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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/16766/bin-laden-and-civilization-suicide/

Bin Laden and Civilization-Suicide

May 3, 2011 by

Mises wrote, “No foreign aggressor can destroy capitalist civilization if it does not destroy itself.”

This implies that the sole way a foreign aggressor can contribute toward capitalist civilization’s destruction is to goad it into destroying itself.

That was what Osama Bin Laden was trying to do all along. And the war party (along with its enablers at the Fed) has been playing right into his hands. Even now that Bin Laden is dead, they have given every indication that they will continue to do so.

From the Washington Post:

Did Osama bin Laden win? No. Did he succeed? Well, America is still standing, and he isn’t. So why, when I called Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a counterterrorism expert who specializes in al-Qaeda, did he tell me that “bin Laden has been enormously successful”? There’s no caliphate. There’s no sweeping sharia law. Didn’t we win this one in a clean knockout?

Apparently not. Bin Laden, according to Gartenstein-Ross, had a strategy that we never bothered to understand, and thus that we never bothered to defend against. What he really wanted to do — and, more to the point, what he thought he could do — was bankrupt the United States of America. [...]

The campaign taught bin Laden a lot. For one thing, superpowers fall because their economies crumble, not because they’re beaten on the battlefield. For another, superpowers are so allergic to losing that they’ll bankrupt themselves trying to conquer a mass of rocks and sand. This was bin Laden’s plan for the United States, too.

{ 88 comments }

jeff May 3, 2011 at 3:05 pm

sounds like bin Laden has about 535 operatives in the United States Congress

giibert May 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm

very true Jeff. They just don’t know it; with a few exceptions…

tlpalmer May 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Are we sure they don’t know it? That would be assuming that most members of congress are very stupid.

Dave Albin May 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm

No, they are that clueless, sad to say…..

Sean May 3, 2011 at 8:44 pm

That Congress members are stupid is an a priori truth which makes cognition of government action possible.

Jo-Ann Calm May 4, 2011 at 12:08 am

YES! Naive’ is most likely the word… they have an agenda… so does GOD… silly men!

jacob champness May 3, 2011 at 5:13 pm

534

J. Murray May 3, 2011 at 3:11 pm

The sad part about this is it isn’t a well kept secret. This strategy has been in writing, and out in public, well before 9/11. It was even in the list of excuses behind taking credit for the attacks.

Tyrone Dell May 3, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Yeah, I came here to say the same thing. I thought that his strategy was blindingly obvious.

Bruce Koerber May 4, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Here Is Why Osama Bin Laden Was Unarmed!

Osama Bin Laden had no fear of becoming a martyr and so why should he arm himself or even defend himself?

Ten years and trillions of dollars wasted and millions of people around the world driven to hate what America stands for – Bin Laden was glad to die for that. Exhausted and morally bankrupt soldiers, separated from their homeland and their families and friends, and many dead or injured U.S soldiers sent to fight unconstitutional wars – Bin Laden was glad to die for that.

According to the unConstitutional coup in the United States this execution of Osama Bin Laden was a victory! United States is bankrupt and all the crazed nationalistic celebrating by the propagandized citizens only serves to encourage the imperialists and their foolish politician puppets to expand the wars even more!

Is the stupidity of the economic terrorists of the unConstitutional coup so monumental that they, indeed, make Osama Bin Laden a martyr – by fulfilling every goal of undermining America that Bin Laden had, and that he clearly stated?

Country Thinker May 3, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Hah! In my upcoming novel The Eagle Has Crashed, I have a character describe the War on Terror as “the Cold War in reverse.” You pretty much summed it up in real time, Mr. Sanchez!

Ned Netterville May 3, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Righto, Mr. Sanchez. But he also expressly stated that in response to his actions, the US government would deprive its citizens of much of their liberty. (Did I hear a gurgling voice shout, “Bingo!”)

jacob c May 3, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Not that this is a capitalist civilization, mind you…

Dave R. May 3, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Give the man a cigar… Indeed, Jacob, indeed.

Danny Sanchez May 3, 2011 at 11:26 pm

As Mises wrote, there are only two conceivable systems for the social division of labor: capitalism and socialism. And while socialism is conceivable, it is inherently impossible. Therefore, insofar as we have a social division of labor (and we’d most of us be dead if we did not) we still have a capitalist civilization.

jacob c May 4, 2011 at 12:01 am

Note that I do agree with the larger premise of your post, but I must object that this really is not a capitalist civilization. I wish it were, but it’s not. It seems to me that that’s an important position to maintain as leftists and statists of various stripes level complaints about the alleged failings of capitalism.

As for the deduction that this must be capitalism since socialism is impossible and here we are, I believe it’s widely understood (http://www.thefreemanonline.org/featured/why-socialism-is-impossible for example) that what Mises meant was that socialism is unsustainable on its own (i.e. without proximity to functioning markets to work out price levels). It clearly is possible for socialism to exist for some period under some circumstances in the sense that the Soviet Union existed for 7 decades.

Why is it important to you to assert that we do have a capitalist civilization?

Danny Sanchez May 4, 2011 at 1:29 am

“Socialism” with surrounding markets is not truly socialism. And severely hampered capitalism is still capitalism. Those aspects that hamper capitalism are not part of the system of the social division of labor. Read this Mises Daily I wrote on the topic: http://bit.ly/e0PPK6

Insofar as there is any production coordination whatsoever in the economy, it is because of the capitalism that we still have. And the capitalism we still have is the only thing that merits being called a production “system”. Insofar as you are daily clothed and fed by a production process that rings the globe, stretches across years, and passes through the hands of millions of complete strangers, it is because of capitalism.

“I wish it were, but it’s not. It seems to me that that’s an important position to maintain as leftists and statists of various stripes level complaints about the alleged failings of capitalism.”

“Why is it important to you to assert that we do have a capitalist civilization?”

Because I’m more interested in Misesian science than anti-leftist talking points.

jacob c May 4, 2011 at 1:44 am

Fair points.

Scott Lazarowitz May 4, 2011 at 6:14 am

This is actually a communist country.

