Saturday, December 30, 2006

Babylon the Great - Saddam’s legacy

As the world preoccupies itself with the execution of Saddam Hussain, Cranmer is not being drawn on the morality of capital punishment. It is unequivocally a tool of justice of the state, advocated in both the Old and New Testaments, yet it must be observed that the Lord himself urged one vengeful crowd not to insist upon its application, and, if his ministry was about anything, it was mercy and love. To obey is better than sacrifice; vengeance belongs to the Lord.

Cranmer wishes instead to focus on Saddam Hussein’s legacy, and in particular his decision to rebuild Babylon. The Bible speaks extensively of this city as a place of manifest evil, and it was Saddam’s intention to restore it to its former glory. For two millennia, the ruins have lain on the Euphrates river in modern-day Iraq. Some of the bricks of the ancient ruins still carry the embossed message of King Nebuchadnezzar, inscribed: ‘I am Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the world’.

Saddam, as ruler of Iraq, perceived himself to be the heir to Nebuchadnezzar, and manifested the sort of demonic defiance of God exemplified by him. He spent billions of dollars reconstructing Babylon, emulating his forebear in almost everything. He even embossed the bricks with his own inscription: ‘In the era of President Saddam Hussein all Babylon was constructed in three stages. From Nebuchadnezzar to Saddam Hussein, Babylon is rising again.’

‘Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling-places not their own.’ (Hab 1:5)

Daniel explained to Nebuchadnezzar that he would be cut down like a tree, leaving only a stump in the ground (Dan 4:23). His kingdom would be restored to him when he acknowledged the rule of God, which, after seven years of beast-like behaviour, he did. He was indeed humbled. The recent pictures of Saddam resemble something of a beast, but he would not humble himself; he was defiant to the end, and died denouncing the West, clutching a copy of the Qur’an. One wonders what Allah will make of his good and faithful servant…

Saddam may have bequeathed to the world a new city, but it is possessed by an ancient spirit. It is complete with an opulent palace, and a most impressive throne room. But who will the next occupant be?


Anonymous Voyager said...

May I add a note to your comment Your Grace ? The main example we take of trying the defeated for war crimes took place at Nuremberg for one simple reason. It was Stalin's intention to execute all German Officers and he demanded 50.000 in Allied captivity be delivered to him for execution and to populate his slave camps. You may recall only 5000 men returned in the 1950s from Soviet captivity after 250.000 were captured at Stalingrad.

Well the Anglo-Saxons wanted due-process. They had due-process with Andrei Vyshinsky of the Show Trial fame strutting his stuff. Those sentenced to hang like Ribbentrop were subsequently cremated at Dachau.

The issue was whether a trial would proceed what was otherwise certain execution; they got a trial because of the Anglo-Saxons. That is the issue with Saddam - he got his trial. He cannot imagine he would live and his sons would die, no dictator expects to survive overthrow of his bloody regime.

The situation in Iraq in 1958 when the young Hashemite Prince Regent was murdered and gutted, the cousin of the King of Jordan, was clear evidence of how the mob deals with matters when regimes crumble. The trial was the innovation in this situation not the execution.

I favour the death penalty; capital punishment for capital crime; absolute destruction of one life matched with a change to go to Final Judgment. I do not revel in these executions and feel no satisfaction at the pictures displayed of this execution. He has been executed - we do not need pictures or a jeering mob in our society or media.

30 December 2006 at 15:17  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Voyager,

His Grace may accord entirely with your contribution. It was precisely to avoid an EU v the-rest-of-the-world argument on the merits and demerits of capital punishment that His Grace chose to reflect on Saddam's legacy.

One may, however, consider that the pictures displayed of his execution may be wholly necessary if 'justice has to be seen to be done'.

30 December 2006 at 15:44  
Anonymous nick drew said...

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
the lone and level sands stretch far away.

30 December 2006 at 16:01  
Anonymous Colin said...

"to focus on Saddam Hussein’s legacy"

He was a psychopathic dictator. But his oppressive and secular regime was only half as totalitarian as the Iranian Islamofascism. In Saddam's Iraq, women had more rights than in many other Islamic states.

Saddam was executed for his bloody suppression of Kurdish and Shia secessionists. Abraham Lincoln did the same to prevent the secession of southern states. His war on Southern civilians "included the bombing, pillaging and plundering of their cities and towns, the burning of their homes, total destruction of farms and livestock, gang rape, and the killing of thousands, including women and children". More than half a million Americans were killed by Lincoln's war on secessionists. Saddam's war against the Kurds killed 182,000 in the Al-Anfal Campaign and 7,000 in the Halabja poison gas attack. His US supported war against Iran costed the lives of 1,000,000.

The US-British invasion of Iraq resulted in 655,000 total casualties as estimated by the renowned British medical journal The Lancet.

It appears to be an open question who killed more Iraqian lives, Saddam or those who invaded the country because of the alleged danger of non-existent atomic weapons. What is the motivation behind his execution. Could it be to promote a civil war between Sunnis and Shi'ites? Is is the old strategy of "divide and rule"?

This strategy has successfully been applied many times before, e.g. in former Ceylon where the colonial power depended on the Tamil minority for controlling the Singhalese majority. In Iraq, the invaders support the Shi'ite minority against the Sunni majority. Executing the former Sunni leader is like pouring oil into the flames of the ongoing civil war. As a result, the minority will depend on British-American weapons for protection against the majority. The oil fields of Iraq are in the Kurdish northern part and the Shi'ite southern part of the country. The Kurds know that they depend on the US for remaining independent and the Shi'ites in the south will remain dependent as long as the civil war continues. Naturally, it always helps to pour more oil into the flames. And many more people are going to die including British soldiers.

30 December 2006 at 16:16  
Blogger Death Bredon said...

One thing that is being overlooked by many is that the United States gave Saddam a tacit green light to recreate Babylon and even supplied with weaponry, conventional and biological. The USA even covered for Saddams gasing of Kurds by falsely and knowinlgly blaming Iran.

Bush 41's people also gave Saddam the green light in Kuwait, then change thier minds ex post facto. In short, the USA was complicit in creating Saddam and also in his atrocities. Luckily for the US, dead men cannot speak.

Unfortunately, for Iraq, the only man that could have held that condemned country together, with PROPER persuasion from the USA and Western Europe (in the form of euros and dollars for civilized behavior), is now dead.

30 December 2006 at 16:57  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Death Bredon seems to have a distinct problem with FACT. The USSR and France supplied Saddam Hussein with weaponry which is how a Super Etendard aircraft of the Iraqi Air Force was able to fire two Exocet sea-skimming missiles and kill 37 sailors on the warship USS Stark in 1987. Both the Super Etendard and the Exocet are supplied by France - his other aircraft were MiG. The tanks used by Iraq were T-55 and T-72 MBTs made in the USSR and Czechoslovakia. The guns used in such abundance in Iraq are Kalashnikov; the sniper rifles are Dragunov; the rockets he was using were Soviet with upgraded engines from Germany.

Saddam was just another madcap tyrant - he wanted to rebuild Babylon; Hitler had his grandiose plans for Germania and had Speer design a new Berlin and a new Munich.............bits of his design are still visible near Koenigsplatz and the Glyptothek.

All these mediocre men are the same - all have grandiose plans to emulate some long lost era - Hitler with an updated version of Imperial Rome with Teutonic Knights - Saddam by hoping to re-create the Empire the Cyrus and his Persians destroyed was just as mad since it had no economic basis and would simply bankrupt Iraq.

30 December 2006 at 18:23  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Time to read up and dispel your prejudices Death Bredon...........bearing false witness is frowned upon in the Protestant world, perhaps in yours too it could become so ?

