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Strange Events May Be Brewing and Honduras is Their Focus

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The selection of Costa Rican President Arias to mediate the dispute between former Honduran President Zelaya and the Government of interim President Micheletti appears to have been a wise one. It may be useful to speculate a bit about why and by whom President Arias was selected, as well as about the likely impact of these things on the power of Venezuelan President Chávez in Latin America.

The possible role of President Arias as a mediator was suggested to Zelaya during his 7 July Washington meeting with Secretary Clinton, and Zelaya agreed to it. Secretary Clinton promptly telephoned President Arias to ask for his help and he agreed. However, hers was not the only contact with President Arias regarding the Honduran situation: he had been asked the day before by Honduran interim President Micheletti to consider playing such a role. I am unaware of any reports indicating that Chávez had sought Arias' selection, and the United States Government has said nothing to indicate that it has been in discussions with the interim Government of Honduras; it seems not to have been.

Zelaya and Micheletti went to Costa Rica as contemplated, and are to meet separately with Arias. Their positions, at least for now, are unchanged: Zelaya says he must be reinstated and Micheletti says that's out of the question. As I suggested in the linked article, this may prevent, or at least postpone, a military confrontation between the Honduran military and forces from other countries, principally Chávez ally, Nicaragua.

During the 1980s, President Arias played a substantial role in efforts to decrease the influence of the United States over much of Latin America and to bring some measure of stability to the region. He received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for doing so. However, President Arias is not very chummy with Chávez. During his barely successful campaign for reelection as President of Costa Rica in 2006, Arias' principal opponent was Ottón Solis, much favored by Chávez.

Things seem to be happening behind, but not all that far behind, the curtain. On 7 July, the same day that she met with Zelaya and telephoned President Arias, Secretary Clinton submitted to an interview by Globovisión. The interview was at the State Department in Washington. Globovisión, one of the very few broadcast outlets in Venezuela still able to criticize the Chávez government, has been under vigorous attack by that Government, and may soon be closed; its principals are under criminal charges. Here are comments by a blogger in Venezuela, who does not much care for Chávez:

Questions were standard and Hillary responses standard . . . Still, she made it clear that things in Venezuela are not kosher and that she is aware of it.
***
No matter what, the interview does not solve anything, does not protect Globovisión from being closed though it makes very clear that the price Chavez will have to pay for it will be very high. Interestingly, the Honduras part . . . revealed how irrelevant Venezuela will become as negotiations keep going.
***
As soon as the interview was over I switched to VTV to watch La Hojilla reaction. I was not disappointed as Mario Silva was livid, as furious as I ever saw him. . . . Proving that the interview hit a raw nerve. The top was Silva belching "who named Arias?" betraying his resentment at 1) his boss not being on the forefront anymore and 2) that Arias did the most to block a commie takeover of Central America 20 years ago.

Alberto Federico Ravell, head of Globovisión, was interviewed on 8 July in Miami as he returned to Venezuela from Washington.  He is convinced that

Clinton supports Globovisión's efforts to speak out against Hugo Chávez's government. . . .In every thing she said I was seeing a red beret . . . .It was incredible that the same day she met with ousted Honduran President Zelaya, she also met with representatives from a television channel that is seen by Chávez as part of the opposition.

I think that the full transcript of the Clinton interview confirms that she was, indeed, talking about Chávez, whose media censorship continues unabated. A somewhat different take on the interview is provided here. If, as claimed in that article, Secretary Clinton wanted to "to lower the temperature" in the United States' relations with Venezuela, neither her Globovisión appearance itself, nor statements such as these may have been the best way to go about it:

Clinton said that what the White House hopes to see "over the next months in Venezuela is a recognition that you can be a very strong leader and have very strong opinions without trying to take on too much power and trying to silence all your critics."

About Dan Miller

  • Clavos

    I don’t think so, Cindy, because she has ONLY the low purr, and most of the time I don’t even listen for it.

    But the “whiny” meow? Now, THAT you can’t ignore.

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Dan(Miller) I just noticed the message I got from you one month ago. And you thought Panama was slow…lol

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy,

    Since I also have a cat, one who has gotten a lot noisier since we moved to Israel (he also has picked up on the aggressive dughri culture here), I looked at the article too.

    According to a zoologist who wrote a book on cats, purring is not necessarily a sign of contentent – it can also be a sign of gratitude. As it is, Flash, our cat, has a specific, and very short meow to indicate that he recognizes (appreciates?) something we’ve done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Ruvy,

    What kind of cat is Flash? You took her over there from the US? I remember you mentioned her before. I have the feeling that I know she is a she.

    I had a Maine Coon cat. She trilled. Brrrrt.

    The cat in that article looks so incredibly pet-able. I like the caption. :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’ve always found male cats more lovable and less skidish.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A public opinion sample on skidishness

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy,

    Flash is a he, not a she. He is tan, with medium length fur, dark tan rings on his tail, a white underbelly, and a very compelling stare; according to my sons, he is a cream mackerel tabby.

