23 June 2009

The essence of Liberty

Watching the move of messages at Twitterfall is captivating, as is getting the latest uploaded videos, still images and testimony from various sources in Iran. There are attempts to block communications both in-country, by the regime, and via those who are supporters of the regime outside of Iran, and the messages could not be more startling to hear how the varied views of a Free People give so many viewpoints, while those supporting the regime become sock puppets for it with messages that do not diverge from the 'party line' and being unwilling to engage in civil conversation of any sort. Thus you can easily weed out those messages from your viewing just by mentally ignoring them. It is a trick we all have in our mental toolbox, but very few people realize just how fast they do process information before they mentally acknowledge it.

Still, there are some disturbing trends amongst those in the West that can only be described as pacifists or appeasers, who trot out nostrums from decades past and attempt to apply them to the situation in Iran.

EQUIVALENCY

First is the attempt to link up the current ongoings in Iran to the US 2000 election. Yes we all remember how the polls closed early, how multiple cities had more people voting than were registered, that George W. Bush beat Al Gore by some 99.98% to 0.02%, right? And how 2004 would see the repeat of that in spades?

Oh, that's right, that didn't happen, did it?

The only problems I remember from 2000 was that Florida did a mandatory vote recount in a very, very close election and that all after-action reports by all news groups verified that, indeed, George W. Bush carried the State by a slim margin. That news agencies got that WRONG and that first counts were inaccurate does not mean you take to the street. Nor does it mean changing how you count votes in the middle of a recount.

Losing a close election is NOT the same as having it stolen by a regime that has to HAND COUNT paper ballots, does so in an impossibly short period of time, then has 100%+ turnout in some cities. There is NO equivalent between Iran 2009 and USA 2000.

Nor was the close election of 2004 in doubt by any but conspiracy theorists who, because they see a conspiracy behind everything, put forward there was one for that election. Mind you those same folks will also attribute the entire United States, modern Europe, the state of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, indeed the entire WORLD as run by conspiracy. Anyone pushing this meme needs to be tossed into the 'crank file' of conspiracy theorists.

Those seeking to do so with 2000 need their morals and ethics examined: don't degrade those standing up to HAVE a say in government, even through a corrupt regime, by making their stance in any way, shape or form equal to a civil election with a close outcome.

I do have extreme problems with the Progressive attitudes of Liberals and Conservatives seeking to vest more power in government as that is an infringement on the Liberty and Freedom of the people when government takes more power to itself and pushes aside the people. I will not start any fight with my government, but will give civil voice to my understandings of the world, human nature and how ill-run our governments are. Any action to coerce individuals and establish government as the ONLY power and limit the VOICE of the people in it, I will take as an attack on myself.

That is why I give my love, support and understanding to the people of Iran: they are in the position of fight for Freedom or becoming slaves to government.

Do note that this Presidential Administration with more unelected 'Czars' than all of Russia ever had, that seeks to fire those who keep government accountable so as to reward supporters of the President, that attempting to push 'reform' out the door to take over companies that NEED to fail and not BECOME arms of government, that attempting to stifle the Liberty of the people to choose what health care, if any, they should get and seek help from their fellow citizens by charity for those who cannot get it, all of these things are NOT encouraging Liberty and Freedom in America. I did not like NAFTA, I do not like NCLB, I do not like the Federal Reserve, or Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, or Social Security which is going insolvent at a rate far faster than any predicted though anyone could see looking at actuarial tables, or Medicare, or Medicaid....these are all distractions from government, give too much power and say from government in our lives, and need to be chopped off with a chainsaw. We do need government, but only to curb the abuses of individuals and protect society: that is the punishing tools we hand to government.

You want government to do more?

Look at the regime in Iran: it has been doing MORE for decades. The USSR provided all those wonderful things to people like healthcare and assured retirement, if you could live long enough to reach retirement as the health care by government sucked like an Electrolux. Multiple European Nations now have 'competition' where you STILL pay for government health care and STILL have to pay if you want to get decent private care... that is not competition, but paying TWICE to purchase ONCE.

When I see the Free People of Iran standing up to have their voices heard in government, they are supporting the essential Liberty for running a representative democracy.

You do not see me trying to make equivalent their fundamental stand on Liberty and Freedom to be in any way equivalent to how I observe the problems of government. I do not have such hubris, such narcissism to project myself onto an entire Nation. I can discriminate between my civil disagreements with a civil government, that I feel does NOT represent my views and NOT turn it into a partisan cause for projecting those feelings everywhere on planet Earth. I have a fundamental and basic understanding that we have Nations to HAVE separate cultures and that all Nations are equal under the Law of Nations, and that all people have the right to form society, create government and expect government to protect it and the basis of society... not to dictate to society what it shall be.

We should be so lucky as to get a 60% turnout at the polls... and we are close enough to the 50% turnover going downwards that the pure position of the legitimacy of government now falls into question in America, and that has been becoming apparent over decades, not due to one party or another but BOTH. I don't particularly like that, either, but that is far better, to have non-representative, corrupt and generally unsupported elections than to have coerced elections with high turnouts that seek to validate a given regime that then feels free to make up the numbers as it goes along.