Does private property really exist anywhere here? No, the State is the ultimate owner of everything, from the entire territory and all the real estate that exists within, to every parcel of property, to all material property — our cars, washing machines, everything — to all contracts which are under the complete scrutiny of government bureaucrats, all labor within the territory, and, most of all, our very persons.

The State is the total owner of all means of production, wealth and property in America. A truly communist society if there ever was one.

Danny Sanchez May 4, 2011 at 6:55 am

@ Scott,
Okay, sure, communism was able to produce the iPad, Pixar movies, Amazon.com, and gamma knife surgery. And communism maintains a hugely complex division of labor and capital structure that provides food, clothing, shelter, and innumerable comforts to millions of people on a daily basis. Let’s abandon the scientific analysis of Ludwig von Mises for the the angry libertarian rhetoric of Scott Lazarowitz.

Steven May 3, 2011 at 5:31 pm

This will be no great surprise to anyone who took even the smallest amount of time to understand the aims of OBL and al Qaeda. For minimal material cost and a moderate expenditure of people, they have destroyed much more than a couple of buildings and 2000 lives. The true damage they inflicted is in what they caused the USA and to a lesser extent all western nations to do in response. Apart from the war which has cost billions (trillions?) and many tens of thousands of lives US, Iraqi, Afghan and many others, a constant reminder of OBL´s legacy is clearly seen every time you pass through security at an airport when you encounter the tip of the iceberg of a nonproductive security industry imposed upon taxpayers worldwide.

Dave Albin May 3, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Weird. I just make similar comments in response to a post over at Mr. Tucker’s post from a couple days ago…….

Daniel May 3, 2011 at 10:50 pm

You were his inspiration

Isn’t that flattering?

Steven May 4, 2011 at 1:51 am

Spooky, almost like ESP

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 5:48 pm

This makes no sense. No sense whatsoever. This claim made here is spectacularly wrong in so many ways, I not sure where to begin. Let me see, where to begin:

* Afghanistan is not rock and sand. Just google “Mining in Afghanistan”
* Danny just made the self-contradictory claim that ‘no foreign aggressor can destroy capitalist civilization’ and then went on to say that ‘a foreign aggressor actually did’.
* Defenders of the free world are not war parties. The parties for submission which Osama used to head definitely are. Both sides have weapons so you cannot determine their role by just looking at them.
* Those 535 members of Congress who certain people here have called ‘Bin Laden’s operatives’ are the part of the only political process known to exist in the world that upholds the liberty of all individuals. So much protection for freedom does that process afford, that people can actually make outlandish claims like ‘sounds like bin Laden has about 535 operatives in the United States Congress’ without any fear.
* If killing Osama was playing into his hands, he would have made himself easily available for that purpose instead of hiding after his crime, like the coward criminal that he was. I know of only one man whose enemies played right into his hands by having himself killed and his name is not Osama.

Anthony May 3, 2011 at 7:13 pm

“the only political process known to exist in the world that upholds the liberty of all individuals”

Except suspected terrorists, of course… it’s ok if we lock those individuals up for life without trial.

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 7:17 pm

@Anthony
You are so close to defending terrorists. Uncomfortably close.

Yes, in a less than ideal world we all acquiesce to the lesser evil. The present system is good, but not perfect.

The limitations of the nation state named USA are the limitations inherent in classical liberalism which forms its basis.

That is the best there is for now.

Sam Argull May 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm

@ Abhilash, I am in full agreement with much of what you said, and partial agreement with the rest. On the 534 congressional stooges for Osama, I took most of those statements to be tongue in cheek, not serious accusations. Most of the 534 have earned our scorn and ridicule by many years of lying to us, stealing from us, and rewarding their friends and sponsors with funds taken from us. They are part of the freest political system in the world, but in my lifetime they have not been particularly concerned or active in protecting individual liberty, or defending our free market civilization.

J Chancey May 3, 2011 at 7:15 pm

To answer your points:
1. The potential value of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth is irrelevent here. The point is to goad the US into fighting a series of unwinnable wars which will drain its treasury and cause the government to engage in the common practice of reducing freedoms because of the “crisis” of the war. Note these wars are “unwinnable” not because the us military cannot defeat the taliban, but because the stratagy that US policy requires (nation-building) is one that can never succeed without the co-operation of the enemy.
2. No one is claiming that that Osama or anyone else actually destroyed American civilization, the point is that a free nation can only lose its freedoms by its own foolishness, not because of any foreign agrressor conquering it.
3. Any party that promotes war is a “war party” regardless of thier aims. Both US political parties are “war parties” in that sense, and also in the narrower sense of promoting agressive war against foreign nations that are no threat to the US militarilly. All states profit from war and are inherently inclinded towards it, as it increases fear among the population and allows the state to increase its own domestic power. The “free world” does not need self-appointed defenders that do more harm to freedom than its avowed enemies. A truly free nation is capable of defending itself without a standing army or other state apparatus.
4. The US federal government is certainly not the only political process that claims to uphold the liberty of all its citizens or the only “democratic” government on earth. Its record in actually upholding the liberty of anyone but its own operatives is best illustrated by the fact that the US prison population is the largest in the world. The “War on Drugs” alone is a greater crime against humanity than everything Al-Queda and Osama bin Laden have ever done. As to being free to make outlandish critisisms of the government, we are lucky to still have that freedom but it is a legacy of a better past and its time too will come if things continue on thier current path.
5. Again, no one claimed that killing Osama was playing into his hands. What is playing into his hands is foriegn wars, the PATRIOT act, imprisonment without due process or access to the courts, printing and spending so much money that the dollar becomes worthless, etc.
The US government, like all states, is a criminal enterprise. So is Al-Queda and any other orgaization that uses force to get its way. Glorifying one because it managed to kill the leader of another (after spending trillions of dollars and thousands of lives) is pointless.

