Wednesday, September 28, 2011

QotD: All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again Edition

"The more election seasons I go through the more I’m convinced that the people whose job it is to comment professionally on these things have themselves wheeled into a secret laboratory to have their memories wiped every year before the election, so that they may start completely afresh." -LabRat at Atomic Nerds
Some other Shocking Discoveries made for the Very First Time Again so far this silly season:
  • Ron Paul is a big ol' 1930s-esque isolationist.

  • Mitt Romney is not, in fact, a conservative, except when compared to the average Massachusetts Democrat. (And compared to them, even Che Guevara seems a little reactionary.)

  • Early straw polls bear so little resemblance to final results that it's a wonder Orrin Hatch hasn't called for an antitrust investigation of Ames, Iowa.

11 comments:

Duke said...

Very true, sometimes I think God gave more brains to a tree stump than these people.

Kevin Baker said...

A sort of Super Gell-Mann Amnesia effect?

Makes sense: They're the carriers, after all.

illspirit said...

I find it even more amusing that many conservatives now like throwing the term isolationist around even though it used to be a way the progressives demeaned pretty much anyone who didn't wish to submit to the will of the international community.

Tam said...

The GOP was traditionally isolationist, until it was invaded by hawkish anticommunist neocons fleeing the Democrat party during the Cold War, bringing their foreign entanglements and big government domestic solutions with them.

Nathan said...

I think a better term for the pre-WWII GOP is "non-interventionist", if only because they were not at all averse to world trade and being part of world markets, if at the same time wanting it on their own terms (thus the terrible tarriffs).

Even the Republicans of the 1910's and 1920's were not truly isolationist, much though they have been so maligned.

Tam said...

Nathan,

"I think a better term for the pre-WWII GOP is "non-interventionist", if only because they were not at all averse to world trade and being part of world markets..."

World trade and world markets are conducted among private citizens and corporations, and therefore don't really fall under the government's purview. I've not seen any suggestion that the most ardent of wookie-suiters would be in favor of restricting citizenss from trading and commerce with whomever they see fit.

Nathan said...

Well, all I know, Tam, is that as a student of the period, they look like non-interventionists and not isolationists to me.

If you want isolationists, try pre-Meiji Japan. Or present-day North Korea.

Les Jones said...

"World trade and world markets are conducted among private citizens and corporations, and therefore don't really fall under the government's purview."

I think you're being a little idealistic, Tam. International trade isn't a bunch of international hippies and survivalists trading moonshines for sandwiches. There are international trade regulations all over the place.

Even if the U.S. flung its doors wide open other countries would have tariffs and import regulations. The government would have to deal with those countries on its citizens behalf. There's no escaping it.

Brad K. said...

Tam,

I have to raise my hand about governments and international trade, too.

Today we have export limitations, some of them for security implications, some for economic reasons (protecting the President's buddy/donation source/cousin/whatever). Sometimes "human rights violations" warrant a barrier or closer oversight.

NAFTA certainly affects private business and activities across borders.

Governments routinely pick other nations, and ban trade or encourage trade with them. America is a capitalist nation, after all, and is expected to exert influence to support business dealings overseas as well as at home.

Tam said...

Les, Brad,

I'm not an historical illiterate, you know.

Yes, from Day One, the government's sole source or revenue was tariffs and port duties; obviously one of the powers of the federal government is to REGULATE foreign trade.

But the trade itself is not conducted by the government: That wasn't the US Whaling Fleet operating out of Nantucket, and the cotton to feed Britain's mills was not grown on State Cotton Plantations.

Traditional American isolationism is of the "avoiding entangling foreign alliances" sort and involved being “the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all . . . the champion and vindicator only of our own". We were trading overseas from Day One, but it took us over a century to actually get into a shooting war with a European power...

Les Jones said...

Tam, I don't think you're illiterate. I just think we're describing different parts of the elephant.

You're describing the part of the elephant that regulates international trade on the American side. I'm describing the part of the elephant that regulates international trade on the other side of the trade, i.e. with the foreign government.