Why I Hate the Accumulation of Power by our Ostensible “Authorities”

Try out this story of overreaction on the part of our “protectors,” the TSA.

As I read it, I could not help but hear Cartman shouting “Respect my authoritah!”

I’m Still Around, and Still on Vacation

And enjoying the time off.

I’ve got the beginnings of an essay running ’round my brain, and pretty soon I’m going to have to let it out.

Thanks for dropping by!

The Exchange Continues

Barry, of Inn of the Last Home, is still defending himself against the reactions other people had to his comments about concealed carry. The LeanLeft post on the topic has developed a comment thread 96 posts long. (And I mean long.)

So yesterday, Barry left this comment on my post below:

Nice, going around and assuming people who don’t agree with you have a mental defect. Nice.

That drew a response from me, followed by an email from Barry, and a return response from me. Here is that exchange for your edification:

Barry, I’ll e-mail you a copy of this response, too, but you’re the one who said that carrying a gun would affect your mental balance.

If that’s true, it’s a mental defect by definition.

I just pointed out the fact.

No, I never said anything like that. I never said it would affect your mental balance, and even if I did it doesn’t fit the definition of a “mental defect”.

I said that its presence on my person would have an effect of increasing discomfort and nervousness, AS IF it had been emitting radiation. AS IF – it’s a metaphor, implying that increased exposure to something I don’t like would mean increased discomfort.

That’s all – end of story – nothing mentally defective at all.

Unless, of course you consider anyone who is uncomfortable carrying firearms as being mentally defective – in which case there’s no point in explaining.

But thanks for writing.



This is precisely what you said:

“If I were to take a live, armed weapon and carry it on my person, in public, it would eat away at my sanity just as if it were emitting lethal radiation.”

Your words.

“…it would eat away at my sanity…” is not the same as “…increasing discomfort and nervousness…”

What you said was that having a handgun on your person would affect your mental balance. Whether or not you meant that is irrelevant. It is, incontrovertibly, what you wrote.

In your post on your blog you wrote:

“First of all, the “radiation” comment was a metaphor I was attempting to use to illustrate the effect possessing a gun on my person would have on my mental well-being.”

Again, while I’d agree that this is more mild than “affecting (your) sanity,” it’s still more emphatic than “increasing nervousness and discomfort.” You’re backing away from what you said, not explaining it. I think you really meant what you wrote and were surprised by the storm of reaction it garnered.

From my perspective what you have said here is that you believe that carrying a gun will make you unstable: “it would eat away at my sanity”. Believing that, you project this instability onto others, as you did in your comment at Hell in a Handbasket:

“Say I’m eating in a restaurant with my family. The guy in the next table over is carrying a concealed weapon. Someone bumps a waiter who spills hot coffee on his son. Enraged, the guy jumps up and notices either the waiter or the guy who bumped him is black – in his mind, the combination of circumstances: injury to his son, deep-rooted prejudices, you name it, combine to create in his mind a lethal situation. An argument ensues, names are called, nationality and circumstances of birth are questioned. He pulls the weapon and confronts the waiter. From that point on who knows what might happen?”

And as you did in your original comment:

“What scares me most is the arbitrary nature of self-defense. What line must be crossed to signal to you that there is imminent danger or threat? Is it a criminal pulling a gun on you? In which case, unless you’re a gunslinger, you’re not going to outdraw him. Is it someone pulling a knife? Threatening words? Bad language or rude gestures? Where is that one point where you decide, “Yes, my life or the life of my loved ones is in danger and I must now take it upon myself to take the life of another person.” What if the guy is reaching into his jacket, and you are sure, absolutely certain that it is a weapon. You pull your gun and shoot–and see he’s reaching for his wallet. Or worse, you miss and hit a child running in the street. Where is that line?”

As I said, you mistrust yourself. Since you believe that you are unable to carry a weapon without being an active threat to innocents, you must (for your own self-image) believe that no one (except, for some reason, people with badges) can do so. You must assume that people who are willing to get a CCW are dangerous to everybody. You’re not alone, either. As I quoted in my comments on LeanLeft:

“We’re just flat-out against concealed carry, especially under a law that hides the names of those packing the guns. Ohio doesn’t need more people carrying guns in public, along with its certainty of more maiming and killing, accidentally or otherwise.”

But this fear is unfounded, because in the 36 states with “shall-issue” CCW, it hasn’t happened. And in these 36 states, people who have acquired CCW licenses have used their handguns on numerous occasions to stop crimes in progress.

You wrote:

“I understand completely that you have the best of intentions, the best training, the best gun money can buy, and the best reasons in the world to want to defend yourself. But I’m sorry, I don’t have insight into your character from my vantage point and I can’t assume you can be trusted with a gun any more than I can assume you’re not going to attack me anyway without a gun.”