    The reason he is with us here is that he is part of the two promises I made my wife when we moved to Israel. The first promise was not to live in a place with high humidity (like Tel Aviv, ReHovot, etc). The second was to bring Flash with us. I have the strong suspicion that if I had refused to bring Flash, it would have been just me alone here, and that wouldn’t have been worth the sacrifice or the move.

    So, here he is, laying in his strategic spot between the kitchen and the salon, inspecting and managing the preparation for the Sabbath.

    So far today, he has hustled us for shares from the schnitzel we’re preparing, the chicken we’ve baked, butter my son’s girlfriend had on bread, milk that we all had for cereal or coffee, and cheese that my younger son used in an omelette he made for his girlfriend and himself. He’ll be back this evening hustling us for more chicken and schnitzel.

    You can read more about his adventures at this article at Desicritics from April of this year.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    He’ll be back this evening hustling us for more chicken and schnitzel.

    Does he know (or care) about the Sabbath? :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It’s a kosher-dog (sorry, it’s a cat).

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Reminds me of Hebrew National hot dogs (the ones they used to sell in Costco:

    Slogan: “We Answer to a Higher Authority.”
    Translation: “God Knows What’s In Our Sausages.”

  • Clavos

    In an after-school job I had in high school, I used to help make sausage in a small sausage shop.

    You don’t wanna know, Doc, trust me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You both should have seen the video about the slaughter of animals – kosher or not. It will make your stomach turn. Ever since, I’ve drastically cut down on my consumption of meat. A slice of ham now and then, but no chickens and no beef. I’ll have to go on a fish diet.

  • Clavos

    I have visited a slaughterhouse. The killing part didn’t bother me, but the smell does take some getting used to.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, you should see this video. The cruelty is unbelievable.

  • Clavos

    As I said, the killing of animals for use by humans doesn’t bother me. I’m definitely not a candidate for PETA membership.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Darn! I though that chicken breasts, steaks, pork chops, hamburger and that sort of thing just appeared magically in the meat section of the grocery store, neatly wrapped in plastic. Were they really once live animals? I had no idea.

    As to fish, any experienced scuba diver can tell you that many of them have souls and personalities to about the same extent that most of us do.

    Pass the meat, please; no — that piece. I like rare to medium rare. Thanks.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    You don’t wanna know, Doc, trust me.

    Too late, Clav – I know the sort of things that get into sausages. Still love ‘em; always have.

    :-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    257- Ruvy,

    I tried 3 times to post this comment about your gruesome* tale.

    “What’s next, you big hairless cats?”, he seems to be asking.

    I like this line. Great stuff.

    This story was sort of icky (though very well written and interesting in a cringy sort of way) I like your way of describing people, they seem very real. I can picture them clearly.

    *Dead things have never been my department. I am even less fond of things with pieces missing. If I were your wife, I would not have to ask you to come downstairs…you would be running to see what all the noise was about. Because I would be trying to save the mouse from the cat and probably throwing things at the cat whilst running after it screaming to let go. (Dead mouse?–same noise, less words, no throwing things.)

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Desicritics has posting problems (Sorry never finished the first sentence. Too tired–swimming all day. Second day this summer that it didn’t rain the whole day AND was above 67 degrees. We may actually get a summer now. I plan to stay wet every minute of every good day.)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Shavua Tov,

    Does he know (or care) about the Sabbath? :-)

    I’m told that cats are supposed to be “spiritual” animals by one set of people – and that they carry the greatest amount of tumá (impurity) by others. I generally ignore such nonsense. Flash is a cat. If he can get chicken without working up a sweat, he’ll stare at us concertedly, meow and paw at our legs as much as he thinks is necessary to get the chicken he wants.

    From his point of view, he is probably aware of the Sabbath because we all gather seated around the table, make strange noises (singing Shalom Aleikhem, reading parts of the Book of Proverbs, and blessing wine) and we all get up from the table to ritually wash our hands. When we are seated and have had our slices of Hallá, he starts in meowing. He knows he’s getting chicken (unless it is the once or twice a year that we have dairy for the Sabbath – nasty surprise for him).

    As for spirituality, am I supposed to interpret the bird whose head he ate and remains he left us one Yom Kippur as a Sin Offering?

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Cindy,

    Thank you for your kind words (I think).

    It seems you are more fond of mice than you are of cats. I always appreciated Flash’s skills as a mouser. He did earn his keep catching all variety of field mice that wandered in to the house in St. Paul.

    Mice spread disease and contaminate food. As cute as they are when they squeak, they can squeak OUTSIDE my home. So far, we have not had muouse problems in Israel. Both Jerusalem and Ma’ale Levona have healthy cat brigades who keep the rat and mouse population in check.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Hebrew National were always my preferred brand of hot dog in the States (they are not available here to my knowledge). A couple of years after we left the States Hebrew National started having trouble with their kashrut certification (that Higher Authority) and it eventually was pulled by the OU (I think). In the unlikely event that we were to return to the States (even for a visit) we would by the kosher Ballpark Franks (by Armour – feh).

