Believe In YourselfWho Makes Our Choices?

Rather than identifying them for ourselves, we get our choices handed to us. That is, since we have a de facto two-party system — Democrat or Republican and really nothing else — just as we must choose between different automotive “options packages” or various channel groups rather than picking and choosing the pieces we want, we typically choose between the package of ideas liberals/Democrats offer and those conservatives/Republicans offer, instead of choosing our positions on individual issues based on our own ethics and assessments of the facts in each case. This is one part of why I don’t identify with either party. In many instances, the liberal argument makes more sense to me, but in some, the conservative argument does. I prefer to decide for myself which ideas belong together and which policies I can support, on an ala carte basis, rather than on an all-or-nothing, this-group-or-that-group-or-nothing basis. In other words, I don’t allow others to define for me how to group policies and points of view. I do that for myself, despite the immense pressure to conform to one collective or the other. I think more people than it might seem do this, though many of the loudest voices come from either single-issue folks who support whichever party aligns with them on their single issue (like abortion), regardless of anything else, and folks who have been willingly assimilated by one ideology or the other. This statement is not meant to be the kind of chest-beating it sounds like. I just want to be clear about where I stand and how I see the lay of the land.

Speak Your Mind

As an example, because I think liberty is one of the most valuable privileges we can have (yes, privilege. Calling it a right is a romantic fantasy), I think we must assiduously and continually take *responsible*, compassionate, wise, and ethical steps to preserve our liberty. In my own case, at least in terms of politics and public policy, this means doing my best to stay on top of the ever-growing pool of data, voting my conscience, writing my political representatives, and being one of the annoying guys who always have an opinion on everything. Unencumbered discourse is essential to the maintenance of liberty, so I believe that speaking your mind, whether or not this is comfortable for you or others, is important. It’s certainly not the only tool in the box for preserving liberty, but it’s a valuable one, and it’s the one I’m most suited to use. Hence this blog. (After a statement like this, some people quote Queen Gertrude from Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” to me)

Make Your Own Choices

At any rate, as I see it, the basic dichotomous choice pundits, politicians, ideologues, and their apologists try to force us to make is currently this: you can either be pro-war AND pro-gun AND pro-absolutely free-market AND pro-Big Business AND pro-death penalty AND pro-small government (whatever that means) AND anti-universal health care AND anti-union AND anti-science (effectively, since what science suggests doesn’t always support what favors huge short-term profit for Big Business, nor does it support Christian arguments) AND (effectively) anti-environmental sustainability AND anti-abortion AND anti-gay marriage AND anti-Stem cell research AND pro-Christianity AND anti-tax, etc., *OR* you can be anti-gun AND anti-war AND pro-gay marriage AND pro-entitlement programs AND pro-government regulation AND pro-environmental sustainability AND pro-science AND pro-alternative spirituality AND pro-universal health care AND pro-union AND pro-diplomacy AND pro-civil liberties (evidently not to be confused with what conservatives use the word “liberty” to mean) AND pro-domestic spending AND pro-diversity AND anti-imperialism AND pro-tax, etc. There is, of course, more to it than that, and many folks have more nuanced perspectives, but that’s nevertheless the basic idea, it seems.

Sometimes The Opposition Is Right

Why do I say all this again? Well, my last post was a videoed lecture by a well-known apologist for free markets, much of whose thinking makes very good sense to me. As I said in the post, I don’t agree with everything he argues, but, for example, the basic idea that our economy should be founded on real value of real things (as my friend Joe implied with his questions about the stock market, starting years ago), rather than on a consumer-based approach and mutual agreement on synthetic paper value of companies and commodities. Obviously, corporations allowed to grow to the fiscal size of small countries (“too big to fail”) and not regulated at all is a formula for disaster, with irreparable and large-scale environmental destruction being probably the worst outcome (witness mountain-top-removal coal mining, for example, all to get power so that we can watch TV and charge our cell phones, and so that the coal companies can get and stay richer than Croesus). But, the implications against liberty coupled with the inefficiency and graft of large government bureaucracies makes full government control a poor alternative. To the point, advocating Mr. Schiff’s argument (which I do, in the main) is arguably a conservative position to take.

