11 February 2007

The Volunteer Fifth Column - Transnational Progressivist Press Rules

It is not every day that one gets to witness an individual coming out and clearly advocating unethical behavior that advocates Transnational Progressivism! Rare, indeed, is the individual who feels safe and cozy enough to espouse that viewpoint and put forth that it needs be done. And rarer, still, is when such flies in the face of the espoused standards of those doing such work. It thank Patterico for pointing this out at his site with this post and I will take up from there.

Consider the following:

How the press can prevent another Iraq
by Dan Froomkin
The Washington Post Standards and Ethics
Author: The Washington Post
Published: February 16, 1999
Last Updated: February 17, 1999

You Can’t Be Too Skeptical of Authority

  • Don’t assume anything administration officials tell you is true. In fact, you are probably better off assuming anything they tell you is a lie.
  • Demand proof for their every assertion. Assume the proof is a lie. Demand that they prove that their proof is accurate.
  • Just because they say it, doesn’t mean it should be make the headlines. The absence of supporting evidence for their assertion -- or a preponderance of evidence that contradicts the assertion -- may be more newsworthy than the assertion itself.
  • Don’t print anonymous assertions. Demand that sources make themselves accountable for what they insist is true.

Provocation Alone Does Not Justify War

  • War is so serious that even proving the existence of a casus belli isn’t enough. Make officials prove to the public that going to war will make things better.
  • Demand to know what happens if the war (or tactical strike) doesn’t go as planned?
  • Demand to know what happens if it does? What happens after “victory”?
  • Ask them: Isn’t it possible this will make things worse, rather than better?

Be Particularly Skeptical of Secrecy

  • Don’t assume that these officials, with their access to secret intelligence, know more than you do.
  • Alternately, assume that they do indeed know more than you do – and are trying to keep intelligence that would undermine their arguments secret.

Watch for Rhetorical Traps

  • Keep an eye on how advocates of war frame the arguments. Don’t buy into those frames unless you think they’re fair.
  • Keep a particular eye out for the no-lose construction. For example: If we can’t find evidence of WMD, that proves Saddam is hiding them.
  • Watch out for false denials. In the case of Iran, when administration officials say “nobody is talking about invading Iran,” point out that the much more likely scenario is bombing Iran, and that their answer is therefore a dodge.

Don’t Just Give Voice to the Administration Officials

  • Give voice to the skeptics; don’t marginalize and mock them.
  • Listen to and quote the people who got it right last time: The intelligence officials, state department officials, war-college instructors and many others who predicted the problem we are now facing, but who were largely ignored.
  • Offer the greatest and most guaranteed degree of confidentiality to whisteblowers offering information that contradicts the official government position. (By contrast, don’t offer any confidentiality to administration spinners.)

Look Outside Our Borders

  • Pay attention to international opinion.
  • Raise the question: What do people in other countries think? Why should we be so different?
  • Keep an eye out for how the international press is covering this story. Why should we be so different?

Understand the Enemy

  • Listen to people on the other side, and report their position.
  • Send more reporters into the country we are about to attack and learn about their views, their politics and their culture.
  • Don’t allow the population of any country to be demonized. All humans deserve to be humanized.
  • Demand to know why the administration won’t open a dialogue with the enemy. Refusing to talk to someone you are threatening to attack should be considered inherently suspect behavior.

Encourage Public Debate

  • The nation is not well served when issues of war and peace are not fully debated in public. It’s reasonable for the press to demand that Congress engage in a full, substantial debate.
  • Cover the debate exhaustively and substantively.

Write about Motives

  • Historically, the real motives for wars have often not been the public motives. Try to report on the motivations of the key advocates for war.
  • Don’t assume that the administration is being forthright about its motives.
  • If no one in the inner circle will openly discuss their motives, then encourage reasonable speculation about their motives.

Talk to the Military

  • Find out what the military is being told to prepare for.
The Washington Post
Standards and Ethics

A. Conflict of interest
B. The reporter’s role
C. Errors
D. Attribution of sources
E. Plagiarism and credit
F. Fairness
G. Opinion
H. The national and community interest
I. Taste
J. The Post’s principles

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“These Principles” are re-endorsed herewith.

