Israel Part 3: That Awkward Moment When You Realize Nobody is the Good Guy…

Be sure to read part 1 and part 2 on Israel.

So we have seen how the conflict between Palestine and Israel is really about property rights in part 1. We saw how Israel really doesn’t want peace because they created Hamas in part 2. So for part 3 here, we are going to use a modern example of how Israel uses propaganda in order to hide the fact that it is just as bad, if not worse, than the other side.

Netanyahu

Earlier this month there was an article entitled “Netanyahu government knew teens were dead as it whipped up racist frenzy“. It has to do with the 3 missing teens that were kidnapped and later found dead and it’s been the cause of this ceasefire ending. To sum it up, here the things that make this messed up:

1. Netanyahu and his government knew the teens were dead hours after they were kidnapped. The teens made a phone call to police in which gun shots can be heard along with, in the extended version, celebratory singing.

2. When the recording was shown to the parents, they were told that the gun shots were blanks leading the parents and the public into believing there was a chance the kids were still alive. They also lied to the parents by telling them that no DNA was found in the kidnappers abandoned car when blood and bullet holes were in fact discovered.

3. Netanyahu and his government knew all along who the kidnappers were, but instead of arresting them, he went on an aggressive campaign seeking sympathy and outrage from the global community. This, of course, led everyone else to believe that maybe the teens were still alive. Of course, Natanyahu and his cabinet, along with the Israeli Intelligence Organization the Shin Bet, knew they were dead all along.

4. As Netanyahu stirred up the racist flames, instituted a gag order on the media so that the identities of the kidnappers would not be released, he led a campaign against Gaza in which he raided Palestinian homes, universities and neighborhoods. 500 Palestinians were arrested with around 200 being held without any sort of charges. 6 Palestinian civilians were killed. Keep in mind that the Israeli government knew who the kidnappers were all along and where to find them.

5. The bodies were not actually found by Israeli Intelligence but by volunteers. The volunteers found the bodies of the teens buried in shallow graves in the home of one of the suspected kidnappers the Israeli Government knew of all along. It goes to show that they were looking really hard for those poor boys.

This raises a few questions. Why would the Israeli government want to lie about the safety of the kids? Probably because they needed to stir up some racism and anger to get the public behind an invasion of Gaza. Why would Netanyahu put a gag order on the media? Probably because his goal of blowing some Palestinians up would be ruined if word got out that they had all the intelligence they needed in order to solve the situation more peacefully. As it stands, this current ceasefire has claimed the lives of 770 Palestinians, most of them women and children.

Wounded Palestinian children.

Israel on the other hand has had 32 military deaths so far… Compared to 770 deaths on the other side which are mostly civilians, that is hardly a comparison as to which side is the aggressor. I mean, when you are sniping civilians as they are looking in the rubble for loved ones, you have reached a pinnacle of degeneracy. Gaza has some extremists in it, but a majority of the population is held hostage by the Israelis. Israel has even put pressure on the U.S. to cancel its scholarship program for Palestinian youth because Israel won’t let them travel. It’s absolutely disgusting and abhorrent.

The people of Gaza are hostages firing rockets that are either made in someones garage or second hand and dated soviet tech. So lets not pretend that this is even a fair fight and that Gaza even as a chance or that the “Iron Dome” is some amazing defense system. They’re prisoners shooting roman candles over a wall at their prison guards.

Israeli “Justice”

Gaza has some disgusting, hateful extremists in its midst but we never hear about the disgusting extremists on the Israeli side. Like the ones that kidnapped and killed 16 year old Muhammad Abu Khudair. They killed him by forcing him to drink gasoline and then lit him on fire. His body was found in some woods outside of Jerusalem. To top it off, Israeli police said that his family did it because he was gay. This was, of course, false and done to cover up the lynchers.