30 December 2006 at 18:32  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Iraq War

30 December 2006 at 18:33  
Anonymous Colin said...

"gave Saddam the green light in Kuwait, then change thier minds ex post facto"

I always wondered why they changed their mind and I didn't understand it. Now, looking at it from a distance, it seems to me that the manoeuvre was a Machiavellian ploy. After having lost their control of the Iranian oil fields as a consequence of Khomenei's revolution, they wanted to station the US army closer to the oil fields of the Middle East. But who wants to have a powerful foreign army in his country ?

Under a perceived threat, an endangered ruler is willing to call for the saviour. How could a credible threat be manufactured? What about giving Saddam the green light and then come to the rescue of the Kuweitis and Saudis?

Why didn't they invade Iraq and topple Saddam during the Kuweit war? Probably, a continued threat was needed for staying in Saudi Arabia. So why did they change their mind and invaded Iraq in 2003? Al-quaida and Islamist terror is largely financed by Saudi Arabian businessmen suggesting the possibility that the Saudi regime could be overthrown by an Islamic revolution. They did not want to put all their eggs in one basket, i.e. Saudi Arabia. In their view, the acquisition of a second basket, i.e. Iraq, was safer.

But how could an invasion in Iraq be sold to the American people? By manufacturing another threat. Wars are always sold to the people by an alleged threat (e.g Nazi Germany and the invasion of Poland). This time, the American people were supposedly in danger. It was claimed that the secular Saddam had connection with the Islamists and that he had atomic weapons.

Why was the ruling elite of France and the antiamerican lefties of Germany against the invasion of Iraq? Because it interfered with their own plans in this region, e.g. Turkey as part of the EU for getting their hands on the oil fields of the Middle East. American dominance in the region was a threat to their plans for an antiamerican EU Empire. Smart Tony Blair wanted to be as smart as Talleyrand, i.e. to make sure to always side with the winner, in this case by being part of the EU and of the American invasion.

In summary, Saddam was the victim of a remarkable set up. A scoundrel paied with his life for his greed and for trusting those who gave him green light for invading Kuweit. The entire game was and is about power, not about justice. Winston Churchill said "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it." And Napoleon observed "History is a set of lies agreed upon."

30 December 2006 at 20:31  
Anonymous Colin said...


"had no economic basis and would simply bankrupt Iraq."

Strange, because Iraq's proven oil reserves are eleven percent of the world's total, the second largest in the world after Saudi Arabia.

"Dominance of Middle Eastern oil will mean in effect maintaining dollar hegemony over the world oil economy...The.. value of the US dollar, unjustified on purely economic grounds, is maintained by political arrangements, one of the chief of which is to ensure that all OPEC oil purchases will continue to be denominated in US dollars. (This commitment of OPEC to dollar oil sales was secured in the 1970s by a secret agreement between the US and Saudi Arabia...) The chief reason why dollars are more than pieces of green paper is that countries all over the world need them for purchases, principally of oil...World trade is now a game in which the US produces dollars and the rest of the world produces things that dollars can buy... Everyone accepts dollars because dollars can buy oil."

[BTW, the Federal bank in the US prints an ever increasing amount of dollars which is an indirect form of taxiation of the entire world by the US government because it is able to obtain valuable goods for free, i.e. by printing worthless green sheets of paper.]

"Professor Thomas Barnett of the US Naval War College, wrote: "We trade little pieces of paper (our currency, in the form of a trade deficit) for Asia's amazing array of products and services. We .. know this is a patently unfair deal..." [Not only Asia's but also Europe's and the UK's array of products and services are traded for little pieces of paper.]

"..the OPEC underpinning for the US dollar has shown signs of erosion in recent years. Iraq was one of the first OPEC countries, in 2000, to convert its reserves from dollars to euros...Other countries have gradually been climbing on to the euro bandwagon... Iran, China, Russia, Venezuela...If not deterred, OPEC could follow suit." That would be the end of the dollar hegemony and the indirect taxation of the world by the US government by printing little green pieces of paper.

The purpose of Saddam's hanging was to serve as deterrence to those OPEC dictators, e.g. in Saudi Arabia, who might be thinking about selling their oil for euros instead of dollars. Bush already declared that his intention is to spread democracy in the Middle East, i.e. to hang more dictators, naturally with the exeception of those who stick to the dollar.

Honi soi qui mal y pense.

30 December 2006 at 21:50  
Anonymous sensei said...

Saddam has his revenge from beyond the grave: Match of the Day is 15 minutes late starting!

30 December 2006 at 22:39  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...


That was a genius comment.

Thank you.

Of course, the whole world economic structure is, sooner or later, going to come crashing down. 1929 is going to look like a tea party.

There is, of course, a bright side to that bright side: once everyone is dirt poor, The population of the Islamic parts of the world will lose interest in coming here. Maybe we'll get our country back. And, of course, the EU will go for a ball of chalk.

Can't wait ...

31 December 2006 at 01:23  
Blogger Death Bredon said...


I do not mean to bear false witness.

But, as I understand the facts, the USA supplied Saddam with his chemical and biological weapons -- the ones he used against the Kurds and Iran. If I am wrong about this, I stand corrected.

But, in any event, I am fairly certain that the US blamed Iran for the use of chemical weapons on the Kurds (even thoug we knew it was Saddam), as the USA was backing Saddam in the Iraq-Iran war (still smarting over the embassy hostage crisis). Thus, Saddam took this as a tacit, if not explicit, affirmation of his policies.

In any case, I do believe that the USA should have "bought" Saddam, as it did Kadafi in Libyia. The carrot is often more effective and cheaper than the stick. Moreover, Iraq is now destined for indefinite bloodshed due to US & UK meddling.


31 December 2006 at 04:16  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I am fairly certain that the US blamed Iran for the use of chemical weapons on the Kurds

Well that would be funny since Javier Pérez de Cuéllar de la Guerra, Sec-Gen of the UN had previously attacked Iraq for using chemical weapons against Iran and had reports from UN inspectors who had visited Iran to look at bodies. I think you should change your information source.

As for chemical weapons - anyone with a fertiliser plant can make them. They are cheap and simple. As for biological materials - look to University of East Anglia in Norfolk where many of the Iraqi scientists were trained in bio-engineering. The simple fact is that once you train a scientist in a university you cannot know what his/her govt will fund them to do later - which is why I am concerned at the number of Chinese studying in US and UK universities at present - who knows what the regime in Peking has them doing when they return to China ?

Colin, you are once again off on your own erratic path.

There was no "green light". There was a stupid female US Ambassador to Iraq who spoke no Arabic whgo rather botched things. As for Kuwait - it has a Defence Treaty with both the Uk - which mobilised in 1962 to deter an Iraqi attempt on Kuwait and the Us which also has a Defence Treaty with Kuwait.

As for Iraqi oil reserves - I note they are still there - but little seems to be exported. The great thing about reserves as the Russians find - is that you get to keep them unless you have the technology to extract them. Iraq did not have the technology because it had been at war for over a decade and that bankrupts a country buying in shells, tanks, aircraft, rockets, and facing Saudi Arabia flooding the world with oil to undercut funding for the Iran-Iraq War - which is why after 1986 Britain boomed - falling oil prices rather than Thatcherite miracle

31 December 2006 at 08:01  
Anonymous Voyager said...

as the USA was backing Saddam in the Iraq-Iran

It was not or it would not have seen this happen -

"Officially the United States was neutral in the Iran-Iraq conflict, but the administration had decided that geopolitic considerations required that Iraq not lose the war."

Saudi Arabia backed Iraq against Iran as did France and the USSR - they sold lots of weaponry. It was Iran that had US equipment bought by the Shah for which they could not get spares

The US did not "buy" Ghaddafi..............the US had little to do with it. You must be American o be quite so ethnocentric. It was Britain and MI6 that worked on Ghaddafi without having the US mess things up - it would be better if we did more such things without having blundering American amateurs screw things up.

