iraq” they care about world conquest for their interpretations of Islam – and “world” includes the United States), then one does NOT side with the suicide bombers and the head hackers.

    You may be young – but that is no excuse.

  • Paul Marks

    F.D.R. never served in combat therefore, according to the argument of the piece, he had no right to send other people into combat.

    “But that was World War II, the Rothbardian position would be different on that”.

    No – the Rothbardians are not just against the Iraq war, they think the United States was in the wrong in W.W.II as well.

    As for more recent conflict, as I never tire of pointing out, David Gordon (in the “Mises Review” Winter 2001 – “Can the State justly kill innocents”) used a review of an old book by G.E.M. Anscombe to compare the operation in Afghanistan to the atomic bombing of Japanese cities.

    It is NOT the case that the Rothbardians are just opposed to the Iraq war – they are against the United States no matter how evil the enemy are (period).

    In this they are joined by leftists such as Bill Moyers.

    Perphaps this is the true meaning of the slogan of the Rothbardians back in the 1960′s “left and right join hands”.

    Where are men like Frank Meyer when we need them?

  • I’m younger than some, older than others. Born in 1968, in the middle of another pointless war.

    I should have said more clearly that Iraq was harmless to us, and since I believe that the only concern of the U.S. government should be the wellbeing of persons withing the U.S. borders, being harmless to persons within the U.S. borders should be sufficient, IMHO, to preclude our kicking the shit out of you. I don’t much care of Israel, or Switzerland for that matter kicks the shit out of Iraq. That’s not my problem. But until there is a real threat to America from Iraq, I think we should leave the shit kicking to others. I’m tired of paying for kicking the shit out of every bogeyman that the neocons and liberals can dream up. (Yes, liberals do it to, don’t forget the day that Clinton decided that Aspirin half a world away was a threat to American national security. Of course he was wise enough to kick the shit out of them and go home, instead of kicking the shit out of them and then making a bunch of American teenagers with better things to do wade around in the shit).

    As for what the “Rothbardians” think, I have great respect for many of the things that Rothbard said, but if he was opposed to our declaration of war on Japan after they attacked us, I would say he was wrong in that. One thing that neocons have never understood is that Japan was powerful enough to actually pose a threat. For that matter, if Costa Rica had attacked us, I would have no problem with bombing Costa Rica off the map. Then again, I would not support bombing Costa Rica because some telepathic neocon had concluded that Costa Rica wanted to attack us. Even if they really disliked us.

    As for the regime being “harmless” that is a flat out lie (i.e. you are writing something you know to be untrue). Not only did it kill millions of people (most of whom were Muslims) it also financed terrorism around the world – including operations against Americans (such as the plan to kill George Herbert Walker Bush – but ordinary Americans also).

    I don’t have any reason to believe that Iraq planned to kill George the First. They may have. I can’t recall if I did, but I sure did want to after Ruby Ridge. Personally, since nearly everything that George the Second said about Iraq was false, and since nearly everything the William the First said about anything was false, I have no reason to believe that Iraq has ever been any more of a threat to us than New Zealand.

  • Paul Marks

    Rich Paul if you really do not know that Saddam had funded terrorism for years you should not be writing about the Iraq war – because you clearly have not bothered to look into these matters (contrary to Murry Rothbard national security is not an a priori subject).

    However, if you really do not have a clue then I must APOLOGIZE to you – as I assumed that you knew something about the subject and were saying things you knew not to be true. The Iraq war may have been an error (I thought so in 2003 and I still think so), but to say that the regime in Iraq was “harmless” or had no hostile intent towards the United States is false.

    As for Vietnam being a “pointless war”, ask the boatpeople about the issue.

    Or ask the familes of the millions of people the Marxists killed in IndoChina.

    It may have been a mistake to fight the Marxists in IndoChina (the lines of supply and other such being all in their favour – an example of “allowing the enemy to choose the battlefield”) and, even if it was not a mistake, many wrong judgements may have been made in the war itself.

    But to call the war “pointless” is absurd. Unless you mean it was pointless because the Marxists won. Would Korea have been “pointless” if the Marxists had won that war?

    Supporting no war unless you know (because God has told you or whatever) that you are going to win is silly.

    It would be like people in Britain in 1940 saying “we should not have gone to war in 1939 – look the Nazis have Poland anyway and they have kicked us out of France”.

    Just because you were born in 1968 does not mean you have to act as if you were a 1968 “activist”.

    Still at least you did NOT say that the Marxists in Indo China were a “peasants revolt” or a “national liberation struggle against Western Imperialism”.

    When Karl Hess was asked why he had come out with a lot of crap in the late 1960′s his reply was “well I was on drugs at the time”.

    But Murry Rothbard never produced any excuse at all.

