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u/jonawesome · 0 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

A dictator is a fundamentally bad thing. The best interests of all leaders (dictators or democrats) usually reside in getting/staying in power. For democrats, that means keeping a winning coalition of the people at large happy, but since a dictator has only to keep a small group of powerful supporters happy (usually a military, or a group of rich elites), they have no direct motivation to invest in public goods that benefit the population as a whole when keeping just a small inner circle happy is so much cheaper.

This is not to say there is no such thing as a benevolent dictator. Altruism is rare, but it does exist. Lee Kuan Yoo, the former leader of Singapore, is the best example modern history has of someone with near-absolute power who used it mostly for the betterment of the people. The problem is that hoping for altruism is playing the lottery, with pretty bad odds since it usually does take some level of ruthlessness and conniving self interest in order to become a dictator in the first place. It's hoping that someone chosen for his lack of niceness might turn out to be nice after all.

Democracy doesn't function very well without democratic institutions. It needs a system where it's beneficial for all involved to maintain the system as opposed to exploiting it. Military leaders have to feel that they're better off supporting the ruler than strong-arming them. Lower class minority groups have to believe that the system is close enough to them to not be worth rising up against. Everyone has to feel that following the law is better than bribing officials or ignoring the rules, without the necessary threat of force for it. It's hard to get there, and especially when democracy is put in place from the top down. If the power of a leader is guaranteed by American military aid, then the leader has a bigger motivation to appease the American military than to invest in public welfare. If a democrat draws support from anything other than a winning coalition of the populace, democratic institutions will lack enough power to enforce stability through democratic means.

I think your question could be asking two different things: "Can dictators be good for the people they rule over?" and "Can keeping dictators in place be good for American interests?"

The answer to question 1 is a near-unequivocal "No," though there are a few counterexamples. The problem is however that replacing them is extremely difficult.

For question number 2,the answer is often "Yes." Be careful not to confuse the two.

It is however worth remembering that even the most successful democracies had a lot of difficulty getting there. Most European countries had monarchs slowly give up more and more power over time, and have had several different political systems over the years. The initial governments put together after the American and French Revolutions were failures. The American Revolution began in 1776, and Washington was inaugurated in 1788. One could reasonably argue that America didn't have working democratic institutions until the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Remember that (and the progress made in Tunisia) whenever someone writes off everything about the Arab Spring.

If you're interested in the motivations for public welfare for dictators and democrats, I would suggest reading [Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's The Dictator's Handbook.] ( It explains the way that preferences affect systems in an easy to understand way with great real-life examples.

u/FacelessBureaucrat · 50 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

One of the most-discussed current theories of American politics is "The Party Decides," which basically argues that party members (Governors, Senators, Representatives, as well as party leaders at state and local levels) play a much larger role in selecting their party's Presidential nominee than most people realize. Many primary voters end up following endorsements and other signals from these leaders about what candidate is best for the party. This is why, despite the Tea Party and other right-wing movements that have been around for at least a decade, moderate 'establishment' candidates like John McCain and Mitt Romney have actually won the nomination.

Based on that theory, it is very likely that the 2016 Republican nominee will be someone with experience in political office whose views fall within the mainstream of the party. That excludes Trump and Carson. It also strongly suggests that the nominee will be someone that most of the party members like and get along with, which excludes Cruz. Rubio at this point seems to be the candidate with the most support who has government experience and mainstream party views. The fact that the GOP isn't lining up behind him yet is most likely because they don't like or trust him. My prediction is that they'll come around to him when it becomes clear that the other establishment candidates (Bush, Christie, Kasich) are not going to pick up enough support to win.

Edit: Jonathan Chait examines a few theories about why the GOP establishment hasn't coalesced behind Rubio yet.

u/repmack · 4 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer. It's a book that looks at the validity of the government coercion. It's probably the best philosophical book in defense of libertarian Anarcho Capitalism out there.

A little outside the usual as far as political philosophy goes, but if you were ever to read a book written by a libertarian it is this one.

The book is expensive, so if you don't want to buy it these two books while not as good are a great replacement.

The Machinery of Freedom PDF by David D. Friedman, son of Milton Friedman.

For a New Liberty: The Libertarian Manifesto by Murray Rothbard.

