Monday, June 13, 2016


We've got nothing to fear...but fear itself?
Not pain, not failure, not fatal tragedy?
Not the faulty units in this mad machinery?
Not the broken contacts in emotional chemistry?

-          The Weapon, Neil Peart

Michael S. Rozeff has written a blog post at LRC, entitled Clinton’s and Trump’s Hatred.  There is one aspect I would like to address:

There is a certain number of libertarians who favor one candidate or another of the two major parties, especially Trump. This has sometimes been explicitly linked to a fear, the fear that Clinton will start another world war.

I fall into this camp; Walter Block is far more outspoken on this topic.

I do not have that fear. Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister and a thoughtful diplomat, has made his non-belief in a world war explicit.

Sergey Lavrov is not everything – and as thoughtful as he is, are we so sure what he will do if taken to the extreme?  And is there not a war party in Russia?  Are there not people – powerful people as well as the masses – that will someday, and maybe soon, say enough is enough regarding western encroachment and either force Putin’s hand or force him out?  Can any rational western observer blame such Russians for taking such an action if they do so?

Rozeff believes acting on the basis of fear is nothing more than an instinct:

Fear, like hatred, is an instinct too. It’s at the root of hatred or closely linked to it and anger. It’s fear that grips people and leads directly into identifying enemies and then lashing out at them.  If libertarians really believe in peace, then they should not proceed in this election contest to pick a candidate on the basis of fear. That’s not progress.

I will gladly pick a candidate that advances freedom (not suggesting that anyone votes or not, but that I would write favorably toward this candidate).  Once you find one, let me know.  In this election and at this time – and concerning these two candidates (Clinton and Trump) – on what criteria do I find even the possibility of differentiation and distinction?  Only the most important topic for continuing life on earth.

Call that a lack of progress; if I have to choose between the possibility of life and progress, I guess I know what I would choose.  Call that fear if you like.

I really believe in peace.  So I don’t get it.  If one candidate offers zero chance of peace and the other offers at least one percent chance of peace – where the absence of peace can lead to nuclear war – what does Rozeff suggest?

Rational Fear

Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events. Fear in human beings may occur in response to a specific stimulus occurring in the present, or in anticipation or expectation of a future threat perceived as a risk to body or life.

Is it an irrational expectation to consider Clinton’s certain warmongering ways and conclude that – while he may not be better – Trump cannot be any worse?

In humans and animals, fear is modulated by the process of cognition and learning. Thus fear is judged as rational or appropriate and irrational or inappropriate. An irrational fear is called a phobia.

Fear can be a very rational emotion.  It is reasonable for one to act on the basis of fear, if that fear is based on reasonable considerations.

It isn’t the “fear” that should be questioned as rational or irrational, but the factors leading one to be fearful.  On this, I have not read anything from Rozeff.

We Have Something to Fear But Fear Itself

The faulty units in this mad machinery….

I am certain Clinton will press on with the neocon expansion of NATO and pressuring Russia.  I am certain Trump cannot be any worse than Clinton on this topic – he may not be better, but he cannot be any worse.  Even Patrick Smith at the left-leaning Salon understands this:

Trump may well be dangerous. But know what you're getting with Hillary: American hegemony that's hated worldwide.

Hillary Clinton has no new ideas on American foreign policy. That is not her product. Clinton sells continuity, more of the same only more of it because it is so good. In continuity we are supposed to find safety, certainty and security.

I do not find any such things in the idea that our foreign policy cliques under a Clinton administration will simply keep doing what they have been doing for many decades. The thought frightens me, and I do not say this for mere effect. In my estimation, and it is no more than that, the world is approaching maximum tolerance of America’s post–Cold War insistence on hegemony. As regular readers will know, this is why I stand among those who consider Clinton’s foreign policy thinking, borne out by the record, the most dangerous thing about her. And there are many of us, by the evidence.

While I am certain what Clinton will do, I am not completely sure what Russia as a nation will do: they might decide to be overtaken by the western hegemon; they might not.

Rozeff accepts FDR’s words – we have nothing to fear but fear itself.  It seems to me there are other things to fear as well – like Russia deciding not to be another outpost of the empire.

If Russia as a nation decides to fight this, who can blame them?

This is what I fear.


  1. Plenty of things to fear about Hillary Clinton. It doesn't have to be turned into some sort of psychological condition.

    I fear that Hillary Clinton in her courting of the violent Black Lives Matter movement will cause an increase in crime.

