Thursday, January 17, 2008 43 Comments

How to actually defeat the US government

(This is part 2 of my letter to Ron Paul supporters.)

In part 1, we established that electing Ron Paul, even if it was possible, is not a practical way to convert USG into a libertarian institution. This is because the policies of USG are not set by its politicians, but by its permanent civil service, which tends to prevail in any conflict between the two.

The permanent civil service is much larger than it looks. It is best defined as everyone involved in setting and implementing USG's policies. When we realize that this includes the press, the universities, and the NGOsphere (the brilliant Richard North of EU Referendum, one of the few bloggers who really understands how the modern state works and has not been psychically shattered by the awful truth, describes a typical rat's nest of EU NGOs here), we start to realize why the battle plays out as it does.

Civil servants defeat politicians because no politician or political appointee can harm any civil servant's career. Since civil servants, in the broad sense defined above, command numerous levers of public opinion - such as, um, the schools, the universities and the press - the converse is not the case. The result is that politicians either become housetrained or lose their jobs, or subsist in tiny backward niches whose voters couldn't give a damn what the Times thinks. (Eg, Ron Paul's district.)

An excellent way to describe any system is to outline its fringes. A fine example of an entity on the fringe of the Polygon, but still within it, is the Cato Institute. Somewhere I had gotten the idea that Cato accepts government funds, but in fact it does not - its main sponsor is, of course, billionaire Charles Koch. (I thank Will Wilkinson for the correction.) But when you compare Cato's homepage to that of the liberal Brookings Institute, a classic Beltway bandit, I think you can see how I was confused. I think an alien who understood English could eventually figure out the substantive difference between Cato and Brookings. But it would have to be one pretty sharp alien.

When we look at the homepage of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, which will be on the Orange Line just as soon as the Metro extends out to Alabama, we can see the difference. The purpose of LvMI is to propagate ideas. The purpose of Cato is to impact policy. Ie: to wield power. Power, of course, can be wielded for good as for ill. But Tolkien knew something about that.

I like Brookings' motto: Quality, Independence, Impact. If anyone in Washington would sacrifice the third for the first two, ten others are ready to take his place. Impact is the true currency of DC. The social status of a Beltwayite corresponds directly to his impact. I suspect this is the real reason that LvMI is in Alabama: it has no impact, and hence no power. And its employees would constantly feel humiliated and scorned, like nerds at a jock party. This might not affect LvMI's mission, but it would be distracting. Besides, Alabama is really cheap.

What Cato sacrifices for its impact is that the set of ideas it can propagate is, by any serious historical standard, enormously narrow. As we've seen in l'affaire Paul, the great fear that haunts the Catonians at night is the fear of losing their legitimacy. Their impact would go with it. DC has no pity for cranks and crackpots. The result is a school of thought that can fairly be characterized as pro-government libertarianism.

Sadly, we have no reason to think that this Schlesingerian "vital center" has any correlation whatsoever with reality. The center defines itself in political terms, not intellectual terms. It is the belief of the average voter. Since the civil service invests most of its energy in managing public opinion, also known as manufacturing consent, the outcome is quite clear. As the center drifts inexorably leftward, fueled by nothing more than the raw personal ambition of a thousand thousand Brookingsites, the likes of a Cato must drift with it - or be excluded from the policymaking process. Cato has minimal cognitive independence, unless of course it confines itself to today's goodthink.

This is why we see the level of raw hatred and arrogance that the Orange Line Mafia aims at its redneck rivals. Progressives can be debated with. Paleoconservatives are dangerous cranks who must be ostracized. Cato regularly features progressive essays on its Cato Unbound series. You will never see an LvMI paleo there - let alone a real live racist, like Jared Taylor - and if you did the progressives would vanish at once. As would the impact. The invisible procession, going by.

Whereas the cranks over at - and there is a lot of serious craziness and pure stupidity that appears there, on a daily basis - can think and say whatever the hell they want. Defend the Confederacy? Why not? Probably no one at Cato wants to defend the Confederacy. But in their hearts, they know that even if they wanted to, they couldn't. And this has got to burn.

I mean, how long has Jeff Davis been dead? What sensible person could possibly care? How can you carry around an emotional attachment to a 150-year-old war? Talk about lunacy.

The really sad thing is that the Orange Liners can only feel like they have impact because DC, being utterly sclerotic and impossible to change, has defined impact down to levels derisory to anyone outside the bubble. On Cato's impact page, they list precisely one success: school vouchers in Washington, DC. Well, knock me over with a feather. But really, by Beltway standards, this is not bad for 30 years and 100 million dollars - especially when the product you have to push is an inherently nasty and pointless one, like small government. It's hard to sign people up for abolishing their own jobs.

So the whole Cato disaster provides yet another example of a strategy which cannot possibly succeed in reforming USG. The Cato-LvMI divide has been described as the Stalin-Trotsky split of libertarianism. The ugly truth is that neither "Stalinist" Orange Line libertarianism nor "Trotskyite" Ron Paul Revolution has any chance of affecting USG in any significant way.

The stunning, yet obvious answer is that we have no reason at all to think that USG can be reformed in anything like a libertarian direction. It is a highly stable system in which all changes tend to be expansive. It shares this quality with all institutions controlled by their own employees.

In the immortal words of Arthur Conan Doyle, when we have eliminated the impossible, we are left with the improbable. Therefore, if USG cannot be reformed by either political or institutional methods, it cannot be reformed at all. If despite this we consider it harmful, we have accepted the need not to reform it, but to defeat it.

The fundamental case for defeating USG is that USG was established to serve the interests of its citizens. If you are a US citizen, you agree that USG as it is does not serve our interests, and you agree that it cannot be reformed to do so, you are at least ready to support defeating it. And any means whose collateral damage does not exceed the disservice done by USG are acceptable. This is a straightforward strategic problem, and we can solve it as such.

First and foremost, you can support defeating USG without wishing for a state of wild, Somalian anarchy in North America, because we are lucky enough to have a backup system of government: the states. The obvious and straightforward result of defeating USG is to dissolve the Union (as Michael Rozeff proposes here) and return sovereignty to the 50 states. Probably the existing military should be retained as a continental defense force. Otherwise, independent states can relate to each other much as the US and Canada do now.

There are an enormous number of details to be resolved in any such proposal. In general, the states should assume the financial obligations of USG, even its informal "entitlements" - no one's Social Security or Medicare need be cut off. Central institutions will be necessary for a few years to ensure an orderly liquidation. To be safe, these should probably be located outside the watershed of the Potomac, and they should probably transition ASAP to an employee set untainted by service with USG or its various tentacles.

