The Libertarian Disclaimer

Thanks for all the helpful feedback on my previous post. I will now be reforming my blogging style in order to make it more compatible with Australian libertarians.

From now on, I shall issue the “Aussie Libertarian Disclaimer” in all of my posts that criticise America. This will involve strategically placing a footnote with the words, “But China is worse, so that makes it OK”. It has to be an Aussie disclaimer because the pseudo-libertarians in America seem to think that all countries should be judged by the same standards.

So for example, if I was to comment on a news story involving an American soldier raping an Iraqi girl, I would at the end of the sentence place the appropriate footnote: “But China is worse, so that makes it OK”.

This should make my writing more compatible with common Australian libertarian practice.

Note, there is a disclaimer to the Aussie disclaimer: I can’t guarantee that China really is worse in every single case. It’s more the thought that counts. 

32 thoughts on “The Libertarian Disclaimer

  1. Wow, Sukrit, with these words, you’ll soon be Libertarian of the Year! Of course, PM Rudd will disown you in Mandarin, but I think you can live with that!

  2. Really Sukrit grow up.
    Instead of responding properly to the comments made about your original blogpost where arguments about the economics of deterrence vs surveillance were cited as well as facts about capital punishment which you continue to misrepresent (the US hasn’t executed anyone for anything other than murder since 1964 for instance yet in a recent comment you brought up the moral equivalence between China and the US again by noting some States had capital punishment for drug trafficking on their books) and where many of your critics including me noted that they weren’t in favour of neoconservative policy you have merely written 2 intellectually worthless and plain dishonest blogposts accusing all your critics of being neoconservatives and now of being moral relativists. get over your ultra-nihilistic ‘smash any state, smash any state will do’ fixation.

  3. Agreed David. I also don’t think a US soldier raping an Iraqi girl has much to do with the US as far as human rights are concerned, I think the human rights test would be how they dealt with that soldier after he committed this crime.

    BTW Is this turning into a forum for defending one’s ego? Why couldn’t these posts be kept in the comments section where this little tiff started?

  4. “So for example, if I was to comment on a news story involving an American soldier raping an Iraqi girl, I would at the end of the sentence place the appropriate footnote: “But China is worse, so that makes it OK”.”

    Bullshit, this was never my point.

  5. Give it up, Sukrit… if you want to argue your point, please do it in one of the existing threads – you don’t need three threads on the same topic.

  6. Jason,

    I didn’t see what is intellectually dishonest about the first blogpost. I think Sukrit is right — the US incarceration rates are abominable, and all these arguments about China killing more people etc. are mathematically wrong — the amount of people CHina is killing makes essentially zero difference to the numbers they have in jail. If the average incaceration rates were substituted for “China” then the article would be essentially the same. That even authoritarian nations don’t manage to imprison anything like the number of people the US does shows how bad the US policies really.

  7. Rubbish conrad. So you would not be less afraid to commit a crime in China where they execute regulators for corruption than in the US? You would not be less afraid to be a drug dealer in China than the US? You would not be less afraid to be a criminal period in China than the US? The more people you can scare away from crime, the less need you have to imprison them. the US has due process so that even prisoners who are supposed to be executed can languish in prisons indefinitely. The Chinese just put a bullet in their brains after a perfunctory trial. And aside from thar we don’t know how many executions they actually carry out.

    This is just shows where a theory-less perspective on statistics leads you if you’re willing to advance such nonsensical arguments.

  8. You are also missing the other aspect of dishonesty Conrad.

    Sukrit if we he wanted to criticise the War on Drugs could have framed the article accordingly. Yes the US locks up a whole lot of people based on laws most of the rest of the world also has. This seems to be one of the few parts of its Federal government which is operationally efficient, unfortunately.

    The subtext behind Sukrit’s argument is that just because the US is imperfect any lecturing it gives to other far worse countries than it on human rights should be discounted. Sukrit wants to make an argument against other countries invading other countries on the rationale of imposing human rights. There are already very good arguments for this – wars are costly, displace a lot of people, etc. Instead Sino-tyrannophile Sukrit takes it too far and says that because Australia/US/etc have some bad elements in their laws any criticisms they make of China should be discounted. he then goes on to endorse an Evil Empire publication making the same point. This is the sub-text of his argument that has people up in arms. Essentially it is a nihilistic argument.

  9. The form of anti-statism that seeks common cause with Communist and Islamist apologists like Gnome Chomsky, Robert Fisk and John Pillager. I can understand why Objectivists have chosen to distance themselves from such nihilistic ‘anti statists’ without a sound philosophical base.

  10. Sukrit; I was going to tell you that you were being childish, but Jason said it much better.

    OK the US is not perfect, I’ve already said that, so unless you can prove to me that China is more libertarian than we are or the United States is, don’t waste our time.

    Look mate, go out and get pissed, take a couple of panadol in the morning for the hangover, and you will feel much better.

  11. An American soldier raping a girl in Iraq, is not a convincing insight into American culture.
    I don’t see how you could make a statement about US politics or culture based on this.

