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Prof. David Beito and Scott Horton on Why They Support Ron Paul for President:

From Prof. David Beito, cowritten with Scott Horton — please see here for more on this feature:

Voters who want more liberty and smaller government have only one realistic choice in the upcoming presidential race: Dr. Ron Paul. No other candidate comes close to matching his record. For more than three decades, he has consistently opposed spending, tax increases and burdensome regulation.

Paul is perhaps the most dedicated defender of free trade in the history of American politics. For this reason, he votes against agreements such as NAFTA, the WTO, and CAFTA, which advance managed trade more than they do free trade; empowering unelected bureaucracies and pitting one country against another. Instead, Paul wants the United States to follow Milton Friedman's call to lead by example, reducing trade barriers, regardless of what other countries do.

"Free trade is not complicated," Paul argues, "yet NAFTA and CAFTA are comprised of thousands of pages of complicated legal jargon. All free trade really needs is two words: Low tariffs." Paul is the best hope to breathe life into the largely moribund unilateral free trade tradition championed by Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Richard Cobden, and Frederic Bastiat. By contrast, Fred Thompson, who is probably the best of the other candidates on this issue, has voted to impose sanctions on Japan for failing to reduce tariffs.

Paul's unilateral approach combined with his calls for a foreign policy of humility, prudence, and diplomacy stands in stark contrast to other candidates who vow to meddle in the foreign affairs of other countries through sanctions and military force. Paul, of course, is the only Republican to call for ending the embargo on Cuba. He insists that private property rights and free markets are the only answers for Latin America, but knows that by trying to force these principles, we only drive their people toward socialism.

Paul breaks completely from the others in monetary policy. His long-term goal is to phase out the Federal Reserve, which he compares to a price fixing agency. As recent events, such as the lending crisis, devaluation of the dollar and roller coaster on Wall Street have shown, the Fed is incapable of managing the money supply in a world of uncertainty and constant flux. Paul would follow the course recommended by Nobel prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek, fully legalizing competition in currencies as well as eliminating legal tender laws and capital gains taxes on gold coinage.

Paul is the most consistent champion of civil liberties in the presidential race. He voted against the PATRIOT Act and has fought against the Real ID, personal income tax and attacks on habeas corpus.

Among the Republicans, Paul stands alone in calling for an end to the ruinous federal war on drugs. By contrast, none of the other Republican candidates will even endorse the moderate reform of letting states legalize medical marijuana. He is also unique in calling attention to the racism inherent in the drug war and the death penalty.

Only Paul has a realistic plan for Social Security. He will allow young Americans to opt out. To pay for the transition costs, and ensure that no one is thrown out on the street, he will close the foreign bases and reorient the military to national defense rather than world policing. Such a policy will foster peace and stability in the world. As examples such as Iraq, Iran, and now Pakistan show, foreign adventurism only leads to blowback and stokes anti-Americanism.

According to Michael Scheuer, the man whose bin Laden Unit at CIA gave Bill Clinton ten chances to capture or kill bin Laden before September 11th, Dr. Paul is the only candidate running who truly understands the terrorist threat and what should be done about it. Paul is determined to finally get those al Qaeda members who attacked and continue to threaten our country, while at the same time reversing the policies that drive their recruitment efforts.

No candidate, of course, is perfect. We differ with Paul on immigration and abortion. Even in these cases, however, he compares favorably with his opponents. While Paul, like Thompson, has spoken in favor of ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, he believes that a Constitutional amendment is necessary to make the change. And although Paul, an obstetrician, favors abortion restriction, he will allow the states to choose. Given the plurality of views on abortion, this is a sensible compromise.

Paul has shown time and again that he will act according to his conscience regardless of the personal consequences. When a draft resister named Paul Jacob went on trial in the early 1980s, Ron Paul did not hesitate to help. At considerable political risk in a time of Cold War, he traveled to the trial at his own expense and spoke on behalf of a powerless young man. This is the kind of courage we need in a president.

Ron Paul, the champion of the Constitution, the Air Force veteran for peace, the doctor for free market medicine, is by far the strongest candidate to face Hillary Clinton in the general election. He is the only member of the Congress to win three times as non-incumbent and has repeatedly won reelection by overwhelming majorities despite attempts of Republican leaders, including George Bush and Tom Delay, to defeat him.

Voters of all political descriptions, including anti-war and Reagan Democrats, independents, moderates, and conservatives have rallied around this man, in large part because they know he means exactly what he says and will stand up for what he believes in. If he wins the Republican nomination, most of the rest of the 68 percent of Americans who say that we're "on the wrong track" so far in this new century will be on board the Revolution by fall.

Ron Paul is hands-down the best hope for real change; for liberty, economic freedom, and limited government in this presidential race. His efforts to spread the message of individualism and constitutional government have already changed America. With your help, Dr. Paul can win and restore the republic.

neurodoc:
Ron Paul...is by far the strongest candidate to face Hillary Clinton in the general election.
Damn, I'm sorry that Paul isn't going to be the GOP nominee. It would to be great fun to take the money of those deluded enough to believe this.
1.2.2008 1:10pm
Anderson (mail):
Not, I was relieved to see, Scott Horton, the enthusiastic, sometimes hyperbolic, author of the No Comment blog at Harper's.
1.2.2008 1:12pm
TomB:

To pay for the transition costs, and ensure that no one is thrown out on the street, he will close the foreign bases and reorient the military to national defense rather than world policing.


Ahhh, the wonders of the "peace dividend".


Such a policy will foster peace and stability in the world. As examples such as Iraq, Iran, and now Pakistan show, foreign adventurism only leads to blowback and stokes anti-Americanism.



How in the name of God (literally), is Pakistan an example of America's "foreign adventurism"? To think the troubles in Pakistan only started when we invaded Afghanistan, you have to have a very tenuous grasp on history.

Anyway, I thought Ron Paul was in favor of our invasion of Afghanistan?
1.2.2008 1:34pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
They lost me with "one realistic choice."
1.2.2008 1:53pm
SIG357:
Free trade is not complicated," Paul argues, "yet NAFTA and CAFTA are comprised of thousands of pages of complicated legal jargon. All free trade really needs is two words: Low tariffs." ... By contrast, Fred Thompson, who is probably the best of the other candidates on this issue, has voted to impose sanctions on Japan for failing to reduce tariffs.

If low tariffs are the goal, why should we not impose sanctions on countries which have high tariffs?
1.2.2008 1:54pm
SIG357:
Ron Paul is hands-down the best hope for real change; for liberty, economic freedom, and limited government in this presidential race.

I mostly agree with this. It's a shame about his foreign policy stance.
1.2.2008 1:57pm
Mr. X (www):
How in the name of God (literally), is Pakistan an example of America's "foreign adventurism"? To think the troubles in Pakistan only started when we invaded Afghanistan, you have to have a very tenuous grasp on history.


Well, there was our support of Pakistan when they were propping up the Taliban in opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

There's also our continued support of Pervez Musharraf, despite his being a corrupt military dictator.
1.2.2008 2:06pm
Dave D. (mail):
...That Ron Paul would bring real change is an understatement. The law of unintended consequences would kick in big time. Americans would truly wake up to a new government and to paraphrase the Kingfish, " They ain't a gonna like it ". He's be impeached before 2009 was out.
1.2.2008 2:07pm
SeaDrive:
It's deeply scary that any intelligent and well-educated person could seriously consider many of Ron Paul's positions. The willful ignorance on economic issues is appalling. Central banks were created for a reason, after all.

Why is it that people who see the need for protecting the physicially weak from the strong and ruthless (with criminal laws and police forces) don't see the need for protecting the economically weak from the rich and greedy?

How can a person who is so ignorant about the nature of Social Security be considered a candidate for president? (I concede the incumbent is just about as bad.)
1.2.2008 2:12pm
TomB:



Well, there was our support of Pakistan when they were propping up the Taliban in opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.


You are purposely conflating two separate issues, our support of Pakistan during the cold war, and their support (not ours) of the Taliban.

In any case, if we were supporting Pakistan, why would that cause "blowback" in, uh, Pakistan?

BTW, are you saying that Pakistan was stable prior to the late 70s?
1.2.2008 2:21pm
OrinKerr:
Sea Drive,

I think the difficulty is that different people disagree about cause and effect, and cause and effect is hard to prove in these areas. Saying that those who disagree with you are "ignorant" and "don't see" things doesn't really help that much.
1.2.2008 2:23pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Paul is perhaps the most dedicated defender of free trade in the history of American politics.


No he’s not, by voting against trade agreements that had the aggregate effect of liberalizing trade, Ron Paul is objectively a trade protectionist.
1.2.2008 2:38pm
SeaDrive:
OrinKerr: It's hardly the forum for elaborate explanations, but to take a single case, consider Social Security. SS was and is a pay-as-you-go system. This year's taxes pay for this year's benefits. The payers and the payees are pretty much disjoint sets. To allow opt out is to allow the payers to opt out and the payees to opt in.

If the plan is, as I suppose it to be, to allow workers to opt out of paying taxes with the the understanding that they would never get benefits, well, you might get a plan like that to work, but it wouldn't be SS, it would be something else altogether.
1.2.2008 2:43pm
Dave in NYC (mail):
Well, there was our support of Pakistan when they were propping up the Taliban in opposition to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The Taliban did not even exist during the period of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The Taliban were born in the early 1990s after the United States had lost interest in Afghanistan and after the adoption of the Pressler Amendment, suspending U.S. aid to Pakistan. Also, the Taliban's rise to power occurred in 1994-1996, during Benazir Bhutto's second term in office. U.S. support or lack of support to Pakistan, whether under military or civilian rule, had little direct effect on Pakistan's pursuit of what it perceived as its own national interests, which in the 1990s revolved around developing a nuclear deterrent capability to match India's and creating greater strategic depth by putting what it perceived as a more amenable regime in power in Kabul.
1.2.2008 2:50pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
RP lost my vote when I heard his ad in Las Vegas that he would abolish taxing tip income. If he seriously wants to abolish the federal income tax, that would be fine. But this came across as pandering to the huge customer service sector there. The reality is that many of those being enticed by this ad make the bulk of their income in tips (sometimes into five digits), and thus his proposal would exempt just this one sector of the economy from income taxation.

Of course, a lot of other people would likely move to accepting tips instead of billing customers, should this become law. I can see my legal bills going out with a suggested tip instead of a bill, with the unstated assumption that if the tip is not forthcoming, they will be dropped as clients.
1.2.2008 2:59pm
Humble Law Student (mail):
Hahaha, Scott Horton supports Ron Paul!

I always thought his rants (which unfortunately infected Balkanization as well) were pretty ridiculous. Now, I can presumptively dismiss anything he says, because I have the ultimate, delegitimizing retort, "Scott H. supports Ron Paul!"
1.2.2008 3:07pm
Mr. X (www):
You are purposely conflating two separate issues, our support of Pakistan during the cold war, and their support (not ours) of the Taliban.


Not conflating, noting that if one looks at periods longer than a few years, our support of bad regimes comes back to bite us in the ass. It's only successful if you look at our support for bin Laden from the time we started funding him until the time the Soviets left Afghanistan. If you keep watching for a few more years, stuff goes a little bad. See also: the Shah, Saddam Hussein, and Pervez Musharraf.
1.2.2008 3:11pm
AntonK (mail):
It would seem that Beito and Horton are joined by some other illustrious supporters of The Only Man that can Save America:

Former CAIR Board Member Backs Ron Paul, Stormfront

Hamas operatives, Ron Paul, Stormfront, and the Council on American Islamic Relations all converge in central Ohio: Anisa Abd El Fattah backs Ron Paul and neo-Nazi STORMFRONT.
1.2.2008 3:14pm
Mr. X (www):
The Taliban did not even exist during the period of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. The Taliban were born in the early 1990s after the United States had lost interest in Afghanistan and after the adoption of the Pressler Amendment, suspending U.S. aid to Pakistan. Also, the Taliban's rise to power occurred in 1994-1996, during Benazir Bhutto's second term in office.


Maybe not Taliban qua Taliban, but the leadership of the Taliban was drawn almost exclusively from mujahedeen armed and trained by the U.S. before we lost interest.
1.2.2008 3:14pm
SIG357:
See also: the Shah, Saddam Hussein, and Pervez Musharraf.


What came back to bite us with the Shah was that we did not support him.

And we certainly never supported Saddam Hussein.

As for Musharraf, are you seriously suggesting that we attempt to get rid of him, given the alternatives?
1.2.2008 3:16pm
Dan Weber (www):
If the plan is, as I suppose it to be, to allow workers to opt out of paying taxes with the the understanding that they would never get benefits, well, you might get a plan like that to work, but it wouldn't be SS, it would be something else altogether.

And this would be a bad thing because. . .?

Back to the article, I was kind of distressed by all the peacock language it used. Make it sound less like a press release and more like an essay.
1.2.2008 3:16pm
SIG357:
the leadership of the Taliban was drawn almost exclusively from mujahedeen armed and trained by the U.S. before we lost interest.


Saying stuff like this does not make it true, unfortunately for you.
1.2.2008 3:18pm
Dan Weber (www):
As for Pakistan, I think the professor is referring to the way that other candidates are calling for sending troops into Pakistan, without the permission of the country's leaders.
1.2.2008 3:19pm
TomB:

It's only successful if you look at our support for bin Laden from the time we started funding him


Ah, your true "blame America" stripes come out.

We never "funded" Osama bin Laden. He received his funding (as the son of a millionaire, he didn't need much) directly from Saudi Arabia. Being an arab, he didn't find much of a welcome in Afghanistan among the muj, no matter they were fighting on the same side.

In addition, your inclusion of Saddam is incisive. One would think, after all these years, that the fantasy of the U.S. support of Saddam would be finally relegated to the trash heap. It is made-up history.

As far as the Shah goes, the current problem with Islamic fundamentalism traces its roots to the fall of the Shah. IOW, we did exactly what Ron Paul would have wanted, and pulled our support, and in his stead we get Khomeni and the fundamentalists.

Thanks for making my point.
1.2.2008 3:28pm
Tom Cross (www):
Paul is the most consistent champion of civil liberties in the presidential race. He voted against the PATRIOT Act and has fought against the Real ID, personal income tax and attacks on habeas corpus.

He also called the doctrine of incorporation "phoney." Read here. Voting against these things for purely federalist reasons does not make one a champion of civil liberties.
1.2.2008 3:31pm
Kazinski:
If you really believed in Libertarianism then the place to start would be Congress. Real free trade would be dead on arrival in congress, as would most of Paul's proposals. Since Paul is already in Congress it would be counterproductive to elevate him to the presidency without obtaining a critical mass in the legislative branch first. Libertarians and other likeminded small government types should strive for a veto sustaining minority in the House or Senate before tilting at the windmill of presidential politics.
1.2.2008 3:34pm
Henry Bramlet (mail):
I agree that Ron Paul is the most libertarian of the candidates out there. And I agree that he shows why the Libertarians have nothing substantial to offer when they talk about implementing (good, IMHO) theoretical ideals to a messy and complicated reality.

For example, Ron Paul's foreign trade policy would be a disaster. If a government chooses to subsidize a specific industry in order to defeat US Competition, Ron Paul seems to say "Oh Well!" One can use tariffs to deter this sort of policy from foreign countries, but by taking it off the table wholesale, Ron Paul invites other countries to subsidize one industry after another in targeted attacks on US-competition.

This is a perfect example of the libertarian utopianism that so many people fall into. Like Communism, the "Better Happier World" that proponents claim would never be as simple and elegant as they think.
1.2.2008 3:47pm
TomB:
Let's also remember he has called Ronald Reagan a "dramatic failure".
1.2.2008 3:48pm
Prufrock765 (mail):
Has anyone with RP's policy preferences ever been elected to a governorship?
1.2.2008 4:12pm
A.:
He wants to return to the gold standard! That's nonsense on pseudoeconomic stilts! The only things the gold standard can guarantee are high volatility and high inflation.
1.2.2008 4:15pm
neurodoc:
Bruce Hayden, why go after Paul for proposing to abolish taxing tip income? He wants to do away with the federal income tax altogether, replacing it with a flat "consumption" tax to generate the much reduced amount of revenue the would be required by the limited government he would give us, doesn't he? Those service sector people may like the prospect of not paying any taxes on the tips they receive, but since Paul earnestly believes in this economic fantasy, is he really pandering by telling them he is for what they are for?

RP would never have my vote, so I can't say there is any one thing that makes the difference for me where he is concerned. There are a great many things (e.g., we never should have enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, because it created a bigger problem than the one we had?!). Among the crazy ideas he puts forward, though, one of my "favorites" is from his cockamamie notions about medicine, something one would expect him not to be profoundly ignorant about. It is profoundly ignorant for a physician to talk about the immune systems of children being "overwhelmed" by the 4 or 5 vaccines they are given in a day as he does. And I must go see where he has elaborated on his assertion that prescription drugs are more dangerous than "hard" drugs. I'd rather have someone who knew nothing of science/medicine in the White House than someone with a combination of knowledge and ignorance like Paul's to make them really dangerous.
1.2.2008 4:25pm
Mr. X (www):
SIG357:
And we certainly never supported Saddam Hussein.


TomB:
In addition, your inclusion of Saddam is incisive. One would think, after all these years, that the fantasy of the U.S. support of Saddam would be finally relegated to the trash heap. It is made-up history.


The National Security Archive at George Washington University and the Boston Globe suggest otherwise.
1.2.2008 4:29pm
Mr. X (www):
Let's also remember he has called Ronald Reagan a "dramatic failure".