Is there any guarantee that state government will be more libertarian than Federal government? None at all (unless we go all the way to neocameralism). But state governments in a decentralized North America would at least be subject to serious jurisdictional competition. They would be free to compete for desirable citizens on the basis of good customer service. This should put a serious boost of genuine market energy behind libertarian government.

Said product is not one most people think they want now. But I suspect that seeing it would change their minds. If you are a libertarian or anything like it, and you believe that ten years after the abolition of Washington there would be even the slightest shred of affectionate nostalgia for the old Potomac beast, I think you have a serious case of cognitive dissonance. I am quite confident that the reaction would be: "why did we put up with that for so long?"

If you are not so confident, any transition plan could include a ten-years-later referendum on restoring DC - from NRO to HUD, from DEA to NSF, etc, etc, right down to the offices and positions. Of course any such restoration would have to retrieve its employees from the productive sector, where they might find that they actually enjoyed their work. But these, too, are details.

I won't try to outline a transition plan in this post. Even just how to deal with the US dollar is a problem that deserves its own essay, if not its own blog. I hope you'll just accept the lesson of history that change happens, and that it often looks just as inevitable in the past tense as improbable in the future.

The critical problem is: can we make it happen? And if so, how?

Of course we have to consider the possibility that defeating USG is simply impossible. Perhaps the thing is just eternal. In that case, far better to roll over and think of England.

Still, history does not record any eternal regimes. Nor does it record any regimes that saw themselves as anything but. If UR has convinced its readers of anything, I hope it has convinced one or two people to actually believe in history, at least as more than a series of horrid crimes gradually vanquished by reason and prosperity.

On the face of it, defeating USG seems even harder than reforming it. After all, we are looking at a country full of people who swore a sacred oath to USG, five days a week, for the twelve most formative years of their lives. What kind of superpowers would we need to defeat that? (I love the Bellamy salute. Note how, in this picture, the hand seems to be creeping around to the more anatomically-natural Roman position. Thank you, Arthur Lipow.)

But so what? The same people believe in Social Security, the FDA, and aid to Nepal. Why should it be easier to change their minds partially, than totally? If all you have is bare hands, is it easier to slice a watermelon, or to smash it?

Here at UR, we deal with the sacred-oath thing by shifting our words slightly. Instead of USG, we use the slightly more neutral name Washcorp. This reminds us that USG is no more than a corporation in the strict sense of the word, ie, an organization with a virtual identity. In a slightly more outré move, we translate the old Viking word for USG's continent as Plainland, its subjects thus being Plainlanders. Thus rather than trying to free the US from the evil clutches of USG - an almost oxymoronic task - we are trying to free Plainland from Washcorp.

Perhaps you remember how confused you were in high school when you read Hamlet, and found Claudius being called "Denmark"? Did a little lightbulb go off in your head when you realized how nice it is for a monarchy, if its subjects use the same word for both king and country? And when you saluted the flag that morning, which were you feeling? Warm ties of love and loyalty to Plainland, or warm ties of love and loyalty to Washcorp? It's these little Jedi mind tricks that hold the whole thing together. They're small, but they add up.

So all we have to do is liquidate Washcorp. Corporations are liquidated every single day. Hundreds of corporations are in liquidation as we speak. Typically this happens because they are bankrupt - an adjective hard to define in an entity whose liabilities are denominated in its own scrip, but one I often hear applied to Washcorp.

But there's one big difference between liquidating Washcorp and liquidating Enron, which is that Enron didn't have the most powerful armed forces in the history of the world. To defeat Washcorp, we need to defeat its military. There are a number of plausible strategies for doing so. And none of them involve hunting rifles, Patrick Swayze, or IEDs.

Clearly, to destroy Washcorp, we must capture it first. And one of the patterns we're seeing is that the methods which work for a revolutionary capture of the state do not work for a reactionary capture of the state. This pattern is very consistent, and I'm pretty confident that anyone who ignores it is making a tremendous mistake.

For example, one way to see the Cato Institute is to see it as a sort of libertarian Fabian Society. Did Fabian or Gramscian tactics work as a method for socialists to capture the 19th-century liberal state? Spectacularly. But they worked because they attracted a legion of smart, amoral careerists who saw the near-infinite power and plunder that the hypertrophied state would create. Cato has no such promise. All it has is Koch, and his wallet is finite. Libertarianism does not create jobs.

We see the same pattern when we consider guerrilla warfare against Washcorp, either of the classic Maoist rural form, or the newer urban-guerrilla ("terrorist") approach, or simply the strategy of building ominous and threatening paramilitary militias. These strategies work for leftist revolutionaries because they are essentially criminal in nature, and leftism - whose Yeatsian passionate energy is inseparable from its capacity for pure plunder - is fundamentally a criminal movement.

For example, in the early '90s, after the Soviet Union collapsed, it became clear to many Americans that Washington was no picnic, neither. I don't know that anyone took to the hills a la Patrick Swayze - unless you count Eric Rudolph. But perhaps you remember the militia movement of the period, which of course died a pathetic and probably well-deserved death after the Oklahoma City bombing.

As you may remember, no one at the New York Times asked "why do they hate us?" about Timothy McVeigh and his ilk. There was no sudden outpouring over the grievances of agro-Americans. The general national consensus, with which I basically agree, was that the Oklahoma City bombers were sick, crazy rednecks and they deserved to die. The militia movement sensed this feeling, it realized that it had no chance of victory, and it faded away.

Terrorism proper is only half of an effective strategy for seizing power. The other half is an information campaign that convinces the victims of terrorism that they can alleviate it by making concessions, typically in the form of money, power, or both. This brings the terrorists closer to their objective, which recruits more terrorists. The final result is a criminal state, led by the former terrorists - who are now, of course, statesmen.

(This pattern is the origin of most of today's Third World governments. The political side of the campaign was, of course, our good friends the progressives. The result... do we need to go there? Not today, perhaps.)

And when we look at reactionary terrorist movements in the postwar era, such as the OAS or the AWB, we see the same pathetic Timothy McVeigh pattern. The OAS has quite arguably been proved right - Arab rule in Algeria has been a murderous catastrophe. The AWB is perhaps in the process of being proved right. So what? They both got their asses kicked. Like all failed reactionary terrorists, they made the mistake of aggravating the true authorities without having the power to destroy them. As Machiavelli pointed out, if you strike at a king, aim to kill.

Prewar reactionary terrorists, such as the Nazis and Fascists, succeeded because they formed an alliance with the rotting remnants of the ancien regime. The ancien regime is no more. Case closed. Stormfront kids, I love you for your passion. But really, why bother? Perhaps you could put all that energy into, like, getting a job, or something.

If libertarians controlled the press, schools and universities, libertarian paramilitary movements would be practical and effective. After every bomb went off, the Times could whine about how the root cause of libertarian terrorism is high taxes and Orwellian antiterrorist measures, yadda, yadda. On the other hand, if libertarians controlled the press, schools and universities, libertarian paramilitary movements would be unnecessary.

We are left with exactly one time-honored reactionary military measure: the military coup. Since in all states the military is the final court of appeal whether they like it or not, a coup (contra Arnold Kling) is always an option, whatever your form of government.

Perhaps through a sort of vestigial anti-Latin prejudice, there is nothing Plainlanders - in or out of the military - fear and loathe so much as a coup. On the other hand, if you read a lot of milblogs, which I do, you'll start to notice that there is nothing Plainland warfighters fear and loathe so much as Washcorp. And they are especially unhappy about the center of its central nervous system, ie, the official press. Since in all states the military is the final court of appeal whether they like it or not, this has some potential.

The Plainlander military caste is fundamentally a red-state institution. I wouldn't say that progressives in the military are as rare as conservatives at State, but it might be close. What makes this situation not at all volatile, at present, is that the Washcorp military, besides its excellent command discipline, has a strong tradition of conflating Plainland and Washcorp. (I believe the composite is known as America - apparently there's some sort of colorful "flag" thing. Like a logo, but you can print it on cloth and run it up a pole. A sort of 18th-century version of Blue Force Tracker.)

As someone with no conservative heritage whatsoever, my impression is that most conservatives, while basically sensible, are quite confused about the nature of the modern state. It is hard for me to avoid the conclusion that this confusion primarily serves the interests of their enemies. Perhaps I am right and perhaps the problem will be rectified. However, I don't see any sign of this happening.

For the most part, it's simply pointless for anyone who is not part of the military to think at all about military coups. If the generals want to act, they will act. They won't tell anyone, and they won't ask anyone. And they will probably act only under quite dire circumstances, which it is simply puerile to wish for.

That said, there are some interesting options that could be facilitated by the Internet. For example, suppose someone managed to set up an external site which could verify the identity and rank of military personnel, but keep it anonymous. The result would be an uncensored forum in which soldiers and sailors could speak honestly about their feelings and concerns.

If this platform was scalable enough to hold an actual democratic election in which only military personnel could vote, it's quite possible that the outcome of this ballot would have a rather definitive effect on the course of Washcorp. For producing truth, justice and competent government, elections are not much. For organizing large numbers of otherwise independent actors for concerted collective action, let's face it - they're the shizzle.

However, this strategy is impractical at present and may never be practical. It is best reserved for the back, back burner. I mention it only because I can imagine very hypothetical situations under which it might work.

This leaves us with the good old-fashioned way of seizing power - convincing people to vote for you. But how is this different from the Ron Paul Revolution? Allow me to explain.

As I've said before, Washcorp is best understood not as an electoral democracy, but a massarchy. A massarchy is a state in which power is held by those who manage public opinion. The difference between massarchy and electoral democracy is that in a massarchy, the permanent government (ie, civil service) maintains a higher degree of legitimacy than elected politicians. The latter are thus essentially decorative and disposable.

Massarchy works because, with modern broadcasting and polling, the tools available to the civil service for both influencing and measuring public opinion are much more powerful and sensitive than anything in the political system. In the 19th century - at least, the early 19th century - politicians actually purported to change the voter's mind on substantive issues with their speeches and debates. Needless to say, the beliefs of the normal modern voter are either installed via the schools and the press, or (in some cases) transmitted through peer networks which are incredibly jammed with bogus misinformation, conspiracy theories, etc.

Under massarchy, civil servants have an additional advantage: they can anticipate future public opinion, because the leftward drift of opinion has been so consistently predictable. (Gay rights, for example, is an excellent metric.) It is very easy for a civil servant in 2008 to simply organize his career around the plausible political center of 2018 or even 2028. Not so easy for a politician!

So it's no wonder that the popularity of the permanent government is so high that no pollster even bothers tracking it. Civil servants proper are simply expert professionals who carry out the policies of their masters, the politicians, who are elected by the all-knowing public, whose opinions are right and cannot be inquired into. Nothing to see here. Move right along. The press comes in for a little more flak, especially since first the AM airwaves and then the Internet opened up, but it certainly has power to compensate. As for the universities and schools, who is against science, the arts and letters, or education? No one. There is no opposition. Politics is harmless and contained.

Elections are still informative for one reason: they measure not simple opinion, but motivation and organizational power. A poll will not do this. For example, the fact that Republicans didn't really care for Rudy Giuliani is a fascinating product of the Presidential election. If you had been sure of this a year ago, you could have made quite a bit of money on the prediction markets. What the early polls were indicating was just name recognition, which is often a good indication of popularity, but prone to remarkable errors. The sad fate of Big Rudy tells us nothing about public opinion on any substantive issue. In theory, however, I suppose it could.

Washcorp is also quite capable of bending when it has to. When 9/11 made the White House (which is of course inherently temporary) and DoD (a hotbed of subversive grumbling) unexpectedly popular, we saw a short bull market in hawkishness not just in Congress, but also even in the press (remember Judy Miller?), State Department, etc.

This is easily explained by the theory that the primary goal of everyone in Washington is to attain as much power as possible, and retain it for as long as possible. When public opinion shifts, Washcorp shifts with it. In 19th-century Britain, figures who adopted this strategy were called trimmers. Unfortunately, now that everyone (except for Ron Paul) is a trimmer, there is no real use for the word.

This sort of unromantic view of the democratic system is absolutely critical if you want to employ what I think is the only practical strategy for defeating Washcorp: capturing public opinion and turning it against Washcorp itself. Trimming is no defense against this attack. If Washcorp trims, it agrees to commit suicide. If it does not, it loses its invulnerability to attack through the electoral system, and electing politicians who will kill it becomes a viable strategy.

In other words, the only way to actually defeat the US government is for the attacker to actually beat it at its own game: manufacturing consent. Everything else is a waste of time.

So: to liquidate Washcorp, convince as many Plainlanders as possible - certainly a majority, and ideally a substantial majority - that Washcorp is not acting in their best interests, that in fact it is fundamentally parasitic, and that it needs to be liquidated.

In my opinion, this is nothing but the truth. This helps. It certainly makes the job easier. But the fundamental nature of the task is military, in the Clausewitzian sense. Truth has certain natural advantages over fiction. It has other natural disadvantages. When your product is the truth, you probably don't want to contaminate the message with fiction. When your product is fiction, you are free to add any useful embroidery.

My point is that the goal is to get from point A to point B, and anyone who believes that the truth just does this on its own is reading the wrong blog. If the truth is always victorious on its own, it would already have been victorious, and since it has not been, my view of Washcorp cannot be the truth. Either way you are barking up someone else's tree.

So let's say that you have the resources of Ron Paul's war chest (what is it, $20 million? I hope this hasn't all been spent - I'd like to think it could end up at LvMI), and your goal is to manufacture enough consent to liquidate Washcorp.

What would you do? Buy TV ads, for Ron Paul perhaps? Complete liquidation may not be exactly the Ron Paul platform, but surely it's close enough for government work. Perhaps if you start by selling Dr. Paul, you can move on to the more aggressive message.

The idea that any of the "moneybomb" take is being spent on TV ads disturbs me. Short of hand-lettered signs on telephone poles, it's the worst strategy I can think of. Advertising may get you a small amount of name recognition among particularly uninformed voters. These are not the people who are going to vote for Ron Paul, and even if they are they are not the people you want. Inch-deep support is worthless.

For an intelligent and thoughtful person, going from the official press or TV to Ron Paul - let alone to liquidating Washcorp - is not a decision that could possibly be influenced by a 30-second spot. Or even a 5-minute spot. It is not quite at the magnitude of a religious conversion, but it comes close.

Most people are not intelligent and thoughtful - anything but. But they know that government is serious business, and they know enough to get their views on government from people they see as intelligent and thoughtful. For most Plainlanders today, this chain terminates in the official press, which as we've seen is an essential organ of Washcorp. D'oh.

Wikipedia's reliable source policy is typical:
In general, the most reliable sources are peer-reviewed journals and books published in university presses; university-level textbooks; magazines, journals, and books published by respected publishing houses; and mainstream newspapers.
What security does this policy provide against political corruption? Absolutely none. What it says is: trust the authorities. The computer is your friend. These are not the droids you're looking for. The tap water is perfectly safe. The procedure is for your own good. Etc.

It is not La Wik's goal to replace or challenge the "mainstream." In fact, I'd say that it is sensible and conservative to not even try. Short of Uberfact, I don't see how it could even be attempted. And the fact that we could not imagine a Wikipedia without these "mainstream" information distributors, which of course are informal arms of the State, should alert you to the scale of the problem. Imagine what this paragraph would look like in a modern Third Reich or Soviet Union. Besides being written in German or Russian, how else would it differ? If you remain confused, perhaps this fine article about Putin's new textbooks will enlighten you.

From the adversarial perspective, the best way to think of Washcorp is as a cult. It so happens that this cult is hundreds of years old, and almost all Plainlanders believe in it. In fact, they accept it so uncritically that they believe there is nothing to believe in. Their natural response to anyone who shows up at their door - or on their TV - and tries to deprogram them will be to think that it is in fact this person who is trying to suck them into a cult. All cult members believe everyone in the outside world is crazy. And vice versa. This is quite normal.

Who is the cult? The only test is the truth. One of the things I've been trying to do here at UR is construct a set of case studies in how Washcorp systematically (and quite unconsciously) propagates and maintains fictional perspectives of reality among Plainlanders, to a point at which the very existence of the massarchy is dependent on these fictions.

If you are a new reader, perhaps the just-unearthed Crick letters are a simple way to shake your faith. Washcorp is relatively flexible. It can adjust to many changes in public opinion. But imagine what it would take to adjust to a world in which Crick and Watson were right. Frankly, I can't even begin to fathom it. The gold standard is a trifle by comparison.

I think it's pretty obvious that if all - or even any - of my conclusions in these matters are true, liquidating Washcorp in a timely and orderly way is not optional. After water and food, stable government is the next human essential. If you disagree, perhaps Jello Biafra has a lesson for you. If Washcorp's security really is based on lies, so is yours. If this doesn't make you uncomfortable, perhaps you are some kind of weapons expert. I'm afraid I am not.

The problem is that I am not an authority on anything. I am just some dude with a weird fake name. If you are smart enough to reason through my arguments and decide whether you agree with them or not, you plus everyone like you could elect a dogcatcher in Nome. My blog template looks like ass. My posts are unedited and highly rambling. And I am sure I have made many factual errors which don't involve the Cato Institute.

If you really want to defeat Washcorp, you need to do much, much better than this. You need a real institution with real money and a real staff. Your goal is to be more credible than the official story. You cannot do this with one person.

You need to build a Web site that anyone with a screen and a mouse can click on, and get an accurate understanding of reality, including all the bits of history, government, economics, science and current events that Washcorp doesn't want you to know. With a 5-minute overview for casual readers, and enough depth that a PhD with a standard Washcorp education will come away at least gritting his teeth.

You need to hire Steve Sailer and Michael Totten and Greg Cochran and Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Steve McIntyre and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Razib Khan and Michael Yon and Jörg Guido Hülsmann. Or at least people who are at least as smart, at least as knowledgeable, and at least as expressive as the above.

You need to produce a coherent corpus of authoritative information, a la Diderot, not just a random jumble of essays. You need to crowdsource, but not without editorial control, so that Conquest's Second Law does not do its thing. You need a place that anyone who speaks English can go to find out what is actually going on in the world, and update that knowledge every day. And above all, you need to be right. The task of replacing Washcorp's pile of nonsense with some other pile of nonsense is simply not solvable.

And then you need to wait ten or twenty years. Because this stuff doesn't happen overnight. Your accurate description of reality has to become more fashionable than the official "mainstream" truth. Fortunately, the latter is extremely boring, chock-full of pretentious cant and intentional obfuscation, and often transparently self-contradictory. But you also have to be more fashionable than all your "alternative" competitors (see under: Alex Jones), which is definitely nontrivial. Too bad. It has to be done.

The way to defeat a massarchy is to create and propagate a credible alternate reality that outcompetes the official information network. Fifteen years ago, the propagation part was almost impossible. Today it is trivial. All that's left is the creation, and I bet it could be done in half Cato's budget. Bored billionaires of Plainland, you have nothing to lose but your Washcorp. Why not give it a shot?


Blogger TGGP said...

Somewhere I had gotten the idea that Cato accepts government funds
Right when I saw that I stopped reading the rest of your post to say that was idiotic of you.

January 17, 2008 at 3:19 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

It is funny that you rule out reforming the U.S as impossible and jump right to abolishing it without considering how possible that is. I say it is less so, and as an anti-federalist I am far more in favor of it than Ron Paul.

If you are a libertarian or anything like it, and you believe that ten years after the abolition of Washington there would be even the slightest shred of affectionate nostalgia for the old Potomac beast, I think you have a serious case of cognitive dissonance.
Russians are nostalgic for the Soviet Union and Stalin, and many East Germans feel similarly. That's certainly a more extreme case of crappy government, so why not expect it to be true to a greater degree with us?

January 17, 2008 at 3:26 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Still, history does not record any eternal regimes.
There have been plenty of regimes that have lasted longer than I am expected to live though, and many dying regimes were replaced by something worse, as many chided Murray Rothbard in the case of South Vietnam.

January 17, 2008 at 3:29 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

The same people believe in Social Security, the FDA, and aid to Nepal.
I don't know about the last one, foreign aid is very unpopular.

Why should it be easier to change their minds partially, than totally?
I have done the former a hell of a lot more than the latter, and anything that might count as the latter was the result of a long period of the former.

January 17, 2008 at 3:31 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

So it's no wonder that the popularity of the permanent government is so high that no pollster even bothers tracking it.
How come "bureaucrat" is an insult? Why do people enjoy shows like "Yes, Minister" rather than consider them crime-think? Academia (the adjective "academic" is often used as a synonym for fuzzy-headed navel-gazing as in "the distinction is merely academic") even gets the conservative attack from within. "God and Man at Yale" and "Closing of the American Mind" are not fringe books.

January 17, 2008 at 3:43 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

You need to hire Steve Sailer and Michael Totten and Greg Cochran and Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Steve McIntyre and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Razib Khan and Michael Yon and Jörg Guido Hülsmann.
Totten's a neocon, I thought we weren't having any of them. I don't know about Yon, but he'll likely be associated with the Iraq-hawks, who were dead wrong. McIntyre seems alright to me (though I think AGW is real), but enough climate-skeptics have conceded that it's largely the province of idiot cranks now.

January 17, 2008 at 3:52 AM  
Anonymous Lugo said...

The obvious and straightforward result of defeating USG is to dissolve the Union (as Michael Rozeff proposes here) and return sovereignty to the 50 states. Probably the existing military should be retained as a continental defense force. Otherwise, independent states can relate to each other much as the US and Canada do now.

Basically what you are describing here is the Confederation that existed in 1777. You have criticized the idea of trying to return to 1789 or 1889 on the grounds that the conditions prevailing at those times inevitably led us to where we are now. Well, returning to 1777 would eventually lead us to where we are now, too. The urge to put the beast back together and start handing out benefits would be very very strong, especially now that there is a "working" example of a beast that benefits a lot of different people!

A serious problem with liquidating Washcorp would be the existence of other powerful corps - EuroCorp, ChinaCorp, JapanCorp, etc. (Heck, even Mexicorp and Canacorp would be quite powerful compared to, say, Arizona or New Hampshire by themselves.) The replacement of Washcorp with 50 smaller corps of varying size and strength would be a dream come true for the more powerful of the other corps! Each of the 50 smaller corps could be influenced, in varying ways, much more easily than Washcorp, and they could be played off against each other. Imagine China and Japan vying for power in California. Each is busy buying up politicians and media outlets. Japan looks like it is winning, so China sends in its troops, overthrows the California government, installs a pro-Chinese government, and liquidates the competing factions. Impossible? Great Powers have done exactly this to smaller countries repeatedly throughout history, and there is no reason to believe it couldn't happen here. Indeed, it is even happening in the world today. What is the invasion of Iraq but a WashCorp effort to eliminate pro-RussCorp and pro-EuroCorp influence in Iraq?

In this country, we are used to being actors, not acted upon, so it is difficult to imagine what it's like to live in a smaller power that's the object of external intervention. Yet this could and would happen if the US devolved into 50 smaller powers. It would not be enjoyable or beneficial to us.

Ah, but what about retaining the existing military for continental defense? First of all, the military depends on WashCorp, and wants it to exist. WashCorp provides the military with its recruiting base, its industrial base, its money, its political direction, and its raison d'etre. (Who will command the "continental defense military"? Why would that person not use this force to reconstruct WashCorp?) So the military would oppose the devolution of WashCorp in the first place.

But, let's say it happens anyway. How will this military be equipped? Right now military procurement is quite deliberately spread out across all 50 states. The idea that the procurement process would continue to function among 50 independent states, without the guiding hand of WashCorp, is dubious at best. How will this military be commanded, how will it function, how effective will it be? We need only look at Europe to see that the military effort of a number of small states "cooperating" together is vastly inferior to that of a large state. The EU military sucks, and will continue to suck until Europe is an actual unitary state rather than a conglomeration of smaller states. That is one of the fundamental reasons that has always driven the formation of EuroCorp - "the big boys aren't going to listen to us until we are a big boy, too, and have a big boy military." In short, the "continental defense" military of the 50 states would be poorly equipped and ineffective, and this would create a strong incentive to recreate WashCorp.

There are also some military things that only large states can do very well. There would be no US Navy, for example, and only the larger states (maybe CA, TX, NY) could afford more than a puny coast guard. Without the US Navy, the oceans become invasion highways, not defensive moats.

the states should assume the financial obligations of USG, even its informal "entitlements" - no one's Social Security or Medicare need be cut off.

How do you resolve the problem that about half the states are net beneficiaries of federal spending, and the other half are contributors? What happens to the people in the beneficiary states when the contributors say, "Bugger off, we're not paying for your entitlements any more"?

if you read a lot of milblogs, which I do, you'll start to notice that there is nothing Plainland warfighters fear and loathe so much as Washcorp.

They grumble until they want (or get) a star on their shoulders. Then they realize that they need WashCorp for their promotion and a cushy job in retirement.

I wonder about the quality of the grumbling, too. A lot of it relates to WashCorps failure to provide them with more "stuff". That's not really an anti-WashCorp complaint, that is the whine of every supplicant with an insatiable appetite who wants WashCorp to fill his begging bowl.

The Plainlander military caste is fundamentally a red-state institution.

Below the rank of General or Admiral, yes. In order to get promoted to General or Admiral, they have to get the approval of the blue-staters who run WashCorp, and in effect these officers are then coopted by WashCorp. They don't make graduate degrees a precondition for promotion to high rank for nothing - that's one of the ways they indoctrinate them with Blue State attitudes.