Isn't that lovely? And why is the WaPo Ethics standard put up? Because Mr. Froomkin is the #2 editor at the Washingtonpost.com! I am so glad that Mr. Froomkin has decided to break with them in such an open and honest manner. Yes, lovely, isn't it? To see one espouse the breaking of their OWN Ethics and Standards of conduct to take partisan, anti-establishment, anti-democratic, anti-American stances so forthrightly.

Because that is what he is advocating. He is advocating not only an 'adversarial' role for the press, but to actively 'take up the other side' and JOIN IT and present their position without criticism or analysis while harshly criticizing the Administration on *everything*. In doing that he is seeking to interject the press into the conversation and NOT report on the conversation. In that the press would then *fail* to accurately report on the affairs of government AND those that would seek to bring it down. That is not an 'adversarial role' but an 'advocates role'.

That is 'working for the other side'.

He further puts forth to deny that the National Sovereign Right of a Nation that suffers a casus belli is not enough to go to war on. That is not *just* anti-American it is anti-Nation State. To remove that as a legitimate right for Nations to seek martial justice through the use of force is an advocacy that Nation States have NO right to defend themselves.

Further, he advocates that the reporter or journalist determine 'fairness' of an argument in a prejudicial way so as to denigrate any and all that support a martial position and empower those who have ANY anti-establishment, anti-military, anti-National stance to get a full and adequate hearing WITHOUT QUESTION. As he does not advocate that for reporting of the Administration that then makes the reporter an ADVOCATE in the reporting and no longer attempting to report 'facts' or 'news' but purport the individual's opinion to be more important than the 'facts' or 'news'.

In addition to that he wishes to deny that there is any difference between any people, any where and that all Nations should have the exact same outlook and that when the United States does *not* hold the outlook of other Nations it is to be questioned or, indeed, criticized for not holding that stance. That is, again, advocating that the United States should have NO separate identity from other Nations and should be 'just like them' in all outlooks.

By taking on the advocates position for the enemy, he further asserts that asking why the Enemy cannot be 'talked to' belies the fact that diplomacy has RUN OUT at the casus belli and that it is the Nation *causing* such that needs to be asked why they performed that action NOT the victim Nation on why it wishes to respond. Usually a Nation is gracious enough to give 'one last chance' for the aggressor to make up, but in cases like Vietnam and Iraq the long years of that got NOWHERE. Advocating more than *that* is not only pushing for pacifism, it is pushing for the ending of National Sovereignty and the right of a Nation to determine its own course for good or ill so that it may put an end to those attacking it. In taking up to show the horrors of war and the people who will suffer it also belies the fact that those people in that Nation have the right to overthrow their leadership and MAKE AMENDS for its actions or disavow them and attempt to MAKE UP for the wrongs done by the previous government. Because that is what is required in the realm of International Diplomacy. Advocating anything else is a call for an END to the system of International Diplomacy between Nation States as a way of regulating the affairs of Nations so that they may govern themselves and be held accountable for their actions.

Thus you have this strange notion that those that are aggressors are 'victims' and that those suffering from things that would normally allow reprisals of a warlike nature to be justified are to not EVER even think of that as it just might 'hurt the victim' who is the aggressor.

If that weren't enough he then wants to make groups of individuals that can be easily labeled and DISMISSED from reporting if they happen to hold a pro-National stance of *any sort*. The full panoply of dissent is to be given deep and wide coverage so that every conspiracy theory is to be given an airing while those advocating multiple different reasons and rationales to GO TO WAR are not only to be questioned but the 'fairness' of their viewpoint is to be brought into question when NO such questioning of 'fairness' is to be applied evenly and equally to those wanting NOT to go to war. Thus a casus belli may also have more than one set of ground under it beyond a mere incident and may, as in the case of Iraq, have multiple, continuing and ongoing reasons and rationales above and beyond ALL the UN mandates that were broken, the undermining of the trade restrictions, the funneling of money into weapons programs that were not only WMD related that were ALSO to be ENDED COMPLETELY, the violation of National Sovereignty by not returning those kidnapped in the previous war or military personnel captured and then NOT given their Geneva Convention Rights. Those all get lumped into one category and then the reporter gets to decide if those highly different outlooks are 'fair' or not. While those espousing that it is 'all about oil' or 'all about Saddam's attempt to assassinate Bush 41' are given free reign, little question and all the air and print time they can grab.