After being one of only four Congressmen to support him for the nomination in 1976. Reagan's failure was to accomplish what he came to Washington to do. GWB's failure is the same.
1.2.2008 4:30pm
TomB:

It is profoundly ignorant for a physician to talk about the immune systems of children being "overwhelmed" by the 4 or 5 vaccines they are given in a day as he does.



Dear God.

If that is true (and I'm not calling you a liar doc, I just want to confirm this myself), I will go from an occasional mocker of the good doctor to an active opponent. The overwhelmed immune system argument is word-for-word from the anti-vaccine nutjobs. These people try to scare parents into not getting their kids immunized. And there is a special place in hell for these monsters.

Is there a conspiracy that Paul doesn't beleive? How about the Moon hoax?
1.2.2008 4:31pm
TomB:


The National Security Archive at George Washington University and the Boston Globe suggest otherwise.


OOOHHHH! The Rumsfeld/Hussein handshake photo!

Nowhere in those links was any evidence we either created or propped up Hussein. We shared intel, mainly, with him during the Iran/Iraq war.

If we gave him so much support, why are our soldiers being shot at with AK47s and not M16s? Why were all the armor and jets of the Iraqi armed forces Soviet?

And I can't help but notice you completely ignored the points made about the Shah and OBL.
1.2.2008 4:37pm
Steph (mail):
A, What are you talking about the gold standard does not result in inflation, that is why it is attacked for not letting the government increase the curency supply as fast as they want. The dollar increased in value while it was a gold or silver curency, it has lost 99% of its value since then.
1.2.2008 4:38pm
Mark Field (mail):

Hahaha, Scott Horton supports Ron Paul!

I always thought his rants (which unfortunately infected Balkanization as well) were pretty ridiculous. Now, I can presumptively dismiss anything he says, because I have the ultimate, delegitimizing retort, "Scott H. supports Ron Paul!"


According to a previous post, it's a different Scott Horton. I'm sure you'll come up with other retorts.
1.2.2008 4:39pm
TomB:
neurodoc, I apologize for doubting you.

It took all of 10 seconds on google to spew forth a plethora of Ron Paul anti-vaccination links.

The man is a monster.
1.2.2008 4:39pm
neurodoc:
I see A. thinks Paul's advocacy of a return to the gold standard an exceptionally whacky idea. And I just nominated Paul's thinking about "medical" considerations where vaccines are concerned. (I'll leave aside the clash between his libertarian thinking and Jacobson v Commonwealth of Massachusetts.) It might be interesting to make up a list of what people think is his most "objectively" cock-eyed notion.
1.2.2008 4:46pm
AnonymousLurker:

If low tariffs are the goal, why should we not impose sanctions on countries which have high tariffs?


Because American consumers benefit from low tariffs regardless of other countries' policies. We get cheap goods from other countries. It is their loss if they want to tax our goods.
1.2.2008 4:46pm
TomB:


After being one of only four Congressmen to support him for the nomination in 1976.


Yea, he still mentions that on his website. Why advertise you supported a "complete failure"?





Reagan's failure was to accomplish what he came to Washington to do.


EVERYTHING? Like defeating Communism? Rebuilding the military? Lowering taxes?

You do realize that, even if he does become President, he won't accomplish everything he sets out to do, don't you? We elect a President, not dictator.

And for as much as an utter failure Ron Paul claims Reagan to be, why does he have pictures of Reagan and YouTube videos bragging of what Reagan said about him?

He must have a thing for failures...
1.2.2008 4:57pm
SIG357:
Because American consumers benefit from low tariffs regardless of other countries' policies.

That does not answer the question I asked.

If low tariffs are the goal, why should we not impose sanctions on countries which have high tariffs?


And you are claiming that tariffs are good for us. That being the case, you must support tariffs. Yes?
1.2.2008 5:10pm
Mark Bahner (www):
Regarding Ron Paul:


He'(d) be impeached before 2009 was out.


On what charge?

"Following the Constitution too closely," perhaps?

Or, "Failure to ignore his oath of office?"
1.2.2008 5:13pm
SIG357:
Goodness me, Mr X, you will be insisting that the US supported the Soviet Union next. There is at least as must justification for that claim as for the one you are making.
1.2.2008 5:15pm
Mark Bahner (www):

As far as the Shah goes, the current problem with Islamic fundamentalism traces its roots to the fall of the Shah. IOW, we did exactly what Ron Paul would have wanted, and pulled our support, and in his stead we get Khomeni and the fundamentalists.

Thanks for making my point.


So...overthrowing democratically-elected Mohammed Mosadegg and installing the unelected Shah was also a good idea? Or did you simply temporarily forget that inconvenient truth?

1953 Iranian coup d'etat


In the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, the United Kingdom and the United States orchestrated the overthrow of the democratically-elected administration of Prime Minister Mohammed Mosaddeq and his cabinet from power. The support of the coup was carried out, using widespread bribery[1] in a covert operation by Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).


P.S. If another country's government carried out a covert operation in which widespread bribery resulted in a democratically-elected U.S. president being overthrown, and an unelected dictator installed, would you consider that to be wrong on the part of the other country's government?
1.2.2008 5:16pm
TomB:


So...overthrowing democratically-elected Mohammed Mosadegg and installing the unelected Shah was also a good idea? Or did you simply temporarily forget that inconvenient truth?


I'd be greatly appreciative if you could point out where I said anything like that.

Thanks in advance.
1.2.2008 5:23pm
Mark Bahner (www):

And we certainly never supported Saddam Hussein.


Oh, really? You mean, all of these items in Wikipedia are wrong?

U.S. government support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war


"In June, 1982, President Reagan decided that the United States could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran. President Reagan decided that the United States would do whatever was necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran. President Reagan formalized this policy by issuing a National Security Decision Directive ("NSDD") to this effect in June, 1982," said the "Teicher Affidavit," submitted on 31 January 1995 by former NSC official Howard Teicher to the U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida.[3]



According to retired Colonel Walter Lang, senior defense intelligence officer for the United States Defense Intelligence Agency at the time, "the use of gas on the battlefield by the Iraqis was not a matter of deep strategic concern" to Reagan and his aides, because they "were desperate to make sure that Iraq did not lose." He claimed that the Defense Intelligence Agency "would have never accepted the use of chemical weapons against civilians, but the use against military objectives was seen as inevitable in the Iraqi struggle for survival"[4], however, despite this allegation, Reagan’s administration did not stop aiding Iraq after receiving reports affirming the use of poison gas on Kurdish civilians.[5][6][7][8]



Much of what Iraq received from the US, however, were not arms per se, but so-called dual-use technology— mainframe computers, armored ambulances, helicopters, chemicals, and the like, with potential civilian uses as well as military applications. It is now known that a vast network of companies, based in the U.S. and elsewhere, fed Iraq's warring capabilities right up until August 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait. [9]



Beginning in September, 1989, the Financial Times laid out the first charges that BNL, relying heavily on U.S. government-guaranteed loans, was funding Iraqi chemical and nuclear weapons work.



Donald Riegle, Chairman of the Senate committee that authored the aforementioned Riegle Report, said, "UN inspectors had identified many United States manufactured items that had been exported from the United States to Iraq under licenses issued by the Department of Commerce, and [established] that these items were used to further Iraq's chemical and nuclear weapons development and its missile delivery system development programs." He added, "the executive branch of our government approved 771 different export licenses for sale of dual-use technology to Iraq. I think that is a devastating record."
1.2.2008 5:27pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
If low tariffs are the goal, why should we not impose sanctions on countries which have high tariffs?
For the same reason that we shouldn't cut off our nose to spite our face. Because, well, it's cutting off our nose to spite our face.

A bigger problem is that Paul's antipathy towards NAFTA shows his lack of common sense. Is NAFTA 'pure' free trade? No, of course not. Was a vote against NAFTA a vote for more free trade, though? No. It was a vote for less free trade. Making the perfect the enemy of the good is fine for a pundit, but not for an officeholder, and certainly not for a president.
1.2.2008 5:28pm
Mark Bahner (www):

I'd be greatly appreciative if you could point out where I said anything like that.

Thanks in advance.


Well, you said that the U.S. government's failure to continue supporting the Shah was what led to his overthrow...and you blamed Ron Paul because he would have done the same thing.

But you conveniently neglected that what caused the Shah to be in power in the first place was a coup d'etat supported by the U.S. government (and which would NOT have been supported by Ron Paul)!

So don't you think you're doing just a little bit of cherry picking in your criticism of Ron Paul?
1.2.2008 5:33pm
Dan Weber (www):

I could find Paul speaking against forced immunizations, and his supporters talking about them being dangerous, but I had to go here to find the words coming from Paul's mouth. My bad transcription follows.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f74xvtRijMc

YouTube video of him saying "there are dangers of taking vaccines, there's also many blessings with vaccines. When I was in high school, friends and neighbors got polio and died. That vaccine has been fantastic. We've gone way overboard. GWS is related to vaccines, among other things. ... Doctors have gotten to the point when they give too many too often, 4 or 5 in a bunch and they overwhelm the immune system. In a free society, it would be assumed that the individual makes up their own mind, and immunization shouldn't be a condition of them going anywhere, anyplace. ... If you haven't taken the polio vaccine, you're not a danger to me. You're endangering itself. I don't like the idea of the use of force. ... "
1.2.2008 5:36pm
TomB:


Well, you said that the U.S. government's failure to continue supporting the Shah was what led to his overthrow...and you blamed Ron Paul because he would have done the same thing.


Yes, is that in dispute?


But you conveniently neglected that what caused the Shah to be in power in the first place was a coup d'etat supported by the U.S. government (and which would NOT have been supported by Ron Paul)!


Please explain exactly how not mentioning the coup is "conveniently" neglecting anything, when it has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the point. Mr X. is the one who brought up the Shah, not me. His point was that our support of the Shah was bad, I posited otherwise.

How the Shah got BACK into power is a complete strawman in this discussion.
1.2.2008 5:37pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
If a government chooses to subsidize a specific industry in order to defeat US Competition, Ron Paul seems to say "Oh Well!"
Well, hopefully he'd say, "Great!" Here's a hint: if people want to give you stuff that you want below cost, take it.


So...overthrowing democratically-elected Mohammed Mosadegg and installing the unelected Shah was also a good idea? Or did you simply temporarily forget that inconvenient truth?
No; it's just false. We didn't "install" the Shah. The Shah was the head of state. It was Mossadegh who tried to force him out.

And Mossadegh was not "democratically elected" except in the loosest sense -- he was chosen by the Iranian Parliament, after Iranian fundamentalists assassinated the existing prime minister. Even if we define the term "democratically elected" to mean "chosen as the end result of a democratic process," the term can obscure as much as it reveals. Hitler, to once again jump to the classic example, was "democratically elected" (by that definition). But that hardly made him a legitimate head of state whose government was to be respected. (I expect that if the U.S. had supported a coup against him in 1934, we'd probably be hearing about how evil the CIA was for doing so.)

Mossadegh was legitimately chosen, sure. But by the time of the so-called "coup," he was hardly the democrat that "democratically elected" paints him as. He had seized (much as Hitler had) emergency powers through demagoguery, and then suspended Parliament, giving himself unchecked power. It's not like ousting the prime minister of Canada. Just because a guy was legitimately chosen when he first took office doesn't make him a democrat.

But perhaps most importantly, the idea that we "installed" someone is a huge misnomer. It was *Mossadegh* who was acting extraconstitutionally, and the Shah was the head of state. The Shah was authorized to replace him, and tried to do so; Mossadegh refused to leave, and in fact tried to force the Shah out. That ultimately led to fighting, and Mossadegh was ousted in the conflict, in part by people funded by the British and CIA.
1.2.2008 5:38pm
TomB:

"If you haven't taken the polio vaccine, you're not a danger to me. You're endangering itself. I don't like the idea of the use of force. ... "


An utterly amazing statement coming from a doctor.

Its like he's never heard of "herd immunity".

The fact is that since vaccines are NOT 100% effective, you are completely dependent on as many others being immunized as possible, to reduce the chance of those who are not completely immune to be protected.

The man's an embarrassment.
1.2.2008 5:42pm
Mark Bahner (www):

Goodness me, Mr X, you will be insisting that the US supported the Soviet Union next.


Ummmm...because we did? Lend-lease? WWII?

Don't you think it is at least plausible that Nazi Germany would have defeated the Soviet Union in WWII, if the U.S. had not supplied $11 billion ($154 billion in 2007 dollars) of lend-lease aid to the Soviets?

Here's about half of the list (from wonderful Wikipedia):

Aircraft 14,795
Tanks 7,056
Jeeps 51,503
Trucks 375,883
Motorcycles 35,170
Tractors 8,071
Guns 8,218
Machine guns 131,633
Explosives 345,735 tons
Building equipment valued $10,910,000
Railroad freight cars 11,155
Locomotives 1,981
Cargo ships 90
Submarine hunters 105
1.2.2008 5:44pm
TomB:

And Mossadegh was not "democratically elected" except in the loosest sense -- he was chosen by the Iranian Parliament, after Iranian fundamentalists assassinated the existing prime minister.


Damn you for posting that, I was saving it for later!! ;-)

Excellent point.

I'm suprised Mark missed that...
1.2.2008 5:45pm
TomB:


Don't you think it is at least plausible that Nazi Germany would have defeated the Soviet Union in WWII, if the U.S. had not supplied $11 billion ($154 billion in 2007 dollars) of lend-lease aid to the Soviets?


And?

Was that wrong?

To listed to Paul and Mr. X, since Stalin was a bad guy, we were wrong for "supporting" him.

Which is it?
1.2.2008 5:47pm
SenatorX (mail):
It's deeply scary that any intelligent and well-educated person could seriously consider many of Ron Paul's positions. The willful ignorance on economic issues is appalling. Central banks were created for a reason, after all.

Oh yeah, those central banks are god's gift to the green earth eh? Well you can't support The Rule of Law and central banks at the same time, so I guess we know where that puts you.
1.2.2008 5:58pm
Mark Bahner (www):

And?

Was that wrong?

To listed to Paul and Mr. X, since Stalin was a bad guy, we were wrong for "supporting" him.

Which is it?


Well, there's obviously no way to reverse history to see what would have happened if the U.S. had done things differently. And more importantly, I have no idea what Ron Paul's opinion would have been on this.

But yes, I think the U.S. government should not have supported the Soviet Union in WWII. The U.S. should only have supported Britain, and let Stalin go it on his own, without U.S. aid (to win, lose, or draw).
1.2.2008 6:04pm
SenatorX (mail):
Can someone explain to me the pro-vaccine stance? There is quite a lot of information out there that to me would make any rational person at least question the current methods. Not forcing newborns of married couples to get STD shots, spacing out the shots to give children more recovery time, removing known toxins from the shots, replacing toxic preservatives in multi-dose vaccines, not vaccinating children right after they have been sick or fighting off another infection are just some examples of what people that are "anti-vaccine" are all about.

And yet this subject brings up some real hatred and ad hominem attacks. What I don't understand is why.
1.2.2008 6:07pm
Mark Bahner (www):

And Mossadegh was not "democratically elected" except in the loosest sense -- he was chosen by the Iranian Parliament, after Iranian fundamentalists assassinated the existing prime minister.



Damn you for posting that, I was saving it for later!! ;-)

Excellent point.

I'm suprised Mark missed that...


I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China (so to speak). Our government (the U.S. government) supported a coup d'etat in Iran in 1953. Now, Ron Paul would not have supported the U.S. government in doing that.

Ron Paul has been criticized because he wouldn't have continued support to keep the Shah in power in 1979. Does anyone think that he should ALSO be criticized since he wouldn't have supported the U.S. government's involvement in the 1953 coup d'etat?

Or do we all agree that the U.S. government's (covert) involvement in the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat was wrong?
1.2.2008 6:11pm
TomB:

There is quite a lot of information out there that to me would make any rational person at least question the current methods.


Reading through your list, I'd revisit the "information" you are using to come to your conclusions.

I don't support the mandatory HPV stick, but the rest of your post is inaccurate.

And most of the anti-vaccine people that I've run into aren't about "current methods", they are into scaring parents into not getting their kids immunized.
1.2.2008 6:13pm
TomB:

But yes, I think the U.S. government should not have supported the Soviet Union in WWII. The U.S. should only have supported Britain, and let Stalin go it on his own, without U.S. aid (to win, lose, or draw).




Ah, the beauty of condemning tens of thousands of allied soldiers to death for principle!

VIVA ISOLATIONISM!



I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China (so to speak).


Amazing.

YOU are the one who dragged Mossadegh into the discussion.
1.2.2008 6:18pm
Britt (mail):



I'm not sure what that has to do with the price of tea in China (so to speak). Our government (the U.S. government) supported a coup d'etat in Iran in 1953. Now, Ron Paul would not have supported the U.S. government in doing that.

Ron Paul has been criticized because he wouldn't have continued support to keep the Shah in power in 1979. Does anyone think that he should ALSO be criticized since he wouldn't have supported the U.S. government's involvement in the 1953 coup d'etat?

Or do we all agree that the U.S. government's (covert) involvement in the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat was wrong?


Because the Soviet allied Mossagdeh was attempting to usurp power from the legitimate head of state, the Shah. Thus, backing the Shah was the right call, because it:

a: supported an established, stable government.
b: blocked a Soviet move to establish influence in Iran.