Apparently you don’t understand. You (again) project that someone who has a concealed weapon (legally) might go postal on you. Why? Because they obviously must be mentally unstable, or they wouldn’t want to carry a gun. Or, conversely, carrying a gun will affect their mental balance, as you wrote that it would affect yours.

It’s the only conclusion that can be drawn.

You wrote:

“I don’t trust you.”

That’s the difference between us, Barry. The only people I don’t trust with a concealed weapon are the ones who do so with criminal intent, and I’m aware that these people represent a tiny fraction of the population. I’m also aware that I cannot prevent these people from doing so. They aren’t going to bother to apply for a permit. The ones who jump through the legal hoops to get a CCW? I trust them far more than the general public, because the people who make the conscious decision to carry a weapon for self-defense are far more likely to understand the gravity of that decision.

Now, if you’re still paying attention, there’s something I wrote quite a while back that I think you ought to read and comment on.

It’s here: http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2003_05_18_smallestminority_archive.html#94721269


Kevin Baker

To this I will add only one thing: I was probably in error in accusing Barry of being a hoplophobe. He may not be afraid of firearms per se. What he seems to be afraid of is people who are capable of violence. To Barry, apparently, the only people who can use violence legitimately are government employees.

Barry illustrates the idea behind this quotation:

To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem.

To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized,

merely the domesticated.
– Trefor Thomas

More Definitive Laboratory Experiments Upcoming

We already have the example of England, now we will get to see what gun bans do for the crime rates of Brazil and Thailand. (Via multiple sources.)

My prediction? Crime will go up. More innocents will be victims. Homicides will increase. And the market for illicit firearms will explode.

The ENTIRE Bill of Rights

Not “selected readings from,” goddammit!

Via Keepandbeararms.com comes this heartwarming story from Chapel Hill, N.C.:

Assembly honors Bill of Rights

Local dignitaries read the amendments, Raging Grannies sang and petitioners petitioned in a celebration of our basic freedoms.

Peaceably assembling in front of the Franklin Street post office just before noon on Monday were two mayors, Town Council members both incumbent and newly elected, the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, some representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union, a half-dozen outlandishly decked-out 60ish women, a grad student dressed as the Statue of Liberty, and three tambourine-shaking followers of Hare Krishna.

All gathered to honor the First Amendment — freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly — and the next nine amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which together make up the Bill of Rights.

Well, not the Hare Krishna folks, who headed off before the solemnities begin. But all the rest were here to celebrate the 212th anniversary of the ratification of this statement of America’s fundamental liberties by reading it out loud.

It’s a cheerful event with serious undertones. Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, in sunglasses and a long brown coat, read the preamble and passed the copy along down a row of local dignitaries, each of whom read one amendment.

Charles Kast from the ACLU, looking a tad sheepish, read the Second Amendment, the one about the right to bear arms. Later, he said he was the only one willing to read it. Yes, he does believe in it, though he doesn’t own a gun.

Also among the amendment readers were incoming council member Sally Greene, incumbent Bill Strom, Aaron Nelson from the Chamber of Commerce, Margaret Misch of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Carrboro Mayor Mike Nelson.

Bet your ass Ms. Misch was one who didn’t want to read the Second Amendment.

Once again, I’m reminded of Judge Kozinski’s dissent in Silveira v. Lockyer:

It is wrong to use some constitutional provisions as springboards for major social change while treating others like senile relatives to be cooped up in a nursing home until they quit annoying us. As guardians of the Constitution, we must be consistent in interpreting its provisions. If we adopt a jurisprudence sympathetic to individual rights, we must give broad compass to all constitutional provisions that protect individuals from tyranny. If we take a more statist approach, we must give all such provisions narrow scope. Expanding some to gargantuan proportions while discarding others like a crumpled gum wrapper is not faithfully applying the Constitution; it’s using our power as federal judges to constitutionalize our personal preferences.

The same holds true for all those who ostensibly support the Bill of Rights. Support it all, or risk losing it all piecemeal.

Remember “Tupiniquim”?

He was the Brazilian that left some comments and inspired me to write “That Sumbitch Ain’t Been BORN”. Well, he responded to me in an e-mail (good thing, too, as the response goes several pages and would have been a multipart comment, to say the least.

In order to do him justice, I’m going to respond here in the blog, interspersing my responses within the whole of his e-mail:

Hi, Kevin

(you know, I don’t speak a good english, you’ll find many mistakes here. I chose give you my answer by e-mail because, like you told me, that wasn’t the right place for this conversation.)

Trust me, your English beats the Spanish I studied in college all to hell and gone.

Thank you very much for the answer, is great hear different points of view. Now, after a reading of all those things you told me, I wish I can give you some points: explain some things that I think (the points where we disagree), give you my excuses for some excess, and tell what I agree with you. And I’ll start telling right what I agree.

Ku Klux Klan, like you and John Moore have been telling me, is a small group. In a country with great dimensions like USA, is just impossible we don’t see evil groups. I didn’t try to say that groups like KKK was a rule in your country – no, for sure. I was just trying to say that a country with the great dimensions of USA can’t share only one idea. I showed McCarthism and beat generation, KKK and jazz, trying to make an opposition: intents and attitudes opposition, as a result of ideas opposition. At this point, you and John Moore are full of reason. And, another point (I guess you’ll like to read this): I’m sure that is not responsibility of North Americans to solve our problems here in Latin America. Our problems are our problems, your problems are your problems (stupid, but true).

Except, granted, where those problems overlap.

I know what I wrote about USA external politics on your blog. Well, here are my apologies. Excuse me if I seemed offensive (and reading again what I wrote, I know I seemed offensive), it really wasn’t my intention, believe me. I see great qualities on USA, especially cultural qualities. I told you about the beat generation (Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac.); lost generation and one of its great masters, John Steinbeck; Ernest Hemingway, Walt Withman, jazz, rock’n roll, and a lot of others. But, here in Brazil, and in a lot of other places this world, people hate USA much more every day. Why? There are some reasons, and I guess this is a thing that you must not ignore.

Well, yes and no. You have to understand that the United States is a very large country. The majority of us, I’d say, never travel outside our own borders, nor really think about other countries all that much. There’s so much here here, that we don’t need to. We expect that our elected officials and government employees will do that, as that’s what they’re elected and hired to do. The only time many of us really even think about other nations is when they do something that does – directly – affect our nation. If we’re hated, many of us think, it may be because we’ve (rightly) done something that has adversely affected the people who hate us. I wasn’t offended, but I did (and do) disagree with much of your original comments.

Well, in first place, I’ll tell what I saw in Steven Den Beste essays: rhetoric, nothing more.

Rhetoric is defined, according to Webster’s, as “the art of speaking or writing effectively,” as “the study of principles and rules of composition formulated by critics of ancient times,” and “skill in the effective use of speech.” Den Beste is certainly all that. But I think you meant it in the meaning of “insincere or grandiloquent language.” I assure you, it may be grandiloquent, but it is most definitely not insincere. I think you dismiss him far too lightly.

Like you and John Moore told me (not with these words), and I agree, if we search we won’t find a people so big without an evil group. And, I’m telling you now, you won’t find a people so big without groups with different ideas too, be sure. There will ever be people with different minds, different points of view, and this is good. The freedom of thinking and the right to tell what you think are human natural rights. This way, a 300 million people just can’t share ONE idea. They share a lot of ideas, and disagree in a lot of others, right like Brazilians, Mexicans, Venezuelans or Europeans. I know, maybe you’d tell me that everybody with an USA citizenship doesn’t share this idea, or that this freedom of thinking and this right to tell what you think are the idea that all North Americans share. But realize that these ideas and those you told me, about freedom, and about we don’t have a master, are shared by almost everyone in this world. The Human Rights assure it.

There I disagree with you, for if “almost everyone” actually shared the idea, there wouldn’t be so many dictatorships in this world. “The Human Rights” assure nothing, not even here.

I know you don’t think the same, but I guess that these Steven Den Beste essays just give one more reason for North Americans have much pride of themselves, and this isn’t good for them. Let me explain: a people need to feel pride of itself, but there is a point where pride turns to arrogance. Today, this is the USA point.

I suggest you study our history. We’ve been arrogant for most of it. But I think if you check, arrogance is a side-effect of power. Nobody out arroganced the British during their Empire phase. The French haven’t lost their arrogance, even though their power has faded almost to obscurity. And the Germans have damned near cornered the market on arrogance, just ask the Czechs. The Germans are #1 on their “most offensive visitors” list. Americans are a distant fourth.

Maybe you’ll be nervous with me, but this isn’t just what I see, is the opinion of a lot of people this world, people enough for you don’t just ignore. I felt happy when saw that you know about the evil governments that USA supports (still today), and that USA government keeps getting in mistakes that gives misery and death not to some, but to lots. But, in the end of your post, you told that just ignore everyone that say that USA is evil. No one would just tell you’re evil, who does is because felt this evilness. Who says that USA is evil are the people that are in misery now, in consequence of this country’s government arrogant attitudes (I have a lot of examples, and Brazilians lived this kind of USA government attitude directly). Knowing you only ignore everyone who tells this kind of thing, I understand that you’ll keep thinking that “USA political system” is the best possible, and you’ll keep full of pride about it.

Looking things this way, I can easily understand why you found all this sapience in Steven Den Beste essays, why you aren’t a student of USA politics in South America, why you think valid to attack Iraq without any prove of its terrorist activities, why you think that Noam Chomsky has to be ridiculed, and why you think your government needs to protect you – just you. North Americans have been arrogant. Your government’s job is really keep your people safe, but it’s just valid when your government doesn’t destroy another country. USA has the government that attacked most countries in the 20th century, was it all to keep its people safe?

Here I have to ask a question: please clarify the statement “USA has the government that attacked most countries in the 20th century.” Attacked who? How? Give me a list, please, with specific details. Then compare that list to the actions of the former Soviet Union and its satellites.

Keep its people safe from what? What’s the price the world is paying for its people’s illusion of security? Because, be sure, this is an illusion.

How so? In America, we don’t have government thugs “disappearing” people (yet.) We don’t have tens of thousands dead in unmarked mass graves. Terrorism, at least on the wholesale level, is a relatively recent phenomenon here – one that we’re currently addressing, whether you think our methods effective or not.

I’d say, off hand, that our security has been pretty well served for quite a long while.

Please, understand my way to think: I’m not a North American, and I’m not benefited by any action of USA government. When the Brazilians militaries get the power, US naval forces were on our coast. Washington Post wrote that “an important step was given for the democracy on Brazil”. It all was lie, you know, but I know better than you.

Martinez Corrêa, a theater director from my city with important works, was killed by the militaries. His brother was tortured by them. I won’t talk about all those things you can easily imagine that happened here this time, I’ll only say that USA external politic wasn’t just in connivance with the militaries, but planed their ascension to the power. And, when they get the power, gave them all the supports they needed – not for free, sure. USA won a lot of things with our military government, it all to keep its people safe. Can you comprehend? Its people safety would be the only job of USA government, if it (its people and government) lived lonely, without relationship with any other country. Today, it’s impossible. And is really easy say that its people safety has to be the only job of USA government, when there are another people dying to keep North American citizens safe.

To this I’d say that you grant a lot more power and planning to our government and military than they deserve. However, you apparently read Chomsky and believe him, so that’s understandable. There is always a desire to blame somebody, anybody, outside your own culture and America is a pretty good target for that blame. And surely we deserve some of it, but not all, and probably not most.

The war on Iraq is the most recently example. This war won’t keep USA people more safe, and really won’t keep the world more safe, like George Bush have been telling.

USA government confuses Al Qaeda with Saddam Husseim, with Taleban, with Palestin, with Islamism, with North Korea, and creates a new enemy: the terror. Terror is an abstract concept, something that you just can’t win with a war. “War against terrorism” doesn’t exist. Here in Brazil we all still remember that Saddam Husseim’s ascension to the power was planed and helped by USA government, right like the Brazilians militaries ascension.

Here we’re going to have our first really serious disagreement. You assert that the U.S. planned and helped Hussein achieve power, but I challenge you to find a non-chomskian source for evidence supporting that accusation. What we didn’t do was oppose his power-grab, and once he seized power, we (like every other nation, including France and Germany) treated Saddam like a legitimate leader of a country. Saddam was hardly the only despot in charge of a nation at the time. And “unilaterally overthrowing” him would have been frowned on by the international community then, too. Singling out the U.S. as the boogeyman over Saddam’s rise to power is unrealistic. What we did subsequent to his ascension was to use him as a counterbalance against the actively hostile nation of Iran – in the “our bastard” theory of international politics. Was that wrong? Well, I think so, but it kept Iran and Iraq occupied with each other rather than us and the rest of the Middle East. Yes, a lot of people died, and some of their blood is on our hands, but hardly all of it, and not ours alone.

If you search in some old newspaper, you’ll find Donald Rumsfeld shaking Saddam Husseim’s hand. And the George Bush’s involvement with petroleum industries and with gun industries (that financed Bush’s candidature) is obvious for people here.

Yes, I’m sure it is. Everything is so simple isn’t it? Only it’s not simple, and neither is it so obvious. Conspiracy theories are certainly easy to generate, but so seldom even close to accurate. This is the forte of Chomsky and his ilk.

This is obvious as is obvious that his electioneering was corrupt, and as is obvious that the Iraq war was a crusade for natural resources: the petroleum, especially. This is what Noam Chomsky was trying to say, when opposed to the war: that USA government was attacking Iraq with political intents, not humanistic intents. How can a government kill people with humanistic intent? How can a war keep the world safe? In Brazil, in the “World Social Forum”, Noam Chomsky came and was applauded and received like a great intellectuality. I felt happy knowing that some North American was aware about the USA external politics excess (remember, I’m not benefited by USA politics anyway).

Ok, we have several assertions here. One: Bush’s “electioneering was corrupt.” Please clarify. As I recall, it was Gore, not Bush who attempted to change the election rules in the middle of the election. Two: the Iraq war was a crusade for oil. Really? How much oil are we getting out of Iraq for free right now? We pay for our natural resources, Tup, we don’t steal them, or take them by conquest. The invasion of Iraq was about a whole lot of things, not just one. Was oil part of it? Well, let’s just say that if the majority of the world’s oil wasn’t sitting under the sands of the Middle East, the entire region would receive about the same amount of attention from the U.S. that Brazil does.

Rhetoric or not, I recommend you read Steven Den Beste’s detailed explanation of the myriad reasons behind our invasion of Iraq, but here it is in a nutshell: Saddam was a dangerous man, known to have and have used chemical weapons against Iran and his own people. He was known to have actively sought nuclear and biological capabilities. He had attacked Iran and Kuwait. He had endured 12 years of UN sanctions at great cost to his people, but none to himself, and the opinion of the liberal world was that those sanctions needed to be dropped “for the children” – leaving Saddam in power, and unfettered. This meant that he would again be dangerous, and that was not an option.

You want to make the invasion about oil? Go ahead. Did we invade Iraq for humanitarian reasons, to free the Iraqi people? No we did not, but we saw it as a great fringe benefit. We went in to get rid of Saddam. We went in to eliminate Iraq as a source for funds to and protection of terrorists. We went into Iraq to put the fear of the same into Syria, Jordan, Iran, and all the other nations overtly or covertly supporting terrorism, and that includes our “friends” the Saudis. We invaded Iraq for a number of reasons, and oil was one of them, but to hear Chomsky we went in to Iraq and into Afghanistan with the intent to steal their oil and make our oil companies and weapons companies rich – period.


USA arrogance was evident when George Bush refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol. His justify, published in Brazil: “What’s good to the USA economy needs to be good to the world.” USA pollutes more than any other country this world. This is a prove of the USA arrogance – an arrogance that keeps its people blind to some contradictions.

Do you understand what the Kyoto Protocol does and what it means? Are you intimately familiar with the science – and the politics – behind it? Neither am I, but I am convinced that will be useless in affecting “climate change” and extremely restrictive in affecting American industry. “USA pollutes more than any other country in this world” you state, but that’s in part because the USA outproduces any other country in this world. The former Soviet Union was a gross polluter, even though it was a miserable producer. What’s going on inside industrializing China – a nation, I believe, not even included in the Protocol?

Understand this – whether Bush approved the Protocol or not, it was never going to pass through our Congress. Blame it on Bush if you want, but those are the facts.

George Bush can’t tell me that “his great democracy should opposite the tyranny wherever it is found”, when it supports Ariel Sharon, maybe the major tyrant in this world; supports the North Alliance, that is terrorist (!) and poppy planter; and supported the Brazilians militaries, right like supported Pinochet’s ascension. I just don’t know if Ariel Sharon is the major tyrant this world, because I think that maybe George Bush is it.

America supports ISRAEL. Sharon is Israel’s current democratically elected Prime Minister. Bush, in my humble opinion, has done more not in the interest of Israel than the last four American Presidents combined. We deal with the Northern Alliance because they were our allies in the overthrow of Saddam. There’s a saying you’re probably familiar with: “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” America is not alone in this, either. If you’ll recall, America and Britain held their noses and formed an alliance with Josef Stalin against Hitler not so long ago, just for one example. Politics is a dirty, filthy business, and I’m constantly amazed and disgusted at the people who are so attracted to power that they’ll engage in it. But I’m grateful that so many decent people are willing to do it, too – else things would all end up in the crapper.

We’ll find a lot of others contradictions: USA is, supposed, the “land of the free”. The great idea that all North Americans share is that you don’t have to submit to anyone. But the USA government has the right to submit others with his military, or refusing to sign the Kyoto Protocol, or with a lot of other attitudes, to keep safe its people. USA is the “land of the opportunities”, where Latin American descendants and black people are chose to compound the front in the platoons (fact published in Brazil).

Hold on right there. I’m assuming that you mean that blacks and latinos represent the majority of combat troops? This is something I’ve heard before, and it’s bullshit too. It’s been spouted by some of our elected officials, also, but it’s not true. According to this UPI article, for example, blacks and Latinos make up about 38% of our all-volunteer military (though they represent only about 30% of our overall population), but on the sharp end in combat assignments, minorities are not overrepresented. The article states:

Blacks are found disproportionately in the military, while Hispanic residents, many of whom are not citizens, are slightly underrepresented. Blacks are found most heavily in the Army and are least common in the Air Force.

Contrary to popular belief, blacks have not died in combat in disproportionate numbers, even in Vietnam. Two leading military sociologists, Charles Moskos of Northwestern and John Sibley Butler of the University of Texas, researched this carefully for their 1996 book “All We Can Be: Black Leadership and Racial Integration the Army Way.”

They reported, “Black fatalities amounted to 12.1 percent of all Americans killed in Southeast Asia — a figure proportional to the number of blacks in the U.S. population at the time and slightly lower than the proportion of blacks in the Army at the close of the war.”

(Moskos favors reinstituting the draft. He says Rangel’s argument “persuasive” but that the most important reason is that the military is undermanned and relies too heavily on reserves.)

In recent decades, blacks have tended to gravitate away from combat jobs. In arguing against Rangel’s bill, the Department of Defense noted, “Blacks today account for 21 percent of the enlisted force, but make up only 15 percent of combat arms (e.g., infantry, armor, artillery).”

I believe your “facts” are in error.

“Land of the opportunities” where the rich people are white, and the death condemned are almost all black.

Wrong again. According to this link, in 2002 45% of death-row inmates were white, 43% were black, and about 9% were Hispanic. Yes, a disproportional percentage of them are black, but – like it or not – a disproportional percentage of violent crime is committed by blacks, mostly on other blacks. However, this absolutey refutes your assertion that “almost all” condemned are black.

Try verifying your “facts.” It might open your eyes to the fact that you’re being mislead.

George Orwell wrote, in his great book “1984”, about the Truth Ministry. The Truth Ministry has the responsibility of tell the lies to the people. His irony about the governments is truth, and is truth especially in the USA government.

It isn’t just governments that lie, Tup. Maybe you ought to do some independent research.

Maybe you’d tell me: we are humans too, and aren’t perfect. I know, and you’re right this point. I’m not requiring perfection from you. But I claim for you:

North Americans need to learn to hear other voices that aren’t their own voice, get out of their borders and understand that they don’t have to be the leaders of the world (excuse me, but the “Manifest Destiny” is a great bullshit).

“Manifest Destiny” was dropped long, long ago. We’ve lived quite a while with our neighbors to the North and South now. “Leaders of the world”? We’ve been put in that position by being the last Superpower. We sure as hell don’t want it, but it’s ours by default. Who would you want to see in that position? France?

I know, you told me that this is changing, that the USA interest about the things that happen outside its borders is growing. But I don’t think so. We don’t want to see the USA spending the lives of its soldiers in combat, to keep us all safe. We just don’t think that the world will be more secure after spending any human life. Nobody wants to see the US army trying to be the policemen of the world. All military attitudes are against the freedom and against the democracy. Can you see that, when a North American claims for himself this job, to be the policemen of the world, he’s falling in arrogance? USA government doesn’t need to attack anyone to defense the world. It needs just really hear the voice of the others. When you said that ignore those who hate, fear or don’t understand USA politics, you are reproducing the USA government attitudes. I just hope you know that, this way, you’re ignoring almost everyone living in this planet.

“Hear the voice of others” unfortunately means “don’t do anything without UN approval” it seems. You remember the UN? The organization that put sanctions on Iraq for 12 years, but was unwilling to actually “spend any human life” to oust him?

Who, exactly, are we to listen to, Tup? There are about 190 nations in the world, of which only about 60 are free democracies. Should we bow to the wishes of Robert Mugabe? Listen when Kim Dong-Il rattles his saber? What “international law” are we to follow? Where is it codified and written down? What principles define it?

The United States follows one set of written laws (or at least it’s supposed to): The Constitution of the United States. That Constitution does not allow our government to kow-tow to other nations when it is not in our interests to do so. Understand that. Engrave it in your brain. The Constitution of the United States is our overriding law. It will not and cannot be subordinate to the laws, wishes or whims of other nations.

USA political system isn’t the best in the history, and this isn’t a shame, because, in this world of globalization, all political systems are the same.

Excuse me? All political systems are the same? Saddam’s “political system” is the same as ours? Kim’s? China’s? Rwanda’s? I think you just shot your argument in the foot.

Every country is influencing the other, and the one’s actions aren’t isolated of the other’s actions. The tyranny in a poor country is, someway, benefiting a rich country. It’s necessary for the maintenance of a world order that USA just doesn’t want to change, because it’s the great benefited with this order. The misery in Africa is part of the USA political system, because, in truth, this is the world political system. This is the globalization.

Here’s Chomskyism at it’s most virulent – all suffering is the fault of America because we aren’t all suffering equally. Since we’re doing well, everyone else’s pain must be our fault.

Sorry, I’m not buying. The misery in Africa has been there since before America was a nation, and it will be there no matter what we as a nation do. North Korea is a miserable hell not because of America, but because of the vicious dictators that have run it. Either it’s our fault because we don’t deal these bastards, or it’s our fault because we do.