All of this comes together under a different label that gets applied to those espousing these very things and working to achieve them. As John Fonte described it these things all fall into the heading of Transnational Progressivism. Back in the day when blogging was young, Steven den Beste did an excellent write-up at USS Clueless, and I will be cadging from them both so that those things being espoused can be put into perspective:
The key concepts of transnational progressivism could be described as follows:

The ascribed group over the individual citizen. The key political unit is not the individual citizen, who forms voluntary associations and works with fellow citizens regardless of race, sex, or national origin, but the ascriptive group (racial, ethnic, or gender) into which one is born.

A dichotomy of groups: Oppressor vs. victim groups, with immigrant groups designated as victims. Transnational ideologists have incorporated the essentially Hegelian Marxist "privileged vs. marginalized" dichotomy.

Group proportionalism as the goal of "fairness." Transnational progressivism assumes that "victim" groups should be represented in all professions roughly proportionate to their percentage of the population. If not, there is a problem of "underrepresentation."

The values of all dominant institutions to be changed to reflect the perspectives of the victim groups. Transnational progressives insist that it is not enough to have proportional representation of minorities in major institutions if these institutions continue to reflect the worldview of the "dominant" culture. Instead, the distinct worldviews of ethnic, gender, and linguistic minorities must be represented within these institutions.

The "demographic imperative." The demographic imperative tells us that major demographic changes are occurring in the U. S. as millions of new immigrants from non-Western cultures enter American life. The traditional paradigm based on the assimilation of immigrants into an existing American civic culture is obsolete and must be changed to a framework that promotes "diversity," defined as group proportionalism.

The redefinition of democracy and "democratic ideals." Transnational progressives have been altering the definition of "democracy" from that of a system of majority rule among equal citizens to one of power sharing among ethnic groups composed of both citizens and non-citizens. James Banks, one of American education's leading textbook writers, noted in 1994 that "to create an authentic democratic Unum with moral authority and perceived legitimacy, the pluribus (diverse peoples) must negotiate and share power." Hence, American democracy is not authentic; real democracy will come when the different "peoples" that live within America "share power" as groups.

Deconstruction of national narratives and national symbols of democratic nation-states in the West. In October 2000, a UK government report denounced the concept of "Britishness" and declared that British history needed to be "revised, rethought, or jettisoned." In the U.S., the proposed "National History Standards," recommended altering the traditional historical narrative. Instead of emphasizing the story of European settlers, American civilization would be redefined as a multicultural "convergence" of three civilizations—Amerindian, West African, and European. In Israel, a "post-Zionist" intelligentsia has proposed that Israel consider itself multicultural and deconstruct its identity as a Jewish state. Even Israeli foreign minister Shimon Peres sounded the post-Zionist trumpet in his 1993 book , in which he deemphasized "sovereignty" and called for regional "elected central bodies," a type of Middle Eastern EU.

Promotion of the concept of postnational citizenship. In an important academic paper, Rutgers Law Professor Linda Bosniak asks hopefully "Can advocates of postnational citizenship ultimately succeed in decoupling the concept of citizenship from the nation-state in prevailing political thought?"

The idea of transnationalism as a major conceptual tool. Transnationalism is the next stage of multicultural ideology. Like multiculturalism, transnationalism is a concept that provides elites with both an empirical tool (a plausible analysis of what is) and an ideological framework (a vision of what should be). Transnational advocates argue that globalization requires some form of "global governance" because they believe that the nation-state and the idea of national citizenship are ill suited to deal with the global problems of the future.
The alignment of what Mr. Froomkin is advocating is so near 1:1 that it cannot be mistaken. He is advocating that Nations are *not* special units chosen by their People and that all Nations should be equal in ALL things. The assertion that the elected Government does NOT represent the will of the People in a democracy and that it should be considered 'suspect' at all times indicates that he disavows adherence to democracy ITSELF. Going beyond mere skepticism and asserting that a group of individuals is not to be trusted a priori is not only prejudicial but removes the legitimacy of rule especially when it is from the media. That is a denigration of the Nation State, its systems, its laws and its Sovereign outlook as a Nation. It is taking up an anti-Nation stance which, in this case, is the United States.

