Friday, March 31, 2006

Giant Prisons Of The World


Almost 100 years after the British arrogantly carved up the map of the world and 200 years since America provoked wars to justify its territorial expansion, the effects of the racial arrogance are starting to be felt at home. The most destructive and nearly impossible to correct product of the imperial domination by both powers is the modern concept of the nation-state. Here in America, the current debate over immigration "reform" highlights the contradictions that have been born of hundreds of years of imperialism.

Before there were nations, people had freedom to move. There was no such thing as a passport, border patrol or customs. Christopher Colon did not have to get visas from India and make sure his passport was current before setting sail to unknown lands. Jews on the run did not have to get permission to go to Palestine when fleeing from Christian European persecution in the late 1800's and early 1900's. After the inquisition, Jews and Muslims alike fled Spain and settled throughout North Africa.

There were, of course, cities, civilizations, tribalism and empire, but the person who wanted to move to a new place in search of opportunity only had himself to worry about. Would he have enough food, would he be able to defend himself against the bandits along the route, could he survive the weather changes throughout the seasons? My family, for example, racially comes from Eastern Europe, Turkey and North Africa, but made it to Egypt via the spice trade. Some merchants a few hundred years ago, left Albania, Turkey and parts of Tunisia, survived the bandits along the way and were in Egypt when the borders were drawn.

People moved to places that made sense; places where food could be cultivated; centers of civilization.

But at some point, the imperial powers decided it would be easier to control resources by drawing arbitrary lines on maps, naming the countries, giving them out as gifts to their friends and restricting movement across artifical borders. Take the Semitic World as a case in point. There was no such thing as Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, etc. The British made pacts with local warriors (the Al-Saud family who got Saudi Arabia were the bandits who used to rob the pilgrims on their way to Mecca - now they're robbing the oil) and handed out lands to people who agreed to betray the Ottoman sultans. There was no concern that the borders made sense.

The suffix "-stan" means "the land of". Kurdistan, thus, was what everyone in the Semitic World knew as the land of the Kurds. When the British drew the arbitrary lines, Kurdistan did not retain territorial continuity but, rather, Kurds arbitrarily became citizens of Iraq, Turkey and Syria. A people who had once ruled themselves were now divided by arbitrary borders, could not travel among Kurdish villages that were in different countries without first obtaining a passport and they became subject to the laws of people with whom they had little in common. The end result, of course, is the uprising and independence movement among the Kurds and the brutal repression of them by Iraq and Turkey.

The same is true of Africa. The Hutus and Tutsis were separate tribes, living independently, until the British created a country out of thin air and forced people of different tribes to live together and form a government that represented the cultures, history, etc. of the various tribes. And no one was allowed to leave without a passport and permission. So, if one day you were a Tutsi who traveled among your villages, the next day you were a Rwandan who was legally prohibited from crossing the border without a passport and permission. You were trapped in prison with a bunch of people you don't like or, at best, with whom you share little in common. Is there any wonder why there is seemingly no end to the conflicts that plague humanity?

While I could go on with endless examples of the tragedy that has been borne of Britain's arrogance around the world, it is time to return home. California and much of the American southwest used to be part of what is now called Mexico. That is not a disputable point.

In 1846, President Polk provoked a war with Mexico as part of his expansionist dream of America having only oceans on her eastern and western edges. The border with Texas was pushed south to the Rio Grande and New Mexico, Arizona and California ultimately became part of America. Spaniards, Mexicans and Native Americans were either forced southward, killed or found themselves resident of a foreign nation. A border was drawn and free movement between Mexico and America restricted.

As agribusiness expanded, the Mexican nation that imprisoned its people claimed the right to all land, declared it "private" property and sold it to big American agribusiness. Farmers who had survived off the land for centuries with a quiet dignity were forced to the cities in search of work. There, they found more big corporations paying pennies for wages, offering no better chances for survival. So here is the Mexican immigrant. He wants to support his family, put food on the table and enjoy life, but he is trapped in a nation-size prison. Torn by the desire to remain close to family, culture and all that is safe to him, he must decide whether the risks of the journey north is worth the possibility of making $1 per day. He decides that the possibility of working is worth it and sets off.

