Friday, December 16, 2011

Ron Paul vs. The Warmongers

Photo MachtErgiefen
Ron Paul was terrific in the Dec 14, 2011 Republican candidate’s debate -- the Fox News hosts actually asked him more questions and let him speak more than ever. The result was a strong statement of his positions.

The hosts, stung perhaps by widespread carping at their blatant ignoring of Paul in previous debates, did what journalists always do when put on the spot in such circumstances: We go into "You want attention? How about this!" mode, where we throw trick questions at you, hammer you on points we don't hammer others on, express a level of incredulity not visible elsewhere, and other debate tricks.

None of these had much effect on Paul, who's spent two decades putting up with ignorant media grilling and supposedly trick questions designed less to explore your positions than to force you to alienate some large interest group.

But where candidates typically hedge like mad when pushed into such stupid corners, Ron Paul is not afraid to take strong stands that make some voters mad. His strength is in his key, foundation points: Less war, less aggressive foreign policy, more paying attention to the Constitution, and more awareness that it's not a choice between property rights and civil rights.


The strangest set of reactions to Ron Paul came in response to Paul's forceful insistence that the U.S. should not threaten war with Iran.

The Fox hosts kept demanding to know what Paul is going to "do" about Iran, and kept balking at his refusal to declare war. Paul pushed back at the assertion, as fact, that Iran is close to having a bomb (Paul quoted Israeli officials skeptical of that claim), ignored assertions that Iran will attack Israel once it has such a bomb, and kept insisting that we engage in diplomacy.

He also made the mistake of acting like a statesman -- pointing out perfectly good reasons why an Iranian government would want an atomic bomb aside from wanting to attack Israel. He pointed out, twice, that we had talked Libya out of its bomb, then attacked Khadafy and he ended up dead -- hinting that the only people we invade are those who don't have a bomb. He pointed out that neighboring countries, and the US, have the bomb, so it's hardly surprising Iran would want one for defensive reasons.

This willingness to consider how things look from the point of view of other countries earned Paul contempt from the hosts and from his rivals.

Each of the other Republican candidates in turn announced their readiness to "get tough" with Iran -- Paul had provoked a most shocking display of red-meat warmongering tough talk from the other candidates.

It's clear to any American with open eyes that if any Republican other than Ron Paul is elected President, the US will go to war with Iran.

During one of the debate breaks, when commentators evaluated the "performance" of the candidates thus far, in terms exactly as if they were talking about a football game at halftime, one said Ron Paul had hurt himself with his pacifist talk -- the reason being, a majority of Americans believe Iran will soon have an atomic bomb -- which implicitly means that they would reject Paul for not talking tough on Iran.

This is inane, on many levels.

The public is being sold a bill of goods on the threat of Iran, as Paul himself pointed out several times on stage; this is exactly the kind of bullshit the administration fed the public in the lead up to the Iraq war -- exactly the same.

That should worry anyone - again, Paul pointed this out: Haven't we learned any lessons from the Iraq war?

In addition, there was that odd, automatic expectation by these experts that the job of candidate Ron Paul is to find out what the public thinks, and then pretend to attack that problem, even if the public is wrong or misled -- is this really the way they prefer the country to be run? Did John F. Kennedy have 'Profiles in Courage' ghostwritten for nothing? Pandering is apparently the obligatory strategy as recommended by the journalist experts!

The next day, analysts on NPR again raised this issue of Paul's 'pacifism' playing against the natural instincts of the Republican electorate -- a position which owes much to the reflexive belief among Democrats that all Republicans are warmongers. Then several interesting things happened.

One of the commentators disagreed, though: He said that Iowa Republicans have traditionally been the most noninterventionist in the country: He pointed to its noninterventionist Congressmen prior to World War II, and said that Iowa was one of the first states to come out against the Vietnam War.

Photo JohnWalsh2


Then they turned the discussion to the previous day's big event: The formal 'ending' of the war in Iraq, with the withdrawal of most US troops. The question was put: Was it worth it? The first commentator said no, considering what it cost us. The second said only time will tell, because it will depend on how Iraq evolves in the coming years.

But the third guy became quite heated in disagreeing: The Iraq war was undertaken under a cloud of lies: Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, they weren't harboring Al Qaida, they didn't have weapons of mass destruction, they were no threat to the United States. The war was sold to the public under false pretenses, and 'the generals' didn't support it, he said: This wasn't the Pentagon's war, it was a war pushed entirely by civilians: Bush II, his VP, and members of Congress.

I listened in amazement: The guy is, of course, right. But further: Of all the Republican candidates in the previous evening's debate, every candidate excepting only Ron Paul talked about Iran in exactly the same way they had all talked about invading Iraq only a decade go. Only Ron Paul thought the country should have learned a lesson from the mistakes of Iraq. Only Ron Paul claimed we are once again being sold a bill of goods -- just like the last time. Only Ron Paul wanted to halt the rush to war. Only Ron Paul was willing to question the claims about Iran's threat to us and to Israel.

One thing should be clear to everyone: If you want an end to the endless march to war, the constant saber-rattling by blowhards talking tough with the blood of your sons and daughters, learning nothing and believing anything -- you will only get that with a Ron Paul presidency. Every one of the other warmongers will have us heading off to war as if this were World War I all over again.

As if Flanders Fields never happened - nor Iraq, nor Afghanistan, nor Pakistan -- nor Somalia, nor Yugoslavia, nor any of the rest of our militaristic jingoistic warmongering.

This is perversity of the first water: Pols more afraid to lose an election than interested in the good of their country. And, worse, a press corps urging them on.


Friday, December 2, 2011

After the Supercommittee?

Cato scholar Daniel J. Mitchell discusses sequestration and the aftermath of the supercommittee’s collapse in an op-ed for National Review Online: 
Taxpayers just dodged a bullet. Even though Republicans on the so-called supercommittee were willing to break their promises and support a tax hike, a 1990-style budget deal was not possible because Democrats demanded too much and offered too little in exchange. This is good news for fiscal responsibility. Simply stated, any agreement would have been a typical inside-the-Beltway pact featuring real tax hikes and empty promises of future spending cuts. And if the 1990 tax-hike deal is any indication, that would have resulted in more red ink rather than less…. For fiscal conservatives there is no possible compromise with either the hard Left or the rational Left. Both of those camps want bigger government. Both want higher taxes. And both oppose real entitlement reform. The only real debate on the Left is how quickly to race in the wrong direction.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Democats, Republicans--both the same. Ron Paul would be a real kick as President, wouldnt' he?

Friends discussing the current administration's assaults on the U.S. Constitution (provoked by the proposed new law to allow takedown of Web sites on mere allegation of copyright infringement), wondering what ever happened to the Constitution. The subject of detainees in Guantanamo arose.

One says of Obama: "This is a professor of constitutional law, now a US President. He knows damn well that Guantanomo is a cesspit of bad prior POTUS behavior, but one rooted in extra-territorial precedent. My altruism says: free them."

Another replies, "Mine too. But my inner soldier says, "...and have a firing squad greet them the second they step through the exit."

This is, indeed, a difficult situation. But two observations:

One: If, as Ron Paul points out, we weren't sticking our military noses in every corner of the world, we'd have fewer of these Constitutional sticky bits to deal with. When you act badly, your good choices become limited. I have a whole rant about this, but never mind for now.

Two: As a Libertarian, I was not interested in which pol won the last presidency, but I hoped that with a liberal Democrat in office, we'd at least get some of the things Dems like to consider themselves good at (and blast the Repubs for being bad at), like: less war; more respect for freedom of speech and other civil liberties. it would almost be worth paying the price in taxes and limits on property rights to back away from our many wars and our many assaults on our liberties.

Instead, we get more of the same. It might as well be Bush II up there. 

The ironies abound: When the Bushes were in charge, we got all the taxes, regulations, and gigantic new government agencies the Dems are supposed to do, and none of the restraint on the growth of government the Republicans claim to favor. And of course we got the Republicans' wars. With their predecessor, Clinton, similarly, we got the best Republican president the Democrats have ever had -- lower taxes, reduced regulatory intrusion, plus a Democrat benefit of few/limited military nosiness. We didn't know how good we had it.

So you get foreign-policy adventurism, growth in government power, growth in government spending regardless of ability to pay for it, and continued assaults on our liberties, with a general annoyance at the notion the Constitution might limit any of this -- from whichever major party you vote for. Or stay home and not vote for.

It would sure be a hoot if Ron Paul got nominated and then, even more improbably, elected. The likelihood of that guy, based on his history, voting for more spending, more taxes, more invasions, more civil-liberty assaults, and so on, is very low. It would be fun to watch D.C. turn upsidedown.

But unlikely all around: If he makes much more progress in the polls, they'll have to start mentioning him in every race roundup instead of only occasionally in passing, and when he gets too far up there, they'll go try to find a way to do a Herman Cain on him -- the political press's nuclear option when they want to get rid of somebody but don't want to acknowledge their complicity.

[end rant][God I hate politics]

Mac McCarthy

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Watch out, Ron Paul is Leading in the Polls

November 2011

Keep one thing firmly in mind as the election season rolls along: Now that Ron Paul is rising so high in the polls that they can no longer completely ignore him (he's number 2 in some polls), expect the media to switch from pretending he doesn't exist to paying all too much attention, of all the wrong kind, to him. 

They will dredge up lies and misquotes and glitches from his past. Since they can't just come out and say "We don't like this guy's ideas because we're liberals and he's not," they'll fall back on ol' reliable: personal attacks. Be very careful not to fall for these attacks, or eventual rumors about this act or that belief. They will try to paint him as a complete nut case, or a fascist, or a racist, or - given his age - around the bend.

None of these will be true. I've been following Paul for nearly 20 years, ever since he first got into the House. He's exactly as he pretends to be, has radical ideas (like a foreign policy of "mind our own business"), and even in areas where one might disagree with him -- he's against abortion, which is a problem for some people, and he, yes, actually doesn't completely believe in evolution (sadly) -- but in those areas he says it really shouldln't matter because - and this is KEY - he doesn't think the federal government should have control over those areas. And in a right-thinking world, the US President's beliefs in these and many other areas would not matter any more than his opinion of who should be winning American Idol -- it should be none of the Federal Govt's business. And that is the best answer of all.

And remember another thing: Sooner or later you'll find positions he takes that you simply don't agree with. After all, the only person who could run for president with whom you'd agree completely and totally would be yourself - but you're not running.

Keep reminding yourself to focus on which candidate you agree with the most - not completely, because there won't be such a candidate. And which candidate has positions you agree with that are the *most important* positions. So: His foreign policy positions, for example, I think are absolutely vitally important to the future health of our country. And finally, keep in mind which topics he can, as president, actually have an impact on -- some things, like foreign policy and certain kinds of regulations, he can rule by fiat  as president - heck, all his predecessors have. In other topics, Congress has to support him, which they won't. So if you agree with him on something you think it important, and he can as President actually act on, then that's an important position. If there's something you disagree with him about, but it's less important -- or it's something he couldn't do anything about anyway -- then it's less important.

I remember when George McGovern was running against Nixon, and I disagreed with George about his domestic policies (he was a leftist Democrat--interestingly, he's changed as he's gotten older) but I agreed with his get-out-of-Vietnam policy. Belatedly I realized that his domestic policy ideas didn't matter because he'd never get the Congress of that day to go along. But the war he could end by fiat (since it was being run by fiat). So the thing I agreed with, he could do; the think I didn't like. he couldn't do anyway.

I've voted with that in mind ever since...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How The Press Blatantly Ignores Ron Paul - Without Guilt

First, view this spectaculary funny, angrifying, and distressing Jon Stewart snippet: Jon Stewart: What's With TV's Bias Against Ron Paul?

Stewart is dead on. I couldn't believe the baldness with which they skipped right over him in the news coverage, and jumped down to the lower votegetters. It's shocking, really. The Atlantic columnist on this page makes many of my points explicit, so read his essay below the clip.

Then read this NYT article, "Ron Paul: He Who Shall Not Be Named," on whether they are ignoring Ron Paul -- and follow the logic of why they dismiss him. If you can follow it, that is.... How bald does this have to get before everyone admits that the punditry and political press have their own agenda?

Their insider argument to themselves is as follows: 

1. Ron Paul, let's face it, simply can't win. It doesn't matter how much money he raises, how well he does in polls, how well he does in straw polls. He's too radical to win. A limited number of very noisy supporters accounts for all his success, and that won't stand up to the real election. So there's no point in covering him.