  • Nick M

    Rich Paul,
    But… Well let’s assume the 300 million souls of the USA say “pisseth yea off” to the rest of the World then where does the oil come from. It doesn’t work. If you are a major power like the US very clearly is trouble comes looking for you. Saddam was a clear danger to US interests because he financed suicide operations in Israel (a close US ally), he menaced Persian Gulf oil supplies (and had previously invaded Iran, Kuwait and threatened the Saudis). Now I have no love for Iran, Kuwait or the Magic Kingdom but… Can you imagine the antics if Saddam’s designs of annexing pretty much all of the Mid-East’s oil had come to fruition?

    Put it this way, the Amish would be cashing in big time because in the USA there would be a huge uptake of carriage driving lessons. Or, put simply, the US has to engage (preferably quickly and ultra-violently) with such places because without affordable oil nothing works.

    New Zealand on the other hand could at maximum refuse to export kiwi fruit and whilst this would not be ideal I suspect the USA could live with that. The USA could not live with an avowed enemy (and paranoid homicidal maniac) controlling a very sizable portion of global oil supply. Would you like to see a President begging Putin or Chavez? Because that is the only alternative.

    The US protected Europe through the Cold War because the alternative would’ve been the Sovs grabbing the place and depriving the US of a very major trade partner. You are of course aware that the vastly more powerful Soviet Empire which would’ve resulted would’ve forced the USA onto a perpetual war-footing which could only have been sustained by a basically fascist government.

    9/11 was blowback. It was blowback for the USA making movie featuring nudity. It was blowback for rock and roll and Jack Daniels and hog-roasts and pornography and Marilyn Monroe and Baywatch. It was blowback for not being part of a caliphate. Mohammed Atta was an architect(!) and what really wound him up was that in his native Cairo the Hilton Hotel and the Bank of America towered over the medieval mosques. Oh Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine always gets dragged up as a “legitimate” grievance but that’s pure window dressing. Why has no Arab state done a bloody thing to aid Palestinians? And by the way, my definition of “aid” does not include bunging $25000 to the family of a “martyr” who has blown up in a Pizza Hut. The PA has basically been bank-rolled by the EU and oddly enough not in fact by their fellow Arabs and brothers in Islam of the Arab League. Why do you think the oil sheiks didn’t pony up the dough?

  • Paul Marks

    Indeed Sayyid Qutb (the writer whose works most inspired Osama Bin Landen) did not hate the United States because it helped overthrough a pro Soviet Prime Minister in Iran in 1953, or even because of the support for Israel.

    He hated the United States because he hated Western Civilization (especially as regards women). his visit to the United States in 1949 confirmed him in his hatred.

    See Michael Burleigh’s “Sacred Causes; Religion and Politics from the European Dictators To Al Qaeda”
    (London, 2006).

    “Then why not attack Sweden?”

    Because the United States, not Sweden, is the major power of the West.

    By the way the Muslims have not forgotten Sweden – there are many followers of Wahabi ideas in places such as Malmo these days.

    As for the alternative to the Cold War.

    Yes Ike considered it (and rejected it)- the United States would have to have been a “garrison state” run on essentially fascist lines. Not the happy libertarian place of Murry Rothbard’s dreams.

    “But modern America is Fascist” – only to those people who do not know what “Fascist” is.

  • Rich Paul,
    But… Well let’s assume the 300 million souls of the USA say “pisseth yea off” to the rest of the World then where does the oil come from. It doesn’t work. If you are a major power like the US very clearly is trouble comes looking for you. Saddam was a clear danger to US interests because he financed suicide operations in Israel (a close US ally), he menaced Persian Gulf oil supplies (and had previously invaded Iran, Kuwait and threatened the Saudis). Now I have no love for Iran, Kuwait or the Magic Kingdom but… Can you imagine the antics if Saddam’s designs of annexing pretty much all of the Mid-East’s oil had come to fruition?

    If people aren’t allowed to enslave me, where does my labor come from? It is purchased on the open market. If the Iraqis choose to refuse all exports of oil, and starve to death, then I suppose that land will become available when they’re dead. Of course, we should never, ever, send a dime of foreign aid to anybody in the world, so that they pay the consequences of such foolishness in full.

    Imagine that I own a piece of farmland, and although there is oil on it, I choose not to drill for it. Perhaps I have a religious problem with oil. What is the government to do? Should they seize my land, so it can be put to better use? No, they should wait for me to die like civilized people. Perhaps my heirs will be more reasonable. Perhaps not. That’s how private property is.

    That said, I doubt that Hussein was planning on taking all that land and then refusing to sell the oil. So what if he refused to sell it to us? Well, that means that he would probably get a lower price, but perhaps he is willing to cut off his nose to spite his face. So he sells his oil at lower prices to other countries. How does he prevent reexportation? Does he require these countries to continue to buy the same amount of oil from their other trading partners? If not, why don’t we just buy oil from the other trading partners, and let somebody else buy the oil from Hussein? The joy of capitalism is that markets adjust.

