Thursday, November 30, 2006

C. A. Beard

A commentator to my last post left several interesting remarks. It's great when the comments are better than the original post. Instead of replying as a comment, I will comment here because I am making some new links.

One point was the idea that the government has done so many wrongs, that we should focus on the actual documented wrongs, rather than waste time on as-yet-undocumented conspiracy theories. In other words, we could talk about slavery, or the US overthrow of democratic governments in Central America, Iran, Greece, and so on instead of speculating as to whether the Bush misadministration destroyed the WTC. That seems like a good point, and it is valid. However, I can see two big problems with it. One problem is that today's conspiracy theory is tomorrow's documented fact, and to stop observing, hypothesizing, popularizing, and testing these hypotheses would reduce the likelihood of investigating and collecting enough forensic evidence to settle the question one way or the other. A second problem is that since this event is driving the current political climate, it is more relevant and urgent to determine whether this event is best explained as perpetrated by Arabs with Box Cutters or the Conspirators for a New American Centurion. If the cause is found to be within a vast right-wing think-tank, this discovery would completely change the prevailing political climate.

The commentator in California also mentions that most political events are actually economic ones. I think it is useful to look for that, to follow the money, but some political acts are really political acts, not reducible to economics, such as the right-wing populist laws regarding God, guns, and gays. I don't know that making children pledge allegiance to gods or banning gays from marriage really was done to economically benefit anyone. It was done to manufacture consent among the Base.

Finally, the commentator introduced me to the work of Charles A. Beard. Somehow I missed him in my education, probably just a sick day. Googling around, I found a few choice links related to him.

Charles A. Beard: An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States
link to download site

alternate, closer link to online txt and doc

wiki entry for An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States

go to amazon to read a review or find a cover for the text files

wiki entry for Charles A. Beard

History of the United States
by Charles A. Beard and Mary Ritter Beard
txt and html

McMaster U (Canada) "a large number of significant texts in the history of economic thought"


Andrew said...

“One problem is that today's conspiracy theory is tomorrow's documented fact, and to stop observing, hypothesizing, popularizing, and testing these hypotheses would reduce the likelihood of investigating and collecting enough forensic evidence to settle the question one way or the other...”

I believe—And I think you have— if you have done proper research on the 9/11; the information out there is already well documented. The Government has a card up its sleeve that it can play, by saying: “So and So” information is sensitive for the security of the United States; making said information not available to the public. So that key element that would, maybe, help connect the dots, is kept locked up And when it is made available, amnesia and Apathy take hold and it does not matter at that point and also the document is most likely blacked out in key points.

I have actually attempted to dispute the claims with people on a local Elk Grove Forum (Jenna sent me here). To my dismay: the responses I got dealt with nothing about the facts I presented, but where rather, character related attacks, directed towards me as if I were a person sitting in a basement with foil over my head for arguing for such a theory. I am not one to believe things very easily, and I wont defend something unless I believe it can be defended. And I believe that the inside job, can be defended fairly easily (even though it cannot be proven).

But, two factors play a role in the dismal of the theories; The first, the normal every day citizen does not have enough time in his day (job, Life, family) to go through the facts. The second, growing up in the United states you often become propagandized about the “greatness” of the country and it is very hard to get a person to believe the contrary. Now i really don't understand the point when people decide that this way of thinking is no longer valid (I at one point felt that way); but it remains that the average American holds this view (some hold it at varying degrees, but this particular point is way beyond the degree they are willing to go ). And to this day, whenever I attempt to present facts about a particular subject they are speaking on, I cannot get a decent discourse, because they also bring back up my attempts to discuss the 9/11 inside job conspiracy. They also really don't like it when I take their argument and put it in a logical form and show how it's invalid, or show how their conclusion cannot possibly follow from their premises.. Americans are generally anti-intellectual*. I am a Gadfly, in the Socratic tradition.

“since this event is driving the current political climate,” This event is in a succession of events. It can be traced back to WWII (maybe even farther) when the middle east became vital security concern for the United States (Odd thing is that what destroyed the Roman Empire was their problems with the middle east too). Or it can be traced back when as the documentary The End of Suburbia says: When every major city in United States in the 20th century was built around highways and car-centric. When the Tire and Car companies bought up the public transit systems so people would be forced to purchase cars. So we have become dependent on a source of energy and Iraq happens to be sitting on the second largest pile in the world. We can blame the military-industrial complex in this country: As is the point in the video of Iraq for Sale. These both are easier to connect (even though people still wont buy them) then the 9/11 inside job theory. And to me it seems to me just thinking that “ Arabs with Box Cutters” came on a plane, I would, and I am sure most Americans would, get up and do something about it: They are box cutters, its not a gun which I would believe that would subdue an entire plane. Even though I am usually pessimistic of the American Public; I have faith that the American spirit would essentially say, “Ah Nah, F-that, We taken these guys down”

The problem can be stated as the argument from incredulity (which also lies in the Evolution debate). Most will not go that far to believe that their government would attack their own state for personal/political gain. Even though, it is documented in History, that The Johnson Administration allowed Israel to Attack an American Ship USS Liberty, in attempts to blame it on Egypt so that the Americans would get into the war. And then the various other points you mentioned in a previous post.