The Military Industrial Complex

However, the video posted below from one of my favorite news sources: the Real News supports what is arguably a liberal perspective. I suspect the Real News looks leftist to most people, particularly neocons — yet, interestingly, although I have been familiar with Peter Schiff (“Dr. Doom“) for years, I also got the video in the previous post from the Real News site. In the video posted below, Paul Jay, senior editor of the Real News, interviews Eugene Jarecki, who makes a sensible and essentially anti-war argument. It seems (thankfully) that ideologies in general have started to undergo some kind of flux during the past few months, but for many years, being anti-war got you painted as a leftist liberal “peacenick” commie-loving terrorist-sympathizing unpatriotic coward (not unlike the racist “n*****-lover!” proclamation of KKK-type folk). This was especially true in 2000 when I loudly denounced Dubya to anyone who would listen for his likelihood of getting us into war (among other things), and even more true after 9/11 when especially many conservatives went hog-war-wild (despite Bush’s culpability in allowing the attack to occur) and anti-war voices like mine were lost in the cacophony of nationalistic drum beating. You still encounter this argument from many of the hard-core conservatives who still worship at the Altar of Reagan. I’ve said that there have been two Republican Presidents in history I might have voted for: Lincoln and Eisenhower. But since Eisenhower’s warnings about the “Military Industrial Complex,” Republicans have become the spokes-Party for the M.I.C. It’s true that, as Noam Chomsky has said, the Democrats and Republicans are really just two factions of the Business Party, but modern Democrats have more often opposed war than modern Republicans have. I view war as a last resort we must sometimes undertake, not as a tool for profiteering and imperial dominance. What do you think?

Please enjoy the video.

-EAB

Part I of III

Part II of III

Part III of III

40 Responses to “War”

  1. arness oliman says:

    87 yr old guy busted w 228 lbs of blow. Spent the first 9 hours telling cops what he did in the war.

  2. poper maulsings says:

    If you name a movie “War Horse” there is a reasonable expectation said horse will wear armor and/or shoot flames from its nostrils.

  3. mexican people are to stupid to stand up,they rather run to the U.S. wanting gringo to take care of them.

  4. Why We Fight (2005)
    Gore Vidal (Actor), John McCain (Actor), Eugene Jarecki (Director) | Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested) | Format: DVD
    4,366% Sales Rank in DVD: 219 (was 9,781 yesterday)
    (1)
    Buy new: CDN$ 14.95 CDN$ 11.05
    22 used & new from CDN$ 5.00
    (Visit the Movers & Shakers in DVD list for authoritative information on this product’s current rank.)

  5. sainert kersmawate says:

    I just heard about what happened to Junko today and i am forever changed 🙁 I am a 37 year old man and it has reduced me to tears. I seriously want to kill those that did this to her.

  6. This was a bad move by the White House but I have a lot of respect for David Axelrod so sticking with him. He ran a great campaign and he got Obama elected.

  7. kaipa gummenitta says:

    Living things always come to a point of competing for limited resources which is our way of life on planet and our competition for survival in this economic situation means that we are all going to compete for survival again.

  8. You really believe that? Meant as a serious question, not trying to a flame war or get anyone riled up.

  9. It’s both rare and necessary for one to witness such a lucid and pragmatic analysis of the American political, governmental institution as is on display with Jarecki’s film (which I have watched) and this very interview. In an age of vast superficiality and transient, if at all extant, contemplation by the modern audience this sobering commentary is welcome medicine. Thank you so much for taking the time to post this. It does make a difference. Someone is helped by it.

  10. lano zaghien says:

    Panda Internet Security 2012 is the security suite that lets you use the Internet for everything, like shopping and banking online, with total peace of mind and without interruptions. It protects you from viruses, hackers, online fraud, identity theft and other known and unknown threats. It also keeps your inbox spam

  11. capromonde says:

    Adesso è il momento di Andrea Cannella del Catania Gtug e tra pochi minuti Laura Catalfamo con “Record of Lodoss War”, restate in onda!

  12. Eugene Jarecki’s “The House I Live In” a lucid long-view look at the damage wrought by the war on drugs. Required viewing.

  13. “The House I Live In” won documentary Grand Jury at Sundance. Very proud producer and proud of director Eugene Jarecki and his film team.

  14. “He pledged to end one [war] and win the other. By any secure metric, he has done both.” on Obama

  15. conley patr says:

    the same problem with news trying to appeal to a ratings-audience, or commercially-based news/talk radio, all of it. only as good as the people who contribute and Since people think that Al Franken and Rush Limbaugh (to take from opposite sides … just to be fair) are real news sources, they think that idiotic rants are real news.]]>

  16. why did they take it out…i played this game mode ALL the time we need a petition to get WAR back in the cod series

  17. hopeltobin says:

    Politecnico di Torino,
    Dept. of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering
    PHD. “PROGRESSIVE COLLAPSE & ROBUSTNESS OF FRAMED SCTRUCTURES
    XVIIII GIMC CONFERENCE
    SIRACUSA, September 2010
    E. Masoero, Dept. of Structural and Geotechnical Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Corso Duca degli Abruzzi 24, 10129 Torino, Italy
    w w w . lamc.ing.unibo.it/gimc2010/Atti/documents/memorie/MEM – 29 – 0 .pdf

  18. reng kivez says:

    There’s no honorable way to kill, no gentle way to destroy. There is nothing good in war. Except its ending.