    New Zealand on the other hand could at maximum refuse to export kiwi fruit and whilst this would not be ideal I suspect the USA could live with that. The USA could not live with an avowed enemy (and paranoid homicidal maniac) controlling a very sizable portion of global oil supply. Would you like to see a President begging Putin or Chavez? Because that is the only alternative.

    No, I don’t believe in begging. I believe in buying. What happens to the economy of the rest of the world if we refuse to export money? That seems to be a logical consequence of not importing oil. Besides which, when did presidents start buying oil? Isn’t that generally something done by oil companies, which are not government entities at all?

    The US protected Europe through the Cold War because the alternative would’ve been the Sovs grabbing the place and depriving the US of a very major trade partner. You are of course aware that the vastly more powerful Soviet Empire which would’ve resulted would’ve forced the USA onto a perpetual war-footing which could only have been sustained by a basically fascist government.

    You assume that the Soviet Empire would become more powerful through such tactics. The problem is that it’s easier to take territory then to hold it. The Soviets fell because socialism does not work. It was our lack of faith in our own ideals which forced us to play games with the Soviets. We should have just waited for the collapse.

    9/11 was blowback. It was blowback for the USA making movie featuring nudity. It was blowback for rock and roll and Jack Daniels and hog-roasts and pornography and Marilyn Monroe and Baywatch. It was blowback for not being part of a caliphate. Mohammed Atta was an architect(!) and what really wound him up was that in his native Cairo the Hilton Hotel and the Bank of America towered over the medieval mosques. Oh Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine always gets dragged up as a “legitimate” grievance but that’s pure window dressing. Why has no Arab state done a bloody thing to aid Palestinians? And by the way, my definition of “aid” does not include bunging $25000 to the family of a “martyr” who has blown up in a Pizza Hut. The PA has basically been bank-rolled by the EU and oddly enough not in fact by their fellow Arabs and brothers in Islam of the Arab League. Why do you think the oil sheiks didn’t pony up the dough?

    I think I’ve seen this text before. None the less, I will put in a couple comments:

    1) Why has no Arab state done anything for the Palestinians?

    Because the Arab governments care about nothing but power, just like our governments. If they actually found a way to settle the Palestinians, they would not be able to use them to whip up sentiment amongst their people in order to distract them from the fact that they are poor because they are not free to produce. Their people, on the other hand, are concerned about the Palestinians, which is why the tactic above is useful.

    After all, they could hardly have much luck getting people to blow themselves up over Jack Daniels 3000 miles away if there was not a reasonable way to convince them that they were in danger from us. Our constant interference in their politics creates the appearance of a threat, even when it does not constitute an actual threat.

    Left to their own devices, the Sunnis would much rather kill Shiites than Americans, and the Shiites would much rather kill Sunnis than Americans. They are also able to reach each other much more easily. I have no objection to this, so long as they do it there, rather than here. But then I’m not fond of either group. At least not the ones who like killing people.

  • I am Justin York, as seen in that video. While Mr. Blumenthal made extensive use of selective editing to try and embarrass myself as well as other College Republicans, I think it’s important to address the broader issue of “armchair patriotism.” We have had wartime presidents who never saw active combat: Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, and Bill Clinton (who once wrote he “loathed the military” as he dodged his country’s call to duty). No one questioned their patriotism for supporting wars they themselves were not fighting in regardless of their record of military service. I think it’s important to keep this in mind as we mindlessly call the patriotism of others into question. We wouldn’t want anybody going around screaming about “Chickenhawk” Abe or “Chickenhawk” Franklin now would we?

    What I could not express in greater eloquence at the time, due to the surprising nature of the question as well as the time it took for me mull the question, think about seriously, and try to come up with an intellectually honest answer. I admit it was a good question, and one worth discussion.

    What I would express to Mr. Blumenthal and others is that it is no necessary for every able-bodied man serve in combat in order to express his patriotism. This is like advocating strong crime control through aggressive policing, standardized federal sentencing, and no tolerance policies but then being questioned as to way you yourself do not put on the blues, the belt, and the star and patrol the streets yourself. Obviously, it’s ridiculous and everyone has the freedom to hold opinions concerning crime regardless of whether or not they’ve been in law enforcement.

    Similarly, the military functions as a public good, in which all citizens benefit from their activities. I am one of many citizens who enjoy the security they provide and I am eternally grateful to those who secure my liberty as I go to school, train for a career in the law, and hopefully one day can make a greater contribution to the country I fell in love with in grade school.

    I am disappointed in Mr. Blumenthal. He obviously is a determined journalist and a devout progressive. But to use intrigue and deception as a vehicle for reporting and journalism is a tactical shame. This tenor of dialogue has no place in American politics. John McCain and Barack Obama both agree that we must elevate our political discourse away from these vitriolic and disturbing swamps of discord and insert some civility and decency into our debate as we enter the fall campaign. Thank you for time.