I'd recommend Friedman over Rothbard in this case. It's shorter and I think better.

u/SirGallantLionheart · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Basically this is the game plan lets use his first ad as an example;

  1. Trump shows ad of people going over Moroccan border

  2. Media discovers this and says 'I gotchu, I will finally stump the Trump'

  3. Media plays Trumps ad for free 25,346 times

  4. Trump left enough plausible deniability to say "We'll end up big losers like them. I intentionally used that footage as an example of a darker path"

  5. Congratulations you just stumped yourself

    This Russian vet thing will play out the same except he'll use it as a way to praise Putin perhaps so the Russophile vote goes even more to him as well.

    Pretty much everything he's doing was outlined in The Art of the Deal. That's not to say a lot of the media isn't aware of his game by now. But they mostly care about ratings and the ones who want to stop Trump will take any opportunity to do so even though they always backfire. It really is amazing how Trump is playing them especially when something like a throwaway SNL line to a fairly reasonable comment ruined Palin.

u/SravBlu · 8 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

I'm basing it on the story told in Game Change, wherein he asked her on November 13th, 2008. Up until that point, she was privately under consideration for either State or Defense (though she did not know it), but many in his circle thought she'd pursue her own agenda, bring her husband in, or undermine Obama. Daschle, Kerry, Richardson, and Clinton were all under consideration for State, but Obama wanted a "wow factor" selection and respected her greatly. Excerpt below:

The following week on November 13th, Hillary met with Obama in his transition office in Chicago. She had some theories about why she was there, but being offered Secretary of State was not among them. Two nights earlier at a dinner in New York with her and Bill, Terry McAuliffe had asked about the rumors swirling in Democratic circles that the gig might be tossed her way. "It's the craziest thing I've ever heard," Hillary replied. Not that she thought a job offer was out of the question, but she expected it to be a token unity gesture, something both sides knew she would almost certainly turn down - maybe Health and Human Services. When the chatter about State picked up, she assumed the Obamans were floating it and was suspicious about their motives. "Why are they putting my name out?" She asked her friends. "How does it help them? What game are they playing?" But now, here she was, sitting alone with her former nemesis, and Obama was talking about the job in earnest.

After that, the story goes that she initially turned the position down, but later accepted it after he more or less talked her into it.

Belated Edit: The above book relies very heavily on unattributed "insider" quotes, so there's no guarantee of the above story being true. Just wanted to provide some more background info on this version of events.

u/arjun101 · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

I've been reading a lot of foreign policy stuff lately, here is what I recommend.

If there is one single book on foreign policy you should read, read Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (2004) by Steve Coll. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Journalism in 2005, and is a fantastic book that examines the way US foreign policy in Central/South Asia developed, evolved, and devolved over during the '80s and '90s. Its brilliantly written, and weaves effortlessly between historical narrative, the personal journeys of key individuals, and the larger contemporary socio-economic and political context.

Other books I'd recommend on US foreign policy (fair warning, many of these are from a left-wing perspective and tend to be harshly critical--or at least, very cynical):

u/wordboyhere · 3 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

I strongly recommend The Problem of Political Authority by Michael Huemer, to everyone here.

  1. No controversial moral assumptions: NAP? Egoism? Nope, just commonly accepted moral premises.

  2. Very charitable interpretations of statist arguments. Defenders of democracy (including Rawlsian liberals) and consequentialists will not find strawman among these crowds. Here's a talk by him on these topics.

  3. A thrilling chapter on the psychology of authority - why do we even accept the state if it's immoral? Here's a talk by him on this chapter.

  4. The empirical case for anarcho-capitalism (second half of the book). Can defense, justice, and police be provided in an anarchist society?

    This is probably the best libertarian intro book other than the Machinery of Freedom.
u/StudyingTerrorism · 7 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

In addition to many of the other books that others have listed (namely Kissinger and Mearsheimer) I have listed a few other books that I would highly recommend reading.

And because you are interested in learning more about the Middle East, be prepared to read. A lot. The Middle East is a far more complex place than most people imagine and understanding the region requires a great deal of knowledge. I have been studying the Middle East for nearly a decade and I still feel like there is so much that I do not know. I would start by reading reputable news sources every day. Places like The Economist, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, BBC, Financial Times, are the Los Angeles Times are good English language news sources that you should look at. Additionally, I have written up a suggested reading list for learning about the Middle East, though it is a bit more security-related since that's my area of expertise. I hope it helps. And feel free to ask any questions if you have them.