Perhaps Mr. Froomkin has forgotten that Peoples form Nations so as to be DIFFERENT from each other and assert such differences with National Identity to their Nation? By impugning that and asking why the US is 'not like everyone else' he is no longer asserting that there is any difference between the outlooks of peoples in different Nations and that those held in repressive tyranny that are *forced* to say things under pain of torture or death are 'just as equal' as those speaking freely in a democracy. That is especially true when one wants to give 'the other side' its say in things: you become an advocate FOR tyrannical repression in that doing and are attempting to use the emotional weight of loss of life to outweigh ongoing loss of freedom and liberty.

Thank you, Mr. Froomkin, for having openly demonstrated your allegiance to The Volunteer Fifth Column, your repudiation of the Washington Post's code of standards and ethics and your wish to end the United States via asserting that tyrannical rule is never worth attacking at any cost and that those attacking the United States should always get a free ticket to do so and then helped by you and those that follow these rules so that ALL National Sovereignty can be removed.

And the Nation with it.

Welcome to being an affirmed member of The Volunteer Fifth Column, Mr. Froomkin and for explaining just HOW the WaPo got there.

This being the #2 editor at the Washingtonpost.com website and of high stature within the organization, his espousal of these things taints the entire organization and it is no longer to be trusted in ANYTHING. In disavowing democracy, democratic government and espousing that aggressors are 'victims' he has demonstrated his lack of standards, ethics and his allegiance to Transnational Progressivist ideals.

I find those ideals reprehensible and the attitude that goes with them.


A Jacksonian said...

Swamp Woman - My thanks! I keep up with a minimal of local news and am finding that I can be in touch with places like Iraq better than I can be in touch with large portions of the US. Because the MSM believes itself to be an entitlement and an 'unelected' part of government. I now run multiple layers of ad-stopping capability on my computer and watch only an hour or two of any television on a given day and that is usually between History Channel/Discovery Channel and Fox News... the latter of which is more for entertainment especially when Mr. O'Reilly is on. That man needs to join the late 20th century if not the 21st.... good for releasing some feelings, but not so good on actual news value.

I look for more than entertainment and now will trust any blogger who is telling me what is happening outside their window far more than I will any MSM reporter in the 'vicinity' that is 'reporting' on anything there. Be it natural disasters to wars to box scores, the MSM has worked itself down to near zero with me. And since I have no interest in 'celebrities' and the sensationalism put forward by all of the television news programs and all the dead-tree media, I now hear less noise and more signal. For that is what the MSM is now: noise. I will trust individuals now far, far more than any news organization. And as you have seen I name the names of the people and organizations and *why* I find them reprehensible. I also have ways for them to establish and win trust that I have put out earlier. These organizations can have meaningful input, but only when they open themselves up for scrutiny and analysis from the outside, not from 'ombudsmen'. I don't want an audience representative, I want the organizations to hold themselves up to their own damn standards and BE accountable. They ignore their 'ombudsmen'.

This member of the audience sees fit to ignore them and awaits when multiple individuals report on something, so it has a chance of being verifiable and somewhat accurate. They want to sway public opinion and this member of the public has, indeed, been swayed. Against them.

I thank you for your time here and hope you enjoyed the somewhat lengthy reading.

SERENDIP said...

Unfortunately, this attitude permeates all manners of our culture and has produced defeatist-mongers of all stripes regularly paraded on TV or spewing their defeatist agenda in the print media. Here the Muslims have complete superiority because of they use devious rules which the West has not even has begun to comprehend. The Muslims are thinking centuries ahead while the West’s vision is limited to a fixation on tolerance, freedom and democracy in the present. This aspect alone makes the West completely vulnerable and inferior in the conflict. The latest bile printed without any challenge in Washington Post is the utterance of the Iranian nuclear negotiator, delivered in Munich Conference. This man is lecturing us about democracy while reprsenting a bunch of thugs who brutalize their dissidents on a daily basis and kill Americans in Iraq. I find it treasonous and appalling.