You keep using the word coup d'etat, but a I think this word does not mean what you think it means. Action in support of the legitimate head of state is not a coup d'etat.
1.2.2008 6:19pm
Mark Bahner (www):

Or do we all agree that the U.S. government's (covert) involvement in the 1953 Iranian coup d'etat was wrong?


I should have put "government's" in quotation marks, since I'm pretty sure there was no Congressional yes/no vote on whether or not to provide funds to support the coup d'etat. In fact, I'd be willing to bet there were members of Congress who did not even know that the Executive Branch was providing support for a coup d'etat in Iran in 1953.
1.2.2008 6:20pm
TomB:


You keep using the word coup d'etat, but a I think this word does not mean what you think it means. Action in support of the legitimate head of state is not a coup d'etat.


Britt, go back and read Mark's posts and a single thread emerges, the US is evil and ANY action outside our border is wrong. Anybody so morally bankrupt who would say our support for Stalin was wrong doesn't deserve to be listened to.
1.2.2008 6:24pm
Mark Bahner (www):

Ah, the beauty of condemning tens of thousands of allied soldiers to death for principle!

VIVA ISOLATIONISM!


And I suppose you were told this by...God?

Or are you referring to the Soviets when you're referring to "allied soldiers"? (Note that even that assertion is debatable!)

The simple fact is that no one can know what would have happened in WWII, if the U.S. had not supported the Soviet Union with lend-lease. Maybe the world would have been a better place. I think it would have been, because I think the Nazis might have taken Stalingrad, and driven the Soviet Union out of the war. Then, when Hitler was defeated, there would also be no Stalin. That would have prevented the enslavement of Eastern Europe following WWII.

But maybe the world wouldn't have been a better place. Short of finding an alternative universe where the U.S. did not support the Soviet Union, there's no way to know.
1.2.2008 6:38pm
Britt (mail):


Britt, go back and read Mark's posts and a single thread emerges, the US is evil and ANY action outside our border is wrong. Anybody so morally bankrupt who would say our support for Stalin was wrong doesn't deserve to be listened to.




I'd say our support for Stalin was morally wrong, but war is not about being morally right, war is about winning. I would not want Americans to wade ashore on the Cotentin Peninsula against the panzers and grenadiers who had crushed the Red Army. That would have been a bloodbath, and we would have either lost or taken a whole lot longer to win. Stalin, and all the madness that was his regime, was necessary to win that war.

Morality and Foreign Policy do not mix all that well. Yes, our foreign policy can have good results. Going back to the Stalin example, we could end up with one of two options:

A. Hitler dominates Europe, slaughters all the Unetmensch, "a new Dark Age made all the more sinister by the lights of perverted science", etc.

B. Western Europe remains free, Eastern Europe dominated by the Soviets.

Now if we'd have listened to Patton in 1945 maybe we could have pushed the Sovs back to Russia, let them collapse on their own, etc. But that's venturing far off the beaten track of counterfactual history. The point is that option B, while not ideal, is far better then option A. We live in an imperfect world, and hindsight is always 20/20. I think everyone would do well to remember that.
1.2.2008 6:38pm
Kazinski:
It's a fools excercise to debate the pro's and con's of aiding the Soviet Union in WWII, intervening in Iran in 1953 and 1979, supporting Saddam aginst Iran in the 1980's, because we don't know what the alternative course in history would have been.

Maybe we should also debate whether we should have intervened in Hungary in 1956, Kosovo in '98, Rawanda in '94, Darfur now, whether I should have gone over and talked to the blond at the bar in 1993, etc.
1.2.2008 6:42pm
Britt (mail):

The simple fact is that no one can know what would have happened in WWII, if the U.S. had not supported the Soviet Union with lend-lease. Maybe the world would have been a better place. I think it would have been, because I think the Nazis might have taken Stalingrad, and driven the Soviet Union out of the war. Then, when Hitler was defeated, there would also be no Stalin. That would have prevented the enslavement of Eastern Europe following WWII.



So we let the Germans beat the Russians, then really quick while they have their backs turned, or are all drunk off that good Bavarian beer, we sneak in and take the flag away?

The German Army in the Soviet Union was the finest army ever. No one has ever kicked so much ass in such a devastating manner. The Russians though, had the advantage of being willing to burn up 20 million of their citizens. They had the advantage of not having to worry about the political cost of high casualties. Which is why they were ideal for sopping up the majority of the Nazi empire's best troops.

Please refrain from discussing history. You just embarrass yourself.
1.2.2008 6:43pm
SenatorX (mail):
Since when is vaccinating a sacred cow? How did it get this way? What is wrong with asking questions about what is being injected into your child? Who would be against asking questions about what affects child health? On a libertarian leaning website there sure are a lot of government mandated injection lovers.
1.2.2008 6:46pm
TomB:

And I suppose you were told this by...God?





Then, when Hitler was defeated, there would also be no Stalin.


How easily that statement rolls off of your keyboard!

How would Hitler have been defeated? Pixie dust?

With the blood of US soldiers. There is no other way.

I don't need God to tell me that.
1.2.2008 6:47pm
NickM (mail) (www):

If a government chooses to subsidize a specific industry in order to defeat US Competition, Ron Paul seems to say "Oh Well!"
Well, hopefully he'd say, "Great!" Here's a hint: if people want to give you stuff that you want below cost, take it.


David - you don't subscribe to the late 1990s dotcom business model of losing money on every sale but making it up in volume? :-D

Ordinarily, "dumping" is economically self-defeating and I'm in full agreement with taking advantage of it. However, the use of slave labor complicates this question.

Nick
1.2.2008 6:48pm
TomB:

It's a fools excercise to debate the pro's and con's of aiding the Soviet Union in WWII, intervening in Iran in 1953 and 1979, supporting Saddam aginst Iran in the 1980's, because we don't know what the alternative course in history would have been.


The point of bringing Stalin into the discussion is to show how vapid the Paulies are when they try to shame the US by bringing up the involvement with less than savory characters.

Foreign policy is never simple. I sometimes requires involvement with people you'd rather not be involved with. And to take the Ron Paul isolation route, is a recipe for disaster.
1.2.2008 6:51pm
TomB:

Since when is vaccinating a sacred cow? How did it get this way? What is wrong with asking questions about what is being injected into your child? Who would be against asking questions about what affects child health? On a libertarian leaning website there sure are a lot of government mandated injection lovers.


"Injection lovers"?

No hiding where you are coming from.

But as I said earlier, your information is way out of date.

For instance, the "toxic preservatives" you mention is thimerosal, and it has been out of children's vaccines since 2000.

Odd that autism is still so prevalent. All the anti-vacciners told me thimerosal caused autism, now there's none in vaccines, yet kids still get autism. Odd, that.

I'm not for stopping discussions, just try to get up to date here, huh?
1.2.2008 6:56pm
Mark Bahner (www):

Britt, go back and read Mark's posts and a single thread emerges, the US is evil...


You know nothing. You don't have even a clue who I am.

...and ANY action outside our border is wrong.


This is also clueless nonsense. I just wrote that the U.S. should have supported Britain in WWII.

In fact, I've also written (repeatedly) that the U.S. government should remove all troops from Iraq, and fund all Iraqi government operations (including police, military, and judges) for a period of 2-3 years.

How we screwed up in Iraq, but still might recover

And I've even written (repeatedly) that the U.S. government should thoroughly investigate and consider the idea of funding the military of dictatorships to perform coups, provided those militaries agree (and in fact achieve) democratic replacement governments. I've even coined a name for it..."Rent a Coup." I even advocated it as an alternative to invading Iraq.

"Rent a coup" described in 2003

But this should be done ONLY if the U.S. Congress authorizes the funding, because the U.S. Congress thinks the government in question poses a danger to the U.S.

The U.S. Constitution does not authorize the President to make war without a Congressional Declaration of War.
1.2.2008 7:00pm
Mark Bahner (www):
I wrote,

Then, when Hitler was defeated, there would also be no Stalin.



How easily that statement rolls off of your keyboard!

How would Hitler have been defeated? Pixie dust?

With the blood of US soldiers. There is no other way.

I don't need God to tell me that.


Yes, he would have only been defeated by the blood of U.S. soldiers...plus the blood of Soviet soldiers. (Not to mention British soldiers...and all our other allies.)

The question is, would there have been more death, destruction, and misery--in WWII and after--if the U.S. had not given so much aid to the Soviet Union under Lend/Lease.

And the answer is...no one knows. (But God...if She exists.)
1.2.2008 7:06pm
TomB:


This is also clueless nonsense. I just wrote that the U.S. should have supported Britain in WWII.


I know, its nice to remain ideologically pure. But doesn't the outcome, and let's be honest, we both know what the casualties would have been, bother you even a little bit?
1.2.2008 7:09pm
Mark Bahner (www):

And to take the Ron Paul isolation route, is a recipe for disaster.


And once again, your source on this is...God?

Ron Paul's non-interventionist viewpoint is extremely compatible with the non-interventionist viewpoints of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson:

Two men who shared Ron Paul's philosophy
1.2.2008 7:14pm
TomB:

The question is, would there have been more death, destruction, and misery--in WWII and after--if the U.S. had not given so much aid to the Soviet Union under Lend/Lease.


Sorry, I'm only concerned with the immediate outcome of the war. There can be no debate that more US servicemen would have died without a strong Soviet Union. But if you are concerned with Soviet lives, how many would have died in and unsuccessful defense of the motherland?

Face it, Stalin was much better at killing his own people in war than he was in peace. (peasants take so damn long to die)
1.2.2008 7:15pm
TomB:

Ron Paul's non-interventionist viewpoint is extremely compatible with the non-interventionist viewpoints of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson:



Chuckle.

The Pasha of Tripoli was unavailable for comment.

And Merriwether Lewis was just here a minute ago....
1.2.2008 7:21pm
Mark Bahner (www):

But doesn't the outcome, and let's be honest, we both know what the casualties would have been, bother you even a little bit?


You have no damn clue what the casualties would have been if the U.S. had not supported the Soviet Union. No one does.

U.S. and British casualties could easily have been less. Even Soviet casualties might have been less (if the Soviets had simply surrendered).

If the U.S. had developed the atomic bomb on the same schedule, but Germany had still been in the war, a bomb probably would have been dropped on Berlin. It's difficult to imagine how Germany would have stayed in the war if an atomic bomb had been dropped on Berlin while Hitler was in his bunker.

Who knows what Japan would then have done? No one knows, so it's completely ridiculous for you to posture as though you've got the answers.
1.2.2008 7:26pm
Mark Bahner (www):

There can be no debate that more US servicemen would have died without a strong Soviet Union.


That's complete rubbish. There may be "no debate" in your mind, but that would only be because your mind is closed. The U.S. might well have ended the war with Germany with atomic weapons, rather than battles fought on the ground.

There's simply no way to judge, absent an alternative universe.
1.2.2008 7:31pm
TomB:


U.S. and British casualties could easily have been less. Even Soviet casualties might have been less (if the Soviets had simply surrendered).


Just damn.

Yea, you're right, that could have happened....

I can't imagine even thinking something so silly.

But you're right, we just don't know, Stalin may have woken up one day a reformed Christian, and then, maybe Broadway???
1.2.2008 7:33pm
TomB:
Although it is worth pointing out that in all your alternative endings to the war, a whole lot of some kind of people die. You just change the nationality with each scenario.
1.2.2008 7:36pm
Mark Bahner (www):

But if you are concerned with Soviet lives, how many would have died in and unsuccessful defense of the motherland?


I have no idea. And neither do you.
1.2.2008 7:36pm
Mark Bahner (www):

Although it is worth pointing out that in all your alternative endings to the war, a whole lot of some kind of people die. You just change the nationality with each scenario.


Yes, all alternative endings change the nationalities (and whether those deaths are military or civilian). But it is not even possible to say in which direction.

You could say (as you have) there "there can be no debate"...but that's nonsense. It's like saying "there can be no debate" that Babe Ruth would have had better stats than Barry Bonds, if Ruth had played in Bonds' time. Or Bonds had played in Ruth's time.
1.2.2008 7:41pm
TomB:
You're right Mark. If you are of a mind that Stalin would have surrendered the Soviet Union to Germany under some unnamed circumstance, you can't have any idea...

....about anything.

That frame of mind probably comforts you, but it shouldn't.
1.2.2008 7:49pm
SenatorX (mail):
For instance, the "toxic preservatives" you mention is thimerosal, and it has been out of children's vaccines since 2000.

Yes that is one of them but no it is still in every FLU shot not to mention all the vaccines we export to the third world. Also it is still in every vaccine in trace amounts. Last even if thimerisol doesn't cause autism what does that have to do with improving the science of vaccination? My whole point is there is something wierd about people who are so adamant that our methods are safe. Have you taken a look at the CDC lately? Where do you get your confidence?
1.2.2008 8:26pm
TomB:

Yes that is one of them


The others?

but no it is still in every FLU shot


Since we're talking pediatric vaccines on that schedule, I don't include the flu vaccine.

not to mention all the vaccines we export to the third world.


Link?



Also it is still in every vaccine in trace amounts.
Last even if thimerisol doesn't cause autism what does that have to do with improving the science of vaccination?


The "science of vaccination" is the eradication of smallpox, polio and other diseases, thanks to vaccines. The "science of vaccination" is also that there is a increase in diseases like pertussis and measles when people were frightened into not having their kids immunized.


My whole point is there is something wierd about people who are so adamant that our methods are safe. Have you taken a look at the CDC lately? Where do you get your confidence?


I look at the CDC all the time but I'm not sure what you are getting at. The current vaccine schedule is very safe and, more importantly, constantly reviewed, if not by doctors, then by malpractice lawyers looking for a big score.

There are no secrets. I'm not sure what more you want, other than to ask more general, misleading questions.
1.2.2008 8:37pm
Wayne Jarvis:

An utterly amazing statement coming from a doctor.

Its like he's never heard of "herd immunity".

The fact is that since vaccines are NOT 100% effective, you are completely dependent on as many others being immunized as possible, to reduce the chance of those who are not completely immune to be protected.

The man's an embarrassment.


Embarrassment?

Do you honestly fret about the risk that other people skipping vaccinations has on your health? Vaccines many not be 100% effective, but they are still extremely effective. (Afterall, if they were *that* ineffective, why force anyone to get a shot in the first place?).

I'm going to go out on limb here and wager that the actual risk to you of Stupid Guy not getting his shots is infinitesimally small. I don't think it should keep you up at night worrying. In any event, what is more effective: (1) getting a booster shot or (2) placing blind faith in herd immunity?

Compulsory immunization for children is needed to protect children from stupid parents. But I don't buy this "herd immunity" justification one bit.

Vaccine injuries are rare, but they definitely happen. Every now and then a child dies from a vaccine. You can read about these incidents here (Uncle Sam gives parents of dead children $250k):

http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/OSMPage.htm

I support compulsory vaccination for children (so save the straw men for Dorothy). That said, knowing that vaccines can in rare cases hurt and even kill, its amazing that there are people that can't even fathom that there is any possible moral dilemma, here.
1.2.2008 9:16pm
Oscar Goldman (mail):
Scott Horton of Antiwar.com is probably one of the most intelligent and informed voices on American foreign policy today. The Scott Horton of Harpers is also pretty amazing. What a strange coincidence!

Anyhow, this piece does nothing to convince me that Dr. Ron Paul is the last and best hope for America. I am already convinced, as of a year ago! Ha!
1.2.2008 9:22pm
Mark Bahner (www):
You're right Mark. If you are of a mind that Stalin would have surrendered the Soviet Union to Germany under some unnamed circumstance,...


You mean he would have fought to the death...sort of like Hitler?

This idea may be totally new to you, but armies sometimes surrender even when fanatical megalomaniacs dictators tell them to fight to the death. (The death of the armies of course...not the dictators cowering in the rear.)

That frame of mind probably comforts you, but it shouldn't.


Sort of like your frame of mind that "there can be no debate" about what would happen if history were fundamentally altered comforts you?
1.2.2008 9:34pm
PhysicistDave (mail):
Mark Bahner,

I admire your perseverance here, but... have you noticed you're not making much headway?

Your debate opponents tried to suggest that anyone was an idiot who thought the US Gov supported the evil Saddam. So, you posted a bunch of details from wikipedia. (In fact, all of us who were adults in the early ‘80s and who followed the news knew all this: it was public, widely discussed knowledge, easily available in the MSM.)

No retractions, no apologies from your opponents.

Mark, they don’t care about the facts.

Your opponents ridicule Ron Paul for attacking the Fed. Of course, the Fed Gov’s own statistics show that, during the nineteenth century, before the Fed, the dollar doubled in value. In the course of the twentieth century, thanks to the Fed, the dollar lost 95 percent of its value.

But, Mark, your opponents are not interested in facts.

Politics can be summed up in the classic phrase “Cui bono?’ Who gains?

While most Americans have suffered from the welfare-warfare state of the last century, some people have gained from the welfare-warfare state: defense contractors, professors at tax-funded universities, welfare whores, etc.

It’s a good guess that your opponents here are members of (or expect to be members of when they grow up) one of those privileged groups that actually does benefit from the welfare-warfare state at the expense of those ordinary Americans who give their money (and sometimes their lives) to support the privileged parasites.

You might as well try arguing with an antebellum slaveowner about the costs of slavery or with a nineteenth-century Junker about Prussian imperialism. Folks like this have already chosen sides: they know what will benefit them.

They will never vote for Ron Paul, and given the personal choices they have made, they’re making a valid decision.

