Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

From Gavinthink-Defense is a Public Good. So spend less on it.

Please note: The Neutralist is posting the original work of Gavin Andresen from his blog, Gavinthink. You can see it on his blog here. He is worth reading on other subjects as well.

When economists talk about something being a "public good" they don't mean "nice stuff that the government does."

The definition of a public good is something that is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. Or in non-econogeek-speak, stuff that doesn't run out no matter how many people use it, and stuff that benefits everybody whether they pay for it or not.

National defense is a public good. I'm not saying all national militaries are "good" -- I think lots of militaries around the world are evil and the world would be a better place without them. But the idea of national defense is a public good-- assuming you're pretty happy with your government and don't want Foreign Invaders to take over your country, everybody benefits from a national military standing guard and keeping you safe. And assuming the Foreign Invader Threat doesn't grow as your population grows, the same military can protect 100 thousand people as easily as it can protect 100 million.

National defense is non-excludable and non-rivalrous.

One funny thing about public goods is since they're non-rivalrous, you can serve more and more people while spending the same amount of money. But we don't do that; we spend more and more money on the military. In all the debates about "cutting" military spending the most radical proposals still keep spending at some constant percentage of GDP.


We should be able to get the same level of safety from Foreign Invaders with a constant level of military spending, no matter how large our population or economy grows. We'd all be much better off, and much safer, if we cut military spending by 90% and spent the money on just about anything else.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What was that all about? Libya at war's end?

Naturally, a country swimming on light crude makes one think the overthrow might have been about securing some cheap gas, not for us lumpen slugs, but maybe for an oil company or four. The Neutralist sure doesn't know, just lets his inner paranoiac out. This guy has an idea it might have been Mo suggesting al alternative monetary system. Again, we don't know. Maybe such interpretations are whacko, but no more than the belief it was peace,freedom and goodness led NATO and us into support of the noble Libyans.

Speaking of the noble Libyan opposition, This has been hard to miss:

You may not have seen it with one of our grande dame:

What a barbarian.

With a fair trial, Mo could have been sentenced to death. It is a sad commentary that his demise means the world is no better or worse.

See Eric for alternate take on Brother-Leader.

Col. Patrick Lang has an interesting and useful website called Sic Semper Tyrannis. He was early on calling for intervention. I do not think he came out of this looking at all well. Back on the 25th of February he wrote, "As a "card carrying" non-interventionist (isolationist maybe?), I think that I have the "street cred" to call for intervention in Libya." This of course is like the people I met in a previous incarnation who would say, "I never took a dime from the government," to justify a little feeding at the trough. He may disagree, but I thought him gung ho and blithe. Anyway,he should give up his card.

That was then. Maintenant is another story. Last Friday, he wrote, "How did he die? Who cares? IMO the "Gs" killed him after they got through kicking him around. They are not soldiers. They are undisciplined civilian enthusiasts with a smidgin of training. If MQ had died in an ambush or as the "Gs" shot their way into his hideout a lot of you would think nothing of it." Hey it happens, he wrote, he was a cheerleader, someone else get the mop. No pottery barn for The Colonel.

Oh well, this wasn't as costly as some of our other interventions. Onto Uganda.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I do believe in spooks, I do believe in spooks!

Not really/ What I believe in is conspiracy theories. Okay, believe in is a tad strong. When I was a kid, I heard it bandied about that the oil companies had paid to stop an inventor of a pill from marketing it. A teacher spouted this in a junior high class.

Hey, i want to be one of the cool people and dismissing conspiracy theories is the way to do it. Unfortunately, my government makes it hard.

No, there has to be at least some plausibility. Fortunately, your government is giving you stuff you have to question. The Iranian plot is so inane, that you have to ask, is this my country on crack?

So I'm waiting of another WTC7 explanation.

Lesson here kids; you don't have to believe any conspiracy theory, but your nuts if you think it ain't possible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Why do the words Turner Joy pop into my mind?

The Iranian assassination plot may be what the government says it is, even putting aside the timing questions linked to on Drudge. Why would the Persians do this in DC? One guy questioned on NPR said they might want to provoke conflict to solve domestic divisions. Why not kill a US ambassador somewhere else with less effort required?

We at the Neutralist remember the Tonkin Gulf Incident and Resolution. It is not that the government always fabricates, but sometimes it does.

Justin thinks it's fake, and many of the commenters at Sic Semper Tyrannis were not gentle.

Boob bait for the Bubbas or are we wanting confrontation to take the nation's mind off our problems? What do we know?