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 7:58 pm

I will counter that
1. Why do I always get someone tell me that the point is completely different from the one mentioned in the main blog entry? Yes rock and sand was mentioned. Meaning Afghan lands have little or no commercial value
2. Yes, Danny mentions playing right into Osama’s hands. You are wrong. I will concede that free nations can lose its freedom from foolishness. It is the expression of such foolishness that I am criticizing here.
3. The term “war party” was used in a derogatory sense, totally insensitive to the defensive nature of the war being fought by the US government. May states that facilitate liberty profit from wars. I am ok with that. It is the profits of liberty. The better ways of facilitating liberty are so far not visibile in the real world. They are all just neat ideas on paper. And the defenders of the free world are not self-appointed by the way. There is a process they undergo.
4. The US Federal government has the most consistent record in upholding liberties anywhere in the world not withstanding The war of drugs and the Patriot Act. Perhaps you do not know what it is like to live long periods of time in other countries.
5. Danny did imply that. It is obvious if you read his post.

Now for the last nugget.

The US government is a criminal enterprise!? Right. The government that is committed to defending your liberties is a criminal organization. The government that lived up to its commitment by killing the leader of a real criminal organization is criminal. Glorifying that government for living up to its obligations becomes glorification of criminals. You don’t say? It is pointless to glorify the glorify the US government. It is pointless to glorify the one government that protects our liberties. Protecting our liberties must be a what makes glorying them pointless.

You are the same breed of dogmatic anti-statists that would criticize any and all actions committed by state actors while hypocritically indulging in the benefits that the same state provides. You will criticize the US government for not capturing Osama Bin Laden and then you will criticize the same government for capturing him. If there was a trial, it would be criticizing it too. After all it is performed by a criminal enterprise. It is all a matter of how you spin the story.

When I think of people losing their freedoms from their own foolishness, people like you come first to mind. Just throw reason to the wind and assume your defacto pro-Osama position.

J Chancey May 3, 2011 at 8:56 pm

Just to clarify my position, I did not critisize the killing of OBL, I’m glad he’s dead. It would be much better if a private enforcement company had killed him on behalf of his victims, but we’re all better off without him around.
That being said, Osama was not as much of a threat to my personal liberty as is the US government. I could spend my entire life and not even see an Al-Queda inspired terrorist, while I cant even drive to work in the morning without the very real fear of the state’s enforcers arresting me for not having a license, or insurance, or smoking pot, or whatever else they decide is “illegal” and killing me if I resist. Somehow that doesnt fit with the idea of “protecting my liberties”.
I realize that I am better off living in America as opposed to most of the other nations in the world, but that does not excuse the fact that as Americans we were once much more free than we are now, and the people responsible for that loss of freedom are the leaders of the government.

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm

Back in the real world, private firms do not exist yet that have the resources to hunt down and kill Osama Bin Laden. And if you think the capacity to drive planes into buildings or bomb buildings when within your home country is a lesser threat to your liberty than being caught for driving without a license, then I will say you are deluded.

Costard May 3, 2011 at 10:47 pm

In my opinion this is a fair response. One set of unsubstantiated assertions deserves another.

But you would do well to remember that, in 1776, slavery was the lesser two evils. In 1861, it was the greater. Liberty is not sacrificed; it is mortgaged. Your children will be forced either to pay for it — or to live in a country that is not truly theirs.

Josh S May 3, 2011 at 9:58 pm

1. By your logic, the war with Japan was unwinnable, and we should have capitulated immediately. After all, they didn’t seem interested in cooperating. Neither did the Germans, for that matter. Turns out that winning a war requires, well…generals who know how to win wars.

2. The claim that a free nation cannot be conquered is absurd on its face, as Alexander’s conquest (and genocide) of the free Thebans showed. Is not understanding military history a prerequisite for being an anarchist?

3. You people talk about the necessity of national defense as though the Wehrmacht and the Red Army were not things that actually existed, or didn’t steamroll weaker countries. Perhaps we don’t need much of a standing army now, but to claim that a standing army is not and never will be needed is disproved by, you know, history.

4. Putting someone in jail for selling a harmless drug is bad, yes. But no, it’s not nearly as bad as mutilating a woman’s genitals. Black people and religious minorities might disagree that the history of the United States is one of naked deprivation of the rights of all except its own “operatives.”

5. No argument on the spending blowout playing into Osama’s hands. But really, they should rename this site “rothbard.org,” because Mises wasn’t an anarchist.

J Chancey May 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm

When speaking of unwinnable wars, I was contrasting a war like WWII with modern wars such as Vietnam, Iraq, Afganistan. The war against Japan and Germany was winnable because our objective was to defeat them militarilly and kill thier leaders. That is something that can be done without thier co-operation and it was successful on those terms. What makes a war unwinnable is when the objective is no longer a military victory, but forcing a group of people who do not share your values to act as if they do.
In the past it may have been possible for a better organized, larger force to destroy a nominally freer nation, but in modern times the vastly superior technology and productive capacity of free nations makes it impossible for an enemy to organize a force large enough to conquer them before they can respond.
Note that I refered to a “standing army” not a freely orgainized militia that any free nation could form if its borders where actually threatened by an invading force. And as a matter of fact, neither the Wehrmacht nor the Red Army actually threatened to or had the capacity to invade the US.
I did not say that all of US history was one of depriving peoples rights, only that that is the direction that we are currently moving. There have been and continue to be many instances where the US government is better than an alternative, but that does not excuse the fact that a people who were once a symbol of liberty for all the nations of the world are now systematiclly violating human rights both at home and abroad.
As to drug prohibition vs genital mutilation, both are evil. In a one-to-one case genital mutilation is worse, but drug prohibition has created much more harm simply because it is so common.

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 8:36 am

You are doing a trick here. Maybe you are tricking yourself. You categorize the wars that have already been won as winnable wars, but given that the wars are already won, you can give any reason for that including, there never was any real risk to begin with. You have done that.

Then you take the one war that was not won (Vietnam) and categorize on going wars with it, talk about what these wars have in common with each other, ignore what these wars do not have in common with each other and ignore what these ongoing wars have in common with wars that where won.

