Common Sense 118 - Which Evil do You Prefer?

Entitled Crazy Alien Mutant Whigs (Dan, where do you get these titles?) and with a nod to Alexis de Tocqueville (Democracy in America) Dan once again quotes from a very good article. Written by Sriram Khe it asks the question "what is the previous year truly relevant to this one?" His suggestion? Not 1968 or 1964. No, it's 1979:

If ever there was a competition for which year since World War II will qualify for the title of Annus Horribilis, 1979 could be a leading candidate. First, a list of some of the events from that year:

Jan. 16: The shah of Iran flees the country, and goes into exile.

Feb. 1: Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returns to Iran, and is warmly welcomed by millions of Iranians.

April 4: Former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is hanged in Pakistan.

July 3: President Jimmy Carter signs a directive to support the opponents of the pro-Soviet government of Afghanistan.

July 16: Saddam Hussein becomes the president of Iraq.

Nov. 4: Americans in the U.S. embassy in Tehran are taken hostage.

Dec. 25: The Soviet Union begins to deploy troops in Afghanistan.

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I had to repost it. Good points, good article. Not so for the article from William Kristol, a New York Times OpEd piece entitled Dyspepsia on the Right from which the following quote was highlighted:
"It’s not easy to rally a comfortable and commercial people to assume the responsibilities of a great power."
Kristol fashions himself as a Neoconservative, but I prefer the label that actually describes the political positions he favors. He is a Fascist. The statement above has all the flavor of something Goebbels might have said in the time leading up to WWII. If we follow people like Kristol to where they want to go, we will be the bad guys the terrorists have tried to paint us to be.

Dan draws a parallel between the phrasing above, and Britain during it's empire phase, saying that it's false. "The strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." (Thucydides) is, in fact, closer to a true observation of the events unfolding around us (there isn't much difference between an imperial monarchy and a fascist dictatorship) and that it would at least have been a wash, politically, if we had not gotten involved in the Middle East in the first place.

Which is what this is all about. Kristol's piece is all about how the Republicans must rally behind McCain because he is truly the "lessor of two evils". That supporting someone dedicated to victory in the Middle East is better than allowing someone admitting defeat to gain office. Khe's piece is no more and no less a list of the evils we have brought about through our involvement in the Middle East.

Is securing the supply of oil from the region really worth the cost it has inflicted? Don't kid yourselves people, that is what our involvement has always been about (Common Sense 115 goes into this) and in the end, all those millions of dollars, and all those thousands of lives have bought nothing more than that. How do you define victory in a war against a tactic? (terrorism, similar to a point made by Dan way back in episode 61) and is it worth the price? If a change in policy yields more funds to find alternatives to oil, and consequently deprives Middle Eastern regimes of their number one funding source, how is that not also victory?



A brief nod to the last part of the show, talking about the fat police and recent findings in a study of socialized health systems in Europe. The future of American health care is something that I've voiced my opinion on in the past. In a recent Dutch study, it's been shown that people who are healthy actually cost the socialized systems more than people who eat, drink and smoke to excess; because the people who live unhealthy lives die early and cost the system less.

So, get out of my face, fat police. I want my burger and fries now.



I'm going to end where Dan began. Defining where all of us misfits stand politically. We know we aren't left or Democrat, or right and Republican. But that doesn't mean that we are Martians or Whigs. What it means is that two parties (actually, it's one party with two heads, one fascist, one socialist. Choose one if you dare) and a left - right political spectrum doesn't begin to describe the varieties of views that are possible.

There is a reason that the Advocates call their booths Operation Politically Homeless; and there is reason why David Nolan created the Nolan Chart, and that wasn't just because he wanted to promote the Libertarian Party. His reason is probably similar to my reason for promoting the Advocate's World's Smallest Political Quiz whenever I get the chance. I do it because, in order to change people's views of the world, you have to change their philosophy. The most basic principal in today's (erroneous) political philosophy is that there are two sides to an argument, and those two sides can be adequately expressed as right and wrong or left and right.

I see it all the time in poll questions. Do you favor or oppose expanding government involvement in the health care system? Those sorts of questions exclude a broad range of viable alternatives; including my favorite, getting the government the hell out of the health care system. But the false left - right dichotomy forces people to choose the lessor of two evils, more government health care (it's actually the greater of two evils, but that's an error in perception relating to the popularly held belief that we have a free market health care system now. We don't) and couches all the arguments that follow within that frame of reference.

I'm not saying that all political misfits are libertarian (the anarchists who claim ownership of the label would have massive coronaries at the prospect of having to expand libertarianism to that extent) what I'm saying is that we as a people really need to acknowledge the fact that the political system, and the philosophy that governs it, is completely out of touch with reality; and needs to be revamped or replaced. And the place to start the process is defining where we stand politically, so that we can see who we are standing next to, and what our leaders are really asking for. If you don't know that, everything that follows is simply so much hot air.

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