Books - International Relations, Theory and Beyond

u/delmania · 3 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

> How do you square that description with his support for Trump policies that clearly clashed with his principles?

That's easy to answer, it's rule 4 of the excellent Dictator's Handbook, which is Pay your key supporters just enough to keep them loyal. The Republican Party depends heavily on the financial donations of 3 ultra-rich families to run elections and stay in power. These families despise Trump's personality, but love his policies (for the obvious reason these policies enrich them). It's not even a stretch to say that Ryan was told by the GOP leadership to support Trump to ensure the financial donations continued. I think resigning is probably the only principled action Ryan has ever taken.

u/freudian_nipple_slip · 26 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

I also think there's some kind of bond that the First Families share, despite political differences. They go through an experience that almost no one can possibly relate to, other than other First Families.

One of the more fascinating books I've read was called the President's Club and it's how past Presidents kind of serve as someone a current President can bounce ideas off of, even when they're the different party. This didn't always exist, I think around the Eisenhower/Truman era is when it started, but it was a really interesting read.

It makes sense how Bill Clinton and HW Bush have worked together so much on things like aid relief.

u/Not_Pictured · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

I've been reading The Righteous Mind and find it incredibly enlightening.

I come from a conservative background and am now a right anarchist (anacho-capitalist) and it helps explain my own moral journey in a way that fits global trends and humanity in general.

I really think liberals stand to gain the most from learning about the differences you talk about.

Good video:

u/tehfunnymans · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

OK, I understand. With that out of the way, I'm not sure I buy that the GOP and Democrats have had major differences in their ability to nominate the candidate they prefer. It's been a while since I read it, but IIRC, this book on the subject concluded that partisan elites have effectively controlled the outcome of almost every primary since the primary system was put in place in both parties.

u/NFB42 · 57 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

People who don't like Nate's predictions (because he says their candidate is going to lose) have always liked to attack Nate as wrong and not knowing what he's talking about.

There's a very legitimate track of criticism against Nate this cycle. One that I followed since last August and one that Nate himself ended up confessing was true: How I Acted Like A Pundit And Screwed Up On Donald Trump

Nate's not a political scientist. As a pundit he's no more informed than the average pundit, and way less informed than the (rare) knowledgeable pundit. He and many at 538 screwed up in 2015, because they'd tried to fill the Political Science shaped hole in their data journalism by adopting The Party Decides theory. Which wasn't stupid, this was the most popular theory in Political Science up till this year, just so happens 2016 is the election cycle that pretty much proved The Party Decides theory wrong (or at least no longer applicable in the 21st century). So the 538 lost their fig leaf and the gaps in their knowledge was exposed for everyone to see.

But they're still great at data journalism. They've acknowledged their mistakes, which already puts them ahead of 99% of pundits, and unlike in 2015 now in 2016 they've got actual polls and data to work with so imo they are now delivering truly great stuff very much worth following.

Also, I picked Nate Silver for the attention grabber and ease, but he wasn't the only person doing demographic predictions. Nate Cohn did a lot, to name just one other, with equal success. And the demographic models only got more predictive as they got more actual primary voting data to go on.

u/wo_ob · 8 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Yes this! For anyone interested in learning more about how and why this whole situation came about (including right-wing media) I recommend checking out this book. I truly wish everyone in this country would give it a read (or listen) to better understand what the fuck has happened to our politics.

u/cassander · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Start here if you want to understand how people believe different things than you. Self interest aside, haidt has the best examinations of the foundations of political difference I have ever seen in a single book.

u/jub-jub-bird · 30 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

You might be interested in The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt which has to do with the moral psychology of the left and right.

The main gist of the book is that people have several different hard wired foundations for morality... things that we are predisposed by human psychology to see as good vs. evil. He tentatively identified five of them as: Care/Harm, Fairness/Cheating, Loyalty/Betrayal, Authority/Subversion, and Sanctity/Degradation (and he later added another: Liberty/Oppression). He ran a variety of studies to get people to rank how important each of these foundations were to them and discovered that people on the left prioritized Care/Harm over all others (Fairness/Cheating was also important to leftists but less so... the other three were not important at all). The right surprisingly was almost as compassionate ranking Care/Harm only slightly lower than the left did but they ranked all others much higher to the point where all five (and later six) moral foundations are ranked roughly equally in the right wing world view. In instances where left and right disagree there is almost always one or more of the other moral foundations which the right is balancing against compassion and which the left is disregarding as unimportant.

