Sunday, October 28, 2007

Global warming religion and the Peace Prize

Global warming religion is that form of public faith that is common among those too cool for Christianity but too human to have faith in nothing. Only superficially related to animsm, Global warming religion is closer to a search-and-replace on Protestant Christianity, focusing on

  • Sins - CO2 emitting activities

  • Tribulation - climate change, as a result of Sins

  • Salvation of Man - to occur after the Tribulation

  • Personal Salvation - to be done through turning the heart from Sins, even if Sins do not cease


The fetishism around Al Gore ads a messianic tone to the movement, as is the case for many cults.

Soob takes a pot shot at the Prophet by noting how Irene Sendler did more, but the real shame is that if the Nobel Peace Prize committee wanted to do name a former Clinton administration official, they couldn't have done better than: Bill Clinton.

NAFTA and the WTO were two of the three most important trade organizations formed in the 1990s, and both were created under Bill Clinton.

But Al's cool too. Who else will help me save myself while the costs of sins lead us to the tribulation? Oh, to hurry the day for the salvation of man!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day

In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands, which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


The Longest Serving of All American Flags


We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain Inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Read more ...

06:30 Posted in Natural Liberty | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Free Trade with South Korea!

South Korea and U.S. reach free trade agreement. Associated Press. April 1, 2007. Available online: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2007/04/02/asia/AS-FIN-SKorea-US-Free-Trade.php.

Despite intense skepticism, the United States and South Korea reached an agreement on a future free trade deal. If ratified by both countries, the deal will be the largest in Korean history and the larges for America since NAFTA. Besides the obvious economic gains, this deal has very good strategic implications, as well.


The Greater Korean Republic


A South Korea - American free trade agreement would two pillars of the core, East Asia and North America, closer together. It will be the second major free trade agreement under the Bush Administration (the first being the Central American Free Trade Agreement). Further, South Korea is greatly admired in China for being an oriental state that modernized without losing its traditional, Asian characteristics. Further connecting South Korea to America demonstrates to potentially warry Chinese that ever-increasing globalization between a Western and Oriental country can allow both to get materially richer without getting culturally worse.

Of course, stumbling blocks can still be thrown up. While most South Koreans support increased openness, left-wing factions linked to North Korean racist-isolationism have already held violation demonstrations. And in our own country, Democratic hostility to orientals is as typical of the rear-end of that party as is Republican hostility to latinos.

Definite props to President Bush for pushing things this far. Let's hope that the Democratic Congress passes the South Korea Free Trade Agreement as quickly as possible.

Update: One Free Korea has more.

Update 2: Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog analyzes the deal in the context of ASEAN.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Gap (Friends and Enemies)

"Gallimaufry I," by Stephen F. DeAngelis, Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 9 June 2006, http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/06/gallimaufry_i.html (from Connecting in Conversation).

Steve DeAngelis quotes Tom Friedman and references Tom Barnett, deftly tying the world's greatest globalization pundits together:

Harry Truman's great achievement, argued Mr. Beinart, was persuading his party and the country "that anti-Communism was a liberal principle, not just a conservative one, and that Democrats had their own strategy to deal with it — a strategy that included powerful international institutions like NATO, which made American power legitimate abroad, and civil rights, which made America a better country at home." Democrats need to do the same today. That means, he said, building institutions that can intervene in failed states, offering their own strategies for confronting the jihadists, and dealing honestly and decently with prisoners in this murky war. [Emphasis added]


One of those institutions would be Tom Barnett's System Administrator Force, whose primary purpose is to aid failed states or secure the peace in post-conflict situations. Even more important than institutions, however, is the establishment of an approach that can be used to help coordinate the activities of extant institutions. As I have often written, we believe that Development-in-a-Box with its standards-based foundation and flexible framework is such an approach.


Tom Barnett has two strategies for Shrinking the Gap: the A-Z Ruleset for Invading and Repairing States and Globalization Itself for Lifting Poor Countries Up.

Building the System Administration force is definitely part of this. Sadly, too many in Congress oppose shrinking the Gap. This comes from both the left, such as the Democratic Party's opposition to free trade with Central America, and the right, such as the Republican Party's opposition to immigration.

We have a lot of work to do. But it's worth doing.

Shrink the Gap!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Bloggers, Mexico, and Productions Posibility Curves

In response to my posts in favor of uniting the Continent , Drawing North America and James Madison Wants Union with Mexico, my blogfriend Chirol from Coming Anarchy expressed the fears of many when he commented:

Little ole East Germany has already dragged the western part down (and still does). The whole of Mexico would ruin us.


In other words, because America is rich and Mexico is poor, economic union would be a disaster.

The opposite is true, as can be seen with an
example from the blogosphere....