You will note that Iraq had threatened Kuwait in 1938, 1961, and throughout the Iran-Iraq War - Kuwait asked the USSR and USA to protect its tankers from attack which is why Iraq destroyed the USS Stark and killed 37 crew

31 December 2006 at 08:10  
Anonymous Colin said...


You said "Colin, you are once again off on your own erratic path."

How do you know that you are not on an erratic path yourself? Is it because your opinion is in agreement with the received wisdom of the mass media?

Goethe already knew "We are surrounded by error which is preached over and over again not by single individuals but by the mass, in newspapers and encyclopaedias, on schools and universities. Everywhere the error is on top, and it feels fine and comfortably knowing that the majority is on his side."

Patrick Moynihan said "We are each entitled to our own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts."

The facts are:

(1) Iraq is one of the oil richest countries of the world.
(2) Iraq had neither the intention nor the ability to attack the US or the UK.
(3) In 2000, Iraq the first to sell oil for euros instead of dollars.
(4) In 2003, Iraq was invaded by the country which has a major interest in maintaining the hegemony of the dollar.
(5) The invaders showed worldwide on TV the execution of the first dissenter of exchanging oil for dollar.

In principle, there are two ways of looking at the situation:

(a) "Right or wrong, it's my country." And "Don't bother me with facts, my mind is made up."

Or alternatively, to apply the central concept of moral philosophy, i.e. Kant't categorical imperative

(b) "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law."

It can never become an universal law acceptable to everyone that militarily superior countries have the right to invade weaker countries, kill their citizens and leaders in the name of superior ethics. You don't want the UK invaded by foreigners. So why don't you want to give the same rights to others? Some might call GWB's and your Christian attitude hypocrisy. However, I think you have the right to believe whatever you like.

And since I have the same right to express my view, I would like to point out that your opinions are very predictable, i.e. the members of your own group are always right and those of the outside group are always wrong. Christians, Europeans, Anglosaxons, CoE are like layers of onionskin surrounding you in the centre. In your worldview, the inner layer is always right and has to be defended with regard to the outer layer. And since there isn't a single group in the world which only consists of honorable and decent people, you are sometimes forced to close your eyes and to only see what you want to see in order to protect your worldview.

Voyager, you are an erudite and intelligent chap, why don't you sometimes try to be a bit more objective?

31 December 2006 at 17:04  
Anonymous Colin said...

Sir Henry Morgan,

Thank you for your kind comment.

"1929 is going to look like a tea party."

Yes, that's precisely what several economists predict. However, the mass media only report about the predictions of optimistic economists.

"once everyone is dirt poor, The population of the Islamic parts of the world will lose interest in coming here. Maybe we'll get our country back. And, of course, the EU will go for a ball of chalk."

That's our hope and is likely to happen.

However, the high taxes of the French king led to an economic crisis and the French revolution with Napoleon and 1929 in Germany led to Hitler. During the times of crises, the people always long for a saviour, a strong man. That's why Putin is popular in Russia.

Anyhow, the EU will probably fall apart in times of economic crises as the Sovjet Union has demonstrated.

31 December 2006 at 17:26  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Is it because your opinion is in agreement with the received wisdom of the mass media?

No I usually find mass-media caters at a low-level for mass-tastes.

You do mix so many things up Colin without focusing on the salient. The Oil For Food Scandal at the UNO showed which nations had been bribed by Saddam - they were France and Russia; two Permanent Members of The Security Council.

The Sanctions imposed on Iraq for Non-Compliance after the Kuwait War - little things like not releasing prisoners or accounting for missing Kuwaitis or jets, and general violation of all Resolutions....................these Sanctions were due to expire in June 2003 and Russia and France wanted them lifted as Russian and French oil companies had been given large oilfields in Iraq by Saddam.

The danger was that if Sanctions were lifted nothing could constrain Saddam and the UNO would be as irrelevant as The League of Nations was over Abyssinia when Italy ignored it.

So the UK and USA set out to enforce just as Art 5 of the UN Charter states and just as signatories to the League of Nations Charter were supposed to do over the invasion of Prague in 1939 and Poland later that year.

It can never become an universal law acceptable to everyone

That is meaningless as a statement and tautological. I have to point out that Immanuel Kant was in Koenigsberg, in Ostpreussen and trying to create a universal moral law.............he failed.

So why don't you want to give the same rights to others?

I don't bestow rights and being invaded is not a matter of goodwill but of military power. The last threatened invasion of this island was in 1940 - it was not prevented by appealing to Hitler's sense of fair play which is all your posturing is. It is the age old Colonel Blimp mentality of "it's not cricket"

The world runs on Power, and as Mao Tse-Tung said in words too wise for most Europeans - "Political Power comes out of the barrel of a gun"

31 December 2006 at 17:53  
Anonymous China said...

"The world runs on Power, and as Mao Tse-Tung said in words too wise for most Europeans - "Political Power comes out of the barrel of a gun"

No, voyager, that's absolutely wrong. The world does not run on coercion but on voluntary cooperation. Simply look at the facts. Which countries have the highest standard of living, those with more liberty or with more coercion? North or South Korea, former East or West Germany, the USA or the Soviet Union? If Mao Tse-Tung were correct, his coercive China should have been more successful than Deng Xiaoping's more liberal China. Why did the latter change Mao Tse-Tung's course, because it was so successful? No, it was because Mao Tse-Tung's "wisdom" had led to a desaster.

"Civilization is a work of peaceful co-operation." (Ludwig von Mises: Socialism)

"The eminence of the Western nations consisted in the fact that they succeeded better in checking the spirit of predatory militarism than the rest of mankind... (Mises: Human Action)

31 December 2006 at 18:37  
Anonymous t.w.hereward said...

As a humble economist can I simply suggest that the pricing of oil in dollars is not that much of a big deal for the US, or anyone else:

(a) exchange between major currencies is 100% liquid: anyone contuning to hold petro-dollars in dollar assets is doing so for their own speculative reasons

(b) IF you take a currency-centric view, the rise in ($-denominated) oil price has most recently been hurting the US more than others (because dollar is collapsing, ie in other currencies there has been an offsetting FX benefit - and this may well continue, as the US knows well)

(c) Actually, oil prices in the last several years have been driven by high demand, hence are at levels that the 'world market' can bear - an absolute, not currency-centric concept.

(Interestingly, the country that most fixates on how oil prices are set is not the USA but Russia, probably as a rather blinkered matter of pride. They would like to see Russian crude break away from pricing relative to Brent or WTI. No-one else gives a toss about that, either. Liquidity is all, & there is no curency-fixated sentiment or pride amongst the real players.)

Conclusion: this is NOT the reason for the invasion, Colin. Seriously, mate.

31 December 2006 at 18:49  
Anonymous Colin said...

Apologies for the typo. That wasn't China but Colin.

31 December 2006 at 19:11  
Anonymous Colin said...


Thank you for your comment.

We all don't know with absolute certainty the reason for the invasion. Only those who made the decision know for sure. Hence, we are in the position of the police searching for the murderer. The favorite method of the police detectives consist in examining possible motives. That's what I did and I found that the evidence supported the hypothesis that the maintenance of the dollar hegemony is a powerful motive.

I am always keen on learning about new views, hypotheses and supporting facts to unravel the mystery why the US government spends more than $ 354 billion for the war in Iraq. According to another source, Congress has already approved four spending bills for Iraq with funds totaling $204.4 billion and the cost of the Iraq War could exceed $700 billion.

Thus, I would be most grateful to you for letting the readers of this blog know your favorite hypothesis concerning the motives for the Iraq war as well as the supporting facts.

The official motives are:

(1) Threat by Iraq's atomic weapons.
(2) Fight on terrorism.
(3) Spreading democracy.

Islamist's hypothesis:

(3) Crusade of Christians against Islam

Psychological hypothesis:

(5) GWB wanted to finish his father's job.