Grow up, Tup. The world will not become a better place if we all hold hands together and sing folk songs. The world is not fair, and the people who run much of it are not nice. If we try to put pressure on people like Kim, we’re pilloried for “starving the children of North Korea,” but if we deal with his country we’re accused of “supporting a vicious dictator.” What the hell are the options? You’ve basically said that military invasions are immoral. What do you propose? What can America do that will meet with your approval, besides sitting on our hands and listening to our betters tell us what bad boys we’ve been?

Lots of people think that this actual world political and economical system is failure and evil. You told me to ask to the people who lived in the former Soviet Union how they’d grade their governments. I don’t have to, a recent research show the answer: 60% of that people want the communism back, 35% don’t want, and the rest didn’t give opinion.

So much for your earlier assertion that the idea of freedom is shared by almost everyone.

Do you think that Czechs don’t want Russians there once again? I think so. But what about Camboja? What about Vietnam? What about Afeganistan? What about Iraq? Do they want North Americans there? USA and USSR, for the poor countries, weren’t so different like you think. The Russians want their old government system back because they were benefited with it, while Czechs had misery and violence. What happens with the USA government still today isn’t different: good for you, but just for you.

What human beings want, Tup, is security. They want to live in the absence of fear. They’ll suffer a little fear if it means that they’ll have a roof over their head and food on the table – even if it’s a poor roof and poor food.

Freedom, however, doesn’t promise this. Freedom means risk. The risk that you might go hungry. The risk that you might lose what you have. But it means that you don’t have to fear someone from your government who has the power of life and death over you, with no appeal. (At least for most. Right now.)

A lot of people are willing to give up freedom for the promise of security, but they never understand that that promise is a lie. No one can guarantee you security, and if you’ve yeilded your freedom to get something that can’t be guaranteed, what good has it done you? People in other countries look at America and see security. We’re a tremendously wealthy country. To many that represents security. But many don’t understand that that wealth comes from risk taking and hard work. Certainly many do, because they come here on rickety boats and the come here by sneaking across our borders, and they come here by giving up everything they have in the world just for the chance. They come here and they work hard and they, too, achieve wealth – some of them. And some of them fail. But a lot of them come here expecting to get something for nothing, too. Russians might want their old system back, but the Russians sustained their meager level of security on the backs of the sattelite nations like Czechoslovakia and Poland. Without those other nations under Russian dominance, they can’t have their old hardly adequate lives back, but they don’t care. They just want security, but they forget that their old form of government failed.

Tell me again how all political systems are the same?

I’ll try to finish what I’m trying to say: USA isn’t and doesn’t have to be the best. It is just part of a context, and has been responsibly for the part of the tyrant. USA has a democratic internal politic (I hope so), and a repressive external politic. In external politics, USA keeps supporting the terror, and getting in mistakes that it’ll never compound (like it did never compound the mistakes that perpetrated and have been perpetrating still today in Brazil), and it will continue if North Americans don’t react. And, while North Americans were full of pride and arrogance, they won’t react. Essays like those published by Steven Den Beste are just filling North Americans with blind patriotism and pride. This is the reason why Chomsky can’t be ridiculed: he’s serious, and has ideas that would be good for North Americans try to share.

Yes, he wants us to submit to a world government that doesn’t exist. He wants us to essentially reject the Constitution. Sorry. Can’t do that. Won’t do that.

I really don’t know if his voice would be tolerated in Europe, but I really think it would. Iztván Mezarus is tolerated and celebrated there, right like the professors from Frankfurt School were.

Well of course! Marxism is well tolerated by the intellectual European elite! My point, however, was that if Chomsky was as critical of Europe, while living in Europe, as he is critical of the US while living here, he would not be as accepted. I’ll chalk that misunderstanding up to our language difference.

About Collin Powell: he was general in the first war against Iraq, and leaded an attack to a city, killing something about everyone that lived there. Including civilians, olds, children, cats, dogs, trees – everyone. He declared that didn’t kill anyone in that city.

What? Colin Powell was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Gulf War I, which is a cabinet position. He didn’t lead any attacks on anything. What have you been reading?

Recently, he came to the Brazil and was interviewed by a lot of journalists in a program called “Mesa Redonda”. A journalist said: “You lied in that war. You killed lots of civilians, including children and olds, and I have proves here. You can defend yourself now.” But, sure, he couldn’t say anything in his defense.

If he was confronted with “facts” like you just provided, I’m not surprised.

Were “lots of civilians” killed in Gulf War I? By Saddam’s troops, certainly. Did we kill some in our bombing of Baghdad? Almost certainly. There is that one communications bunker/bomb shelter incident that comes immediately to mind.


The purpose of war is to kill people and break things until the other side gives up. We’ve come a long way towards limiting the number of innocents killed in war, but the reality is that in war, people die.

I note that no one said to Saddam “you killed lots of civilians including children and old people, and we have proof. You can defend yourself now.”

Especially not France or Germany. They traded with him. To the tune of several billion dollars.

Why are they not excoriated for “supporting a brutal dictator?”

About McCarthy: after his politic of “everything is better than communism”, North Americans learned to hate the communism, like it was something like the Nazism. It’s just a political system, and has to be learned and considered. To critic the communism, you need to know it. I think you’ll be nervous or scared seeing me defending the communism this way, specially knowing that I’m not a communist. But you have to understand that I studied the communism, and just after knowing a lot of things about it, I decided that I wouldn’t be a communist. Anyway, I think that this hate is a kind of discrimination, and it’s bad for North Americans and for the world, especially because gives them a pretext to attack, for example, Cuba or China.

I thought you said “all political systems are the same”? We learned to hate communism because it was “something like Nazism.” The Nazi’s managed to murder some 12 million people – non-combatants, that is. Gypsies, mental defectives, homosexuals, communists, and of course, Jews. Pretty much anybody they didn’t like. During the 20th Century, almost 62 million citizens of the USSR died by the direct and indirect action of their own government (as in planned starvation.) Over 35 million Chinese died at the hands of their Communist government. Two million Cambodians died. No one knows how many North Koreans have died.

Communism was worse than Nazism. I’m not “nervous or scared” of your defense. I think you’re incredibly naive, though. Communism is a wonderful sounding idea, but it completely ignores human nature, and the things it espouses lead to the kind of acts that leave millions and tens of millions dead “for the good of the Party.” I’m glad you’re not a communist, but you are from every indication a socialist – and the difference between the two ideas is minimal.

And, concluding, I’d like to tell that a failure in the marketplace of ideas (using your expression), right like the success, doesn’t mean the intelligence, reason or quality of the expressed ideas. In Germany, after the first war, people were open to receive any idea that seemed good, to elevate them once again. They chose the Nazism, and the Nazism was only one idea in their marketplace. The Nazism’s victory doesn’t mean it’s full of merits, intelligence or reason. The Nazism is one of most stupid political concepts that humanity created in its history.

You’ll note, I hope, that on the world marketplace, Nazism failed. And it lost to Capitalism and Democracy.

So did Communism.

USA isn’t the “Great Satan”, it really isn’t what’s wrong with the world, but is supporting a political system that is giving misery to almost half of world’s people. I hope you’re understanding me, I’m not blaming USA, but I’m trying to show that USA isn’t better than anyone, and that the pride and arrogance of its people is blinding them. These are my points of view, anyway, and I haven’t much credits or knowledge than anyone to tell what I think. My word isn’t law. Yeah, I know, I don’t have to say it to you; I’m just trying to say that I don’t defense my words with narcissism. I’m just fixing my ideas in the marketplace, right like everyone does.

“Supporting a political system that is giving misery to almost half the world’s people.” Supporting how? And how are we to oppose this system? (And what is this system, exactly?) Again, what are we supposed to do? I’m not saying you’re suggesting it, but the ideas I’ve seen espoused by people who’ve said much of what you have here is that the U.S. should just give away its wealth until everyone in the world is equally poor and miserable, just to be “fair.” Like the old Buffalo Springfield song goes:

Tax the rich,

feed the poor.

‘Till there are no

rich no more.

Sorry, but we won’t do that. All that does is ensure that eventually we all starve. We’d rather work hard and get richer and make everybody else a little richer along with us. (I hope you understand that economics is not a zero-sum game.)

You seem very intelligent, and sure write very well. You seem to have great easily to express what you think too, and you have, anyway, good arguments to defense your own ideas. I guess we would be great friends if we know one each other personally. Thank you very much for this conversation, and I’ll be waiting some answer from you, if you want to tell me something. And, concluding, I just call you “North Americans” because that’s what you are: North Americans. I’m a Latin American, and a South American. We all are Americans. If you felt insulted, excuse me; and if you think that is better, I can easily call you “Americans”. Alright?

Thank you for the kind words. I think we could have some pretty interesting (and spirited) conversations as well. And don’t worry about the language barrier. You made yourself quite clearly understood for the most part, and where things are a bit obscured, I don’t think it’s due to the language. However, we Americans don’t see ourselves as “North Americans.” That’s an important distinction. We’re not Panamanians, and we’re not Canadians. When you say “North Americans” when you mean “citizens of the United States of America” you unwittingly include everybody in Canada, Mexico, and points South to the equator.

Trust me, many of these people would not want to be included in the all-encompassing phrase “North Americans.” I wasn’t insulted, but I believe they might be.