Markets without hierarchy

by Henry on August 25, 2010

Over the last few days I’ve observed that an increasing number of our spam comments for dubious commercial opportunities in pharmacological products etc have links leading to hijacked pages at http://www.mises.org. Seems quite appropriate. If you want to visit our von Misean friends by the way, be sure to check out this front page piece on how playing Caesar III demonstrates the futility of Marxism and central planning. In its own way, it is quite perfect: the conclusion’s finding that:

As far as it went, Caesar III was an experiment in refutation. If a graduate from the Mises University has trouble planning a make-believe Roman colony, what hope is there that anyone could plan the real thing?

says it all, really.

{ 111 comments }

1

chris 08.25.10 at 3:32 pm

If you want to visit our von Misean friends by the way, be sure to check out this front page piece on how playing Caesar III demonstrates the futility of Marxism and central planning.

I wonder how they felt about _Alpha Centauri_’s design decision that a free-market economy would *necessarily* result in massive environmental damage? (AC is unusual for allowing you to vary your economic and political systems separately, which is a departure from the traditional _Civilization_ approach of treating them as a package deal.)

Personally, I interpreted it as a game-balance decision — the economic benefits of a free market are huge (possibly even huger than they ought to be), so the designers had to offset it with something to make the choice interesting.

Anyway, it’s obvious to Miseans that Miseans are the smartest people in the world, so if *they* can’t centrally plan something (in their spare time, with no professional expertise, and despite not even believing in the idea of central planning), clearly nobody else can either.

2

jpmeyer 08.25.10 at 4:05 pm

Hmm.

If Miseans are the smartest people in the world, and cannot win a game of Caesar III where they only need to centrally plan one measly ancient city, but I won a game of Galactic Civilizations 2 last night in which I centrally planned an empire of two trillion individuals that spanned the universe, does this make me the smartest person to have ever lived?

3

Octagon 08.25.10 at 4:29 pm

Sheesh. Are 20% of Crooked Timber’s posts these days about libertarians? 50%? Yawn. They’re so boring. Are you guys even more boring?

4

bunbury 08.25.10 at 4:36 pm

Magnasanti: compare and contrast.

5

Lemuel Pitkin 08.25.10 at 4:41 pm

Octagon is right, of course.

But that’s how the game works. Half the working class spends its political energies hating hippies, muslims, commies and gays. The other half spends its energies hating creationists and libertarians. And the world’s rulers are undisturbed.

6

rea 08.25.10 at 4:59 pm

Are 20% of Crooked Timber’s posts these days about libertarians? 50%?

I suspect they will habve to consult their central plan to answer . . .

7

y81 08.25.10 at 5:06 pm

@5: “Half the working class spends its political energies hating hippies, muslims, commies
and gays. The other half spends its energies hating creationists and libertarians.”

Not sure what this has to do with Octagon (@3), unless the authors of Crooked Timber have somehow mutated into members of the working class. Maybe they are “organic intellectuals of the working class,” which was the aspiration of our Gramsci reading group, way back when.

8

Glen Tomkins 08.25.10 at 5:18 pm

Markets without reality

Yes, everything I know about reality was gained by playing the various iterations of Civilization, SimCity and knock-offs of same. I always assume that what works in these games works in the real world. And I only have Cheetohs for dinner six nights out of the week. It’s catfood on Sundays. Sundays are special.

9

Lemuel Pitkin 08.25.10 at 5:21 pm

unless the authors of Crooked Timber have somehow mutated into members of the working class.

Well, of course they are members of the working class. How many contributors to this blog receive their primary income from ownership of capital assets? And how many from wages? None and all, respectively, I reckon.

The last couple years have offered as clear a lesson as one could ask for that the fundamental conflicting interests in the world are those of owners of financial assets, and those of the rest of us, and that our political system serves the former, not the latter. Arguing about libertarianism is one of the ways people have found to avoid learning that lesson.

10

engels 08.25.10 at 5:22 pm

Half the working class spends its political energies hating hippies, muslims, commies and gays.

How many of them did you ask?

11

belle le triste 08.25.10 at 5:25 pm

If they’re political energies, you don’t have to ask them: they’d have to be publicly visible.

12

Lemuel Pitkin 08.25.10 at 5:26 pm

I’m describing how things look to me. How do they look to you?

13

rea 08.25.10 at 7:12 pm

I always assume that what works in these games works in the real world.

Years ago, the designer of the Civilization series was asked what the US ought to do in reaction to 9/11. His suggestion was a commando raid on Rome to sieze the Sistine Chapel, that Great Wonder. It would work, in the game.

14

engels 08.25.10 at 7:38 pm

I don’t think they look that way to many people outside the US (if that’s how they look within the US). Btw I don’t have the energy for another thread devoted to this but defining ‘working class’ to mean anyone who does not receive their main income from investments is extremely controversial at best.

15

Lemuel Pitkin 08.25.10 at 7:49 pm

I don’t think they look that way to many people outside the US (if that’s how they look within the US).

Yes, my comment was referring to the US. The specifics are going to be different elsewhere.

defining ‘working class’ to mean anyone who does not receive their main income from investments is extremely controversial at best.

Who did that? What I wrote was that CT contributors do not own means of production and must sell their labor for wages. Thus they are memebrs of the working class. Do you disagree?

(Just to be clear, I really don’t want to have one of those debates where people are trying to score points off each other. I’m addressing these questions to you because I genuinely want to know what you think.)

16

y81 08.25.10 at 8:51 pm

Well, here’s what I think. The words “working class” are used in many senses. Mainstream political scientists and sociologists use the term to refer to those without college degrees, whose work frequently involves some degree of manual labor and whose incomes are typically under $80 thousand (sometimes well under, especially in some parts of the country). In this sense, it is silly to characterize the Crooked Timber bloggers as “working class,” because most of them have advanced degrees, none of them does manual labor, and I believe that some of them would have incomes above $80 thousand.

The term “working class” has a slight difference in Marxist theory. Here it refers to those who do not own any means of production and survive only by selling their labor power, i.e., working for wages. In most Marxist analyses, the working class or proletariat and the capitalist class, which owns the means of production, are the two most historically important classes under capitalism, but not the only classes. (Just as the early modern period featured lords, peasants and townsmen, but also various minor groups such as peddlers, priests etc.) In this sort of Marxist analysis, intellectuals would not be members of the working class, notwithstanding that they sell their labor power. Various features of intellectual life would be adduced to justify this characterization. For instance, intellectuals have an ownership interest in the fruits of their labor and they have substantial control over the production process, so therefore they do not partake of the total alienation characteristic of the proletariat. So in this sense too, it is silly (or at least funny) to refer to the Crooked Timber bloggers as “w0rking class.”

17

chris 08.25.10 at 9:18 pm

What I wrote was that CT contributors do not own means of production and must sell their labor for wages. Thus they are memebrs of the working class. Do you disagree?

Uh, I think you just defined managers into the working class.

Now there certainly are some “managers” that are really more like foremen and designating them managers is just a way to exploit loopholes in labor regulation, but if you extend it to all non-rentiers I think you’re expanding the definition into uselessness.

18

Lemuel Pitkin 08.25.10 at 10:07 pm

Come to think of it, Engels is right: This is not going to be a useful conversation.

19

qb 08.25.10 at 11:57 pm

No, no. How could an argument about the definition of the term “working class” not be productive?

20

Substance McGravitas 08.25.10 at 11:58 pm

How could an argument about the definition of the term “working class” not be productive?

Penny for your thoughts.

21

qb 08.26.10 at 12:04 am

I got nothin.

22

Substance McGravitas 08.26.10 at 12:11 am

TWO PENNIES.

23

engels 08.26.10 at 12:22 am

‘How could a discussion about the meaning of the term working class not be productive?’

When it is a discussion primarily among people who are violently opposed to the theory it which it figures: like a discussion about the concept of ‘gene’ among creationists.

24

sg 08.26.10 at 12:25 am

In defense of Mises, I was never able to win Hearts of Iron II with the Germans, Italians or Japanese when I set them to use serious central planning. But maybe I’m just shit at wargames.

25

Glen Tomkins 08.26.10 at 12:28 am

What about pensioners such as myself?

I used to be a worker, in that I was an Internist for the US Army for 20 years, a salaried mediserf, but now they pay me to do nothing.

I guess the continuation of my pension rests on the national security state not being overthrown by socialists such as myself, and I’m not sure if that somehow makes me a capitalist, or at least some sort of capitalist lackey, rather than a worker. Do I get classified under the medical work I used to do for a salary, or by the fact that the Army is the enforcement tool of the capitalists? I think it was General Smedley Butler who characterized his military career as “gangland enforcer for the United Fruit Corporation”.

26

engels 08.26.10 at 12:43 am

Glen – No, that does not make you a capitalist under any reasonable definition.

27

Glen Tomkins 08.26.10 at 12:47 am

Just a capitalist tool, then. I can take some solace in never having been a very useful tool.

28

engels 08.26.10 at 1:19 am

As many of us can, Glen.

29

Timothy Scriven 08.26.10 at 2:24 am

Libertarianism is the onl y halfway considered alternative to the left- who else are we going to write about.

30

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 4:07 am

Well, as Engels notes, this blog is not in fact left. It’s liberal. There are no Marxists among the contributors, which is fine, but there is also no engagement with Marxists elsewhere, which is a bit odd.

I’ve been complaining about this for ages. I guess I’ll keep complaining about it, since I reckon if Marxists want the attention that libertarians get, we’re going to have to learn to troll just as persistently.

31

Timothy Scriven 08.26.10 at 4:14 am

I nearly loathe Marxism and I’m left. The suggestion that this blog is not “left” turns on a paticular definition of the left.

Though I sense this may lead to a rather pointless debate which should perhaps be curtailed here.

32

bad Jim 08.26.10 at 4:17 am

I’m proud to say that I used to be a capitalist, even if now I’m only a rentier (though when asked I’d rather call myself a flaneur or a respirateur; one of my former employees refers to me and my ex-partners as bums).

How many self-styled libertarians live in planned or gated communities? I’d bet there are quite a few in the American Southwest.

33

Henry 08.26.10 at 4:25 am

bq. Well, as Engels notes, this blog is not in fact left. It’s liberal. There are no Marxists among the contributors

Don’t say that anywhere near Scott McLemee. Them’s fighting words.

34

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 4:38 am

McLemee? Please. “I was a Trotskyist when I was young, ah, weren’t they silly” isn’t what I had in mind.

35

yeliabmit 08.26.10 at 4:55 am

@Timothy Scriven “I nearly loathe Marxism and I’m left.”

Serious question: How can you be on “the left” and “nearly loathe Marxism?” Disagree with, sure. But loathe? Personally, I’m not a Marxist, but only because I think it’s (necessarily) incomplete in explaining everything that needs to be explained in order to understand society. It’s often pretty useful and accurate. What’s to loathe about it?

36

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 4:57 am

The real point is that this blog has a strict No Friends on the Left policy.

Just count the posts responding to Cato, to Volokh, to NRO.

Now count the posts responding to CEPR or Roosevelt or EPI, to Monthly Review or New Left Review or even The Nation, to anyone affiliated with organized labor, to Arab or African or Indian writers, to feminist blogs like I Blame the Patriarchy, to heterodox economists, to anyone in the anarchist or antiglobalization left (Naomi Klein? Mark Engler), etc.

This one is easier. It’s zero.

Why CTers can argue respectfully with the whole spectrum of opinion to their right, but can’t acknowledge anyone to their left, is an interesting question. But it is certainly the case.

37

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 5:06 am

(The one CTer to whom 36 definitely does not apply is Daniel Davies. If he posted more regularly, this blog would be a very different place.)

38

John Quiggin 08.26.10 at 5:19 am

It’s a long time since a post here treated anything at Volokh or NRO with respect, I think. Still, I agree we should be engaging more with debates on the left, and spending less time scoring points mocking the right. As I said a couple of posts ago, though, it’s so much easier to do the latter, and when you don’t have much time, the temptation to go for the quick sugar hit is hard to resist.

39

Anarcho 08.26.10 at 8:52 am

“How can you be on “the left” and “nearly loathe Marxism?” Disagree with, sure. But loathe?”

Well, as an anarchist, I do loathe an ideology whose adherents happily rounded up my comrades, imprisoned and shot them (in Russia, Ukraine, Spain, Bulgaria, Cuba, etc.). I also loathe an ideology whose adherents utilised the notion of “the dictatorship of the proletariat” to impose a dictatorship over the proletariat and repress actual working class people, their strikes and their organisations — in their name!