Needless to say that neither of these 5 hypotheses is supported by facts. With regard to these hypotheses:

(1) Iraq didn't possess atomic weapons and Colin Powell apologized for presenting manufactured data to the UN.
(2) For fighting terrorism, other countries such as Iran or Pakistan would be more important.
(3) For spreading democracy, they could have started with Saudi Arabia. The US military is already there.
(4) If it were a crusade of Christians against Islam, why would the government of these Christian countries at the same time allow the immigration of millions of muslims in their country.
(5) Congress would pay billions of dollars for satisfying GWB's psychological needs if there wasn't any military or economic strategy suggesting a benefit derived from controlling Iraq.

In conclusion, these hypotheses are not in agreement with the facts and have to be discarded.

Hence the oil hypothesis and the dollar hegemony hypothesis are the only remaining hypotheses so far. But you claimed to have disproven these 2 remaining hypotheses, which do not exclude each other, on the basis of 3 points: "Conclusion: this is NOT the reason for the invasion". Before we discard the 2 remaining hypotheses and are left with no hypothesis whatsoever, let's have a quick look at the counterevidence provided by you:

(a) "exchange between major currencies is 100% liquid: anyone contuning to hold petro-dollars in dollar assets is doing so for their own speculative reasons"

But you can't buy oil if you don't have dollars. Since all countries need oil, they need to buy dollars.

Bill Bonner explained today at a website of the so-called Austrian school of economy (Nobel prize winner F.A. Hayek was one of them) that "The Federal Reserve creates credit through its open market operations like REPOS...That credit creates the liquidity for additional consumption in the U.S., but these days we are buying our stuff from China (other countries too...The Federal Reserves' balance sheet this year alone has expanded by $30 billion in this way and created $3.5 trillion of new credit in the U.S." And as an economist you know that credit is in large part created by money expansion, i.e. this year alone the US has printed out of thin air $3.5 trillion of green sheets of paper which can buy oil, goods and companies around the world.

Since providing credit by printing money is not restriced by any real value, the side-effect is an increase in credit and public debt unsuppported by any real value. As a consequence, "Public debt around the world is growing exponentially and total debt in the U.S. now stands at nearly 3.6 times GDP (1929 was 2.8 times)."

Hence, an attempt to prevent the collaps of the US and world economy cannot completely be discarded as a motive.

(b) "currency-centric view, the rise in ($-denominated) oil price has most recently been hurting the US more than others (because dollar is collapsing"

As an economist you know that the price of any commodity including currency is influenced by supply and demand. An increase in the supply of dollars by printing results in an decrease of its price as compared to goods such as oil and other currencies. Therefore, the collaps of the dollar is the side-effect of printing more dollars. The demand for dollars would collaps entirely if all the countries in the world weren't forced to buy dollars for buying oil. Iraq was the first country which wanted to change that.

Hence, an invasion to prevent the collaps of the US dollar cannot be ruled out as a motive.

(c) "oil prices in the last several years have been driven by high demand, hence are at levels that the 'world market' can bear"

It's correct that oil prices have not only be driven by dollar expansion but also by high demand, e.g. from China, a country which has the ambition to become more powerful in a few decades than the US. To achieve this aim, China needs access to oil. If the US is in control of the oil taps in the Middle East, China will depend on the mercy of the US.

That's also a strong motive for the invasion of Iraq. A simple look at the map tells us that the US has now stationed its soldiers in many countries around the Caspian sea. Why?

"The vast expanses of the former Soviet Union harbor oil and gas riches which will be crucial to funding the global economy in the next century. The huge oil reserves, estimated at over 25 billion barrels under the Caspian Sea and in the central Asian republics of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are similar to those in Kuwait and larger than those in Alaska's Northern Slope and the North Sea combined." The New "Great Game": Oil Politics in the Caucasus and Central Asia (Ariel Cohen, Senior Policy Analyst, The Heritage Foundation - January 25, 1996).

Why Afghanistan? It is an energy transit route from the Caspian sea, wrote the US Department of Energy.

Why Iraq? Foreign secretary James Baker admitted during the Gulf War, there were three reasons for the attack on Iraq: "Jobs, jobs, jobs.", i.e. energy needed for the US economy.

In summary, I cannot see how the evidence provided by you in a), b) and c) is able to provide sufficient evidence for discarding the oil and dollar hegemony hypotheses. On the contrary, the more I search the more I find additional evidence supporting it.

31 December 2006 at 21:42  
Anonymous buster said...

The world runs on Power, and as Mao Tse-Tung said in words too wise for most Europeans - "Political Power comes out of the barrel of a gun"

I thought he said that Britain was a paper tiger. Does this mean that he said two things? My Mum said that little red book was too thick for just one saying; even written in chinese characters.

31 December 2006 at 23:14  
Anonymous Voyager said...

"The eminence of the Western nations consisted in the fact that they succeeded better in checking the spirit of predatory militarism than the rest of mankind... (Mises: Human Action)

Von Mises was Austrian and completely in error.

It is the blindspot of Westerners not to see that they attained pre-eminence by military power - Commander Perry forced open isolated Japan in 1868; Britain removed the French and Portuguese from India; the French from Canada; the Dutch from East Coast USA; the Spanish from Chile, Argentina, Bolivia.

The US removed Spain from The Philippines; Napoleon invaded Egypt and opened up the Middle East in 1798. France moved into Indochina and North Africa after the 1830s.

Whenever military power was threatened - wars determined the military balance - whether in Africa, Asia, the Middle East or Europe. The fact that a unique event has taken place in Europe since 1946 - the longest period of peace for centuries has coupled with miserable education led people to believe WEstern Power is not based upon military superiority.

So why isn't the world dominated by Chinese Values ? Why does Russia prove so reluctant to embrace Western European values ? When has Germany ever fought to sustain democracy ? How many German soldiers have died to share values that people in England supposedly hold so dear ?

It is hypocrisy of the first order in Western Europe to believe that their pre-eminence is not based upon battles fought by our forefathers; no doubt we shall succumb to future threats by offers of submission and conformity

1 January 2007 at 07:36  
Anonymous Voyager said...

thought he said that Britain was a paper tiger.

No he did not - he said "The West was a paper tiger" -

1 January 2007 at 07:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Colin - stop looking at weird economic theories. It is prettu obvioius how a Central Bank functions but the Fed is a Global Central Bank as provider of a Reserve Currency. Two-thirds of global economic growth is gemnerated by the US because Europe is moribund and has retired from the world. Without the US deficit the world would be in slump. The Fed sells bonds and China and Japan buy them. The economy has liquidity because of the lunatic Y2K Scam which told us Armageddon was near in 2000..............that caused the Dot.Com boom and that bust was alleviated with credit expansion which caused a property boom; that boosted asset-backed lending through equity-withdrawal.

The Austrian School has a theory of society that people living in 1920 can tell you about. It does not have much scope for a welfare state or the affluence people enjoy today, and if you read Hayek you will find it reads rather like a Solicitor with a legalistic approach and I found he had that wonderful simplicity of using circular argumentation. THe Austrians believe "Money Is A Veil" and are terribly disappointed to find it has a real impact on real output. No Central Banker in the world dare play their game. As for 1928 it was a very interesting year.

Do you know why ?

It is the year Benjamin Strong died suddenly and his policy on the Fed was reversed quickly leading to 1929 Crash.

Between 1914 and 1919 Britain fought a major war in Europe and the Middle East followed by another in Russia. It loaned money to France, and to Russia to fund the fighting. It had to borrow from the USA and liquidate its overseas assets. Unfortunately neither France nor Russia repaid Britain; Germany paid no Reparations to Britain; and President Coolidge insisted on repayment as did The City of London.