Read more ...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Shrinking the Gap with Allies (Capitalism and Democracy)

"The Wave Theory of Core and Gap," by David, The Glittering Eye, 28 March 2006, http://theglitteringeye.com/?p=1870 (from ZenPundit).

"When the Chinese were our friends...," by Tom Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 4 April 2006, http://www.thomaspmbarnett.com/weblog/archives2/003131.html.

"In Pictures: French Protests," BBC News, 4 April 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/4876616.stm.

In the Second World War, China was our ally:

china_first_to_connect


In this global war on terrorism, she is again.

Read more ...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Apartheid and Integration in Contemporary America

"Bordering on the Insane," by Kathryn Lopez, National Review Online, 21 March 2006, http://www.nationalreview.com/lopez/lopez200603211638.asp.

"The social reinvention that’s possible through successful immigration: a tale of two cities," by Tom Barnett, Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog, 22 March 2006,

"Clinton Vows to Block Bill Criminalizing Illegal Immigrants," by Beth Fouhy, AP Political Wire, 22 March 2006, http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/ny-bc-ny--clinton-immigrati0322mar22,0,1122337,print.story?coll=ny-region-apnewyork (from NRO's The Corner).

"Adopted in China , Seeing an Identity in America," by Lynette Clemetson, New York Times, 23 March 2006, http://www.nytimescom/2006/03/23/national/23adopt.html.

"In Reversal, Graduate School Applications from Foreigners Rise," by Alan Finder, New York Times, 23 March 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/23/education/23apply.html.

"Seeking Friends in Senate, China Tries Charm," by Joseph Kahn, New York Times, 23 March 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/23/business/worldbusiness/23china.html

"A Vision, Bruised and Dented," by David Brooks, New York Times, 23 March 2006, pg A27.

"Disconnected Black Youth Plight Worsens," by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune, 23 March 2006, http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2006/03/disconnected_black_youth_pligh.html.

"U.K.: Court Upholds School's Ban on Muslim Gown," RadioFreeEurope / RadioLiberty, 23 March 2006, http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/03/22127a5d-527f-4127-9539-072dca0130a3.html

"Harry Reid's America," by Bill First, VOLPAC, 23 March 2006, http://www.volpac.org/index.cfm?FuseAction=Blogs.View&Blog_id=230 (from NRO's The Corner).

"Hillary the Hawk: The Democrats' Athena Only Differs from Bush in the Details," by Justin Raimondo, The American Conservative, 27 March 2006, http://www.amconmag.com/2006/2006_03_27/cover.html.

While Asians, Mexicans, Christians, and Democrats encourage assimilation in American society and Global commerce, Republicans and blacks conspire to build a new apartheid.

Read more ...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Local Government And Democracy

"Everything is Meaningless [Chapter 1:3,8-11]," attributed to King Solomon, The Book of Ecclesiastes, circa 300 BC, http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes%201:3,8-11;&version=31;.

"The Utility of the Union as a Safeguard Against Domestic Faction and Insurrection (continued) [The Federalist No. 10]," by James Madison, New York Packet, 23 November 1787, http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa10.htm.

"Environmental Influences on Democracy: Aridity, Warfare, and a Reversal of the Causal Arrow," by Manus Midlarsky, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 39, No. 2. (Jun., 1995), pp. 224-262, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022-0027%28199506%2939%3A2%3C224%3AEIODAW%3E2.0.CO%3B2-2 (from tdaxp).

"Local Government and Democratic Political Development," by Henry Teune, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 540, Local Governance around the World. (Jul., 1995), pp. 11-23, http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0002-7162%28199507%29540%3C11%3ALGADPD%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V.

"Democracy and openDemocracy," by Isabel Hilton and Anthony Barnett, openDemocracy, 12 October 2005, http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-opening/barnett_hilton_2792.jsp.

"Dangerously Naive," by Mark Schulman, American Future, 18 October 2005, http://americanfuture.net/?p=637.

"Agitating for a Hermetically Sealed "Democracy"," by Mark Safranski, Zen Pundit, 18 October 2005, http://zenpundit.blogspot.com/2005/10/agitating-for-hermetically-sealed.html.

"Debating our debate," by Anthony Barnett, oD Today, 23 October 2005, http://opendemocracy.typepad.com/wsf/2005/10/debating_our_de.html.

What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?

...

All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there anything of which one can say,
"Look! This is something new"?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.

Ecclesiastes 1:3,8-11


In spite of my occasionally griping about the leftist, closed-minded, economically dubious, and intellectually redundant nature of the University, sometimes it is useful for blogging. Consider the evolution of a debate on globalization and democracy. Hilton and Barnett of the Sorosistically named openDemocracy journal first attack the idea that globalization helps democracy:

The end of the cold war in 1989 opened the way for the extension of democratic government to many countries around the world. Now, terrorism, fundamentalism and the imposition of the neo-liberal form of globalisation threaten to halt and even reverse this process. Democracy is under attack from without, and, even more insidiously, from within.