    I fear that Hillary Clinton at the same time will also ramp up Obama's HUD program of forcibly integrating neighborhoods with BLM supporters, and thus bringing risk to people that had deliberately sought separation (ironically most often people on the left, which is actually kind of funny).

    I fear that Hillary Clinton is hopelessly corrupt and is probably already being blackmailed. In this case the best thing for Hillary Clinton is for her to lose.

    Mostly I fear that this is our last election in which we will have any voice at all, and if Hillary Clinton wins there will be an amnesty, and the USA will become a one party state.

  2. I don't believe in a hot war between US and Russia. But I do believe in a hot war between their proxies. Will Western Europe agree to be US proxy in such a war? Will Saudi Arabia and their allies in the middle east? Those are the questions I think we can reasonably ask.

    These proxy wars will expend a lot of ammunition, destroy a lot of infrastructure, end and ruin a lot of lives - yes. But serious, all out warfare? I don't see it.

    Igor Karbinovskiy

    1. Igor, I used to feel more certain about this - that the US and Russia would not go toe to toe directly. But the rhetoric is only getting worse as the two powers draw physically closer to each other - more precisely, as the US draws physically closer to Russia.

      With such belligerence, accidents are also more likely and motives to events viewed with more suspicion. Individuals - with access to first-strike capabilities - could more easily take matters into their own hands; it only takes one true believer (fueled by this heightened belligerence), even if the intention of the leaders was not such.

      Nothing seems to slow the US down, or at least slow down some factions within the USG.

      It seems to me this is one reason Trump has always stood a chance - there are factions of elite that see the inevitable clash (and I am doing to believe it is inevitable unless the tone and actions change), and are looking to find someone as president that might change the tone.

    2. Individual actions without elite-approved follow-through do not start wars. Why didn't US and NATO run with the ball when Turkey shot down that Russian jet? Not a good time?

      What was the last time the US had a real shooting war with a country which could actually fight back? Russia is no Iraq, you know. It wouldn't be just a barrel-hunting expedition for the US. And on top of that, I do believe China would take Russia's side - especially if Russia backed its claims like the South China Sea.

      A war with Russia, especially if China supports Russia, would be a disaster for the US and both sides know it. That is why, I believe, Putin has been making such bold moves over the last few years.

      Igor Karbinovskiy

    3. Igor

      How does Ukraine end? Will the US / NATO pack up and say "never mind," or will Ukraine become a full-fledged NATO country?

      Or does it remain in stalemate in perpetuity? If this is the choice, accidents will happen, whether or not the elite wish a shooting war. Once an accident happens, we cannot say how events will unfold. And I don’t buy into an elite unified on every single action; many “elite” benefit from many of the same tools and events, but they also have different interests.

      Do you believe everyone in a position of power agrees to leave Russia alone – outside of western hegemonic control? Or do you believe Russia will voluntary agree to be so subsumed?

      In any case, what brings an end to this?

      Or this kind of stupid thinking?

      “The exercise 'confirmed that we can count on our friends who are capable of flying over the Atlantic to be here with us in a matter of hours,' said Polish Gen. Miroslaw Rozanski, deputy commander of the exercise. 'We can look into the future with calm. We have good allies and good partners.'”

      How many times must a Polish leader allow such ignorant words to pass through his lips?

    4. Well, as I said, hot proxy war. In Ukraine, maybe some European countries will finally be made to act as US proxies. Although I don't think there's any enthusiasm there. In Syria, maybe Saudi Arabia will finally cough up the men and outright attack. But total war - a la the World Wars - between US and Russia? Or especially between US and Russia/China? I don't see it.

      So, to answer you, no I don't expect them to leave Russia alone. I do expect them to keep trying to cripple Russia - economically, diplomatically, etc. They've been doing that nonstop for a century.

      Igor Karbinovskiy

    5. Igor

      We can both agree, I belies, to pray that you are correct. Not for the sake of those who live in the middle - life will be hell for them no matter what (and as I believe we have discussed before, you know I have tremendous sympathy for those stuck in impossible geo-strategic circumstances) - but for the sake of the rest of human life on earth.

  3. I don't believe Russia will be accepting of western hegemony. Its culture is much older than ours and I believe its an important point. They are not going to be bullied/pressured by the new kids on the block whom they view as having little, if any real culture. Just my opinion.

  4. I love Rozeff. He always gives me something to think about.

    The main point of the article is the use of hatreds. Politics is the organization and exploitation of hatreds.

