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Re: AP [was: Re: Kiddie porn on the Internet] [NOISE]
I agree with Bill, AP sounds like a very good club for the Exon types
to beat us with.
Jim's latest comments sounded no different to me than the mealy mouthed
"understanding" messages that Sinn Fein publish about the IRA. Given
the opportunity to condem any attack on the President under AP rules
we get a non commital non-condemnation. Its the type of thing that Gerry
Adams says after his men have just killed two kids with a bomb in a litterbin
outside a MacDonalds.
Ideology is a powerful political weapon. It simplifies complex political
issues and generates momentum allowing political change. Unfortunately
it also creates bad government as ideology persued for the sake of ideology.
Ideology does not debate, it acts.
When Marxism was created in the latter half of the 19th century it had
many usefull effects. In particular it definitely assisted the transition
from monarchy to democracy by creating a widespread belief that the
existing situation was unstable. By the end of the first world war however
this energy had largely served whatever purpose it would, at least in
Europe if not in other parts of the world. Unfortunately a very large number
of people had failed to realise that it was an ideology whose time had come
and gone. The industrial and political situation it addressed no longer
existed. The major left wing movements by that time were socialism and
liberalism, both of which rejected the Marxist extreeme.
As the Marxist idealogues got frustrated by their evident lack of progress
they turned to terrorism. The Bader Minehof gang believed that they could
spark the revolution by jolting society out of its complacency. Their
strategy was remarkably like AP. If the heads of large corporations were
likely to be assasinated then noone would want to lead a large firm. In
fact as any person with counter terrorism experience will tell you the
threat of death is remarkably ineffective as a means of intimidation. It
creates the opposite effect, strengthening the resolve of the target. I
discussed this point recently with someone close to Mossad who agreed.
Terrorism is becomming an increasing concern. The amount of damage an
individual can cause is much greater than that possible in the past. There
are plenty of exhausted ideologies about which can be fashioned into
a justification of murder. Jim's post shows very clearly how Libertarianism
can be converted into a justification for terrorism. Its a very short gap
between being opposed to government and actively fighting against it.
I see libertarianism as the exhausted remnant of the mercantilism of the
1980s. As constructed it recognises only those rights which favour the
privileged in society and none of those which benefit the ecconomically
disadvantaged. Politically it reached its peak influence almost a decade
ago when Regan and Thatcher were at their zenith. The '94 congress will
probably be seen as the turning point in the political tide with the mainstream
of politics moving back to the left again. There will always be people arround
who conclude that the failure was not being close enough to the ideology.
If the libertarians are not carefull they will be inexorably linked in the public mind
with the terrorists who act in their name.