    I agree, America is definitely not libertarian these days. They are also a mixed economy (not capitalist). They do not follow the original intentions of their constitution or bill of rights.

    However, I think people have been right to talk to you (Sukrit) about context and put the US into perspective as I’ve seen various commentators do on this and other discussions.

    The US had the best political system in the history of the world because their constitution attempted to keep government power in check and because they had a good Bill of Rights. This was all done at a time when most people didn’t understand the importance of individual rights – And at a time where most European countries were still monarchies. Therefore this is a significant achievement that reaped obvious rewards. Armed with this system, the US was able to hold off (to a larger extent than any other nation) the rise of facism and socialism of the early 20th century that occured all through Europe with disasterous effects and massive loss of life. I’d expect the US to hold a fond place in the hearts of most libertarians – afterall, they have more libertarians than anywhere else.

    But even these days, a lighter shade of grey (US) is still better than a darker grey (China), although I’ll admit it is sometimes hard to determine the greyness level on some issues especially for complicated assessments such as culture.
    There are subtle differences in US culture that are relics from a better past and contribute to their lighter level of grey. eg/ In the US they don’t have tall poppy syndrome as much as in Australia. eg/ In the US, more people correctly believe there are opportunities for the hard working and they are less likely to consider their jobs as just a horrible chore. eg/ People are more individual, and willing to express themselves compared to the Asian countries where conformity is more prominent in the cultures.
    That’s why you get those loud annoying Americans, because culturally, they are less shy about being individuals and grabbing life by the balls.

    As an aside, popular art is a good way to guage culture and see into the minds of the masses.

  12. Sukrit – please stop this. If you disagree with a comment, then reply in the comments. Do not use this blog to write two consecutive posts about your personal gripes with other libertarians.

  13. Another good post Sukrit, though it appears to have offended the same group of (american-) government loving types.

    It’s good to have blog debates, and Sukrit has done it in an appropriate way. He doesn’t seem to be attacking the personalities of others, nor does he pretend to read their minds and attribute motives.

    China is often worse than America. But that doesn’t mean we should stop criticising America — the world’s only super-power. Don’t let the blindly pro-american stooges stop you from exposing bad government policy Sukrit.

  14. Apologies in advance because this doesn’t really advance the discussion…

    But having lived my whole life in the USA and having traveled and done business in Europe a fair amount, I have the sense that nothing is more “American” than finding fault with America. Aside from flag-pin-on-the-lapel-wearing uber-psuedo-patriots, every American takes a lot of pride in living in a country where one can complain out loud and often about their government and society in general. And we do. In fact, lack of criticism is seen as distinctly unAmerican — almost Texan.

  15. John – not you as well. There is a difference between on the one hand criticising areas of American policy and pointing out areas where liberty is being curtailed, and on the other comparing the US to China. There is a difference between criticising the strategic actions of the Army versus the actions of one soldier amongst hundreds of thousands.

    I can find more informed ‘debates’ in any Year 7 school debating club.

  16. Awesome. Sukrit has managed to offend the liberterians themselves – the offensive have become the offended!

    Sukrit is an ULTRA-LIBERTARIAN!

  17. Tim – do you think of libertarians as offensive? Most libertarians i’ve met are utterly inoffensive people who simply ask to be left alone.

    There are of course those who spoil for a fight at every conceivable opportunity..:)

  18. Good point pommygranate – I meant in the sense that, from the perspective of people of most other political groupings they’re offensive. (‘Cutting welfare? Terrible! More guns? Horrible!’ etc, etc).

  19. Again with the cheap personal insults. If you think I’m too stupid to debate you pommy, then simply don’t respond to my wacky anti-american islamofacist propoganda.

    China has many problems. America has many virtues. But I saw nothing in Sukrit’s posts that deny this (except in sarcasm). It seems more like some americaphiles are being overly sensitive to criticism.

  20. The debate, I think, is important. If we can not easily and intelligently distinguish between American and Chinese values as realized in their respective judical and economic systems, we have a significant problem. I think the defenders of America here have come up short — not from lack of ammunition but more from taking good aim.

  21. Trinifar, I think you’re confusing the idea of american (which is great) with the reality of america (which is less than great). Just because they’re currently better at china in a number of areas is hardly reason to get all mushy eyed.

    America has lost her way. All people who love america should be shouting that from the roof-tops.

  22. I have a steep roof, and my neighbours don’t like loud noises. Can I just quietly whisper it in people’s ears?

  23. America has lost her way. All people who love america should be shouting that from the roof-tops.

    I completely agree with that, John. I was trying to point out that the America-defenders here have not made their case very well — and there is an excellent case to be made if one is willing to acknowlege postive attributes of China and negative features of the US. Without that acknowledgement, both sides seems more merely ideological than fact-based.

    China and the US are very different, and both are flawed, each in its own unique ways. I applaud these two posts of Sukrit’s because they force people to think about that. Usually China is simply demonized and too often the US put on a pedestal. It’s interesting to get people to think about the positive attributes of China and the negative ones of the US — helps to show where our biases (and knee-jerk reactions) are.

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