Now I will tell you why the US government can get away with violating many of your rights. It is because you have no where else to go. The USA is still the best alternative. Other governments grant their citizens even lesser rights. The more liberties people outside the US enjoy, the more pressured the US government feels in upholding your rights. Liberty in the US is not too different from liberty elsewhere.

Anarcho-libertarian May 3, 2011 at 10:22 pm

“Danny just made the self-contradictory claim that ‘no foreign aggressor can destroy capitalist civilization’ and then went on to say that ‘a foreign aggressor actually did’.”

It no contradiction unless you cut off the ending “if it does not destroy itself.” Wes Messamore put it another way:

“[Killing bin Laden] sent a loud message to the world: Mess with the U.S. and we’ll bankrupt ourselves trying to find a few dozen men. So if you’re the kind of terrorist comfortable with suicide missions and want to bring down the U.S. economy, please come on over and attack us again. As an added bonus, we’ll trample on our own citizens’ civil liberties, humiliate and sexually assault them in airports, and completely ignore our own Constitution, so you’ll have effectively destroyed our freedoms AND our prosperity.”

A better idea: http://youtu.be/u_JEVhtwuU8

Danny Sanchez May 4, 2011 at 12:54 am

“This makes no sense. No sense whatsoever. This claim made here is spectacularly wrong in so many ways, I not sure where to begin. Let me see, where to begin:”

Abhilash,
Your writing style in this thread is uncharacteristically strident and rambling (“no sense. No sense..” “where to begin… where to begin”), and you seem to be writing in a haste that is precluding you from accurately parsing other people’s sentences. Is this issue striking you at a somewhat emotional level?

“* Afghanistan is not rock and sand. Just google “Mining in Afghanistan””

First of all, don’t you find anything amusingly contradictory in that statement? Secondly, the point of the turn of phrase is not that it’s literally rock and sand. The point is that it’s a poor country. Or do you think Israel was literally a lake of milk and honey? Thirdly, do you really think whatever mineral wealth Afghanistan has has any significant bearing on why we would spend trillions of dollars and much blood to nation-build there?

* Danny just made the self-contradictory claim that ‘no foreign aggressor can destroy capitalist civilization’ and then went on to say that ‘a foreign aggressor actually did’.

Read the post again, more calmly and carefully this time. As A.L. said down-thread, “It is no contradiction unless you cut off the ending “if it does not destroy itself.”

* Defenders of the free world are not war parties. The parties for submission which Osama used to head definitely are. Both sides have weapons so you cannot determine their role by just looking at them.

I will not ridicule you for this, but, as long as you’ve been here, by now you should expect statements like this to elicit ridicule on mises.org. What is astonishing is to Jim, to me, and probably to others is that by now you don’t realize how trite and banal that would sound to most Misesians, and that you just lay it out there without trying to explain why the well-known Austro-libertarian position on statements like this is wrong.

First of all, the whole point being made (which you fail to address here) is that capitalist civilization is bankrupting itself with these wars, and thereby destroying itself. That being the case, it is senseless jingoism to call the people at the business end of the self-destruction of civilization “defenders of the free world”. Whatever their intentions, if their actions contribute to the destruction of the free world, they can hardly be said to be defending it.

And nobody is saying that Bin Laden’s followers are not a “war party”, so I wonder why you would even feel the need to say that part. Probably the same reason you below said to Anthony, “You are so close to defending terrorists. Uncomfortably close.” Now that I will ridicule you for, because that is the height of pettiness and mendaciousness. This kind of Orwellian tactic is essentially what makes for what Tom Woods calls a “zombie” response. It has nothing to do with rational discourse; in fact it’s all about shutting discourse down. You’re trying to use gut-level emotional responses to smear the other person as “the enemy” or “a friend of the enemy”.

You are baffled that Jim would call you a “neocon”. You hilariously think that supporting a “liberal” president nullifies such a claim. But it’s this Orwellian foul play that makes you sound exactly like the neocons who since 9/11 have tried to shelter their drive to war from criticism with these kinds of smears.

The neocons time and again have essentially said: “Against the wars? Are you for the terrorists?” “Against waterboarding? Are you for the terrorists?”

And now Anthony, with eminent sensibility endorses such ideas as the rule of law, innocence until guilt is proven, and due process, and you have the gall to call that being “uncomfortably close to defending terrorists”. And you wonder why Jim calls you a neocon.

* Those 535 members of Congress who certain people here have called ‘Bin Laden’s operatives’ are the part of the only political process known to exist in the world that upholds the liberty of all individuals. So much protection for freedom does that process afford, that people can actually make outlandish claims like ‘sounds like bin Laden has about 535 operatives in the United States Congress’ without any fear.

We can be glad for whatever freedom we do have, and still recognize that Congressmen are in effect promoting the destruction of civilization by the general trend in their policies. This clash-of-civilizations, “it’s us vs. them, and that’s all there is to it”, Manicheanism of yours is tiresome.

* If killing Osama was playing into his hands, he would have made himself easily available for that purpose instead of hiding after his crime, like the coward criminal that he was. I know of only one man whose enemies played right into his hands by having himself killed and his name is not Osama.

With such haste do you apparently read, think, and write. The whole point is that Bin Laden wanted us to bankrupt ourselves, not that he wanted us to kill him. Making himself easily available for killing obviously would not have been conducive to us bankrupting ourselves.

Did it feel good to say “coward criminal”? Did a heady mix of righteousness and rage well up inside you when you wrote it? Did you mouth it as you typed it? Did spit fly out when you mouthed it?

Consider us all impressed that you dislike a man who murdered a lot of people. Now calm down, read and reflect more carefully, and drop the simple-minded jingoism and smear tactics.

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Your writing style in this thread is uncharacteristically strident and rambling

I was trying to be a bit strident. Criticizing people that killed Osama Bin Laden in the name of liberty is the lowest form in which anyone can exercise their liberty. Being harsh to people that practice liberty in such a manner is better.

The point of the turn of phrase is not that it’s literally rock and sand. The point is that it’s a poor country. Or do you think Israel was literally a lake of milk and honey?