So Britain deflated its domestic economy and pegged Sterling to the Dollar at $4-8675 in 1925 thus causing The General Strike and collapse in exports; but Benjamin Strong made an arragement to hold US interest rates low and in a thin spread with Europe to assist in repayment and dealing with European Depression which included starvation in Hungary and Poland. The booming US economy since it had acquired so much Gold from funding Europe's war effort led to credit expansion without proper Sterilization - that is what caused the Booming Twenties (which Media always shows using US newsreel) and Depression in Europe - when Strong died, the Fed reeturned to a pure domestic stance and screwed down the credit creating the kind of mess the Japanese did after the 1980s excesses and a deep slump.

The US Slump then spread to depressed Europe and took the banking system down in Vienna and Darmstadt.

Just taking numbers from one date and numbers from another is the weakest form of reasoning. The British economy is far more overborrowed than that in the USA; house-price inflation far higher, and pension savings far lower than US 401K plans. The smugness about the US economy and any indebtedness is a real case of people in glass houses. Germany's deficits are on the budgetary side worse than the USA when conslidated, though the trade side is better.

Under Reagan the US had huge deficits but even today it outproduces the 486 million Citizens of the European Union and statistically only Louisiana has an average standard of real PPP incomes comparable with the EU where Germany is going back into its prewar poverty

1 January 2007 at 07:58  
Anonymous Voyager said...

As to my old friend Kant, I suggest you read up on Categorical Imperative and some of its practical problems..................then hope you do not meet any Existentialists in the form of Jean-Paul Satre.

What a Kantian does when he meets an Existentialist I know not.

1 January 2007 at 08:00  
Anonymous Colin said...


Happy New Year ! And thank your for your kindness to enlighten me.

I am not in the mood to reply in detail to your extensive comments. A few sentences will do.

You said that Kant, Mises, Hayek etc are wrong. Why? Voyager said so. In your view, that's sufficient proof.

You said that the West became rich not because of its economy but because its military won wars. That's wrong. Why?

First, a large army and the constant development of superior weaponry is very expensive. Only an highly developed economy is able to provide the weaponry and the financial resources (taxes etc) for winning wars. Hence, Western countries such as the UK and the USA have won wars because of its free economies.

Second, winning wars is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for wealth. Proof: Japan and Germany didn't win wars but are rich countries. According to your theory of wealth by conquest, these countries should be poorer than those of the winners.

Finally, the alterative to wealth by conquest (i.e. robbery) is wealth by cooperation. Since the wealth of the robber requires its prior creation by somebody else, conquest is parasitism, a zero-sum game. In contrast, the benefits created by voluntary exchange, i.e. economy, are a non-zero-sum game, everybody benefits. And such win-win situations produce much more wealth than zero-sum games.

That's the reason why I am against socialism, welfarism, environmentalism, islamic conquest of Europe, the EU etc.

In regard to the latter, the parasitism of the EU is going to be expanded during the German EU presidency. Proof: The German government wants to strengthen Europol, the supranational police of the EU, so that they can arrest "criminals" in all EU countries. And you know that islamophobia and xenophobia are crimes according to the EU.

To sum up, the EU accession of Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey and invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq all have a common denominator: access to the oil fields of the Middle East and the Caspian sea. Afghanistan, Southern Pakistan, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey are all transit countries for oil pipelines from the Caspian sea. Just look at the map of EU enlargements, my erudite soldier.

BTW, your promotion of military aggression for the purpose of robbery is in contrast with your Christian belief. Obviously, erudition alone does not safeguard against logical contradictions.

1 January 2007 at 13:03  
Anonymous t.w.hereward said...

Colin -

We are already presuming too much upon our host's hospitality.

I am going to stick to a very narrow, technical point and not respond to your invitation to choose from, or add to, your extremely limited and over-simplified list of motives.

You responded to my point (1) by stating:

you can't buy oil if you don't have dollars. Since all countries need oil, they need to buy dollars

This is utterly wrong, and perhaps correcting this error is all we need to do.

(Deep breath) You personally need oil from time to time and (assuming you are a Brit) I bet you don't pay for it in dollars. That's because, broadly speaking you'd rather not. The same goes for any buyer of oil, including the big, 'primary' buyers: if they'd rather pay in any major, liquid currency (let's stay with the Euro for illustration), that's what they can do. Likewise, if a producer of oil wishes to sell in (say) Euros, that's what they can do.

The reason is that $/EUR FX is 100% transparent and liquid, (my original point), as is the price of oil. Notional denomination is a matter of complete indifference to all (rational) parties, because whatever currency the transaction is denominated in, they can (in a matter of seconds)
convert it into whatever they really want. Hence the other part of (1) which is that if any oil producer keeps his revenues in $ or $ assets, that is a conscious (perhaps speculative) choice on his part. If Saddam had wished to price his oil in $ he could do so any time he wanted.

We must presume that, historically, most producers actually wanted to keep at least quite a high % of their revenues in $. Their choice. If they want dollars there will indeed be demand for dollars! If they don't, there won't! Nothing to do with how the price of oil is quoted.

Let's complete the picture. Oil is a 100% liquid / transparent commodity (in world markets: there are some localised distorted markets). Thus, if as a matter of convention the 'price of oil' is quoted on the front page of the FT in $, the only EUR price that could in practical terms be quoted simultaneously would be that same $ price converted to EUR at the current FX rate. (Any other EUR oil price being quoted would be arbitraged instantly until it was re-quoted back in line.) This is all purely a matter of liquidity, and convention as regards the units used.

(The detail I have omitted relates to transaction costs, but this is a 3rd-order issue.)

Apologies for hogging the pulpit, your Grace.

1 January 2007 at 13:03  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Hereward,

Not at all, not at all.

Somewhat off topic, but manifestly intelligent, erudite, and interesting.

1 January 2007 at 15:33  
Anonymous t.w.hereward said...

Thanks: and in which case I will trespass once more to correct the manifest error that slipped into my diatribe: it should of course be

If Saddam had wished to price his oil in EUR he could do so any time he wanted

(not "in $": the perils of posting on NY's Day!)

1 January 2007 at 18:10  
Anonymous Colin said...


Thanks again for your willingness to debate the issue. His Grace seems to be interested in the topic. Therefore, I am willing to continue debating the issue.

Since different economists such as Keynes, Hayek, Galbraith, Friedman sen. & jun. and others hold widely different and often opposing views with regard to state interventionim, socialism and free markets, we cannot automatically assume that the views of an economists are always correct and non-economists are always wrong.

Often, specialists like to dazzle the audience with unnecessarily complex concepts and language. Therefore, let's reduce Mr. Hereward's alleged demonstration to its essence.

His main argument is based on the fact that an exchange mechanism for currencies exists, termed foreign exchange (currency or forex or FX) market. We all know that we don't pay for oil or gasoline in dollars. This doesn't prove anything.

Oil is invoiced by OPEC in dollars and the major exchange markets for the so-called Brent Crude Oil , i.e. the ICE Futures in London and the New York Mercantile Exchange, they sell oil for dollars only. Naturally, other currencies can be converted to dollars at the foreign exchange markets (FX) before buying oil. But the final common pathway, the bottleneck is dollar.

Let's simplify the situation to illustrate what is happening. Industrial economies need energy for survival similar to humans who need food.

Food is sold at grocery stores. You and all other people can buy food directly from the groceries by using your own currency. No problem so far.

However, the situation changes after I made an arrangement with the owners of the groceries that you and all others can only buy food by using my currency, i.e. little green sheets of paper.

Now, you first have to buy my little green sheets of paper. And I will sell these sheets of paper, which are easy to print, only to you in exchange for valuable goods, which cost you a lot of work to produce. And if I want more of your fine goods, I simply print more sheets of paper.

Why would you consent to such a fraud? Because you don't have a choice. You need food for survival. Why would the owners of the grocery store consent to such an arrangement? Because they had some demands (e.g. spreading of their religion) which I necessarily had to grant them in order to become their monopolist distributor of tickets for entering the store.