All that made sure that “socialism” became a word associated with tyranny rather than the promise of freedom, equality and solidarity.

I can also loathe an ideology which produced social democracy (its descent into reformism and its repression of the German revolution as well as its deals with fascism in Italy, so undermining resistance there) as well as Leninism and then Stalinism.

Saying that, I’m not blind to the contributions Marx made to our understanding of capitalism, his fine defence of the Proudhon-influenced Paris Commune, and a host of others. While I loathe Marxism, Marx I can stand.

And I should also note that I also dislike the likes of the Miseans who have tried to appropriate the terms “libertarian” and “anarchist” for their authoritarian propertarian ideology. Not to mention the deeply repulsive nature of their ideology.

40

ajay 08.26.10 at 11:02 am

Mention of Civilisation reminds me of the classic exchange:

WINGNUT: “America is a republic, not a democracy!”
GAMER: “That’s right. They’re sort of similar, except in a Republic the Corruption level is much higher and the Senate doesn’t get in your way when you want to declare war on someone. Also, we haven’t discovered Recycling yet.”

41

arthur 08.26.10 at 11:12 am

Nice tag cloud you’ve got going over there, guys. I have never been prouder of CT readers in my life.

42

Guido Nius 08.26.10 at 11:38 am

38- the only thing is: it makes you fat and erodes your teeth so you end up with even less time, & more need to find shelter in a next quick hit.

That being said: I can understand why anything to the left is ignored – not much going on except nostalgia (but please link anything that breaks the far left cliché’s) – but what is really disturbing is the hatred to anything mildly to the right.

43

Matt 08.26.10 at 11:50 am

35- How can you be on “the left” and “nearly loathe Marxism?” Disagree with, sure. But loathe?

Like Anarcho, I would suggest this would be easy for, say, someone who considered themselves a follower of Bakhunin. Not that I think anyone should be a follower of Bakhunin or anything along those lines, though.

44

bianca steele 08.26.10 at 1:19 pm

It’s possible to disagree with Marx and loathe Marxism as it exists, or at least have serious problems with it. (Marx more or less loathed socialism as I recall.) Francis Fukuyama takes Marx seriously as a thinker, so it seems a little behind the times not to.

45

bianca steele 08.26.10 at 1:30 pm

Which (sorry) is to say that “Marxism” seems to be a specific interpretation of Marx shared by a small group of people, and “marxian ideas” seem to be a different interpretation of Marx shared by a group of academics, at least some of whom are on the right. Both different from the “standard” historical view of Marx as responsible for everything opposed to the American way of life that led to Stalin, or the other view of Marx as a major inspiration for Sartre. Any of these would seem to be useful to the left (admittedly, if Marx was right, they should be useful for the right, too). But “Marxism” seems to be a dogmatic interpretation of some of Marx’s writings, not open to debate or question.

46

mds 08.26.10 at 1:57 pm

since I reckon if Marxists want the attention that libertarians get, we’re going to have to learn to troll just as persistently.

Well, in my tepid defense, I did bring up David Harvey in the “First Bank of the Living Dead” thread. I even did it snarkily. Then again, I’m not actually a Marxist … yet.

Also, it’s not Marxist zombie ideas that are running civilization (heh) to the brink of ruin right now. In the US, at least, lip service to the commonwealth-destroying ideas of Cato et al. dominates the public sphere. “And even if my arguments against the surveillance state fell thence vanquished, yet to have successfully demonized progressive taxation and ‘big government’ is still a trophy.” So with twilight upon us, pointing out how those who have largely triumphed in the economic sphere, even as they destroy it, are completely full of it, permits us to wallow in double-reverse schadenfreude. Engagement with the Left doesn’t offer even that much. On the other hand:

McLemee? Please.

Perhaps there could be more engagement with the Left if the Left devoted slightly less of its time to splitting. People’s Front of Judea, indeed.

47

engels 08.26.10 at 2:53 pm

‘While I loathe Marxism Marx I can stand’

I can see where you’re coming from but wouldn’t it be a bit odd if Marx himself had achieved valid insights into capitalism but no-one who subsequented attempted to develop his ideas had? Perhaps a better contrast would be between Marxism as a political movement and Marxism as an intellectual tradition (which would necessarily preclude ‘loathing’ parts of the latter!)

48

engels 08.26.10 at 2:54 pm

‘would _not_ necessarily preclude’

49

Henry 08.26.10 at 3:01 pm

bq. McLemee? Please. “I was a Trotskyist when I was young, ah, weren’t they silly” isn’t what I had in mind.

Lemuel – if that’s your working model of McLemee’s politics, it’s very far off-base. _Very_ far off base.

50

engels 08.26.10 at 3:07 pm

‘Well, as Engels notes, this blog is not in fact left. It’s liberal.’

I’m sure no-one cares but just for the record, I didn’t actually say this. Also fwiw I didn’t mean to imply that you can’t have an interesting discussion about the concept of class here, if people think there is a question worth answering. (I thought y81’s comment was pretty good.)

51

mpowell 08.26.10 at 4:56 pm

50: Lemuel’s definition certainly did not prevent him from making the point he wanted to, so it served it’s purpose I suppose.

52

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 5:10 pm

Henry-

I could be wrong — it happens all the time. So what I should I read, to learn better?

53

Henry 08.26.10 at 5:32 pm

Lemuel – this is from conversation with him. He describes himself as a Trotskyist (not Trotskyite, which he has been at pains to correct me on). But he doesn’t write much about it that I know – as a reviewer and essayist, he is at the mercy of a shrinking market without much interest in Marxist theory.

54

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 5:36 pm

OK, fwiw, I realize I’ve made two somewhat contradictory arguments here.

One is that CT talks to people to its collective right, but not its collective left, and that’s unfair. Wah. This is not a helpful complaint and I should stop making it. Instead, we (for some value of we) should be bringing more left material to the conversation here. As I’m trying to do in John Q.’s thread above.

The second complaint is not that CT is too nice to Cato/Volokh/etc., but the opposite — those places are being used as scapegoats to avoid confronting the real sources of our present catastrophes. Here I think I’m possibly on stronger ground.

Also, it’s not Marxist zombie ideas that are running civilization (heh) to the brink of ruin right now.

This is true, of course. But also not libertarians. Finance uber alles, endless war, the strip-mining of the public sphere and a depraved indifference to the fate of the planet are the policies of the respectable center-left, in most of the world. (Certainly in the US.)

What happens when you win the argument, and nothing changes? You could admit that rational argument is inadequate as a political tool, that the legitimate authorities don’t listen to it, and that movement toward the world we all want is not going to happen until people are (more or less literally) rioting in the streets. (I believe this.) Or, you could just find someone else to argue with. In which case, thank god for libertarians.

Just to be clear: CT is a space for rational debate. It’s not possible to riot here. And I don’t ask for any particular form of political activity from the proprietors. I do, however, ask from them a clear-headed assessment of who actually exercises power in the world, and on whose behalf. It seems to me — and John Q. seems to half agree — that going back to the regular sparring partners can be a way of avoiding that.

55

Henry 08.26.10 at 6:00 pm

Hi Lemuel. I’m not speaking for the collective here, but part of the problem from my perspective is that serious thought on this requires hard work and research. I.e. stuff that you can’t cobble together in an odd twenty minutes websurfing, like the post that this discussion is appended to. When I blog about more serious stuff, it is usually on the back of work that I am doing elsewhere. The problem I find is that as time goes on, I have more and more administrative stuff, grad student supervision etc to handle. Even a little more time would allow me to run a lot more seminars, get guest bloggers set up etc, which I think would help considerably – but my duties usually expand to fill the time that I have available. Not an unusual problem, I know. We have been doing this on an amateur basis for seven years, and while we’ve no intention of changing this (it gives much more freedom), it also means that blogging tends to be the weaker element (at least for me) when I am facing competing demands from importunate administrators/students/etc. Serious argument requires serious time – and while I can sometimes scrape that together, I have at least three long essays for CT in various stages of fruition that have been hanging around my hard drive in half-finished form for a year or more. Can’t speak for anyone else – but that is my problem as I see it. Would love more critique/feedback in comments from a left perspective, obviously.

56

chris 08.26.10 at 6:03 pm

Finance uber alles, endless war, the strip-mining of the public sphere and a depraved indifference to the fate of the planet are the policies of the respectable center-left, in most of the world. (Certainly in the US.)

Wait, what? It sounds to me like you’ve just described the *Republican* platform. You’re not one of those “there’s no difference between the parties” people, are you?

The fact that the American political system can only sluggishly be dragged away from that agenda is no excuse to turn your fire on the people doing the dragging.

P.S. Very few societies are ever improved by literal rioting in the streets. For every American Revolution there are a dozen French or Russian. Violence makes people more tribal and narrow-minded, which almost never helps their problems.

57

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 6:10 pm

It sounds to me like you’ve just described the Republican platform.

Yes. And the policies of the Obama administration.

Very few societies are ever improved by literal rioting in the streets.

On the contrary. Few improvements have ever come without it.

58

Pascal Leduc 08.26.10 at 6:15 pm

I have always been fascinated by the political and economic ideas that appear in games. Especially in civilization building games such as Alpha Centauri, Galactic Civilization 2 and Civilization 4.

Case at point the first poster mentioned the application of Free market in AC had an environmental penalty, now I never found that very contentious but in addition to the not excessive -3 to environment, Free market also has a downright huge penalty of -5 to police which causes huge unrest in your cities. Also interesting is that Unrest in AC is represented by drones which is not only the petty criminal and illegal black market class, but also the extremely poor slum living dead end menial workers who produce nothing because they are too busy washing floors and serving burgers. So the game argues that not only is Free market bad for the environment but it also forces the creation of a permanent underclass, in fact the only way to compensate for the police problem through social engineering is to go all Chile and make a police state free market society.

Civilization 4 on the other hand got flak for making Communism (state property) the best economic system which rankled people both on a game balance and ideological side (though they later fixed it with corporations, since communists cant use that). Civ 4 also contained the rather interesting effect that the labor civic of Emancipation does not give much of an advantage but instead penalizes with added unrest all the other nations that don’t have emancipation, which I guess means that the slaves would be happy as long as they never knew they could be free.

59

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 6:15 pm

Henry,

That’s a fair response. Those of us who want a CT-like space for the conversations that don’t happen here, are going to have to do our part to build it. As the graffiti in my local dive bar says, “Start your own hit band or quit bitching.” It’s true, too.

60

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 6:21 pm

Chris-

To be clear – yes, there are differences between the parties. But they are on second-order — albeit sometimes still quite important — issues. Unemployment would be significantly higher now if a Republican administration had set the terms of the stimulus debate. A bunch of kids are going to get Medicaid coverage who wouldn’t otherwise, thanks to the health bill. I don’t dismiss this stuff.

But on the first-order issues of finance and imperialism, yes, of course there is no difference between the parties. Just ask yourself, what is the most important domestic-policy post? Fed chair, no question. And the most important military post? Secretary of Defense. And for both those jobs, Obama reappointed Bush’s picks. How much clearer does he have to make it to you, that on the big questions you don’t get a vote?

61

John Protevi 08.26.10 at 6:46 pm

LM @59. Cf Bill Clinton, Nov 4, 1992, Little Rock. The change agent sayeth

I also look forward to getting to work on the hard and vital task of restoring our nation’s economic strength. Today I say to our financial and business leaders that although change is on the horizon, we understand the need to pursue stability even as we pursue new growth. The changes I seek will strengthen America’s market systems not weaken them.

62

mds 08.26.10 at 7:05 pm

This is true, of course. But also not libertarians.

This may smack of Puchalskyism (not Puchalskyitism, note), but yeah, also libertarians, for so effectively catapaulting the propaganda. Think “freshwater economics.” Think of all the damage wrought because some goddamn moron drew a stupid curve on his napkin. Just because they’re not effectively refuted, or are even embraced, by the Very Serious center-left politicians, doesn’t absolve those who devised and promote the ideas.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to start a band. It’s going to be called “Bitching on the Internet.”

63

Ginger Yellow 08.26.10 at 7:14 pm

Pascal: not sure why you include GalCiv in that list. Its economy is nowhere near as fleshed out as in Sid Meier’s games, let alone something like Europa Universalis or Victoria. It’s basically bread and circuses.

Anyway, the article linked to in the original OP is pretty funny, in that it involves someone bringing an ideology to a system they don’t really understand and then when it doesn’t work, blaming the system (cf free market economists and the financial crisis). It’s really not very hard to make a perfectly functioning city in Caeasar III (some odd pathing quirks aside) , so long as you take the time to understand the mechanics. Simply asserting that it should work like so and then throwing up your hands when it doesn’t isn’t really a viable strategy.