A Jacksonian said...

Serendip - The concept that so many in the West have forgotten is that actually having a say in the guidance of yourself and your Nation has been a very limited affair, time-wise. The first of Peoples to think of themselves as Free People, after the ending of Athenian democracy (limited to that City-State) were the Poles and Nordic Peoples, and those span back only into relatively modern pre-Christian era, with the traditional Thing giving rise to that, for the latter while for the Poles it comes afterwards around the 10th century. Since the invention of agriculture circa 6-4,000 BC, mankind has lived under Empires, Tyrannical States, Autocracies, Monarchies, and oligarchies. Personal freedom only comes as a late comer during the late Renaissance to Romantic era. The ability to HAVE Nation States, as we know them, starts at Westphalia after the 30 Years War ended and took nearly 130 years to get married up to the Rights of Man, Republican Government and Representative democracy. While that evolved in Great Britain, only in the US did it reach first full voice. Here we are a measly 232 years later fighting against forces going back 6,000 years and more.

The weight of history has been against democracies surviving because of the very movement towards self-indulgence, ignoring threats and otherwise acting like spoiled self-centered children that is being seen today. That was *why* philosophers in the 18th century thought that America would not long survive: democracy has a horrible track record.

Still does, come to that. Paraphrasing Churchill: "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

It is true that the Islamic world looks to the long-run, but the world lives in the immediate and the ability to actually *plan* for the long-run, under Islam, has also demonstrated hard and fast lacks as seen by the rising and falling of Islamic Empires over time. If it could, indeed, see for the long-run, we would all be speaking Arabic today as it would have coalesced into a single, monobloc religion early on. It didn't and the internecine fighting that continues to go on within Islam means that no matter how far it tries to reach, its grasp is crippled. It may reach for that golden cup of Empire, but it slips from the grasp very quickly. Very unfortunately, al Qaeda's look to destroy and disintegrate Nation States in the short run means the destruction of the entire Nation State system if it continues on unabated... and any wishing to pick up that particular road to Empire, no matter what the ideological stripe, may do so.

Thus, even if the current set of Islamic tyrants and would-be Empire builders *fail* they will have left a template that any other group, religion or philosophical belief system can *pick up* to set about destroying the structure of Nations and starting on their very own road to Empire. It does not help one bit that the Transnational Progressivists are *also* seeking to remove the Nation State... in that these two things work together to put all of civilization at peril. That will be the End of Nations and the End of Liberty and the Rights of Man as Individuals.

And these Volunteer Fifth Columnists will find themselves to be the first to go once that starts, as they will not have the right to speak out and will be viewed as too dangerous to keep around once they fall into Empire's grasp. By then it will be too late for everyone.

SERENDIP said...

AJacksonian: The irony is that two diametrically opposed visions of the world are converging into a critical mass to destroy democracy... How tragic. Thanks for the wonderfully articulated insight on nation-states and the fate of democracy.

A Jacksonian said...

Serendip - This has been an ongoing thematic strain that I have been putting forward for awhile, like in my Coalescence of Barbarism post. While the Transnational Progressivists and Transnational Terrorists each seek their own end of Elite rule, each must remove the Nation State as an obstacle. The MSM, Left and various other Volunteers in the Fifth column do their side of the bargain inside Nation States to remove legitimacy, bring into question the very foundation of Nation States and then put out a corrosive agenda to remove personal liberty. On the outside Transnational Terrorist groups illegitimately use the weapons of war so as to bring into question the legitimacy of Nation State Sovereignty, Rights of Nation States to respond and the very foundation of the support for National Armed Forces as the sole practitioners of warfare.

Together these are deadly not only to democracy, but to the entire Westphalian conception of Nation States. Which is a pity as that was formed *precisely* to end these things and remove legitimacy from religious squabbles and allow for internal rule within Nations to not be put in peril from actors outside of them. By stressing 'internationalism' and goals of a 'higher government', be it by Caliph or Educated Elite or by Commisars, these groups come together to erode the foundations of what makes Liberty and Freedom for Individuals possible: The Nation State.

This is not a long term recipe for success, even by those doing the destruction, as they actually require *something* to be left over... and by not understanding the interconnected web of reliance between Nations and within Nations, everything comes crashing down. And no matter how much you *think* you have prepared for it, you haven't, because this crash will hit with so few people that know how to do anything productive to survive, that most of humanity will die... while the rest get thrust into barbarism.

SERENDIP said...

I'm beginning to see the emerging pattern here...Is it something intrinsic in our nature that compel us to repeat the same cycle in perpetuity?

A Jacksonian said...

Serendip - That is a deep meta-thought, but it comes down to what Sarah Conner remembers in T2: "The future has not been written. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves."

Many have propounded on the 'natural state of man' being that of Empire. The argument is based upon: first arisal, dominant individuals, and sheer amount of time that Empires have existed in civilization. Empires are inherently repressive, non-egalitarian, prejudiced, and exist on an underclass without rights. No Empire has ever empowered people, en mass. No Empire has ever provided human rights to the majority of people, and even the Elite have harsh restrictions upon them. And even the Chinese hydraulic Empires had their bouts of internal decay, civil war, and invasion.

Democracy has had very few chances to ever stand on its own in any way, shape or form, and even the Athenian model was devoted only to a class of individuals. State-based slave ownership was still the norm, and allowing for human rights to exist was for only a very few. After that thousands of years pass, with a sporadic attempt here and there that is crushed under Empires, Barbarism, Monarchies. Republics have also had relatively short life spans, compared to Empires, and tend to become self-destructive over time.

The United States attempted to mix three of the single most toxic ideas in history to get something different: the Rights of Man as Individuals, Republic and Representative Democracy. Everyone in the world, including some few number of folks in the US, was sure it would fail. How could it survive with those three things pointing to a dissolution of government to mob rule with breads and circuses for all? After investing 7 years in the Revolution, losing 10% of the population killed and another 15% fled to other lands, the US was underpopulated, undermanned, impoverished and slowly collapsing. In 5 years more rebellions of various sort spread across the States as farmers were being put out of business due to taxation and seizure of property to pay for that debt. It nearly *did* fall apart with the Shaysite Rebellion. The remedy for this was Federal Government, not Confederate. The States agreed to give up Sovereignty over many issues so as to have a unified Government between them. While very devout men helped to form it, they looked back a mere century and a quarter or so to the 30 Years War and wanted NONE of that. Nor any of the religious wars tha had happened before and after. Thus, secular government, yet *another* potential disaster, was formed.

Federal Republican Nations with Representative Democracy are doomed to failure. Everyone *before* 1787 acknowledged it. And fail quickly, at that. It has been failing for 230 years now, which is *still* not very long compared to the length of civilization.

The Republic nearly died during the Civil War and the final expunging of slavery by anything, save as punishment under due process of Law. Americans do not like having to fight overseas, but it is a necessity to safeguard that which is enjoyed at home. But 230 years of having such government has now allowed a laxness to creep back in and the skeptics of the 18th century to have more than some validity in their outlook. That said the nature of mankind's civilization has changed drastically in the last 100 years: a local collapse could not easily spread outwards, and even a mighty Empire could fall with little shock on a global basis. Today, the interconnected web of trade, transport, finance, business, culture, information, manufacturing, production, mining... all of that point to a James Burke problem of rapid failure if key parts of the system are taken out or if some global shock hits the entire system. Empires have been cyclic due to circumstances beyond their control, and the empowerment of individuals in this day and age now allows people to wield more individual power than kings and emperors of a previous millenia could ever have. We are, each and every one of us who uses such power, responsible for it and for not endangering the *other* individuals wielding such.

Those things, in today's world, now make countering those seeking to bring the system down no longer an object that Nation States can be used for. They are designed purposely for internal cohesion and external accountability. Fighting illegitimate war based on groups of individuals does require the response of Citizens taking up arms for their Nation, but not under the Armed Forces. That is something that has always been the salvation of democrcacy for Liberty and Freedom: Free People willing to die for their Freedom and ensure that the gift of Liberty is passed on undiminished.