Dave
1.2.2008 9:35pm
Oscar Goldman (mail):
Although I pray with all my heart and soul that I am wrong, it seems unlikely that Ron Paul will win the nomination.

However, future generations might not even remember this year's party nominee so much as the Congressman from Texas, and his unheeded diagnosis and medicine to fix this Republic before it slipped into irrevocable decline.
1.2.2008 10:08pm
SenatorX (mail):
Yes that is one of them
The others?


How about Aluminum?

but no it is still in every FLU shot
Since we're talking pediatric vaccines on that schedule, I don't include the flu vaccine.
not to mention all the vaccines we export to the third world.
Link?


Wikipedia do?

Outside North America and Europe, many vaccines contain thiomersal; the World Health Organization has concluded that there is no evidence of toxicity from thimerosal in vaccines and no reason on grounds of safety to change to more-expensive single-dose administration.
1.2.2008 10:16pm
economist (mail) (www):
Is it just that liberty itself is now considered "nutty?"

Alan Greenspan must also be "nutty" since he also favors the gold standard. Albeit he differs from Paul in thinking there is no realistic prospect of its return so does not actively promote it. "A" is the whackjob here in claiming that the gold standard promotes inflation. In fact Greenspan in his book accurately observes that inflation as we know it was "essentially nil" under the gold standard and is a political fact of life under fiat currency (he observes it has averaged 4.5% over the post-gold standard history of the Fed and will likely in the future over the long term average this rate -- a rate that would be quite extraordinary under a gold standard).

As for vaccines, I trust Dr. Paul far more on the subject than any lawyers in this forum. He's basically putting forth a libertarian position -- not on a subject where libertarianism makes the strongest argument, but that hardly make him as much a "nutcase" as for example the economic theories of "A" and others on this forum make them.

BTW, check out the latest studies on flouridation of water -- it turns out the libertarian "nutcases" may have been rather right on that one.
1.2.2008 10:29pm
Mark Bahner (www):
Hi Dave,


Your debate opponents tried to suggest that anyone was an idiot who thought the US Gov supported the evil Saddam. So, you posted a bunch of details from wikipedia.


Yes. Wonderful Wikipedia. It's great...but I do wonder about this statement from Stalin's biography:


While there, he fathered a son by a 13-year-old orphan girl named Daria, sometimes called the Ruler of All Things Evil.[23]


I think someone mixed together two separate sentences there! :-)


(In fact, all of us who were adults in the early ‘80s and who followed the news knew all this: it was public, widely discussed knowledge, easily available in the MSM.)


Yes...it seemed possible that some weren't adults in the 1980s, to make the incredible statement that, "...we certainly never supported Saddam Hussein."

(!!!)


No retractions, no apologies from your opponents.

Mark, they don’t care about the facts.


Possibly, but I care about the facts. That's the main reason I comment anywhere on the Internet. Supporting my comments forces me to check the facts.

Politics can be summed up in the classic phrase “Cui bono?’ Who gains?


Well, this Christmas I was reading David McCullough's "John Adams" (just the first 200 pages...Mr. McCullough certainly writes alot!). One thing struck me is how much the Founders risked. Adams could have been a very successful Braintree/Boston lawyer. I don't think that, "...pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor" was just talk.


While most Americans have suffered from the welfare-warfare state of the last century, some people have gained from the welfare-warfare state: defense contractors, professors at tax-funded universities, welfare whores, etc.

It’s a good guess that your opponents here are members of (or expect to be members of when they grow up) one of those privileged groups that actually does benefit from the welfare-warfare state at the expense of those ordinary Americans who give their money (and sometimes their lives) to support the privileged parasites.


I prefer not to discuss (or even consider) motives. I'd rather stick to the facts and opinions.

For example, if abandonment of the Shah was wrong in 1979, what about the U.S. government's role in the 1953 overthrow of Mohammed Mosadegg? Was that right?

It's interesting that I never did get an answer to that question (as far as I can see).


You might as well try arguing with an antebellum slaveowner about the costs of slavery...


That brings up an interesting debate I had on the Science Guy website, wherein I argued that not only was Lincoln not the greatest president ever...he wasn't even a particularly good president. (And that Washington was without question the greatest president ever.)

The greatest president?

I didn't change anyone's mind there, either. But the more I checked the facts, the more certain I was that I was right. Lincoln was an eloquent speaker, but not a good president.

They will never vote for Ron Paul,...


Probably not. But maybe someone will be reading who has not made up his or her mind. I want them to know that, if they are at all interested in a president who will follow his oath of office to "Preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution," that Ron Paul is the only choice. On that score, Ron Paul versus other candidates is like Tiger Woods versus high schoolers.
1.2.2008 10:48pm
Maria S. (mail):
Ron Paul's Preemptive Taxation?

Ron Paul again is proposing in his ‘‘Cost of Government Awareness Act of 2007’’
[ http://www.govtrack.us/data/us/bills.text/110/h/h3601.pdf ]. His rationale is that by eliminating income
tax withholding &having taxpayers pay in monthly installments, taxpayers will become aware of the true
cost of government.

I read Paul's proposal &my understanding is that it would change the modified quarterly
payment calendar [April 15th, June 15th, September 15th &January 15th] of estimated taxpayers
to a monthly payment calendar beginning with February 15th. [See Page 4, SEC. 4. MONTHLY PAYMENTS
OF ESTIMATED TAXES of the above cited pdf file.]

Paul had introduced this same legislation in 2000 [ http://www.house.gov/paul/legis/106/hr4855.htm ].
At that time I called his office &spoke to his staffer in charge of taxation about whether this proposal
actually changes the payment calendar to a monthly basis for estimated taxpayers to which he replied yes.
I pointed out that estimated taxpayers who receive dividends, the monthly payment schedule would
cause taxes to be paid on income not yet received &in some cases before the date of record. [Dividends
are usually paid quarterly &most often sometime in March; thus the current first quarterly installment
on April 15th is consistent with a pay-as-you-go tax collection system.] The staffer's response can
be paraphrased as "tough".

Another strange item in the legislative proposal is that the monthly payments would be 8.25% rather
than 8.375%. [12 x 8.25% = 99%]. Wouldn't this put the taxpayer subject to penalty &interest for a
shortfall of estimated payments which are currently the lesser of 100% of last year's taxes [110% for
higher income &certain separate filers] or 90% of the current year's estimated taxes?

The underlying assumption of Paul's legislation that taxpayers are unaware of how much they are
paying in taxes may be true for employees but is not true for estimated taxpayers who write checks
to the U.S. Treasury [IRS] &spend many hours estimating [and re-estimating] their tax liability.

Ron Paul advocates smaller government. How many thousands more IRS employees would have
to be hired to process the millions of monthly payments [including bounces, missing
SSN's, and wrong SSN's] and to chase down those who just don't pay?
1.2.2008 11:47pm
PhysicistDave:
Mark,

Now you’re really gonna get yourself in trouble – you criticized Lincoln! Among the hangers-on of the American Establishment, that’s like visiting the Vatican and dissing the Virgin Mary.

Seriously, I think I would have liked Lincoln as a person – apparently, he was a gawky, kind of nerdy fellow with a great sense of humor. But, he did fail to prevent the worst war in US history, a war that cost the lives of over half a million Americans. It’s rather remarkable that he is considered one of the country’s greatest Presidents – after all, LBJ is despised for causing the deaths of well under a hundred thousand Americans.

You also wrote:
> I prefer not to discuss (or even consider) motives. I'd rather stick to the facts and opinions.

An excellent idea in discussing science or even serious scholarship about history, politics, etc. But some of the discussants here, by their remarkably ignorant (and remarkably belligerent) comments about Saddam, have shown that scholarship is not exactly their strong point.

I’m afraid that politics is about motives – I don’t think it can be avoided.

As to the Founders, yeah, a remarkable group of guys, despite their many and all too human flaws. But I think the underlying source of their greatness was not their own personalities, but the power of their ideas. They actually understood and believed in the idea that all human beings had certain natural rights and that no government was justified in infringing those rights. I doubt that any of the folks you were debating with here could even explain what the Founders meant by “natural rights.” (If anyone does care to learn, try reading Murray Rothbard’s “The Ethics of Liberty” for a contemporary discussion or A. John Simmons’ books if you want a longer, more academic discussion, or go back to the classical source, John Locke’s “Second Treatise on Civil Government,” and try to actually understand it this time.)

Whether Ron Paul wins or loses, perhaps the most positive result of his campaign will be the beginning of a rebirth of interest in the basic political ideas of the American Founders.

Dave
1.3.2008 12:44am
PhysicistDave:
Maria,

Congressman Paul has made clear that he wishes to abolish the income tax: that would make the issue moot.

Yeah, everyone, I know, wanting to abolish the income tax makes him a “nut-job,” even thought the country did not have an income tax throughout most of its history. But, hey, whatever you liberals have put in place can never be tampered with, right?

Like the roach motel – you can check in, but you can’t check out!

Dave
1.3.2008 12:51am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Seriously, I think I would have liked Lincoln as a person – apparently, he was a gawky, kind of nerdy fellow with a great sense of humor. But, he did fail to prevent the worst war in US history, a war that cost the lives of over half a million Americans.
...and a war that freed about four million Americans from slavery. Why is it that the Lew Rockwell/DiLorenzo/Rothbard crowd always forget that little part?
1.3.2008 8:35am
Dan Weber (www):
Immunizations are like seat belts or motorcycle helmets. Good ideas, that very very occasionally cause problems for 1 or 2 unlucky individuals.

A free society shouldn't require any of them. But since the government picks up the bill for people who fail to protect themselves, we require people to take care of themselves.

Saying that the government shouldn't be forcing kids to be vaccinated is a pretty common libertarian tenet, btw. One of VC's regular contributors did a series on it within the past year or two, trying to figure out how forced immunizations could fit into a libertarian mindset. He did a pretty good job, but got raked over the coals nonetheless.

I'm not sure I agree that people should be able to opt out of immunizations, but saying that people should have the freedom to do that is not an insane theory. (The individuals themselves who make that choice may be stupid, but one of those ugly components of freedom is that we let people make bad choices for themselves.)
1.3.2008 8:58am
Maria S (mail):
PhysicistDave

Ron Paul wants to abolish the income tax [which I favor],
but he has formally introduced legislation to abolish withholding tax
that concomitantly accelerates the estimated income tax payment
schedule to the point where income tax will be collected on income
which has not been received. Before you start throwing around the
liberal canard, fill in a pro-forma 1040-ES using Ron Paul's proposed
legislation which I cited. I ran the pro-forma scenerio &found that I
would be paying 8.25% of my tax liability with the first installment
[Feb. 15th], while only having collected 0.23% of my taxable income.
That's preemptive taxation.
1.3.2008 11:09am
Mark Bahner (www):
Hi Maria S and Dave,

Yes, Dave, I recommend a training course (which I've never taken myself ;-)) on how to persuade people. I'd expect and hope that such a course wouldn't focus on calling people names and casting aspersions on their motives. It would instead (I hope) seek to agree on facts, separate facts from opinions, and agree that sometimes people dealing with the exact same facts can have different opinions, without either opinion being clearly wrong.

Maria S, I don't really know anything about estimated taxpaying, but it does seem like you have identified a clear problem. People should not be paying taxes on income they haven't even earned yet! Further, Ron Paul's staffer's response (as you relate it) seems amazing and pathetic. ("Bad staffer! Bad staffer! No!" ;-)).

Would a solution to your problem be to pay taxes quarterly...and perhaps with a one-quarter delay between earning and paying? For example, you earn money from January to March, and pay the tax on like July 1? (And then pay for April to June on like September 1?)

Would that work?

P.S. If it is any consolation to you, I think it's highly unlikely that Congress would ever vote to end withholding. It allows them to collect taxes without people really seeing clearly the amount of money that's being spent on those taxes. I don't think Congress is likely to give up that power any time soon. (Even if Ron Paul is elected President...which doesn't seem very likely.)
1.3.2008 12:16pm
Increase in Time on Site:
David M. Nieporent, I hope you're not suggesting that Rockwell et al. are soft on slavery. They are happy that the eventual outcome was the liberation of the slaves, but bemoan the terrible costs in human lives, in freedom, and in sovereignty of states' rights.
1.3.2008 12:25pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
David M. Nieporent, I hope you're not suggesting that Rockwell et al. are soft on slavery.
You're right; I would not want to suggest that. I'm going to come right out and declare it.
They are happy that the eventual outcome was the liberation of the slaves, but bemoan the terrible costs in human lives, in freedom, and in sovereignty of states' rights.
1) They spend a lot more time bemoaning than being happy.
2) There was no "terrible cost in freedom." There was a net benefit in freedom.
3) "State's rights" was not at issue in the conflict between the north and south, and of course "state's rights" is not a libertarian principle in any way, shape, or form. To quote Ayn Rand: " The Southern racists' claim of 'states' rights' is a contradiction in terms: there can be no such thing as the 'right' of some men to violate the rights of others."
1.3.2008 1:57pm
NickM (mail) (www):
David Nieporent is too kind.
I consider Lew Rockwell to be a racist. I reached this conclusion by hearing him speak at the 1994 national YAF convention. Several portions of his speech made it clear that he regarded black people as inferior and incapable of reasonable self-government.

Looking at a few Von Mises Institute newsletters from the mid-1990s confirmed this belief.

Nick
1.3.2008 2:09pm
SenatorX (mail):
@Dan Weber, My thinking is that if we are going to allow the government to mandate something as invasive as injections for children then we should be sure it is a quality system with oversight. Unfortunately determining profit vs. child health is a value choice that doesn't seem to bode well for the children when left up to a corporate entity.

It would be interesting to look at all the shot record data for the children and grandchildren of pediatricians and immunologists. Comparing this to the shot records of the general public might be an eye opening experience.
1.3.2008 2:21pm
neurodoc:
SenatorX:It would be interesting to look at all the shot record data for the children and grandchildren of pediatricians and immunologists. Comparing this to the shot records of the general public might be an eye opening experience.
I have considerable personal and professional experience of those most involved with immunization practice in this country. If you could come up with "all the shot record data for the children and grandchildren," I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that their families received the vaccines recommended at the highest rates of any in this country. I know that my children did.

You really think that the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Child Neurology Society, the Centers for Disease Control, the Institute of Medicine, and every other respectable medical organization I know are recommending that which they do not earnestly believe is in the best interests of children? If so, please tell us whether you also believe in all the greatest conspiracy theories and charlatanry.
1.3.2008 3:50pm
neurodoc:
BTW, so as not to lose focus on the candidacy of Ron Paul, I would say, "It would be interesting to look at all the shot record data for the children and grandchildren of ardent Ron Paul supporters. Comparing this to the shot records of the general public might be an eye opening experience." I suspect that if we had the data, we would find a greater percentage of anti-vaccine kooks and "alternative" medicine types among RP's clacque than in the general population. (And 9/11 Truthers?)
1.3.2008 3:57pm
neurodoc:
Oh, more than 100 years later, Jacobson vs Commonwealth of Massachusetts is still good law, or at least non-violative of the Constitution, isn't it?
1.3.2008 4:02pm
Increase in Time on Site:
David M. Nieporent,

1. Maybe they just have pessimistic personalities.
2. Suspension of habeas corpus, press censorship, and the draft.
3. The Union was formed when the 13 states voluntarily unified, therefore they retained their right to secede. The war was about secession, not slavery. You, me, Rand, and Rockwell all agree that slavery is immoral. It is fundamental to any libertarianism.

Libertarianism can be considered nothing more than a really radical antislavery movement.

NickM,

I would be interested in seeing exactly which newsletter articles you found racist. Somehow I suspect we have different definitions of the term.
1.3.2008 4:13pm
Wayne Jarvis:

BTW, so as not to lose focus on the candidacy of Ron Paul, I would say, "It would be interesting to look at all the shot record data for the children and grandchildren of ardent Ron Paul supporters. Comparing this to the shot records of the general public might be an eye opening experience." I suspect that if we had the data, we would find a greater percentage of anti-vaccine kooks and "alternative" medicine types among RP's clacque than in the general population. (And 9/11 Truthers?)



I'll bet you that you are correct. But so what? What logical conclusions would a brain surgeon like yourself conclude from that information?
1.3.2008 4:47pm
SenatorX (mail):
Wow neurodoc, how many fallacies can you use in one comment? Those authorities you appeal to have long been exposed as incompetent and corrupt. Corrupt because the members are compromised by lobby groups and promises of lucrative jobs in the private sector. How naive are you?

I would take your dollars btw because the answer is already out there. They do not follow the recommended guidelines for their own children. You either know this already and are lying or are just blinded by your presumption of authority.

Further the truth is there are a lot of unknowns with vaccines and their components. This is not a science that is at an end, it has a long way to go. Anyone that argues differently has lost credibility from the start by failing to acknowledge this basic fact. I know the theory that it's bad to talk about vaccines because the herd will stop taking them and then we will have an outbreak, I just think it's lame and dishonest.
1.3.2008 5:12pm
PhysicistDave:
Mark,

Have you ever studied any marketing? Sad to say, the best way of persuading people (most people in present-day America, that is) is not, as you put it, to “seek to agree on facts, separate facts from opinions” etc. Perhaps if we could shut down the government schools and start homeschooling everyone…

Anyway, I was just pointing out that in fact your opponents here would not acknowledge your points even when you did prove them. They had no intention of listening to reason. They clearly have something to lose if Ron Paul wins.

