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Why the State Celebrates Its Failures
The Mises Institute ^ | May 09, 2005 | Grant M. Nülle

Posted on 05/09/2005 6:19:48 AM PDT by kjvail

The second anniversary of America's expedition into Iraq passed with relatively scant fanfare. Since hostilities in Mesopotamia commenced, thousands of American and Iraqi casualties have been tallied. Every month Washington spends billion of dollars on counterinsurgency and rebuilding efforts in Iraq and further afield, which swells the nation's largest budget and budget deficit in its history[i].

As vast quantities of blood and treasure are expended abroad, Washington politicians win plaudits domestically for their warmongering, and government contracting at home and abroad burgeon, on what basis is this imperial project—financed by foreign lenders and American taxpayers—justified?...

...Democracy deconstructed

As Hans Hermann-Hoppe adeptly describes in Democracy: The God that failed, the democratic state is inherently a "public" monopoly. Unlike privately-owned monopolies, e.g., monarchies where the sovereign generally has an incentive to moderate expropriations of property to preserve the realm's present value for heirs, state officials in a democracy are mere caretakers who cannot privately enrich themselves from ownership or sale of government property.

Rather, a moral hazard and tragedy of the commons ensues as bureaucrats and politicians may merely exercise use of government property while on the state payroll, precipitating a strong inducement to maximize current use of government property, irrespective if such activities entail dire consequences for taxpayers and the economy at large.

As concerns government finance, officials conduct the borrowing and enjoy the resultant political plaudits from the constituencies that benefit from state largesse while other private citizens defray the expenditures and debts via taxation or government-stoked money creation. Indeed, Hoppe contends an elected president can run up public debts, instigate inflation, inaugurate long-running wars, and introduce other state projects footed by hapless taxpayers without being held personally liable for the consequences.

Rothbard’s Wall Street, Banks and American Foreign Policy methodically chronicles how the personnel of successive democratically-elected administrations manipulated American foreign policy to secure the narrow self-interests of connected business interests whilst justifying these massive, costly and incessant interventions on the pretext of combating communism or promoting democracy.

Politicians who have aggressively expanded the state in America and elsewhere are extolled as great. Verily, democratic governance provides an alluring career for aspiring politicians, their cronies and bureaucrats. Not only do officials have the resources accrued by the state at their disposal, they also exercise the authority and wherewithal to confiscate private property and participate in the process of spending and borrowing—absent individual culpability—all the while receiving a salary and pension funded by taxpayers. Furthermore, politicians and appointed administrators are only accountable during regular popularity contests, in which voters can reshuffle personnel but are not inclined to alter fundamentally the scheme of free-for-all theft.

Hoppe states democracy abolishes the distinction between rulers and ruled—the limited opportunity to become a member of the royal family that pervaded under monarchy—and assumes that any member of the political system may ascend to the upper echelons of governance. Given the state's indispensable need to steal for its subsistence and the nearly unfettered entry into the ranks of the ruling class, democracy renders it that much easier for politicians to accelerate exactions from the public, as the gates remain open for any individual or faction to gain access to governmental powers and impose the same taxes or regulations themselves. As democracy has taken root in the United States and elsewhere, jostling between rival political factions has been less about how flaccid or robust the state should be, but what direction the state should take as its scope expands.

The ability of elected politicians and entrenched bureaucrats to institutionalize and enforce systematic predation and redistribution of private property is an outcome of the democratic ethos itself. Indeed, the grand bargain of democracy is this: every individual within the system—whether voluntarily or not—cedes the inviolable title to his or her property for the ability to either elect, participate in or marshal a political movement that competes for the privilege of seizing and spending everyone else's money. It follows that individual responsibility and private property ownership are seriously impaired and denigrated as the government-instituted "law of the jungle" taps innate human characteristics such as envy, self-preservation, and keenness for gratification.

As Frederic Bastiat explained in The Law, self-preservation and self-development are universal instincts among men as is the preference to do so with the minimum amount of pain and the maximum level of ease. Plunder then is favored over production, so long as the risks and inputs of confiscation are not as agonizing or as indomitable as the painstaking act of production and exchange. When given an opportunity to seize private property or stipulate regulations on owner's use thereof, as democratic rule is wont to do, participants in the political system vie for the chance to apply the state's coercive arm in service of their supporters' ends.

Motivated by envy and self-preservation, all classes of individuals demand, whether through forceful or pacific means, the franchise as its price for defraying the expenses of others running the government. Once empowered to help decide the course of public expenditures—Bastiat wrote—plundered classes opt to be as licentious as other enfranchised classes, rendering the systematic looting universal, even though such profligacy is undeniably detrimental to the economy's well-being.

It should be noted that the chief feedback mechanism of democratic government, voting, does occur in private enterprises and associations. Beyond this superficial similarity, however, there are acute distinctions. Shareholders exercise voting rights in a corporation proportionate to stock ownership whereas every eligible voter in a democratic election is entitled to one vote, irrespective if they are net tax-eaters or taxpayers.

Should shareholders grow disaffected by voting procedures, business strategies or dividends payouts they may opt out of owning a portion of an enterprise by selling stock, a prerogative denied to democratic voters who must acquiesce to government spending plans and policies—regardless of consent—lest they risk jail or emigration. The intrinsic tenuousness of property ownership in a democratic system and the inability to extricate oneself and possessions from possible confiscation accelerates the temptation to seize other people’s goods.

Bastiat argues that the onset of universal plunder undermines the purpose of law, in his view the collective organization of the individual right to defense of life, liberty and property. The moment law is perverted to engineer ends contrary to individual liberty, e.g., enshrining the notion individuals are entitled to a portion of each other’s property absent voluntary agreement, the conversion pits morality versus the adulterated law. Thus, moral chaos is the outcome of democratization, as one must either relinquish respect for the law or compromise moral sense.

The divergence between morality and democratic rule can be observed in legal positivism, the notion that right and wrong are absent prior to the introduction of legislation. Legislation attenuates predictability of law as the free entry into government and the intrinsic fluidity of political priorities ensure the governing process reflects the most urgent desires of policy-makers and the electorate, irrespective of the long-term ramifications of the enacted rules. Furthermore, the emergence of public or administrative law, which exempts government agents from individual culpability when exercising their sanctioned duties, enables the state's workforce to engage in behaviors that no other individual may commit licitly. Lew Rockwell cites a few euphemisms where the state excused itself from the laws it professes to uphold, such as kidnapping posing as selective service, counterfeiting masquerading as monetary policy and mass murder sold as foreign policy[v].

Consequently, law is not considered negative—inimical to injustice as Bastiat would have it—much less universal, eternally bestowed, discoverable by man and anterior to the institution of government. Bastiat asserts that the prior existence of life, liberty, and property is the impetus for enacting laws in the first place. Moreover, the demarcation between right and wrong and the very definition of crime is obfuscated and debased by the inexhaustible and transitory adoption and amendment of legislative diktat and the bifurcation of law codes applicable to the rulers and the ruled.

In sum, the unique characteristics of democratic government tend, according to Hoppe, Bastiat and others, to accelerate rising time preference, decivilization, and the incidence of crime to the detriment of private property, voluntary production and exchange, individual responsibility and even morality.

Why then do Messrs. Bush, Wolfowitz, and any other politicians, statesmen or bureaucrats get away with inaugurating recurring conflicts and administer an ever-expanding vehicle of coercion and plunder? The fundamental rules and ethos of democratic government impel man's innate inclination toward self-preservation and self-development to not only produce, trade and safeguard his own possessions but also employ legal theft to acquire more property from others.

Politicians and their deputies are merely the best at exploiting the system's impaired moral climate to organize the state's confiscatory arm to serve their backer's interests.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: conspiracytheory; democracy; govwatch; intelligence; iraq; lewsers; monarchy; secondanniversary; tinfoilcoinvestor
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Hoppean analysis of the Bush administration's war in Iraq. I'm sure it will go over big here LOL. In any case, I did leave out a few paragraphs which just go over old ground on WMDs and the like. I was most interested in the "Democracy deconstructed" section, for obvious reasons.
1 posted on 05/09/2005 6:19:48 AM PDT by kjvail
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To: Guelph4ever; royalcello; pascendi; Mershon; Goetz_von_Berlichingen; Conservative til I die; ...
Glory of Altar and Throne ping for the “Crown Crew”

FReepmail me to get on or off this list


2 posted on 05/09/2005 6:21:46 AM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: kjvail

I see that static analysis of foreign policy is every bit as useful as their static analyses of economic policy. Someone needs to explain to these people that t is not always equal to zero.


3 posted on 05/09/2005 6:30:40 AM PDT by Nick Danger (Honey, Intel wants to go outside)
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To: kjvail

Mr. Nuelle wrote,

"...state officials in a democracy are mere caretakers who cannot privately enrich themselves..."

Do we need any further proof that Mr. Nuelle is disconnected from the real world?


4 posted on 05/09/2005 6:38:11 AM PDT by pfony1
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To: kjvail
It's hard to take the argument seriously when it starts with this:

As vast quantities of blood and treasure are expended abroad, Washington politicians win plaudits domestically for their warmongering, and government contracting at home and abroad burgeon, on what basis is this imperial project—financed by foreign lenders and American taxpayers—justified?...

5 posted on 05/09/2005 6:38:52 AM PDT by thoughtomator ("One cannot say that a law is right simply because it is a law.")
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To: kjvail
Lying leftist half truth ALERT!
"Every month Washington spends billion of dollars (blah, blah) which swells the nation's largest budget and budget deficit in its history. (more blah, blah, blah)"

As a percent of our GDP, the deficit is NOT the biggest in history - period. This tiny fact has only been stated about a gazillion times by the likes of Fred Barnes and Michael Barone. Ergo any article that leads off with this big lie in the first paragraph isn't worth a shi-ite.

6 posted on 05/09/2005 6:39:18 AM PDT by Condor51 (Leftists are moral and intellectual parasites - Standing Wolf)
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To: kjvail; sheltonmac; ValenB4
Since hostilities in Mesopotamia commenced, thousands of American and Iraqi casualties have been tallied. Every month Washington spends billion of dollars on counterinsurgency and rebuilding efforts in Iraq and further afield, which swells the nation's largest budget and budget deficit in its history

Well 'spreading democracy' is a messy and expensive business....of course I suppose someone forgot to ask if anyone else wanted it in the first place.

As democracy has taken root in the United States and elsewhere, jostling between rival political factions has been less about how flaccid or robust the state should be, but what direction the state should take as its scope expands.

Nuelle's analysis of Hoppe hits the nail on the head. Currently there is not a party of limited government in Washington DC.

7 posted on 05/09/2005 6:44:17 AM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: kjvail

These Austrians are certainly an inspiration to us all! Their experiments in government from failed monarchy, to aborted democracy, to Nazi Reich, to socialist paradise have been truly awe inspiring. Just look at the pinnacle that Austria has raise itself to in the last hundred years while America has been sliding down the tubes! :^)


8 posted on 05/09/2005 6:46:06 AM PDT by claudiustg (Go Sharon! Go Bush!)
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To: kjvail

From the article:
"The 'slam dunk' pretext for the invasion of Iraq was Saddam Hussein's reputed stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Although the Bush administration touted the virtues of toppling a mass murderer and inspiring/imposing democracy across the Middle East, the most compelling and controversial justification put to the American people was the prospect of Saddam striking the U.S. with WMD himself or by proxy, given his alleged connections to al-Qaeda. Only when the hyped weapons failed to surface, and they have yet to do so, did the Bush administration quickly scrap the weapons talking points and opt for the democratization gambit.

"Judging by the findings of the latest presidential commission to investigate the intelligence failures concerning Saddam's fictitious arsenal, it is clear the nation's security services and the American people were duped, however willingly. The 14-month, $10m presidential commission concluded that virtually every shred of evidence produced by the government's $40bn per annum intelligence apparatus was predicated on gravely flawed information. At the centre of the commission's report[ii] on the pre-war amalgamation of WMD evidence was the Iraqi ex-pat code-named "Curveball," a chemical engineer and brother of one of the aides to Ahmed Chalabi, head of the then Pentagon-connected Iraqi National Congress.

"Although American intelligence officers never met Curveball before the war, save on one occasion, his dubious claims were unquestioningly infused into the Bush administration's case against Iraq. The sole Iraqi source spoke with frank specificity about Iraq's alleged biological weapons programs and existence of mobile labs described by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell during his now infamous Feb. 2003 address to the United Nations.

"Post-war investigations showed that Curveball was not even in the country at the times he claimed to have taken part in illicit weapons work. CIA analysts who lobbied for the agency to come clean about its star source's duplicity were sacked.

"According to the commission, U.S. intelligence agencies' reliance on Curveball and their failure to scrutinize his claims was the 'primary reason' that the CIA and other spy agencies 'fundamentally misjudged the status of Iraq's weapons programs.'

"Washington's other showpiece examples of Saddam's malevolent intent—secret acquisitions of uranium and aluminum tubes for a resurrected nuclear program and fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles capable of discharging nasty chemical agents above U.S. cities—were all undermined in turn by outside organizations. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency discovered in Jan. 2003 that documents fingering Iraq for attempting to purchase uranium from Niger were forged, a mere inconvenience the CIA opted to ignore until a few months after the war.

"America’s leading centrifuge physicists, who characterized it as technically garbled and unmistakably false, dismissed the CIA’s case for aluminum tubes. Without convincingly substantiating in the first place how unmanned aerial vehicles would make the trek from Iraq to America undetected, the White House's claim was duly refuted by UN Weapons inspectors before the war, who correctly assessed the vehicles as fit for reconnaissance missions, not WMD delivery.

"The glaring deficiency of the Robb-Silberman commission's report is that its remit did not entail investigating policy-makers' (mis)use of intelligence. Though the commission's findings explicitly deny that political pressure was exerted on intelligence analysts to ensure information fit the Bush administration's bellicose agenda, the dismissal is belied by the text's accounts; one could reasonably infer such a colossal blunder could not have been perpetrated without direction from political handlers at the top.

"Rather, Bush secures re-election for prosecuting a war under deliberately false pretenses against an infirm adversary unconnected to 9-11. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz’s appointment to head the World Bank smacks of former defence secretary and Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara's selection in 1968. Condoleezza Rice becomes secretary of state while her subordinate Stephen Hadley, assumes her former post. A figure instrumental in ensuring the spurious uranium story posited in the 2003 State of the Union Address, Bob Joseph, gets to be under secretary of state. Lastly, George Tenet—head of the CIA during this mess—is awarded a medal of freedom for presumably bending intelligence to suit his boss's whims.

"Hence, the Bush administration is exonerated by default and is presented with an unprecedented opportunity to take credit for the massive revamp of intelligence collection at home and abroad. If justice were to be served, the president and his cronies would be held to account for their actions."


9 posted on 05/09/2005 6:46:19 AM PDT by SausageDog
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To: pfony1

Well I agree with the statement. When you think about state officials in a democracy are in fact caretakers who enrich themselve not privately, but with the public's funds.


10 posted on 05/09/2005 6:51:33 AM PDT by hubbubhubbub
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To: Condor51
Lying leftist half truth ALERT!

LOL, I wouldn't be calling anyone from Mises a leftist. Secondly, the report did not say as a percent of our GDP, just that the deficit was the largest. Just as the $2.6 trillion budget from the party of 'limited government' is the largest budget in this nation's history. But don't worry. This budget and deficit will pale in comparison in a few years when we have to start paying for the pill bill passed and signed by 'limited government' conservatives

11 posted on 05/09/2005 6:52:46 AM PDT by billbears (Deo Vindice)
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To: kjvail; Modernman
Excellent article that cuts to the core. This kind of thing makes people quite angry, even on this enlightened board.

Modernman and Jackbob, -- my two recent correspondents, -- you should enjoy this:

[S]tate officials in a democracy are mere caretakers who cannot privately enrich themselves from ownership or sale of government property.

Rather, a moral hazard and tragedy of the commons ensues as bureaucrats and politicians may merely exercise use of government property while on the state payroll, precipitating a strong inducement to maximize current use of government property, irrespective if such activities entail dire consequences for taxpayers and the economy at large.

[...]

Hoppe states democracy abolishes the distinction between rulers and ruled—the limited opportunity to become a member of the royal family that pervaded under monarchy—and assumes that any member of the political system may ascend to the upper echelons of governance. Given the state's indispensable need to steal for its subsistence and the nearly unfettered entry into the ranks of the ruling class, democracy renders it that much easier for politicians to accelerate exactions from the public, as the gates remain open for any individual or faction to gain access to governmental powers and impose the same taxes or regulations themselves. As democracy has taken root in the United States and elsewhere, jostling between rival political factions has been less about how flaccid or robust the state should be, but what direction the state should take as its scope expands.

The ability of elected politicians and entrenched bureaucrats to institutionalize and enforce systematic predation and redistribution of private property is an outcome of the democratic ethos itself. Indeed, the grand bargain of democracy is this: every individual within the system—whether voluntarily or not—cedes the inviolable title to his or her property for the ability to either elect, participate in or marshal a political movement that competes for the privilege of seizing and spending everyone else's money. It follows that individual responsibility and private property ownership are seriously impaired and denigrated as the government-instituted "law of the jungle" taps innate human characteristics such as envy, self-preservation, and keenness for gratification.

[...]

It should be noted that the chief feedback mechanism of democratic government, voting, does occur in private enterprises and associations. Beyond this superficial similarity, however, there are acute distinctions. Shareholders exercise voting rights in a corporation proportionate to stock ownership whereas every eligible voter in a democratic election is entitled to one vote, irrespective if they are net tax-eaters or taxpayers.

[...]

The divergence between morality and democratic rule can be observed in legal positivism, the notion that right and wrong are absent prior to the introduction of legislation.


12 posted on 05/09/2005 6:53:38 AM PDT by annalex
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To: jackbob

Meant to flag you


13 posted on 05/09/2005 6:55:04 AM PDT by annalex
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To: kjvail
This is perverse. The article's view of the Iraq conflict is a concoction of left-wing nuttiness, a blind miser's approach to national defense, and nostalgia for monarchy. As a matter of historical record, the monarchies that the article approves of were corrupt, predatory, and prone to warfare; and the defects of democracy complained of are misdiagnosed. We have cause to hope that democratic electorates will find remedies over the coming decades as as they sort though the impending bankruptcies of the welfare state in Europe and the US. But who with a lick of sense could think it would improve matter if we restored the monarchical power of the Windsors and other Eurotrash royals?
14 posted on 05/09/2005 7:01:43 AM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Rockingham
As a matter of historical record, the monarchies that the article approves of were corrupt, predatory, and prone to warfare; and the defects of democracy complained of are misdiagnosed

Really? Which historical record is that? For over 200 years we have being living with the "Whig interpetation" of history, supplemented in the last 50 years by a Marxist view. If you get your history from public school textbooks and the history channel you have been profoundly misled.

Let's attack this logically for a minute.

Principle 1

we know the left,with their willing accomplicies in the media and the education system, lie to and mislead people as a matter of course to achieve their goals. In fact this is a basic tenet of leftism as expoused by Lenin and Marx.

I don't think hardly anyone disagrees with this assertion - I could do a quick search on FR and find probably 1000s of articles that articulate this exact point, so lets call it a priori (does not need to be proved)

Principle 2

We live in a two party, winner take all, democratic (this is the method - one person, one vote, universal sufferage over 18) republic (this is the form). In order to obtain and maintain their power the Democrat party lies to and misleads the people, I'm sure very few here would disagree with this, it's well documented and again I could find 1000s of articles on FR saying the same thing. So we can call that a priori as well.

So why is the GOP different?

When you view something on CNN do you not react with suspicion, and correctly so?

Why is FOX different?

Are those who are alleged to be "conservative" saints? Do they not desire power in our system?

Are they not capable of propogandizing?

15 posted on 05/09/2005 7:16:42 AM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: kjvail
(1) European history is lush with wars by and between monarchies. Those wars are not the fictions of Whigs and Marxists.

The European political figures whose principles I most admire were fiercely critical of monarchical corruption. Edmund Burke -- the ur-Tory -- spent much of career fighting the corruption of the Hannoverians and the East India Company -- which, I note, was a monopoly. Frederick Bastiat was a staunch democrat, not a monarchist. And so on.

As for the larger point about whether democracy or monarchy is more congenial to socialism, most observers attribute the US's relative distate for socialism as due to the absence of any history of monarchy and a concomitant hereditary class system. This point is reinforced by the observation that in the modern Tory party, the "wets" who opposed Thatcher and her free market reforms tended to be from the British upper class and to have the covert sympathy of the royal family. Thatcher and many of her core supporters were unashamedly plebian with a determination to persuade the country to support their reform program.

The gloomy tone of the article treats socialism as if it is a fatal condition with no hope of reversal in a democracy. But Ireland has prospered through relatively a low tax rate and regulatory burden, and in most of Central Europe -- and in Poland, the Czech Republic, and the Baltic Republics especially -- newborn democracies are slashing taxes and regulations and rolling back socialism.

For brief account as to Poland, see the following:

http://www.wbj.pl/?command=article&id=26683&

I refuse to believe that American voters are less capable of rejecting socialism than are Irish, Polish, Czech, and Latvian voters.

(2) We are not by any means a "winner take all democracy." We are instead, a 50-50 democracy, or perhaps a 51-49 democracy. Congress, the last time I looked, is led by Republicans but still infested with ever troublesome and obstructive Democrats.

I too have at times felt alienated from the political system and have my own large stock of criticisms and complaints; but it is morally vain and self-defeating to stand apart from news and issues as hopelessly compromised by propaganda, from politics as utterly corrupt, and from the civic life of this old and sturdy Republic as pointless because we are in inescapable socialistic decline.

I prefer to be governed by elected officials instead of unelected royals and their hangers-on.
16 posted on 05/09/2005 8:27:42 AM PDT by Rockingham
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To: annalex
Thanks for the ping. No doubt about it government, and particularly democracy, have fundamental faults built in. But so also do all other forms of association that may take shape as the state.

Finding fault is always easy. The difficult task is in finding solutions. That is finding methods that will stand up to the same level of analysis, and criticism, that the faulted theory is subject to.

On the other hand I do not wish to splash cold water here. The necessity to criticize, as both the article posted and most of the comments made here on this thread thus far have done, needs to be repeated again and again, until every potentially thinking person understands the short comings of the current system.

17 posted on 05/09/2005 9:23:29 AM PDT by jackbob
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To: SausageDog
Your selected quotes from the article adds up to one of the best summaries of the failed Iraq policy decision that I've read on FR in a long time. This is because so many of FR's really good writers, and observant thinkers, of the past have been banned. Quoting others may be the only way to get this kind of analysis and information out. At any rate, it was your collection of quotes from the article that got me to go and read the article directly at the '...Mises Institute.' Very good selection!
18 posted on 05/09/2005 9:26:29 AM PDT by jackbob
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To: billbears; kjvail; sheltonmac
Democratic government inherently has a short term time preference and will inevitably lead to socialism, whether the country in question wants to call it socialism or not. Democracy presents the worst combination because it is a territorial monopolist while being publicly owned. The temporary caretakers of government have no incentive to consider the long term ramifications of their policies. Warfare tends to be worse when fought by democracies - they are ideological and lead to total warfare in which innocent populations are considered legitimate targets.

Monarchy, while still a monopolistic system, is better in that it has an inherent long term time preference because it is privately owned. Taxes tend to be lower. Wars tend to be more constrained because they are essentially disputes of property ownership.

The ideal system would be that of non-monopolistic privately owned protective services competing with each other for citizen-subscribers. How a society gets to that point I do not know. But perhaps that will be the next phase of the evolution of Western civilization.