The Elite Political and Media class have forgotten this or deride it when they do remember it. They are Barbarians in that doing as they no longer help to build, but to tear down the Republic. They seek Empire to exploit people. Republics build lest they die from stagnation. The United States without frontiers to explore has been stagnating... and now there are those telling us that building a society is 'cost free' and that 'any cost is too high' to fight for Freedom. The People of the Republic need harsh reminder that THEY are the targets, not our soldiers, not our Nation. A war of the Citizens to have a Nation and keep it, not of the Nation to secure Freedom. We dare not hand that over entire to government lest it, in turn, becomes Imperial.

Because that is failure and the critics will have proven right that Man is unworthy of having Rights.

As in survival, we are at the point where stopping will kill us. If you are stuck and have no shelter and limited supplies and *know* that no one can find you, then you have only one thing to do: take a step. Any step so as you do not stop. The wrong step offers perspective so the next one can be in the right direction. That is where America, Freedom, Liberty and Democracy are right now.

The critics wish us to stop.

And the Oncoming Storm will kill us if we do.

There is no Fate, save that which we make ourselves.

SERENDIP said...

Many have propounded on the 'natural state of man' being that of Empire. The argument is based upon: first arisal, dominant individuals.

The above statement makes sense to me given my background in biology and anthropology of primates.

It is disheartening to see the world’s best hope for freedom and democracy, the United States of America, repeatedly making the same mistake at crucial junctures. Once again, America is at a critical point and facing troubles in several hotspots of the world. A particularly dangerous threat is gathering momentum in the greater Middle East.

Iraq is an inferno, Palestinian Territory is ready to ignite, the Syrians are busy with their machinations, the Lebanese’ Hezbollah is stirring (upon orders from Iran), the Taliban in Afghanistan is resurging (with the help of Iran), and the Iranian Mullahs are working overtime fanning any and all fires while furiously racing to make the bomb. In an article in Financial times We and the EU are told that it's too late to halt Iran's nuclear bomb and we're supposed to take this with our hands folded...I'm lost and bewildered by our government and those who run it. We cannot afford to get this wrong...

A Jacksonian said...

Serendip - Biology does, indeed, have a role as does personality and such. Empires constructed from warlord power-grabs tend to be a very short-lived affair. Those with some backing from creating an infrastructure last longer. The Chinese Empires rose and fell, but the bureaucracy carried on business no matter who was in power and was the source of stability in the Empires. Rome was a Republic in Name only after Julius Caesar and Octavius cemented that. It did have a strong legal and bureaucratic system, along with tax collectors, and that kept things running along with military outlets for some time. The British Empire did somewhat better, but the far flung trade meant that keeping good books was difficult and even though things kept on running, the actual East Indies company had gone bankrupt for some years before the audit caught up to it.

As fights go, Iraq is about the size of a back alley brawl for the US. The ME is coming out of decades of stasis now needs to shift due to demographics, economics, spreading of ethnic groups... the Cold War and ignoring the region and leaving it to autocrats now has a large bill to pay. This fight is minor compared to the Philippines, say, and that was far worse and nastier than Iraq, although without the longer term ramifications.... this is not a fight about blood or economy, it is one about helping those up from tyranny to find Liberty. That hard ability to actually stand for those things is a loss of political and ideological willpower and insight within the US elite structure.

I am actually less worried by Iran, at this point, than Syria, which is heading towards all the WMD components and may be serving as the Iranian finishing organization on the 'out of sight, out of mind' concept. After Iraq, however, I am much more suspect of the world Intel community, which can get some of the basics right, but their ability to properly scope things has twice proven to be less than wonderful. First with the USSR and then with Iraq... they have gotten basics on what was being looked at and developed right, but the scope of programs not entirely solid and actually missing the industrial weakness of the USSR. So judgement on such things is at best guesswork, and until the US INTEL Community re-works itself, that will always be the case. Not enough multi-vector analysis and too much reliance on speculation and minimal HUMINT. And as Syria goes, so will go Lebanon... and Nasrallah acting outside of Iranian orders may point to him acting TO Syrian orders... if Syria thinks Iran is going to go under, they will drop them weeks if not months ahead of time. The regime there has a good nose for which way the wind is blowing. Palestine, unless it gets serious backing from Iran or KSA, isn't going to do much of anything, save start an internal Civil War and have a self-inflicted blood bath with *no one* wanting to step in.