64

chris 08.26.10 at 9:35 pm

Just ask yourself, what is the most important domestic-policy post? Fed chair, no question. And the most important military post? Secretary of Defense. And for both those jobs, Obama reappointed Bush’s picks. How much clearer does he have to make it to you, that on the big questions you don’t get a vote?

Your questions are very neatly constructed to sidestep the Secretary (and Department) of State, and the whole issue of *whether and how* to use the military (which isn’t a question to be answered by a military post, but also isn’t “domestic policy”).

I find Obama’s approach to foreign policy quite different from either his predecessor or his opponent, although still not everything I could wish by any means.

As for domestic policy, it is largely made in Congress; arguably the president is the wrong shop to go to for that sort of thing in the first place (and therefore the answer to your first question is actually “Speaker”).

65

Lemuel Pitkin 08.26.10 at 11:03 pm

I find Obama’s approach to foreign policy quite different from either his predecessor or his opponent

When Obama took office, there were 170,000 US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you know how many there are today? 165,000.

If whether the US should be fighting endless wars in the Middle East is important to you, then it’s hard to see the difference between Obama and his predecessor. If that question is not important to you, the differences will look larger.

66

BillCinSD 08.26.10 at 11:34 pm

Ginger Yellow @63 “Simply asserting that it should work like so and then throwing up your hands when it doesn’t isn’t really a viable strategy.”

That really is a concise summary of Austrian Economics as promulgated by the von Mises Institute, though.

67

qb 08.27.10 at 3:13 am

I’m as cynical as anyone else, but I don’t think the content of American foreign policy can be reduced to the number of troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

68

Cranky Observer 08.27.10 at 3:15 am

> Uh, I think you just defined managers into the working class.

Hence the Japanese word “salaryman”, which captures the flavor of both. Particularly when the salaryman is laid off somewhere between age 45 and 55 and realizes he will never work again, which happened to hundreds of thousands of Japanese managers during their Great Downturn – and hundreds of thousands to millions of Americans are now learning about the hard way. Which does bring us back to those who live on invested capital vs. those who are, well, just salarymen.

Cranky

69

Lemuel Pitkin 08.27.10 at 4:00 am

I don’t think the content of American foreign policy can be reduced to the number of troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Who mentioned foreign policy? Not me. I wrote: “If whether the US should be fighting endless wars in the Middle East is important to you, then it’s hard to see the difference between Obama and his predecessor.”

Do you think whether we’re at war in the Middle East, can be reduced to whether we’re at war in the Middle East? Or does it all depend on whether it’s a Republican or a Democrat in charge?

70

engels 08.27.10 at 4:24 am

Cranky – If you are suggesting that the crucial characteristic of being working class (a ‘salaryman’) is the threat of redundancy I’m not sure that makes it easy to defend the view that tenured professors are working class.

71

Guido Nius 08.27.10 at 8:26 am

Well, lemuel, is that the missing far left approach: simplifying the world into one issue and then glossing over the fact that your sum of Iraq and Afghanistan is a quite meaningless number (not to mention the fact that Afghanistan is only by a significant stretch of the imagination in the ME at all) to conclude that Obama is as bad as Bush? Because when it is it is a quite good illustration of why the left keeps splitting into ridiculous little factions with ridiculous pet peeves.

I mean, even if there is zero soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan you would still say that there are as many combat troops as before. It is a ridiculous argument to make (not the one about too many troops abroad but about the sum of those troops being a conclusive sign of US policy).

72

Henri Vieuxtemps 08.27.10 at 9:31 am

So, to what extent is a typical tenured professor being exploited, and to what extent does he live off exploitation of others?

73

alex 08.27.10 at 9:44 am

28% exploited, 5% self-realizing, 67% parasitical exploiter. Official DOMA* statistics.

[*] Dept Of My Ass.

74

Henri Vieuxtemps 08.27.10 at 9:52 am

Not working class, then.

75

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 08.27.10 at 10:10 am

As Ginger notes, he’s getting outfoxed by Caesar III? Not that the game doesn’t get difficult in the later stages, as these things usually do, but it’s got a pretty gentle learning curve, and it even gives you the option to deal with as little of the combat system as possible (which is a good thing, since it’s rather boring.)

I hate to think how he would deal with Dwarf Fortress.

76

John Protevi 08.27.10 at 1:04 pm

engels @70: about firing tenured profs: you might be interested / horrified at this latest maneuver here in the great state of Louisiana, aka, the canary in the coal mine of US higher education: http://chronicle.com/article/U-of-Louisiana-to-Consider/124159/

77

chris 08.27.10 at 1:05 pm

Who mentioned foreign policy? Not me.

Of course you didn’t — it would have undermined your point. You very carefully avoided discussing foreign policy, as I pointed out once already. By pointing out that you avoided it, I implicitly claimed that it was important (which I’m now making explicit in case you missed it before). Do you disagree that foreign policy other than the military can be important, or that there is a difference between Obama and his predecessor (or, if you prefer, his election opponent — Bush was leaving in any case) in that area?

I wrote: “If whether the US should be fighting endless wars in the Middle East is important to you, then it’s hard to see the difference between Obama and his predecessor.”

If you consider continuing a war equivalent to starting one, maybe. Obama has publicly stated that he doesn’t think the wars should be endless, but I suppose you’re free to disbelieve him as long as they haven’t ended yet, which is still the case.

Or maybe you’re just subtly making the point that as long as the US maintains its unstated policy of unconditional support for everything the government of Israel decides to do, we’ll be embroiled in Middle Eastern wars whether we like it or not? I do agree that that’s an issue where the political spectrum of the US doesn’t offer any real choice, but I don’t think that’s a reason to disengage from it.

You go to the ballot booth with the candidates you have, not the candidates you wish you had; and with the electoral system you have, too. And the US’s current first-past-the-post, money-dominated electoral system pretty much mandates the big-tent mess that is the current Democratic Party as the only viable alternative to the high-octane crazy of people like Bachmann and Palin. Well, that and the fact that millions of Americans actually *like* the narrow-minded jingoistic loons.

So I’m going to keep voting for the mess — it’s important.