But it doesn’t stop here. Time and time again I hear the pro Israel side saying “Israel wants peace.” But I fail to believe that when they murder and lynch innocent children because they happen to belong to a different race or religion. Sounds a lot like what was going circa 1939 in Europe…

Speaking of ethnic cleansing, Israel views all of Gaza and its inhabitants, including the children, as fair game in this conflict. The political leaders in Israel are not exempt from the hatred. Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Habeyit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party, has called for the extermination of the Palestinian people. This includes the women and children as the women “give birth to little snakes”. If any other politician had said these words about anyone, including an enemies women and children, there would be outrage and we would call for the resignation of that political leader. What happens in Israel? They get cheers because the population is so propagandized to hate the Palestinians, the average Israeli agrees with extermination. So much for Israel wanting peace and if the other side laid down arms there would cease to be a conflict.

So what have we learned? What is the lesson? The lesson is that both the Israeli government and Hamas are terrible institutions with Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire. Israel is a fascist and bigoted regime reminiscent of Nazi germany and Hamas is just the typical hateful extremist. It’s just when it comes down to it, there is no real identifiable difference between the two groups and it’s all Israels fault anyways for creating Hamas in the first place. That’s why I don’t get the sick obsession the Christian right has with Israel, particularly since they are supposed to have compassion. Israel can kill kids and women well enough on it’s own, it doesn’t need your support.

Israel Part 1: The 7th Century to 1948
Israel Part 2: The Creation of Enemies


3 Things Libertarian Anarchism is Not

“Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to it being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
― Frédéric Bastiat, The Law

Libertarian anarchists (or voluntaryists) are often attacked by the left and right for their economic and foreign policy. More often than not, either side has to use gross exaggerations and strawmen to make their anti-libertarian arguments. The unfortunate result is that people have a multitude incorrect views and ideas about what a Libertarian believes (particularly those in the Anti-State camp). With this, I hope to clear up some misconceptions about what Libertarians, Anarcho-Capitalists, Libertarian Anarchists or voluntaryists believe (we have a lot of names).

1. Libertarians believe that selfishness is good and they advocate for a system where the most selfish can survive and thrive.

This is often a confused charge because the person making it has little understanding. They probably read a Salon article about how Libertarians want to eliminate the welfare state therefore they must hate poor people. Either that, or they heard that Ayn Rand wrote a book called “The Virtue of Selfishness” and that some Libertarians read her books therefore Libertarians support selfishness.

This is the argument for someone that doesn’t want to think too deep. They see government as “taking care of the poor” and cannot imagine any other way other than the way they see. The poor must be taken care of, no one is arguing against that, but the statist making this argument assumes no one but government can perform this task. Anyone arguing against the government stealing from one person and giving it to another must be against helping poor people.

The mistake is in thinking that because Libertarians are against government force used as a means to help the poor, the libertarian must be against the poor. Not the case. The libertarian simply thinks that the poor can be better helped when everyone is helping them voluntarily. Helping the poor is a noble cause, but because it is a noble cause does not mean that it makes any method of achieving it moral. Taking what is not yours is wrong no matter what ends you seek to serve. If the statist making this charge had done more than just read Ayn Rands book cover “The Virtue of Selfishness” and maybe opened it up, they would read the following:

“The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone.”
― Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism

2. Libertarians are Isolationists.

The Left likes to pretend that they are anti-war but really they are only anti-war when the Right is in power. The Left refuses to stay consistent in its position on foreign intervention. This particular accusation comes more from the pro-war Right. The neo-cons. First of all, it is impossible to call ones self a “Conservative” and be conservative in every aspect except war. “I want to reduce spending on everything except war” is not conservatism but simply picking and choosing from slavery and freedom what you do and do not like. In the end you are left with an incoherent philosophy.

But this charge again assumes that, because government is the intermediary between its citizens and those outside its borders, they must be the only people that can deal with foreign groups of people. That has to be the most statist position on social interaction ever conceived by mankind. The idea that we have to go through government in order to interact with those outside our borders through “foreign policy” is statist through and through. Humans have a natural tendency to want to work together. Mises said it best in his book “Human Action” when he said “What distinguishes man from animals is the insight into the advantages that can be derived from cooperation under the division of labor.”