The US has a penchant for getting things wrong until it blows up in our collective faces. Dec. 7th, iv it didnt happen, would have left the UK isolated and alone, still and the US dragging on in minimal action against Japan. Germany had to do a *lot* to finally convince the US to oppose it in WWI. Basically, the US needs to be forced into acknowledging that if it doesn't do something, then things will get far, far worse for it. And today that would require a US city to go missing from the map... depopulated by chem/bio weapons or just a crater.

Then the Jacksonian response starts... and anyone, foreign or domestic, who tries to stop it, is in the way. And America like that, spares no expense until the enemies are gone.... or sudden daylight is brought to hundreds of cities around the world simultaneously. That is why I push hard *now* for a commitment to this fight in a way that is controlled. The other is deadly... lethal. Because America will only see the liberation of molecules and atoms as a solution and kill until it is not bothered any more. America is a paper tiger... until the 20 ton roll of paper drops on you.... ask Germany, Japan, the Moros... tug that paper tail just a bit more, and you get the sudden response from nowhere.

SERENDIP said...

Thank you sir for taking time and answering some of my questions. Your global knowledge leaves me with unique nuances to ponder on and make sense of this chaotic world. I will need to read all of the links you've provided when time permits.

A Jacksonian said...

Serendip - You are most welcome to the detritus that I put forth. I am a cross-specialty systems analyst and I look for the recurrant paradigms of human endeavor that cross all boundaries of thought. I enjoy scientific work as it requires a re-thinking of what is when new data points to past work being insufficient for the data. Scientists make military planners circa the 1920's look like raving liberals in trying to patch old ideas up until the entire edifice falls apart and a newer schema needs be applied. The Maginot Lines of science are many and barren: none have survived new data that contradicts them. As Stephen Jay Gould points out: an idea may be wrong at one level of application but be totally appropriate at another level within that problem space. Old themes in genetics in evolution become ones that die out in one area as things like genetic analysis and how genes recombine and how morphology can be changed by minor interactions between gene space interactions and environment, and then the same thematic concept will re-appear because it has a better fit higher or lower in the complexity schema or be re-utilized in a difffernt place entirely.

A couple of decades of hands on simulation of Nations, States, factions, groups, individuals and such leads to similar thematic concepts there, but the entire panoply of human endeavor is reflected in the world. So while no simulation can accurate predict events, it can give an understanding of how themes behind events happen and what they can lead to. That is why I am not much of an *anti* anything, save Empire. Those suckers have been the addictive drug of Warlords and Tyrants for the ages and *none* have lasted and *all* have impoverished the rights of man. While Empires have a long history they also have a long history of *failure*. Change is inevitable in the human realm and any governmental structure that seeks to survive must be minimal enough to adapt and yet flexible enough not to break and lose cohesion. For all that tyrannical and authoritarian regimes attempt to enforce their rule and views, they always succumb to change. As someone once summed it up: 'It is your right to pursue happiness, but heaven help you if you actually *get* it.'

That is why the Citizenry enjoined to make 'a more perfect Union' is essential to the US. You may go right ahead and seek utter perfection, and the rest of the Nation will watch in great amusement at that as we are not angels nor have annointment upon us from on high... we are mortals and destined for failure... and for greatness if we allow that of ourselves. The foundation of the US Republic has been its People and that is obviously destined for failure if we attempt to reach the *perfect*. That is what the Transnational Progressivists and Terrorists and all of those pressing for expansion of the Nation State into every realm of life want. Perfect Government. That is poison to humanity and leads to tyrannical rule by despots. And Empire.

I do wish that America would learn to trust its People more and stand for what it was founded upon: the Rights of Man as Individuals that are Inalienable to him by any Government. Sad that so many wish to alienate us from our responsibilities for ourselves and society, and thus take our rights from us.