  19. Oracle announced of Oracle Database for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6 and Oracle Linux 6 yesterday. By itself, not a remarkable announcement. Enterprise database to run on enterprise operating systems. Yawn. The real news is the last bullet point, which is yet another potshot at Red Hat’s business model. “Effective immediately, Oracle will provide its Red Hat compatible Linux binaries, updates and errata for free.” Oracle Linux is a binary compatible distribution cloned from RHEL sources. Oracle has to do a bit of value-add with its own Linux kernel and the addition of Ksplice, but it’s basically just another RHEL clone. Sponsor Since Oracle introduced Oracle Linux, it provided ISOs of its installation media and the binary RPMs for production use. What was missing, previously, is the bugfix and security updates that customers depend on for production systems. If you wanted a binary compatible RHEL clone with regular updates, you needed…

  20. Drop PANTS. Not BOMBS. Break DANCE. Not Condoms are cheaper than guns. draft beer not people. Make LOVE. not WAR

  21. Charlie Rose with Dennis Ross & Shibley Telhami; Eugene Jarecki (January 26, 2006): A look at the implications … –

  22. laudunchmu says:

    Follow if you want real news! News you can trust on. News who’s not corrupt. News you can read and enjoy for once!

  23. ichase debelke says:

    president obama could say that he likes burger king and fox news would post a story about how obama declares war on mcdonalds. –

  24. ich fehlinger says:

    World Environment Day 2012 5th June is World Environment Day, when the theme for 20012 will be “Green Economy: Does it include you?” This year the host country is… –

  25. peau osiah says:

    Dear The BBC. I see the pregnancy of squawking irritant Adele is one of the your top news stories. Isn’t there enough real news to

  26. goroza estell says:

    Don’t blame others for your uneasy feelings; blame your own state of mind. This is why altruism  brings you greater peace of mind.

  27. ulio reckampisc says:

    “You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your tricks of war.” Napoleon

  28. RT So back to real news: There’s one world cup left on the calendar and the Giro di Toscana next week, that’s a race an American HAS won.
    So back to real news: There’s one world cup left on the calendar and the Giro di Toscana next week, that’s a race an American HAS won.

  29. leaving him, srsly. the few lovers he has and actually love either die or leave him I mean…) and that’s the Civil War lol

  30. As elections take place tomorrow all around the country, Californians will vote on Prop 36, whose passage would be a vital step forward in reducing the senseless severity of California’s notorious Three Strikes law.

  31. dowdles han says:

    now fight china war lo . trav witness this . hahaha ya my hse auto censor one . mrs ooi help me –

  32. dynik gill says:

    RT Watch director Eugene Jarecki on the costs of the U.S. war on drugs in thought- provoking interview on Bloomberg:

  33. Real News: FB becomes autocratic, no longer responsive 2 user votes, can change Privacy Settings without asking. Mind u, other sites same.

  34. All of the victims of the Connecticut tragedy are in my prayers. Today I wear green in honor of all of these angels. Rest in peace.

  35. Eugene Jarecki On Small Victories In The Drug War And What it Will Take to End It | VIDEO via

  36. pfand stropould says:

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  37. huonoffent ken says:

    An A380 is more fuel efficient than a hybrid car with a fuel economy of 3.1L per 100 passenger km.

  38. lla dunley says:

    Good Way to look at it. They are doing US a favor. Only the REAL News Stations are covering the story

  39. dorfazingt says:

    UK economy shrank at end of 2012: The UK economy shrank by 0.3% in the last three months of 2012, fuelling fears that the eco…

  40. sevi stain says:

    WEEKLY NEWS Fragile economy may reduce risk appetite of funds: Hindalco Hindalco Industries’ December net profit fell 4 percent to Rs 434 crore, year-on-year on higher financecost . The company’s finance cost rose to Rs 169 crorefrom Rs 79 crore, YoY on account of greater averageborrowings. D Bhattacharya, MD Hindalco spoke toCNBC-TV18 regarding the […]

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