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Nathan’s were famous in NY.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    you are more fond of mice than you are of cats

    Not quite. It’s the same when the cat was after a frog. I am just very unfond of live death scenes. And it’s not like I throw rocks at the cat! I mostly just aim so things miss, but scare the cat off the prey. Sometimes pushing the cat with a broom works.

    I do not know what one does with mice infestations. I think you call someone else–a relative, a friend or a husband–that is as far as my part goes and then, as far as I know, the mice magically disappear. Don’t ask me. It’s not my department.

    BTW, the best hot dog I ever ate was made by Thumann’s. It is either a natural casing beef and pork (sorry Ruvy) or a jumbo. Not all Thumman’s hot dogs are the same; most taste average. I have been trying to track down which one it is for 3 years. They are hard to come by as only Costco sells them and then, not always.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I do not know what one does with mice infestations. I think you call someone else–a relative, a friend or a husband–that is as far as my part goes and then, as far as I know, the mice magically disappear. Don’t ask me. It’s not my department.

    Cindy, you do not realize how terribly self-revelatory what you wrote is.

    Terror infestations are very similar to mice infestations. There must be deaths in order to end them. That’s an unpleasant fact that I must face, like it or not. And there is no getting around the brutality of that fact.

    You remind me of the secretaries who screamed with terror when there was a mouse jumping up and down in the trash can where I was a messenger. Called in to “handle” the problem, I did. The mouse died. The self-same secretraries screamed at me for that. Getting rid of the mouse was not their department. And the mouse was so cute when it squeaked – only not in their garbage can.

    They had the vocal cords to scream and whine about the mouse – but not the guts nor stomach to deal with the problem – not even the willingness to recognize that sometimes unpleasant solutions must be utilized.

  • Baronius

    I just heard that Honduran authorities have found computers with the results of Zelaya’s ballot initiative…the one that never made it to the polls. Pretty funny.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Baronius,

    This blogger in Honduras has quite a lot to say about the phony referendum results and other matters.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    275 – Ruvy

    Feel free to read whatever you want into my comments. I don’t put worms on fish hooks either. I wonder what you’ll make of that…lol

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    psst Ruvy, I just asked my husband what he would do if we had mice…He said he’d have to call someone else. He doesn’t want to hurt an animal. haha!

    I just hired a woman to help me with the yard work. She is strong and tough and also sweet with a generous heart. She brings her little daughter to work and they fish in our lake. She said if I wanted to try, she’d put the worm on for me. I like her.

    I bet she would take care of any mice we get! There is always room to be what you are and let someone else be what they are. We’re each good at different things. I cook pretty well and will probably beat you at poker. You make mice disappear. :-)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    I don’t put worms on fish hooks either. I wonder what you’ll make of that…lol

    That you don’t put worms on your hook – what’s there to make of it. A fisherman can come to his own conclusions. Given that I do not fish, I don’t know enough.

    A woman who can win $220 at a poker table is someone to be respected and treated warily. I’m not good at poker, but I do know when to get up from a game. That itself is one heck of a money-saver….

  • AntonioSosa

    Hillary is on the same page as Obama.

    In agreement with Obama’s policy of hurting our friends and helping our enemies, Clinton handed democratic Hondurans a poisoned apple — Oscar Arias as a mediator.

    Arias’s recommendation that a criminal thug like Zelaya be reinstated in Honduras is insulting and despicable to any honest and law-abiding human being!

    But it was to be expected from Oscar Arias, who PRETENDS to support peace, but has never really defended peace.

    Arias helped Chavez/Ortega enslave Nicaraguans. Ronald Reagan wanted the Sandinistas and their leader Daniel Ortega vanquished. But Arias got the Sandinistas to “agree to hold internationally supervised elections”. And we can see the results now — Nicaragua is now being enslaved by Chavez/Ortega.

    Oscar Arias has NOT advanced and will NOT advance the cause of peace. On the contrary, as we can see in Honduras, Arias is doing the opposite – he is helping the forces of violence and evil – Castro, Chávez and Zelaya – trample on the law and on the human rights of the Honduran people.

    Oscar Arias is the perfect example of how the Nobel Prize, which has been politicized, is biased and corrupt. It’s seldom if ever awarded to the really deserving, like Pope John Paul II. It is often awarded to people who can be used by the forces of evil to manipulate public opinion, as it’s happening now with Oscar Arias regarding Honduras.

    We pray Hondurans are able to defend themselves from Chavez, Zelaya, Obama, Clinton, Insulza, Arias and other forces of evil who PRETEND to protect human rights and to ‘care for the poor,’ but are actually trampling on human rights and multiplying poverty, corruption, violence and despair.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Antonio,

    The gringos have gone away, and are not paying attention to this issue anymore. It’s just Latin America – it don’t matter to them. The mainstream media is mostly ignoring what is happening in Honduras, with the exception of Agence France-Presse and Pajamas Media.

    What happens in Honduras matters to me, Antonio. I see what is going on there as the same kind of de-legitimization that we in Israel face not only from the world media, but from the traitorous “left-wing” Hebrew “press”.

  • Franco

    142 – Cindy

    Post 121 and 131 asserts – “The well intentioned liberal and anarchist reformers are always the unwitting harbingers of tyranny.”

    Cindy says – “Hey truth sayers…evidence please.”

    Since you asked

  • Franco

    213 – Ruvy

    Franco, is there any news out of Central America that you can enlighten us with?

    Well Ruvy, Dan (Miller) is in Central America, I’m in South American, why down in Chile. One can’t get alot more South then that.

    But this just in. The Honduran ambassador was expelled from Argentina last week. Today, Honduras started seeking what ever is left of relations with Argentina through the Argentine embassy in Israel. What can you tell us about this?

    Argentina expels Honduran ambassador from Argentina. Honduras now seeks relations with Argentina through the Argentine embassy in Israel

  • Ruvy

    It’s simple, Franco. Our government recognizes the government in Honduras as the de jure – the lawful government. The fellow who was kicked out was kicked out legitimately, according to us. In the instance of Honduras, at least, our Foreign Ministry is doing the RIGHT thing instead of the easy thing. That’s the deal. This means that every Israeli embassy is automatically the “interest section” for the gpovernment of Honduras.

    Comprendes?

  • Franco

    Sí, yo entiendo,

    and I think it is a class act Ruvy on Israels part. What do you think of them apples?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    283,

    Franco,

    Chavez, or anyone else in particular aside, let’s take this scenari. If an actual dictator were to emerge in a right-wing country where the right-wing has stolen all the wealth, how would it be the fault of liberals and anarchists?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Because what I hear you saying is basically, if anyone dares to oppose a system where bullies are ‘free’ to steal all the wealth in search of a fairer way of life, they are at fault for risking falling under dictatorship.

    Really? Why would anyone want to change an already free society? If it’s free they must already be happy, right?

    I mean, why are there liberals? Never mind anarchists, they won’t be supporting any govt.

  • Franco

    287 – Cindy

    Franco,

    Chavez, or anyone else in particular aside, let’s take this scenari. If an actual dictator were to emerge in a right-wing country where the right-wing has stolen all the wealth, how would it be the fault of liberals and anarchists?

    It wouldn’t be the fault of liberals and anarchists it that were the case. However, the historical record is clear. The left-wing socialists — Mao, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro — in the name of equality, have killed hundreds of millions of people and only produced economic misery, political backwardness and oppression, and their societies are still struggling to emerge from under the wreckage. The right-wing dictators like Franco and Pinochet killed far fewer people (not that this is an excuse for killing anyone) and the societies they left behind are now vibrant successful liberal market democracies.

    The link I provided you shows a socialist left-wing dictatorship in the making right before you very eyes. And this new dictator likes to make friends who also come from extremely oppressive regimes, i.e., Cuba and Iran.

    Why would anyone want to change an already free society? If it’s free they must already be happy, right?

    It depends on the definition of freedom. For me it is as follows.

    The basic principle of the United States of America is Individual freedom. America is built on the principle that Man possesses Inalienable Rights.

    That these rights belong to each man as an individual — not to “men” as a group or collective;

    That these rights are the unconditional, private, personal, individual possession of each man — not the public, social, collective possession of a group;

    That these rights are granted to man by the fact of his birth as a man — not by an act of society;

    That man holds these rights, not from the Collective nor for the Collective, but against the Collective — as a barrier which the Collective cannot cross;

    That these rights are man’s protection against all other men;

    That only on the basis of these rights can men have a society of freedom, justice, human dignity, and decency.

    The Constitution of the United States of America is not a document that limits the rights of man — but a document that limits the power of society over man.

    “It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.” — Thomas Jefferson to Francois D’Ivernois, 1795

    Since Man has inalienable individual rights, this means that the same rights are held, individually, by every man, by all men, at all times.

    All legitimate rights have one thing in common: they are rights to action, not to rewards from other people. These rights impose no obligations on other people, merely the negative obligation to leave the same rights of others alone. The system guarantees you the chance to work for what you want — not to be given it without effort by somebody else. The right to life does not mean that your neighbors have to feed and clothe you; it means you have the unrestricted right to earn your food and clothes yourself, if necessary by a hard struggle, and that no one can forcibly stop your struggle for these things or steal them from you if and when you have achieved them. In other words: you have the right to act, and to keep the results of your actions, the products you make, to keep them or to trade them with others, if you wish. But you have no right to the actions or products of others, except on terms to which they voluntarily agree.

    I mean, why are there liberals? Never mind anarchists, they won’t be supporting any govt.

    Well this has been a question in my mind about you when you claim to be an anarchist. I can’t see how you can have anything in common with socialism.

    Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, liberal’s demand that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and what it sees as social morality throughout the nation.

    Under this this demand of socolists to use the law, then it must be asked. If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind.

    Cindy, I have heard you speak in many other posts about “law”, and you ask why we even need any. I would find it hard to believer you would not understand the following.

    Self-preservation and self-development are common aspirations among all people. And if everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing.

    But there is also another tendency that is common among people. When they can, they wish to live and prosper at the expense of others. This is no rash accusation. Nor does it come from a gloomy and uncharitable spirit. The annals of history bear witness to the truth of it: the incessant wars, mass migrations, religious persecutions, universal slavery, dishonesty in commerce, and monopolies. This fatal desire has its origin in the very nature of man — in that primitive, universal, and insuppressible instinct that impels him to satisfy his desires with the least possible pain.

    Each of us has a natural right to defend his/her person, his/her liberty, and his/her property. Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.

    What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense. Each of us has a natural right to defend his person, his liberty, and his property. These are the three basic requirements of life, and the preservation of any one of them is completely dependent upon the preservation of the other two. For what are our faculties but the extension of our individuality? And what is property but an extension of our faculties?

    If every person has the right to defend – even by force – his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right – its reason for existing, its lawfulness – is based on individual right. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force – for the same reason – cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

    Man can live and satisfy his wants only by continual labor, by the continual application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

    But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

    Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain – and since labor is pain in itself – it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

    When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

    It is evident, then, that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop this fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

    But, unfortunately, law by no means confines itself to its proper functions. And when it has exceeded its proper functions, it has not done so merely in some inconsequential and debatable matters. The law has gone further than this; it has acted in direct opposition to its own purpose. The law has been used to destroy its own objective: It has been applied to annihilating the justice that it was supposed to maintain; to limiting and destroying rights which its real purpose was to respect. The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder. And it has converted lawful defense into a crime, in order to punish lawful defense.

    How has this perversion of the law been accomplished? And what have been the results?

    The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy.

    But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.

    When the law defends plunder and participates in it, the beneficiaries are spared the shame, danger, and scruple which their acts would otherwise involve. Sometimes the law places the whole apparatus of judges, police, prisons, and gendarmes at the service of the plunderers, and treats the victim — when he defends himself — as a criminal.

    As long as it is admitted that the law may be diverted from its true purpose — that it may violate property instead of protecting it — then everyone will want to participate in making the law, either to protect himself against plunder or to use it for plunder. Political questions will always be prejudicial, dominant, and all-absorbing. There will be fighting at the door of the Legislative Palace, and the struggle within will be no less furious. To know this, it is hardly necessary to examine what transpires in our own legislatures; merely to understand the issue is to know the answer.

    Men naturally rebel against the injustice of which they are victims. Thus, when plunder is organized by law for the profit of those who make the law, all the plundered classes try somehow to enter — by peaceful or revolutionary means — into the making of laws. According to their degree of enlightenment, these plundered classes may propose one of two entirely different purposes when they attempt to attain political power: Either they may wish to stop lawful plunder, or they may wish to share in it.

    Woe to the nation when this latter purpose prevails among the mass victims of lawful plunder when they, in turn, seize the power to make laws!

    Until that happens, the few practice lawful plunder upon the many, a common practice where the right to participate in the making of law is limited to a few persons. But then, participation in the making of law becomes universal. And then, men seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Instead of rooting out the injustices found in society, they make these injustices general. As soon as the plundered classes gain political power, they establish a system of reprisals against other classes. They do not abolish legal plunder. (This objective would demand more enlightenment than they possess.) Instead, they emulate their evil predecessors by participating in this legal plunder, even though it is against their own interests.

    It is as if it were necessary, before a reign of justice appears, for everyone to suffer a cruel retribution — some for their evilness, and some for their lack of understanding.

    This legal plunder may be only an isolated stain among the legislative measures of the people. If so, it is best to wipe it out with a minimum of speeches and denunciations — and in spite of the uproar of the vested interests.

    Then abolish this law without delay, for it is not only an evil itself, but also it is a fertile source for further evils because it invites reprisals. If such a law — which may be an isolated case — is not abolished immediately, it will spread, multiply, and develop into a system.

    The person who profits from this law will complain bitterly, defending his acquired rights. He will claim that the state is obligated to protect and encourage his particular industry; that this procedure enriches the state because the protected industry is thus able to spend more and to pay higher wages to the poor workingmen.

    Do not listen to this sophistry by vested interests. The acceptance of these arguments will build legal plunder into a whole system. In fact, this has already occurred. The present-day delusion is an attempt to enrich everyone at the expense of everyone else; to make plunder universal under the pretense of organizing it.

    It is a fallacy to assert that the war that we must fight against socialism must be in harmony with law, honor, and justice, for we enter into a vicious circle. How can you use the law to oppose socialism when it is upon the law that socialism itself tries to rely? Socialists desire to practice legal plunder, not illegal plunder. Socialists, like all other monopolists, desire to make the law their own weapon. And when once the law is on the side of socialism, how can it be used against socialism? For when plunder is abetted by the law, it does not fear your courts, your gendarmes, and your prisons. Rather, it may call upon them for help.

