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In response to:

Quick, Hide the Past

WRH Bill Wrote: Jul 24, 2014 9:03 AM
I've read quite a few history books, thank you (including some written from a pro-Confederate viewpoint). Even if you are correct that Lincoln and the North *resisted* secession only because of wanting to collect taxes and tariffs from the South, that doesn't negate my point that the South *initiated* secession primnarily to try to protect slavery. Of the many crises and conflicts between North and South before the Civil War, the only major one rooted in tax and tariff issues rather than slavery was the Nullification Crisis of 1832 (and note that it was the Southern Democrat Andrew Jackson, not a nefarious "Yankee," who stood up against the Southern nullifiers on that occasion). Other crises were specifically based on issues involving slavery.
In response to:

Quick, Hide the Past

WRH Bill Wrote: Jul 23, 2014 12:25 PM
If it's true that the principle of "states rights" was at issue and not slavery, then I find it curious that one of the demands of the pre-war South was that the "states rights" of certain Northern states should be abridged by forbidding those states to maintain "personal liberty laws" whose effect was to provide due process of law to persons in those states being accused of being runaway slaves.
In response to:

Quick, Hide the Past

WRH Bill Wrote: Jul 23, 2014 12:22 PM
I don't generally sympathize with efforts to censor information in the name of "political correctness," and I think it's probably not necessary to hide the Confederate flag in the WLU chapel. On the other hand, I don't think African-Americans are absurdly thin-skinned if they don't want to honor the Confederate flag or the memory of Robert E. Lee, who despitde his many virtues was a slaveholder and fought in part to preserve slavery (even if that wasn't his primary goal, it would have been an effect of a Confederate victory). And in my opinion (as a Civil War "buff" who "roots" for the Union) Confederate apologists or "neo-Confederates" are engaging in their own form of "hiding the past" in the name of their own version of "political correctness," when they try to deny the reality that slavery was the main cause of the Civil War. No, not every Confederate consciously fought for slavery; and certainly, not every (or even most) Union soldiers fought primarily to end slavery. But in the years leading up to the war, nearly all the "states rights" disputes between North and South had some direct connection to slavery, and by their own admission in many of their statements, the political leaders who drove secession did so because they feared a Northern threat to the continuance of slavery, not because of any other specific issue.
If you mean that Ayn Rand didn't always live up to the highest standards of her own philosophy, you're right. However, if you hold that a philosophy is invalidated whenever its proponent falls short, then I trust that you also reject social/religious conservatism since many of its proponents have been caught behaving in ways that are "immoral" by their own standards, and interventionist pro-war conservatism as espoused by people who have not volunteered to serve in the military.
You may be right that there's not a lot of personal support for McCain here. But there seems to be a lot of support for his interventionist ideas, if not for him personally. I agree that someone other than McCain would probably have had a better chance against Obama in 2008, but that other someone would at least have needed to avoid lines like, "another 100 years in Iraq."
What you overlook, Birdman, is that many people in other nations feel much the same way as regards America and our interventionist efforts. "If you like speaking English rather than Russian or Arabic, if you want America deciding who your leaders can be and imposing on you a way of life that you view as immoral and degenerate, then don't push back against the American effort to be the policeman and reformer of the world." I'm not saying I agree with those in other countries who view the "American way of life" as a terrible thing. I don't. But I can at least comprehend their viewpoint, and figure that we may have a better chance of preserving our own way of life if we don't whip up anti-American hatred by presuming to dictate others' way of life.
So are you arguing that, since we "have an interest" and "do business" everywhere in the world, we therefore can and should intervene everywhere in the world to topple governments we don't like and dictate the policies of foreign governments? Or does there need to be a limit *somewhere* on how much we can attempt to control the rest of the world?
Tell you what, folks; as a Ron Paul admirer but not (I'd like to think) a mindless "cult follower," I'll acknowledge the possibility that Dr. Paul carries his foreign non-interventionism too far for practicality. Provided that you in turn acknowledge that maybe his polar opposite, John McCain, goes too far in the other direction with his unceasing demands for American military involvement in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Pakistan, Ukraine, Georgia (the former Russian province) and I don't know where all else. I voted for Dr. Paul in the 2008 and 2012 Republican primaries, but not with any real expectation that he would, or even maybe should, be elected President. Rather I wanted to signal the general direction in which I thought the GOP should move, and it was my hope that some other, more viable candidate would adopt some of his positions and become a kind of "Ron Paul lite" with a real chance of being elected. Instead, especially in 2008, the other Republicans treated Dr. Paul, his ideas and his supporters with contempt, and chose McCain, the anti-Paul, as their candidate. I had no reason to support the GOP that year, and McCain went down to defeat, at least partly because a majority of other Americans shared my opposition to his extreme military interventionism. In the early stages of the 2012 campaign, I was rather hoping that Dr. Paul might throw his support to Gary Johnson as a more viable libertarian-leaning candidate (younger and with actual executive experience as New Mexico governor). Instead, Paul stayed in the Republican race and Johnson bolted to the Libertarian Party. As I've mentioned, though I was tempted to vote for Johnson on the LP ticket, I did end up holding my nose and voting for Mitt Romney despite his interventionist noises, since Obama was so awful on domestic issues and showed a predilection for his own kind of "humanitarian" foreign intervention. But the Republicans should not count on my future vote-- or that of a lot of other Americans-- if they choose to become the Forever War Party.
I'm at least slightly concerned that not only the UN but our own President might place some credence in this North Korean complaint. After all, when the claim was made (apparently falsely) that an anti-Muslim film on the Internet inspired the attack on the Benghazi embassy, Mr. Obama responded by apologizing for the film and initiating criminal prosecution against the film-maker. He should, rather, have made unmistakably clear that, whether or not anyone in the U.S. government agreed with the viewpoint of the film, the freedom of expression of Americans is non-negotiable and not subject to being abridged because of the hurt feelings of any foreign population or government. (Some may claim this is inconsistent with the non-interventionist or "isolationist" position I have advocated on other comment threads. But as I see it, my view is consistent. We should on the one hand avoid meddling and "humanitarian intervention" by means of military force in the affairs of other countries, and on the other hand stand strong against any attempt by foreign nations to intervene in OUR internal affairs by demanding that the rights of our citizens be abridged.)
I'd say that the interventionists have their own blind spots when it comes to "human nature". For instance, some of them still seem to have the idea that there is a universal human longing for "freedom and democracy," and that if we Americans meddle in other nations in order to promote "freedom and democracy" (as WE define them) we can expect love and gratitude. Actually, even people who may not be delighted with their own leaders and societies are liable to resent foreign meddling and to rally to their existing leaders in response. (Putin in Russia is an example-- the more he pushes back against America trying to plant its ideas of democracy and human rights in Russia, and the more he stands up for what Russians have traditionally viewed as their own rights and interests in Eastern Europe, the more popular Putin gets with Russians, despite his corruption and autocracy.) That's "human nature" too.
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