The book is of course much more involved that that discussing where and how he came up with his thesis, the experiments he did and his speculation about the social utility of each of the moral foundations and why they appear to be hard-wired in our heads and changes he made to his theory along the way. It's definitely worth reading.

u/planesforstars · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

Thank you! Please don't rock the vote! Check out the myth of the rational voter for a cleared eyed explanation of why this is a terrible idea

u/favorite_person · 32 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Books: Game Change and Double Down

Both amazing books about elections with behind the scenes information. I can't wait until this year's book comes out!

u/elonc · 3 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

> The President doesn't have to save the country he just has to keep the lights on and not do anything dumb.

If you enjoy reading, you should read The Presidents Club.

u/FranciscoDankonia · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

And if they hadn't picked Obama, Kennedy, and Reagan, they would have picked McCain, Nixon, and Carter, none of whom were terrible choices either. Primaries are not especially democratic and before this year "The Party Decides" was the prevailing theory for how nominees were effectively chosen. It's only when the party elites have lost control over the electorate that we end up with candidates like Trump. It's no secret that the DNC was dealing behind the scenes to give Clinton an edge over Sanders, as they should.

u/manageditmyself · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

Go on. You can do it. I'll even give you a link.

Specifically the chapter on 'regulations' might be of interest to you.

u/Old_Army90 · 7 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Complete side note, if you're into this kind of stuff, you ought to read The President's Club. It goes into a lot of detail about the relationships each president had with the others. Really interesting read.

u/cantletthatstand · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

I absolutely agree. Doesn't mean I'm NOT going to advocate for, and vote for, political change that I believe would be for the best. You're right, though. We're headed for an inevitable collapse, and it won't be the politicians' fault, it won't be the corporations' fault, it won't be the billionaires' fault - it'll be the people's fault.

And the cycle will begin again. You know who never takes the blame for shit hitting the fan? The group who's actually responsible for it: Regular, everyday folks. Bless their hearts.

u/Dark-Ulfberht · 6 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

The justice system is horribly broken. It can and does, perhaps not by design, take perfectly functioning people and put them into an endless cycle of criminality.

Let us not mention the sheer number of laws that exist, many of which are simply inane.

u/RMFN · 0 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Have you read what's the matter with Kansas? Because Thomas Frank comes up with almost the exact opposite conclusion that you have.

In my opinion uneducated people are more easily swayed by propaganda and the use of emotional appeal. This is a detriment to what democracy is. People who cannot think for themselves cannot be said to be able to make a sound decision concerning their leadership.

u/hotcarl23 · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

We read that guy in my intro to the middle East course. Great book, bad class. Starts in the 1600s and covers major events until it was published around the time of the Arab spring. It's focused on the Arabs as a people, rather than just the Arab-Israeli conflict.

u/Fanntastic · 22 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

The Soviets in the 30s and 40s were, as a whole, far more competent in controlling large areas and people than the Germans. Case in point, the German "Hunger Plan" intended to starve millions of Slavs hardly got off the ground in conquered territories, whereas the NKVD was able to systematically control every field, granary, and loaf of bread in the entirety of modern Ukraine. The Germans resorted to shooting mass numbers of Poles and Belorussians instead.

The Soviets were equally as successful with their Gulag deportations. Party officials were embedded enough to identify problem families in even the smallest hamlets of the USSR and ship them thousands of miles to Kazakhstan or Siberia. This is millions of people we're talking about, all specially selected, charged, and recorded in Soviet archives. While the Germans were very good at rounding up and killing people, they weren't nearly as discriminatory or efficient as the Russians.

Bottom line is that if Trump wants to round up and deport millions of people in a systematic, targeted effort, he should look to the USSR rather than the comparatively sloppy Nazis. I would recommend he read Bloodlands for further research into turning America into an ethno-centrist, totalitarian dictatorship.

u/gadsdenfags · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Yes. He lies for an agenda discrediting even his valid points. Don't take anything he says as more than just entertainment. Give this a read or just read up on his other lies.

u/conn2005 · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

You should read the Road to Serfdom, central planning has been tried and done.

Readers Digest Version Here

Full copy for purchase at Amazon

u/mormagils · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

Life in the Emerald City is an excellent work. It's written by a reporter that was there at the time of the post-op, and it's regular reading in most survey courses that cover the Iraq War.

u/furiousxgeorge · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

>Except no one is attacking your vote based on your race... they're making the obvious conclusion that voting third party doesn't contribute to anything.