    To prevent this, you would exclude socialism from entering into the making of laws? You would prevent socialists from entering the Legislative Palace? You shall not succeed, I predict, so long as legal plunder continues to be the main business of the legislature. It is illogical — in fact, absurd — to assume otherwise.

    This legal plunder may be only an isolated stain among the legislative measures of the people. If so, it is best to wipe it out with a minimum of speeches and denunciations — and in spite of the uproar of the vested interests.

    This question of legal plunder must be settled once and for all, and there are only three ways to settle it:

    1. The few plunder the many.

    2. Everybody plunders everybody.

    3. Nobody plunders anybody.

    No legal plunder: This is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony, and logic. Until the day of my death, I shall proclaim this principle with all the force of my lungs

    The Proper Function of the Law

    In all sincerity, can anything more than the absence of plunder be required of the law? Can the law — which necessarily requires the use of force — rationally be used for anything except protecting the rights of everyone? I defy anyone to extend it beyond this purpose without perverting it and, consequently, turning might against right. This is the most fatal and most illogical social perversion that can possibly be imagined. It must be admitted that the true solution — so long searched for in the area of social relationships — is contained in these simple words: Law is organized justice.

    When justice is organized by law — that is, by force — this excludes the idea of using law (force) to organize any human activity whatever, whether it be labor, charity, agriculture, commerce, industry, education, art, or religion. The organizing by law of any one of these would inevitably destroy the essential organization — justice. For truly, how can we imagine force being used against the liberty of citizens without it also being used against justice, and thus acting against its proper purpose?

    The Seductive Lure of Socialism

    Here I encounter the most popular fallacy of our times. It is not considered sufficient that the law should be just; it must be philanthropic. Nor is it sufficient that the law should guarantee to every citizen the free and inoffensive use of his faculties for physical, intellectual, and moral self-improvement. Instead, it is demanded that the law should directly extend welfare, education, and morality throughout the nation.

    This is the seductive lure of socialism. And I repeat again: These two uses of the law are in direct contradiction to each other. We must choose between them. A citizen cannot at the same time be free and not free.

    “Property is surely a right of mankind as real as liberty. The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the law, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” — John Adams

    “As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.” — James Madison, National Gazzette, 1792

    “The authority of government … can have no pure right over my person and my property but what I concede to it.” — Henry David Thoreau

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    The earth is the general and equal possession of all humanity and therefore cannot be the property of individuals. ~Leo Tolstoy

    Franco,

    If Basitiat really believed that no one should plunder anyone else, then I assume he would have developed beyond his viewpoint, limited as it was by the time in which he lived, had he theoretically been able to survive until now and learned how unsuccessful his ideas were in this regard.

    I asked why you think there are liberals. My opinion, so far, is that there are liberals because they are acting as a counterbalance. Both sides are trying to get the state to work the way they want it to work. They are pulling back and forth like the state was a tug-of-war. But, you didn’t answer my question, instead you asked what relation my ideas, as an anarchist, have to socialism. Here is a big one:

    If I am born on earth, shouldn’t I should have the right to use it–just like all creatures do? Who decided people could own a planet and by doing so, deprive other people of using it?

    Well, not govt. So ideas within socialism that include govt are out for me. I believe in individual liberty. However, having individual liberty takes the recognition that we are part of a community and therefore we don’t have the right to deprive everyone else of things we want to have all to ourselves. It’s sort of like acting like an adult instead of a child. One learns to cooperate and understand that there are other people in the world who count besides ourselves. So, if I want to count and I feel I have that right, then that right must also extend to you and to everyone, everywhere. Not merely the people of my group (in this case nation would be the common categorization). My principles are to respect human beings. Free marketers do not respect human beings or any rights they claim to believe are possesed by human beings and cannot be denied by a society.

    Markets do not respect human beings, they are used to enslave them (literally, not merely through wage slavery, but that too). Combine nations with markets and you have insanity. Really. It’s insanity to hear that sweat shops are good in any way. To hear it means, to me, I am talking with someone who’s lost her/his mind and has become completely deluded and incapable of sound thinking. I look at this person like I would a Scientologist or other cult member.

    For example, people use the idea of a nation to justify enslaving other people. These people CLAIM that they believe in the natural right of HUMANS (as Bastiat says, as you say, etc.) they don’t say they believe only AMERICANS (or whomever) have this right. Then they proceed to justify slavery for poor people in other nations. I am left scratching my head and wondering–but what about those people’s rights as humans?

    Free marketers don’t care about human beings. They are enslaved to their dogma and will literally twist reality on its head defending it. They will look at you with a straight face and tell you why children should be slaves and how it’s good for them. You ask why isn’t it just better to end slavery and pay people a living wage and treat them better. They then say because this is not approved by free markets. People can’t decide how to treat people or they won’t be free, only markets can decide that. Free markets, to the extent they are allowed to be unrestricted, have proven to be extraordinarily destructive to all but a minority of people and are now threatening to destroy the whole planet. Maybe Bastiat might have recognized that by now, after having seen what has happened. Who knows.