Trying to understand politics without looking at motives is like trying to understand economics without looking at supply and demand.

Dave
1.3.2008 5:31pm
PhysicistDave:
Maria,

I combined two comments directed to different people into my earlier post. I was not trying to accuse you of being a liberal. That was directed at the Ron-Paul-haters here who actually favor the income tax, the Fed, etc.

I think that anyone who favors the progressive income tax and the extraordinarily inflationary policies followed by the Fed for nearly a century and who has a visceral hatred of “states rights” can fairly be called a liberal. I’m old enough to have supported Goldwater in ’64 and Reagan in ‘68 (I was just an adolescent) and no one balked at our calling such folks “liberals” back then. Of course, many New Deal liberals, the so-called “neo-conservatives,” are currently trying to re-package themselves as “conservatives,” now that most sensible people realize that liberalism is evil.

Your own comment about a detail of a proposed bill does not show your larger views one way or another, although it does suggest that you are sufficiently literate economically that you are probably not a liberal.

I apologize to you. Sorry for the confusion.

I do, however, stand by my previous statement that since Congressman Paul opposes the income tax altogether, your point is largely moot. In the event he becomes President and tries to push for the bill in question, I certainly agree with you that the detail you raise should be fixed.

All the best,

Dave
1.3.2008 5:45pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
2. Suspension of habeas corpus, press censorship, and the draft.
I repeat: four million slaves freed. None of the things you identify were good, but they were temporary, whereas emancipation was permanent. And by "temporary," I don't mean that Lincoln promised that they would be temporary; I mean that they were in fact temporary, as we know from hindsight.

3. The Union was formed when the 13 states voluntarily unified, therefore they retained their right to secede.
The "therefore" in no way follows from the first claim; the fact that one "voluntarily" enters into something in no way means one can "voluntarily" quit. (If I voluntarily enter into a contract with you to supply you with widgets for your factory, does that mean I "retain the right" to stop one day because I don't feel like doing it anymore?)

Moreover, even if the claim were true, only 4 of the 11 rebel states "voluntarily" did that. And, arguably, one can claim that Texas did, although in a different way. But no matter how one slices it, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas never voluntarily joined anything. They were not independent entities at any point. The U.S. government created those states.
The war was about secession, not slavery. You, me, Rand, and Rockwell all agree that slavery is immoral. It is fundamental to any libertarianism.
The claim that "the war was about secession" is entirely unsupportable by history or logic. Secession was the war; it couldn't be about itself. The slave states said they were seceding to protect slavery.

I agree that the immorality of slavery is fundamental to any libertarianism, but outside the pages of a novel, the world is rarely clearcut with all freedom on one side and all slavery on the other. People have to prioritize. The person who frees slaves may institute a draft, while the government that suppresses dissent may protect property rights. And the Rockwell side of the ledger seem to prioritize things other than freeing actual slaves.
1.3.2008 5:54pm
legaleagle (mail) (www):
As Dr. Paul has well observed, slavery was banned in almost every other part of the globe without major war. Rather than engage in tariff wars (which had more to do with Northern greed than Northern idealism) or violent wars (which had to do with both), there were two much less costly ways to get rid of slavery. The first was the method of Lord Mansfield: consider slaves to be prisoners and insist on their _habeus corpus_ rights. The second would have been to overturn _Dred Scott_, giving slaves the full protection of the law once they escaped slave states.

Slavery depended on the _lack_ of a state's rights to not enforce the evil laws of other states, such as laws that considered humans to be property. It also depended on the inability or unwillingness of the federal government to enforce the habeus corpus rights of individuals against states. Slavery was thus orthogonal to state's rights. The pre-Civil War status quo unfortunately had the state vs. federal allocation of powers backwards when it came to slavery.

It would have taken a few more years, but Lincoln would have saved the U.S. a world of misery by putting abolitionists on the Supreme Court and pushing Constitutional amendments in order to end slavery peacefully with these two legal methods. Instead, in the name of slavery Lincoln immediately engaged in a tariff war far more severe than an earlier tariff(in Calhoun's time) that had already driven at least one southern state to the brink of seccession. These tariffs heavily discriminated against Southern states and were driven by greed under the cover of abolitionism. Lincoln's abolitionist idealism was very admirable, but the fanaticism and blindness stemming from that idealism pushed him into purposefully inducing secession and starting a war instead of the more patient, peaceful, and fruitful methods of ending slavery that had been employed elsewhere.
1.3.2008 6:02pm
Maria S (mail):
Mark Bahner

Thank you for the comments re: estimated taxes. As to your suggestion about delaying the period between earning &paying, it
is not a solution the IRS would take kindly to. See IRS Form 2210 "Underpayment of
Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts". The IRS requires timely &adequate payments on a quarterly basis.
My main complaint about Ron Paul's proposed legislation which goes back to the year 2000, is why did he drag estimated taxpayers into his contention that taxpayers are unaware of the amount of income tax they are paying. Estimated taxpayers write checks to the IRS four to five times a year.
1.3.2008 6:08pm
PhysicistDave:
Legaleagle,

You wrote of “Lincoln's abolitionist idealism.”

Ah, if only he had been an abolitionist!

In the late 1840s, he went to court to force a family of escaped slaves back into servitude (fortunately, he lost the case). I’ll post the link if you’re interested.

In his First Inaugural, he made clear his willingness to tolerate slavery in perpetuity and actually endorsed a Constitutional amendment to embody this in the Constitution.

No wonder that the heroic abolitionist Wendell Phillips dubbed Lincoln “The Slave-Hound of Illinois”!

Incidentally, I am one of the “Lew Rockwell” crowd that is being denounced here: I recently had an essay published there endorsing Ron Paul ( http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/miller-da1.html ) and will be contributing further in the near future.

I won’t try to speak for everyone over there (though I think their views are similar to mine on this), but I myself have a great deal more sympathy for the radical abolitionists than for the Confederacy: I’ve never shared in the now-fashionable hero worship of Robert E. Lee anymore than I have ever shared in the Lincoln cult.

While I’m glad the slaves were freed (sort of freed – the Civil War Amendments were largely nullified, for practical purposes, by the Compromise of 1877), I can still regret the huge and unnecessary loss of human life and the destruction of the American federal system that resulted from the Civil War.

(Oh, and I should make clear, as I failed to do with Maria, that only my initial comments here are directed to Legaleagle – I don’t believe he has attacked the “Rockwellians.”)

Dave
1.3.2008 6:59pm
PhysicistDave:
David M. Nieporent,

You seem to be arguing that the greater good of slavery justified the evils of conscription, unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus, and, of course, the huge death toll of the Civil War.

You seem to be appealing to a form of utilitarianism: “doing evil that good may come of it.”

I don’t think that this moral approach can be reconciled with libertarianism: after all, almost all actions of government, no matter how destructive of individual rights and Constitutional government, are justified on the grounds that they serve a “higher” good.

If we take this sort of utilitarian approach, there is no principled reason to oppose any invasion of liberty, no matter how horrendous. You merely end up arguing about whether the end results will be desirable or not.

Purely pragmatically, the big-government folks tend to win such arguments, primarily because most people are ignorant of the details of economics, history, etc.

I’d also point out that most philosophers think that utilitarianism has been demolished on philosophical grounds, essentially because of Dostoyevsky’s suffering-little-girl argument. There are alos logical problems due to theoretical issues about "utility." I’ll provide links if you are interested.

At any rate, I hope it is clear that there are alternatives to utilitarianism; indeed, it is extremely hard ot find a human being who is a truly consistent utilitarian (I think I’ve known only one). So, I hope you can understand that some of us may agree that slavery was a greater evil than the destruction of states rights but still feel that the end of abolishing slavery (which was not Lincoln’s goal anyway) did not justify the means.

Dave
1.3.2008 7:24pm
neurodoc:
SenatorX, given my professional credentials, if I were to testify as an expert witness on the subject of a vaccine safety, something I have chosen no to do, I would have no trouble surviving any P or D attorney's attempt to Daubert me out. How about you, do you have any scientific/medical credentials where vaccines are concerned, indeed any scientific/medical credentials at all? I very much doubt that you do, though I can't be absolutely certain of it, since I have known a few scientists and physicians who make the most outlandish claims about vaccine safety matters.

...the answer is already out there. They do not follow the recommended guidelines for their own children. You either know this already and are lying or are just blinded by your presumption of authority.
I don't know it and I don't believe it. But if you can prove me wrong about this, PLEASE do so. Tell us what support you have for your claim that those most knowledgeable about childhood vaccines "follow the recommended guidelines for their own children" less often than do others in this country. Surely, you wouldn't make such a bold assertion, even suggesting that I am a liar or a naive person for believing otherwise, without convincing evidence at the ready to support it.

Further the truth is there are a lot of unknowns with vaccines and their components. This is not a science that is at an end, it has a long way to go.
Yeah, so? Is there any field of science, in particular any field of biologic or medical science, with no "unknowns," one that if not "at an end," has but a short way to go. Vaccines are among the most thoroughly tested of medical interventions and the lowest risk to benefit ratio of any, bar none.

I know the theory that it's bad to talk about vaccines because the herd will stop taking them and then we will have an outbreak, I just think it's lame and dishonest.
Not a "theory," at least not in the scientific sense of a "theory." But know-nothingism is not cost-free, and that has proven true when the idea that vaccines are particularly "dangerous" has taken hold and people have not vaccinated their children. We don't need political leaders like South Africa's Mbeki who was persuaded by Peter Duesenberg (someone with real credentials as a scientist, unfortunately) and the nutters out there that a retrovirus, HIV, is not the cause of AIDS, with disasterous consequences for so many.

Wayne Jarvis: Cardiologists are to cardiovascular surgeons as neurologists are to "brain surgeons." I am of the "medical," not "surgical" persuasion. And the relevance of how many anti-vaccine types are to be found among Ron Paul's true-believers vs their numbers in the camps of other candidates is that it says something about whom Paul and his ideas appeal to. (But to be sure, there are a great many other more direct and persuasive reasons to prefer other candidates over Paul.)
1.3.2008 7:47pm
SIG357:
David Nieporent



If low tariffs are the goal, why should we not impose sanctions on countries which have high tariffs?



"For the same reason that we shouldn't cut off our nose to spite our face. Because, well, it's cutting off our nose to spite our face."




I see that you are part of the ever growing pro-tariff wing of the libertarian movement. That is, one who reagrds tariffs as being a positive good thing, and their removal akin to cutting off ones own nose.

The vast majority of "libertarians" at this site seem to be plain old liberals and conservatives just pretending.
1.3.2008 8:11pm
legaleagle (mail) (www):
Physicist Dave, those are good points, and indeed I am not attacking the Rockwellians, who mostly have a largely accurate view on this. You've convinced me that "abolitionist idealism" applies much more to many of Lincoln's supporters and some of his cabinet than to Lincoln himself. Tariff supporters used the punishment of slavery to justify the highly extortionate and discriminatory tariff they wanted to subsidize northern manufacturing. But abolitionists also supported the tariff as a way to pressure the South and just out of general hatred for slave owners. Neither gave due care to the risks and costs of secession and war. A true abolitionist should have been the last person to risk inducing secession: if the South had won the Civil War, or otherwise succeeded in secession, that would have greatly lengthened the lifetime of slavery beyond what the North could have peacefully achieved with habeus corpus, overturning _Dred Scott_, etc. in an intact and peaceful Union where the free economy and population was expanding much faster than the slave.
1.3.2008 8:31pm
PhysicistDave:
Dave Nieporent,

You misunderstand the point of us unilateralist free traders.

Sanctions against a foreign country (i.e., restricting their trade or imposing tariffs) injure American consumers by increasing the price we pay for their goods.

Again, you are arguing for the utilitarian idea of doing evil that good may come of it: impose trade restrictions (bad) on foreign countries to try to force them to loosen their own trade restrictions (good).

Some of us are not utilitarians: we favor unilateral free trade on America’s part, regardless of what other countries do.

You’re free to disagree with us, but can you understand that we are not protectionists? We’re purist free-traders. We’re not utilitarians, like you.

Dave
1.3.2008 8:59pm
SenatorX (mail):
OHSU research suggests America may over-vaccinate

PORTLAND, Ore. –A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine this week by Oregon Health &Science University researchers suggests that timelines for vaccinating and revaccinating Americans against disease should possibly be reevaluated and adjusted. The study shows that in many cases, the established duration of protective immunity for many vaccines is greatly underestimated. This means that people are getting booster shots when their immunity levels most likely do not require it. The results are published in the November 8 edition of the journal.

“The goal of this study was to determine how long immunity could be maintained after infection or vaccination. We expected to see long-lived immunity following a viral infection and relatively short-lived immunity after vaccination, especially since this is the reasoning for requiring booster vaccinations. Surprisingly, we found that immunity following vaccination with tetanus and diphtheria was much more long-lived than anyone realized and that antibody responses following viral infections were essentially maintained for life,” explained Mark Slifka, Ph.D. Slifka serves as an associate scientist at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute with joint appointments at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and the department of molecular microbiology and immunology in the OHSU School of Medicine.

“We want to emphasize that proper vaccination is vital for protecting people against infectious disease. We also need to mention that over-vaccinating the population poses no health or safety concerns – it may just be unnecessary under certain circumstances. What our study found was that the lifespan of protective immunity for certain vaccines is much longer than previously thought. So what does this mean" Based on this data and other studies, we may want to consider adjusting some of our recommended vaccination schedules. Doing so may reduce the number of required shots that are administered each year in this country while at the same time help extend limited health care resources,” Dr. Slifka explained.

To conduct the research, Slifka and his colleagues evaluated 630 blood samples from a total of 45 study participants. In the case of some participants, archived serum samples provided data going back as far as 26 years. Once gathered, the data was then analyzed to determine the level of immunity in each individual for measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox (Varicella-zoster virus), mononucleosis (Epstein-Barr virus), tetanus and diphtheria over an extended period of time. Upon further examination, researchers found that antibody responses caused by viruses such as measles mumps, and rubella remained at protective levels for several decades and in most cases, for life. This is interesting because these three viruses were classically described as “childhood infections” because it was rare to be infected twice in a lifetime.

The research also reconfirmed a previous finding by Slifka and his colleagues: that the duration of immunity after smallpox vaccination is much longer than previously thought. In that earlier study published in the journal Nature Medicine in 2003, these OHSU researchers observed surprisingly long-lived antiviral antibody responses but they were unable to measure the slow rate of decline. In this current study, they demonstrate that this type of immunity is maintained with a calculated half-life of 92 years – a number that is substantially longer than the estimate of only 3 to 5 years of immunity following vaccination that was previously proposed by experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Another example is the tetanus vaccine,” said Slifka. “Doctors are told that vaccination is effective for a period of 10 years – but after that, people should be revaccinated. Based on our studies and the work of others, once a person has received their primary series of vaccinations they are likely to be protected for at least three decades. Indeed, other countries such as Sweden have changed their vaccination policies and doctors are advised to offer tetanus revaccination only once every 30 years.” Importantly, this has not resulted in any increase in the number of tetanus cases in Sweden and demonstrates first-hand that switching from the 10-year to 30-year policy is safe and effective. Taking this small step in vaccination scheduling could save hundreds of millions of dollars on health care here in the US.”

You and your cronies need to take a seat neurodoc and let some real scientists do some good.
1.3.2008 9:26pm
PhysicistDave:
Ooops.

My previous comment on free trade should have been directed to SIG357, not David Nieporent.

Sorry, David, I had thought you were too bright to make a comment like the one I was criticizing!

Dave
1.3.2008 9:36pm
Mark Bahner (www):
Hi Maria,

See IRS Form 2210 "Underpayment of Estimated Tax by Individuals, Estates, and Trusts". The IRS requires timely &adequate payments on a quarterly basis.


Ummm...I'll pass on your kind offer to read that. ;-)

My main complaint about Ron Paul's proposed legislation which goes back to the year 2000, is why did he drag estimated taxpayers into his contention that taxpayers are unaware of the amount of income tax they are paying. Estimated taxpayers write checks to the IRS four to five times a year.


I agree. I wonder what Ron Paul would say if you got a chance to explain your point to him personally? I would hope he'd recognize that you're right, and would change his proposed legislation.

But regardless of whether he did agree and change his legislation, I think the odds of his legislation ever passing Congress in it's current or improved form are essentially that of a snowball in hades. So I hope you don't worry too much about it ever becoming law.
1.3.2008 9:41pm
Mark Bahner (www):
Anyway, I was just pointing out that in fact your opponents here would not acknowledge your points even when you did prove them.


Yes, you're right.

I already have plenty of experience with David Nieporent not admitting when he is wrong. But like I wrote, I comment for two basic reasons:

1) to check my own arguments, and

2) to persuade occasional person who hasn't already made up his mind, or the rare (too rare) person who will admit he is wrong.
1.3.2008 10:04pm
Mark Bahner (www):
So, I hope you can understand that some of us may agree that slavery was a greater evil than the destruction of states rights but still feel that the end of abolishing slavery (which was not Lincoln’s goal anyway) did not justify the means.


As I laid out on Eric Berger's "Science Guy" blog, let's look at some Civil War facts:

1) The overwhelming majority of Southerners did not own slaves. Of the 1.6 million Southern families, only 384,000 (24 percent) owned slaves.

2) Of those 384,000 (24 percent), 88 percent owned fewer than 20 slaves. So only 46,000 families (out of 1.6 million, or about 3 percent) owned more than 20 slaves.