Governments destroy this division of labor with its wars, tariffs and protectionists policies. They destroy millions of beneficial relationships in the global economy that could have increased the standard of living and wealth of so many by acting as the terrible arbiter between peoples within and outside its borders. I go into this idea in more detail in “The Cost of Statist Foreign Policy: War and Intervention“.

This same idea of voluntary interaction applies to foreign aid. Foreign Aid is just another form of imperialism. It is the poor in a rich country subsidizing the rich on a poor country. This means that a government that should fail due to mismanagement and unpopularity stays in power and can continue its destructive policy making. The poor in this country end up worse off because of this. Helping the impoverished abroad is a noble goal, but again, like helping ones own poor, it does not make any method of achieving it noble. Theft through taxation included.

3. Libertarians and their capitalistic economic policies support giant evil corporations at the expense of everyone else!

This is usually the last angry accusation I hear when talking to someone about free markets and Libertarianism. It is taking the concept of capitalism and equating it to a zero sum game where one person succeeds at the expense of another. There is a winner and a loser. Supposedly this is the Libertarians position while the statist advocates for a more socialistic system (because if you are for regulating an economy, you are advocating for some sort of socialism) that can “share prosperity.” So the Libertarian must be for these giant and abusive corporations because that is what capitalism is right?

Unfortunately for the Statist, these large and powerful corporations are a product of the statism they advocate for. Without government and government regulations, these giant corporations would not have the power that they do now. In fact government regulations are a form of protection for corporations. They stifle competition and allow companies to lobby in Washington rather than compete in the market for the advantage. This is because competing in a market is the best way to regulate a market. Offering the best service or product at the best price is how a business stays successful. Maintaining a good business reputation is what keeps people coming back for more of the products and services any particular business is offering.

Capitalism is also not a zero sum game. In capitalism individuals make an exchange. Let us keep this example simple with a fruit stand vendor and a patron of it. The fruit stand vendor is making the exchange of his produce for money. This is because the vendor sees more value in having the money than the produce he has. The patron is exchanging currency for produce. This is because the patron of the vendor sees more value in having the produce than the money. In the end, both people walk away happy as they have both acquired what they value more. It isn’t the vendor’s success at the expense of the patron and it isn’t the patron at the expense of the vendor. This is the beauty of capitalism. Man can become wealthy by serving his fellow man. If any system of trade should be looked at as gaining at the expense of others, it’s government. Throw government into this exchange and we see a third person with a gun pointed at the two traders saying “Hey, I deserve a percentage of this sale. I keep the place safe for trading for both of you.” Unfortunately, the fruit vendor never hired this thug for protection in the first place. He just showed up and demanded a portion of his profits.

This is why with Libertarian Anarchists we say that you are either an anarchist or a slave. There is no middle ground. Libertarianism offers freedom and responsibility for ones self. People just seem to be afraid of that personal responsibility.


Israel Part 2: The Creation of Enemies

Remember to read part 1 of this series on Israel. In it I show how the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 was a culmination of sketchy dealings on the part of the Zionist movement.


“Israel and Hamas may currently be locked in deadly combat, but, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials, beginning in the late 1970s, Tel Aviv gave direct and indirect financial aid to Hamas over a period of years.”
Richard Sale

No, you did not read this incorrectly. At one time, Israel viewed Hamas as a tool and even went so far as to directly support them in the early part of its history. Israel created Hamas as a right wing political group that would destabilize Yasser Arafat and his more secular Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), that fought Israel on the grounds that Arabs should have self determination. Arafat actually used to be against the idea of an Israeli State but later changed his mind in 1988 (as an extra point of information, Hamas was officially created in 1987) when he accepted the UN Security Council Resolution 242. Resolution 242 states the following:

(i) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force.”