Nevertheless, two owners of large grocery stores didn't want to play along any more. What options do I have to maintain my profitable business? Only, to threaten them behind closed doors or in public, to beat them up and to kill one of them as demonstration for all the other grocery owners to see what will happen to them if they would follow his example.

1 January 2007 at 18:37  
Anonymous Colin said...

Returning from the metaphor to oil, here some links supporting the former:

For example, CBS' report in 2000 A Look At The World's Economy: "Sadam Hussein has caused international turmoil by demanding payment for its oil in euros rather than dollars, the industry's accepted form of payment..."It's got huge potential, but also huge potential for mischief," said Leo Drollas, chief economist at the Center for Global Energy Studies in London."...""Iraq recognizes it has the ability to influence the market one way or another," said Jareer Elass, head of the Washington-based consultancy Oil Navigator."

Petrodollar or Petroeuro? A new source of global conflict: "in 1971 President Nixon took the US off the gold standard, OPEC did consider moving away from dollar oil pricing, as dollars no longer had the guaranteed value they once did. The US response was to do various secret deals with Saudi Arabia in the 1970s to ensure that the world's most important oil exporter stuck with the dollar3 . What the Saudis did, OPEC followed... Youssef Ibrahim, a former senior Middle East correspondent for the New York Times and energy editor on the Wall Street Journal, who is a member of the influential Council on Foreign Relations, has called Iraq's switch to the euro 'another reason' for the war, saying that a general move by oil producers to the euro would be a 'catastrophe' for the US...

Oil - The rise of the petroeuro: "US sabre-rattling at Iran has less to do with global security and everything to do with keeping the US dollar the medium of exchange in oil markets."

Petrodollar Warfare: Dollars, Euros and the Upcoming Iranian Oil Bourse: "The U.S. economy has acquired significant structural imbalances, including our record-high $503 billion trade account deficit (5% of GDP), a $6.9 trillion dollar deficit (60% of GDP)", i.e. the result of the printing press.

Conservative Congressman Congressman Dr. Ron Paul serves on the House Financial Services Committee, the International Relations committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. From his speech given The End of Dollar Hegemony before the US House of Representatives, February 15, 2006: "on August 15, 1971, when Nixon closed the gold window and refused to pay out any of our remaining 280 million ounces of gold. In essence, we declared our insolvency and everyone recognized some other monetary system had to be devised in order to bring stability to the markets.

Amazingly, a new system was devised which allowed the U.S. to operate the printing presses for the world reserve currency with no restraints placed on it – not even a pretense of gold convertibility, none whatsoever! Though the new policy was even more deeply flawed, it nevertheless opened the door for dollar hegemony to spread.

Realizing the world was embarking on something new and mind-boggling, elite money managers, with especially strong support from U.S. authorities, struck an agreement with OPEC to price oil in U.S. dollars exclusively for all worldwide transactions. This gave the dollar a special place among world currencies and in essence “backed” the dollar with oil. In return, the U.S. promised to protect the various oil-rich kingdoms in the Persian Gulf against threat of invasion or domestic coup.
This $2 trillion never-ending war must be paid for, one way or another. Dollar hegemony provides the vehicle to do just that...For the most part the true victims aren’t aware of how they pay the bills. The license to create money out of thin air allows the bills to be paid through price inflation. American citizens, as well as average citizens of Japan, China, and other countries suffer from price inflation, which represents the “tax” that pays the bills for our military adventures."

Hans F. Sennholz, emeritus professor of economics wrote Deep in Debt, Deep in Danger: "Americans import much more than they export, suffering current account deficits of some $400 billion a year or 4 percent of GNP. At the present rate of deficits, the U.S. external debt may soon surpass the federal government debt; it is the most dangerous of all because it casts a dark shadow over the U.S. dollar...

The present hassle about the Treasury debt ceiling may remind foreign investors that the safe harbor is heavily mortgaged and sinking ever deeper into debt. If a few fearful foreign investors should suddenly liquidate their dollar investments for any reason, American capital markets would come under severe liquidation pressure. If a few Arab oil sheiks should add their weight to the pressure, they could precipitate a panic run. The U.S. dollar would plummet, interest rates would soar, and equity markets would crash. It would shake the world financial and economic structure."

1 January 2007 at 18:39  
Anonymous t.w.hereward said...

Colin, I use only the relevant terms of art. If you nudge this discussion towards Financial Derivatives, I shall use even more such terms. I am explaining, not seeking to dazzle.

The trouble is, old chap, I don't think you are listening.

In oil there is no "arrangement with the owners of the groceries that you and all others can only buy food by using my currency". Believe me, if any nation, or any company, wishes to buy oil in EUR (or indeed £) he will find plenty of ready sellers (all of whom will ask more or less the same EUR price, btw, which is not a coincidence). It really is that simple.

If you cannot grasp - or believe - this, there is nothing for me to add. But I am right, as a simple matter of fact.

For completeness, I will however say just two more things.

(a) It is entirely possible that not every producer of oil will respond to a request to sell oil to you in EUR. This would be because (i) they positively want $ receipts for some reason of their own and (ii) they don't choose to involve themselves in the FX market. But my point above - that you will find plenty of ready sellers who will quote you oil in EUR if that's what you ask for - stands.

(b) the fact that ICE and NYMEX use dollars as their conventional currency in no way alters the truth of the above assertion. (If you want to mix it on financial derivatives, you have come to the right place!)

- - - - - - -

Post Script: I have just seen the fruits of your diligence in searching out links. In brief:
1. CBS - those quotations (per se) do not impinge on the truth of what I have said
2. 'Petroeuro' - the liquidity which is central to today's picture did not exist in 1971
3. 'Oil - the rise...' - an ignorant comment (I know full well your view is shared by many: that was never in doubt!)
4. 'Petrodollar warfare' - I agree with the quotation given, but so what?
5. 'Petrodollar hegemony' - same responses as per points 2 & 4 above
6. 'Deep in Debt' - correct: what he is refering to is sheiks (or indeed the Chinese) potentially switching out of $ assets, again this has nothing to do with the point.

Summary: for sure, the US has a lot to worry about in respect of its deficit, the attraction of $ assets to overseas investors, & the fate of the $. But nominally quoting the oil price in $ has nothing fundamental to do with this in the market of 2006.

1 January 2007 at 19:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say. The old testament is not really an unbiased source when it comes to discussing babylonian history. It was a powerful empire, one of the first in man's history, which bordered Palestine and was a threat to the Jews.

Unsurprisingly their history then tells us that they were a bunch of evil men who brought nothing good to the world. It is akin to reading the history of today as written by a muslim fundamentalist - would that give you a true and fair picture of the USA?

1 January 2007 at 21:23  
Anonymous Colin said...

T.W. Hereward,

Thanks your comments. Naturally, it is always possible that I am wrong and you are right. Afterall, I only have second-hand information available for drawing conclusions. Maybe you have more reliable information. Are you possibly a trader yourself? I am always willing to learn.

Your argument is that that oil is not traded in dollars or at least nobody is forced to trade oil for dollars. In this regard, your point that "liquidity which is central to today's picture did not exist in 1971" is a rather strong argument. However, I have a few questions.

I. Are you saying that no secret agreements between the US, Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries existed or exist today?

Because it is difficult for me to imagine that a Republican congressman, who serves on the House Financial Services Committee, the International Relations committee, and the Joint Economic Committee, doesn't have more knowledge about this matter than we do.

II. Isn't it correct that oil is mainly traded in US dollars and that the US has an interest to keep it that way?

III. Doesn't the Federal Bank in the US constantly expand the amount of dollars and aren't these newly produced dollars able to buy oil and other goods around the world?

IV. Doesn't the additional money supply of the US worldwide lead to inflation, i.e. the money saved can buy less and less every year?

