I suppose I am probably notorious for not only not moderating my comments, but not even reading them. An unorthodox approach, I admit. But essential to UR’s famous objectivity.
However, my brain has little ears. I have no idea what y’all are talking about, but I can guess.
So first: obviously, I am not the Preston Brooks of the Internet. When I spoke of using Will Wilkinson as a punching-bag, I meant no physical harm. (Indeed, men of letters will recognize it as an homage to Hunter S. Thompson’s interview of Leon Spinks, in The Great Shark Hunt. HST references are not hard to find, here at UR.)
It was Will’s soul alone that needed a punch or two—and that just to drive the Devil out. Indeed as I write, perhaps he glares grimly into the eyesockets of that awful, crested Aboriginal skull, high as an albatross on his meth-laced Iowa ditchweed, and thinks: but if I believe my own eyes, not the Computer, will they ever let me on NPR again?
Alas, Will, the Ring doesn’t just slide off like that. Your talents are great! It’s not too late to use them for good, rather than evil. You get to be a nine-fingered Boromir, or a ten-fingered Witch-King. (Or more precisely: Alpha.) It’s your choice, dude.
And in case you’re wondering what sent me into Preston Brooks mode, it was this:
The sadly common libertarian-conservative penchant for “brave” counter-PC truthiness (e.g., “Women do love the welfare state!” “Blacks really do have lower IQs!”) certainly doesn’t help.
I’ve bold-faced the word at which I realized the gutta-percha would have to get involved.
(Of course most Americans of 2009, I suspect, understand why Brooks did what he did about as well as they understand the difference between the Liao and Sung Dynasties. In case you are in this set and you care to fill in your knowledge of medieval China, read first this, then this.)
Moving on: to the Jews. Obviously this is a favorite subject here at UR, which is a pro-Jew blog and always has been. (Jabotinsky is my neighbor.) The road to the New State is long, long, long, and we have barely started down it. But we know one thing: the New State will be a Jew State. Or at least, it will be chock-full of Jews. (And of Tamil Brahmins, for the same reason.)
As I recall, I compared the Israel lobby to a piece of dental floss, and the Palestine lobby to an arm-thick iron rope. Now, it’s true that if your definition of “lobby” is “something like the Israel lobby,” there is indeed no Palestine lobby at all. There is an AIPAC; there is no APPAC. Indeed, I don’t know that the Palestinians have any organization at all for bribing Congressmen, though I suppose they must have something or other.
But, I mean, duh. This is exactly the point. The situation is not at all symmetric. If you have an arm-thick iron rope, do you need dental floss? Why do you think the Israel lobby needs to bribe Congressmen? Because they don’t have an arm-thick iron rope.
As throughout Zionist history, Israel’s enemies make a living by painting defense as aggression. “Cet animal est très méchant: quand on l’attaque, it se défend.” This tactic is not exclusive to the problème juif; it is an eternal staple of the Left. See here, for instance, or here:
This much we know: Hand evil a big, sticky gob of power, and it quickly becomes a feral monster, dangerous and cruel and willing to sell its own shriveled heart and the heart of its very remorseful mother for a shot at everlasting infamy, even more power and maybe some fresh, raw kitten blood, intravenously, just for the hell of it.
Indeed, Mr. Morford. Project, much?
But what exactly is this iron rope? If the Palestine lobby is not a lobby, precisely, what is it, and how can we see it? This is exactly the optical illusion that produces dreadful phenomena like The Palestinian Conservative. If you see the dental floss and you don’t see the iron rope, it’s quite sensible to assume that US foreign policy is a marionette dancing to the strings of the Jew. After all, there’s the string! Right there! In front of your eyes!
The question that lets you see the true state of affairs is simple. Which side of the Arab–Israeli conflict does the US support? Obviously, both are “special interests,” and an easy way to tell whose pull is stronger is to see whose side USG favors.
There’s a wrong way to answer this question and a right way. The wrong way is to start by asking: what should US foreign policy in the Middle East be?
Having answered this question, we can define the answer as the “center,” and then compare what USG’s policies are to what they should be. I.e., if USG’s policies are more pro-Israeli than the center, the pole is tilted to the right, and the Israel lobby must be stronger. If USG’s policies are more pro-Arab than the center, the pole is tilted to the left, etc., etc.