Why would Israel want to destabilize Arafat if he was willing to recognize Israel as a legitimate state? Because Israel doesn’t want peace. Israel needs an enemy to justify its occupation of Gaza and its continued expansion. Pro Israel propagandists like to paint Israel as always trying to extend the olive branch and create peace, but this is hard to believe. Israel on the surface pretends to extend an offer of peace with a gun behind their back. And I’m not trying to say Israel is alone in this creation of enemies so that it can justify its existence. They only took a play from the United States playbook.

Why is that? It’s because, as Dr. Paul points out above, the United States worked to radicalize Islam in order to fight the Soviets. Former NSA director William Odom said “By any measure the US has long used terrorism. In ‘78-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the US would be in violation.”

Even Jimmy Carters National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said the following:

The Mujahideen were people like Bin Laden and others that would later found Al Qaeda and other extremist groups and take down the World Trade Center in 2001. It is funny how America forgets how it creates its own enemies. Likewise, Israel never talks about how it created its own enemies. It is interesting to wonder if these military advisers and political leaders across the world are either stupid or evil. Stupid in the sense of them thinking they can control extremist groups like Al Qaeda and Hamas to achieve their ends. Or evil in the sense that these groups serve a purpose in the now, and later can make convenient excuses for further militarization and empire building. Both propositions are terrible but it can only be on or the other with them, because they certainly don’t have the Israeli, American, or Palestinian people’s welfare in mind. They are simply pawns to be moved.

To make matters worse, Israel like us, encouraged the Palestinian people to elect leaders (because spreading democracy at the point of a gun is a good way to spread freedom). Guess which political group won? Hamas. So I don’t think Israel should receive any sympathy in their “fight” against Hamas. They made their bed, now they have to sleep in it. These sort of conflicts can only come to peaceful ends when Governments stop thinking they can disregard individuals and move them like pieces on a game board. Israels most hated and dangerous enemy is a democratically elected entity it helped to create, much like how the United States created Al Qaeda.

The solution however, is not more government in order to fix the mistakes that government makes.

More about Israel:

Israel Part 1: The 7th Century to 1948
Israel Part 3: That Awkward Moment When You Realize Nobody is the Good Guy…


Israel Part 1: The 7th Century to 1948

Israel is making big news these days with their “war” with the Palestinians. I say “war” in quotations because it really isn’t a war, or at least a conflict like the media portrays it. It isn’t two equal sides facing off and contrary to what the media tells you, you would be surprised who the stronger group is.

To understand this mess we have to go back in time to the founding of the modern state of Israel. Israel was founded in 1948 as part of a United Nations Partition plan. It was an idea to separate the Arabs and Jewish people in their own Providences. The map here shows the original division of the land.

It’s important to note that the Arabs of the region were evicted from what had been their homes for a while (Palestine had been Arab since the 7th Century, that’s about 1200 years). 711,000 to 726,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes. This number is disputed but what is not argued is that 80% of the Arab population was displaced in order to give the Jewish people their Ancestral home back. You can imagine that this upset a lot of the Arab population in the area. These westerners (the U.N.) have come in and told them they have to move because they say so.

This is in sharp contrast to the propagandized revision of history that the Jewish people showed up and bought land and were attacked by these angry evil Arabs. The Pro-Israel side wants you to believe that it was the Arab antisemitism that started this conflict. That simply is not true. They were kicked out of their homes and their way of life was threatened by Jewish immigration backed by these Western Nations. If this were to occur with any other nation or group of people we would have said this to be immoral I’m sure.

Arab Refugees in 1948.

“But Israel and Jerusalem is the Jewish homeland, they deserve to get it back!”

I have heard this said with multiple people I have talked to on the subject. It was their home and it was taken from them a long, long time ago. We should give it back right? Well under that logic we should give North America back to the Native Americans. They were here first and it was their ancestral homeland. But I don’t see many of these same people advocating for this.

So any antisemitism on the part of the modern Arab takes its roots in being kicked out of their 1200 year old homes. That doesn’t mean that the blind hate is justified (because it is not), only that a legitimate anger is the root cause. All of those Palestinians in Gaza are either refugees from this era or the offspring of refugees. Back then, Egypt, Transjordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq attacked Israel in the UN sanction partitions claiming self determination for Arabs across all of Palestine. One can argue that if the Israelis can essentially make such a claim to “retake” their “ancestral homeland”, the Arabs that have lived there for 1200 years can too. The Israelis were victorious and pushed the Arabs out, even out of what was sanctioned for the Palestinian people.

The Zionists knew what they were doing. Theodore Herzl, founder of Zionism, stated that “We shall try to spirit the penniless [Arab] population across the border by procuring employment for it in transit countries, while denying it employment in our own country… Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.” This is in stark contrast to the Jewish people that lived there prior to the 20th Century. Most Jews were part of the Yishuv and lived peaceably with their Arab neighbors so it’s really hard to believe that the Arab’s hate for the Jew started as pure antisemitism. In fact the Jews in Palestine that were part of the Yishuv were against the formation of an Israeli State. They did not see a need for a Jewish state and did not want to strain ties with their Arab neighbors. In fact in the middle-ages, North Africa and the Middle East became places of refuge for the persecuted Jews of Spain and else ware. They lived in relative harmony with their Arab neighbors until the Zionists decided that all of “Israel” is the rightful property of the Jewish people.

This straining of ties occurred in the 1880s when the first Jewish Zionists started to immigrate into the area. In order to understand how the Zionists purchased land, you have to understand how the Ottoman law viewed property in Palestine (since Palestine later become a providence in the Ottoman Empire). The law required the registration in name of the property owners. However, most of the land had never been registered prior to this law or was held traditionally as masha’a or communal usufruct (the right to enjoy the use and advantages of another’s property short of the destruction or waste of its substance).

This meant that there was a lot of land people had been living on for generations. It was practically theirs by homesteading it, yet they could lose not just the title (which they rarely held) but the right to live on it, plant it, and pass it on to their heirs. This meant that upper class elites good at manipulating the legal system could register large tracks of land in their name. The Arab peasant working the land would find out one day that the land that their families had lived on for generations was all of a sudden sold to a Jewish Zionist immigrant. This is the root of the tension between the Jew and the Arab in the region in 1948. It wasn’t blind antisemitism as the Pro Israel propagandists like to make it out as, but basic property rights disputes about who owns the land. And under homesteading principles ( “the principle by which one gains ownership of an unowned natural resource by performing an act of original appropriation. Appropriation could be enacted by putting an unowned resource to active use”), it’s the Arab that had lived there since the 7th century, not the Zionist.

Next we will talk about how Israel created Hamas and how the west encouraged the radicalization of Islam.

Israel Part 2: The Creation of Enemies
Israel Part 3: That Awkward Moment When You Realize Nobody is the Good Guy…


Fallacy Friday #5: “But Hasn’t Capitalism Already Failed Us?”

“Capitalism will never work. It’s already failed us with the housing market collapse and the greedy corporations that control policy making. It will never work!?

The Confusion
This argument generally takes many forms but it comes down to the above idea. This is simply a case of confusing corporatism with capitalism (or crony capitalism). These are two different things. Capitalism is “an economic and political system in which a country’s trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state.” Unlike socialism, the means of production is privately owned.

Corporatism on other hand is “the control of a state or organization by large interest groups.” This means that corporations are working with government to achieve certain ends. This means that, rather than compete by offering the best products and services at the best price, a handful of corporations can use something like a single payer system in order to sell their products. This subsidizing means that they can sell the worst possible product at what ever price they want. Through the monopolization on force that government achieves, they can then force consumers to buy their products and stifle competition and innovation. This leads us to ask a simple question. What system does it sound like we have? (Hint: It’s corporatism).

What People Actually Advocate

“Those politicians, professors, and union bosses who curse big business are fighting for a lower standard of living.”