V. Hence, isn't inflation an indirect form of taxation by the printing press?

VI. With regard to the taxation of the world by the US printing press, isn't it correct that the M3 measure of money supply, i.e. the amount of money, has increased during the last 10 years at a average annual rate of 8.2% and that the Federal Bank of the US recently abolished the publication of the M3 measure so that we are now left in the dark about their inflation of the money supply?

1 January 2007 at 21:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddam may have bequeathed to the world a new city, but it is possessed by an ancient spirit. It is complete with an opulent palace, and a most impressive throne room. But who will the next occupant be?

It is occupied by "the beast"
The USA , lead by the whore (ex cheerleader and still a queer)of Babylon George bush and his Satanic family

1 January 2007 at 22:31  
Anonymous t.w.hereward said...

Colin -

I. Don't know

II. pt(i) yes (but not as important as you'd previously suggested); pt(ii) no, not a fundamental interest (maybe a sentimental / pride-based / intangible interest - 'Brand America' kind of thing)

III. pt(i) believe so, am not an expert; pt(ii) if so, then qualified yes: if the value of the $ is thereby eroded they will need correspondingly more of these dollars to buy stuff (in competition with folks with frmer currencies) - hence, no type of clever trick or panacea

IV. directionally perhaps, but in absolute terms world inflation has, for the past 10 years, been consistently very low by post-war standards - so, not an issue at the global level (nor at the national level for most OECD)

V. see IV.

VI. see IV: (as an individual and businessman I care most about the outcome)

Keep asking qns, Colin. Sorry if that sounds condescending.

1 January 2007 at 23:59  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitch - a fellow refugee from carnage elsewhere? (I come here in disguise!)

2 January 2007 at 00:02  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the village" seems to have disappeared
some kind of nuclear catastrophe?

2 January 2007 at 00:39  
Anonymous Voyager said...

You said that Kant, Mises, Hayek etc are wrong. Why? Voyager said so. In your view, that's sufficient proof.

Never said they were "wrong"...........I merely said Hayek reads like a provincial solicitor and that is my considered opinion after reading all his works; have you ?

Von Mises and the Austrian School have a particular Classical Economics standpoint which has serious limitations; I am sure your Economics degree covered such matters Colin.

Kant is delightful, but best read in German. It is probably best if you read J. L. Paton's book "The Moral Law" otherwise. He tries to make universalisable that which he has learned in Koenigsberg but fails to say what he does when someone else - like Jean-Paul Satre simply refuses to accept his Grundnorm or his Categorical Imperative. You can act in accordance with a putative universalisable rule and your neighbour decides his moral compass is situational and non-binding in any universalisable way. You are thus predictable and he is not..............rather like the world of today.

You Colin, are rather like Neville Chamberlain forming binding and solemn agreements with Adolf Hitler, confident you both share the same approach to Truth. You must recall that the Categorical Imperative is not voluntary.

The C. I. relies upon individuals subordinating their own wants to the Universal Law and acting in conformity with what might be comfortably substituted by a Rousseauesque "General Will" rather like the devout Catholic Hoess attending Church each Sunday with his loving family yet running Auschwitz-Birkenau in accordance with the Categorical Imperative which told him to obey the Orders of The State as a good citizen

2 January 2007 at 07:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PH - more news from the diaspora, Bunty has turned up at C's - A Small Update From Yesterday, 31.12.06.

But the churchyard has suffered depradations enough, so - over and out.

(leaves respectfully and closes gate behind)

2 January 2007 at 10:56  
Anonymous Colin said...


Thanks for your reply. You always distract from the main issue. The issue was the invasion of Iraq and the hanging of its leader (UNEDITED SADDAM HANGING **Graphic**).

My point was that aggression is not acceptable and that civilization is a product of peaceful and voluntary cooperation.

You replied by quoting Mao that aggression is acceptable if it serves your purpose or that of the West. And as evidence you claimed that the West became rich by military conquest.

In my reply to your claims, I indicated counterevidence, namely countries which grew rich not by conquest but by the free market.

Now you are talking about what you think and believe, what I should read according to you etc. But you didn't provide any evidence disproving my point that peaceful and voluntary cooperation, i.e. the free market, makes countries richer and the life of people better than aggression and conquest. I beg you pardon, but your replies neither proves your argument nor disproves my point.

Britain and the USA became the envy of and the model for the world not because of its aggressions but because of its highly developed democracies and industrial development which are the consequence of the Magna Carta and the freedom of the people from the aggression of the rulers. Freedom from aggression and not aggression made the Western culture, and especially the British and the American people, great.

A historian, Professor Ralph Raico, explained it well in his The Rise, Fall, and Renaissance of Classical Liberalism: "Decentralization and the division of power have been the hallmarks of the history of Europe. After the fall of Rome, no empire was ever able to dominate the continent. Instead, Europe, became a complex mosaic of competing nations, principalities, and city-states. The various rulers found themselves in competition with each other. If one of them indulged in predatory taxation or arbitrary confiscations of property, he might well lose his most productive citizens, who could "exit," together with their capital. The kings also found powerful rivals in ambitious barons and in religious authorities who were backed by an international Church. Parliaments emerged that limited the taxing power of the king, and free cities arose with special charters that put the merchant elite in charge.

By the Middle Ages, many parts of Europe, especially in the west, had developed a culture friendly to property rights and trade. On the philosophical level, the doctrine of natural law — deriving from the Stoic philosophers of Greece and Rome — taught that the natural order was independent of human design and that rulers were subordinate to the eternal laws of justice. Natural-law doctrine was upheld by the Church and promulgated in the great universities, from Oxford and Salamanca to Prague and Krakow."

In your view, the British Empire is the model, the legacy of Britain. Wrong. The British Empire fell like all the other empires of the world, e.g. the Egyptian, Alexandrian, Roman, Mongolian, Ottoman, Maya, Spanish, French, Sovjet etc. Empires rise and fall, but the idea of freedom from aggression lives on forever. Humankind will always remember and admire the impressive cultural developments in democratic Athens, Britain and the USA.

To avoid any misunderstanding, let me say clearly, I am absolutely pro-American. Firstly, in my experience the Americans are the most kind and generous people in the world. And secondly, if the world needs an hegemonic empire, I prefer the USA instead of the postdemocratic EU or China because the US has a much better track record of supporting freedom and a better system for the balance of power than their competitiors. The American empire is the most benign empire the history of the world has witnessed so far. Moreover, the American people have in the past always returned to democracy. I seriously doubt that Americans would accept that a supranational organization similar to the EU bureaucracy runs their country. America is still the model and the hope but only if it remains what made the UK and the USA such great countries, i.e. models for freedom and not for aggression.

Aggression is the disease of civilization and not its cure.

2 January 2007 at 14:38  
Anonymous Colin said...


Now, I understand you much better after reading your comment on His Grace's post about the BBC and Christmas. You wrote:

"to preserve the Nation from the Market."

i.e. you are a socialist.

No wonder, that we can't find any common ground. Socialists need coercion, i.e. aggression, to force the population to behave according to their ideas for reaching their alleged utopian paradise. But you are not a secular socialist because you added:

"The whole nature of Capitalism untempered by Religion (which Victorian England was) is to commoditise everything and eradicate differentiation."

i.e. you are in favor of religious socialism

You prove that Mises wasn't entirely incorrect by claiming in his book "Omnipotent Government" that "Virtually all the Christian churches and sects have espoused the principles of socialism and interventionism."

And you also prove my view that socialism is Christianity without God, that socialism substituted the state for the Christian God, hence that socialism is the new religion of the Western world. Thank you, Voyager.

2 January 2007 at 16:02  
Anonymous Voyager said...

You replied by quoting Mao that aggression is acceptable if it serves your purpose or that of the West. And as evidence you claimed that the West became rich by military conquest.