It is not clear from the original post whether rock and sand was meant literally or not, that sort of ambiguity does not arise when it comes to lake of milk and honey. Superficially Afghanistan is rock and sand. There is room for literal interpretation and you cannot change that by arbitrarily declaring there isn’t.

Read the post again, more calmly and carefully this time. As A.L. said down-thread, “It is no contradiction unless you cut off the ending “if it does not destroy itself.”

Adding that does not remove the contradiction. If it is destroying itself, then foreign powers are not destroying it. At best they are taking advantage of an internal weakness. If it is not destroying itself then attempts to destroy it comes from outside. You cannot have it both ways.

First of all, the whole point being made (which you fail to address here) is that capitalist civilization is bankrupting itself with these wars, and thereby destroying itself.

I will address it directly now. The point is nonsensical. The capitalist civilization has the resources to fight and win wars against non-capitalistic civilizations. Their chances of success are greater than any others and when they win, capitalism spreads. Even Vietnam which won the military victory is embracing capitalism for nation building. There is no suicide, only enduring life and liberty.

That being the case, it is senseless jingoism to call the people at the business end of the self-destruction of civilization “defenders of the free world”.

That is why I do not call Osama Bin Laden “defender of the free world”. The US government can play that role. Maybe not perfectly, but better than anyone else in the world today. Any limits they face are the limits inherent in the political theory of classical liberalism. It is not jingoism to recognize that.

“Against the wars? Are you for the terrorists?” “Against waterboarding? Are you for the terrorists?”

To reduce my argument to that is to ignore its substance and reduce me to a caricature. Which is a lot like what Jim tried to do. Just label me a Neocon and stop thinking about what I said.

And now Anthony, with eminent sensibility endorses such ideas as the rule of law, innocence until guilt is proven, and due process, and you have the gall to call that being “uncomfortably close to defending terrorists”.

Anthony’s point was not overlooked. The limitations of a legal framework under classical liberalism forces the government to act outside it to preserve our liberties. Would you rather they act within it and leave us without liberties?

We can be glad for whatever freedom we do have, and still recognize that Congressmen are in effect promoting the destruction of civilization by the general trend in their policies.

That is just it. There is no such general trend. There are anecdotes for both sides. There

The whole point is that Bin Laden wanted us to bankrupt ourselves, not that he wanted us to kill him. Making himself easily available for killing obviously would not have been conducive to us bankrupting ourselves.

That last statement is speculative in nature. It would depend on the strategy being used. In any case, it is very difficult to bankrupt a country that uses phony money. It is very difficult to know when such a country is bankrupt. A record of bankruptcy requires good record keeping. This is not possible without sound money. If we are to go by Austrian definitions, the US has been bankrupt ever since Nixon closed the gold window. Osama was not involved.

Did a heady mix of righteousness and rage well up inside you when you wrote it?

It most certainly did. Righteous is that action which facilitates liberty and killing Osama perfectly fits into that category. The rage was directed towards people who criticized those that where responsible for it. They are too intelligent to recognize this simple truth that the man on the street has no problem with.

Sione May 4, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Danny

Wow!

That would have to be one of the most accurate and well directed rebuttals of a fool yet seen on the blog! You’ve got him down cold. Sure he wriggles, twists, turns and fibs, but in the end he is unable to deny what is fact.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 4:12 pm

No one can deny facts Sione. The fact is the Mises Institute chose to criticize those that killed the biggest enemy of liberty in its time. Nothing you or I say will change that. If fewer people take other things they have to say seriously because of it, that is unfortunate.

Sione May 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Abhilash

Bin Laden was hardly the biggest enemy of liberty. While you might like to pretend that he was, the facts demonstrate otherwise. Nothing you or I say will change that.

Your dogmatic, uncritical promotion of state violence, both domestic and international, means logical people can’t take any of the things you write seriously. That is indeed most fortunate.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 7:52 pm

Promotion of state violence? It must be desperation when you put your words into my mouth. You are yet another dogmatic anti-statist. You tolerate non-state violence even if it threatens liberty. That why you claim Bin Landen was no real threat. I won’t take anyone seriously who makes the claim that Osama was no threat to liberty. That would be an insult to intelligence.

The state on the other hand can do no right under any circumstances. A failure to kill Bin Laden shows the state does not work. Killing Bin Laden indicates that the state is violent. Any trial of Bin Laden can only be a show trial. And any state execution of Bin Laden can only be murder.

The state of course refers to the US. The only state in the world that derives its legitimacy by protecting liberty. Yet this state can do right. Then the liberty you enjoy under the protection of this state must also be wrong.

Stefano May 3, 2011 at 5:51 pm
David Johnson May 3, 2011 at 7:03 pm

“War party”? Do you mean Obama’s Democratic Party? Or Bush’s Republican Party? Or some chimeric fusion of the two? Either way it’s a second rate pejorative that has no use on a serious and academic site like Mises.org.

Country Thinker May 3, 2011 at 7:38 pm

I disagree. It’s not a “second class pejorative,” it’s an expression of the unfortunate reality that the party “in power” is “pro-war,” and the “opposition party” is “anti-war,” although the current Republicans have been largely mum on the whole thing, largely due to ownership issues.

Stefano May 3, 2011 at 7:42 pm

War party: a group that pushes for war. That’s not a ‘second rate pejorative,’ it’s an apt description of people whose answer is always ‘war.’

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 7:47 pm

You mean like Osama Bin Laden? Something tells me that is not whom you have in mind.

Jim P. May 3, 2011 at 8:03 pm

Abhilash:

You seem to have some fantasy version of the perspective on this site. It’s hard not to notice that you can’t seem to hold your end of the argument without implying that not supporting government warfare is tantamount to supporting Bin Laden. People around here support neither government nor Bin Laden. Or any other tyrant.