3) And only 3000 families (0.2 percent!) owned more than 100 slaves.

4) Therefore, if the U.S. government had paid EVERYONE who owned less than 20 slaves full market value--or even greater--that would have covered 97 percent of all Southerners. And if the U.S. government had paid everyone who owned less than 100 slaves full market value, that would have covered 99.8 percent of all Southerners. (The remaining 0.2 percent might think they got a bad deal, but who really gives a damn about a few rich slave owners?)

4) The total market value of the approximately 4 million slaves in the U.S. in 1860 has been estimated at $3.3 billion.

5) This can be compared with an estimate of the Civil War's *immediate* costs of $9.3 billion ($6.2 billion for the North, and $3.0 billion for the South) Not to mention the deaths of 600,000 mostly-young male soldiers (the value of their lifetime earnings alone could easily have exceeded $3 billion). Not to mention the pensions for veterans that easily exceeded the immediate costs.

If Lincoln had been a really good president, he would have told everyone to cool off after the attack and conquest of Fort Sumter (which involved NO Union deaths, and which was of absolutely no military value to the Union). "No harm, no foul."

He would have worked out a deal whereby the U.S. government bought the freedom of the slaves and ended slavery. It would have saved an incredible amount of money and a staggering number of lives. (The 600,000 soldiers killed corresponds to 6 MILLION deaths for the present U.S. population.)
1.3.2008 10:56pm
PhysicistDave:
Mark wrote to me:
> I comment for two basic reasons:
>1) to check my own arguments, and
>2) to persuade occasional person who hasn't already made up his mind, or the rare (too rare) person who will admit he is wrong.

Sure, I agree, and I did not mean to criticize you for doing so. I just found it interesting that some of your opponents took no interest in what you were saying -- they were merely looking for opportunities to insult people and display their own impressive levels of ignorance.

There are a number of people here who are not playing games: I think Maria is quite serious and sensible – she raised a legitimate point. And the mere fact that people disagree does not make one of them a jerk. But the people who knew very little about economics (the Fed, the gold standard, etc.) and were acting as if their ignorance was a sign of their intellectual superiority were pretty funny. At least, as someone who has a Ph.D. in a “hard” science from a big-name school, I find such pompous ignorance amusing. I suppose in a way it is rather sad.

As to your plan for Lincoln to abolish slavery, the real problem is that, as Lincoln himself said repeatedly, he did not wish to abolish slavery. The one good result to come out of the Civil War was abolition, but Lincoln did not plan or intend it from early on – it was simply a fortuitous consequence of the War itself. That is one of many reasons Lincoln is not a hero to me. I can have some sympathy with anyone in those days (certainly some of the Union soldiers) who was seriously fighting to abolish slavery. But Lincoln was not. It is hard for me to see any justification for his behavior -- over a half million human deaths merely to maintain a political confederation!

Compare Lincoln, for example, to someone like Gorbachev, who allowed the Warsaw Pact to dissolve and then the Soviet Union itself, without murdering thousands of human beings. It seems obvious to me that Gorby was a much greater hero than Lincoln. While my own sympathies have never been with the Confederacy (and certainly not with the slaveowners!), I’ve never been able to understand the worshipful attitude towards “Honest Abe.” I understand Frederick Douglass or Harriet Tubman as heroes, but Lincoln?

I just don’t get it.

Dave
1.4.2008 2:45am
David M. Nieporent (www):
As to your plan for Lincoln to abolish slavery, the real problem is that, as Lincoln himself said repeatedly, he did not wish to abolish slavery.
The man who said that the union cannot endure permanently half slave and half free probably can't be accused of not wishing to abolish slavery. What he actually said was that he had no power to abolish slavery directly.

But it was widely accepted that slavery needed to grow in the territories or eventually die out, and he did want to stop its growth in the territories.

You've got to love the revisionists who try to claim that the war wasn't about slavery, and that Lincoln wasn't anti-slavery. These are all made-up justifications by a small segment of so-called libertarians for their anti-Lincoln views. At the time Lincoln was actually around, nobody was confused as to his views. Lincoln was regularly denounced as an abolitionist since long before he became president, and southerners seceded because they knew he was anti-slavery.
1.4.2008 5:37am
David M. Nieporent (www):
As Dr. Paul has well observed, slavery was banned in almost every other part of the globe without major war.
Well, perhaps someone ought to point out to "Dr." Paul that in most parts of the globe, slavery was not self-sustaining; all you needed to do to end it was ban the slave trade. In the American South, however, it was self-sustaining.

And for those who claim to be anti-Lincoln because they're anti-war, they might want to note that it was the South that was agitating for more war, to expand slave territory. They got such a war with Mexico (which Lincoln opposed), and they were agitating for war with Spain to seize Cuba.

Rather than engage in tariff wars (which had more to do with Northern greed than Northern idealism) or violent wars (which had to do with both), there were two much less costly ways to get rid of slavery. The first was the method of Lord Mansfield: consider slaves to be prisoners and insist on their _habeus corpus_ rights. The second would have been to overturn _Dred Scott_, giving slaves the full protection of the law once they escaped slave states.
And if southerners didn't dominate Congress before the Civil War, those might be more than fantasies. Since they did, and since either of these depended on Congressional action -- and in the case of "overturning Dred Scott," state action as well, these were not options.
It also depended on the inability or unwillingness of the federal government to enforce the habeus corpus rights of individuals against states.
There were no such habeas corpus rights. Federal habeas was not available to those held prisoner under state law before 1867.

It would have taken a few more years, but Lincoln would have saved the U.S. a world of misery by putting abolitionists on the Supreme Court and pushing Constitutional amendments in order to end slavery peacefully with these two legal methods.
When you say that it "would have saved the U.S. a world of misery," presumably you're not including slaves in that analysis. But putting aside the question of why any libertarian would think those held in slavery should need to wait "a few more years" for these approaches to work, these approaches are delusional.

Lincoln didn't get to "put" people on the court -- only to nominate them. Nor does the president have any power to pass Constitutional amendments. Southerners had no interest in abolishing slavery, and neither of these things could have been legally done without Southern support.
1.4.2008 6:02am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Jumping away from Lincoln for a moment:
I see that you are part of the ever growing pro-tariff wing of the libertarian movement. That is, one who reagrds tariffs as being a positive good thing, and their removal akin to cutting off ones own nose.
WTF are you talking about? I said exactly the opposite: that we shouldn't impose tariffs, even if other countries do, because tariffs are a bad thing.
The vast majority of "libertarians" at this site seem to be plain old liberals and conservatives just pretending.
You need to work on your reading comprehension.
1.4.2008 6:07am
David M. Nieporent (www):
You misunderstand the point of us unilateralist free traders.

Sanctions against a foreign country (i.e., restricting their trade or imposing tariffs) injure American consumers by increasing the price we pay for their goods.

Again, you are arguing for the utilitarian idea of doing evil that good may come of it: impose trade restrictions (bad) on foreign countries to try to force them to loosen their own trade restrictions (good).
Are Rockwellians all illiterate? I said exactly the opposite of what you're claiming I said. I said we shouldn't impose trade restrictions.
1.4.2008 6:09am
David M. Nieporent (www):
And now I need to apologize to PhysicistDave for jumping the gun and attacking him for attacking me, without seeing that he corrected himself. I'm oversensitive at the moment.
1.4.2008 6:11am
David M. Nieporent (www):
He would have worked out a deal whereby the U.S. government bought the freedom of the slaves and ended slavery. It would have saved an incredible amount of money and a staggering number of lives. (The 600,000 soldiers killed corresponds to 6 MILLION deaths for the present U.S. population.)
Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that your cost estimate for how much it would have taken to buy all the slaves is correct. Your argument is crazy. Oh, it would have "only" taken $3 billion? The total federal budget in 1860 was about $60 million -- about 1/50th of that amount. So if you want to play modern equivalents, that would be like arguing that the federal government today should undertake a $100 trillion program (!). Where exactly was that money supposed to come from? (Remember -- though it was not by any stretch of the imagination the cause of the war -- southerners opposed the tariff, which was the main source of federal revenues at the time.)

But let's move on from that practical consideration to a different one: how was Lincoln supposed to "work out" this deal? The seven states of the Deep South seceded before he even took office. Pause. Hey, let's pretend we get past that one -- maybe they were just bluffing (even though they went beyond mere words and actually attacked American forces). Maybe if Lincoln had said the right words -- even though they had refused to believe anything he had said up to that point -- they would have come crawling back.

And let's also suppose that any country could survive if the response to discontent in one region of the country were to bribe them with a sum of money greater than the gross national product of the country. (What do you think would have happened the next time a state were unhappy with a national policy? "Hey, they got billions; we want it too.")

Let's get past all those practical considerations. That still leaves us with one big one: what on earth makes you think "We'll buy all your slaves" were the "right words" that would have kept the South from going to war? Slavery was not a hobby; it was a way of life. People don't just decide one day that they're going to change, not just their economic system, but their social system as well. (As you note, only a minority of the population owned slaves, but a majority was willing to fight to protect the "peculiar institution.") What on earth leads you to believe that southerners wanted their states to suddenly become populated (and heavily so) with free blacks? Two of the slave states -- South Carolina and Mississippi -- were majority black in 1860, and of the seven traitor states at the time, the overall black population was about 45%. You may want to look up state laws across the south which forbid manumission -- so much for property rights! -- to get some idea of what they thought of that idea.
1.4.2008 7:36am
Wayne Jarvis:
Neurodoc:

Ron Paul supports a weak federal government. Naturally he is going to attract those that have a irrational and paranoid distrust of government. So yes, Ron Pauls ideas are "attractive" to conspiracy theorists. That's hardly a surprise.

But again: so what?

The Beatles music was "attractive" to the Manson Family.

Q.E.D. The Beatles are danagerous.
1.4.2008 9:36am
Mark Bahner (www):
Oh, it would have "only" taken $3 billion? The total federal budget in 1860 was about $60 million -- about 1/50th of that amount. So if you want to play modern equivalents, that would be like arguing that the federal government today should undertake a $100 trillion program (!)


Yes...so instead of spending that $3 billion, the immediate costs of the war ended up being $9.2 billion ($6.2 billion to the Union and 3 billion to the Confederacy). And that does not even count the opportunity cost of the lifetime earnings (brought back to 1861 dollars) of all the men who died on both sides. NOR does it include the costs of pensions for the soldiers (which exceeded the immediate costs).

So...all in all, Lincoln avoided spending $3 billion to free the slaves by a method that ended up costing the Union easily 4 times that amount. And that does not even consider the costs to the Confederate states. When the costs to the Confederacy are included, the total amount spent by both sides was probably over $15 billion (in 1861 dollars).

Lincoln's decisions--from fiscal point of view alone--were appallingly bad. Note that this does not make him a bad man. It just makes him a bad President. (Or certainly not a good or great President!)

But let's move on from that practical consideration to a different one: how was Lincoln supposed to "work out" this deal? The seven states of the Deep South seceded before he even took office. Pause.


"Pause"???! Geez, David, this isn't a junior high school debate! It's not even live...so your "pause" contributes very little drama. (And even if it did, it would be just drama, not substance.)

Yes, the seven states of the Deep South seceded before Lincoln took office. So what? There is nothing in the Constitution that forbade states from seceding.

The states seceded. Then the Union essentially abandonded many forts in the secession states that could not be defended. Fort Sumter was the last of those forts...but Lincoln (irrationally and foolishly) decided to try to hold that fort. Of course, it couldn't be held (it's in the middle of a harbor, surrounded by shore batteries...most at higher elevation). So the Union lost it...without a single Union death during the battle!

So did Lincoln wisely say, "No harm, no foul" (which he should have learned from his basketball playing days ;-))? No. He went ballistic...sending troops into the Confederate States (and blockading harbors of the Confederate States).

Let's stop here. You claim to be a libertarian, David. That's fine. I consider myself one; I'm sure Dave considers himself one, also. Well, the first principle of libertarianism is non-aggression. Secession is not an act of aggression. Also, there is nothing in the Constitution that says can't secede. So how does libertarianism support Lincoln's actions during the Civil War?

As part of my work, one time I happened to be in TN, and after the day had finished went to the Shiloh national battlefield memorial. (I recommend it, if you happen to be nearby some time.) It's obvious, even almost 150 years later, that the fighting was absolutely brutal. There are mass burial trenches. The result was 13,000 Union and 10,000 Confederate deaths. Why didn't Lincoln simply withdraw troops from TN, and say, "Doesn't everyone see how appallingly bloody this war is going to be? Let's work something out."?

What in your version of libertarianism justifies Sherman's march to Atlanta? To my version of libertarianism, that is no different than a husband savagely beating his wife, and saying, "See? This is what will happen every time you try to leave me."

Slavery was an abomination. But Lincoln's "solution"...conscription of vast numbers of men, sending them to their deaths invading and essentially totally destroying the Confederate states hardly qualifies him as a great president. Or even a particularly good one. (Though he was one of history's finest speechwriters.)

Lincoln should have simply told the secession states, "There is nothing in the Constitution that forbids you from seceding. But there is also nothing in the Constitution that requires the Union of the United States to return slaves to foreign countries. So unless the U.S. (Union) Congress orders me to do otherwise, henceforth no escaped slaves will be returned under the Fugitive Slave Clause of the Constitution. But also, I am requesting that Congress and the Union states pass a Constitutional amendment allowing Congress to pay slaveowners a reasonable price for their slaves' freedom, and abolishing slavery."

But again, Lincoln was not a great president (and certainly not any kind of libertarian), so he didn't do that.
1.4.2008 8:03pm
PhysicistDave:
David,

To claim that Lincoln was truly in favor of liberating black slaves, you’d have to explain why he went to court in the late 1840s to force an escaped slave family back into slavery (fortunately, Lincoln lost). I’ll provide links if you’re interested.

He did not have to do this – it was a matter of his own choice.

It’s true that he hated the slavocracy -- because he was a Whig and the slavocrats were generally Democrats.

But if he had really cared about the liberty of slaves, he would not have tried to force a slave family back into servitude.

The slavocrats did indeed call Lincoln an abolitionist. I don’t know of any abolitionist who agreed with them. I’m quite willing to declare a pox on both their houses – both Lincoln’s and the slavocrats', and this seems to me the only sensible course. Lincoln did, after all, declare again and again that he was fighting the War solely to preserve the Union, which was evil. And his endorsement in the First Inaugural of an Amendment that would have preserved slavery in perpetuity was also evil (and also proves he was no abolitionist).

Incidentally, I have no magical solution as to the right way to abolish slavery, although I have some sympathy for the John Brown idea of actively supporting slave rebellions. But while the South may have seceded partly to save slavery, Lincoln did not fight to abolish it – the historical record is very clear on that.

I still think our underlying difference here is a matter of basic moral perspective: I am opposed to “doing evil that good may come of it.” For example, I am opposed to conscription, regardless of consequentialist arguments one way or another. Indeed, there are consequentialist arguments in favor of slavery – they do not interest me, since I would oppose slavery even if I thought the utilitarian arguments were factually correct.

And we’re not quite equal on “jumping the gun” on each other. I fouled up first – your mistake was an understandable result of mine. Still my fault, I fear. Sorry about that.

Dave
1.4.2008 8:41pm
Mark Bahner (www):
P.S. I shouldn't have written, "...unless the U.S. (Union) Congress orders me to do otherwise..."

Since the Confederate States formed a new country, the mechanism for returning fugitive slaves to them would be a treaty, not a law.

Since the President negotiates treaties and submits them for ratification, the President would ultimately have the power to decide whether fugitive slaves were returned to the Confederacy, not Congress. So Congress could not "order" the President to return the slaves to the Confederacy (via a law), since the Confederacy was no longer part of the United States.
1.4.2008 8:46pm
Mark Bahner (www):

Incidentally, I have no magical solution as to the right way to abolish slavery, although I have some sympathy for the John Brown idea of actively supporting slave rebellions.


I have a solution. But there's nothing magical about it. It's simply following the Constitution.

As I wrote, there's nothing in the Constitution that forbids states from seceding. But there was also nothing in the Constitution that required the United States to return escaped slaves to foreign countries. Therefore, the Fugitive Slave Clause no longer required the Union to return slaves to states that left the Union.

Without the Fugitive Slave Clause requiring escaped slaves to be returned, slavery would have eventually collapsed in the Confederacy. There's no way the Confederacy could have kept the borders closed along over 1000 miles of borders.

So Lincoln should have simply informed the Confederacy that since they were now in a different country, none of their slaves would be returned.

He also should have requested a Constitutional amendment to pay for the freedom of the slaves in the states remaining in the Union. This would have been a relatively small amount, since the vast majority of slaves were in the Secession States.

P.S. This probably would have encouraged one or more of the secession states to re-join the Union immediately...to get in on the payment for their slaves!
1.4.2008 9:06pm
PhysicistDave:
Mark,

You wrote:
> Fort Sumter was the last of those forts...but Lincoln (irrationally and foolishly) decided to try to hold that fort.

You’ve read Adams’ “When in the Course of Human Events”?

Adams’ citing of primary sources there convinced me that Lincoln was not being irrational or foolish – Lincoln knew that resupplying Sumter meant war, and he did it for precisely that reason. (I don’t agree with all of Adams’ conclusions, but from what I’ve been able to check in other writers, on this his citations are correct and represent a fairly broad consensus among historians.)

Whatever else you can say about Lincoln, he was not a fool.