“The commentator in California also mentions that most political events are actually economic ones.”
Most is the key word in that; But I think I can argue that your points you raised can be economic ones by invoking Lord Actons famous phrase: Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. When in power, you need to stay in power by getting a lot of money to run the campaign. And how do you get money: You go to the base of Christians; who want to keep those family values. You go to the gun industry, who want to keep their gun sales up and a lax on regulations, and you bash gays (which essentially, falls under the god category). The politician caters to each individual view (that will be them elected), whether or not they actually believe it. They are like a chameleon. And to keep getting the money; You will need to pass laws in the favor of those whose money you are receiving. Now this is not always the case, but its fairly reasonable to believe, especially in todays political climate of corrupt politicians falling out left and right. Your not going to get millions of dollars from the oil industry if you plan on passing a bill that enforces cars to have a higher MPG (last Administration to raise the minimum was President Bush I, i believe).

"To remain ignorant of things that happened before you were born is to remain a child. ** Cicero"

* I find Ayn Rand's book For the New Intellectual, has a great theory on the history of thought (why Americans are anti-intellectual). It is only about 50 pages or so, the rest of the book are snippets from her various novels. I do have a few problems with her: She kind of, at least to me, comes off blaming the problems of society on Kant.

Blues Tea-Cha said...

Thank you, Andrew. Hey, I see the connection; you are sort of a "friend of the family". I followed a link to your myspace page before.

All I meant with the keep-the-alternate-theories-alive remark is that, while your objection is true, the opposing premise is also true. You cite the case of how presenting alternate theories without proof shut down debate (with you) on the forum, but maybe that was not the best place, time, and target for your argument. Also, you may have unknowingly planted doubts in the people's minds which will blossom 6 months or a year from now. I personally have a friend whose son told him that his math teacher was really smart, and said that math could help you prove that there was no plane that hit the Pentagon. My friend was shocked that the math teacher was saying this in class and intended to tell him to stop it. I knew there were some oddities about the Pentagon crash site, but I also thought at the time that it might be inappropriate to present it offhand to kids in math class. Some months have passed since this happened, and I have moved closer to the math teacher's position, although he may have been a small influence and his statement was just something I heard thirdhand. (So you may be influencing people 2 or more steps removed.) Anyway, I take your point that there are plenty of documented facts to use in persuasion without resorting to the borderline ones that may evoke a defensive reaction. Although, even a defensive reaction could be good, could start a dialectic thinking process. I have to admire you presenting your arguments in a public forum, but don't get burnt out! An opinion posted on a blog is more passive; it is just a message waiting to be read, if anyone should choose to do so. It is much more challenging to go face-to-face and try to change someone's mind, but if I determined that I could at least persuade them to have doubts, that there are still holes in the official ABC theory (Arabs+Box-Cutters), I would consider that a victory. The person in the forum is probably argumentative and not ripe to be persuaded. Citing the historical record should help. I think the trend will go toward the IJ theory (Inside Job) in the long term, just as it did with Kennedy, people finding it hard to believe the official conspiracy theory that has one bullet making a u-turn, going through 2 people, etc. in order to blame it on the patsy rather than George H.W. Bush or whoever pulled the trigger for Johnson.

That's true, that Americans are anti-intellectual. A lot of other places are, too. It matters more because America has more power. That anti-intellectualism could sometimes be a good thing, because you could appeal to something other than reason! "Jesus told me to spread love and socialism." Hallelulah! I am an optimystic, so I always look for the silver lining in these things.

OK, I think you are good at following the money. I concede your point on the economic rationale behind Gods, Gays, and Guns. How about Carter making human rights a part of his foreign policy? Does that benefit anyone? Well, maybe. I guess it could be a chance to clean house and fill the State Department with cronies from the National Association of Sunday School Teachers.

Back to the ABC theory: I think they could psychological dominate the plane but it seems like they would have to be very disciplined and knowledgable in crowd control techniques. It is one of the things that seem incredulous as well. I can imagine that maybe they suddenly slit the throats of the flight attendants first, with no warning, and hung them upside down like butchered goats to drain their blood. Then, if they gathered all the little children and held them with knives to their necks, threatening to kill them as they had already done to others, they would gain a psychological advantage and the passengers would restrain any passenger who would put another passenger's child in danger. Finally, by announcing calmly that they are flying the airplane back to the airport to land, most passengers would consider that to be a reasonable and even preferable alternative to being hijacked in the air, and would calm down a little. If the word got out that the real intent was to crash the plane, the control system I outline would break down. So, that would match the facts as we have been told, but what I find hardest to believe about that is where did the hijackers get the sophisticated knowledge of group psychology to be able to tailor their technique to the American psychology? The plot worked out too perfectly, like these were time-travelers from the year 3000 when the 1000-year war has ended and Earth is a Muslim planet. No, I don't propose that as the explanation, just saying it doesn't ring true for me and I think millions of people feel that way. Because they lied and destroyed people who got in their way in order to invade Iraq, they may have done so to establish the preconditions.

I'm not much of a fan of Ayn Rand. Most of her work doesn't make sense to me, but I'm sure she has her moments. Is this work (or an outline of it) available online? I would tend to prefer Kant. As I get older, I am less interested in the philosophia and more interested in concretia, realia.

Thanks for your comments!