78

arthur 08.27.10 at 3:57 pm

@75: I hate to think how he would deal with Dwarf Fortress.

Dwarf fortress is fairly close to the libertarian ideal, since the citizens are autonomous for the most part. Perhaps in a follow up article, our friend at Mises would write about how the lack of central control hampers society’s ability to respond to threats, because the people are too busy doing their own thing to fend off the goblin invasion/deal with the resource shortage/subdue the psychopathic dwarf. But I am not holding my breath.

79

Lemuel Pitkin 08.27.10 at 4:11 pm

Chris,

I voted for Obama. I’ll vote for him again, unless he starts a war in Iran or cuts Social Security benefits or does something comparably awful.

My point, tho is that there are some very important issues on which your vote does not count. So if you care about ending the wars (and stopping the next one), if you care about climate change, if you care about monetary policy that serves working people rather than bondholders — well then, you are going to have to find a way of being politically active for more than 20 minutes once every four years. That’s important too.

80

Guido Nius 08.27.10 at 8:29 pm

So I have to be an activist to really care. Good to know that. I really care about people not being forced to feel compelled to support the right causes in the right ways.

81

Lemuel Pitkin 08.27.10 at 8:45 pm

Guido, if you want to respond to something I’ve written, I’ll be happy to discuss it.

82

Lemuel Pitkin 08.27.10 at 8:52 pm

Actually, never mind. I just clicked over to your site and found a fine quote from Oscar Wilde’s Soul of Man Under Socialism, followed by your declaration: “I could have written this better.” So on reflection, I think you’re best off talking to yourself.

83

Freshly Squeezed Cynic 08.28.10 at 9:38 am

Dwarf fortress is fairly close to the libertarian ideal, since the citizens are autonomous for the most part.

A fair point, but the central planner sets jobs and tasks for the dwarfs to generally follow; the autonomy comes with the dwarfs’ own decisions as to which jobs, chosen for them by you, are most important. Although the dwarfs’ moods might indicate some kind of suppressed creative impulse which would only be fully unleashed by a Libertopia.

Perhaps this is a problem with strategy games in general, for our friend at Mises. All strategy games need some kind of central planning authority, since without one, what would the player actually do?

Is there a strategy game which he would find suitably libertarian? Someone mentioned Victoria above, and I think that, with a party in charge with both Lassez Faire and Free Trade might approach his ideal. Of course, the only way to keep them in power, unless he was lucky, might just be a Presidential Dictatorship… but we might consider that rather apt.

84

Guido Nius 08.28.10 at 9:40 am

Nothing like some snarky criticism to create some traffic. I thank you for it. Personally I do like your comments, I just dislike activism (and specifically the moral obligation activists tend to be creating to be activist for the same things they are active for).

Maybe reminding you of Oscar Wilde’s excellence will not have been in vain ;-)

85

Guido Nius 08.28.10 at 9:43 am

84 was in response to 82 (lemuel, I do have to say that taking all of 7 minutes to decide that I am worth talking to is a grand achievement of open-mindedness)

86

qb 08.28.10 at 7:27 pm

Who mentioned foreign policy? Really? Okay, let’s recap. Chris mentioned foreign policy, in the very passage you quoted. He said, “I find Obama’s approach to foreign policy quite different from either his predecessor or his opponent.” And then you said,

When Obama took office, there were 170,000 US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you know how many there are today? 165,000. If whether the US should be fighting endless wars in the Middle East is important to you, then it’s hard to see the difference between Obama and his predecessor. If that question is not important to you, the differences will look larger.

I hope we’re on the same page now. As a matter of fact, whether the US should be fighting endless wars in the Middle East is important to me. And yet I still see large differences between the foreign policies of Obama and Bush. How am I able to accomplish this feat? By not reducing foreign policy to the number of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I take your point, though. If the only thing that’s important to you is whether the US should be fighting endless wars in the Middle East, then the differences between Obama and Bush do seem pretty trivial.

87

John Protevi 08.28.10 at 7:46 pm

If the only thing that’s important to you is whether the US should be fighting endless wars in the Middle East, then the differences between Obama and Bush do seem pretty trivial.

qb, would you tell us what you think is more important than, or equally important as, the US fighting endless wars in the Middle East? That seems to be a somewhat important aspect of US foreign policy, doesn’t it? How do you rate its importance relative to other aspects?

88

qb 08.28.10 at 8:44 pm

Well, I didn’t say other policy issues were as or more important than the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, did I? I only said that there are foreign policy issues besides those wars, and that differences between Bush and Obama emerge when we examine them. For instance, I think that Obama is less idealist, less belligerent, and less exceptionalist than Bush, and is more focused on soft power and retaining positive relationships with Europe, Russia, and China. He has shown more patience for diplomacy with Iran, more interest in cooperating on global environmental issues, and real leadership on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. Of course, critics will argue that these differences are small, or cosmetic, or not really differences at all. Be that as it may, my main purpose in joining the conversation was to point out that it’s a little simplistic to think Bush and Obama have identical foreign policies just because we’re still at war.

89

John Protevi 08.28.10 at 9:57 pm

Of course, critics will argue that these differences are small, or cosmetic, or not really differences at all.

I’m not asking how some unnamed “critics” will evaluate the relative importance of the differences between Bush and Obama’s foreign policy. I’m asking how *you* rate the importance of those differences.

90

John Protevi 08.28.10 at 10:03 pm

To be more precise, I’m asking how you rate the importance of those differences relative to the similarities. When you say “just because we’re still at war,” you seem to be minimizing the importance of the similarity. “Jeez, no need to get mad, just because…”

91

Ken 08.28.10 at 11:56 pm

Freshly Squeezed Cynic @75: I hate to think how he would deal with Dwarf Fortress.

Reminds me of a scene from Charade with Audrey Hepburn. She’s visiting the American Embassy and gets on the elevator where one man is telling another, “I bluffed him out of the pot with a pair of twos. Now, if I can do that, can you imagine what the Russians are doing to him?”

Along those lines, it might be fun to replace one of those stupid “debates” during the Presidential primaries with a game or two of Diplomacy. It would certainly be more informative.

92

qb 08.29.10 at 1:10 am

John, I’m not sure what you’re looking for here. Did you want expected utility calculations or something? A scale of 1 to 10? Can’t you just infer that I think the differences are important enough (even relative to the similarities) to render false any claim that Obama and Bush share the same foreign policy? I presume that by now you’re conceding that there are aspects of American foreign policy besides the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that Bush and Obama differ on some of those aspects. Yet here you are, asking me to “rate” the importance of a bunch of extremely complex issues. You seem to be baiting me, but I can’t figure out why.