Incidentally, this is a rather broad pattern in American history: maneuver the other side into firing the first shot (Sumter, Pearl Harbor), or, failing that, simply lie and claim that the other guy started it when he plainly did not (Saddam’s WMDs, the Tonkin Gulf incident, “Remember the Maine,” Polk and the Mexican War, etc.). Lincoln lost his seat in Congress because he rightly objected to Polk’s pulling this stunt; perhaps he learned the trick from Polk.

I understand the Romans were accustomed to using the same stunt. It’s funny how Americans see so easily other nations’ unwillingness to face up to the black spots in their history (e.g., Japan and the rape of Nanjing, Turkey and the Armenian massacre), but that Americans find it so hard to acknowledge the systematic pursuit of lies and deception by the American government itself in its foreign affairs.

By the way, yes, I used to consider myself a "libertarian," but now that we have so many pro-war "libertarians" and so many “libertarians” who reject Ron Paul because he is not “progressive” (i.e., he’s not a hip, politically correct, adulterous, drug user, etc.), I’m considering calling myself a “radical Lockean” or a “hard-core Jeffersonian.” I suppose I could call myself an “anarchist,” but then I’d be told no real anarchist can support Ron Paul! Besides, a lot of anarchists seem to have much more faith in political systems than I do.

Dave

Dave
1.4.2008 9:06pm
PhysicistDave:
Mark,

I generally agree with your proposed policies, though I am a bit bothered by paying the slaveowners – after all, as Murray Rothbard once pointed out, it’s the slaves themselves who had been deeply wronged and who really deserved compensation. But, politically, what you suggest may have been the best that could be done.

I just don’t want to try to argue with David as to what the consequences of such a policy would have been. My attitude is that, both in life and in public affairs (which is, after all, just part of life), you try to do the right thing and then hope for the best. The alternative is to do an evil thing and hope for the best.

I sleep better pursuing the former policy rather than thinking that I am so clever, that by lying, stealing, or killing, I can somehow bring about a good result.

I also think, pragmatically, that people who pursue this policy are, in the end, more likely to lead to good results. Being a Ph.D. physicist, I am quite certain that I am a very bright fellow. But I am also quite certain that I am not nearly bright enough to carefully do all the calculations to figure out how to miraculously produce a better world by lying, stealing, and killing. I notice that people who think they are clever enough to do this (e.g., our current President, most of the current Presidential candidates, and all of the pro-war “libertarians”) are people whose level of intelligence does not seem to be that high.

Amazing how the arrogance of power seems to occur most often in those who have the least reason to think highly of themselves.

Dave
1.4.2008 9:21pm
Mark Bahner (www):
Hi Dave,


Fort Sumter was the last of those forts...but Lincoln (irrationally and foolishly) decided to try to hold that fort.

You’ve read Adams’ “When in the Course of Human Events”?

Adams’ citing of primary sources there convinced me that Lincoln was not being irrational or foolish – Lincoln knew that resupplying Sumter meant war, and he did it for precisely that reason.


Yes, I was giving Lincoln the benefit of whatever doubt exists, that he was merely "irrational and foolish," rather than deliberately provoking a war. But I agree that the theory that he was deliberately provoking war is probable, or at least distinctly possible.


Incidentally, this is a rather broad pattern in American history: maneuver the other side into firing the first shot (Sumter, Pearl Harbor), or, failing that, simply lie and claim that the other guy started it when he plainly did not (Saddam’s WMDs, the Tonkin Gulf incident, “Remember the Maine,” Polk and the Mexican War, etc.).


Yeah, this reminds me...did you ever read the "deal" Clinton offered Serbia to not start bombing them? It was basically bivouacing troops anywhere in their country, use of all their airports for U.S. military planes...even FREE USE of their television stations, any time Clinton felt like broadcasting propaganda. Unsurprisingly, the Serbians didn't accept the "deal." ("Let us take over your house, or we start shooting.")

It’s funny how Americans see so easily other nations’ unwillingness to face up to the black spots in their history (e.g., Japan and the rape of Nanjing, Turkey and the Armenian massacre), but that Americans find it so hard to acknowledge the systematic pursuit of lies and deception by the American government itself in its foreign affairs.


Yes, no one sees the board in their own eye. Did you see Ken Burns' "The War"?

It certainly covered the Japanese and German atrocities, but also covered very frank admissions by some U.S. soldiers that essentially unarmed prisoners were routinely shot. (Saves trouble in handling.) And it extensively covered the detention campus for Americans of Japanese heritage, and the segregation of blacks. I recall some guy writing that it was disgraceful how Burns was bad-mouthing the U.S.

Another thing...look at the reaction to Ron Paul's statements in the second debate:

"I'm suggesting that we listen to the people who attacked us and the reason they did it," Paul answered. "And they are delighted that we're over there [in Iraq], because Osama bin Laden has said 'I am glad you're over on our sand, because we can target you so much easier.'"


The majority reaction is like, "How can you say U.S. government foreign policy can have impacts that can be negative?"

Well, yeesh. We had a Secretary of State saying on "60 Minutes," regarding the (speculated!) 500,000 deaths of Iraqi children from sanctions, Albright replied: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it."

It was obviously a loaded question, and Ms. Albright has expressed profound regret...but yeesh.

Madeleine Albright...about halfway down the page

Not to mention, "Shock and Awe." What major league moron came up with that phrase? (And why didn't we have a House to tell him he was an idiot?)

But I digress. ;-)

Actually, I'd better get some work done. So I probably won't be commenting again this weekend.

Best wishes,
Mark
1.4.2008 10:04pm
neurodoc:
<blockquote>Ron Paul supports a weak federal government. Naturally he is going to attract those that have a irrational and paranoid distrust of government. So yes, Ron Pauls ideas are "attractive" to conspiracy theorists. That's hardly a surprise.
But again: so what?
The Beatles music was "attractive" to the Manson Family.
Q.E.D. The Beatles are dangerous.</blockquote>There is no reason to believe that Beatles share the wishes of the Manson Family for "helter skelter," a race war. I think it is not only some of his followers that "have an irrational and paranoid distrust of government," I think he too arguably has "an irrational and paranoid distrust of government." And when a physician who graduated from Duke an completed a good residency talks junk science (multiple vaccinations "overwhelming" children's immune systems), I wonder which of his follower's lunatic conspiracy thinking he may share with them.
1.5.2008 12:11am
PhysicistDave:
neurodoc wrote:
>I think it is not only some of his [Ron Paul’s} followers that "have an irrational and paranoid distrust of government," I think he too arguably has "an irrational and paranoid distrust of government."

Well… whether a view is paranoid depends partly on whether it is actually true, or at least based in reality, doesn’t it?

I would say that any American Jews who feared a Holocaust carried out by President Hillary were paranoid; those who feared a Holocaust in, say, 1938 in Germany were not paranoid. The facts were different, and facts matter.

It is not per se paranoid to distrust the government – indeed, I can’t think off-hand of many governments in history that deserved a great deal of trust. Governments have routinely engaged in lying, stealing, and killing. It’s hard to read, for example, a book on modern European history and not notice that obvious fact.

In the case of our own government, the fabrication about Iraqi WMDs, for instance, would not lead a rational person to have a lot of trust in this government. And, Mark and I have mentioned a string of historical cases in which the US government lied through its teeth to start a war. I know it is considered “unpatriotic” to tell the truth about the US government, no doubt because the historical truth does not induce a lot of trust in our government.

On the vaccination issue, my own wife is an MD (U of California) and a biology PhD (Stanford) and she does have some concerns about vaccinations. She did her PhD work at Stanford in immunology, so her concerns would not seem to be groundless.

She has generally decided to have our kids go through the normal vaccination routine, although she tends to be cautious about the newest vaccines (for obvious reasons, I, as a physicist, defer to her judgment on this).

Talking with her does not lead me to think that the whole vaccination issue is open and shut on either side. This appears to be an issue on which reasonable people differ.

At any rate, here in California the issue is largely moot. Parents can choose to opt out of vaccinations if they wish – some do, most do not.

Surely, that is the “American way” – let people choose. I don’t see why Ron Paul’s exact views on this question matter as long as he agrees that the final decisions lie with the parents. To use an analogy, I don’t really care what his exact views are on drinking alcoholic beverages, as long as he opposes both drunk driving and Prohibition: drunk drivers endanger innocent people’s lives and Prohibition endangered their liberties. Beyond that, let individuals decide.

Dave
1.5.2008 3:23am
David M. Nieporent (www):
So...all in all, Lincoln avoided spending $3 billion to free the slaves by a method that ended up costing the Union easily 4 times that amount. And that does not even consider the costs to the Confederate states. When the costs to the Confederacy are included, the total amount spent by both sides was probably over $15 billion (in 1861 dollars).
First, your own source doesn't even support your numbers. You've doubled the Union cost, and then you've just added in arbitrary numbers that were already included. And then you confuse costs and expenditures. (Moreover, I see no reason to consider costs incurred by the South in the analysis. The South chose to incur those costs in defense of their evil system.)

Yes, the seven states of the Deep South seceded before Lincoln took office. So what?
"So what" is that obviously Lincoln couldn't have prevented war by any actions he took as president if the war started before he even became president.
There is nothing in the Constitution that forbade states from seceding.
Actually, there is. There are numerous provisions that do so. The claim that states had the legal right to secede is frivolous. I would say that it's evidence of George Orwell's assertion that there are some theories so stupid that only an intellectual could believe in them, except that I don't think anybody believes the claim in good faith.

Even if one ignores the fact that the states had given up any independence when they entered into the Articles of Confederation (and even if one ignores that most states of the Confederacy were never independent and so couldn't have "retained" any right to regain independence) and that the Constitution was formed specifically to strengthen the country in the form of a "more perfect union," there is, of course, Article VI:

2. This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

Making people take an oath to support the constitution pretty much precludes them seceding from it. And making the constitution the supreme law of the land regardless of the laws or constitutions of any state pretty much precludes states from seceding. And there are numerous other provisions of the Constitution which illustrate that states can't secede:

* Article I, Section 8: Congress can provide for a militia to execute the laws of the union and suppress insurrections. Which is exactly what the federal government was doing.

* Article I, Section 10: States can't enter into treaties, coin money, or do any of the other things characteristic of sovereigns. Nor can they keep troops or a navy without the consent of Congress. To suggest they can take up arms against Congress when they can't even keep troops without Congress's consent is a little odd.

* Article II: the president is commander in chief of state militias, and he is required to take care that the laws of the U.S. be faithfully executed; pretty hard to do that if states can simply declare that the laws no longer apply.

* Article III, Section 3: defines treason as making war against the U.S. I'd say that calling forth armed forces and surrounding and besieging a federal military installation would qualify as making war against it. Which is what South Carolina did. (If Fidel Castro's government ringed our base at Guantanamo Bay with armed troops and demanded that the base be surrendered immediately, I guarantee you we and every other country would deem that an act of war.)

* Article IV section 4: requires -- not authorizes -- the federal government to guarantee each state a republican form of government. If a state could, say, declare itself a monarchy and then secede, the federal government would have a hard time fulfilling this requirement.

That's just a few of the provisions that illustrate no "right" of secession.
1.5.2008 8:48am
David M. Nieporent (www):
The states seceded. Then the Union essentially abandonded many forts in the secession states that could not be defended. Fort Sumter was the last of those forts...but Lincoln (irrationally and foolishly) decided to try to hold that fort. Of course, it couldn't be held (it's in the middle of a harbor, surrounded by shore batteries...most at higher elevation). So the Union lost it...without a single Union death during the battle!
It's hard to see the relevance of any of this. The decision to retreat or not retreat from a particular military confrontation has no legal standing. If a gang of armed men rushes into a bank building and points their guns at the guard and forces him to drop his weapon, that doesn't convert the situation from a robbery to a withdrawal. Many times, the victim of a crime can avoid violence by giving in -- but that doesn't mean that there's something wrong with him choosing to resist.


Let's stop here. You claim to be a libertarian, David. That's fine. I consider myself one; I'm sure Dave considers himself one, also. Well, the first principle of libertarianism is non-aggression. Secession is not an act of aggression. Also, there is nothing in the Constitution that says can't secede. So how does libertarianism support Lincoln's actions during the Civil War?
First, the southern states, acting in defense of slavery, had no right to exist at all -- let alone to secede -- from a libertarian perspective. If slaves were allowed to vote, votes to secede would have failed in many of the southern states, so they had no democratic right to secede either.

Secession is an act of aggression. (Try going over to your neighbor's yard, grabbing a piece of it, pointing a gun at him, and telling him that it's now yours. The fact that you didn't fire the gun doesn't change that, and if he attacks you in response, he's not the aggressor; you are.) Attacking American military forts is an act of aggression. Holding slaves is an act of aggression.

Look, there's an anarchist argument that secession isn't an act of aggression -- if government has no standing, no right to exist, then obviously it has no right to impose its will on you and you can legitimately leave it whenever you want. But the problem with that is that during the Civil War it was governments that seceded, not individuals; if government has no standing, then the Confederacy had no right to exist either. Once you accept, as the majority of libertarians do, the legitimacy of government (at least a minimal one), then unilateral secession ceases to be legitimate.

What in your version of libertarianism justifies Sherman's march to Atlanta? To my version of libertarianism, that is no different than a husband savagely beating his wife, and saying, "See? This is what will happen every time you try to leave me."
To my version of libertarianism, it's more like shooting said wife-beating husband in the head. Maybe it's a shame that the guy died, but not much of one. I certainly don't think many libertarians would have a problem with that, if there was no other obvious way to get him to stop.

Lincoln should have simply told the secession states, "There is nothing in the Constitution that forbids you from seceding. But there is also nothing in the Constitution that requires the Union of the United States to return slaves to foreign countries. So unless the U.S. (Union) Congress orders me to do otherwise, henceforth no escaped slaves will be returned under the Fugitive Slave Clause of the Constitution. But also, I am requesting that Congress and the Union states pass a Constitutional amendment allowing Congress to pay slaveowners a reasonable price for their slaves' freedom, and abolishing slavery."
Well, I could see why an extreme pacifist would find that superior to the course Lincoln chose; I can't see why a libertarian would. If you're walking down the street and you see a group of thugs accosting an elderly woman for her purse, do you say, "There's no law which requires me to interfere, but there's also no law which requires me to assist you. So unless the city council passes a law telling me to assist you, henceforth, if this woman escapes and runs away, I'll block the sidewalk so you can't chase her. But also, I'm going to request that the city council give me money to try to bribe you to stop assaulting this woman."


And again, I want to reiterate: the idea that the south was going to abolish slavery is wishful thinking at best, complete historical ignorance at worst. That's illustrated by the fact that most of the southern states did not even allow slaveowners to free their slaves. You completely fail to address this point. Your solution would have avoided war -- but it would have done nothing about slavery.

(No, your claim that failing to enforce the fugitive slave act would have defeated slavery does not help. Even if emancipation over a span of decades was preferable to war -- and I don't see why it is -- there's no reason to believe it would have worked. (Else, how did slavery survive in Texas, which shared a border with a free-soil country?))
1.5.2008 9:05am
David M. Nieporent (www):
PhysicistDave:
To claim that Lincoln was truly in favor of liberating black slaves, you’d have to explain why he went to court in the late 1840s to force an escaped slave family back into slavery (fortunately, Lincoln lost). I’ll provide links if you’re interested.
I know the case. The Matson case.

Maybe he changed his mind on the issue after 1847. (That doesn't seem to be the case in the case of Lincoln, but I'm just trying to point out that "He did such-and-such once, so how can you say that he believed something else years later" is not a compelling form of argument.)

Maybe he deliberately threw the case. (As you note, he lost, and several biographers have presented evidence that he did not put forth a strong case.)

Maybe he took the case because he desperately needed the money, and then decided his duty to his client outweighed his personal views. (There's some evidence he tried to get out of the case, but couldn't.)

Maybe -- as is consistent with all of his statements and actions throughout his career -- he hated slavery but believed strongly in the rule of law, and felt that until slavery was legally abolished, laws which (arguably) supported slavery were entitled to the same respect as all other laws.

Your statement makes it sound like you don't believe that Lincoln was anti-slavery; that's inconsistent with the entire historical record. (And as I noted, clearly his opponents, and the South generally, believed him to be an abolitionist.) Indeed, you've seized upon essentially the only fact in his entire career where he acted inconsistently with that.



I have no doubt, by the way, that Lincoln "maneuvered" the South into firing the first shot -- indeed, I thought that was pretty much the conventional wisdom about Sumter -- but I don't see anything wrong with that. He didn't force them to fire that shot; he merely gave them the opportunity to do so -- but also the opportunity to back down. There's a big difference between refusing to initiate force and going out of one's way to make it unnecessary for the other side to do so.

And you lump this in with "lying," as in the Gulf of Tonkin, but those are not in the same category at all. (I don't see how you can definitively call the Maine a "lie", since there's still not a consensus on the cause of the Maine's sinking; there certainly wasn't at the time. But that's a complete tangent.) Lying is... well, dishonest. Giving someone enough rope to hang himself, and then watching him do so, is not.
1.5.2008 9:57am
Wayne Jarvis:

Ron Paul supports a weak federal government. Naturally he is going to attract those that have a irrational and paranoid distrust of government. So yes, Ron Pauls ideas are "attractive" to conspiracy theorists. That's hardly a surprise.
But again: so what?
The Beatles music was "attractive" to the Manson Family.
Q.E.D. The Beatles are dangerous.
There is no reason to believe that Beatles share the wishes of the Manson Family for "helter skelter," a race war. I think it is not only some of his followers that "have an irrational and paranoid distrust of government," I think he too arguably has "an irrational and paranoid distrust of government." And when a physician who graduated from Duke an completed a good residency talks junk science (multiple vaccinations "overwhelming" children's immune systems), I wonder which of his follower's lunatic conspiracy thinking he may share with them.