...

The way in which globalisation has undermined peoples’ belief in democratic self-government is familiar. This is the age of democracy, yet the democratic claim of universal equality of worth is mocked by the intensification of global inequalities that marked the end of the 20th century.

The reach of multinational corporations; the influence of a few powerful states and of opaque international financial institutions; the weakness of the United Nations as a force for positive government; the remoteness of the governance of the European Union; the mendacity, cynicism and populism of the global media; the awesome threats of climate change – all combine to undermine the citizens’ faith in the efficacy of democratic government.

Globalisation as part of the everyday experience of life has been part of human history since the16th century, when the marketplace that was the Netherlands stretched to the Spice Islands of what we now call southeast Asia. Historically it has sharpened differences rather than creating homogeneity. The development of markets across the world and the separation of law from the state permitted hideous exploitation under colonial empires, but also laid the groundwork for independence and national democratic constitutions.


Sadly, Schulman has no true response to these claims. He accuses Barnett and Hilton of blaming America first. He does accuse them of selective reporting of evidence, and the best he throws is mentioning that the anti-War protests are put on by some bad people.

No mention is made of the anti-democratic organizers of these demonstrations: ANSWER and the British Socialist Workers Party. Nor is mention made of the absence of demonstrations against the tyrants of our day.


Barnett seems to grant Schulman's concrete criticisms...

As for the leadership of the anti-war demonstrations, I agree.


...because they do not effect his major point: globalization is bad for democracy.

Mark from ZenPundit joins in by defending globalization's effects on liberty, but let's the claim that globalization attacks democracy go uncontested:

I have to add that there is a definite incongruity between advocating political freedom to make choices in terms of one's government while wanting to preclude or restrict the economic freedom to make choices in every other area of one's life - work, lifestyle, access to information, travel, religion and culture. Denying people the latter ultimately makes a mockery of the former; a farmer chained in perpetuity behind his water buffalo by the state casts a ballot only to decide which hand is going to hold the whip over his head.

" In the general course of human nature, A power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will. "


What's interesting is that the original article makes two claims, globalization hurts democracy and lack of local power hurts democracy, that have been discussed for decades. On inequality and the origins of democracy, Manus Midlarsky writes:

Although the impact of land inequality on democracy was discovered independently, this relationship is consistent with that implied in Wittfogel's work. He emphasized the contrast between early modern Europe and despotic hydraulic civilization. As Wittfogel (1957) put it,

In late feudal and postfeudal Europe the state recognized a system of inheritance for the landed nobles which favored one son at the expense of all others. And in the modern Western world the state by and large permitted the individual to dispose over his property at will. The hydraulic state gave no equivalent freedom of decision either to holders of mobile property or to the landowners. Its laws of inheritance insiseted upon a more or less equal division of the deceased estate, and thereby upon a periodic fragmentation of property. (pp 84-85).


Thus, as a result of continual subdivision, a basic land inequality was prevented from emerging in hydraulic society. A nobility with large holdings and, in consequence, an independent power base to challenge despotic authorities could not come into being, in contrast to the Northern European experience.


Midlarsky then goes on to cite some conflicting literature. To sum up, Barnett and Hilton are oversimplifying a complex subject.

Ditto for the words on local control and democracy. Barnett and Hilton essentially echo Teuene from 1995:

The linkage between local government and democracy is based on the proposition that political participation if meaningful insofar as it deals with the familiar, a tenet of the Federalist Papers. Another aspect of tis argument is that the incentives for participation are stronger locally than nationally in that visible consequence are more visible and immediate on the local level. There are two supporting propositions for this part of the argument: the larger the political unit, the longer it takes to form a democratic political coalitions; and the larger the unit, the greater the diversity of eeh groups and individuals required for compromise, the less likely decisive action will be taken at all, frustrating the collective aspirations of the many."


Here, the refutation is more than two hundred years old

The other point of difference is, the greater number of citizens and extent of territory which may be brought within the compass of republican than of democratic government; and it is this circumstance principally which renders factious combinations less to be dreaded in the former than in the latter. The smaller the society, the fewer probably will be the distinct parties and interests composing it; the fewer the distinct parties and interests, the more frequently will a majority be found of the same party; and the smaller the number of individuals composing a majority, and the smaller the compass within which they are placed, the more easily will they concert and execute their plans of oppression. Extend the sphere, and you take in a greater variety of parties and interests; you make it less probable that a majority of the whole will have a common motive to invade the rights of other citizens; or if such a common motive exists, it will be more difficult for all who feel it to discover their own strength, and to act in unison with each other. Besides other impediments, it may be remarked that, where there is a consciousness of unjust or dishonorable purposes, communication is always checked by distrust in proportion to the number whose concurrence is necessary.