This procedure is not useful because, to answer the question, we must first judge the dispute. Here at UR, we are absolute sticklers for international law—and we mean classical international law, not the 20th-century forgery that has stolen its identity. Despite this giant mountain of lies, the law of nations is immutable. It lies sleeping, like Barbarossa. One day it will return.
As a consequence of that liberty and independence, it exclusively belongs to each nation to form her own judgment of what her conscience prescribes to her,—of what she can or cannot do,—of what it is proper or improper for her to do: and of course it rests solely with her to examine and determine whether she can perform any office for another without neglecting the duty which she owes to herself. In all cases, therefore, in which a nation has the right of judging what her duty requires, no other nation can compel her to act in such or such particular manner: for any attempt at such compulsion would be an infringement on the liberty of nations.
Indeed. And in case it needs to be any clearer:
War cannot be just on both sides. One party claims a right; the other disputes it:—the one complains of an injury; the other denies having done it. They may be considered as two individuals disputing on the truth of a proposition; and it is impossible that two contrary sentiments should be true at the same time.
It may however happen that both the contending parties are candid and sincere in their intentions; and, in a doubtful cause, it is still uncertain which side is in the right. Wherefore, since nations are equal and independent, and cannot claim a right of judgment over each other, it follows, that in every case susceptible of doubt, the arms of the two parties are to be accounted equally lawful, at least as to external effects, and until the decision of the cause.
Of course, we are still entitled to argue the case. But this judgment is not relevant to the problem at hand, namely, ascertaining objectively which lobby is stronger.
So the right way is to start with an objective question: if USG’s involvement in the conflict were to cease, which side would benefit? If the answer is “the Palestinians,” USG’s involvement must logically favor Israel, and thus the Israel lobby is stronger. If the answer is “the Israelis,” vice versa. This procedure produces an answer without the need for any sort of judgment.
Once we ask this question, the answer is obvious. The Arab–Israeli conflict is a case of asymmetric warfare; we can agree that the Israeli military is stronger than its Arab enemies. This is an objective assessment, and a clear one.
Despite this, USG’s preferred outcome in the conflict is that Israel lose territory it now holds militarily, and Palestine gain territory it now holds militarily. But if USG (and its European satellites, of course) agreed to close its eyes for a year, at the end of that year, Israel could easily be occupying the entire Muslim world from Karachi to Mauritania. Strictly as a matter of military power, of course.
Thus the question is answered. In reality, there is no such thing as “asymmetric warfare.” Or if there is, the stronger party just wins and the weaker just loses. Typically the latter will just surrender beforehand, to avoid the mess. The game will certainly not drag on for 60+ years.
Whenever you see a situation that looks like “asymmetric warfare,” check your math. There is probably an iron rope you’re not seeing. That the Arabs expect to gain ground and the Israelis expect to lose it, relative to the current state of affairs, is a pretty solid indication that the Arabs are indeed the stronger side. But their advantage is not military—so what is it? The iron rope. And on its other end: USG.
This analysis tells us that, relative to the “normal” view of the conflict, or at least that view shared by the (Jew-controlled) New York Times, (Jewlatto) Steve Sailer, and Taki (“trust a snake before a Jew, and a Jew before a Greek”) Theodoracopoulos, we are missing a variable. The iron rope. But what is the iron rope, exactly?
The answer is that the Palestinian movement is just another “nationalist” puppet force in the clientela of the world’s true, secret overlords. I refer, of course, to the international Protestant conspiracy—or, of course, our old friend Universalism. I.e., radicalism, revolutionism, progressivism, and leftism in general. (Even Al Qaeda is not “Islamofascist,” but Islamocommunist—firmly on the left. Looking for Islamofascists? Try Saudi Arabia.)
Our iron rope is that very same string that pulled Byron to Missolonghi and sparked the guns of Navarino, that made the British Navy run interference for Garibaldi, that drove Poles to their doom in 1830 and Germans in 1848, and that incites the Tibetans, Chiapans, and Tamils to this day. Arguably, it was also the cause of the fatal Anglo-American interventions in the Continental wars of the 20th century, and thus of pretty much all the 20th century’s death and destruction.