Just look at what happens when a General says something "too Red State" in public (wiki William Boykin). Bad press, public rebukes, no more promotions. Other Generals take note of this and stay in line.

I wouldn't say that progressives in the military are as rare as conservatives at State, but it might be close.

But it doesn't matter! The military doesn't like progressive attitudes, but it will adjust to them when it has to (e.g. blacks in the military, women in the military, and someday inevitably openly gay people in the military). So long as the money keeps coming, they don't care too much about social policy. View the military as just another WashCorp lobbying group, and you will see that they can never be the "solution" to the problem of Big Government.

If the generals want to act, they will act.

They will not act so long as the money, the toys, and the promotions keep coming. That's all they want. And if they did "act" they would not set up a conservative or libertarian paradise. They'd set up a big government that could give them what they're getting now (but probably more of it).

January 17, 2008 at 6:27 AM  
Anonymous Stirner said...

A few potential thinktank additions:

Charles Murray (Losing Ground and The Bell Curve, QED)

Gary Taub (Good Calories, Bad Calories unpacks 50 years of bad dietary science)

Thomas Sowell (Virtue of the Anointed , Conflict of Visions, etc.)

Theodore Dalrymple (Life at the Bottom, etc.)

And I am glad to see Stephen McIntyre. He is bitch-slapping the climate catastrophists on a daily basis, not that the media wants to cover such things.

January 17, 2008 at 7:02 AM  
Anonymous Stirner said...

and Moldy (if i may call you Moldy),

It might be nice if you made it a little easier for hypothetical counterrevolutionary billionaire if you listed and linked your top picks for the "BUG Tank" in a separate section of your sidebar. Non-polymath readers may appreciate it as well.

January 17, 2008 at 7:08 AM  
Blogger Will Wilkinson said...

So, the plan in a nutshell is to (1) form a think tank of either unknown or widely disparaged scholars who may or may not have any interest in associating with one another, (2) thereby change the comprehensive worldview of "Plainlander" military personnel, (3) military coup, (4) a better world!

I cannot see the flaw.

January 17, 2008 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

Will, you forgot (5) Profit!

January 17, 2008 at 7:56 AM  
Blogger Gerard said...

"Totten's a neocon, I thought we weren't having any of them. I don't know about Yon, but he'll likely be associated with the Iraq-hawks, who were dead wrong."

Noted. And now, you're fired for being a past-sucking moron. Collect your things. Security will be by to escort you out of the website.

January 17, 2008 at 8:04 AM  
Blogger Leonard said...

Moldbug, several comments.

First, I think bankrupcy is a real possibility, and one you seem to be ignoring here. Just because Washcorp's debts are denominated in its own currency does not absolve it from the laws of economics. If it continues to act as it has for the last 20 years, then it will eventually hit a point where it is no longer considered AAA grade. Then AA, then A, etc... and the price of borrowing will mount. Eventually dept service exceeds the budget, which means real cutbacks in spending, which means loss of support amongst those cut off.

But mostly the gap is bridged by printing more money. This has some inflationary effect immediately (that is one place where having libertarian ideas in play is vital to delegitimize it). But more importantly, as the world awakens to a reality of dollar devaluation, so long as there is any other currency that is managed well, or so long as gold exists, then there is a rush out of dollars and into sounder money. This will deeply exacerbate the inflationary crisis.

Now, as you say bankruptcy ala a subordinate corp is not possible. They can just create the million dollar bill, or whatever, print up suitcases full of them and pay off all deptors. But this sort of thing will create a lot of waves, at minimum. And placing Washcorp back onto a sustainable basis means major political pain.

A few other points... first, you correctly identify manufacture of consent as the key to the kingdom. And you even identify "alternate truth institutions" as a means. But you're thinking very narrowly here.

The LVM institute, is such an institution: sort of. What do you think LRC is, but a counter-narrative? But then so is Cato, so is vdare, so is Sailer the one-man truth squad. There's no reason I can see why all of these existing counterconsent factories need to be under one roof. The web is not like that, and does not need to be like that. In short, I think your understanding of manufacture of consent withdrawal is too narrow. There is room there for an ecosystem, with Cato at the inner edge smooching the state, and Stormfront or whoever out beyond the pale. Cato, in this understanding, is a gateway. If manufacturing consent withdrawal is a drug, Cato is marijuana.

Along the same lines, while you identify the press and schools, etc., correctly as part of the problem, I think you are giving short shrift to the means of changing them. What do you think the voucher movement will do? It will partly break schooling free of the state, which is a vast improvement. This is why Cato's accomplishments, even as you tell it, are more important than you give them credit for.

Similarly, wiki is a much bigger deal than you allow. Sure, for the most part it grounds out in authoritative sources. But you can also get the counter sources on issues that matter. You can also get the NPOV "two sides of the story", in many articles. To take just a single example, consider what Washcorp and its subsidiaries say about race, as versus what you can find in wikipedia.

January 17, 2008 at 8:21 AM  
Anonymous TGGP said...

past-sucking moron.
I'm not quite sure what that's supposed to mean.

I agree with the others that your think tank changing public opinion plan doesn't seem that original. I don't see any reason to conclude Cato is part of the Polygon and LvMI/LRC/Independent are not unless the Polygon is far different animal than Leviathan/Minotaur.

January 17, 2008 at 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In general, the states should assume the financial obligations of USG, even its informal "entitlements" - no one's Social Security or Medicare need be cut off.

I would like to see Alabama try to fund its own entitlements. Or even, the parts of the beloved interstate highway system that pass though it. And how is the federal debt divided in this scenario? The most irate states tend to be responsible for more than their share of it, thanklessly drawing more funding than they pay in taxes ($1.66 of funding per tax dollar for Alabama in 2005); shouldn't they receive more of the dept? Sounds fair to me!

At this rate, I'm not sure if ’Bama can keep the water running, let alone highways—the Institute might want to discretely move their headquarters before this ingenious scheme goes into effect. Or start building outhouses.

January 17, 2008 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger Independent Accountant said...

Did you ever read Crane Brinton's "Anatomy of Revolution"? One sign of an impending revolution is the actual or expected bankruptcy of the government. We are like 1775's France. Mexico, Colombia and Turkey each issued bonds denominated in DOLLARS. Think about that

January 17, 2008 at 9:27 AM  
Anonymous Randy said...


Re; "Just because Washcorp's debts are denominated in its own currency does not absolve it from the laws of economics."

