James Payne on War, Politics and the Demise of Activist Government
The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Dr. James L. Payne.
Introduction: Dr. James L. Payne is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Director of Lytton Research and Analysis and author of numerous well-known, libertarian-oriented books. These include A History of Force: Exploring the Worldwide Movement Against Habits of Coercion, Bloodshed, and Mayhem and his most recent book, Six Political Illusions. He is also the author of the Princess Navina libertarian-fiction series. He has taught political science at Yale University, Wesleyan University, Johns Hopkins University, and Texas A & M University.
Daily Bell: You obviously have a deeply held libertarian perspective. How did you acquire it?
James Payne: When I left the University of California (Berkeley) with my PhD in political science in 1964, I was an LBJ liberal. That's real embarrassing for me to admit today, but it's the truth. In the following years, my research into many different government policies revealed to me that government fails a shockingly high proportion of the time.
As a result of this learning curve, I became a conservative/libertarian. This leaves the interesting question: why was I a left-liberal in my younger days? The answer was that, as a youngster, I was in the grip of a number of illusions about government's abilities to solve problems. Recently, I've explained these illusions into a book, which has just been published (Six Political Illusions, see below), so that young people can overcome in a few days the fallacies that took me decades to get past.
Daily Bell: You began your career very young. Tell us how that happened.
James Payne: I was very keen on political science from my first undergraduate course with Aaron Wildavsky at Oberlin College. He showed me that it was possible to cut through the thoughtless cliches of politics and expose the fallacies and oversimplifications that dominate thinking on political subjects. For me it was exhilarating to transcend my own limited views, to realize how "dumb" I had been on one issue after another.
Daily Bell: What did you observe about Peru and the labor movement in your first book?
James Payne: Oberlin College allowed undergraduates to take a junior year abroad, and being an adventurous kid eager for travel, I went to Peru and did a study of the labor movement, traveling all over the country, up into the sierras, taking a river steamer down the Amazon to the jungle city of Iquitos, interviewing labor leaders everywhere I went. I must have had 50-60 interviews. I ended up writing a book on the labor movement which was published by Yale University Press. I suppose the main lesson I took away from that research is how complicated human political institutions are, and how distortion, misunderstanding, and emotion play such a big role in the political arena.
Daily Bell: You've written on foreign policy; what are your views? What problems have you foreseen?
James Payne: One of my political epiphanies came shortly after I left graduate school in 1965. The Vietnam War was heating up at that time, and I was closely following the debate on whether we should escalate. At the beginning, I held the popular "dove" position that this was a faraway war, difficult to "win" and we shouldn't be there. Then I heard Dean Rusk make the case for deterrence—just a few well-chosen sentences—and I realized, with a slap to the forehead, that I'd missed a whole issue in foreign policy.
In a nutshell, this theory is that most wars are wars of miscalculation: the aggressor underestimates the defender's ability and willingness to resist. So the way to reduce the danger of World War III (which might kill hundreds of millions) was to demonstrate your credibility in seemingly trivial contests. I fleshed out this theory in my book The American Threat (1970, 1981). Of course, the idea that it made sense to fight in Vietnam was very much against the grain of what academia believed. But I still think it was right to resist in Vietnam: our action there lowered the probability of WW III—a very great good!
Daily Bell: You wrote an article, "What Do the Terrorists Want?" The Independent Review (Summer 2008). Please tell us about that.
James Payne: My foreign policy writings since the collapse of communism are "dovish," compared to my "hawkish" position on Vietnam. I now stress restraint, turning the other cheek. There's no inconsistency, however. In the 1960s and 1970s, the context was hostile great powers, and that presented the possibility of a major war. At that time it was right to practice a policy of firm resistance, or containment, in order to reduce the danger of a terrible war of miscalculation, as I mentioned above.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the transformation of China, and the decline of communism as an aggressive force, we do not have a great power rivalry, and hence the danger of WW III is extremely low. Containment as a foreign policy has lost its meaning. What we have is the pin prick of Islamic terrorism. (Sorry, 9/11 was a pin prick: more Americans were killed in a typical day of World War II than in 9/11). Furthermore, Islamic terrorism is not represented by a major power, or even a minor power. So there is no danger of a world war with islamofascism. Therefore, a bellicose, containment-seeming foreign policy is not warranted.
As I explained in the article you ask about, what the terrorists want is not world domination. I made a quantitative analysis of the writings of Bin Laden, and discovered his overwhelming preoccupation is revenge against what he perceives as an aggressive, intrusive USA out to impose its social and cultural values on Muslin countries. The way to calm the craziness of the jihadists, therefore, is to cut down on our intrusive, aggressive foreign policy toward Muslin countries: don't station troops in Saudi Arabia, don't invade Iraq, cut back on our military bases and fleets.
Daily Bell: You wrote an article, "Does Nation-building Work?" for The Independent Review (Spring 2006). What was that about?
James Payne: American policymakers have had a shallow view of what it takes for a third-world country to become a stable democracy. "Does Nation-building Work" is an analysis of the 51 occupations by the US and Great Britain and their results. The record shows that in only 14 cases (27 percent) did a stable democracy follow the occupation. Furthermore, the presumed successes had little to do with US policy.
For example, the emergence of democracy in Germany after World War II had nothing to do with American policy. As I document in my article "Did the U. S. Create Democracy in Germany?" (Independent Review, Fall, 2006), the occupation forces did everything wrong: they deliberately impoverished Germany, they deliberately avoided healthy, friendly contacts with German people; they persecuted former Nazis but wound up reversing the policy and making payments to those they persecuted.
Daily Bell: You've written about the history of force. What have you observed?
James Payne: I think my most important book is A History of Force; Exploring the Worldwide Movement against Habits of Coercion, Bloodshed, and Mayhem (2004). Its overall thesis is that the use of physical force has been declining for millennia, and is declining rapidly in modern times. Present times are amazingly peaceful, compared to what went on 50, 500, 1000, 2000 years ago. Unfortunately, the media reports on and exaggerates current violence, so this thesis about the decline in the use of force is not widely accepted.
Since physical force has been the foundation of many institutions—religion, government, moral codes, relations of the sexes—this analysis explains, and predicts, major changes in society and its institutions.
Daily Bell: You've written a great deal about taxation. What conclusions have you reached?
James Payne: My book Costly Returns; The Burdens of the U. S. Tax System (1993) tabulated the overhead costs of running the tax system. It found that for every dollar of taxes collected, the tax system puts an additional burden of 65 cents in wastes and costs.
Daily Bell: You taught political science at academic institutions, including Yale, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, and Texas A&M University. In 1985, you resigned your tenured professorship and moved to Sandpoint, Idaho, to work as an independent scholar and freelance writer. Why did you make this move? Has it lived up to expectations?
James Payne: For me, academia has two problems. First, American higher education floats on an ocean of government money. This creates a deep pro-government bias, which makes life difficult for anyone—like myself—whose research leads to questioning big government. Second, academia is restrictive and stultifying. The premise of an academic discipline is that that everything important is already known, and the scholar's job is to extend and decorate this "knowledge." My muse is to discover things, to show how deeply wrong we—myself included—have been about the world. A discoverer is persona non grata in academia. Leaving academia cost me dearly in income and status, but for my own intellectual development and emotional well-being it was the smartest thing I ever did.
Daily Bell: You have a new book out called Six Political Illusions. Give us a quick summary.
James Payne: The socialist premise is that we can use government to transform the world and create a much better society, even a Utopia. Unfortunately, this vision rests on a series of illusions about what government is, how it works, and what it can accomplish. While 150 years of disappointing experience has rather battered the appeal of these illusions, they have not gone away. They keep cropping up in the minds of the naïve—which includes most politicians—and keep getting turned into policy.
Let me give one illustration on a point we covered already, nation building.
If you ask the man in the street if he, personally, knows how to create a democracy in, say, Iraq, this man in the street would admit that he didn't have a clue. If you had asked George Bush the same question in 2003, he would have been forced to admit that he knew nothing more than the man in the street about whether or how a US invasion force could create democracy in Iraq. So where did Bush—and so many others—get their confidence in U. S. nation-building prospects? The answer is, he assumed that government would know how to do it.
This is the watchful eye illusion: the belief that government has greater knowledge and wisdom than ordinary people. This is a fallacy, because government is made up of ordinary people who, individually and collectively, have no greater understanding—and often less—than the public. It's an ancient illusion, one that traces all the way back to the times when humanity believed that rulers were, literally, gods.
This illusion explains why, when it comes to government, we don't learn from experience. We see government fail but, influenced by the watchful eye illusion, we assume government will succeed next time. Take nation building. The record shows, as I noted above, that military occupations don't bring democracy. Bush didn't bother to look at the record, to notice that this kind of thing usually ends in failure. Blinded by the illusion that government knows what it's doing, with his faith in its god-like wisdom, he plunged ahead—and got eight years of bungling and death.
[For the Introduction and first chapter of Six Political Illusions, readers can go to www.sixpoliticalillusions.com ]
Daily Bell: Tell us about your fiction— the Princess Navina books.
James Payne: As I continued my political science research, I kept finding cases where government not only failed but made the problem worse. I would say to myself, "If congressmen were deliberately intending to wreck things, they couldn't have done better than the policy they came up with." In one unguarded moment, I got the idea of putting this idea in a brief satire about a country where the ruler really does aim for the misery of his people. This became the story, Princess Navina Visits Malvolia—Malvolia being the land where the ruler wishes his subjects ill. In this country, the ruler—the Magog of Malvolia—has adopted policies to increase unemployment, impede entrepreneurs, and develop a class of unhappy, idle benefit-seekers. Well, these turn out to be pretty much the policies of the modern welfare state.
Then, to make other points in political philosophy, I wrote sequels about other wretched countries—Mandaat, Nueva Malvolia—and finally wound up with the conclusion of the series, Princess Navina Visits Voluntaria. This is a country which doesn't have a government—because they believe it is wrong to rely on the initiation of force, even for a good cause. So all public services are supplied by a plethora of voluntary groups, and sentiments of social cooperation are greatly strengthened (because society depends on generosity—not force). It's a voluntarist's Utopia.
Daily Bell: Where does the United States go from here?
James Payne: I don't share the alarmism of many on the right. Yes, the country is badly governed, and yes, many foolish ideas predominate (including six political illusions!). But what people forget is that throughout history, most countries have been very, very badly governed. What happened under the Roosevelt administration in the 1930s, for example, was more foolish and destructive than what's going on today.
As to the near future, there will be endless tinkering, endless complaining, and crusades to throw the rascals out and bring in new people dedicated to "hope and change." But since the premises of activist government are false, the result will remain an unmanageable, vaguely corrupt "goo."
The good news is that in the long run we shall be moving away from activist government. I go into this prediction at length in my History of Force; I'll summarize the basic syllogism:
1. Activist government depends on the initiation of force;
2. The acceptability and use of force is in decline (a decline that's been going on for 5,000 years);
3. Therefore activist government will decline.
What this decline will look like is an open question. It probably will not take the form of a conscious, thoughtful choice by society to turn away from activist government. Instead, activist government will fall increasingly into disrepute and voluntary methods of dealing with problems will emerge more fully. I believe we are already evolving toward the voluntary system that will prove much healthier for us. (An illustration: Look how we're handling roadside litter pickup today, with volunteers stepping forward. In the old days, it was assumed that a tax-funded government bureaucracy should take care of this problem.)
Daily Bell: Anything else you would like to mention?
James Payne: My goodness, I'm afraid I've already bored readers to tears. It's just that I get so engrossed with these questions it's hard for me to stop. I appreciate everyone's patience and interest.
Daily Bell: Thank you for your time and this insightful interview.
James Payne makes many interesting points in this interview, but we found his conclusions about 21st century warfare to be especially thought-provoking. He writes that he made a "quantitative analysis of the writings of Bin Laden, and discovered his overwhelming preoccupation is revenge against what he perceives as an aggressive, intrusive USA out to impose its social and cultural values on Muslin countries." From this he concludes that Islamofascism is not an aggressive force but one that is more or less reactive.
This point, in fact, is one Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has made as well. If the US were not "over there," the chances are that those who wish ill for the West and the US would not be "over here." What he also points out it is that governments have generally been getting less violent and that gives him hope that government activism will generally subside.
We confess, we had not been aware of this perspective as it seems to us that the world is constantly in a war or confrontation somewhere, and that Western governments and especially the Anglo-American axis are in the forefront of military action. In fact, from our point of view the Anglo-American axis has been fairly consistently violent since World War II. First there was the Korean war, then the war in Viet Nam and finally a series of wars in the Middle East.
in between, the CIA, especially, through Operation Gladio fostered additional violence across Europe. And the United States in particular has interfered in Central America, fomenting wars there and generally destabilizing regimes that were not to its liking. Thus it is that we would like to have James Payne's optimism as regards the reduction in violence worldwide and especially the reduction in violence of the Anglo-American axis, but we are not sure we can fully endorse this view at the moment.
It is in a way fitting that we publish this interview around the anniversary of 9/11 as more than anything the attacks on 9/11 plunged the West and especially America into yet another decade of serial warfare. We have long pointed out that some in the 9/11 Commission itself have serious reservations about the conclusions reached in the report the Commission issued.
In fact, controversy continues to swirl generally around the 9/11 and one way that might put various controversies to bed would be create a new and generally impartial Commission that could re-examine the evidence. An examination of the West's propensity for war even in a time of general peace might help put some of the current violence into better focus and provide lessons for the future. This might provide support for the trend that Dr. Payne believes he has identified, that governments are growing less violent.
Posted by SP on 09/15/10 04:07 PM
I will being paying attention, thanks for the interest.
Also I will continue to post and look forword to your comments.
Posted by Weeble on 09/14/10 09:32 PM
I sear the article In a different way than everyone else. I try to add a certain flavour that no-one has thought of yet. I read all posts, then I put a dollop on myself (sometimes literally.)
Just plonking some fast food on the table to steam up the mirror for DB is not satisfying. What you did was take a pro-payne view, which did, in effect blow up, so you got BBQed.
Just think, if you had not have used the "cliche" term, you would have passed under my radar-range and not have turned into a bit of a rubber chicken. (I live for puns, cliches and metaphors, and the funny side of life, so Watch! out.)
Man, that made me hungry.
But your pot was OK. You should see my posts starting back in April! Yours was pretty good in comparison. Keep on posting. That is how we learn.
Posted by SP on 09/14/10 07:26 PM
"payneless" I believe its painless, lol
When I read your critique is was so blatantly true my cheeks got red. I will need to be more creative to entertain the likes of you and not set myself up for sport. Take care.
Posted by Weeble on 09/14/10 01:51 PM
Glad you are good spirited about it. I have that kind of "constructive" criticism delivered to me on a regular basis . . . It is all virtually payneless, and what a better way to learn.
Posted by SP on 09/13/10 07:32 PM
Reply to Weeble
LOL. very good thanks for the pointers.
Posted by Noone on 09/13/10 03:03 PM
Finally! Someone who has an optimistic positive view of things, who is also a conservative/libertarian. I get so tired of the unrelenting negativity of most on the right. We will never win consistent majorities until we stop with the gloom and doom and start presenting positive visions of the future. More like him Daily Bell, more like him!
Posted by Dan Brown on 09/13/10 10:57 AM
I don't buy the fundamental thesis that all the violence enacted during the Cold War was essentially a kind of preventative pissing contest between major world powers.
For one, the world, even during the Cold War, was not so heavily and simply polarized as we like to belief. The so-called Communist Bloc was unstable, difficult to control, and far from being under total Soviet hegemony. Case in point, after the Vietnamese got done with stomping Uncle Sam's butt all over Indo-China, they went off and fought a war with China in '79.
In this sense, the Viet Nam War wasn't some isolated event in some grand Cold War epic tale of the West's struggle against totalitarianism. Rather, it was the war of independence of an isolated and abused French colony in which the revolutionaries of that war used, and fought, whomever they had to to secure freedom from Western powers and, later, Sino-Soviet influence.
Absolutely, they were Communist revolutionaries, but they were Viet Nam's Communist revolutionaries. If anything, the greatest insult to Viet Nam in all this is the Western insistence that it was not strong enough to act on its own without some puppet master in Moscow or Beijing. I think Viet Nam ultimately proved the whole world wrong.
I think we tend to view things through a very Western-centric cultural lens, the affect of which being that we tend to understand peoples in the same ideological dichotomies that plague Western politics and Western civilization: capitalist or socialist, democrat or fascist, royalist or revolutionary, progressive or conservative, this or that. As an extension, the West in generally, and Western politicians particularly, tend to paint the world as Us vs. Them, a Cold Warrior meme that has in some sense carried over into the West's new-found enemy in the Islamic world.
In this light, the Viet Nam war wasn't a misreading of Soviet hostility or a bad execution of limited war. It was a total misunderstanding of Viet Nam's plight: they were going to throw off their colonizers, and it didn't matter which bloc those potential colonizers came from.
We over-simplify the world, and forget that sometimes peoples and nations are just plain old self-interested, and not acting in concert of some pan-global conspiracy to topple Western virtues (such as they are). Just because we call ourselves liberators doesn't make us any less of an armed occupation wherever we deploy: usually, we're just the lesser evil.
Posted by Michael on 09/13/10 08:20 AM
"He writes that he made a "quantitative analysis of the writings of Bin Laden, and discovered his overwhelming preoccupation is revenge against what he perceives as an aggressive, intrusive USA out to impose its social and cultural values on Muslin countries." From this he concludes that Islamofascism is not an aggressive force but one that is more or less reactive."
He misses the point that Islam CANNOT wage aggressive/offensive war unless declared by their Caliph, which Islam does not have at the present time (see the Pakistani call for Obama to become the Caliph), so they must couch all aggression in terms of "defense."
Posted by Jones on 09/13/10 07:03 AM
Free market "thinkers" need to become free market doers in order to change the status quo... The elite do not like competition.
Click to view link
Reply from The Daily Bell
Thanks for the link.
Posted by Wrusssr on 09/13/10 02:37 AM
Another good interview. A couple of points, maybe.
Governments are growing less violent.
Governments are made up of people.
Therefore, people are growing less. . .violent?
I'm probably missing something, but it's good Dr. Payne settled in Idaho and not Mexico when he left academia.
Last time I saw a laundry list of global states it seemed those thriving on democracies comprised a small cluster? Could be wrong. Been a while.
Had an epiphany about Vietnam?
My first was an orientation film of Air Force tankers spraying agent orange on Vietnam's jungles after LBJ demonized Goldwater for "wanting to defoliate. . ." and won by a landslide.
My second was the human chain dangling from the last helicopter out.
My third was the NVA machine gunners who covered the only land escape route by foot from the north as the government collapsed and the U.S. pulled out. Many went crazy"literally"killing so many people round the clock.
My fourth was the refugee floatilla that followed.
Fifth was when I ran into a buddy who'd been aboard the warship that a sampan or raft or Viet Cong surfer attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin.
The list goes on.
True, the government has no intellect or mind of its own, other than those of individuals in it who have the power to enforce, ignore, or alter laws for the benefit or detriment of the public. Unfortunately it's become a tool for the few behind the curtain"to whom congress answers"who direct what laws are passed now; virtually all of which are a detriment of the people.
The Constitution has been a stumbling block the Wizards couldn't dismantle with a frontal assault. To get around it, they've chipped away at the edges of the document via congressional laws they pre-wrote and had passed on the pretense of false flag "wars" or "terrorists." Or boogeymen like a "swine flu pandemic" whereby their world health organization (WHO) could declare martial law in any country (New world health "law," didn't you know? Supersedes U.S. law.) if a level six warning was declared. The world made it all the way to a level six alert (without a pandemic), courtesy their confederate, Madam Chang, et al, at their WHO.
They'll be back to try the pandemic again.
Their end game is the martial law declaration.
The laws Oz directed congress to pass have been designed to gut the rights of the American people and shift power away from the Constitution that protects them. "Patriot" Act. Habeas Corpus. Kelo (abolition of property rights and the 5th Amendment courtesy SCOTUS). Posse Comitatus. Home Grown Terrorist Act. Food Safety Act. Clean Water Restoration Act (gives control of all water in the U.S. to the government; including well water, springs, and cow tanks on private property)
The list goes on.
No, wars and 2,500 page "Patriot Acts" are pre-planned and written by the people behind the curtain, and are neither accidental nor a miscalculation. Are, rather, deliberate acts that, once energized with propaganda and boogeymen, play to Oz's agenda and profit.
Vietnam was no "war" and it wasn't to deter communism, save a country , or for the good of the people. It was a no-lose slot for The Chosen that drug on until the Wizards began to feel uncomfortable about the people in the streets and possibility of more Chicagos and Kent States.
One can easily contrast the strategy there by examining the First Gulf War (in the nineties); which was fought the way Vietnam would have been fought had the military been allowed to fight it.
They weren't. The boys behind the curtain made the calls in Vietnam. Pilots who flew there have pointed out that bombing corridors, for example, were set by politicians; easy pickings for anti-aircraft ordnance and missiles that stayed trained on the corridors.
The First Gulf War, on the other hand, was over in days and anyone who had on a different uniform and weapon in their hand wound up dead. The rest surrendered so fast there was no place to put them. That's how any modern military plans and fights a war; and how they wanted to do it in Vietnam but were not allowed to. But then, the world's oil supply wasn't at stake in Vietnam. And a Saddam hadn't served notice he would no longer accept dollars (the world currency in which oil is traded); and that euros would be welcome in exchange for Iraqi oil.
They then tried to hang 9/11 around the necks 19 terrorists with box cutters as the segue for invading Iraq,
But, even this false flag dog quit hunting a while ago and the event has quietly progressed to evidence compilation"thanks to the Internet"regardless of the recent proclamations and eulogies and ceremonies.
Posted by Bobby on 09/13/10 12:48 AM
If 9/11 was an inside job then why would anyone expect a congress inspired investigation to yield any serious results? And even if it does unearth something, nothing which resulted as a consequence can be taken back or changed. Its time to get real. Avoiding unecessary dupliction in the manufacture of arms and administration of the defense industry would be better. Obviously money could be saved but the armed forces would be made more effective. Mismanagement causes war to justify lack of good planning and implemenation.
Posted by Rolland Carpenter on 09/12/10 11:29 PM
I served in the Viet Nam War during part or all of the years 1962 to 68, including one year of actual combat duty. Our service there was widely disrespected in liberal academic circles at the time, so it is refreshing to read an academic of that period who tried to understand it.
What annoys me about current attitudes is that "America's Greatest Generation" was appointed and celebrated by the very leaders who managed to avoid military duty during that era of conscription and combat. Every one of us plays the hand he is dealt in life, and it is great to see our current soldiers celebrated.
One liberal attitude deserves our rejection and disgust, and that is the demand that we give more "foreign aid". What do they think we are doing when we "fulfill our global resposibilities" as the world's policeman? Who gets the massive bills for this global service? America!!!
Posted by Weeble on 09/12/10 11:04 PM
Thanks, but I wasn't really trying to be funny. It just sounded like a "PE Magazine" advertorial (plus he started it.)
That made my head spin. Maybe my head would be a good power source.
I have been such a good boy lately. Lucy has me busy around the house, making sure I have no time for "blogging."
Wanna hear something funny? I told her I have written more than 200 pages of stuff. Almost a book. Almost a writer! Get off that computer she said. You are addicted.
I almost sound like I know what I am talking about sometimes, so today was time to let loose a little. I have to ensure I am always at the bottom of the Bell Curve.
Click to view link
Posted by Zenbillionare on 09/12/10 10:04 PM
"Karma is such a bit"h. "
So from this, may we conclude that the bit*h is in fact Karma?
I really liked the tirade.
Posted by Peter J Brock on 09/12/10 09:14 PM
As long as nations are concerned with their current access or lack of access to natural resources such as oil in the middle east, they will constantly intrude where others feel they do not belong and they will destabilize other nations in an attempt to strategically and tacticly protect their interests.
Recall England's actions many years ago against Norway because of their interest in their tall forests to be used as masts on English ships. Perhaps free markets are the answer if availability to all is guaranteed. ( By whom?)
Reply from The Daily Bell
People have got to do it for themselves, via education.
Posted by JD on 09/12/10 08:05 PM
LMAO @ Weeble, well done.
Posted by Weeble on 09/12/10 07:50 PM
I was actually in a very good mood this AM . . . more home renos, and then ballroom dancing . . . The Waltz is very progressive.
Cite SP @ 3:09 PM 9/12/10: Fantastic [superlative] interview from a a [stutter when you are stressed?] brilliant thinker [yowch]. It is easy to attack Mr. Payne's [ironic name] ideas [PE parallel choo-choo train-like] with rhetoric [I was not speaking to myself] full of cliches [I think that is a worn out word] but I suggest everyone appreciate [follow the new Gandi] the new idea's [where, where?] this man brings to the table [talking about cliches...]. Payne's points [although blunt] open doors [geez, I thought you said I was cliche-man] to possibilities [please define] the [that?] our societies [please define] narrow scope [night-vision?] doesn't often see [yes, these things are so invisible to the untrained eye, so obfuscation is easy]. [Let the compliments begin.]
But I did like the "not killing as many people" observation he mentioned, although obvious.
Now I feel even better.
Posted by MetaCynic on 09/12/10 07:05 PM
If we are to analyze the history of violence over 5,000 years as Mr. Payne has done, it might be useful to chart the magnitude of global violence with a curve to smooth out blips such as, say, a 100 year moving average. I would think that such a chart for the last 100 years would show considerably greater violence than for the preceding 100 years. Is he talking only about interstate violence or does he also include intrastate violence as well? I would think that the latter must be included. Violence, after all, is violence whether it's directed against foreigners or one's own people.
Posted by Bewer on 09/12/10 06:56 PM
Ron Paul and John Payne want the US to get to the truth; most of the US wants to stay in denial. Conducting an audit of Fort Knox is a very simple, inexpensive operation. Why not? Anybody in Congress? Why not audit the Fed? A little more complicated, but, doesn't everyone want openess?
Posted by Edward Ulysses Cate on 09/12/10 05:41 PM
"He has taught political science at Yale University, Wesleyan University, Johns Hopkins University, and Texas A & M University."
Can you just imagine what your views must be to receive your paycheck from these "universities?" One can appear to offer opposing views, but if they were real truths that threatened the system, do you really think they'd finance the messenger? If Yale, Harvard and Princeton were truly "higher education," why are their graduates at the forefront of most of our problems?