Arab nationalism is an American product, pure and simple. Specifically, it is a product of the great wave of missionary Protestantism that swept across the world in the late 19th century and early 20th. Michael Oren (or should I say—Bornstein) has an excellent summary in this book.
The seeds of the iron rope are institutions such as the American University of Beirut, the American University of Cairo, Robert College, and the like. Like little metastases, these spread progressive Protestant nationalism and democratism across the Middle East, which has by no means finished harvesting the missionaries’ grapefruit-sized tumors of wrath.
There was once an actual indigenous culture in the area, of course, no trace of which now exists. It is generally known as the “Ottoman Empire.” It bore about as much resemblance to the PLO as the Han Dynasty to the State of Oregon.
Whereas in contrast, the ideology of Palestinian nationalism is indistinguishable from that of Indonesian nationalism, or Ghanan nationalism, or Chinese nationalism. Hence Bandung. What did all these regimes have in common? Good friends at another Protestant institution: Harvard. (Or patrons there, rather. The relationship is not exactly symmetric.)
And there’s your iron rope. The Palestinians don’t need to bribe Congressmen, because they have Harvard. The Israelis don’t have Harvard, so they need to bribe Congressmen. Capiche?
Finally, I want to deal briefly with the general fallacy of the left-libertarian, which is summarized succinctly in the Nolan chart: the idea that the political spectrum is not one-dimensional (left and right), but two-dimensional (up and down), where “up-wing” means smaller government and “down-wing” means larger government.
Since Will Wilkinson’s face needs some time to heal, perhaps this deeply sincere error is best expressed here (hat tip: ATN), at what seems to be to seasteading as Whole Foods is to Paypal. Again, Michael Strong is basically righteous in his attitude toward the present—he has just been slightly misled about the past. He writes:
The fact is that liberals desperately need to re-think their ideas. They need to return to liberalism, an intellectual tradition that has almost disappeared from contemporary academic life (and, consequently, from the agendas of many mainstream foundations who consider themselves “liberal”).
The Left has, for more than a hundred years, encouraged the belief that if one is not Left-wing, then one is Right-wing. But liberal, properly understood, is neither Left nor Right; it is Up-wing. […] There is no sense whatsoever in which it is accurate to call me “conservative.” I am a liberal through and through.
Liberals should regard the contemporary Leftist bias of universities and mainstream philanthropic foundations to be among the gravest threats to human well-being. Had liberalism dominated our universities, instead of the Left, many millions of people might still be alive today, and billions of people around the world would be healthier and happier.
We liberals should sharply distinguish “liberal” from “Leftist.” The latter characterized by anger, hatred, bullying, intransigence, and intellectual dishonesty. These spiritual diseases, legacies of the French Revolution and its Terror, began to infect liberalism in the early 20th century. […] In the eighteenth century, liberal authors sketched out a vision of society based on education, enlightened values, the rule of law, constitutional republics, minimal government, free markets, and an ethos of personal responsibility and initiative. This classical liberal framework allowed for the greatest proportional increase in the standard of living of the common people that the world has ever seen. The Liberal Revolution is the greatest miracle in human history.
John Stuart Mill, in some ways the last great classical liberal, provided the core statement of intellectual freedom in his essay “On Liberty.” Mill makes the case that we can only discover the truth, or our best current understanding of what might be true, if we are free to explore all ideas openly, regardless of how offensive or reprehensible those ideas might at first appear.
Und so weiter. But strangely, at the bottom of the page, we read:
In Alcoholics Anonymous, after one has become sober, one faces an obligation to seek out those individuals whom one has harmed. Indeed, facing up to one’s failures is a key to spiritual growth in most religious and spiritual traditions. This principle of human psychology rings true even for this secular humanist.