19 posted on 05/09/2005 9:28:21 AM PDT by ValenB4 (Viva il Papa, Benedict XVI)
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To: Rockingham; kjvail; sheltonmac; billbears
When you talk about the merits of the reforms of Ireland and Central & Eastern Europe, you are getting into the argument between Supply Side economics and Hoppean analysis.

The supply siders, many of whom I greatly admire, primarily Jude Wanniski, do not care about the size of government. As long as that maximum point of revenue generation on the Laffer Curve is attained, they do not care. They would advocate that government has to grow as an economy grows. Most of them would admit that socialism does work as long as there is a greater primary emphasis on economic growth rather than economic redistribution. Only when the redistributive impulse overtakes that of growth are there problems. You could be on the low end of the Laffer Curve and still have socialism. Furthermore, supply siders would advocate raising taxes if on the low end.

Private property anarchists like Hoppe (I prefer the term "polyarchy" because a citizen would select which system to live under) represent the most pure form of anti-socialism. The "governments" are competing with each other and have an incentive to protect their people very well. Because it is based entirely on private property, many social problems would be solved - there would be an incentive to stop illegal immigration and crime would go down. Because slothful and unproductive behavior would no longer be subsidized, general manners and morality would improve. There would be a rise in the fertility rate as people, no longer slaves to a socialistic state, would now have the financial freedom and free time to dedicate to childrearing. All of the problems of the Western world are directly or indirectly tied to socialism, which is a result of the increase in democracy since the time of Marx. The democratic impulse originates on the left. That is why the neoconservatives, the first generation of which used to be communist, are so in love with it - they are still statists and socialists.

But I can't do Hoppe justice. If you are interested, you need to read Democracy: the God that failed.

20 posted on 05/09/2005 9:58:01 AM PDT by ValenB4 (Viva il Papa, Benedict XVI)
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To: ValenB4
Wow! Disagree, agree, disagree, agree sentence by sentence, round and round, until I'm dizzy. For example:

Democratic government inherently has a short term time preference and will inevitably lead to socialism...

I disagree. Such generality is hardly supportable. It might be worth noting that the monarchies of Europe have kept pace with democrats in embracing socialism.

Democracy presents the worst combination because it is a territorial monopolist while being publicly owned.

I agree that it "presents the worst combination." Setting aside exactly what that combination is, I disagree that it is because it is both a territorial monopolist and publicly owned. I agree however that "temporary caretakers of government have no incentive to consider the long term ramifications of their policies." But disagree that "warfare tends to be worse when fought by democracies."

With a few variations, I find myself switching back and forth throughout your entire posted reply, until the last paragraph. There you say:

The ideal system would be that of non-monopolistic privately owned protective services competing with each other for citizen-subscribers. How a society gets to that point I do not know. But perhaps that will be the next phase of the evolution of Western civilization.

On this we are in complete agreement. This was one of many considerations under serious consideration with in the Libertarian Party when it still had education as one of its primary purposes. That of course ended when the out of touch with reality dreamers took over in 1984. They moved the LP away from education to focus on their silly notion of winning elections and focusing on recruiting rightwing conservatives to the Party. Today, the LP is fast becoming as much a part of the problem as are the Republican and Democratic Parties. Though not quite yet.

21 posted on 05/09/2005 10:31:03 AM PDT by jackbob
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To: ValenB4

Sounds like the old maxim of crooks everywhere: "When you are skinning the customer, leave some skin to grow back ... that way you get to skin them again!"


22 posted on 05/09/2005 10:34:20 AM PDT by evilC ([573]Tag Server Error, Tag not found)
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To: jackbob
It might be worth noting that the monarchies of Europe have kept pace with democrats in embracing socialism.

The remaining monarchs of Europe hardly deserve the name - only in Lichenstein and Monanco do they have any remaining power. The parliaments - throughly democratic organs have all the power.

But disagree that "warfare tends to be worse when fought by democracies."

This is a historical fact, so disagree all you want.

Check out EVK-L Monarchy and War it is also central to his thesis in Leftism Revisited and Liberty or Equality

Even absent those works tho one has to recognize the 20th century was famous for two things - mass murder by government and democracy.

23 posted on 05/09/2005 10:42:06 AM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: jackbob
Sorry first link should be Monarchy and War
24 posted on 05/09/2005 10:43:46 AM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: kjvail

Remember that the French First Republic introduced conscription into warfare.


25 posted on 05/09/2005 11:27:36 AM PDT by ndkos (Benedict XVI - Bringing in the real springtime of Vatican II)
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To: claudiustg
These Austrians are certainly an inspiration to us all! Their experiments in government from failed monarchy, to aborted democracy, to Nazi Reich, to socialist paradise have been truly awe inspiring.

Their Monarchy failed because we forced it to. Same as Germany's. President Wilson refused to deal with Monarchies during the First World War. Insisting on a regime change in both counties before we would consider any peace with them. That the Wiemar republic was unbalanced was only because it was more purely democratic even then our own system, political power was based on a total percentage of votes. It's often been argued that the Nazi's took over Germany extrademocratically because they never got a complete majority of votes, and had to form a coalition government. But as far as I know, no party ever got a full majority of votes. And since it was a choice between Hitler or Bolshevism it's pretty clear our entry into the First World War, and it's subsequent transformation into a crusade for Democracy, was the direct cause of Hitler.

People often express wonder that a culture, ostensibly as civilized as Germany's could descend into such animalism so quickly. It really should surprise no one. Germany and Austria were civilized under their Monarchies, and then were forcibly pushed into the democratic law of the jungle, and the result was Nazism (or theoretically Bolshevism, but will never know how that would have turned out).

26 posted on 05/09/2005 11:46:21 AM PDT by Pelayo ("If there is hope... it lies in the quixotics." - Me)
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To: kjvail
This is a historical fact, so disagree all you want.

Your standard for defining a historic fact seems quite lacking. Maybe you might consider first using a dictionary and then reading a little science and history, before spouting off about what is or is not a "fact."

the 20th century was famous for two things - mass murder by government and democracy.