I am becoming convinced that you are bonkers Colin and I say that advisedly. I stated simply that The West has established its position because of wars it waged in the past. It was not free trade that opened up Japan to Commander Perry; it was not free-trade that secured Western concessions in China - it was war and opium.

You live in a Disneyfied version of history which is at variance with fact.

"to preserve the Nation from the Market."

How the world is changed - this position used to be called Conservatism but in Colinworld it is Socialism. Just to refresh your impaired understanding Socialism does not believe in The Nation as such and has no role for nation states. Capitalism too has no role for the nation and will disagggregate it into a commoditised trading floor without any loyalties to people or institutions. Every Factories Act, every Licensing Act, every Companies Act, every Planning Act is asserting the rights of the Polity over the Market and always has done.

2 January 2007 at 20:29  
Anonymous Voyager said...

"The whole nature of Capitalism untempered by Religion (which Victorian England was) is to commoditise everything and eradicate differentiation."

i.e. you are in favor of religious socialism

I think you should express that in Symbolic Logic Format Colin. Frankly I do not follow your leap from one to the other and see two unmatched statements. I appreciate you are not trained in Philosophy but probably English but I cannot follow any logical connection between these statements

2 January 2007 at 20:32  
Anonymous Colin said...


"to preserve the Nation from the Market."

How the world is changed - this position used to be called Conservatism"

Traditionally, it has been called mercantilism. According to the Encyclopedia of Economics: "Mercantilism is economic nationalism for the purpose of building a wealthy and powerful state. Adam Smith coined the term "mercantile system" to describe the system of political economy that sought to enrich the country by restraining imports and encouraging exports. This system dominated western European economic thought and policies from the sixteenth to the late eighteenth century."

Protectionism, i.e. to preserve the Nation from the Market, aims at shielding a privileged group from competition. The effect is that the population has to pay the higher price, in other words the effect is similar to taxes on products and sending the tax revenue to the privileged businessmen. An excellent example were the British Corn Laws. They restricted the free flow of corn between Great Britain and foreign countries in order to shield the agricultural landlords from competition. Richard Cobden from Manchester fought for a repeal of the Corn Laws and free trade. He was successful and "For eighty-five years free trade reigned as England’s national policy, influencing the commercial principles of every major country in the world." Today, the socialism-oriented EU has become the heir of mercantilism, protectionism or as you like to call it conservatism in order to "preserve" Europe from the global market.

At the time of Cobden and the Corn Laws, protectionism was sometimes called conservatism because its aim was to conserve the privileges of landlords. Today, the term conservatism is mainly used for those opposing the socialist agenda, namely state interference with the free market. There are two forms of socialism, namely people's socialism and corporate socialism (aka protectionism). Both forms want to use the coercive power of the state for forcing the people of a nation to transfer money to privileged groups, i.e. suffering people or suffering industries.

You wrote: "Just to refresh your impaired understanding Socialism does not believe in The Nation as such and has no role for nation states."

Wrong again, Voyager. There is a form called National Socialism. It had precisely the same strategy you are advocating, namely protection of national industries, war and conquest.

You wrote: "Capitalism too has no role for the nation and will disagggregate it into a commoditised trading floor without any loyalties to people or institutions."

That was precisely what the National Socialists said and they equated capitalism with the Jews, similar to today's Islamists and the Left which deny Israel any right of existence.

2 January 2007 at 21:57  
Anonymous Colin said...


You wrote: "The whole nature of Capitalism untempered by Religion (which Victorian England was) is to commoditise everything and eradicate differentiation."

I concluded that "you are in favor of religious socialism"

You replied: "I think you should express that in Symbolic Logic Format Colin. Frankly I do not follow your leap from one to the other and see two unmatched statements. I appreciate you are not trained in Philosophy but probably English but I cannot follow any logical connection between these statements."

Yes, indeed, sometimes I have the impression that logic is not your strength. As I explained above you are advocating corporate socialism. And you complained about "Capitalism untempered by Religion". Hence, you want to temper capitalism, i.e. the free market, by religion. Socialism based on religious motives = religious socialism. BTW, also the islamists want to temper capitalism by religion. They want to establish a form of islamic socialism.

I am wondering how you want to temper capitalism by Christian religion? People always do want they think is in their own interest. How do you want to force them to do what you consider to be correct behavior? Are you advocating that you or Archbishop Williams decide what may be imported and at what price? Or what are you proposing?

But maybe you just wanted to demonstrate how intelligent you are by uttering some erudite sounding sentences and you didn't think any further, yet. Well, that's OK if it makes you happy.

Let me disprove your claim that war is necessary to open countries for trade by pointing out that the Western world including Great Britain is now trading with China and India without opium wars and colonial occupation. According to your principles, China and India would have the right to open the UK for trade by selling opium, by war and occupation. Maybe they will do that in the future when they have become more powerful as a revenge if you and other intellectual giants are able to install protective tariffs for their goods in order "to preserve the Nation from the Market." Since the UK is a small country compared to China and India, it certainly is not a wise strategy to advocate aggression and conquest in international affairs instead of free trade. God save the marvellous British people from short-sighted aggression advocating nationalists like you!

At the stone age, protectionists like you would have called for the protection of the tribal stone cutting industry from imports of bronze tools to preserve the Tribe from the Market. In consequence, your tribe would have vanished in the long-run from the surface of the earth.

2 January 2007 at 22:56  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Unfortunately Colin you are obsessed with the present tense. I contended that The West established its position by what it had done in the past and that it was on very thin ice if it thought it could maintain its position in the future.

Britain trades with China today in a one-sided relationship - as a huge importer of Chinese goods. Britain is not a major exporter but a major importer. British trade with China in terms of British-produced goods is miniscule.

You should recall Colin that we live in the Elizabethan Era not the Victorian Era "The whole nature of Capitalism untempered by Religion (which Victorian England was) is to commoditise everything and eradicate differentiation

It is the case that Capitalism does not recognise any national Culture, Identity or restriction on what can be bought and sold. There is no morality in Capitalism - it is a simple transactional relationship which can be exploitative. Only those who are purblind like yourself would not see this as self-evident. Samuel Colgate built his tolietries empire by pledging 10% his income throughout his life to Christian charities...........Cadbury like Rowntree was a Quaker business, Salts was Congregationalist.

Perhaps you should read some Max Weber............or simply Economic History.

3 January 2007 at 07:25  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Wrong again, Voyager. There is a form called National Socialism. It had precisely the same strategy you are advocating, namely protection of national industries, war and conquest.

Whoever mentioned Protectionism ? Ah - yes Colin did.

Please elaborate on National-Socialism and discuss what aspects of Socialism were present in the German economy of the period. What is Socialism in your world Colin ?

3 January 2007 at 07:29  
Anonymous USpace said...

A little something from several years ago:

Saddam Be Toast!

Qusay Qusay blow away
Saddam will soon be like toast
he deserves a public roast

Saddam makes men
rape other men's wives
he's such garbage
he deserves to die

I hope he doesn't
die in bed
and we need proof
from teeth in his head

One son rapes little girls
then feeds them to dogs
he should be smashed
then fed to some hogs

They are human trash
of the highest order
if one says they should live
then one's way out of order

He makes terrorists' families rich
you know it's time we take him down
please try to understand this itch
to put him down in the ground

Being out of touch
can be real bad
but it's really much
more too sad

Let Saddam be toast
his guts like jelly
no more will he boast
with knives in his belly

What a Happy New Year
it will be
when Saddam and Sons
cease to be!

re 3.18.03

absurd thought -
God of the Universe wants
all planets Islamic

Earth is one of many
in process of conversion

absurd thought -
God of the Universe wants
many Taliban planets

stonings and beheadings
billions served daily

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
allow Islamic conquest

enjoy the dhimmi life
of second class citizen

All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
Help Halt Terrorism Today!


17 September 2008 at 05:09  

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