We know. We get it. You’re a neo-con who loves your government. Go take a field trip to DC and worship there. But this is Mises.org. If you’d rather participate in discussion here, maybe you should at least familiarize yourself with the perspective of those who visit here. You know, as evidenced by your telling misunderstanding of a well-known Mises quote. It might help your case more if you didn’t loudly demonstrate your lack of perspective of the basic material that this site is based on. You never bother to defeat the basic concepts that this site revolves around. You just point fingers and rant. If you want to rant and snipe in futility to convert others here to chicken-hawk-ism, you’re the one who needs to make his case and prove the thinkers of Austrianism wrong. You have yet to bother.

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 8:21 pm

I am more than familiar with the perspectives of the people here. I have been frequenting this site for years and I have actively participated in these forums. Also there are too many issues that I agree with here. So I know what I am talking about.

People around here support may say when pushed that they neither support the government nor Bin Laden but they seem only to criticize the government even when that government kills Osama Bin Laden.

Are the lovers of liberty too foolish to realize that Osama Bin Laden is a greater threat to liberty than Barack Obama? (while on that topic, why am I a neo-con for supporting the action of a liberal President?) There is a real sense in which criticizing the US government in this instance becomes tantamount to supporting Bin Laden. When words of yours make people hesitant to act against Bin Laden. Then you provide Bin Laden and his people a greater space to recover, regroup and rearm.

Very eagerly, the supposed lovers of liberty acquiesce to the greater evil. Very willingly I rebuke them. I can say with some reservation, that people like you may not actually deserve the freedoms you enjoy. But I say it with reservation.

Jim P. May 3, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Again, this isn’t really working for you. If you’ve participated here for years, it should only prove to you your impenetrable head. You clearly can’t argue against the concepts of Austrianism because you are unfamiliar with it (embarrassingly, still so after “years” of participation). You prove with each post that you have no idea what this site is even about. For example, virtually nobody here needs to be “pushed” to criticize government (or other tyrants like Bin Laden). This is the main thrust of literally every single post on the site. That’s why they read the site.

You said,
“[B}ut they seem only to criticize the government even when that government kills Osama Bin Laden.”

Citing the entire existence of this site as a whole, and every single article, book, and blog entry that exists on it – does this sentence of yours even need a response? Can you even read? Or do you choose not to? You’ll also note, maybe, that Bin Laden being killed was only news as of the last couple days. Again, what on earth could you use as past evidence to support that asinine statement with, considering the fact that it just happened?

You have yet to show why you insist on either/or. Why is it not possible to view both Obama and Osama as threats to liberty? You are demanding that we pick one evil and then support the other. And not only that, but we must choose your favorite evil. People here are simply calling them both evil and thus unsupportable. The evil of Bin Laden does not somehow place government on a pedestal. Again, this isn’t exactly rocket science but you can’t get your head around it. I think you intentionally misunderstand every. single. topic. so that you can pretend to support your poorly reasoned positions without going to the effort of actually doing so. For example, reading the basic texts that the site is based on so that you’ll at least understand Mises.org’s world-view. It kinda limits your argument when you can’t prove Austrianism’s major thinkers wrong. That’s the kind of mountain you’re trying to climb here. The burden of that is on you.

This too is barely worthy of mention, but here’s the obvious again: freedom is not yours to dole out to those you see deserving, otherwise, you would be the only one who had it. And those who don’t like your particular brand of evil vs. the other brand of evil, don’t somehow deserve a loss of freedom. Those who have a principled position (ie, no evil at all, please) don’t need to live or think within your silly false dichotomy just because you choose to. Not criticizing government evil while it fights evil doesn’t prevent evil overall or preserve liberty – you’re just picking a tyrant. And you just can’t comprehend that people would reject such wonderful options.

Again, we get your point. You’ve drunk a lot of State Kool Aid, and you’ve come to Mises.org to pee. If insistence on your false dichotomy and smug repulsion that people would reject it is the only tool in the belt for you, maybe there are better uses for your time and effort. You won’t build anything with it here.

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 9:12 pm

I must congratulate you for using too many words to say too few things.

The evil of Bin Laden does not somehow place government on a pedestal.

If Bin Laden was a threat to liberty and I submit to you that he was and the government took him out, then it does in fact put the government on a pedestal because in the US, the government derives its authority by upholding the principles of liberty. This is the idea of classical liberalism. That is what Mises was, a classical liberal. This is the Mises Institue no?

Jim P. May 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Let me be brief, then, so you don’t have to once again prove that you either can’t or won’t read.

Again with the intentional misunderstanding crutch, the only thing you’re ever able to lean on … you are assuming that government upholds liberty. Those here assert that it does not. Even if I were to say “you’re right! They did uphold liberty that one time by killing Bin Laden!!” it would not account for all the actions of the state in which state power was used to destroy liberty. Even if you think killing Bin Laden was good, you’d have to somehow account for the rest of the history of governments.

And indeed, this is the Mises Institute. The one that sends a bookmark in each order that quotes Mises as saying “Government is essentially the negation of liberty.”

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 9:46 pm

@Jim

you are assuming that government upholds liberty.

Nope. I am only assuming that the government is capable of upholding liberty.

Even if you think killing Bin Laden was good, you’d have to somehow account for the rest of the history of governments.

Nah. I am only commenting on this specific instance. I am not using this anecdote to argue for more government or anything like that. It is more than common sense to say that when forced to pick between two evils you have acquiesce to the lesser evil. I will pick Obama over Osama any day. In fact I will go one step further and pick Obama over you. Obama may actually kill Osama and keep me free. While you will foolishly tie Obama’s hands in the name of liberty and let Osama perform is crimes with impunity. Your overzealous and misguided idealism may paradoxically be the greater threat to liberty. Not always, but sometimes.

Jim P. May 3, 2011 at 9:52 pm

Abhilash, a thought experiment.

Let’s say that you’re driving your car. You come to the traffic signal just as you always do. But this time … it’s different. It’s both red … AND green! Both lights are on!!!

WHAT? It should be one or the other!! Space and time as we know it are about to collapse and the whole world will be lost!

Quick, Abhilash! What do you do? Stop, or go? Save us!!