Ludwig Von Mises, “History and Theory”

What has achieved the highest standard of living ever in the history of mankind? Was it government or capitalism? We have had governments much longer than the concept of capitalism, so it cannot be government that has granted us so much. Hundreds (or even thousands) of years ago, the difference between a king and serf on the road was that the serf walked and the king rode in a carriage or litter. Today, the difference between a “serf” and a “king” is that the “serf” drives car and the “king” drives a better car. The left likes to whine and complain about income inequality, but the difference between the poor and the rich is incredibly small compared to all the rest of human history. All of this is thanks to capitalism. (As a side note, wealth cannot be measured simply by numbers but by the standard of living as well).

So what happens when governments intervene in markets? They stifle innovation because they ruin competition. Mises, in “Planned Chaos” said “The consumers suffer when  the laws of the country prevent the most efficient entrepreneurs from expanding the sphere of their activities. What made some enterprises develop into “big business” was precisely their success in filling best the demand of the masses.” This is when we have the “bailouts” and “Corporate Welfare”. This is because certain business are “too big to fail” and because we don’t let them fail due to their malpractice, we only encourage our own economic disaster. This sort of corporate welfare leads invariably to socialism of some kind. Mises, in another insightful observation in “Bureaucracy” said “In the bureaucratic machine of socialism the way toward promotion is not achievement but the favor of the superiors.”

In our current economy, we do not really reward those that achieve but those who make their case loud enough (or throw down enough money). “We can’t let the ‘X’ industry fail because events ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ will also occur and ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ are bad.” This sort of thinking looks only at one particular group which means policy focuses on one particular group. This means that government intervenes in the market to fix “undesirable” instance of the economy.

“The government believes that the price of a definite commodity, e.g., milk, is too high. It wants to make it possible for the poor to give their children more milk. Thus it resorts to a price ceiling and fixes the price of milk at a lower rate than that prevailing on the free market. The result is that the marginal producers of milk, those producing at the highest cost, now incur losses. As no individual farmer or businessman can go on producing at a loss, these marginal producers stop producing and selling milk on the market. They will use their cows and their skill for other more profitable purposes. They will, for example, produce butter, cheese or meat. There will be less milk available for the consumers, not more. This, or course, is contrary to the intentions of the government. It wanted to make it easier for some people to buy more milk. But, as an outcome of its interference, the supply available drops. The measure proves abortive from the very point of view of the government and the groups it was eager to favor. It brings about a state of affairs, which, again from the point of view of the government,is even less desirable than the previous state of affairs which it was designed to improve.”

-Ludwig Von Mises, “Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism

This means that in order to stem the chaos the government can do two things, take its hand out of the economy, or reach further back in the process to “fix” the problem. Governments, of course, never conclude to leave the market alone. They always conclude that they can fix the problem by regulating even farther back into the production of a product. In the case of the milk, in order to mitigate the loss, the government may go even further back in controlling the production of animal feed. Once this same chaos arises with feed, it may go back further with grain production. Tampering with grain production then affects other circles of production. As you can see, the problem is never solved and government continually has to regulate farther and farther back on the path of production when, if they had just let the market dictate prices, this chaos would have never occurred. This reaching farther back in the economy invariably leads to socialism and fascism.

The catch is that corporations love this sort of control because it means competition is stifled and they can make a profit without having to actually offer what the market demands. This is why those that cry for a highly regulated economy invariably cry for a lower standard of living.

The Remedy
The remedy is rather simple. Abolish all regulations in the market and let the market dictate the cost of a product and wages. This simple policy of no policy grants the best possible growth for wealth and innovation and the consumer is the one that benefits the most from that. Their dollars go further and they end up getting a better product. This is true capitalism. The irony of the people that voice the fallacy originally cited above is that corporatism is a product of their own ideology. They just can’t seem to put the pieces together in their heads to see that they are advocating for the economic disparity they wanted to decrease in the first place.