December 09, 2003

Hothouse Libertarians II

I started this note as a comment over at The American Mind but decided it made a better post.

Professor Bainbridge dishonestly responds to my original charge but at least he's direct about being intellectually dishonest. He calls it "feeling sort of smart-alecky" and flatly says he's not addressing the substance of my post. Instead he notes:

Anybody who thinks fighting dirty is unworthy of an academic hasn't spent much time in faculty meetings! There is a famous line frequently attributed to Henry Kissinger: "academic politics are so spiteful because there is so little at stake." And I learned at the feet of some of the masters.

Nobody who knows me for very long will ever accuse me of being a fan of the kumbayah style of argumentation. But the problem isn't being strong in opinion, underhanded, or disagreeable per se. The problem is doing all those things without striving with intellectual rigor to understand your opponent and taking what's good from their arguments and reconciling them with your own while ruthlessly eliminating the bad points and creating a situation where your opponent is maximally likely to give in and come over to your side. It's the intellectual sloppiness, laziness, and puerility that is unworthy of an academic. There, was that 'dirty' enough for you Professor?

The problem is that we're not really fighting a War on Terror. It is a false phraseology. Comically, the good Professor recognizes this in a later item. We're fighting a war on aggressive nihilism that is a consequence of the existence of non-integrating gap countries. The problem is that the label, the War on Terror is fundamentally a strategic deception in order to serialize the war. Truth telling would tend to parallelize the war and that's our enemies' strategy. The Stratfor folks are right on that one. I hope everyone agrees there is no good reason to help along the enemy in his strategy for destroying our freedoms.

Aggressive nihilism is an ideology that you get to from multiple paths, the two most relevant are islamism and communism. It is not a tactic, like terrorism, and thus you can properly war on it and have an end to it eventually when you run out of non-integrating gap countries.

What is tripping up Karen De Coster (the original blogger that Prof. Bainbridge was commenting on) is that she is taken in by the strategic deception. Libertarianism recognizes that lying creates societal inefficiencies and are the start of a very dangerous form of rot. Generally, you go after the lies and promote truth telling so your economic limited means stretch further in satisfying your infinite wants. You also do it for moral reasons.

It's not nuts to be taken in by a strategic deception launched by the US government. Every time I write one of these posts I worry about the effect my letting the cat out of the bag has on the strategic situation. Then I look at the hit counter on my blog and don't worry so much anymore. I'm also plausibly deniable because I'm someone with no influence or connection with the US government other than my citizenship and right to vote.

But that moment of worry is a small shadow of the worry the administration has. It has to suffer the slings and arrows of natural allies because if they were to say to anybody it's all a put up job to lull our enemies then the game is up. Their audience runs into the billions.

So what can they do? They can purposefully make their strategic deception as penetrable by cultural americans as possible while maintaining enough utility that the deception still largely works against our enemies and hope that enough americans will figure it out to jog the elbows of the rest and whisper the truth to our fellows. Then they hope and pray that they've calibrated their distortion well enough not to warp the country into an unrecognizable shape. It's a dangerous and daring strategy but if core/gap theory is being applied seriously, we're obligated to do it.

Now discuss further on those terms and we may be singing kumbayah around the fire after all B-)

Yeah right.

Posted by TMLutas at December 9, 2003 03:49 AM