[extropy-chat] Fahrenheit 911 - objective review?

Samantha Atkins samantha at objectent.com
Mon Aug 23 04:50:54 UTC 2004

On Aug 21, 2004, at 6:52 PM, Brett Paatsch wrote:

> Samantha Atkins wrote:
>> On Aug 13, 2004, at 9:59 PM, Brett Paatsch wrote:
>>> If you expect that either Kerry or Bush will win and
>>> consequently hold the power of the office for four years
>>> why wouldn't you vote for whichever of those you dislike
>>> the least?
>> What for?  So I can say that my choice won?   I would rather say
>> that I voted for the candidate and party that actually stood for what
>> I believe in.    Frankly I think both Kerry and Bush are a disastrous
>> choice.   I cannot in good conscience vote for either one of them.
> No, to minimise the damage, where damage is damage or harm as
> *you* see it. Harm to *you* and to the principles or values that
> *you* support whatever they are.

What do you mean "no"?  I support liberty.  Neither of the major 
candidate seem particularly concerned with that.  I support lowering 
the federal budget (balanced is only a beginning.  Both major 
candidates will impoverish the country more.  I support stopping the 
rule by terror that we inflict on ourselves.  Both of the major 
candidates will increase it.  I support the immediate end of the Iraq 
travesty.  Both of the major candidates would send more troops.  I 
support less federal intrusion in most areas of our lives.  Both 
candidates support more intrusion.   Why would I vote for so much that 
I oppose?   The lesser of two evils is still EVIL.

> If Badarnik can't win the presidency this time around (in your opinion)
> then you must know that someone else will win it this time around.

It is quite improbable he will win.  But how does this make him or the 
Libertarians any less the proper choice for me?    If he doesn't win 
then of course I know someone else will.  DUH.  What are you getting at 

> And you must know that you and everyone else will live with the
> consequences for four years.

Yes.   We will most likely live with the consequences of Bush or Kerry 
as a president.  I think the next four years will be hell with either 
choice.  I don't endorse metaphorical death by strangling or death by 
burning.   I choose what I consider on the side of life and liberty.  
That it has very little chance this time does not make it any less the 
moral choice.

>>> The reason I ask is that I get that neither Bush or Kerry appeal
>>> and I get that a lot of people think it won't make much difference
>>> but I can think of two grounds on which I think it will make a
>>> practical difference.
>>> 1) International law   (or just plain old rule-of-law period)
>>> Kerry does not yet have conspicuous bad form as the head of
>>> state of a permanent security council member that invaded a
>>> foreign country.
>> Ah, but he says that even knowing what we know now that he
>> would have invaded Iraq!
> I haven't read or heard him say that directly but I accept that what 
> you
> are saying is likely to be the case. And it would be a decisive point
> against Kerry in my opinion were Bush not saying the same thing.

So the fact that they are both damn fools or worse makes it more 
palatable to vote for either of them?  <scratches head>

> It would be a decisive point for me because I see the maintainence
> and development of international law especially in the area of peace
> and security as the highest priority. Without it free trade isn't free
> trade is something muddleheaded or underhanded.

I agree with you about "free trade" as practiced under WTO not being 
really about free trade at all.

> But this is where politics gets tricky. It could be that neither Kerry
> nor Bush give a damn about international law or even that both do
> but think that the average voter doesn't (and they may be right).
> That its too esoteric.

Personally I demand that who I vote for at least gives a damn about 
justice.  What we are doing in Iraq is not just.   What passes for 
criminal justice in the US is not justice. The "war on drugs is not 

The Iraq War is draining us economically, in the eyes of the world and 
harming or own morale.  The Patriot and other unseemly acts are 
undercutting the very freedom America is supposed to stand for.  Going 
to war was based on supposition and lies.   I cannot in good conscience 
vote for anyone who would say that it was the right thing to do even 
knowing everything we know now.   How could anyone trust someone like 

> Politically it is likely (to say the least) that Bush can't say he 
> regrets
> invading Iraq over WMD's in hindsight (there is still a war on!) and

There is a misguided atrocious war in Iraq  that he insisted on 
starting.  If he is not man enough to own up to the mistake then we 
need someone who is.  It looks like that isn't Kerry.

> Kerry is in the same situation (ie. there will still be a war on and
> Kerry will still have voted "for it" in simple speak - though I'm not
> sure its quite that simple - its not the same for Congress to vote to
> empower the President with a full range of options - including the
> military one as it is for the President to mistakenly go with the
> military one - which is what I think actually happened).

So if you do something stupid and horrific and you are running for 
office you have to pretend that it was a good idea and swear you would 
do it again?

> To get elected Kerry may be making himself seem like Bush-lite
> (to use Mike's term) on issues that won't matter to the majority
> of voters.

Have we become such a cynical and empty people that one must lie and 
hide one's values to be elected leader of the mess?

>  I think Mike is likely right in that he won't be quite so
> Bush-lite the other side of the election. That is what makes it hard.
> He'll probably be more like a traditional democrat and drift to the
> left after the election and were I a tax paying American living within
> the fortress and looking for relief as my number one issue that might
> influence me more than it does as an Australian.

My main issue is freedom.  A secondary issue is stripping government 
bloat and intrusion into our lives.  Actually that is tied with not 
stripping me of my own life and energy to spend it on policies and 
practices that I consider an utter abomination.   A tertiary issue is 
getting the religious right out of high office but not at the price of 
further socializing the country starting with medicine.    I am a 
minarchist libertarian.  I wish to see the government constrained to 
the limits imposed by the Constitution.   I recognize it can't be done 
overnight.  So we had best get started.

> I like both major
> electable parties close to the middle on the left-right dimension so
> I'd not want a left drift but far more important to me I don't want
> him to be anything like Bush in terms of his diplomatic skills. I want
> him to be a whole lot better and he may be only a little bit better
> (I can't imagine that he'd be worse than Bush diplomatically  - in
> diplomatic terms I think Bush might as well be completely crazy).
> To me Bush has had a chance as a diplomat and ought not under
> any circumstances be given another. It would be dire for
> international peace and security as the message that's going out
> currently is pure 'might makes right'. Kerry hasn't had a chance
> so diplomatically he is still something of a "clean skin".

The indications are that he would extend many of the current policies 
but with more of a "coalition" behind the actions.

>>> 2) Stem cell research. (When Bush goes so will his screwy
>>> council  on bioethics).
>> Don't be so sure.  I can easily imagine a bioethics council
>> determining what government provided medical insurance should
>> and should not cover. I can easily imagine government provided
>> healthcare wiping  out much non-government based healthcare
>> choice.
> How sure should I be? :-)
> Do you imagine that Kerry will keep the President's Council on
> Bioethics in the same form as it is now?

Perhaps not in the same form.  But it is simple economics that his 
universal health insurance will be limited in what is covered.  Using 
bioethical arguments is a very likely way to go about this.  That the 
arguments may be less couched in religious terms (maybe) doesn't make 
it less dangerous.   And yes, I believe he will keep nearly the same 
"President's Council" though the membership will shift.

- samantha

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