Who is attacking black voters for being the wrong race? Link me to where this is happening.

>What you are doing is saying that black people as a group (and other minorities) aren't intelligent enough to know what's best for them

This is a popular book that Democrats loved. It's about how a demographic group makes counterproductive choices. (or, in your phrasing, is too dumb as a group to know voting Democratic is best for them) This isn't some unique thing aimed at African Americans. All groups do this shit.

u/mugrimm · 13 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

In addition to what others say, people constantly violate the law unknowingly and knowingly and at that level it's basically impossible to not be violating any number of laws. Three Felonies A Day is a great book about how we're all basically just unprosecuted felons at any time.

u/ManOfLaBook · 4 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

“from 2005 to 2008, a single source, the Kochs, poured almost $25 million into dozens of different organizations fighting climate reform . . . Charles and David had outspent what was then the world’s largest public oil company, ExxonMobil, by a factor of three.”

Source: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer

u/todoloco16 · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

>The atlantic slave trade moved about 10 million slaves in total, and not all of them died.

12 million in total. But I am referring to all slaves. Those born slaves as well. That numbers in the 10s of millions. And dying as a slave counts as dying due to slavery.

>no, they didn't.

Compelling argument. The Congo Free State contolled by Belgium alone killed around 10 million Africans.

And great job ignoring all the other examples of Western atrocities!

>ah, yeas, I forgot how tenured professors were considered just as reliable as reddit posts. how silly of me.

Oh you want a professor! No problem!

>except they aren't,

Yes they are. See how great of an argument that is!

>atrocities of a certain size most definitely are.

No, certainly not. As I've shown.

>this is a flat out lie. It was the bolishiveks and their allies who covered up the extent of the famine, as has been well documented.

Perhaps you should read some more of the book.

>socialists have spent a century arguing for nationalization of hte means of production. when that ends badly, as it does in almost all cases, you don't get to redefine your terms and ignore your failures.

Many, but not all, socialists saw or see nationalization as a way for worker control, but that doesn't mean nationalization is socialism. And no, it doesn't always end badly anyway. Worker control is what all socialists can agree on, and therefore is socialism.

u/Cheezus_Geist · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

language is a tricky thing, for example when you choose "demonize" instead of "characterize" to denote the descriptive narrative conservatives use when discussing the poor.

As I said before, people vote in alignment with what they think is best for society (Blogpost to Wapost by Bryan Caplan, Author of Myth of the Rational Voter which has the sources for the claims in the blog)

This handily defuses the argument that liberals vote the way they do because they think it yields free stuff, and just as handily defuses that conservatives would vote the way liberals do if only they stopped pretending they couldn't fall on hard times, and it even defuses the argument that liberals would vote the way conservatives did if they had any money. Any argument based on voting too cynically, or not cynically enough, basically.

u/brennanfee · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

> YES! The people had a choice to choose anyone they wanted, based on his platform, supported by Lobbyist A or not, and they didn't.

You are just simply wrong. The system, as described, is broken. No matter who tries to run only a supporter of Lobbyist A is the result. Over and over again, year after year.

> Right, which is why the parties represent exactly what they've been representing for the past 150 years and have never changed at all.

The change we are talking about only began in the last 50 years.

> If the people want Jared, and Jared isn't supported by any lobbyists, they can elect him anyway. That's possible!

No, the reality matters. In our example, Jared might be part of the Owl party or even outside party. What's "possible" doesn't matter... only what happens given the reality of the workings of the machine. With FPTP, Jared will have no chance. Code and Pepsi rule the "soft drink" market. No challenger will come along and take first or second place ever again. The fact that it's "possible" technically but impossible practically is what we are talking about here. They simply wouldn't allow it. That's how we define monopolies and duopolies - not by what's possible but on how things actually function. Of course, given our pro-business government we allow them to retain their control without encouraging real competition because that's what the business want - who cares if it is no longer capitalism as a result. We no longer seem to care about monopolies or unfair competitive practices because the businesses own the politicians.

> I read the stupid paper. It's not very convincing.

I never referenced the paper, you did. This is a more fundamental concept then that paper. [Besides, it was a peer reviewed paper so making it sound like just a one-off is disingenuous.] Where we are at an impasse is the method used to determine the form of government.