Setting aside the point that I do not agree with any part of what you say here, mass murder occurred quite regularly in other centuries. Monarchies have carried out such killings no less than democratic states have. I find that highlighting the mass murder in warfare of the 20th century as opposed to other centuries is comparatively more hype than representative of what actually occurred.

While the Soviets did carry mass murder to a new height in the general conduct of their wars, for others it was more of a punctuation than a general practice. The same general practices in warfare with similar punctuation of mass murder can be found to have occurred equally in prior wars of other centuries, including monarchist lead wars. The only difference is that the exceptional punctuations of mass murder do not get repeated as often and are not presented as a central point of history in those wars. Additionally, while the numbers of those slaughtered are generally greater in the 20th century, the percentages are not.

27 posted on 05/09/2005 11:57:49 AM PDT by jackbob
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To: jackbob
Additionally, while the numbers of those slaughtered are generally greater in the 20th century, the percentages are not.

Thats only because democracies employ vast armies made up of a bellicose citizenry who are trained to literally hate the enemy (as opposed to monarchical warfare where the enemy is usually respected as a fighter and a gentleman). Before the resurrection of republicanism (I'll place that during the English civil-war) armies were privately owned entities. When countries went to war it was the governments (in the form of the Monarchs and Aristocrats) fighting each other, not the people.

In a democracy however, since the people are the government, warfare is between two peoples and takes one the qualities of the total war which we see in modern times.

It can be argued that the number of combatants, or the high percentage of civilian casualties in modern war are the result of technological developments rather then any particular logica belli. However one major difference between democratic warfare and monarchical warfare, that cannot be denied is the relative ease with which monarchies make peace with each other. War between two democracies, is however a war between to peoples and the enmity of the masses can almost never be overcome save through unconditional serenader, and even then the tendency of cruelty towards the conquered is a major feature of democratic warfare.

Consider for instance the frequent agitation to "Nuke" the dirty Arabs. This may be merely the letting off of steam among frustrated individuals. But it is still a ridiculously anti-Christian attitude. Ask yourself honestly if you would vote for someone who advocated such a policy, assuming he made the arguments seem good. Would you vote for such a person?

28 posted on 05/09/2005 1:30:29 PM PDT by Pelayo ("If there is hope... it lies in the quixotics." - Me)
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To: jackbob
Well we can sling rhetoric around or actually look at the evidence

We have one good simultaneous example of how democracies react in wartime and how monarchies react, World War I.

"We spoke already about the indoctrination of draftees, which, naturally, becomes important in a time of war. An even greater evil is the fact that, since the recruits are taken from the population at large, the people itself has to be indoctrinated, in other words, made to hate the enemy collectively. For this purpose, modern governments invoke the support of the mass media, which then inform the populace about the evil of the enemy (with little or no regard for the truth). The attack stresses the wickedness and inferiority of the hostile nation and the evil deeds committed by its armed forces, which consists of cowards, a low breed recruited from a fiendish people."

(my that sounds familiar, but for another time)

"In the First World War, the Western Allies, being more democratic, were also more skilled in organizing collective hatreds. Taking advantage of the stupidity of the masses (everywhere!), they could print almost anything, and even the silliest accounts, for instance that German soldiers cut off the hands of Belgian babies, were readily believed.

Louis Raemaekers, a Dutchman in the service of the Allies, produced incredibly nauseating etchings depicting atrocities committed by the German Army. One of the worst showed a naked French girl crucified and spat upon by bespectacled, unshaven German soldiers. Nothing like it was manufactured by the Central Powers.31

In a memorable book, Georges Bernanos described the idiocies of French war propaganda of the period. According to Bernanos, the French were told that the German bodies on the battlefield had a worse stench than those of the French, and that the Germans were ridiculous cowards who would not dare to interrupt the cozy life of the French poilus in their trenches. It was deceitful propaganda of the worst kind.32 (Yet, during the French mutinies in 1917, entire batallions were decimated, i.e., every 10th man was executed. The war, therefore, was not so entertaining or cozy at all.)

31 There were also hate-expressions current among the people of the Central Powers like the hate-poem of Ernst Lissauer. Slogans like Gott strafe England! (God punish England!) and Serbien muss sterbien! (Serbia must die!) were frequently repeated, but nobody invented such nonsense as calling Sauerkraut “Liberty Cabbage” or German Shepherd dogs “Alsatians.”

In England, people even burned German pianos, and put badger dogs to sleep to prevent their torture by children. In the United States, teachers stopped teaching German. Those who taught German enjoyed a sabbatical, and then had to teach Spanish.

32 See Georges Bernanos, La grande peur des bien-pensants (Paris: Grasset, 1949), pp. 414–18. Bernanos, a devout Catholic and monarchist, characterized World War I (in which he had partipated as a soldier), as “That famous, pitiless war of the pacifist and humanitarian democracies.”"

Journal of Libertarian Studies, " Monarchy and War Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn pp. 13-16, Vol 15, No 1 Fall 2000.

French , I mean "freedom", fries anyone?

Democracies are still doing this, because it works.

29 posted on 05/09/2005 1:48:59 PM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: jackbob
If you really want to get deep into the flaws of the modern state with regard to warfare, EVK-L's essay is only one of many in a book edited by Hoppe

THE MYTH OF NATIONAL DEFENSE: ESSAYS ON THE THEORY AND HISTORY OF SECURITY PRODUCTION

30 posted on 05/09/2005 2:01:31 PM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: ValenB4
The problem with the radical libertarian vision is that it does not deal effectively with a wide range of issues that require collective and coercive action: roads, courts, national defense, and police and fire services; natural monopolies and enterprises that require the aid of eminent domain and other types of state power; and pollution and other forms of trespass and nuisance in which the damages are widely distributed and even most businessmen prefer to be regulated by the government than subject to endless private litigation from all comers.

Libertarian visionaries see these things as the cancerous seeds tumors of socialism and often propose ways to eliminate them, but seldom are their measures practical. The best prospect for libertarian reform is for businessmen and economists to make a sound case for a free market solution on the particulars. That seems to be happening with public education, as charter schools, vouchers, and other school choice measures gain ground. Airline and communications deregulation are also successes.

