Monday, September 01, 2008


There are points I made long ago here, but don't keep coming back to here. On the commenting sections of other sites, however, there are themes I keep returning to, sometimes linking to older posts here. Sort of hoping, y'know, that they might stick around and read other things and conclude I'm the bee's knees. (I've inched up from 40 different readers a day to 50 somehow. I check it every few months. And none of them are coming over for the Abba pictures anymore. Hmm, I'll bet I can get up to sixty with a few more of those.)

The following is a comment of mine on Steve Sailer's blog. The context was a new commenter asking why everyone there hated neocons so much. He thought the idea of proxy wars elsewhere rather than large ones here was a good one. Martin, who I think is a regular, gave him a decent but flawed answer: there won't be another of those big European wars again, so we don't have to guard against them. So don't think that paleocons want wars. (That's an unfair summary of mine). My reply is a common theme for me when I go elsewhere.

Of course no one wants enormous wars. Anon's point was that the paleo method brings them about anyway. I think the evidence is mixed on that, but there is at least some reason to claim that the American isolationists and whatever British paleos were called contributed to the large scale World Wars coming and finding us whether we wanted it or not; and much larger than they would have been.

I tend to be a mix, myself. The problem with neocon reasoning is that it works well in retrospect, but not so well going forward. We can look back and see a hundred places in any of a hundred wars and legitimately say "If we had stopped them there, we wouldn't have had to fight them under worse circumstances there." That is not so useful as one might hope, however. There are also past situations where we could legitimately speculate that party A responding to a small threat from party B escalated into an unnecessary war.

The paleos get it wrong because Western Civilization will have to fight proxy wars somewhere or we will fight them everywhere, and there will be no perfect spot to make a stand. Every choice presented to us - Vietnam, Korea, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Iraq - will have serious downsides as well. Yet we cannot avoid them all. This is because paleos are isolationists who became conservative, who still think that because most problems will go away if we leave them alone, therefore all problems will go away if we leave them alone.

The neocons go wrong in underestimating the messiness of the places they choose. They tend to dwell too much on how things could improve if everything goes right. But never does everything go right. Whenever they guess wrong, it costs Western Civilization more than they expected. This is because neocons are liberals who became conservative, and still have the starry-eyed urge to fix stuff.

No comments: