Posts Tagged ‘slogans’


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

There is no real agreement on how many muscles it takes to frown, nor on how many it takes to smile. But it takes none to be stupidly slack-jawed.

Thicker than Water

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Yester-day, I again encountered the slogan No Blood for Oil!, made popular in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

I greatly doubt that the people who embrace this slogan have much thought about what it would really mean to forswear the use of violence over economic resources. Only a tiny minority are truly prepared to do that.

This proposition should be obvious in the case of those who want the State to actively participate in decisions about the allocation of resources. The point in having the State determine what quantities will be produced or to whom or to what production will go, or at what prices goods or services will be sold is to use violence or a threat of violence, effected by police and by prison guards. Were the economic administration to be by friendly persuasion, it could be done without the State.

Removing the State as an active participant doesn't utterly remove violence from the equation. If one believes that individuals or communities may forceably defend acquisition, retention, or distribution of goods or of services, then one accepts the use of violence over economic resources. It doesn't matter whether the forceable defense is provided by the State, by private protection agencies, by mobs, or by rugged individualists.

So if one believes that the state should provide the poor with home heating oil, or control gasoline prices, or if one believes in forceably defendable private property in petroleum or in forceably defendable anarcho-socialistic management of petroleum, then one believes in trading blood for oil.

In order to genuinely reject such an exchange, one would have to be truly and utterly pacifistic about petroleum, as are the Amish (albeït that a petroleum pacifist might be violent about other things).

Now, I surely don't claim that the United States should ever use its military in an attempt to secure foreign sources of goods or of services. (We can set aside debate over what the actual relationship were of the invasion of Iraq to American dependence upon Middle Eastern petroleum.) But simple-minded slogans and ad hoc moralizations don't typically propel discourse or move convictions in a humane direction.