1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14185/carlin-and-mises-on-imperialism/

Carlin and Mises on Imperialism

October 8, 2010 by

George Carlin in 1991:

We enjoy war. And one reason we enjoy it is that we’re good at it. You know why we’re good at it? Because we get a lot of practice. This country is only 200 years old, and already we’ve had ten major wars. We average a major war every twenty years, so we’re good at it!

And it’s just as well we are, because we’re not very good at anything else. Can’t build a decent car anymore. Can’t make a TV set, a cell phone, or a VCR. Got no steel industry left. No textiles. Can’t educate our young people. Can’t get health care to our old people. But we can bomb the *** outta your country, all right. We can bomb the *** outta your country!

Especially if your country is full of brown people. Oh, we like that, don’t we? That’s our hobby now. But it’s also our new job in the world: bombing brown people. Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Libya. You got some brown people in your country? Tell ‘em to watch the *** out, or we’ll goddamn bomb them! Well, who were the last white people you can remember that we bombed? In fact, can you remember any white people we ever bombed? The Germans! That’s it! Those are the only ones. And that was only because they were tryin’ to cut in on our action.

Carlin was on to something…

Ludwig von Mises in Nation, State, and Economy (1919)

These imperialistic doctrines are common to all peoples today. Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Americans who marched off to fight imperialism are no less imperialistic than the Germans. Of course, their imperialism differed from the German variety before November 1918 in one important point. While the other nations brought their imperialistic efforts to bear only against the peoples of the tropics and subtropics and treated the peoples of the white race in conformity with the principles of modern democracy, the Germans, precisely because of their position in the polyglot territories in Europe, directed their imperialistic policy against European peoples also. The great colonial powers have held fast to the democratic-pacifistic nationality principle in Europe and America and have practiced imperialism only against the African and Asiatic peoples. They have therefore not come into conflict with the nationality principle of the white peoples, as has the German people, which even in Europe has sought to practice imperialism everywhere.

{ 23 comments }

North October 8, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Cool comparison but missed an f bomb in the editing :-) ***

J. Grayson Lilburne October 8, 2010 at 1:26 pm

Got it, thanks.

Matt C. October 9, 2010 at 9:46 am

And we must all act like children — covering words up with asterisks, as if we didn’t know what they concealed. Anyone old enough to appreciate the academic economics presented here should not be so superstitious.

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

I think you are just trying to cover up your small vocabulary:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0ee4wqZvf8

Kevin B October 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

Here’s the link if anyone wants to watch this George Carlin clip on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDkhzHQO7jY#t=2m6s

Rick October 8, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I miss George Carlin.

The_Orlonater October 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Haven’t libertarians been a little uneasy with this passage?:

And it’s just as well we are, because we’re not very good at anything else. Can’t build a decent car anymore. Can’t make a TV set, a cell phone, or a VCR. Got no steel industry left. No textiles. Can’t educate our young people. Can’t get health care to our old people.

Tristan Band October 8, 2010 at 2:25 pm

I haven’t. It’s true. Acknowledging these facts doesn’t mean we accept government as the solution.

Franklin October 8, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Not really, since it’s more left-leaning claptrap.
And meaningless. Who’s “we” in all that? The TV doesn’t make its way to my doorstep without a lot of folks’ hands, domestic and foreign, in the supply chain.
Carlin was famous for being a foul-mouthed wise-ass who didn’t have the sense to stay off hard drugs. Like so many 60s so-called counter-culturalists, he had an opportunity to expose the whole system, and I mean the “whole system.” But he didn’t. He was just another sell-out, another establishment liberal who thought the role of government was to sing kumbaya and hand out free money.
Had to sit through the self-serving media nonsense, during his passing, of what a genius he was, a pioneer in first amendment rights. Such superficial analysis.
He was so brilliant that he couldn’t utter a sentence without profanity, and couldn’t fathom that, guns or butter, government’s heavy hand is never friendly.
But on the other hand, college chums and I, a long time ago, did get a laugh out of, “Did you ever notice that your own farts smell okay?”

Russ the Apostate October 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Hear, hear! Carlin in highly overrated. He was basically just another leftist.