Abhilash Nambiar May 3, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Well Jim, fortunately for me thought experiments are not needed. I have driven in very similar circumstances. You would be surprised how quickly drivers and pedestrians adjust to such situation as everyone learns to crawl through the intersection.

geoih May 4, 2011 at 8:12 am

Quote from Abhilash Nambiar: “I can say with some reservation, that people like you may not actually deserve the freedoms you enjoy. But I say it with reservation.”

Reservation or not, the fact that you have few qualms about summarily passing judgment on who deserves or doesn’t deserve freedom, makes all of your apparent support for liberty highly suspect. I do not find it surprising that you are a supporter of government violence (“defensive nature of the war being fought by the US government”, that made me laugh).

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 12:53 pm

@geoih

Reservation or not, the fact that you have few qualms about summarily passing judgment on who deserves or doesn’t deserve freedom, makes all of your apparent support for liberty highly suspect.

Summarily? I have actually put a lot of thought behind it. Osama Bin Laden does not deserve any freedom. His accomplices certainly not. But what about his supporters? Maybe not. What about his detractors? I am sure most people in that category deserves freedom. What about those people who criticize his detractors? Maybe they are helping him through that effort. Maybe they are helping the forces that destroy freedom. If they are doing so willingly, have they not absolved themselves of the right to enjoy the freedom that they so deny through their misdeeds?

I suspect the commitment of liberty of such people. They know not what it means. They care not for it. They are just dogmatic anti-statists.

newson May 3, 2011 at 10:14 pm

paul craig roberts shows why he’s unwelcome at polite venues.
http://www.rense.com/general93/osause.htm

niku May 4, 2011 at 6:43 am

Intellectuals should now make up with religions. Translate your favourite texts in Latin, and ask Mr. Gary North to donate them to monasteries. If civilization collapses, religions will be probably the only things which continue from one century to the next. The Church played an important, and perhaps a critical role in the Italian Renaissance, Burkhardt’s Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy is full of eulogies for Popes.

And don’t forget Hebrew, Sanskrit and Arabic and perhaps some others! Italian traders’ contact with Arab scholarship was important for the Renaissance too. If our current civilization collapses, the world will again start expanding, and different regions would develop independently. It is best to spread the seeds all over.

J. Murray May 4, 2011 at 6:57 am

Osama won because we allowed ourselves to be changed by his actions. The PATRIOT Act is a standing monument to OBL. Every employee in the Department of Homeland Security owes his employment to bin Ladin. The TSA is a constant reminder of being attacked. Every soldier that died occupying Afghanistan and Iraq is a sacrifice to the alter of Al Qaeda.

We lost this war a decade ago when we allowed Osama to fundamentally change our society. The sad part is, we could have beaten Al Qaeda without passing a single law or invading a single country. Cut off the finances, destroy the supply line, use intelligence gathering to surgically target key players, and deprive the organization of new recruits by eliminating the policies that cause them to hate us in the first place.

All it took were two helicopters of Navy SEALS to eliminate the figurehead. This is how to deal with a terror network. Unfortunately for us, that doesn’t play well on the nightly news. Borning discussions about following the accounting can’t stand up to bombs dropping on buildings in the ratings.

fundamentalist May 4, 2011 at 8:33 am

The US has been trying to destroy itself at least since the people elected FDR. OBL made a very tiny contribution to process.

The author credit OBL with too much intelligence. He was no where near as intelligent as the author claims. OBL played almost no role in removing the USSR from Afghanistan in the 1980′s, but he took credit for it. And he actually believed that the Soviet withdrawal caused the USSR to fall apart.

As for the US, he actually thought that the WTC controlled all business in the US and by destroying the building the economy of the US would collapse and cause the US to fall apart as the USSR did.

OBL was pretty close to an idiot. All he had was his daddy’s money, which his dad got by taking bribes on construction contracts in Saudi Arabia, and the ability to ignite the passions of silly young men.

Tim May 4, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Yeah and it took several trillion dollars, thousands of dead servicemen, tens if not hundreds of thousands of dead and injured civilians, and an entire continent furious at us for being bombed, invaded and manipulated to hunt down this idiot. Most importantly it resulted in the bloating of the most byzantine and paranoid intelligence and security apparatus that ever existed in our history, eclipsing even that which we had during the cold war, where the “enemy” at least posed a tangible military threat. Doesn’t that strike you as suspicious? Nope, not at all, guv’t just defending our freedums like always, as our dear psyops troll Nambiar would have us believe.

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm

Economists talk about the seen and the unseen . Like in an economic boom created by credit expansion. The seen includes all the development projects. The unseen are all the resources being diverted away from industries that are essential. What are the seen here? You just mentioned it but your list is not exhaustive. What are the unseen here?

newson May 4, 2011 at 6:23 pm

apparently the unseen are the perps in washington and virginia. invisible to the propagandized eye.

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm

That is thinking inside your box. The crimes that Osama would have committed had he continued to live are also unseen. You have really conditioned yourself to dogmatic anti-statism.

Matthew Swaringen May 4, 2011 at 7:38 pm

The crimes he would have committed? He’s an old man. What do you seriously think he could do?

Even assuming he planned 9/11, which was horrible, the only reason the damn plan worked is that people acted like sheep and sat there in the plane without attempting to fight. The one plane that fought did crash, but that’s because they didn’t know until it was too late that letting the terrorists have their way was a bad idea.

What Bush did in response was significantly worse. I don’t know how you can compare 3000 dead from Bin Laden to the amount of collateral damage we’ve inflicted, it almost certainly exceeds 3000 (I realize a lot of the body count figures include the kills by insurgents, but we also probably are counting some civilian deaths as insurgent deaths as well.)

And then there is the Patriot Act and people being held in prison with no trial and the significant increases in spending and debt.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but apparently the story has changed and the White House has had to admit they weren’t fully honest. Yet I have to hear your crazy story that Bin Laden was more of a threat to my freedom than Bush or Obama, despite the fact I have a higher risk of being struck by lightening than killed by an Al Qaeda terrorist.

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm

He’s an old man. What do you seriously think he could do?

He gave ideological direction and morale to those in his group. That is significant. If you think not ask the same question about Mises. What do you seriously think he could do? It is not a numbers game. The battle is Ideological. The coalition military and the Islamists militants make just the armed front in this ideological battle.

Ohhh Henry May 4, 2011 at 9:08 pm

The war is not between OBL and Al-qaeda and the people of the USA, it is a war between the government of the USA and the general public of the USA, and between the government of the USA and the rest of the world.

OBL would have never existed as a powerful individual (if indeed he ever existed as such a person) if it wasn’t for (i) the direct US government actions of creating, training and funding Islamic military and terrorist cells in order to attack the Soviet military and their puppet Afghan government, and (ii) the indirect action of the US in protecting, arming and funding the nation of Saudi Arabia (a country which has no substantial claim to even exist except for the intervention of first the British and then the US governments). This extremely wealthy but corrupt and violent puppet nation provided the money and impulse to create and maintain terrorist cells even after the US government (presumably) lost interest.

So how could OBL be an enemy of the US government? In the first place they helped to create OBL as an either real or mythical global terrorist, and in the second place the US government was by far the largest beneficiary of whatever actions OBL supposed took against the US people.

Stop reading the NY Times, Washington Post, and stop watching CNN, et al. and consider the basic facts as they are known. Ask yourself, who did what to whom, and why. Ask the classic detective’s question, cui bono.

The person called OBL may have disliked the USA and wished to hurt or destroy it. But why should anyone care what some obscure son of an Arabian millionaire wanted or how he wanted to do it? If OBL and movement which he represented had not been created by the USA and then nurtured by the puppet state which owes its existence to US government policy, then none of this would have ever happened.

Abhilash Nambiar May 4, 2011 at 10:12 pm

You are right. In hindsight, the US government should have aided the Soviet Union (or at least not interfered) when they occupied Afghanistan rather than train and arm the Afghans to fight the occupiers. That is what usually happens when you help natives liberate their own country, they empower people like Osama Bin Laden who help drive planes into buildings. How obvious. It should have been evident at the very beginning. If only they looked into their crystal ball. They could have seen the planes fly into the buildings! Because people who you help usually organize terror cells against you.

I call foul when dogmatic anti-statism is being passed off as libertarianism.

Daniel May 5, 2011 at 5:38 am

A “we must help the afghans” vs “we must help the soviets” is just a false dilemma.

Abhilash Nambiar May 5, 2011 at 6:46 am

Which is why I added the ‘or at least not interfered’ part.

newson May 5, 2011 at 6:05 pm

so everything you see on tv is real? haven’t heard of special effects? drop the red pill.

Abhilash Nambiar May 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

@newson
Everything that is not on tv is real? Haven’t you heard of liars and the self-deluded?

Sione May 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm

Abhilash

About me you have written,
“You tolerate non-state violence even if it threatens liberty. That why you claim Bin Landen was no real threat.”

Really? Come now. Don’t take your fantasies so seriously.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 5, 2011 at 6:23 pm

@Sione
It is as I understand you from the interaction.

Sione May 7, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Abhilash

It is yet another example of your propensity to fantasise.

Best not to treat your illusions as though they are real.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm

@ Sione

If it is fantasy that you want to talk about, why not start with your own? The Bin Laden is no real threat one.

Sione May 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Abhilash

That’s YOUR fantasy you’re talking about non-stop there, little one. As previously recommended, you shouldn’t take your fantasies seriously. No-one else does.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm

I am not interested in this mud-slinging. You have nothing meaningful to say.

Ned Netterville May 6, 2011 at 8:39 am

“The US Federal government has the most consistent record in upholding liberties anywhere in the world not withstanding The war of drugs and the Patriot Act. Perhaps you do not know what it is like to live long periods of time in other countries.”

Abhi, did it ever occur to you that the US federal government might have deceived you on any issue with what is generally called propaganda, but could also be called official lies? If it ever does, you may want to reassess some of your positions asserted here.

Abhilash Nambiar May 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm

It is possible but unlikely. I am very critical of governments. Hell, I am even critical of myself. In paper there are many better organizations capable of protecting liberty, but in the real world there is only one. It does a sloppy job, but without it, no one would. It is bit scary come to think of it. But there is the possibility to consider that better organizations capable of protecting liberty are not arising because of this federal government. I see no sinister reason for that.

This tree of liberty is old, its branches spread wide and its roots go deep. The seeds from its fruit fall right to the ground and sprout under its shade. The saplings need to be replanted away from the shade, if new trees are to grow. Such institutions will develop where their need is the most and conditions are the best in the present day. Maybe Somalia or Sudan. Egypt or Lybia. Yemen perhaps. Most likely somewhere in the Arab world.

Sione May 8, 2011 at 4:57 pm

Abhilash

Come now, little one. You do not understand your own nature. Fantasy and mud-slinging is what your intellectual life is all about! If you weren’t so immersed in mud-slinging, if you really were uninterested, you’d not have posted your response.

Your hypocracy amuses! What amuses even more is your lack of self-awareness.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 4:59 pm

I already said once:

I am not interested in this mud-slinging. You have nothing meaningful to say.

You just proved my point. I rest my case.

Sione May 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Abhilash

Actually, by posting again you just proved mine.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Wow, you really have nothing better to say. I predict your reply to me would be ‘And neither do you.’

Sione May 9, 2011 at 1:47 am

Abhilash

Then your prediction, as usual, would be wrong. You must be getting well used to being wrong by now.

While it is not possible to take your outbursts seriously, you do remain far too amusing to carelessly dismiss as having nothing to say. Yes indeed, you do a great amount of saying. Trouble is it’s mostly about matters you fail to understand much about- too much fantasy and not enough reality being the affliction from which you suffer. Nevertheless, that’s not stopped you banging on and on and on and on and on and on and on, striving to preserve your delusions from even the merest suggestion of a challenge from reality. You just can’t help yourself. Silly wee ego stuff, but kinda entertaining.

Sione

Abhilash Nambiar May 9, 2011 at 6:24 am

Your opinion is noted.

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