He and 11 million others just like him are now at the center of a debate over what to do with them. Because of the arbitrary notion of nation, citizenship and patriotism, they committed a crime by crossing an invisible line in the sand. 11 Million people, the majority of whom are willing to take any job America has to offer, are being criminalized for escaping from their destitute prisons. People who stand ready to work and to take the most unattractive, dangerous, back-breaking, low-paying thankless work are called criminals. With the multitudes of lazy, good-for-nothing losers with whom we share a prison, we are propagandized to criminalize those who want nothing more than to work and earn a decent wage. With that heinous, unhuman proposition, I can never agree.

Before America was a nation, those people were called pilgrims. They were called adventurers when they boarded ships in Ireland, Scotland, Italy, England, etc. and left to a new land in search of something better. There were no invisible lines. No customs agents. No b.s. about following the rules. We laud them in our history books as heroes with endless courage, but the descendants of those who escaped now want to close the gates on those who would follow in their footsteps.

The nation is an artificial notion. It demands that I share an affinity with another human being simply because we hold a passport from the same nation and see all others as enemies. Patriotism demands that I revere the flag that symbolizes my prison and see all other flags as unworthy. My nation demands that I view people who want to work as enemies of the state while some illiterate redneck who goes to Iraq for the thrill of killing brown people is supposed to get my undying support. Sorry, but this does not work for me.

I will always have immensely more respect for those who have the guts to risk life and limb to feed their families than for the lazy ass down the street who collects unemployment. The gardener who mows my lawn wakes up every Monday morning without fail while some yuppie shit is too hung over to get out of bed. My cleaning lady shows up with two of her sisters to earn relatively little, while some whiney chick is on disability because she has carpal tunnel syndrome. And that same whiney bitch, from the luxury of her welfare-subsidized couch, proclaims the criminality of the illegals.

We, in America, are fortunate to live in a minimum security prison. Travel to anywhere in the world is available to anyone with the means to do it. But could you imagine what it would be like if that were not the case? What happens if the world powers change tomorrow and someone decides to carve up America into nation-states the way the British and Americans did with the rest of the world? Although your family is across the border in Alabama, you are now a citizen of Georgia and cannot go visit them without a passport. The gaming industry in Nevada slows down and you need work, but you can't get a work visa for California.

How long would it be before you would flout the rules and find your way out of prison? Would that make you a criminal?



The right to travel is a part of the 'liberty' of which the citizen cannot
be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment.
In Freedom of movement across frontiers in either direction,
and inside frontiers as well, was a part of our heritage.
Travel abroad, like travel within the country, may be necessary for a livelihood.
It may be as close to the heart of the individual
as the choice of what he eats, or wears, or reads.
Freedom of movement is basic in our scheme of values.

Kent v. Dulles (1958)


A quote from a MSN article today sums up my point exactly -
"Illegal immigrants in the community know their presence causes tension, but say they have little choice. 'I know the white people are thinking it’s wrong because there are too many people and it looks bad,' said Miguel Angel Vasquez, a 32-year-old illegal immigrant who has been in the country for 11 years. 'But we need a job.'

38 Comments:

At 6:08 PM, March 31, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Well, I could argue endlessly that the British Empire was the best thing that ever happened to himanity, and that its disappearance is a vast loss, but that's not the point of your post.

When you say that the nation is a construct pf the mind, there's no reason to disagree; the question is, however, whether that matters. I'd argue it does not, simply because this particular construct (which is French, not British, BTW) appears real to us.

Are there differences between the "real" nation-states of Europe and Asia (Britain, France, China, Japan, and others) and the new states that were carved out of the administrative convenience of the Imperial powers? Sure. But again, on an abstract lebel, that doesn't matter; simply because control of the borders is one of three central functions that define what a nation-state is.

So while I'm probably not that far distant from your position in practice, I quibble with the argument you advance to support it.

:-), StS

 
At 6:53 PM, March 31, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Please tell me why the British empire was the best thing that ever happened to humanity. You got some 'splaining to do on that one.

There are no differences between "real" nation-states and arbitrary ones carved out by the imperial powers for purposes of this argument. Although it would tempting to argue that European nations were constructed along sensible ethnic/tribal lines, Ireland, the Basques and the Balkans, to name a few, belie that proposition.

 
At 1:27 PM, April 01, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

I base my assessment of the British Empire on a number of things, such as the spread of common law, the fact it nurtured nations that we today regard as admirable (Canada, Australia, and so on), the Pax Brtannica, the establishment of a true global economy, the fighting and winning of world wars against French and German hegemony over three centuries, even the establishment of an Indian nation-state.

Against that, obviously, you can enumerate all the numerous examples of exploitation and subjugation of the subjects in the colonies, willing and otherwise; but I'd argue that the balance sheet is favorable overall.

And I also disagree that nations are not real - they are. France, England, Germany, Poland and Spain have been distinct, recognizable and self-aware entities for a thousand years. The fact that some of these entities became co-terminous with states and others didn't doesn't take away from their very real existence; what you're positing is that the exceptions disprove the rule; but they don't.

:-), StS

 
At 3:51 PM, April 01, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

The British Empire was the worst thing that ever happened to people of color in the history of the world. I laugh when Americans get frustrated with "liberal" Brits. Brits are the INVENTORS of the concept of WHITE SUPREMACY. The British Empire, together with the Spanish, wreaked havoc on nearly every single group of colored people on earth. From the Philipines to Australia to Africa. I'd spit on Churchill.

I agree with your historical analysis of the nation-state. If I were Mexican, I would DEFINITELY want the southwest back. But I'm also into self-preservation, so I'm not down with an open border. Wait til a riot jumps off. Your view will change.

 
At 4:47 PM, April 01, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Absolutely dead wrong. Who outlawed the slave trade? Parliament - with the specific instruction to the Royal Navy to seize any slaving vessel under any flag. And who did a better (and less genocidal) job administering, say, Uganda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka and Burma - the independent governments or the Colonial Office?

In fact, the only real argument for colonialism is post-colonial governance. One tinpot dictator after another in dreary succession, raping their own countries, killing their own people and depositing the proceeds in Switzerland. A job well done, I must say.

I'm not saying that colonialism is just or a state of affairs that should be returned to - even if it's worth noting that Sierra Leone approached the Blair government in 2002, asking for a resumption of stewardship. What I am saying is that many former colonies have made an absolute hash out of the societies they were handed. Whatever else the British were, they were not genocidal lunatics on the Idi Amin/Mobutu Sese Seko/Sani Abacha/Robert Mugabe/Charles Taylor model. In fact, I can't detect a single white supremacist on that particular list; and it's worth noting that South Africa left the Commonwealth before instituting Apartheid.

So perhaps, when looking at a historical phenomenon of unique duration and scope, it would be wise to not see it as a simple case of black and white, good and evil. White supremacy on the one hand, common law on the other.

:-), StS

 
At 5:16 PM, April 01, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

The dictators you cite are a product of British imperialism, arbitrary borders, etc. Those dictators were propped up and funded by the west to preside over conflicts that were borne of the arbitratry borders drawn by the British.

I don't disagree that there are certain nations whose borders make more sense than others. Egypt is a perfect example of people who have been in the same region for thousands of years and the modern nation coincides to some degree with the historical/ethnic lines. Other "real" nations like Japan and Britain had the luck of being islands so there wasn't much migration in and out, i.e. greater ethnic purity.

My point is not necessarily that nations aren't real (although there are some that are held together with scotch tape), but that borders are arbitrary and, as such, I am not going to treat someone like a criminal just because they happen to be on the other side of the line.

 
At 6:25 PM, April 01, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

Ah, but again, you're wrong. Best example is Sri Lanka; a jewel in the crown back in the day, today rent by civil war and falling to pieces. They have less paved roads and railroad tracks now than they did at independence. I could go on, but that's enough defending imperialism for today.

:-), StS

 
At 10:01 PM, April 01, 2006 , Blogger Birdy said...

Facinating topic and really food for thought, as usual, II.

For whatever its worth, I'm with Stalin in regard to the British Empire. I think you net out pretty far on the plus side. I don't think you can just catagorically rule for or against a country based on its colonization history. Hell, I dont know if you can condemn an entire nation outright. Nations are made up of people and while some people may be total shits it doesn't mean that the entire nation is shit or even that its government is and always has been shit.

It is interesting to see how polarized some of the opinions here are.

 
At 8:36 PM, April 02, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

Blacks in America enjoy much more freedom than blacks in Africa do. I've talked to alot of people who were in the service, and they say that African blacks detest black Americans, because they view them as overfed, oversexed gluttons who're very materialistic and greedy.

So, is that true about black Americans, or is it that the Africans who live in Africa today are extremely jealous of the freedoms and opportunities that blacks in America take for granted?

Who set those freedoms up? Wasn't it whites? Sure, there's still your typical hillbilly, wife-beatin' whiskey drinkin' hell raisers, but in reality, whites had the power - exclusively, and they, through the heroic efforts of blacks in the civil rights movement, worked to share the opportunities. Think: Underground Railroad. Could it have existed to the extent that it did without the cooperation of white evangelical Christians?

It hasn't been easy, and it hasn't been fun, but I'd be willing to say that blacks in America, Canada and Western Europe have more freedom and opportunity in those places, than anywhere else on the planet.

Did the British, and later on, the Americans take something from the blacks in the form of cheap labor? Sure they did. But, let's not forget, that black tribal leaders were bribed to look the other way when the British slave traders pilfered their villiages.

Let's not also forget that white, European immigrants were slaves too, under a program called "Indentured Servtitude." That's PC for slaves. Yes, they were given their freedom after so many years, but they were slaves.

Also, slavery is now an equal opportunity master, not regarding race, color, creed, etc.

II, you've pointed out the white trashmen collecting your trash, right? Also, aren't there toothless and cancered whites working for next to nothing at Wal-Mart? Sure there are. So you see, it's not about race - it's about the "powers-that-be" not wanting to give up what they have to anyone, regardless of their skin color.

I actually have some royal ancestory in England - I'm distantly related to some Duke of something-or-another, and my family as recently as 2 generations ago, had some major money, but now, that ancestory doesn't do me any more good than if I was a Mexican immigrant.

Hey, haven't Muslim countries conquered the shit out of eachother, without the help of whites? Same with other races.

Whites don't walk on water - but they are not - as a whole - responsible for everyone's plight either. Whites have been the worst civilization has had to offer, and whites have also been the best civilization has had to offer - a claim that can made about any other race too, btw.

 
At 9:07 AM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Boris,

This isn't a discussion about black and white. This is a discussion about patriotism, nationalsm and borders so I am not going to get into a discussion about what "whites" have or have not done in the world.

StS -

We were talking about Africa and you offer Sri Lanka as an example of a place worse off after the British left. I offer you Egypt as the counter example. It used to be a big wheat producer and was, thus, able to feed the people. The British decided that feeding Egyptians wasn't a worthwhile pursuit in light of the worldwide cotton market and switched Egypt from a wheat producer to a cotton producer. The nation now relies on imported wheat to feed its people, which forever makes it an indentured servant to the World Bank. Thanks Britain! Egypt now has a dramatic malnutrition/poverty problem and, as any student of politics knows, you cannot have democracy without a middle class.

 
At 9:13 AM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger Chris said...

Ya know, I really don't think it has anything to do with race. Immigration is a money issue. If Canadians were coming across the border in the number Mexicans are, we'd be having the same conversation.

I have to say, you guys make a guy think about difficult issues.

Mr. Shark may be right about the British Empire, or he may be wrong. I was born in Iowa. Does it really matter how I got there? I had no say in the matter... As a guy who has a degree in history, it pains me to say this, but... Does the past really have anything to do with the immigration crisis we're facing today? The problem exists. We need to deal with it. We don't need to quibble over historical details, other than "has anyone tried thus-and-such yet?"

We need to brainstorm a bit more out of the box on this one...

II - if we abolish or soften national bordes, who picks up the tab? Do we simply tax whomever is living here, regardless? If a person pays taxes, shouldn't they receive the benefits? How long does a person need to live in a school district before taxes collected from that person pay for his or her kids to go to school for a year?

StS - whaddaya think about a world government? Wouldn't that be the natural end-product of imperialism? All the empires coalescing into one? Would that be good? I don't know...

 
At 9:48 AM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

My post wasn't intended to dwell on the past, but to give the historical context of the current debate; to explain why borders are inherently arbitrary.

You asked who picks up the tab of softened borders, but is there a tab? There are so many phony numbers floating around the media about the cost of illegals, but how do we calculate society-wide savings on landscaping, produce, construction, janitorial services, etc.? I would bet that the savings value "illegals" provide to Americans is far greater than any alleged "burden" we supposedly bear.

As another angle on the debate, a family friend offered the theory that, with the mass exodus of jobs from the US to low cost regions, Americans want illegals out because the shitty jobs illegals are doing will soon be the only jobs left for blue collar Americans.

 
At 9:50 AM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

II, I'm not sure this post will add much value to the discussion, but I'd like to take a different tact.

Let's look back a little farther in time.

Asia, China had "dynasties" for centuries on end. Some semblance of civilization, and borders of some kind.

Central America/South American. Mayans, Toltecs, Inca's, Aztec's. Also a semblance of civilization, and borders. Amazon watershed. Very much tribal in nature.

Australia, New Zealand, Polynesia (sp?). Mostly tribal in Nature, although there is evidence of more evolution of society (Hawaii, Tahiti, Maori?).

North America. America's Indians, tribal in nature, with borders to territories. As in most tribal groups, there were some arch enemies, and likely you had to be in a tribe to survive. People learned that strength in numbers was crucial to survival.

Africa, the home of the dawn of mankind, and as a result you would believe, that if there is a natural evolution of society, that the earliest evidence of order would be here. Egyptians.

Middle East. Babylonia, Phoenicia, Assyria, a number of organized societies.

Europe. Greece, Rome, and tribal groups throughout the continent.

Ok. Let's look at the influence of conquerers. The Vikings. Definitely spread their blood line throughout Northern Europe.

Attila, Alexander spread their grasp far and wide. The fact is conquerers, imperialists, whatever, always leave long lasting finger prints, and long term changes positive or negative.

Rome, maybe the better measuring stick, than the English empire, as the influence of Rome has had a longer lasting impact. Latin is the basis for an incredible number of the languages used in the world today. Their engineering in terms of the benefits to society, are almost unmatched to any other time in recorded history.

Let's treat England, France, Spain, "the Dutch" and Portugal together. Collectively they all influenced massive changes on a global scale for the first time in the history of man.

Every "habitable" continent today, shows a direct influence of their collective global reach.

Here's the point. It's difficult if not impossible for an imperialist influence to totally bury, the cultures, and societal norms of tribes they conquer. Direct pressure to erase the former evidence and practice of culture, only increases the resolve to sustain it.

It becomes too costly over time, or just unmanageable for the ruling bodies to directly control the lands they have subjugated, and some form of local government is established (with made up borders). It is inevitable that the underlying cultures, surpressed for so long will fight to re-emerge.

II, it is my belief, that the freedom to travel has been restricted for a long time. Yes, the hardy can survive and make it. The weak, or unlucky don't make it or don't try. There are always some lawless groups, and there probably always will be. There will always be peace loving peoples. There will always be those that want to control and dominate. There will always be those that want you to live "their way".

We live this every day now in the U.S., and fight against this every day in the U.S.

 
At 9:54 AM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Well said.

So, what do you think about the immigration debate?

 
At 10:29 AM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

Stalin,

Thanks for your comments. Your posts is circular. To say that Africa is worse off because of post-colonial dictators is like saying Iraq is better off without Saddam. In Africa, tribe trumps Euro-drawn borders. But Euros didn't take that into account, just like America didn't when it occupied Iraq.

Boris,

I've been all over Africa and I have plenty of friends that live all throughout Africa. I've been very well accepted by folks there. Whoever told you that is plenty uninformed.

I will never appreciate slavery. If slavery and colonialism never existed, I'd prefer to be in Africa. But Africa is still terribly fucked up--that's what happens when 11 million people are removed from a place. (Trust me, I'm well aware that most of us were sold off by rival tribes.) Shet, I damn near wanna move back now. Money is not everything.

 
At 12:08 PM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

Immigration. A necessary activity for any society. So I support it. You need "hungry" people to challenge all of us.

The point is employers abuse this labor force. It is not just the jobs that Americans supposedly don't want. There are a number of higher end jobs that employers hire undocumented workers, particularly in the construction industry.

So, bring em in.

I agree with you that I have no sympathy for the white trash in the world, or the black, blue, green, red, or yellow trash either. Suck it up. No one owes you nuttin'.

 
At 12:11 PM, April 03, 2006 , Blogger mrsleep said...

BTW, new pictures posted, and a related thread started.

 
At 9:48 AM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

I'm surprised that nobody has challenged the statement that "France, England, Germany, Poland and Spain have been distinct, recognizable and self-aware entities for a thousand years."

That's not quite the case. Germany as a nation has only existed for about 130 years. A thousand years ago Spain consisted of many separate kingdoms with different languages, etc. etc.

 
At 10:09 AM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Good point Captain, particularly with regard to Spain. As I noted in my first comment, the Basque separatists of Spain are a perfect of example of tensions arising from being walled into prison with people you don't like.

 
At 11:53 AM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

So if you want the discussion to be about arbitrary borders and how nationalism affects whether or not nations go to war, then what you're saying is, there will never be a time when an evil war-lord will rise up and deputize the people he conquers?

Remember Ghengis Khan? He lived back in the days you said the only worry people had was banditry.

Yet, wasn't it Ghengis who went throughout the Middle East, claiming he was a punishment sent by God? Didn't he hack and slash his way through all the known Muslim world (with the exception of Indonesia) today?

So what could be said of that? Haven't powerful nations such as America done a fairly good job of protecting civilians during times of war better than undefended kingdoms, whose women and cattle would only be seen as the spoils of war?

Seriously. Let's go back to our buddy Ghengis Khan. Didn't his conquests act as the inspiration for the book, the Komie Sutra (sp?)? Wasn't that book inspired by the women, taken as spoils of war throughout Ghengis Khan's conquests? Weren't those women sexual slaves?

Sure, back then the only thing an international traveler had to worry about were bandits, but whoa to those kingdoms who were prosperous, yet undefended by some arbitrary political lines that serve as a geographic region with which to conscript an army capable of adequately defending itself from outside invaders.

Having a nation-less, borderless society could in fact, be a cure worse than the ailment, couldn't it?

Wouldn't the lack of force that a national army brings to the table be a breeding ground for one warlord to take on another warlord, who in turn, would take on yet another, until one dominant one remained, unfettered by the threat of any nation's army to stop him from molding the world into his own image?

People may say that's the role the US has taken, but I'd argue that we've done a remarkable job of restraining ourselves, given that we share the same power that other empires in the past have enjoyed, and I'd argue that those other empires haven't shown the same capacity for restraint that we have.

I'm not saying we're perfect, because we're not, but if you really look at it, America's "colony" is the free-market system. We don't have lands we administer like the British, Spanish and modern-day France does; we leave that up to the locals. But we do insist that the free market reigns as the back-bone of trade, as the free-market is our colony - not land.

Past empires used trade: slaves who produced goods - and the slaves always got the short end of the stick. At least in a free-market economy, if you know the system, you can benefit from it.

Our nationalism produces a world-wide free market that is abused by the rich - but under our system, hypothetically, if the people unite, they can balance the power of the rich, which is why the rich like to see us complacent. Complacency benefits them, because they can use that as a cloak - so under the current system, we at least get what we deserve, rather than us getting what we don't deserve, which is the hallmark of the nation-less world-wide system of prosperous, undefended kingdoms.

 
At 12:33 PM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Boris -

Your argument falls on its own weight. The assumptions upon which your conclusions rest are false, at best.

First, how does America have a free market? In a free market system, there is no central bank. Indeed, central banks are one of the key identifying features of socialist/communist structures. Yet, here in America, we are propagandized to believe that Alan Greenspan's ability to affect the economy by adjusting the interest rate is compatible with a free market system. That's not possible. The two are inherently incompatible. In a free market system, the interest rate would represent what willing borrowers are willing to pay willing lenders for money. Period.

Second, the idea that America's colony is the "free market system" is pure fantasy. If that was true, why are there hundreds of American bases stationed around the world? Why would the US intervene in conflicts and finance governments that are anything but free. The U.S. supports Israel, which is incredibly socialist but has some hints of capitalism. The U.S. finances Egypt, which is one big corrupt, welfare state. Same with Jordan.

Since when does the US leave it up to the locals to run their own countries without interference? Have you read history? The U.S. has had a role in overthrowing the democratically elected governments of Pakistan, Iran, Chile, Algeria, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti and then supports dictators who take orders from Washington.

There have always been and always will be conquerors but, at least, in the Mongol era, people had places to run. To where can the innocent Iraqis run to hide from Genghis Bush and his marauders?

Our nationalism produces a world-wide free market? What? Are you serious? That couldn't be farther from the truth. The IMF and World Bank are the worst thing that ever happened to "free trade." The U.S. imposes quotas on what can be imported from other countries. How is that free trade? The U.S. subsidizes farmers, energy corporations and others to help them compete - that's anathema to a free market.

Explain to me how America has protected civilians during times of war. I am sure the residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would beg to differ. How about Fallujah? Mai Lai massacre in Vietnam? How about the Haitians, Nicaraguans and nuns in El Salvador who were raped and slaughtered by CIA-trained death squads? I am sure they are thanking their lucky stars for America's protection. Oh they can't, they are all dead.

The U.S. has not restrained itself at all. It has been one of the biggest sources of instability in the world for the past 50 years. Don't take my word for it. Latin America is living proof.

 
At 12:46 PM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

Now you got me going. More examples of how America does not believe in free trade.

1. The Dubai Ports Deal. The highest bidder doesn't get its contract.

2. Manipulation of OPEC, making the Saudis promise to keep production at levels acceptable to the US. If there was a free market, we would pay probably 10x more for gasoline the way the rest of the world does.

3. A Chinese company's failed attempt to bid on Unocal. US Refused to allow its consideration even though the Chinese offer was the highest.

4. Halliburton no-bid contracts for just about everything the government spends our tax money on.

 
At 12:56 PM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger jj said...

My .02. We all know America and Britain and all present and past powers have contributed greatly to “civilization”. They have all done some horrible things to expand or hold on to that power. We stole our land fair and square. Alright maybe not fair. Just the way it is.

The current problem on our southern border comes down to security. It is more about economic security than physical but both should be addressed. Many try to combine illegal and legal immigrants to point out how important immigrants are which is true. The difference is illegal immigrants cost us all more. The services that are being cut and strained (particularly in the southwest ) are in no small part to illegal immigrants. Schools and healthcare are in serious trouble. They work here and send much of that money to family in Mexico which is a great deal for Mexico to pump money into their economy. Mexico strictly enforces its southern border but does not fell we should enforce ours.

It is obvious the borders are not secure because big business loves the cheap labor. The current debate in congress is a waste of time because there are laws already on the books making it illegal to hire someone that is not a legal resident. It will just be a new law that is not enforced and the flood of people across that arbitrary line will increase again because they will be waiting for amnesty if not this time then next. We need to crack down on employers that hire (and exploit) them , if they are not hired then they will not come. Simple as that. I think anyone here would cross the border to work and provide for their family. That would not make it right or legal and it is not about race.

 
At 6:35 PM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger Stalin the Shark said...

I'm sorry, but my reasoning is circular, when much of what I see here is at best a knee-jerk, politically correct reiteration of "imperialism bad, brown people always good"?

Humbug.

My point about various former colonies is that they seem completely unable to govern themselves, as we've seen with frankly every single country in Africa and many in Asia and South America, even the two in Africa that were not colonized, Ethiopia and Liberia. I fail to see how this can all be laid, as it were, at the white man's door. To blame this orgy of bad governance on the slave trade is ludicrous. I can't recall the kind of

As to Egypt in particular, I'd argue that that country is also not really an example for anything the rest of the world would want to emulate politically, no? The country can't feed itself? Well, of course not - not when its population has tripled since 1900. That's Malthus in action right there, with some help from Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak.

As to the question about Germany, I would advise that the form of governance that country took before 1871 doesn't change the fact that it considered itself a nation.

And as far as our American borders are concerned, with all due respect, arguing that they are artifical isn't going to win any political points. And that's what this is - a political contest between those who are here and those who want to come. Saying that there is no distinction between the two sidesteps the problem.

:-), StS

 
At 7:01 PM, April 04, 2006 , Blogger Boris Yeltsin said...

II
You do make some very persuasive arguments about key points, but I'm talking from an American perspective, not from a world perspective.

The residents of Hiroshima and Nagasagi? That's a great argument from the Japanese perspective, but I'm sure the Korean women the Japanese raped and the Korean and Chinese villages the Imperial Japanese military machine burned, raped and ruined are probably not shedding a single tear for what happened to the Japanese. Remember, the Japanese weren't a bunch of choir boys being unecessarily picked on.

My grandfather knew guys who knew guys, who were in the Bataan Death March. Again, the Japanese weren't innocents then.

The business of being a world power has always been a messy one, regardless of who holds the cards at any particular time.

Back when Ghengis Khan was a ruler, people had open borders, but it was primarily an agrarian economy for the entire world. Fleeing just five miles away - to what? You were nothing without your farm. What would those farmers do to support their families without their farms? They didn't have factories then.

America has done a remarkable job of protecting it's citizens during times of war. It comes with the territory of being a world power. Other countries with Super Power status such as the Soviet Union/Russia have traditionally done very little to protect their citizens during times of war; we have bent over backwards to ensure the safety of the citizenry.

The Central Bank is indeed your best argument, but allow me to play devil's advocate: I would suppose one of the reasons the bank exists, is to prevent too much of a free market, in the form of predatory lenders and loan-sharks. Let me put it this way: that's what I'd like to believe.

I've always been under the assumption that too much of a good thing is bad. Free market economies are a great example. Too much freedom, and the crooks come out and monopolize the game. I've always felt the role of a government is to level the playing field to keep those who don't want to play nice from taking over.

However, it's becoming increasingly clear that the crooks have taken the old adage of, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em," to heart. Now, the fox is watching the hen-house, and that's unfortunate.

When it comes to governments, sometimes the fix that's proposed, even if it feels good at the time, can sometimes be worse than the cure.

Eliminating all borders and governments I feel, would create a state of anarchy and allow people who were on the fringes of society (because laws have kept them there) to assume a role in the fore-front - and that's not good. Take Adolph Hitler for example.

His rise to power is a wonderful case in point regarding the fix being worse than the ailment. The ailment, was the German/Prussian monarchy. The treaty that ended WWI didn't end the extravagant lifestyle of the royals who presided over Germany. Hitler was kept in check by the royals who held power, but as the pendulum swung the other way, the royals took a back seat to Hitler's revolution. One evil replaced another, but the fix felt good to the German people at the time.

As far as the US backing dictators who overthrow democratically elected governments. No denying that happens. But why? I happen to feel, that America's foreign policy has always been an ideology of keeping both sides who hate each other equal, or equalling them out sooner or later, so people within a certain region focus more on killing each other, than they focus on killing us.

From a practical stanpoint, it's easier to let one side or the other within any regional conflict keep eachother busy so they don't focus on you/us. It makes sense, and it worked until the budgets for spy agencies got slashed to balance the federal budget. We had a period of unparalled prosperity as a result, but it ended and now we're back to square one.

II, I think the biggest assumption you make (and it may or may not be correct) is that we're more evil than anyone else who would like to take our position in the world. In other words, are we keeping the bad guys down, or are we just picking on innocents?

That's an emotionally loaded question, but would those "innocents" do a better job of maintaining things with the amount of reserve that we've shown?

Amount of reserve? Well, sure! We've got nuclear submarines that are each capable of blowing up the world, something like nine times over. I'm talking specifically of the Ohio Class and Los Angeles Class submarines; what the navy refers to as "boomers."

Get one of those in the hands of a few governments around the world, and there's no telling what havoc they'd wreak on the world's population.

You must be a hell of a lawyer, because I've never heard the argument of the Central Bank before - it's a good one.

But, American leaders are there to protect American interests, not the interests of the world at large, because history has shown us that the world at large isn't capable of even adequately representing it's own interests - let alone America's.

 
At 3:23 AM, April 05, 2006 , Blogger The Best [ Ghostface ] said...

America will become like brazil a mixed blooded mulatto country. This will become a good thing for Americans.


By Chance

 
At 12:30 PM, April 06, 2006 , Blogger Mahndisa S. Rigmaiden said...

04 05 06

Chance for your constant comments on your superior intellect the last comment was questionable. Brazil has extreme poverty, particularly child poverty. I don't want our country to evolve in that way. What a silly example Chance.

II: Boris Yeltsin asked some salient questions. It seems as though you are conflicted about a great many things from this post...

 
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