Is it that you’re committed to some particular interpretation of the term ‘large,’ and so cannot stomach using it to describe the difference between, say, pro and con positions on pursuing nuclear disarmament? That doesn’t seem like a very fruitful line of debate, since we could continue having it even if we were in perfect agreement about the relative importance of all foreign policy issues–is 20% an objectively ‘large’ percentage? No! Yes! What a waste of time! Do you think we’re haggling over the question of whether Obama and Bush are the same in general, or all things considered, and take me to be offering a resolute No? I didn’t think that’s what I was doing. I don’t see much value in issuing such coarse evaluations because “Are they the same?” is just not a very pressing matter; more pressing is the question of whether and where Obama’s policies need to be changed.

Perhaps you think the differences between Obama and Bush are small enough to be practically irrelevant. Do you think that, holding all else equal, those differences wouldn’t count in favor of voting for Obama rather than Bush? That doesn’t seem likely. Or maybe you think that the differences are irrelevant for rhetorical purposes, supposing that we’re justified in ignoring them for the sake of garnering more popular support for withdrawal, or for putting more pressure on the Obama Administration; that merely by recognizing differences I am minimizing similarities that are much more important. But I’m not arguing about what’s rhetorically effective and what isn’t. I’m arguing about whether Obama’s whole foreign policy deserves condemnation because some (admittedly important) parts of it are wrong. In short, I’m not trying to minimize the similarities; I’m trying to prevent others from not only minimizing the differences, but from ignoring them–even denying them–entirely.

Is it possible that you see my willingness to recognize differences between Obama and Bush as a way to make excuses for Obama, to offer reasons why we shouldn’t “get mad” at him? Again, I see no reason why the choice is between “ANGRY” and “CONTENT.” Why can’t I distribute my praise and blame in proportion to what he’s done right and what he’s done wrong, and adopt an appropriately moderated attitude towards him? Do I have to be vehemently against his whole approach to foreign policy if I’m against the wars in the Middle East? I don’t think so.

So… what? What do you think I should believe that I don’t already? I’d be much more inclined to play along with the ratings game if I had some reason to believe you weren’t doing it just to find something else to disagree with me about. I’m not taking the bait until I can recognize the ground of contention.

93

John Protevi 08.29.10 at 2:30 am

qb, maybe I’m being too generous to him, but I don’t think LP meant to say there’s no differences, but that the similarities are more important than the differences. So of course you can defend you’re position if you say that he’s saying there are no differences whatsoever. But is that really a good interpretation of what he was saying?

In any case, just concentrating on what you’ve said, when you say let’s not ignore the differences between Bush and Obama “just because we’re still at war,” it reminded me of “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?” But if you think I’m baiting you to point that out, then we don’t have to continue.

94

John Protevi 08.29.10 at 2:31 am

“defend your position”!

Reading too much of the Intertubes degrades one’s spelling competence.

95

John Protevi 08.29.10 at 2:33 am

Follow up:

But is that really a good interpretation of what he was saying?

Maybe it’s a defensible literal interpretation, but it’s hardly generous, considering the importance of the topic.

96

Lemuel Pitkin 08.29.10 at 8:56 pm

I have never written, neither on this thread or anywhere else, that there are no foreign-policy differences between the parties. That’s a red herring created by chris, qb, etc. So there is nothing to concede there. What I wrote, multiple times, and defended, and which chris, qb etc., have not challenged, is that imperialism and endless war are the policies of both parties. I wrote that I voted for Obama and expect to vote for him again. So, again, on the question of whether the differences between the parties are big enough to matter, qb and chris are arguing with voices in their heads.

So for instance, qb puts “get mad” in quotes, as if someone had suggested we get mad at Obama. But I’ve explicitly said that I have no interest in moral judgments of Obama either way. What qb’s comment really brings out is how much politics, even — or especially — for liberals who claim to be pragmatists is really a kind of team sport. He/she seems literally unable to comprehend a political position that doesn’t amount to rooting either for or against Obama.

My point is simply that there is no anti-war position within the horizon defined by the national Democratic and Republican parties. Do you care about endless war in the Middle East? Chris and qb answer seems to be, Never mind the war, think about all those other foreign policy differences between Bush and Obama — which I don’t deny exist, tho it’s funny how they never get around to pointing to any concrete policies or outcomes. Which, as John P. rightly says, has a taste of “other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?”

The bottom line is that if you are opposed to endless war (and to monetary policy driven strictly by the interests of bondholders), then you have to find a form of political engagement other than supporting Democratic candidates. And that means recognizing that *on these particular issues*, the problem is the political establishment as a whole, and not just the right fringe. That’s all I’ve been arguing in this thread.

97

Lemuel Pitkin 08.29.10 at 9:00 pm

(Actually, I see John P. did use the phrase get mad. But he didn’t say at Obama — that was qb’s addition. I presume John P. meant mad about the war.)

98

Lemuel Pitkin 08.29.10 at 9:49 pm

it might be fun to replace one of those stupid “debates” during the Presidential primaries with a game or two of Diplomacy. It would certainly be more informative.

From Chicago magazine:

“The Kennedys are said to play [Diplomacy] at the White House, and I understand the Western Alliance is demanding early assurances that Jack sometimes wins,” a columnist at the London Evening Standard reported.

99

qb 08.30.10 at 1:17 am

You did say that you thought it was “hard to see” the differences between Obama and Bush on foreign policy (I’m not going to quote it again), though I suppose that view’s compatible with your belief that such differences exist. It was difficult to recognize the importance of that distinction before your recent clarification, though, so I appreciate that.

You claim that I seem “literally unable to comprehend a political position that doesn’t amount to rooting either for or against Obama.” Yet I repeatedly emphasized that I see no reason to frame debates about foreign policy as debates about whether we should root simply “for” or “against” Obama. Of course, I did frame the discussion in terms of whether and where we should change Obama’s foreign policy, but, well, that’s because Obama’s foreign policy just is US foreign policy, at least for the time being, so as a practical matter I think that that’s whose foreign policy we should be trying to change. But to put it mildly, it’s difficult to see how you got from there to such a sweeping statement about the (literal! wow!) limits of my comprehension.