If I had to name a single prime source for my political philosophy, it would be Federalist No. 10, with its unapologetic realism about human nature and the faults of democracy ("popular government"). The answer it advocated -- the system of checks and balances and distributed power in the Constitution -- has worked better and for a longer period of time than anything else.
31 posted on 05/09/2005 2:12:49 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Rockingham
The answer it advocated -- the system of checks and balances and distributed power in the Constitution -- has worked better and for a longer period of time than anything else.

What collosal arrogance we have.

Worked for a longer time than anything else?? The US Constitution is a scant 216 years old give or take, the Holy Roman Empire stood for nearly 900 years (if you exclude Charlemange and the Autrian-Hungarian Empire which would make it more like 1200 years), about 600 of those years under the guidance of Hapsburgs.

Saxon dynasty

Otto I, 936–73

Otto II, 973–83

Otto III, 983–1002

Henry II, 1002–24

Salian or Franconian dynasty

Conrad II, 1024–39

Henry III, 1039–56

Henry IV, 1056–1105

Henry V, 1105–25

Lothair II, duke of Saxony, 1125–37

Hohenstaufen dynasty and rivals

Conrad III, 1138–52

Frederick I, 1152–90

Henry VI, 1190–97

Philip of Swabia, 1198–1208

antiking: Otto IV (Guelph), 1198–1208

Otto IV (king, 1208–12; emperor, 1209–15), 1208–15

Frederick II (king, 1212–20; emperor, 1220–50), 1212–50

Conrad IV, 1237–54

antiking: Henry Raspe, 1246–47

antiking: William, count of Holland, 1247–56

Interregnum, 1254–73

Richard, earl of Cornwall, and Alfonso X of Castile, rivals

Hapsburg, Luxemburg, and other dynasties

Rudolf I (Hapsburg), 1273–91

Adolf of Nassau, 1292–98

Albert I (Hapsburg), 1298–1308

Henry VII (Luxemburg), 1308–13

Louis IV (Wittelsbach), 1314–46

Charles IV (Luxemburg), 1346–78

Wenceslaus (Luxemburg), 1378–1400

Rupert (Wittelsbach), 1400–1410

Sigismund (Luxemburg), 1410–37

Hapsburg dynasty

Albert II, 1438–39

Frederick III, 1440–93

Maximilian I, 1493–1519

Charles V, 1519–58

Ferdinand I, 1558–64

Maximilian II, 1564–76

Rudolf II, 1576–1612

Matthias, 1612–19

Ferdinand II, 1619–37

Ferdinand III, 1637–57

Leopold I, 1658–1705

Joseph I, 1705–11

Charles VI, 1711–40

Interregnum (1740–42) and other dynasties

Charles VII (Wittelsbach-Hapsburg), 1742–45

Francis I (Lorraine), 1745–65

Hapsburg-Lorraine dynasty

Joseph II, 1765–90

Leopold II, 1790–92

Francis II, 1792–1806

32 posted on 05/09/2005 2:25:00 PM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: kjvail
Do you drive a car these days, or do you prefer the tried and true horse and buggy, with its thousands of years of successful use? And do you prefer newfangled modern medicine, or ancient and far longer used remedies such as cupulation, bleeding, and healing chants? In the evening, do you take dinner from the fridge, heat it in the microwave, and settle in front of the TV, or do you instead braise a few half-rotten chunks of meat on an open fire and ponder paintings daubed on the wall of your cave?

Call me reckless for taking to the new and flashy, but I prefer the comforts of modern life and government under the Constitution -- and am confident that I live better than any king in history.
33 posted on 05/09/2005 3:15:58 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Rockingham
Ahh yes the whiggish idea of "progress" but as Chesterton asks - "progress towards what?"

If the mass murder of the 20th century is indictative of your progress, you can keep it.

The other things you list have nothing to do with what form the government takes but it is indictative of the mindset of democratists

The reality is of course that Western civilization has been living off the capital built up by Catholic civilization for 400 years now, it's pretty much spent at this point. Decivilization is is full swing and it can only end one way.

34 posted on 05/09/2005 3:29:51 PM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: kjvail

Perhaps, but keep in mind the signature saying of a late, prominent Catholic leader "Be not afraid!" We are enjoined against despair -- and to keep in mind that the world will always be out of joint because none of us are of this world.


35 posted on 05/09/2005 3:36:43 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Rockingham
do you instead braise a few half-rotten chunks of meat on an open fire and ponder paintings daubed on the wall of your cave?

You don't even want to open that door. You really want to compare the artistic output and culture of democracies vs monarchies?

Hold on, I'm laughing too hard.

36 posted on 05/09/2005 3:39:18 PM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: Rockingham

Oh I'm not afraid, I know the Church will be there to pick up the pieces if Our Lord should tarry. It's just not going to be pretty going down.


37 posted on 05/09/2005 3:40:25 PM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: kjvail

I suspect that centuries ago, you would have inclined toward Dominican gravitas and pessimism, while I would have tended more toward Franciscan optimism and laughter -- or at least tried to.


38 posted on 05/09/2005 4:11:19 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Rockingham

Somehow I have a difficulty putting microwavable TV dinners and St. Francis in a single coherent image.


39 posted on 05/09/2005 4:15:20 PM PDT by annalex
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To: annalex

Well, imagine you are the set of "The Name of the Rose," and in a break from the shooting, your pal Sean Connery -- in Dominican robes of course -- offers you a microwaved dinner from his trailer.


40 posted on 05/09/2005 4:34:00 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Rockingham

Dominican, yes. Franciscan, no.


41 posted on 05/09/2005 4:37:19 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Rockingham

Wasn't there something about a bull heart in that movie? Maybe Hormel should package those.


42 posted on 05/09/2005 4:39:57 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Rockingham

Well if you checked my about page you'd see my midieval personality type is melancholic, so you are probably right LOL. I think the Dominicans would fit me to a T.