    Freedom of the individual within the community takes more than a plan that is designed based on only either the individual OR the community. It requires thinking about individuals as living within communities. That is how my ideas relate to socialism. I am a libertarian socialist. There are other regards, besides the idea of govt, where my ideas will be in disagreement with socialism. Govt is the main one though.

    Some other things:

    It wouldn’t be the fault of liberals and anarchists it that were the case.

    Well, that is the case in Venezuela. So I guess you’re acknowledging that it’s the ‘every human for himself, as long as I am in a position to get the most anyway’ crowd that is responsible for whatever is happening in Venezuela.

    Also (on the US govt): The basic principles of the US support and glorify the selfishness of some individuals to dominate and use other individuals they have power over. That is its essence boiled down to a single sentence.

    The earth is the general and equal possession of all humanity and therefore cannot be the property of individuals. ~Leo Tolstoy

    (I know I quoted that already. It’s a really important concept to grasp though. So, I figured I’d repeat it.)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Franco,

    One more thing. I disagree with Bastiat about human nature.

    P.S. Hopefully you’ll comprehend my post, despite my bad editing job.

  • Franco

    Cindy,

    Thanks for such an engaging and great post!

    If Basitiat really believed that no one should plunder anyone else, then I assume he would have developed beyond his viewpoint, limited as it was by the time in which he lived, had he theoretically been able to survive until now and learned how unsuccessful his ideas were in this regard.

    His ideas were never ever fully ascribed to. Not in France back then, and not in America today. So you can’t say that they were unsuccessful. All the same things are being debated today on all the same issues that Bastiat did back then. Interesting to note though, this is what he said of the US back in 1850

    “Is there any need to offer proof that this odious perversion of the law is a perpetual source of hatred and discord; that it tends to destroy society itself? If such proof is needed, look at the United States [in 1850]. There is no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain: the protection of every person’s liberty and property. As a consequence of this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order rests on a firmer foundation.”

    But even in the United States, there are two issues — and only two — that have always endangered the public peace.

    What are these two issues? They are slavery and tariffs. These are the only two issues where, contrary to the general spirit of the republic of the United States, law has assumed the character of plunder.

    Slavery is a violation, by law, of liberty. The protective tariff is a violation, by law, of property.

    It is a most remarkable fact that this double legal crime – a sorrowful inheritance of the Old World – should be the only issue which can, and perhaps will, lead to the ruin of the Union. It is indeed impossible to imagine, at the very heart of a society, a more astounding fact than this: The law has come to be an instrument of injustice. And if this fact brings terrible consequences to the United States -where only in the instance of slavery and tariffs – what must be the consequences in Europe, where the perversion of law is a principle; a system?”

    And he was right!

    The earth is the general and equal possession of all humanity and therefore cannot be the property of individuals. ~Leo Tolstoy

    Tolstoy believed that a true Christian could find lasting happiness by striving for inner self-perfection through following the Great Commandment of loving one’s neighbor and God rather than looking outward to the Church or state for guidance and meaning.

    He not only opposed private property, he opposed the institution of marriage and valued the ideals of chastity and sexual abstinence. His belief in nonresistance (nonviolence) when faced by conflict is another distinct attribute of his philosophy based on Christ’s teachings

    Christian anarchists believe that freedom is justified spiritually through the teachings of Jesus. This has caused them to be critical of government and Church authority. The Protestant reformation (protest of Church authority) was actuality an excises in Christian anarchism, and in this case I fully support it as Tolstoy dose.

    When I was a young Christian years ago and was reading the same Bible as Tolstoy, I too took to heart what he did about nonresistance and property when faced by conflict. But I then realized later on I had an obligation to defend my wife and daughters from harm, and if need be, would use whatever force was needed (physical) to protect them, personally, their home, their health, their well being, and their belongings. Dose that then run in opposition to the teachings of Jesus?

    I asked why you think there are liberals. But, you didn’t answer my question, instead you asked what relation my ideas, as an anarchist, have to socialism. Here is a big one:

    If I am born on earth, shouldn’t I should have the right to use it–just like all creatures do? Who decided people could own a planet and by doing so, deprive other people of using it?

    Well, not govt. So ideas within socialism that include govt are out for me.

    I agree with you. And it also sounds like your describing the UN, another want-a-be gov monster or biblial porportions.

    As to “why” there are liberals. I think their intentions are good at heart, and that is way they exist. But their means to an end is misguided because they seek to balance their conflicting interests by universal plunder. Thus instead of rooting out the injustices found in society and the market place, they end up making these injustices general.

    What do I think about welfare. I think welfare reform is heather then more universal welfare. I would like to use the fruits of my labor given to the poor and needy living around me as I see fit, not how the state sees fit. Am I againt all state welfare. No, if we are talking about things like disabled veterans, the widows and children of military personal, of police, and of firefighters who have been killed, yes, tax me for their needs as they get their lives back in order. If we are talking about the truly poor, those without food and shelter, yes, tax me to get them food and shelter and help them get on their own feet to make it on their own. But get rid of everything that people who have their own faculties that they can achieve for themselves.

    I believe in individual liberty. However, having individual liberty takes the recognition that we are part of a community and therefore we don’t have the right to deprive everyone else of things we want to have all to ourselves.

    You are describing a monopoly Cindy with is plunder, and so I agree with you 100%. You will get no argument from me on that or from Bastiat either.

    So, if I want to count and I feel I have that right, then that right must also extend to you and to everyone, everywhere. Not merely the people of my group (in this case nation would be the common categorization). My principles are to respect human beings. Free marketers do not respect human beings or any rights they claim to believe are possesed by human beings and cannot be denied by a society.

    People and or nations owning the planet: We started out as gathers and hunters in remote cornders all over the planet and lived together for support, safety and companionship and shared our skills and strengths together for our very survival. This evolved into larger areas we started to protect for our survival, which needed protecting specifically because of what Bastiat spoke about human nature.

    Then came borders between these expanding areas that became states and nations. And to this day, we still need our nations to protect those living in it. Not only from other nations seeking pluder, but also from the very government running the nation from their seeking plunder, as well as from some other scrupulous and dangerous citizens within the nation trying to organize plunder of others within the nation as well as outside the nation seeking plunder, i.e., the sweet shops you noted. Nothing is new under the sun, and never has been when it comes to tribes or States and Individuals and the need for protection from plunder.

    Do you have locks on the doors to your house? Do you have locks on your car doors? What about you bike, dose it have a lock? Do most people you know have all these same locks? Why do we need all of these if you disagree with Bastiat about human nature?

    Now as far as you having the right to use the earth in the nation or state where you live, yes you should have the rights to use it. And as for the whole earth outside of nation states, I think you slould too, albeet with respect to and for any cultural differences. I am a native to the nation of the United States and I live and work in the State (tribe) called Southern California. But I also live and work in Chile South America, which I am not a native of, and yet I have access to all of the same earth in Chile that all Chileans do. I also conduct business with Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Denmark, Taiwan, Finland, and currently working on opportunities in Pakistan of all places.

    In my business dealings all over the world I have to be careful of some other company or state trying to plunder me when I seek to do business in the market place. I have found some good companies I am happy to work with and they are happy they have found me.

    Markets do not respect human beings, they are used to enslave them (literally, not merely through wage slavery, but that too).

    For example, people use the idea of a nation to justify enslaving other people. These people CLAIM that they believe in the natural right of HUMANS (as Bastiat says, as you say, etc.) they don’t say they believe only AMERICANS (or whomever) have this right. Then they proceed to justify slavery for poor people in other nations. I am left scratching my head and wondering–but what about those people’s rights as humans?

    I agree with you 100%. If they say one thing and do another, they are lying deceitful plunders. It’s not the market Cindy it’s what people do to other people when they exploit them in the market. This exploitation is exactly what Bastiat is taking about in human nature.

    But please help me understand what is causing you to keep putting it all on the ‘free market place” as a whole, instead of specially addressing the plunder and exploiters in it that brake the law and abuse other people. What is preventing you from separating the two and seeing them for what they are? Especially if you disagree with Bastiat about human nature.

    Freedom of the individual within the community takes more than a plan that is designed based on only either the individual OR the community. It requires thinking about individuals as living within communities.

    I agree!

    Let me ask you this. Is it not possible to think of the free market as follows.

    If everyone enjoyed the unrestricted use of his faculties and the free disposition of the fruits of his labor, social progress would be ceaseless, uninterrupted, and unfailing. Is it not when those who try and restrict others faculties and their free disposition of the fruits of there labor that enslavement, exploitation (plunder) takes place as you say and harms the community? If the free market was to have this plunder rooted out of it, wouldn’t it be a great place for people to meat and exchange their wares?

    That is how my ideas relate to socialism. I am a libertarian socialist. There are other regards, besides the idea of govt, where my ideas will be in disagreement with socialism. Govt is the main one though.

    We surly share the same dislike for Govt. And when you consider the paragraph just above you last statement, I do not think we are that far apart on — as you put it –what’s required thinking about individuals as living within communities, and the world at large in exchanging our wares in a plunder free market environment. Nobody should plunder anybody.

    ((It wouldn’t be the fault of liberals and anarchists it that were the case)).

    Well, that is the case in Venezuela. So I guess you’re acknowledging that it’s the ‘every human for himself, as long as I am in a position to get the most anyway’ crowd that is responsible for whatever is happening in Venezuela.

    Everything happening there is leading to totatarintism. As for who or what is causing it, it’s called plunder on what I pointed out, and its called plunder on what you pointed out.

    The earth is the general and equal possession of all humanity and therefore cannot be the property of individuals. ~Leo Tolstoy

    Then take the locks off all your doors and throw the keys away. And put your money where your mouth in disagreing with Bastiat about human nature.

    Just for fun. World’s Smallest Political Quiz