Classic strawman. Let's start with a statement about the current method of vaccination being more risky than it needs to be. (And let's face it, children do occasionally get hurt and die after vaccinations, so let's not take the position that there is no possible way that the system can be improved). Now, let's equate that statement with a position that vaccines are bad. Now, let's point out that that idea is as stupid as 911 conspiracies.

This is all wet.
1.5.2008 11:38am
neurodoc:
<b>Wayne Jarvis</b>, you have my clear answer to your "So what" question about the significance of nutters being attracted to Paul in greater numbers than to other candidates.

As for the safety of the vaccines routinely administered to children in this country, I guess you did'nt read what <b>SenatorX</b> quoted above from a very recent New England Journal of Medicine article. <b>SenatorX</b> was supposed to come back with some support for the proposition that these vaccines are frankly unsafe or doubtfully safe. What he learned was:
<blockquote>...“<b>proper vaccination is vital for protecting people against infectious disease...over-vaccinating the population poses no health or safety concerns</b> – it may just be unnecessary under certain circumstances...we may want to consider adjusting some of our recommended vaccination schedules. Doing so may reduce the number of required shots that are administered each year in this country while at the same time help extend limited health care resources”...</blockquote>So, <i>possibly</i> too many shots given, but no safety concerns.

But it is a waste of time to argue with those who will answer, "Those authorities you appeal to have long been exposed as incompetent and corrupt. Corrupt because the members are compromised by lobby groups and promises of lucrative jobs in the private sector. How naive are you?"
1.5.2008 12:21pm
neurodoc:
For more on the "so what," look at Ron Paul on "Health Freedom," and ask yourself whether he would make us more or less healthy and safe where food and drugs are concerned.
I oppose legislation that increases the FDA‘s legal powers. FDA has consistently failed to protect the public from dangerous drugs, genetically modified foods, dangerous pesticides and other chemicals in the food supply. Meanwhile they waste public funds attacking safe, healthy foods and dietary supplements

I also opposed the Homeland Security Bill, H.R. 5005, which, in section 304, authorizes the forced vaccination of American citizens against small pox. The government should never have the power to require immunizations or vaccinations.
Does the FDA have just the right amount of legal power now, or would we be better off if the FDA had less legal power? If less, then what legal power should they be stripped and how would that serve the public's interest?

"...consistently failed to protect the public from dangerous drugs" - Surely, Paul doesn't believe that we would be safer from dangerous drugs without the FDA. So how exactly would he change the FDA to make it a more effective regulatory agency? (But he's fundamentally opposed to regulation, isn't he?)

"genetically modified foods" - whose health has been adversely affected by genetically modified foods? Can he or anyone else come forward with credible proof of actual health harms?

"dangerous pesticides and other chemicals in the food supply" - again, what exactly would he do about it. Wouldn't it be necessary to commit more $s, not fewer to ensure the safety of our food supply? Or does Dr. Paul have some way to give us more health protection with a reduced government and a substantially smaller outlay of $s?

Or is this all pandering to his followers?
1.5.2008 1:00pm
SenatorX (mail):
I easily showed clear and credible recent evidence that for decades people have been getting over vaccinated. The reason is people like you have been giving bad advice. It shows that you have been massively wrong on something as basic as length of effectiveness. Therefore a reasoning person can conclude that you and the official government recommendations have been based on either incompetent science or corruption (or both). Your personal credibility vouching for the institutions is zero.
1.5.2008 1:21pm
Wayne Jarvis:

Wayne Jarvis, you have my clear answer to your "So what" question about the significance of nutters being attracted to Paul in greater numbers than to other candidates



If that is seriously "all you've got," color me underwhelmed.

Cheers.
1.5.2008 2:15pm
PhysicistDave:
David,

Yes, I agree with you that it is the consensus among professional historians that Lincoln knew that resupplying Sumter meant war – unfortunately, most Americans are not informed about this consensus, which is why I mentioned it.

You mention that maybe he changed his mind on his horrific attempt to force a slave family back into servitude but add “That doesn't seem to be the case in the case of Lincoln…” Indeed.

You wrote:
>Your statement makes it sound like you don't believe that Lincoln was anti-slavery; that's inconsistent with the entire historical record. (And as I noted, clearly his opponents, and the South generally, believed him to be an abolitionist.)

Well.. some of Hillary’s opponents seem to think she is Stalin reincarnated (she’s not)! II know of no abolitionist who considered Lincoln an abolitionist – that his opponents tried to “smear” him with that term is irrelevant.

Yes, he opposed the institution of slavery for reasons he laid out quite clearly (“A house divided against itself…” etc.). No one disputes this. He was politically opposed to the slavocracy, he wanted to save the land out West for white folks, etc. But, as the Matson case, his open endorsement of the proposed Crittenden amendment in his First Inaugural, etc. made quite clear, actually getting rid of slavery for slaves who were then alive, was a very, very low priority for Lincoln, if it mattered to him at all.

Most importantly, that was emphatically not why he fought the War. I use the word “emphatically” precisely because he himself was indeed so emphatic on that point.

I understand that you yourself may understand this. But there have been some people here who seem to think that those of us who criticize Lincoln for his evil and unconstitutional acts during the Civil War must be supporters of slavery. To refute this libel, it is necessary for those of us who think Lincoln was the worst president the US has ever had to point out that Lincoln himself made quite clear that he was not fighting the War to extinguish slavery.

I still think that the fundamental difference between you and me on this, as I have mentioned above, is a basic issue of ethics. While I would think better of Lincoln if he had been fighting to extinguish slavery rather than merely sacrificing hundreds of thousand of human lives to save a non-viable political confederation, I would still disagree with him. I do not think it justified to do evil that good may come of it.

I honestly do not see how any libertarian can think otherwise. To justify Lincoln on the ground that the ends justified the means (assuming, contrary to history, that he had had admirable goals), would also be to justify conscription, taxation, the Patriot Act, the War in Iraq, etc. if and when the ends happened to justify those means. That means no longer being libertarian.

And, indeed, that is what has happened to a lot of libertarians, even some “anarchists” (!), who are apologists for Lincoln. They have ended up becoming neoconservatives of a slightly libertarian flavor.

I think they are behaving quite logically, if wrongly. Anyone who admires Abe Lincoln should be a huge fan of George Bush – after all, Bush liberated far more people than Lincoln did at a much smaller cost in human lives and in American liberty (the Patriot Act, Bush’s tinkering with habeas corpus, etc. are trivial compared to Lincoln’s attacks on civil liberties).

The Lincoln issue was a harbinger of the dramatic split that has occurred in the libertarian movement over Bush, the War in Iraq, etc.

I think that split is an altogether good thing. It has resulted in a wonderful clarification as to where some “libertarians” really stand. I do not wish to stand with them. They are my political opponents, just as I politically oppose Hillary, Giuliani, etc. (That some of these “libertarians” are supporters of Giuliani really tells the whole story!)

Dave
1.5.2008 4:43pm
PhysicistDave:
neurodoc,

Thanks to your comments on the FDA, it’s finally coming out that your basic disagreement with Ron Paul is not over details having to do with vaccination but with basic attitudes relating to individual rights.

I think that anyone who uses Laetrile to cure cancer is probably a deluded fool. I am sure homeopathy is utter nonsense. But I respect the right of my fellow citizens to pursue courses of action that are utter nonsense because of my respect for individual liberty.

For that reason, yes, I oppose any attempt by the FDA to prevent people from getting and using any “medicine” they wish, even if I know that that medicine is quite worthless.

I believe Ron Paul agrees with me.

You don’t.

You are entitled to your opinion.

But, if you are logical (and I think you are), you will extend the same reasoning to medical marijuana, to “recreational” drugs, etc.

I myself doubt that marijuana really has important medical uses, I am opposed to people’s using of “recreational” drugs (cocaine, pot, etc.), etc. However, again, I think that should be their decision. I do not want this decided by the government.

Again, Dr. Paul agrees with me. You, I imagine, don’t.

We’re not looking at medical disagreements here: we are talking about a fundamental disagreement in our ethical views. Ron Paul and I have ethical views that you do not share.

That’s fine. It is always good to clarify where people stand.

Dave
1.5.2008 4:54pm
neurodoc:
PhysicistDave, I think "recreational" drugs are the domain of the Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement agencies, not the Food and Drug Administration. I don't know if Paul wants to eliminate the DEA or radically change its mission, but I was addressing myself to scientific/medical issues within the FDA's purview, e.g., vaccines, genetically modified foods (along with Department of Agriculture), etc.

I take it you believe those with terminal illness should have access to any therapies that are out there, approved or unapproved. That too isn't so much a scientific/medical issue as a "philosophical" or "political," and I'm not engaging with it here. (I do wonder how such access would be limited to the terminally ill. We can see that "medical" marijuana has not been limited to those with conditions that arguably might benefit from the use of marijuana.)

[After talking about Laetrile, a bogus treatment for cancer, you go on, "For that reason, yes, I oppose any attempt by the FDA to prevent people from getting and using any 'medicine” they wish, even if I know that that medicine is quite worthless." I assume that only pertains to those with terminal illnesses. Am I wrong, you (and Paul?) mean that the FDA should perform no vetting function and no power to prohibit the marketing of unsafe and/or ineffective medicines?]

About the scientific/medical issues - what specific concerns does your wife have regarding the recommended childhood vaccines? ("...she does have some concerns about vaccinations. She did her PhD work at Stanford in immunology, so her concerns would not seem to be groundless") Does she share Paul's concern that children's immune systems are being "overwhelmed" by same day administation of multiple vaccines? Have your children had all the recommended vaccines according to the standard schedule (DTaP, MMR, Hib, polio, Varivax, Pneumovac, etc)? If not, why did your wife chose to go against all the expert advice on this subject?

BTW, can your wife tell you (and us) of any new treatment in the past 25+ year that has yielded a health benefit to children approaching that which the Hib vaccine has given them?

"We’re not looking at medical disagreements here: we are talking about a fundamental disagreement in our ethical views. Ron Paul and I have ethical views that you do not share." You have it backwards, since I haven't stated any "ethical views," at least nothing I would count as such, only "medical" ones, and you can only guess at my "ethical views."
1.6.2008 12:00am
PhysicistDave:
neurodoc,

You wrote to me:
> After talking about Laetrile, a bogus treatment for cancer, you go on, "For that reason, yes, I oppose any attempt by the FDA to prevent people from getting and using any 'medicine” they wish, even if I know that that medicine is quite worthless." I assume that only pertains to those with terminal illnesses.

No, not at all. Your assumption is completely mistaken.

I mean for any illness, terminal or not, or even if they are not ill at all.

I think that attempts by the federal government to limit any right of self-medication are clearly unconstitutional, not mandated by the text of the Constitution, and therefore prohibited by the Tenth Amendment.

However, aside from any Constitutional argument, I think that it is deeply and profoundly unethical for me, or anyone else, to forcibly prevent other adults from using drugs of their choice. for medical or recreational purposes, as they may wish. In particular, I am morally opposed to the majority, or their elected representatives, using the force of law to prevent adults from medicating themselves as they wish.

I do not think I am making a wild leap in concluding from your comments that you do not share my ethical view on this. It’s interesting that you have trouble seeing that I and Dr. Paul, and anyone I would call a libertarian, do have an ethical stand on this that differs from your own.

Incidentally, for much of the history of the United States, my view in fact prevailed. During the early Republic, the feds did not tell Americans how they could medicate themselves.

You also wrote:
>You have it backwards, since I haven't stated any "ethical views," at least nothing I would count as such, only "medical" ones, and you can only guess at my "ethical views."

Oh, I don’t think so. I certainly do not know your ethical views on everything. But your comments have made abundantly clear that you do not agree with the ethical views I and Dr. Paul hold on people’s moral right to make certain decisions without governmental interference.

I know you do not see that as an ethical issue. Dr. Paul and I do. That means that you do not share our ethical position.

I’m not going to answer your points on vaccines, because my whole point is that the answers do not matter. From my ethical perspective, it is morally wrong (and, indeed, is contrary to California law) to deny parents the right to make such decisions. You seem to disagree with that ethical position.

Fine. That is your right.

But, oh yes, you and I do most certainly and clearly disagree on some very basic points of ethics.

It’s really funny that you seem to resent my pointing out our ethical disagreement! I'm kind of enjoying the irony here -- it bugs you that you and I disagree and to have this fact pointed out.

Dave
1.6.2008 12:44am
PhysicistDave:
neurodoc,

Two points I neglected to mention.

First, you wrote:
> I think "recreational" drugs are the domain of the Drug Enforcement Agency and other law enforcement agencies, not the Food and Drug Administration.

I trust you can now see that I do not think that the DEA has a legitimate function, that it is in fact an unlawful organization under the terms of the Constitution, and that recreational drugs are not properly part of its “domain.”

This is of course an ethical opinion, no doubt one more ethical point on which you and I disagree.

Second, you wrote:
>I take it you believe those with terminal illness should have access to any therapies that are out there, approved or unapproved. [snip] (I do wonder how such access would be limited to the terminally ill.)

I trust you now understand that you mistook my position. For ethical reasons, I do not in any way limit my views on the right to self-medicate to those with terminal illnesses, and I am frankly glad that access indeed “cannot be limited to the terminally ill.”

Did you not know that there are millions of Americans, generally referred to as “libertarians,” who share the ethical views I have enunciated here? This fact has been widely discussed for many years in the MSM, not to mention all over the Web!

I am not surprised that you have different ethical views. I am surprised that you seem amazed that there are people who hold the ethical views I have enunciated.

Dave
1.6.2008 1:01am
neurodoc:
PhysicistDave: I’m not going to answer your points on vaccines, because my whole point is that the answers do not matter.
Why did you tell us that your wife, an MD (UofC)/PhD (Stanford, immunology) [any clinical training as a physician beyond medical school?] had some unspecified concerns about vaccine policy? I thought, mistakenly it now seems, that you wanted to engage about the relevant science/medicine, and you were going to bringing forward your wife to testify as a suitably qualified expert here.

You and those of like-mind can bandy about among you the science-free (and uninformed) "ideologic" to your hearts' content. (And it doesn't all follow from F=ma, either.)

Caio.
1.6.2008 1:53am
PhysicistDave:
neurodoc,

You do have a sense of humor after all! But I am glad that you do remember something from frosh physics.

You wrote:
>I thought, mistakenly it now seems, that you wanted to engage about the relevant science/medicine…

Well, you do seem good at making mistaken assumptions with regard to me! I stated very clearly in my initial comment on the topic of vaccines that I consider the medical issue “largely moot” because I hold to the position that people should be allowed to decide this for themselves – that’s the central ethical point on which you and I disagree.

I’ve known all along that you did not wish to engage on that issue.

That’s fine.

But it does surprise me that you chose not to notice my central point, that I have reiterated again and again, that I consider the medical issue “largely moot.”

Unfortunately, you want people to just take for granted your ethical view, that the state can impose the "right" policy on people who disagree with that policy, without anyone’s expressing any dissent from your ethical view. You seem to consider blindly agreeing to your ethical view to be "science" and any expression of dissent from your view to be “science-free (and uninformed) ‘ideologic’ .”

I'm afraid that some of us are not willing to just blindly accept your ethical and political position without discussion.

To be blunt, your attitude is what gives “science” a bad name among the public and causes many of our fellow citizens to suspect that “science” is simply a cloak covering an unlimited will to power over other people: for too many people who invoke the authority of “science,” that is exactly what it is. I’m afraid you’re not the only person of scientific background I know who does indeed try to use “science” as justification for denying individual freedom of choice.

You asked:
>Why did you tell us that your wife, an MD (UofC)/PhD (Stanford, immunology) [any clinical training as a physician beyond medical school?] had some unspecified concerns about vaccine policy?

I did not say that she had concerns about “vaccine policy.” I don’t know that she does.

I said she had some doubts about vaccines. That is a rather different matter. I don’t think there should be an official vaccine “policy.” I think there should be individual choice.

Again, that’s my central point and the point on which you and I have an ethical disagreement.

I mentioned my wife because you seemed to me to be implying that only fools and ignoramuses had any qualms about vaccines at all. That is not the case; my wife illustrates that fact.

I would remind you that the article which gave birth to this thread was about Presidential politics. I know you want to talk about scientific/medical issues. I don’t. My posts were addressed to the relevant political and ethical issues. You deride such discussion as “science-free (and uninformed) ‘ideologic’ .”

Well, if you do wish to discuss scientific issues but not political issues, it is rather odd that you chose to post on this blog.

You know, some important issues are indeed “science free.” As interested as I am in science, I am also interested in things that have little to do with science, such as politics, foreign affairs, etc., all that stuff you deride as “science-free (and uninformed) ‘ideologic’ .” To quote somebody, there is stuff in human life besides “F = ma .”

You disagree with me.

Cool.

I think it probably makes sense that, given your ethical views, you are not supporting Ron Paul.

I don’t think you’re the kind of guy who would be an asset to any political campaign, given your disdain for anything that is “science free.”

And, I take it, you no longer dispute the fact that you and I do have serious ethical disagreements.

See, mutual understanding can be achieved!

Dave
1.6.2008 2:49am