2. All the other candidates, no matter how poorly they do, could conceivably get elected.

3. BECAUSE they are all middle of the road to some degree, whereas Ron Paul is simply too radical to win the voters.

4. Therefore we can leap ahead to the assumption that he can't possibly win, and we can ignore him (except for eyebrow raising dismissals once in a while).

So -- it's a horse race and nothing but a horse race. Except there is a clear judgement call mixed in there, despite denials of taking sides: He;s too radical in our opinion and we judge that most others will agree and not vote for him.

What's wrong with this seemingly not unreasonable argument is that it assumes a lock-in to the status quo of political opinion. All opinions, ideas, and suggestions that are outside the middle-of-the-road conventional wisdom are unthinkable -- which creates the mystery of where change comes from in the world of politics? We wait for a powerful mainstream politician to suddenly get a fresh idea and risk his career on it?

Every major political and ideological shift of the past hundred years has come from the so-called fringes -- once-radical ideas that gradually gain traction as the public mulls them over (and becomes fed up with conventional solutions that aren't working). 

But the press believes that the last thing it should ever do is treat the political sphere as a battleground of ideas. The safest thing for the press, as for the conventional politicians, is to treat it all as a horse race. Period.

So Ron Paul, who has fought against our multiple wars for ten years while both parties have dragged us deeper in, until now a growing number agree with him, is a radical. 

What excuse do they have when, as happened in the Republican debate, everyone on stage starts moving in Ron Paul's direction regarding the war? Or the Fed? Or other issues? How do they dismiss him then?

We're getting to see....

--mac mccarthy

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"What If You Had To Run Your Business Like A Government?"

Frederic Paul has the genius idea of turning around the old saw about how we should run the government 'like a business,' and instead asks, "What if you had to run your business like a government?"

The result is a hilarious list of ten crazy-making limitations, obligations, and stupidities you'd face. For example, "2. Your business plan requires you to focus on your least-profitable customers."

It makes a great read, and I urge you to go read it, it'll give you a rueful laugh.

And when you're done laughing, see if you can derive from it the insights our Founders had two hundred years ago.

Because this article is (or should be) clarifying: These problems are exactly why we should hesitate to seek, as our first choice, government solutions for our problems. Because it's hard -- really, really hard -- for governments (at all levels) to solve problems -- by the very nature of political government. Which is, that government is at its core, and must be, political. (Even dictatorships; maybe especially dictatorships, which would help us understand why the rulers of Libya and Yemen and Pakistan don't just spontaneously start to 'do the right thing..)

The limitations of government are inherent in the nature and structure of government. They can't be 'fixed' by electing this or that political party, or ideology, or "good government" candidates, or honest John Doe's. Or by political will, or a sudden dose of realism on the part of voters. It's why the current (as of this writing) argument over raising of the US Federal debt ceiling is at an impasse -- 'compromise' say the pundits; who themselves wouldn't dream of compromising on their core political beliefs (compromise is always the job of the other guy).

Governments are bad at solving problems. Especially big problems. Especially problems that have political elements -- as almost all problems do. Especially problems that give rise to 'special interests,' or solutions that themselves give rise to more 'special interests.'

This was the fundamental insight of the Founders. You can't construct a government that will be composed of 'the right' people. So government power will from time to time (try: most of the time) be in the hands of bad people -- or people whose ideas of how to use that power you don't agree with.

So we should be very selective about what we ask government to do. And try really hard to find other ways to fix problems and address issues -- ways that don't rely on the weak reed of government.

("But they have so much POWER! and MONEY! If only they'd do what I want...." Sigh. We'll never learn....)

If you really care about an issue -- you should be willing to invest in coming up with a solution that minimally relies on the successful operation of government laws and rules, government regulations and bureaucrats, government police forces, and (most of all!) government politicians.

Listen, we know this at a basic level: We all hate office politics -- so why do we love government politics? Do we delude ourselves into thinking the people who exercise political power in government are on our side more than the office 'players' are on our side at work? Or on the condo board? Or the PTA board? Or the neighborhood committee?

I sincerely commend to you the most important book about government ever written: Frederic Bastiat's 'The Law'. -- It's under 100 pages long, can be bought for a song on Amazon or downloaded as a free PDF.

Bastiat was a lawyer and member of the French Assembly in the 1840s, during a period of radical unrest in France. One of his most interesting arguments was that  giving government responsibility for difficult, even unsolvable, national social problems meant dooming the government to failure -- and as the government fails at task after task, respect for the government is diminished -- to the detriment of all.

One example he used was feeding the poor; he argued that making the government responsible for ensuring that everyone was properly fed was foolish, especially for those in the government. You'd surely fail. There would always be those  not helped. In 19th century France, the problem was far more severe, and difficult to solve, than the present day of prosperity. So all you'd be doing is ensuring that the government would be hated for its ongoing, unavoidable failures, and constantly be under attack.

In other words, if you really cared about helping the starving people, you'd try to find a way to help them without dumping it into the laps of politicians. It's so tempting -- they have all that money, they can steal from/tax those damned rich (the ones richer than me, I mean), they can issue orders and pass laws at will -- all that power! But the nature of political government makes it unlikely that, if the poor are improved, it will be anything the government has done. In fact, all too often you'll find the government a stumbling block in the way of reform, new markets, lower prices, better choices, and more opportunity. Why would you want to do that to poor starving people?

It's a very interesting book, makes points I've never heard anyone else make, and does so succinctly and directly. I recommend it to you.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Crowdsourcing The Fight Against Corruption

India is a nation famed, if that's the word, for official corruption -- the oppressive bureaucracy is made worse by the expectation that every single useful thing you want them to do comes at an extra-legal price.

Official attempts to control corruption are, as everywhere, useless.

But the Web changes everything. Someone set up a site where Indians can report examples of bribes requested, bribes paid, bribes refused. It is described in a BBC News piece title "Bribery in India: A Website for Whistleblowers," by Mukti Jain Campion, at . The site they refer to is called I PAID A BRIBE, at . There you can, anonymously of course, Tell Your Bribe story (and flag it as 'I Paid a Bribe,' 'I Didn't Pay a Bribe,' and "I Didn't Have to Pay A Bribe.'). It makes fascinating reading.

It's slowly having some effect. The driving test unit in one Indian state was notorious for demanding bribes (and not correctly testing drivers, so bad drives were getting licenses - a double wrong). The embarrassment caused by the reports o I Paid A Bribe forced the unit to implement the world's first automated driving test center, where your skill at driving the course is monitored and reported by machines rather than bribe-hungry officials.

Fascinating stuff!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Ron Paul: The Founding Father

Ron Paul: The Founding Father

Ron Paul profiled in Esquire - of all places!

How far he's come. Without changing a thing.

He's also completely unflappable, in front of any kind of audience or any kind of journalist.

Mr. Relentless - he's having a long-term impact, and that's good for all of us.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Myths and Facts About Nuclear Power (Reason Magazine)

In a feature today, Reason magazine Columnist Veronique de Rugy debunks several myths about nuclear power, including:

Myth 1: Nuclear power is a cheap alternative to fossil fuels.
Fact 1: It isn’t.

Myth 2: Risk is the main problem with nuclear power.
Fact 2: Cost is the main problem, not risk.

Myth 3: The spread of nuclear power has stalled in the U.S. due to a hostile regulatory environment.
Fact 3: Nuclear power has stalled because it is simply not profitable.

Myth 4: Nuclear power is the key to energy independence.
Fact 4: More nuclear doesn’t mean less oil.

While we're on the subject, read:

God bless facts!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What’s a Disaster?

The Independent Institute:

What’s a Disaster?

A Citizen’s Guide to Surviving the Fear Mongers

Many people make big bucks these days scaring you about what’s happening, or about to happen, in the world. The media folks top the list, obviously: the more frightened you are, the more of their content you watch. There’s a second reason why media people exaggerate: the storyteller’s bias. When someone comes rushing back to the cave to tell about the saber-toothed tiger he just saw, the attention and adoration of his listeners depends on the size and ferocity of the tiger. Tell them it was a small, dead tiger, and everyone goes back to sleep.

...To counter these professional fear-mongers, we need an objective guide to the disasters we are likely to face, a scientific ranking that enables us to gauge the harm in each case. The scale proposed below is based on the number of deaths involved; one can assume a proportional economic and environmental harm....


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Here's How Tea Partiers Are Like Libertarians--in Driving Republicans Crazy

A friend points out that the Tea Party is not Libertarian.