BAD PEACE IS BETTER THAN A GOOD WAR

Really?

Supporting tyrants and dictators to intimidate, threaten and attack Nations means you should not once, nor ever, respond?

This sentiment was given to us by Neville Chamberlain and has been haunting the Left for decades. Allowing Czechoslovakia to be divided then allowed the complete take-over of the country and its $10 billion gold reserves to flush into the Nazi regime and give it a last buying spree before 1939, which witnessed a sudden dip in the value of gold as so much came into the market. The idea that a 'bad peace' that sees large Nations coercing small ones to be dismembered by tyrants and despots that then leads to a horrific war would be better than an armed stand-off to support the sovereignty of an Ally so as to deprive a tyrannical regime of the necessary funds to reinforce its military might get you a war, yes. But a far better one than you wind up with, otherwise. And if the Allies had stood up to the Nazi regime when it walked into the Ruhr valley to wrest it from Allied control, then it wouldn't even have gotten THAT far.

That means you MUST protect peace, create peace and realize that if you ally yourself to a Nation you are required to risk much for her safety, also.

Vietnam? The backlash of the US leaving was millions dead in Vietnam and Laos and tens of millions of dead due to Pol Pot's genocide in his own country which only happened once the US was no longer a factor. That was not a well supported war at home, but the 'bad peace' cost tens of millions dead in reprisals and genocide, which I don't even count as a 'bad peace' but a horrific war staged by governments upon their own people. Much thanks, but the 'bad peace' made the war seem trivial in comparison.

War is, indeed, a horror and there must be support to have the capability to wage it so as to establish a just peace. World War I went horrifically wrong and then got the very worst peace imaginable. It was so bad, so unsupported that it got another World War. WWII saw the Marshal Plan and the reconstruction of Japan as good and decent aims, beyond just confronting the USSR, there was deep good in giving civil government breathing space after long-term ventures into tyranny. That BUILT a peace which has lasted to this day. That peace was not accomplished without a horrific war before it and the unwillingness of America to let Europe 'go its own way' and, instead, seek to establish civil society as a control for government. The trend to vest more control over society in government is now making those civil governments fragile, just as it does our own: and the only quest of government is more power to government and that must be confronted at all costs.

I would much prefer to have a scaling back of government via civil means.

The revolt of Iranians point out that there is an end to that when government sees fit to stifle society and its individuals in the name of government power.

Wars, then, are necessary to establish civil power and create better government as governments can and do go corrupt, to the point of feeling that government is ALL THE POWER in a Nation. Yet all that power rests in the people of the Nation, with government being a fraction of it. Far safer to have the power in the hands of individuals with mild restrictions upon those who seek to rape, murder, kill, extort, and otherwise coerce their way into power, than to let such people get INTO power and use those methods upon the Nation.

Thus the moderate position is to see that government is a necessary evil that, at best, can administer justice equally and without favor, and be highly restricted to doing a few things necessary to defend a Nation and its society. Stepping from that is immoderate as it vests power and influence into government, thus attracting those seeking power over their fellow man for reasons not of the public good.

For those who seek peace at any price, I do understand this to be true:

3. Right of making war.(136)

In treating of the right to security (Book II. Chap. IV.), we have shown that nature gives men a right to employ force, when it is necessary for their defence, and for the preservation of their rights. This principle is generally acknowledged: reason demonstrates it; and nature herself has engraved it on the heart of man. Some fanatics indeed, taking in a literal sense the moderation recommended in the gospel, have adopted the strange fancy of suffering themselves to be massacred or plundered, rather than oppose force to violence. But we need not fear that this error will make any great progress. The generality of mankind will, of themselves, guard against its contagion — happy, if they as well knew how to keep within the just bounds which nature has set to a right that is granted only through necessity! To mark those just bounds, — and, by the rules of justice, equity, and humanity, to moderate the exercise of that harsh, though too often necessary right — is the intention of this third book.

Law of Nations, Book III by Emmerich de Vattel

Bad peace at all costs is fanaticism.

It is this understanding that I hold:

Peace, above all things, is to be desired, but blood must sometimes be spilled to obtain it on equable and lasting terms. -Andrew Jackson

As it goes for States so is it held for people, and the recourse of civil discussion ends when fundamental liberty is abridged. I would prefer that governments not abridge fundamental liberty and seek to enslave their people. But once done, the right of the people to resist and give their lives to the cause of Liberty is one that makes them Free. Our Freedom is purchased with the blood of our forebearers. Do not quail and cower behind fanaticism when you see others stand up to pay that price as it is the only cost allowed for the purchase of any Liberty. To do otherwise is to enslave yourself to fear of yourself and seek slavery for yourself.

I love and honor those that stand up to support Liberty as that is the only way to get Freedom.

Even when lost, the fight against being enslaved and your children enslaved is worth the cost.

If you are not prepared to pay it, then you willingly measure yourself for the fetters to enslave you. Followers of Ghandi paid in their lives. Those rebelling in Tehran do not have the means to defend themselves. I would not dare dishonor that courage by wanting 'peace' that is 'bad' as that is encouraging tyranny. I would prefer that they were armed, as Ghandi depended on the civility of the British, while those fanatics in power in Tehran have NONE.