> Stop treating me like a child. It's unbelievably stuck-up.

Reflect on your viewpoint. That's what adults do. You have mistaken my willingness to use your definitions as tacit approval of that definition. You keep dodging the fundamental question because you are clearly WRONG on the fundamental question when using your definition. That is very child-like behavior. Still, I apologize for getting snippy, it is uncalled for regardless.

> He supports PR for the UK because people vote for actual parties there, unlike here where they don't.

That's a painfully simplistic view of what he "supports".

Finally, I'll note yet again you dodge the question of what method to use to determine what a government is. You maintain the structure is enough. Yet, when provided clear examples both in the world and through the thought experiment that your definition becomes untenable you refuse to reflect and examine the more established definition or viewpoint. As I have said repeatedly, having the vote is not enough. In our thought experiment the structure is sound (you have yet to indicate a problem with it)... and yet, it is clearly a system to deny the people what they desire. It has clearly been manipulated to prevent the people from having real control or say in who they vote for and the policies produced as a result. Democracy in name only; autocracy in result. Might as well just get rid of the vote. [Which is coming, that's where we are headed. Once the labor force collapses, the people will no longer be necessary and autocrats will simply rule.]

In a functioning democracy, you should be able to see a link between the vote tally and the seats and policies created. When 55% of the people vote monkey and 45% vote tiger... your legislation should be as close as practicable to a 55/45 split. The policies created should than reflect a compromise between the views of monkey and tiger. Owl is is still screwed in this example and so still produces an issue. Again fixable.

The only reason we have lasted with this imbalance so long is due to the checks and balances and the Bill Of Rights. The genius of the founders was to avoid that centralization of power and a corruption of the people's basic rights. But as I have said, they failed only in addressing one issue; defacto control by outsiders through the party system. As I have said, they were just unaware that that outcome is inevitable with FPTP. During their time, FPTP was the only known method. Genius is always weighted within its time; it is unfair to use the knowledge of today to reflect on their inability to "see" it. Our problem is that even people today aren't aware that there are better ways.

u/etherael · 3 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

> Why wouldn't corporations, left to their own devices in a stateless society, be able to do the same?

When the government does this, there is no recourse. They forcibly extort the resources that they subsist upon. If a private organisation attempted to do this, they would be enormously unpopular and their competitors would be well served to capitalise on their idiocy by both highlighting it, and offering concrete assurances as to how such a thing would never be done on their watch.

It really comes down to that, political authority gives an institution the ability to parasitically extort its funding. Destroy political authority and the institution has no such ability and must actually compete for custom and serve its customers.

> private entities are subject to the same corruption that governments are because they are made of people.

People aren't the problem, [political authority is the problem] ( Take away political authority and the state is just an extremely unwieldy and incompetent private organisation that would fail very quickly in the event that it had to actually compete with other parties and finance itself directly from its own activities. It is political authority that gives it the ability to parasite and thus survive, and only political authority.

This is why in any argument with a strident statist, they will cede any ground, exactly as you are doing now, in agreeing that the state is corrupt and broken and utterly incompetent, they will go to any length to agree that the state of reality is not as it should be, accept any potential political compromise or diversity of political opinion, shift and move with the punches as quickly as they flow. But the last, rocky outcrop of defense that these people will not countenance ceding is the idea that the state has the right to impose upon society its existence via forcible parasitism and extortion. This is because they know that without that right, it is surely doomed.

With that right, nothing else matters, it's all just political wrangling over the slowly devoured carcass of actually productive wealth generating economic activity within a society. Deciding which parasite gets which piece of the decaying pie, while those with the power to not end up roadkill flee from the crumbling edifice altogether.

Not a good view of the future, my intent however is not to inspire or acquire converts, but to warn, and to reach out to the remnant that understands where this inevitably all leads. If you want to stop it, they must be destroyed, otherwise, sit back and enjoy the decline.

u/arjun10 · 16 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

>have you not seen the persecution that our ancestors suffered under Islam?

I'm not an expert on the history of Islam in India. Some say the Mughal Empire killed 80,000,000 Hindus through the centuries, others say that this is garbage and that the Mughals had a pretty hands-off approach toward governance, others point out that there were Muslim dynasties in India who fought against the Mughals, others talk about how Islamic rulers and their methods ranged from everything from Akhbar to Aurungazeb. So I'm not sold either way.