J. Murray October 9, 2010 at 8:13 am
Fephisto October 8, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Who’s in charge of the education? Who placed the steel tariffs? Who levies the taxes? Who places the regulations? Etc., etc..

(Who’s the one building the bombs?)

J. Murray October 9, 2010 at 8:12 am

To be fair, the US Government is the reason the United States can’t do that stuff anymore. We honestly should be able to produce a television or cellphone with a dozen people working the entire factory.

D. Saul Weiner October 10, 2010 at 8:43 am

Also, to the extent that the U.S. lags in these areas due to the state siphoning off too much of its technical talent to arms development and related tasks, then it should not be seen as contrary to libertarian thinking.

Dennis October 8, 2010 at 2:32 pm

With the greatest respect to Ludwig von Mises, I believe that he omitted England’s imperialistic treatment of the Irish, and to a lesser extent of the Scots and Welch. Also, when they decided to press an advantage, the Russians were imperialistic in their treatment of other eastern European ethnic groups. Moreover, I believe the word imperialistic is an accurate description of the foreign policy of Napoleonic France towards a sustantial portion of Europe.

J. Grayson Lilburne October 8, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Dennis,
I think he was referring to the “age of liberalism” after the Napoleonic Wars and before WWI (roughly the Victorian era).

Greg October 8, 2010 at 3:10 pm

To play Devil’s Advocate…

It seems like a small sample size to limit the analysis to such a short period of time (historically speaking). It doesn’t seem like you would be able to draw any worthwhile conclusions from so little data. It’s like saying that on Tuesday, I ran into a lot of beautiful women. You could conclude that I died and went to heaven, but that is probably not true. I have no idea what Mises was even trying to say.

North October 8, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I don’t know, I think it’s an interesting time period.

I have too much history to catch up on but prior to the Napoleonic revolutions it seemed that “native” Europeans were being oppressed but the ruling classes from afar (the Vikings in the case of Normandy and the Germans in the case of France etc.). Since then they’ve been oppressing “natives” abroad (Native Americans and when that well dried up they expanded off shore to the tropics etc.)

To give a fair criticism or confirmation I still have a lot of history to catch up on but I think it’s an interesting perspective (great way to frame some of the reading I’m doing now).

Plus I got to use the word “f bomb” in a productive manner, which is always fun :-)

Dennis Sperduto October 8, 2010 at 3:42 pm

Grayson,

I would agree with you on the timetable referred to by Mises, and that would exempt Napoleonic France from the discussion. However, England and Russia remain suspect. Regarding Russia, a major cause of WWI arguably was the confrontation between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Czarist Russia over “control” of the Balkans.

Dennis October 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Grayson,
I would agree with you on the timetable referred to by Mises, and that would exempt Napoleonic France from the discussion. However, England and Russia remain suspect. Regarding Russia, a significant cause of WWI arguably was the confrontation between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Czarist Russia over “control” of the Balkans.

P.T. Bull October 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm

Its hard for me to get excited about carlin one way or the other. He had some funny bits, no big deal one way or the other. I will mention my favorite carlin line from his tv show. He is riding in a cab and a foreign cab driver is getting lost. Carlin starts in on him, and the cab driver responds: “In my country, I was doctor.” Carlin shoots back: “In your country, I could have been a doctor.”

A systematic or libertarian thinker? I think thats reading way too much into a lifetime of comedy.

Mrhuh October 8, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Was Carlin really that leftist? Sure wasn’t a fan of organized religion, but he also wasn’t fan of environmentalism and the nanny state either.

Franklin October 8, 2010 at 4:45 pm

I recall his comments against the enviros and the consumption fascists so that’s a good point.
But he would rail now and then about the rich, diatribes of how golf courses should be appropriated and given to the poor so they have homes…. His anti-state crusades were inconsistent, and his libertarianism was pin-pointed in favor of his pet peeves, which I guess really makes it not libertarianism at all.

Franklin October 8, 2010 at 5:02 pm

By the way, for all the philosophy scholars on this site, more than once he’d employ the famous Proudhon quote, “Property is theft,” but without philosophical context, begging a syllogistic disconnect since, when unqualified, theft implies ownership of the subject by some one. But I s’pose the three-worded phrase seemed to empower George to pooh-pooh on the country club crowd with faux intellectualism.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: