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Globalization and “Unrestricted Warfare”

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Posted by Damien on November 26, 2009 at 10:53 pm

After the break is the introduction I wrote for this essay earlier this year.  Since then I have substantially changed my position on war and foreign policy.  However, with such a large change there are still many gaps I need to fill in and much I need to learn before I can put together a coherent essay on the matter.  I maintained the original introduction to record the evolution of my thought which is one of the goals of this blog.  I hope to update my political survey soon with recent changes in certain positions and expand on my new ideas of war and foreign policy in a future essay.  In the mean time, you can see how I thought not too long ago and take away many insights that I still find to be relevant even if my position has changed.

National Security issues and particularly warfare are issues I am currently struggling with. I have moved from very right wing (social conservative, fiscal conservative, national security hawk) to more libertarian views on most issues. However, I have found it difficult to get behind most libertarians when it comes to foreign policy and issues of National Security. I am currently exploring their arguments to see if I can be convinced and since libertarians, specially Austrian economists, have a pretty strong record of being right it is a strong possibility. In the mean time, here is an essay I wrote regarding threats to National Security in a globalized world. The insights are still applicable even if you may disagree with the policies I advocated at the time I wrote it. Once I’ve done more research into these topics in general I hope to revisit this essay and provide updates. I would also appreciate lessons learned from others’ research. Just send insights on these issues or comments on this essay to me through the Contact button on the menu bar. The Essay is after the break in both HTML and Wor DOC formats. Enjoy.

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This is an issue that I am currently researching. The topic is very complex as there are many player and interconnected parts. I am definitely against a single payer (taxpayer/government) system due to it being a direct threat to freedom and a gaurantee of inefficiency. How will people stand up to a government that they depend on for life saving treatments and vaccinations for their children and what government record are people looking to make themselves believe that something as complex as healthcare for a country can be centrally controlled and run by the government.

  Currently I have to take a pretty unpopular stance on Social Security. I believe that it was intended (right or wrong) as a temporary fix to help the elderly during the great depression. However, that time has come and gone and Social Security has become the greatest example how something sold as a temporary fix to a crisis becomes a permanent entitlement with far reaching consequences and infinite potential for expansion. We can see this in the fact that Social Security not only is used as a retirement supplement for the elderly but is the sole income for some and has been expanded to cover the disabled and children of deceased citizens until they turn 18 (sometimes 21 if the continue going to school.) The government can never be trusted to limit itself and social security displays all that is wrong with entitlements.

I have been avid supporter of the Fair Tax (all federal taxes, except excise taxes, replaced by a national sales tax) since I first learned about it. Many issues could be helped with this system of taxation and it would bring much needed transparency to the cost of government. It would be good for American business and the American financial system. While I can see the arguments of libertarians about eliminating all taxes (except possible “voluntary taxes”) I don’t believe America is prepared for that bold a step and I would be very pleased with this large step in the right direction.

I don’t think anyone would consider themselves pro-war, I am not in favor of war for the sake of war or for the confiscation of resources (land, treasure, people or power). However, I am currently in favor of military action up to and including war for the sake of protecting our National Security, which includes protecting our way of life. I believe that we are still at a point in civilization where military force has to be used to stop tyranny and other forces acting against the interests of the people of the United States. However, I am currently looking into the idea that more is lost than gained by the exercise of military force or projection. If I discover that the Cons outweigh the Pros when it comes to the interests of the people of this country I would whole heartedly change my position of support for military force.

This is an issue I have not been able to come to a firm conclusion on. Currently I am leaning towards the category of opposing the Electoral College. Most of the original arguments for the Electoral College seem to be outdated and I have found several arguments against. I am actually in favor of fairly radical (in today’s status quo political environment) change in much of the structure of government.

One of the greatest political tragedies of American history has been the overwhelming centralization of power in the federal government. From the very beginning this was the debate that caused the founders to fracture into parties and it is only natural that the central governing body will always try to grab more and more power but the check against it was supposed to be the states acting in their self interests to protect and cling to that power for themselves. Somewhere along the line the states rolled over or sold out and that is a trend that needs to be reversed. Diversity between the states is what allows people and business to vote with their feet moving where the laws are most friendly to them. When all blurs together and all laws are basically handed down from the federal government there can be no competition between the states or experimentation to find the best new ideas. Each voice of the people also becomes less and less heard as they are drowned out by the larger and larger masses ruled by an ever more centralized government.

I am a strict constructionist when it comes to the Constitution. It should be interpreted as its writers intended to include each ammendment. The Constitution can be a living document without judicial activism in its interpretation. The founders included a way for the Constitution to adapt to modern times throught the amendment process. The difficulty of this process was intentional in order to limit the power of government, since it makes that laws that governs itself a fairly rigid document that needs the concurrence of competing powers is required to provide that limitation and shouldn’t be circumvented by a handful of judges.

I support a policy that makes it much easier to come to this country to work, go to school or even live. At the same time I advocate much stricter standards for citizenship. I have not been able to do enough research to see exactly what standards I would ask be required but I am sure that in order to protect the integrity of our political system, to maintain an American culture and promote integration into society stricter standards are absolutely necessary. As to how much easier I believe it should be to enter this country, the only standard I would apply is a direct threat to the security of the country or the residents of the country. I do not mean a perceived threat to jobs or things of that nature but a national security threat or a criminal record. This freer flow of immigration would be much easier for people to support, however, if they did not fear that the influx of immigrants would be added burden due to the ever growing welfare state. Also, my way of dealing with illegal immigrant already in this country would be to grant them permanent status, we would then be aware of who is in our country and the would be recognized and not forced to live in the shadows. However, I would put limits on their status so that they could not become citizens unless they returned to their homecountry, without penalty, and re-entered the US legally behind everyone else who is waiting. They also would not ever be allowed to sponsor family members or other immigrants unless they returned to their home country first and entered legally. This would basically continue the status quo as far as their established lives, they currently can not sponsor relatives or become citizens, with the benefit of giving them basic rights and registering them in our systems so that they are accounted for; and it would alleviate fears of exponential growth in immigrants due to chain immigration after they are legalized and the culture shock of an addition of that number of immigrant citizens.

I am a strong advocate of school vouchers. I have found that an educated society has many spillover benefits and thus is one of the few items that I believe the government justifiably can fund. However, I do not trust the government to run our education. There is a conflict of iterest there in that young minds being shaped by those in power is a very dangerous thing. Also, the “common experience” “one size fits all” philosophy behind the public school system is a fails to achieve the goals that most citizens and parents see for schools: to instill children with knowledge and skills that will benefit them. Also, when choice is stifled and parents are compelled to send their kids to public school, usually not even able to choose which public school, it creates an environment where parents are either forced to accept someone else’s views, ideas and educating methodology, or to force their views on someone else’s kid. This has led to the great controversies in education that could have been largely avoided if parents had more choice and were able to more freely send their kids to schools they didn’t object to.

While I may disagree with Thomas Friedman on many issues, I did find his books “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” and “The World is Flat” pretty useful. The conclusion he came to was that it doesn’t matter if we agree with globalization or because it’s happening. To ask if you agree with globalization would be like asking if you agree with the sun coming up in the morning…it’s going to happen regardless. The question is how do we live and adjust our views to fit that of a globalized world economy. We should recognize the new interconnectedness of not only countries but of issues. The economy is now directly connected to national security and our domestic politics are watched by countries around the world. Individuals can now do what only countries could do decades ago, moving large amounts of goods around the globe, conducting foreign policy, conducting business in several countries from their home or office.

While reserved for heinous crimes like murder I agree with the Death Penalty. Even if I found some philosophical objection to it, it still wouldn’t bother me that a murderer or serial killer gets executed. It weighs zero on my conscience.

In my personal life and personal advice I am against abortion. I think the debate is skewed and that I do not think there is a pro-life and a pro-death side of the issue or a pro-choice and anti-choice side of the issue but that there are those who believe that at some point during the pregnancy, some as early as conception, that a person exists. There are others who believe that it is only a clump of cells or some sort of animal or non-person fetus (I admit I am not sure what they classify it as, but I am giving them the benefit of doubt in my mind that they do not believe it is a person they are killing.) If there is a person in the womb then that person has rights including the right to life. If it is not a person then its rights are far less defined but I do not think that anyone can claim that it is not a living organism that is being killed in the abortion process. That is where I think the debate lies, in the personhood of the baby or fetus and when it becomes a person. Not about women’s rights. If it is not a person, I think few would object to a woman’s choice, but if you believe it is a person it can not be expected that you would sacrifice that person’s life for the convenience, career, plans, or even psychological trauma of the mother. Unless the life of the mother is in danger, I do not currently believe abortion is right.

Anthropological global warming is a religion loosely veiled in science. The motivation for this fraud is great due to the huge sums of government money pouring in to finance it and the agenda of those pushing the theory is clearly anti-business and anti-capitalist. The deceit and misinformation that I have found prevalent in the science and theories in global warming has led me to believe that this is not just an incorrect theory but intentional misleading of people to make them act against their true self-interests and probably the greatest fraud in my lifetime. This politicized science, when finally exposed, will hurt the credibility of the scientific community for years to come and that is unfortunate.

Frankly, if government got out of the marriage business: did not make tax laws, entitlements, legal recognition; then this would be a non-issue. However, gay marriage advocates are naive if they believe they can force acceptance on society or individuals. The government definitely should not prevent gay couples from living together, leaving eachother in their wills, granting eachother medical power of attorney, visiting as family in hosipitals; those should all be individual choices beyond the scope of government control regardless of who is chosen. At the same time, churches who do not recognize gay marriage should not have to perform the ceremony or allow one to take place in their building, employers who do not recognize gay marriage should not have to include the spouse on insurance plans or other benefits and employers who do recognize gay marriage shouldn’t have wait for the government to provide those benefits. If the government is not involved in the issue it will not give everyone what they want but it will provide everyone the choice of acting according to their own conscience.

I believe the second ammendment is clear in the right to bear arms as individual citizens. There is little more I can say about the issue because I can not see where the debate is. As to regulations on selling and buying weapons, it does not bother me that there is a holding period, ID verification, and check in a federal registry to prevent the sell of weapons to felons or people with certain mental conditions.

The idea of the “Millenium Fund” of President Bush and of certain policies in regard to Foreign Aid under Reagan would be acceptable if pursued more strictly and across the board. A country should not just give away money to failing nations. They should tie that aid to reforms or to actions that are in the giving country’s interests. Otherwise nothing changes and the root problems that caused a country to need the aid remain. This does not necessarily apply to emergency aid due to natural disasters like the Tsunami in Indonesia and South Asia or even aid to the victims of genocide or oppression by their governments, but to the “lending” or providing of treasure and aid directly to governments.

The League of Nations and the UN are both failures in much of their goals. This is because most of the participating recognize and act in their own self interests and try to use the body to advance their own agendas. I do not blame them for this because it is the natural and right thing to do. However, we should not kid ourselves that the UN is some higher body trying to do the greater good. The UN is also very ineffectual due to the VERY different and often opposing agendas of the permanent council. It was George Washington who warned against permanent alliances. The US should make foreign policy based on what is in its interests and let those join who agree and consider the consequences of going against those who disagree and then take action with the US government being the one who decides not an international body unelected by the American people. The UN can be a place where ideas are discussed among countries but should have no binding power over sovereign nations.

I am too young to have lived through the Civil Rights Era so I will not speak as to whether Affirmative Action was a justified policy at one time or not. However, I do believe that it has outlived any usefulness or justification it might have had. People should be given jobs based on merit, experience, and need not the color of their skin. Not hiring someone because they are white is just as racist as not hiring them because they are a minority. Issues like this do not cause greater acceptance between races but cause greater division and resentment.

Recently I have began to look into the idea of IP. Where only a few months ago I would have defended IP as being nearly as sacred as property rights themselves. However, with recent research it would appear that copyright and patents have done considerably more harm than good. This may be simply due to the fact that they are abused and last for much too long a time. Further research is necessary but it would appear that history supports the argument that innonvation still thrives with out IP and that in fact copyrights and patents, through the monopolies they create, are what stifle innovation.

Property rights are one of the foundational cornerstones of a free society. The taking of land from one private citizen and giving it to another private citizen is fundamentally wrong and should never be allowed. Actions of that nature should be met with great outrage from citizens because they could be next. I am not sure if I would make exception for eminent domain for the purpose of building roads and other government infrastructure but that would definitely be more tolerable than current uses of eminent domain laws.

Like most issues that involve “personal choice” I do not care if someone uses drugs as long as I am not expected to pay, through taxes, their medical bills from either long term damage or emergency room visits, their food, their rent or their unemployment. It is only when people’s poor choices beome a burden on that I find it acceptable to regulate such behavior. However, employers, to include the government, should be allowed to maintain their own standards on drug use and hire and fire based off those standards. The Drug war is a huge waste of money and time from what I can tell.

The theoretical union that is usually presented in arguments, that protects workers from unsafe and inhumane working conditions and helps the every day Joe stand up to an abusive employer does not bother me. In fact, if unions were simply the voluntary organizing of workers to negotiate with an employer, based on what they both offer eachother, and nothing else I probably would not have a problem with them. However, unions do not focus on negotiating with employers but instead lobby congress and the government to force employers to meet their demands. This is wrong. An employer should be able to hire or fire anyone he wants for any reason…its his money and his business. If an employer is acting unfairly or oppressively it is up to the employees to take a stand on behalf of their coworkers or their own rights and if they offer value to the employer then the employer will have to negotiate or suffer the consequences, or they can be held to account by the consumers of their product or services who do not want to support such practices, which can be used by competitors to draw the market away from bad actors due to a poor public image. The government’s role should be limited to enforcing legal contracts and that is it. If unions would stick to this more fundamental role they actually have a positive effect. Also, there does not need to be an ever present union collecting dues from employees whose survival dempends on constantly convincing their members they should not be satisfied with their current status. Unions live in a paradox that if they are successful in implementing good work conditions they are no longer needed and must therefore act against their self interest to fulfill their promises and only a naive person could believe they act against their self interest.

I do not believe we should torture people. However, in the recent debates on torture that term has been applied very loosely. The literature put out by human rights groups claiming that the US is using torture, for example, classify the following into that category: standing for long periods of time; playing loud music; having dogs present at interrogations; females shaving the beards of muslim men; and waterboarding. If these things are going to be classified as torture then I have to rethink my position. I do not find discomfort or cultural insensitivity to be torture. As for waterboarding, if out interrogators can go through it for their training then a few, three reported instances of its use, terrorists with vital information that can save American lives can be exposed to it as well. There has been no reported permanent physical damage from the practice and like the Death Penalty, even if I could find philosophical objections to the rare use of waterboarding it would not bother my conscience that it happened to men like Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

I have not firmly decided where I think life begins and could not say for sure if I find the use of embryonic stem cells morally wrong. I do think it is wrong to use stem cells from aborted fetuses or any embryos that were not specifically created in a lab for this purpose. It would also be better to use alternatives such as umbilical stem cells and adult stem cells if possible to avoid the possible ethical challenges. As far as government funding goes, the amount is most likely small compared to the overall budget of the research and if people truly believe in the potential of stemcells there should be plenty of people willing to support its research so that federal funding is not necessary.

I support a 100% banking system as opposed to a fractional reserve banking system. There are also great arguments to return to a commodity money as opposed to fiat money. I agree with these arguments in principle but have not yet become convinced of a method of this return that would not have grave short term consequences. Theoretically, the benefits of commodity money could be mostly realized with fiat money if the government was prohibited from artificially growing money by use of the printing press and were only allowed to print money to replace DESTROYED old currency. Another benefit of commodity money is that it was an international standard and so minimized the effects of currency trading and sabotage on nations’ currencies. If an international fiat money was adopted that could not be printed for any reason other than replacing retired currency then I think many of the benefits of commodity money would be realized. At the same time, I do not expect that government, especially international institutions, can live up to the standards or be trusted not to manipulate currency that is under their control.

After a long journey looking for what I truly believe I have left my adolescent faith of Christianity and accepted the ideas of Deism. I would consider myself a positive deist and have no reason to disparage the faiths of others if it is providing them happiness, strenght and a solid moral ground that does not lead to them harming those around them. I hope to write more in the future on my personal understanding of Deism and the path that led me to it.

There is no argument that living things adapt to their environments and that mathematically speaking those that adapt the best are most likely to survive and pass those traits along. However, from the research I’ve done, which admittedly is not extensive but probably more than average, I have not been convinced of Darwinism or Macroevolution. There appears to be some flawed logic and ample opportunity for logical fallacies and philosophical agendas to drive the conclusions of Darwinism. Currently, I do not believe that life was created by chance in the form of RNA, protein, single celled organism or some even simpler variant of life yet to be discovered that evolved into all the life that exists today. The more we study the more we see that even the most simple organisms are more complex then we could have imagined which makes macroevolution even more unlikely. I do not have a religious agenda against evolution, if it were proved it would have no effect on beliefs. I just do not find the arguments for it compelling.

Individualism, free-will and human reason are probably the cornerstones of my entire philosophy. Free-will is a topic that I waste little time debating, the arguments are usuall circular, but accept as inherently true. I am very aware of the limitations of human reason but do not accept the skeptic’s view that we should accept nothing as true because of these limitations. The limitations should be recognized but we should act on what our reason tells us. Individualism and social evolution are what provide the safegaurd and advance human reason as poor or incorrect reasoning will be weeded out as more successful reasoning becomes more prevalent. The idea is similar to that of biological evolution that as people adapt the ones who are most successful are most likely to be the ones whose ideas are accepted or spread. The probability of discovering the best ideas is exponentially greater when individuals are free to pursue their own reasoning as opposed to a collective society where new ideas stifled because by their very nature they are not accepted by the majority or only the ideas of one person or organization are tried and so the likelihood of finding the best idea is greatly reduced as only one idea out of infinite ideas are being tried.

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