>This is a clash of civilizations and the Neville Chamberlain routine against Islam has failed.

See, this is the simplistic and superficial "Them and Us" narrative that I cannot stand. Radical Islam is very much a product of so-called "Western civilization".

The CIA and the State Department funded radical mujahadeen in Afghanistan through the '80s, and former directors of the CIA like William Casey were Christian fundamentalists who wanted to see an alliance between Christians and Muslims against the "godless communists" of the USSR, and Saudi Arabia--the premier source of radical Islamic fundamentalism--has been a key regional ally of the West since World War 1 when the British helped the al-Saud family and the fundamentalist Wahabi clerics gain power over the peninsula. Check out Ghost Wars and Carbon Democracy for good pieces of scholarship on all of this.

Then when this came back and bit the US in the ass on 9/11 the government promptly invaded and occupied Afghanistan and then Iraq, eventually extending the war--undeclared and covert--into Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, and Somalia. Hardly a "Neville Chamberlain" routine.

And even after all this, the US government thought it was a good idea to turn around and once again start arming radical Sunni militants, in order to destabilize and counterbalance Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon, and increase the influence of the Gulf States (which themselves are the primary source of funding for terrorist activity).

But hey I guess this is all too complicated for some people so I guess we should just stick with a black-and-white fairy tale about Good and Evil so our heads don't hurt too much, right?

u/maddata · 0 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

One big problem with Trump and defending him is that the media is incredibly uncharitable.

Temporarily halting muslim immigration until we figure out what is going on has been reported as "Trump wants to ban muslims".

Illegal immigrants are sometimes criminals and rapists (based on studies that found that between 60% and 80% of female illegal immigrants are raped by their companions or guides along the way) gets reported as "Trump says latinos are rapists".

That caveat out of the way:

His tax plan is on his website. The US corporate tax is the 3rd highest in the developed world. Many economists don't think a corporate tax is a good idea [1] [2]. His corporate tax plan includes a 10% one-time repatriation tax to incentivize reversing corporate inversions.

China practices currency manipulation. The Chinese government pracitces industrial espionage. You'll have to take my word for it, but every press conference where he's asked if he'd implement tarrifs, he dodges the question ("I'd consider it" etc.) because, in my view, he just wants to use it as leverage.

I would also recommend your read The Art of The Deal (or don't buy it and try this?) for perspective on how he uses inflammatory rhetoric and his opinion on the media.

If you have an hour of time to listen/watch something in the background, consider watching The Untruth about Donald Trump by Stefan Molyneux, a lecture that details the dishonest patterns the media has used to attack Trump.

u/ShadowLiberal · 25 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

If you really want to get technical, the average American commits 3 felonies a day due to some ridiculously vague laws (like CFAA, which for example is so broadly written it allows federal prosecutors to criminally prosecute you merely for violating the TOS on a website). But the thing is those ridiculously vague and broad laws that everyone violates on a daily basis are almost never enforced, except as a way to prosecutors extra leverage in plea bargains.

But I highly doubt that this was what the person quoted was referring to. They sounded like they were talking about serious crimes, not stuff that shouldn't even be illegal.

u/emr1028 · 13 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Hillary voted for the war, and says she regrets it.

Bush actually ran the war, from start to finish, and said he regrets nothing. There are many people in the country who think that going into Iraq was not a big mistake. Some of those people think it wasn't a mistake at all, some think it was a mistake but not the biggest deal.

But what almost everyone agrees with is that the war was handled in an absolutely disastrous fashion. Read Imperial Life in the Emerald City.

I am not saying that the decision to go in wasn't a mistake, but the actual operation of the was was a complete disaster from start to finish, and the Bush Administration is responsible for that.

u/mothballette · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Must have had another tab open. Sorry.

It's been a decades-long policy. Here's a short timeline of our involvement up until 9/11 to get your bearings, but it is still going on in places like Syria. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard had to submit a bill to congress to ask that we stop supporting terrorists. I'm not sure they ever did.

British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook had stated:

>Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west."

Nat'l Security Advisor to Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, admits that the U.S. provoked the USSR to invade Afghanistan. Their war only lasted 10 years. We're on 15:

How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen, by Zbigniew Brzezinski:

Because of our documented history of stirring up trouble and using it as an excuse for regime change, I am deeply skeptical of any "organic" insurgency against any country in our crosshairs.