I think you're on to something there. I just had a discussion about this the other day on another blog where it occurred to me that idealists are not restricted by the Laffer curve. This allows them to pursue tyranny to its absolute limits. But the absolute limit of tyranny is the point at which the population has little to lose and much to gain by subversion and open revolt. Now MM's idea of outcompeting the official network becomes feasible. In other words, it is progressive idealism that will eventually be the downfall of the progressive idealists.

January 17, 2008 at 11:47 AM  
Blogger Thursday said...

While breaking the U.S. up into 50 states may be a somewhat bad idea, breaking it up into smaller groups of states does make sense. Say the North East, the South, the Mid-West, the North-West and the South West. These regions have rough cultural affinities and would be large enough to have significant worldwide clout. From up north, the U.S. looks like a crazy, out of control behemoth.

January 17, 2008 at 12:08 PM  
Blogger Jewish Atheist said...

Attempting to denigrate leftism by contrasting it with libertarianism is fundamentally dishonest.

It's funny how you talk about leftism as if it's the opposite of libertarianism, when it's really orthogonal. For example, you mention the increase of gay rights as an example of a leftward trend, and it is that, but it's also a clear example of a libertarian trend. What's more libertarian that the idea that consenting adults should be able to marry or screw whoever the hell they want to?

There is right-libertarianism and left-libertarianism, with right- focusing mostly on taxation and guns and left- focusing mostly on social freedoms (gay, gender, black, religion, etc.) Government tends to be hostile to all forms of libertarianism, but it's not because they are left or right but because, as you point out, their jobs and influence depend on it.

January 17, 2008 at 1:48 PM  
Anonymous PA said...

You need to hire Steve Sailer and Michael Totten and Greg Cochran and Hans-Hermann Hoppe and Steve McIntyre and Jeffrey Rogers Hummel and Razib Khan and Michael Yon and Jörg Guido Hülsmann.

No Larry Auster?

January 17, 2008 at 5:14 PM  
Blogger drank said...

I agree with others that your proposed UberThinkTank is pretty weak tea when you're talking about replacing WashCorp. If that's the "replace" plan, I think we need to spend some more time looking at "reform"!

I also think you're basing your conclusion that no reform is possible almost entirely on the notional "ratchet effect" that is supposedly pulling the political center ever leftwards. In a number ways, the US political center has drifted rightwards since 1975. Some changes (multiculturalism, environmentalism, national health care) obviously delight big government types, but there are plenty of others that are not. Some examples that immediately come to mind:
- Wage & price controls have been dismantled.
- Washcorp is willing to let markets set energy prices.
- Major industries, like commercial aviation and telecom, have been substantially de-regulated.
- Social attitudes on law & order, gun ownership, drug use, abortion, etc. are more conservative.
- School vouchers and social security privatization are taken seriously as policy options

I think it's plain that your hypothetical crypto-Fabian bureaucrat planning her career in the 70s would not have predicted or desired any of these changes. Nor have the schools and the media inclucated these beliefs. And yet most libertarians are going to be pleased by at least some of those items. So this suggests that the efforts of Orange Line Libertarians have not totally been in vain.

JA is also correct to point out that some leftward shifts are also ones that increase libery. What could a libertarian object to in the proposition that gays should be free to live as they see fit, and with the mate of their choice? More generally, why do so many libertarians (including both you and me) choose to live in the bluest cities in the bluest states rather than move to rural Montana? Plainly we think the benefits of such social liberties outweigh harms of a more intrusive and costly government.

January 17, 2008 at 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, yeah, gay marriage really advances the libertarian agenda! State-sanctioned gay marriages will bring state power to bear to officially authorize gay unions and force society at large to view them as normal and acceptable. Gay marriages will give gay couples access to state-funded welfare and other government-mandated rights that they are currently denied, increasing the number of people dependent on government largesse. Gay marriages will also enable homosexuality to become yet another "protected minority class" worthy of affirmative action and the protection of anti-discrimination laws, again increasing the scope and intrusiveness of state power. It's so obvious why libertarians should just loooooove all of those predictable consequences of gay marriage, just like the Left does!

January 17, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

@anonymous 7:49pm, I'm reminded of someone (Eric Scheie?) asking why exactly gays are so eager to have access to marriage, with all the attendant divorces, alimony, custody battles, palimony suits, and sundry other annoyances it implies.

January 17, 2008 at 8:31 PM  
Blogger Aaron Davies said...

As a more general comment, and one applicable to the last three or four posts, I am reminded of ESR's coinage "prospiracy", a very useful word which seems to have fallen into unfortunate obscurity. The Polygon as a whole strikes me as an almost perfect example of a prospiracy, and denominating it as such helps to distinguish it from true conspiracies that it can be said to "metaphorically" resemble.

January 17, 2008 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Bruce G Charlton said...

Another stunning blog posting from MM - just mind-blowing!

Either MM has an IQ off-the-map, or he has perfected the art (claimed by Kurt Vonnegut) of convincingly faking extreme intelligence in his writing.

No response as yet - these things take a while to sink-in. But please keep 'em coming.

January 17, 2008 at 10:20 PM  
Anonymous smb said...


Forgive my naivety, but what was so terrible about the spoils system.

Had it survived, I can't help but think we'd be in much better shape.

January 18, 2008 at 1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apropos of the military being largely a Red State institution:


Liberal anti-religious sentiment toward conservative Christians is finding its way into the upper reaches of the Pentagon and the U.S. military, generally viewed in the past as conservative bastions.

A recent example is the case of a senior aide to Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England who criticized a co-worker with impunity in disparaging Christians, a favorite target of left-liberal elites.

Pentagon aide Hasham Islam remains a key adviser on Muslim affairs to Mr. England and faced no punishment or even criticism for recently calling Joint Staff counterterrorism analyst Stephen Coughlin a "Christian zealot with a pen" because of his views on the linkage between Islamic law and terrorism.

There was no outcry in the press, as could be expected if the criticism had been reversed and Mr. Islam was called a Muslim zealot.

The confrontation in a meeting several weeks ago led to Mr. Coughlin's firing. The Pentagon spin is that ending Mr. Coughlin's contract had nothing to do with Mr. Islam but was due to an expensive contract that was cut off. Other officials said any review of Joint Staff contracting would explode that reason as a myth.

Remember the classic slur of Christians published in liberalism's main organ, The Washington Post? Post writer Michael Weisskopf was criticized in 1993 for writing that conservative Christian followers of the Rev. Pat Robertson and the late Rev. Jerry Falwell were "largely poor, uneducated and easy to command."