I absolutely agree with you that there is “no anti-war position within the horizon defined by the national Democratic and Republican parties,” and I said nothing to the contrary, and I also agree that that’s pretty ugly state of affairs. I was listing differences between Bush and Obama because you said you had a hard time seeing them, and given that aim, I’m at a loss as to why you’d construe what I had to say as “Never mind the war” (I mean, other than to try to make me look stupid or callous). The war is a point of similarity, not a point of difference, and so I had no reason to bring it up. In fact, as I also suggested a couple times, I do think that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are extremely important aspects of American foreign policy, and I certainly never came within ten city blocks of saying they should be ignored.

Your final paragraph was the clearest expression of your view that I have seen in this thread, and I have no disagreement with it. It seems to me that at this point we are somewhat belligerently agreeing with each other, and that seems to be the result of some careless writing and some over-hasty assumptions on both our parts. Lemuel, I think you’re a pretty sharp guy, which is why I was surprised that (as I understood you at the time) you thought it was hard to see differences between Bush and Obama on foreign policy. My first comment was a tiny little corrective, and now I regret not phrasing it as a clarficatory question: Do you mean to say that…? etc. Things spun out of control from there. It’s an old story.

ANYWAY. As for the “get mad” bit, you’ve correctly noted that I was quoting John, and you’re right, I was assuming he meant getting mad at Obama. I was canvassing possible reasons John might have for thinking that we disagree, and I don’t think it was unreasonable to assume he thought I was listing differences between Bush and Obama in order to excuse the latter from blame and angry recriminations. I presume it doesn’t make much sense to get mad about things if no one is to blame for them, and anger about a particular scenario is appropriately taken to be anger at the parties responsible for its existence.

100

Lemuel Pitkin 08.30.10 at 6:16 am

It seems to me that at this point we are somewhat belligerently agreeing with each other, and that seems to be the result of some careless writing and some over-hasty assumptions on both our parts.

You are right. Quite a bit more heat than light in this exchange. Which is hardly a new thing on the internet, but I try to avoid it.

I shouldn’t have written the lines about “literally unable to comprehend” (when one starts using words like literally, totally, absolutely, etc., it’s usually a sign of being gotten the better of by one’s rhetoric) and “never mind the war”. Those weren’t fair characterizations of what you’ve written here, and I apologize.

On the substantive question, I don’t think I can improve on the last paragraph of 96, so I’ll leave it at that.

101

Guido Nius 08.30.10 at 7:18 am

96- But aren’t it phrases like “the political establishment as a whole” that are the red herrings in all of this? It simplifies the debate into right and wrong – & the anti-establishment attitude being somehow right. In living together with a bunch of others you will have to make allowances for a margin of error in your own judgment – and for the fact that you will need to compromise on all your positions at least somewhat. To pull something out of the subject matter of compromise & relegate a certain opinion to merely ‘establishment’ ruling (with reference to bond holders – and whatnot) you risk committing an anti-social act.

I’m sure that I agree with lemuel on the fact that ‘compromise’ positions are unduely biased by a happy few towards, mainly, the right (although I would disagree with his assessment of the wars in the Middle East, current treatment thereof). I am also sure that we need to call that bias out & be vocal about it. But I don’t think that introducing binary distinctions is helpful. Talking about establishment has some poetical value but there is no such thing as establishment ‘as a whole’; it is a typical misconception of the extremes to fall into the trap of the underdog – & consequently to become ever more fragmented because each and every ‘major’ debate defines some people in addition as ‘really only ever having been’ an (unwitting) part of the establishment machine.

102

Henri Vieuxtemps 08.30.10 at 9:49 am

Are you saying that there is no such thing as the establishment ever, or only in the context of so-called “liberal democracies”?

103

Guido Nius 08.30.10 at 11:44 am

I’m saying there is no such thing as ‘the establisment as a whole’, certainly not in the context of liberal democracies. No problem with kicking the establishment, as long as it is clear that it is a very metaphorical kicking.

104

Henri Vieuxtemps 08.30.10 at 12:58 pm

Yes, it’s just a conspiracy theory, spread around by various fringe elements.

105

chris 08.30.10 at 1:31 pm

I don’t have much time for “political positions” that have nothing to do with the actual functioning of politics in the country they are supposedly about. Railing against the establishment is all very well, and I agree with some of it in theory, but unless you have a practical plan to overthrow the two-party system, you can either function within it or become irrelevant.

And there are enough bigots and dangerous lunatics in the US electorate that having a substantial number of reasonable people disengage or spoil their ballots is a real threat. Even if you have no intention of doing so yourself, I think your rhetoric could lead others to do so, if it’s not engaged by some discussion of the importance of the practical side of politics.

I’m also less quick to jump to the conclusion that because Obama hasn’t ended the wars *yet*, he (or his party) doesn’t intend to end them ever, and his rhetoric to the contrary is just a pack of lies, but that’s obviously not a subject on which you are likely to be persuaded by anything I can say.

106

Guido Nius 08.30.10 at 1:54 pm

104- thanks for that link.

107

Lemuel Pitkin 08.30.10 at 4:10 pm

Railing against the establishment is all very well, and I agree with some of it in theory, but unless you have a practical plan to overthrow the two-party system, you can either function within it or become irrelevant.

If you would replace “overthrow” with “operate outside of as well as within”, I reckon we could have a conversation.

108

Lemuel Pitkin 08.30.10 at 4:17 pm

I should add, I suspect I’ve worked as paid staff for more Democratic campaigns than anyone else on this thread. The issue for me has never been whether it’s valuable or important to support Democratic candidates, but whether it’s sufficient.

109

ajay 09.01.10 at 2:07 pm

96: My point is simply that there is no anti-war position within the horizon defined by the national Democratic and Republican parties. Do you care about endless war in the Middle East?

According to repeated statements by the current administration, US troops will be out of Iraq by the end of next year, and will start to withdraw from Afghanistan in 10 months’ time.
Perhaps you could discuss how this fits with your assertion that both parties are committed to a policy of endless war in the Middle East.

110

Lemuel Pitkin 09.01.10 at 3:40 pm

By watching what they do rather than what they say.

111

CBBB 09.06.10 at 6:35 am

I don’t understand, Caesar III isn’t a difficult game – except for some of the later missions. What’s wrong with these people?

Comments on this entry are closed.