    "Clinton may be distrusted and thought of as less honest by voters, but it doesn’t matter. This may even help her get elected if it signals a greater hatred of enemies that Americans are used to, like Putin and Russians. And, by the way, she has plenty of hatred for a number of categories of Americans, more than Trump, who almost seems benign next to her; but she hides her hatreds more than he does."

    My virtual friend, the Mosquito writes again:
    "If one candidate offers zero chance of peace and the other offers at least one percent chance of peace – where the absence of peace can lead to nuclear war – what does Rozeff suggest?"

    Dr. Rozeff:
    It would be beneficial, I think, to sublimate and transfigure this hatred into something less irrational and dreadful because it’s not about to disappear from our human nature. As matters stand, American hatred, triggered by 9/11 and then reinforced by American attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, is being funneled into one irrational exercise of war and violence after another.
    I’m on record for not voting and encouraging others not to vote. I think this is a peaceful way to marginalize political power and get some reduction in it. It reduces the legitimacy of a government and encourages the emergence of different parties, candidates, policies and the expression of attitudes. It’s a peaceful way to proceed, even if it seems non-activist; and I see no other way to proceed to greater peace than peacefully. This is a way of sublimating and transforming hatred.

    One of the several reasons I won't vote is I simply have no way of guessing with any reliability who will or will not start WW3. My guess is that Hillary is more likely to intentionally start WW3 and Trump is more likely to blunder into WW3 (trade barriers tend to cause conflict). But I can't tell what the relative likelihood of WW3 is for each. Maybe it is less for Trump. Maybe. If there were a way to separate wrestle mania from the man...

    1. Jim, I agree with all of this - and I chuckled about Trump stumbling us into a catastrophe....

      But to dismiss acting out of fear as Rozeff did struck me as a poor argument on many levels. There are many examples of acting out of fear any of us can think of that are quite rational.

      Moving on: Afghanistan and Iraq are and remain disasters perpetrated by the USG on people who never harmed or intended to harm anyone. But pushing directly on Russia is a different game, isn't it?

      As to Trump: where a president has the most executive power - foreign policy - Trump appears less dangerous; where he must rely on congress - trade, etc. - Trump is more dangerous yet will have less unilateral authority.

      With that said, you outline reasons why I do nothing more than write about this - I don't encourage anyone to vote for the reasons you mention.

      In the end, we really don't know what any of these people will do, and to encourage them by increasing the vote count is counterproductive.

  5. I don't understand Rozeff's piece. In fact, I never understand his pieces. Especially bizarre was his weird endorsement of Seymour Hersch's snowjob on the Pakistan Osama Op.

    I suppose that is neither here nor there. The fact is some people have more to fear than others. If you live in a culturally enriched urban area then you fear for your life and lives of your loved ones every day. While war with Russia is a very serious concern, most people are far more concerned with what is happening in their neighborhoods.

    Trump has intimated he will end HUD. Obviously Clinton won't. So what is there to talk about? There is no debate. Trump 2016 or GTFO.

  6. The Fall of Communism was all bullshit anyway.
    The powers that be want Russia, or China to attack us.
    The "9/11" that will have everyone conform!

    I can see it now -just like FDR"This day will live in infamy my fellow americans.We must all dissuade are selves of any personal interest and all join together to fight this new enemy"

    Tale me I am wrong??

    Owyhee Cowboy

    1. Cowboy, I cannot tell you that you are wrong, other than to suggest that there are many of the elite who understand that a nuclear war doesn't do much for the longevity of their power either. Their future won't be any better than yours or mine.

      But it only takes a few crazies, doesn't it.

    2. Thats why they are building underground fall out shelters
      at such a phenomenal rate.

      Their future, doesn't plan to be a part of are future.

      .................Crazy or Biblical?

      Nice piece,Thanks Owyhee Cowboy

    3. Forgot: I call dibs on Alex Lifesons Gibson 335 if
      this all comes down!!

      Yes, you can have Neil's snare drum....Ok?
      And one ride cymbal.....but only one

      Owyhee Cowboy

    4. The fallout shelters are one thing. My question: what do they do afterword? Do they also have a plan to make the planet hospitable again without having to wait a few dozen generations? The Genesis Project?

      As to the Rush gear - as long as my iPod works and I can get batteries for my noise-cancelling headphones, I will be happy!

    5. They don't have to, nor will they make us glass.
      A few strategic city's and We will do the rest to ourselves. The globalist know that.

      A few EMT hits, and couple a nukes will do the trick.
      It will be hospitable in a few years.

      Remember this is not just men.......Old Nick is involved in the game too.

      Does he drive a Red Barchetta??

      Owyhee Cowboy