Hence, it clearly appears, that the same advantage which a republic has over a democracy, in controlling the effects of faction, is enjoyed by a large over a small republic,--is enjoyed by the Union over the States composing it. Does the advantage consist in the substitution of representatives whose enlightened views and virtuous sentiments render them superior to local prejudices and schemes of injustice? It will not be denied that the representation of the Union will be most likely to possess these requisite endowments. Does it consist in the greater security afforded by a greater variety of parties, against the event of any one party being able to outnumber and oppress the rest? In an equal degree does the increased variety of parties comprised within the Union, increase this security. Does it, in fine, consist in the greater obstacles opposed to the concert and accomplishment of the secret wishes of an unjust and interested majority? Here, again, the extent of the Union gives it the most palpable advantage.


So to correct Mr. Schulman, Barnett and Hilton aren't anti-American: only anti-Federalist. (Of course, those arguments have been made before, too).

As some man of old said, there is nothing new under the Sun. Or something like that.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

French-Style Protectionism Comes to America (and soon the world?)

"A New Threat to America Inc.," by Jeffrey Garten, Business Week, 25 July 2005, pg 114, http://businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_30/b3944123.htm.

France and the rest of "Old Europe" have rightly been criticized for trying to export burdens on the rising states of central Europe. From the old Iron Curtain to the borders of Russia herself, the central European states have lowered taxes, lightened regulations, and enjoyed strong growth. But this was not good news to the French and the Eurocrats, who saw a pro-growth economy as "unfair." France's solution has been to try to force New Europe to have higher taxes and more regulation. After all, if the French suffer because of bad French decisions, why shouldn't everyone?

Former Clinton appointee and Yale Professor Jeff Garten believes America should act like the French

The rise of these new multinationals will force Corporate America to rethink strategies for Third World product development, marketing, and links with local companies. But growth of these new rivals should also compel Washington and other Western governments to revamp today's inadequate hodgepodge of global commerce rules. The reason: Western companies could be disadvantaged by having to adhere to more stringent economic and social standards than the competition [sic -- tdaxp], because of their tougher [he means "less competitive" -- tdaxp] home-country laws and expectations.

There is a huge gap in the international framework for such standards. The World Trade Organization deals with governments but not with companies. The Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development has established a code of conduct for multinationals, but compliance is voluntary and pertains only to its members -- mostly from rich countries.

For example, all companies should be held to international accounting standards, including financial disclosure and transparency [so much for competition! -- tdaxp]. There should be accepted corporate-governance rules, including protections for minority shareholders. The requirements for listing on major stock exchanges should be more rigorous and uniform. And all global companies -- including those from the West -- should disclose their labor conditions and the impact they have on the environment using a common, audited format. None of this has yet happened.

As long as American multinationals ruled the global roost, Washington resisted most formal rules for international business on the grounds they would constrain U.S. outfits such as IBM (IBM ) and Coca-Cola Co. (KO ) But the challenge from emerging-market companies signals that the dominance of big U.S. and European corporations is no longer assured . Uncle Sam should take the lead in efforts to build a new global commercial order -- while the U.S. still has the clout.


In other words, Garten thinks America should export rules, not import freedom; government dictates, not peer-to-peer agreements.

The French would be proud.

Friday, July 08, 2005

South Dakota v. Cuong Nguyen

"Teen gets 7 years for selling drugs," Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 8 July 2005, http://argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050708/NEWS/507080314/1001.

 

More on South Dakota's love of freedom.

A Sioux Falls teenager accused of selling drugs to other students is going to prison.

 

A Minnehaha County judge Thursday sentenced Cuong Nguyen, 18, of 237 N. Cliff Ave. to seven years, with an additional eight years suspended.

 

Nguyen was a senior at Washington High School when he was arrested this spring. Police said he was a major drug supplier for local youths.

 

Nguyen pleaded guilty May 5 to possession of a controlled substance and possession of more than 1 pound of marijuana with intent to distribute.

 

Police said that he, another adult and two juveniles were caught with marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and Ecstasy.  Aaron McGowan of the Minnehaha County state's attorney's office said he was pleased with the sentence.

 

"It's tough to send an 18-year-old to the penitentiary [link -- tdaxp], but it was appropriate in a case like this when you have such large quantities of drugs and distribution going on in this community," he said.

 

Your people should've stayed in Vietnam, Cuong.  Your radical belief in buying and selling is foreign to this neck of the woods.  In South Dakota, the government knows what is best for you.

 

Liberty can be misused, so South Dakota ruins lives and bans it.

 

No word on this from the South Dakota right or left blogs yet.

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