Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"I don't care???"

In her post lamenting the demise of Ron Paul's campaign Becky states:

America doesn't really care that exceptions to the ancient writ of habeas corpus have been carved out---it is unlikely we will be arrested. It does not matter that we might be wiretapped—we have nothing to hide. And if torture of dangerous Arabs might make us safer—what is the problem?

Most Americans just don't care. We might complain at times about the size of government, but if anything goes wrong we all want the government to “do something.”

No one wants to admit that our economy is built on a house of credit cards purchased with ever shrinking dollars. We trust that Keynesian manipulations can hold it together, though there might be a temporary bump. We are satisfied that if the “government does something” we will get back on track. And it really is not significant that seventy percent of our Gross National Product consists of consumers buying crap they don't need and can't afford, most of which has been imported from Communist China.

Actually I do care.

I care enough to understand that the exceptions to the ancient writ of habeas corpus apply only individuals who are not American citizens captured during military operations in a foreign country and held outside the United Sates. I also care enough to know that at least 12 of those who were held in Guantanamo Bay and released have been captured fighting US forces again. In other words those denied Habeas Corpus are those who were never entitled to it in the first place.

I also care enough to understand that the Terrorist Surveillance Program is directed at those who would kill innocent Americans. Calls must terminate outside the United States in order for surveillance to take place with out a FISA warrant.

I also care enough to understand that most of what has been branded torture is no worse than what our military goes through on a daily basis and that the harshest authorized interrogation techniques while scary are not permanently damaging, and that again those techniques are only authorized on individuals who are not afforded the protections of the Constitution to begin with. (don't believe me try standing at attention for 4 hours in 40 degree weather for a personnel inspection)

In other words I care enough to understand that the world is sometimes a dangerous place filled with people who want to kill us for no better reasons that a) we make more money than them, b) we don't believe they should be allowed to wipe the Jewish people from the face of the earth (or at least I don't, I think most "libertarians" and Democrats disagree).

I also care enough to know that the economic policy that Ron Paul and his followers advocate is really Neo-Merchantilism, believing that the only value a good or idea has is it's value in specie. Adam Smith successfully refuted this point in 1776. I also care enough to know that the total value of all the gold ever mined is not enough to account for the current value of the world's economic activity at this point. This is actually precisely the reason countries left the Bretton Woods agreement following WWII.

In addition I care enough to know that rather than preventing inflationary or deflationary cycles in the economy the gold standard may actually exacerbate them (1837, 1857, 1893, and 1930-33) and that one of the advantages to "fiat currency' is the ability to respond to those pressures. I also care enough to know the populist movement in this country, which has generated some incredibly poor governmental policies, started because the gold standard is not flexible enough to keep up with periods of intense economic growth, and tends to concentrate wealth in the hands of a very small percentage of the population (the idiots they make movies like "The Age of Innocence" about).

Finally I care enough to know that while counter intuitive a weaker US dollar actually improves our trade balance in the world.

People may disagree with my reasoning and conclusions but don't tell me I don't care.

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