Indeed not, unfortunately. They only half get the Libertarian story.

But they are very similar to Libertarians in one important, interesting, and entertaining way. 

The Democrats and the Republican mainstream for the most part are only ideological to the extent that it doesn't interfere with party politics -- it's party before all, including the best interests of the country, the voters, et al. 

Thus you have the Democrats opposing the war when a Republican president is running it, then losing all interest in curbing US warmaking once a Democrat is running things. There are various reasons, rationales, and excuses for this (the Republicans do the same thing, except on the spending side), but mainly it's because the apparently ideological protests against war, or against spending, are just clubs to beat the rival gang with. An excuse; if circumstances change, they change clubs -- I wouldn't be surprised if you could find historical periods when the clubs were in opposite hands than they are now.

The Tea Party partisans, though, like the Libertarians, are extremely annoying to the mainstreamers because they act as if they believe their asserted ideological principles should actually be acted on once they get into power. Which is so insane that the mainstream members of the two main parties hardly know what to say. Thus the chaos in DC at the moment as the Tea Party-elected Representatives keep insisting, in the teeth of all historical precedent, on trying to actually *cut* the budget -- as in "spend less money this year than we did last year," which is not the standard DC definition of "cut," as you know. Libertarians like Ron and Rand Paul act the same way when in office, which leaves the DC residents reeling in incredulity.

And I enjoy watching them. 

Jerry Brown has a tendency to do things from time to time that give the unavoidable impression he'd actually like to achieve the results he and other politicians campaign on but never actually get around to accomplishing. So he'd like to help poor people - actually, not in theory. And improve the schools - really, not just in the sense that they get and piss away more money. And fix the budget - really, not just use the budget process as a political club and not care the actual impact on the state. 

I greatly enjoy that, too.

And I also enjoy the beneficial side effect of the greater mainstream media attention being paid to Rand Paul and to Ron Paul -- Ron is getting more MSM facetime than he's gotten in the whole twenty years he's been in office. This can only be good for the nation.

Mac McCarthy

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rand Paul is Right: End Foreign Aid to Wealthy Nations

... Including Isreal - the third rail of foreign-aid politics, apparently.

Here is an article on Senator Rand Paul's excellent argument on the matter:

He's got a point. It's not just Isreal -- we support Japan, South Korea, and a lot of other nations who should start by helping themselves and then if they come up short, call us.

Instead, our government loves the idea of handing out money because they like to think it gives us "leverage" over their nations and their policies.

Which is proven when we stop aid and embargo them to punish them. This worked well for Cuba, which is now a democracy, North Korea, Iran, and Iraq before we decided to invade them instead because, apparently, it was even more expensive.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Drug Danger: Placebos!

Great comic:

New danger, ban placebos, yes?


Re: "Looking for Loughners Would laxer commitment rules make us safer?"

My comment to a Reason article, title above, at 
Another way to look at this kind of problem is to see it as a set of tradeoffs, rather than a situation with a clear, crisp solution.
On the one hand, making involuntary commitment easier increases the risk of taking away the freedom of people unnecessarily, even opening opportunities for people to game the system to get rid of annoying relatives, enemies, rivals. In the old days, remember, that was the complaint: Too many harmless people locked up. Books, plays, and movies with this theme were common at one time: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Harvey with his six-foot imaginary rabbit, The Curious Savage, and even Miracle on 34th Street.
So we changed the rules, and now it's much harder to commit someone involuntarily. This really means that the tradeoffs lie in the direction of not locking up someone who eventually becomes dangerous, and thus innocent people losing their lives -- sometimes just the crazy person, who commits suicide when he could have been helped.
As we move the slider back and forth, we trade security for society on the one hand and concern for the individual on the other. If we choose to change the laws to make involuntary commitment easier, we have to recognize that the tradeoff is that we will have people who will be committed who shouldn't be; it's inevitable. And if we don't change the laws, we will have people die at the hands of insane people; that, too, is inevitable.
Of course, admitting to tradeoffs is not the way to win in politics or in public forums, to we tend to absolutism: Our way is best, not simply better, it is without negative tradeoffs or costs, and the other side's ideas are uniformly bad, period. We win arguments that way; we don't get closer to any useful truths.