43 posted on 05/09/2005 6:23:44 PM PDT by kjvail (Monarchy, monotheism and monogamy - three things that go great together)
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To: annalex
Yes, there was an ox heart in "The Name Of The Rose" -- and yes, Hormel does sell them -- as hot dogs.
44 posted on 05/09/2005 7:51:35 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: kjvail
When I was younger, my temperament as well tended toward melancholy; but over time, I have seen many of the fears and hopes of the world proved illusory. Except for some circumstances of our own lives, things will proceed with little regard or note of what we individually think, believe, and do. It seems far better to me to offer no sadness to the world but to reserve it solely for the people we know and care about.
45 posted on 05/09/2005 8:15:12 PM PDT by Rockingham
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To: Rockingham

You make my mouth water. However, hot dogs would be that assortment of cock heads and pig hooves that the autistic girl tries to steal from Il Stupido.

I just had a deeply satisfying medieval meal, untouched by technology. Burp. Wine. Burp.


46 posted on 05/09/2005 10:44:57 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Askel5

Beasts of burden are lead to their rest
Quiet songbird is warming her nest
Night from dusk has distilled
Merlot my stomach filled
Shots of cognac stack up in my chest

Weeping willows’ subdued melancholy
Suits the clouds drifting forth e’er so slowly
Swaying lilies respond
To the breeze o’er the pond
This calls for Riesling with ravioli

Golden sheep congregate with their ram
Rainbow waters crash over the dam
At the sight of this idyll
Our thirst we must unbridle
Let us have Sangiovese with lamb

As a doe in spring clings to her buck
Peasant youth in haylofts try their luck
This bucolic tableau
Pleads to let the cab flow
In the company of citrus duck


47 posted on 05/09/2005 10:49:03 PM PDT by annalex
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To: Pelayo; kjvail
Monarchical warfare was hardly conducted by gentleman. It was for the most part warfare conducted by gangsters not much unlike the gangsters of the 20th century America. Only significant difference was that the monarchical gangsters had absolute power over the enslaved populations in their territories who they held down by use of terror tactics not much different from the Stalinist tactics practiced by the Checka, NKVD and KGB. Only they had one extra tool that the Stalinists did not have. They had the agents of the church serving as their block watchers, with the confessional as its first line of intelligence. They also, unlike the communists, claimed their authority over the subject populations as God given and used the teaching of the church officials to denounce popular freedom.

When the peasant revolts occurred during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries the mass murders of the harmless defeated, and often innocent, people were at no surpassed in the 20th century. These gangsters families slaughtered entire populations with the good graces of the church. Even after the reformation in Germany, Martin Luther even joined in with the Roman Catholic officials giving his blessings to the mass murders conducted by the monarchical gangster families.

Even when monarchists fought each other mass murder had its occurrences. For example, during the 30 years war numerous instances of mass murder occurred by monarchical lead armies. Slaughter, rape, and looting of the meager belongings of civilian populations was quite common place.

Of course there were many gangster territorial wars for gaining control over enslaved populations. In those wars, populations were for the most part not needlessly killed, as the enslaved people were part of the booty and thus not to be lost in wasteful killing.

Yes you are quite correct that the monarchical system was much better for holding the masses of people in a state of virtual slavery and keeping any form of progress or enlightened thought from reaching the people. It truly was a dark ages. But once people begin to think for themselves, and progress starts to shine through, then there will be a cost. Even the monarchists realized that the stronger countries became stronger by having increasingly stronger and educated populations. And those kinds of people, capable of thinking for themselves, will not accept monarchies.

48 posted on 05/10/2005 12:23:09 AM PDT by jackbob
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To: Rockingham
The problem with the radical libertarian vision is that it does not deal effectively with a wide range of issues that require collective and coercive action: roads, courts, national defense, and police and fire services... and pollution and other forms of trespass and nuisance in which the damages are widely distributed

I don't know where you get your information from. The radical libertarian vision has more than quite effectively dealt with all to the above. When the debates pretty much stopped within the libertarian movement back in 1984, the problem they had was in selecting which among several visions they had. The problems then were not that they couldn't deal with the issues, it was in selecting which vision was to be endorsed, or further developed.

The problem with the radical libertarian vision is that it does not deal effectively with... natural monopolies and enterprises that require the aid of eminent domain and other types of state power...

You are quite right here, except that natural monopolies have never occurred. Monopolies only occur where government actions or inactions bring them into existence. Your entire notion of enterprises in need of eminent domain is at best a strawman argument, as such enterprises either are not in need of such, or we all would be better off with out them.

You are quite right however that "most businessmen prefer to be regulated by the government," but not because of a fear of being subjected "to endless private litigation from all comers." They like being regulated because it keeps competition down and prices up. As far as endless litigation goes, it was argued quite often among libertarians that certain libertarian scenarios would lead to a litigation society. But such visions have been quite effectively challenged. The only problem with the libertarian vision is that the Libertarian Party and much of the movement stopped developing twenty years ago its infant vision to early. It was still in need of much refinement as it still is today and always will be.

Your notion that libertarian "measures" are "seldom... practical" I find quite comical. Such meaningless relativistic statements can be said about any political theory to include the one that is currently in practice now. Of course such a statement should be expected from one who considers the Federalist No.10 a "prime source" of "political philosophy."

49 posted on 05/10/2005 12:41:56 AM PDT by jackbob
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To: kjvail; Rockingham
The US Constitution is a scant 216 years old give or take, the Holy Roman Empire stood for nearly 900 years (if you exclude Charlemange and the Autrian-Hungarian Empire which would make it more like 1200 years), about 600 of those years under the guidance of Hapsburgs.

This is absolutely not true. The Holy Roman Empire as such was a historic collection of many different empires with different governments and governmental systems. Its history includes being conquered, falling into chaos, and plagued by civil wars. Between many of the different empires and governments laying claim to its name, it often did not even exist in name. Furthermore many of those empires often existed with little authority beyond laying claim to the name. To make a long story short, the Holy Roman Empire did not any time in history exist with continuity as as long as the current U.S. government has existed with continuity.

50 posted on 05/10/2005 12:51:49 AM PDT by jackbob
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