Hillary Clinton admitting it on tape:

Ghost Wars, by Steve Coll:

I used to get many of my books on the Middle East here:

There is so much more. It's a complicated history.

u/johnfrance · 1 pointr/PoliticalDiscussion

Great Britian, 1922.

When the Ottoman Empire fell after the First World War, the French, British, and the Russians (to a lesser extent) divided up the territory that was formerly owned by the ottomans into administrative districts between them. When doing so all considerations of ethnic, linguistic, and historical division were ignored, except to intentionally separate common people to weaken their resistance. The Sykes-Picot Agreement is the foundation of all subsequent conflict in the region, from ISIS, al-Qaeda, Israeli-Palistein conflict, you name it. Another take on Sykes-Picot
There is an problem reoccurring throughout history that if you take over a people, kill there leaders and trash their cultural institutions and way of life, it's no simple matter to undo that. Anyways, countries began to get their independence back but then were forced to either aline with the US or the USSR to survive the Cold War.

The modern Iran is the fault of the US and Britian. Iran was one of the most modern and liberal places in the world during the 50's, had a brilliant film industry, was really a modern wonder. But when Iran decided to nationalize their oil industry so the profits could go to bettering the country rather than into the pockets of the Brits that owned the contracts the CIA and MI6 staged a coup of the Iranian government. They installed a puppet, he was wildly unpopular and the resulting unrest and instability gave rise to the modem Islamic nationalism currently in charge of Iran. It's really a shame, Iran could have been absolutely on par with France or Germany right now, had this not happened to them.

If there is one thing I know about politics, it's that the more unstable a place is the more extreme politics will come out of it. This is probably just intuitively obvious, but when a place starts to lose its stability people will abandon the 'standard' set of political solutions and start reaching for more and more politically extreme ones. The particular character of the ideology developed just takes the flavour of whatever already exists there and really takes it off the chart. See the rise of the Nazis following a crippling war and economic downturn, the communists came to power in Russia after years of political turmoil and the massive causalities of the war as well. Look at Greece in the last few years, huge economic strife and now their parliaments has both Neo-Nazis and Communists.
So take a region like the Middle East, and subject it to 100 years of political turmoil, consistently have western powers come in and knock governments down ever once in a while, finally demolish a long standing strong man in the region and something like ISIS springs up to fill the power vacuum. The imminent cause of ISIS was removing Saddam followed by failing to create a political situation that respected the actually ethnic topography of the country, but the root is early 20thC interference by the British and French. ISIS themselves recognize this as the root cause, and some section of ISIS see their mission as undoing that original agreement.

[Afganistans woes date back all the way to 1813, where Great Britain and Russia completely screwed the place when both were trying to build empires.] (

If you really want to get into understanding this Id recommend The Arabs: A History by Eugene Scott. It starts in around 1500 and goes right up to W. Bush, and really gets into the deep roots of why the Middle East looks like it does today.

u/jefftickels · 2 pointsr/PoliticalDiscussion

Excluding AnCap in the following (I thought this was obvious because I specifically called out weak government in my op, althought I quoted the "ideal ancap" part too, so I understnad the confusion.):

> It basically does, since it eliminates the apparatus that would enforce the laws.

Unfounded assumption. You're assuming a small government would have no way of enforcing its rulings, but that isn't the only scenario. State governments do the vast majority of regulating in the country and they somehow manage to enforce their rulings despite their relatively small size (when compared to federal government).

>It removes the legal basis for pursuing crimes, or for rendering appropriate remedies.

This seemed to be aimed at the ancap argument. Based on the other responses here, I cant make an argument that would convince you otherwise that isn't the same as many of the other posts.

>Small governments have small bodies of law, which is a problem.

This I definitely disagree with you on. We have far to many laws right now and they are more or less designed to put the government in a perpetual position of power above the citizens. Look at whats happening with Yates v United States right now. The case revolves around the criminal charges brought against a fisherman who had a catch with fish too small, threw the offending fish back into the water (presumeably expecting to just pay the fine as he had already been cited at the time) and wound up instead getting arrested and charged criminally for violation of Sarbanes-Oxley. Check out 3 Felonies a day (the title is a bit of a misnomer).

Tax law is another area where we have let the IRS engage in more or less unchecked mission creep to the point where even educated people need to resort to a paid resource to do it properly (or be liable to the most belligerent institution in the US government).

Edit: misplaced a parenthesis and it broke the whole second half of the post.