A similar smear on Christian conservatives took place recently at the U.S. Central Command, a place Pentagon officials say is dominated by Arabists who do not understand Islamist ideology and who have thoroughly confused commanding generals there on the nature of the terrorist threat.

During a briefing months ago for the now-disbanded Commanders Advisory Group, which was preparing a Muslim outreach program, a colonel clumsily joked that "we have 'our own Christian extremists such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson,' " according to one shocked participant.

Some who heard the comment were horrified and wondered what U.S. taxpayers and others would think if they knew the Central Command was "going around calling mainstream evangelicals 'extremists' aligned with jihadists by association," the official said. "We could not believe our ears."

January 18, 2008 at 5:27 AM  
Anonymous Chaos said...

People of European descent have evolved mental models that favor high-trust networks where individual thinking is tolerated in some areas but group-think predominates. The high trust factor allows for the building of stronger and more effective (than other areas of Earth) organizations up to and including military structures and governments. The drift of this mass is often directed by a very limited power structure at the top. Euros had made some attempts at controlling this narrow-band governing tendency, but in most instances tend to drift towards a centralized leadership. USA is a great example of this process.

While the high-trust networks are great for ‘getting things done’ they are vulnerable to top-down corruption. When there is a disconnect between the goals of the leadership and the followers, real problems arise, and the system becomes unstable. Unfortunately the high-trust factor makes all corrections longer in duration, and all corruption at the top less visible.

People of non-European descent who come to Euro-based countries tend to see this arrangement quite quickly and tend to align themselves with the centralized leadership. This is in their best interest. That is why majority of non-Euros tend to settle in the power centers of Euro lands such as the cities of the blue states in the USA. In the process these newcomers tend to have a corrupting effect on the Euro elites – which also happens to be in their best interest. The remaining mass of Euros than has to live with a corrupt leadership aligned philosophically and physically with non-Euro influence.

What is the result of this arrangement?
1. Alienation of the Euro masses from their leadership and their main cities.
2. Disdain of the non-Euro minorities towards the bulk of the Euro majority, which they view as alien and weak.
3. Leadership that becomes increasingly torn amongst the increasing number of ‘special interest groups’ (corruption), its duty to the ‘masses’, and its own survival. Guess which one of those three tends to take the biggest hit in this game.
4. Propaganda lines that aggressively push ethnic interests in the cities and amongst the competing ethnic groups, but which push color-blindness for the white masses.
5. Young Euro bloggers who try to explain this arrangement in some other way – ANY OTHER WAY – than it really is. Because the way it is, is really screwed up, and way too depressing to contemplate.

January 18, 2008 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Chaos, what about Orientals? They are surely non-European but they have created some impressive military structures and governments.

January 18, 2008 at 12:47 PM  
Blogger George Weinberg said...

Getting a sympathetic billionaire to fund writers who will spread your ideas sounds more like wishful thinking than an actual plan.

Michael (Loompanics) Hoy wrote an interesting essay a few years back where he criticized groups like Cato and the Reason Foundation because although they seem to think that markets can take care of everything else, libertarianism itself is some sort of public good that has to be funded by charitable contributions. Hoy proudly pointed to himself as an example of a Rand style entrepreneur, spreading libertarian fringe ideas while making a buck doing so.

Loompanics is gone :'-( but I think the idea that "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing at a profit" is still a good one. Personally, I think there's an untapped market for documentary films with a pro-freedom perspective. Although I wouldn't expect them to have much effect in the short term.

January 18, 2008 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Loompanics is gone, though I saw a website for it so maybe not quite so, but Nine Banded Books aims to be a replacement.

January 18, 2008 at 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seconding stirner from my safe, warm anonymity: it would be good to have a conveniently linked list of the leaders of the counterrevolution. I know I could just google them, but I'm the laziest billionaire I know.

January 18, 2008 at 9:16 PM  
Blogger Studd Beefpile said...

Reforming the US at the moment is more or less impossible, but so is revolution. Thus the only recourse is to use clever policy trickery and use statist means to non-statist ends. A genuine reform of SS, for example, that gave everyone real stockownership might push us in the right direction. Either that, or move to montana and write a manifesto, which tends not to come out well either.

January 18, 2008 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

I've just read some more about Totten and I'm flabbergasted that you included him in your list. His reaction to the newsletters was worse than the Beltway Libertarians you denounce here. He writes for the WSJ, Reason and Commentary, all of which you consider to be part of the Polygon. Yon is a completely independent, reader supported journalist whose background is just military, so I can see why you might find him appealing, but for the life of my I can't think of any merits for Totten.

January 19, 2008 at 12:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like so many of your kind, tggp, you are letting your opposition to the War in Iraq cloud your judgement. Totten is obviously an independent voice, which is what Mencius is looking for. The fact that he does not tow your party line on Iraq, or worship Ron Paul, should not disqualify him. The fact that he doesn't parrot blue-gov't propaganda on Iraq is a point in his favor, if anything, and it isn't Totten's fault that Paul chose to associate himself with an idiot. Like most libertarians, you can't see the long term forest for the current trees. Which is why libertarianism is such a vital force in current American politics...

January 19, 2008 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger TGGP said...

Anonymous, we're supposed to hate the vital forces in politics today, didn't you get the memo? And how the hell is Totten an independent voice? He's worked for Newsweek, the L.A Times and the other publications I've mentioned, all of which MM claims are part of the Polygon (in discussing Matthew Yglesias he said anyone who writes for them rather than just his own blog is to be distrusted). Totten's reaction to the newsletters was the same one Mencius has been attacking others for.

January 19, 2008 at 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Cranky Matron said...

I don't ever expect the current US government to be reformed. I fully expect it to run itself into the ground, and for people to discern their self-interest and start something new from there once they catch on to its instability.

The smart ones will catch on quicker, cash in their chips while the chips are still worth anything at all.

Hopefully, this will happen while I am still living, as I would not wish such a difficult task to be left to my children.

But I feel the same way about the federal government as I do about public schools-- I am resigned to the fact that there are many, many people with too much at stake to allow rational reform. The short-term strategy is to distance yourself from the behemoth. The long-term strategy is to wait for everyone else to distance themelves from it, too. The optimist in me is still voting for Ron Paul. LOL.

January 25, 2008 at 3:14 AM  
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November 12, 2008 at 11:29 PM  
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January 31, 2009 at 10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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March 2, 2009 at 10:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! thanks a lot! ^^

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March 2, 2009 at 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


March 6, 2009 at 6:19 AM  

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