Robert Heilbroner, a lifelong socialist, is a model of such integrity. Towards the end of his life, he acknowledged:
“Capitalism has been as unmistakable a success as socialism has been a failure. Here is the part that’s hard to swallow. It has been the Friedmans, Hayeks, and von Miseses who have maintained that capitalism would flourish and that socialism would develop incurable ailments. All three have regarded capitalism as the ‘natural’ system of free men; all have maintained that left to its own devices capitalism would achieve material growth more successfully than any other system. From my samplings I draw the following discomforting generalization: The farther to the right one looks, the more prescient has been the historical foresight; the farther to the left, the less so.”
I had always seen this quote cut off after the first sentence, and I’m quite grateful for Strong to bringing “Heilbroner’s law” to my attention. Of course I had noticed the same effect myself, but Heilbroner noticed it first.
But wait—which is it, dude? Does Heilbroner’s law only apply to the 20th century? The story according to Strong: in the 18th and 19th centuries, Left is right and Right is wrong; in the 20th, Right is right and Left is wrong. If nothing else, this anomaly calls for some explanation. What changed, and why did it change?
Your mileage may vary, of course. But from the UR perspective, there are two simple answers.
The first is just that Strong’s history is right in the 20th century and wrong before it. That is, in the 20th he sees the reality, whereas from the 19th he remembers the fantasy. Thus, for example, Strong presumably takes the Left side in the case of Governor Eyre, with Mill, Darwin, Bright and Spencer; he rejects the Right side, with Carlyle, Dickens, Ruskin, and Tennyson.
If he reads this, he is encouraged to look into the facts of the matter. Start with Froude. It is extremely easy to judge the Right in the 18th and 19th centuries, when you have never read a single work of the Right from those centuries. It’s like being at a trial in which only the prosecution speaks.
Well, surprise, gentlemen: the defense has a case as well. If Froude tweaked your interest and you want an overview, start here. You’ll find that there’s a rather remarkable resemblance between 19th-century leftists and 20th-century leftists.
While the continuity between John Stuart Mill and Barack Obama may not be obvious—considering as their preferred policies are almost opposite—it is there. They are part of the same great movement, which it is perfectly fair to describe as “liberal,” a word which both gentlemen would have used to describe themselves.
The policies changed. But the movement is one. 19th-century Radicalism and 20th-century progressivism are unified by a single force: the collective quest for power.
19th-century Radicals favored libertarian policies because they faced an ancien régime which still, to some extent, existed. This was the old regime of Throne and Altar, of mercantilism, Anglicanism and Anglo-Catholicism, imperialism and colonialism—in a word, Toryism.
When Toryism was a reality rather than a bugaboo, liberals could only seek power by destroying it. Thus they sought to cut off its air supply, destroying its sources of profit: protectionism, venal offices, chartered companies, and so forth. They favored rigorous economies of government, and other such ideals quite foreign to the modern liberal.
As they gained power through these aggressive measures, the liberals entered government itself. Thus their interests naturally shifted, toward enlarging and empowering the State. A State that had become “us,” rather than “them.” And thus, the Left went from libertarian to statist.
Thus when we look at policies, which as good democrats we should, we see a discontinuity. But when we look at power structures, which as good reactionaries we must, we see a continuity.
The key is to remember that the Left, at all times, is an adaptive phenomenon. If it were a conspiracy (organized by—the Jews) it would not be Left, but Right. Right is organized; Left is distributed.
The Left is the alliance of all those who seek power through the mind—intellectuals, basically. The Right is the factious and impotent collection of all those who seek to resist the Left, by any means—corruption, or violence, or propaganda, or (seldom, very seldom) the truth and nothing but the truth.
Thus, there was no one in 1900 who said “okay, guys, enough with the libertarianism, our work there is done. Now let’s bring on the statism.” At all times, the Darwinian dynamic of the Left has favored those ideas which brought their thinkers power.
In the 19th century (and before), that power was the power to destroy the ancien régime. Victory in this task naturally brought authority to the destroyers, who established a regime of their own. The ideas of power then became expansive ones, and liberalism pulled its 180.
But if you read Roylance Kent, you’ll see that the type of people it attracts hasn’t changed a bit. They were shills, stooges and climbers then, and they are shills, stooges and climbers now. It just so happens that in the 19th century they were usually right and in the 20th they were usually wrong, but this is a mere accident of history. As Hunter S. Thompson put it, even a blind pig finds an acorn every now and then. Capiche?