In case you hadn't noticed the difference.

These two memes need to be addressed as the first pre-supposes illegitimate routes to power and then legitimize them by constant repeating of them, and the second to have people submit to any odious regime rather than fight.

Together they are fatal to society and require that assertion of human liberty to keep government small so that it will not grow large and repressive.

Otherwise the final assertion is through blood.

And if you don't like seeing blood spilled overseas in the fight for essential Liberty, then do ask yourself if, and when, you will EVER support the fight for it. Otherwise measure yourself for fetters as 'Live Free or Die' is not what you support, and slavery for yourself to your pacifism are the chains you wish for everyone.

Excuse me if I disagree.

I do so in a civil manner.

I will start no fights.

Best if you keep the chain measuring to yourself.

4 comments:

Just Another Richard said...

"Ghandi depended on the civility of the British, while those fanatics in power in Tehran have NONE.

In case you hadn't noticed the difference."


Ah yes, but it is precisely that difference which must be ignored, lest a ray of light shine upon the deceit that is at the core of of their argument. For most assuredly it is a willful omission.

Interesting post Jacksonian, however, tragic in that those sneering individuals, puffed up with their superior virtue, would neither take the time to read it, nor the energies to digest and understand it...and so we indolently slouch onwards towards the abyss.

A Jacksonian said...

Richard - I do write not for the present day, though try to keep it interesting for the present. My writings are for those in need of finding the path out of horrific troubles... the path to liberty and freedom. Thus those in the future will have basis to understand me.

Those that close their ears and shut their eyes and murmur sweet nothings to abolish the blood an horror going on by authoritarian government want to deny that this is the end of authoritarian government of all stripes. The reductio ad absurdum of authority is raw power to kill those who disagree with you. Thus we do, indeed, slouch to worse times... and the path back is hard with all those good intentions.

Thus the answer when arriving at Hell is to go through and get out as all paths away are better than any path to it. The way out is becoming forward and through.

A civil society can do otherwise, but time grows short. I prepare for the march forward and through, now.

Harrison said...

The Equivalency argument is just as rubbish as the Republicans comparing themselves to the Iranians as they are outnumbered in the House and complain about being repressed as a minority. Never in anyone's right mind should these be even contrasted on the same plane.

War is hell, a beast that when unleashed may escape from the rational calculations of those holding its leash, but it is unavoidable when tyrants and dictators seek to impose their worldviews that stifle freedom, violate fundamental rights recognised by the international community and those under jus gentium and the law of peoples - the right to freedom of association, that of survival of political communities. To express our devotion and to show enough respect for them, we must be willing to defend them.

An unjust peace is as good as an unfinished war, and ethically speaking, may be far worse than an unjust war itself. What is worse, as you pointed out, is that the "peace" of the first World War was concluded in such a manner by those who consciously knew that it was unjust and insufficient, and yet proceeded to choose the easier path. There is no easier path: the defeated must be convinced of their loss, the victors of their triumph. An inconclusive peace only encourages temporising with an evil to one's own disadvantage, because you then are held hostage by having to wage war at someone else's convenience and not yours.

The people of Iran - Moussavi's Iran - have shown that despite the crackdowns, the brutality of the Basij and police, the detentions and jailings, they much rather would risk imprisonment and death than have to return to an even more repressive government than before, one that knows that its cover - of compassionate conservatism and religious piety and devotion to the Islamic Revolution and all the ideals it once stood for - has been smashed and trod on beyond any chance of reconciliation. Knowing that it does not have to pretend any more, the conservative order will choose to rule by absolute force alone, and that is an outcome that the Iranians cannot stomach - if not now, then even more so in the future, when their appetites for freedom have been stoked.

A Jacksonian said...

Harrison - Republicans and Democrats, the Left and Right, all seek to enshroud themselves in the beauty of those seeking solace of the Great Tree of Liberty... but are unwilling to pay the token, themselves, at home. Thus their poverty of morals and ethics can only be rectified by the cost of the purchase of Liberty by the population at large: that will not be easy, it will not be free, and it will cost in blood. Some nations have gotten by with a very low cost in those regards (Philippines, Czechoslovakia, Hungary) and yet they had to put up with decades of brutal rule and lost loved ones who also paid into that final price.

No war is good, but suffering the ills of government gone authoritarian, despotic and tyrannical is worse than any war to remove them. Overseas the only justice we have amongst Nations is that of warfare by the State - the holder of that negative liberty of society and all of its individuals. There is no 'higher justice' amongst Nations and only that which is built and maintained by the hand of man exists, and no higher authority can be sought for those things that happen between Nations.

I do sorrow in the death to establish individual liberty. But the motto is 'Live free, or die' not 'Live free or be a slave of government'. We have too many seeking to make that latter come true on the Left and Right, because they are unwilling to support living freely for themselves and especially for their fellow citizens. Each of us must be willing to do that for the good of society in all of its individuals.

"You must pay the price if you wish to secure the blessing.” - Andrew Jackson