But Now You Know

The search for truth in human action

Why “Moderates” Have Always been Unelectable


Every time, for decades, the more principled candidate has won, and the "moderate" almost always lost.

They keep telling us that Mitt Romney is the only “electable” candidate…just like they claimed about John McCain and Bob Dole.

But, like McCain and Dole, the history is of Big Government “moderates” losing:

  • 1976

    Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan struggled through the whole primary season, reaching the convention with no majority.

    The Liberal “Moderate” Republicans, known as Nixonians and “Rockefeller Republicans”, said that even though Reagan had more delegates, Ford should be the nominee, because he was a “moderate”, therefore more electable.Reagan, with his “liberty” and “small government” talk, was too extreme, obviously unelectable.

    Ford, running as a moderate, lost.

  • 1980

    Reagan ran again.

    As before, the Rockefeller Republicans insisted that Reagan was unelectable. Low taxes, spending cuts, in the middle of a recession? Attacking government as the problem, instead of giving people hope by saying it could fix things?

    Madness.

    In fact, when he won the primary by beating John Anderson and George Bush, the Establishment Republicans actually ran John Anderson as a third party spoiler in the general election:

    The Republican establishment hoped to split the vote and get Carter re-elected. They actually preferred Liberal/socialist Carter over Reagan!

    The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is. – Ronald Reagan, “Inside Ronald Reagan”, Reason magazine, July 1975

    But “unelectable extremist libertarian” Reagan won the election in a landslide, beating “electable moderate” Republican John Anderson and incumbent Democrat Jimmy Carter, combined.

  • 1992

    Bush won because he was Reagan’s Vice President, but in 1992, he had to run on his own record as a “moderate” Republican, the establishment rallying around to force his nomination in the face of challenges by two more candidates, one more libertarian and one more conservative. The “Moderate” Bush was supposed to be more electable.

    Bush, running as a Moderate, lost.

  • 1994

    Two years later, rebellious Republicans refused to follow the Establishment’s advice, running  on a libertarian Conservative platform, the Contract with America. The establishment worried that the lack of a more moderate stance would hurt their normal mid-term gains. This was the first time the Republican party had run for Congress without a “moderate” agenda, in generations.

    Instead of losing, the Republicans running on principle took all of Congress, for the first time…in generations.

  • 1996

    The “Moderate” Republican Establishment had regained control.

    Faced with a very libertarian candidate and more conservative one leading in early primaries, they managed to force the “moderate”, Bob Dole, into winning the nomination. Those two non-Moderates were deemed unelectable, despite the lesson of two years earlier.

    Dole, running as a Moderate, lost.

  • 2000

    W Bush ran as a Conservative. He promised school choice, Social Security reform, and “no more nation building”.

    Naturally, running as a Conservative, he won.

  • 2004

    But it turned out to be a lie.

    • Instead of less centralized education, we got a more socialist education system through “No Child Left Behind”.
    • Instead of Social Security reform, we got Medicare Part D, the biggest entitlement expansion in history.
    • Instead of “No more nation building”, we got endless wars and trillions squandered overseas, killing our sons, driving oil prices up 700%, and crippling the economy.

    He should, therefore, have lost in 2004, exposed as a “moderate”.

    But the Democrats committed political suicide: Dumping the clearly principled candidate Howard Dean, they went for “Me-too Democrat” John Kerry, who was “Bush Lite” on pretty much every topic.

    As usual, the more “moderate”, unprincipled candidate lost.

  • 2006

    "Moderates" lost Congress to the Democrats in 2006, but only four years later, the TEA Party's principled stand won it back

    The Republican party carefully ran as “moderate”, as defenders of their “moderate” President. In each election where they had done so in the dozen years that they’d controlled Congress, they’d lost ground…and now they were out of time.

    Running as Moderates, the Republicans lost.

  • 2008

    Once again, the Establishment fought back challengers who were more libertarian and Conservative, to ensure that one of the two, supposedly electable, “moderates” won the nomination.

    John McCain, running as a Moderate, lost.

  • 2010

    To the horror of the Establishment, the TEA Party began ousting “moderates” in the primary, leaving the Republicans with 60 “unelectable” candidates who supported libertarian Conservative principles.

    The TEA Party, running on principle, took back the House, only four years after losing it.

In the entire modern history of politics, and especially the Republican party and Conservatism, there has been a nearly perfect pattern of “moderates” losing nationwide elections, and principled candidates, running on small government, winning.

This is because people support principled candidates, but either stay home or vote for the candidate a  “moderate” one is imitating.

The lesser of two evils is still…EVIL.

“Moderates” are not electable.

February 4, 2012 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Why the End Does Not Justify the Means


Why don't we torture accused criminals in order to find who is guilty? Because the end does not justify the means.

It has become clear that many politicians and lawyers, and a few real people, don’t understand what is meant by The End Does Not Justify the Means.

They act like people are saying the desire to have pancakes cannot justify making batter. But this is more specific. It’s about good versus evil. In their unfortunate perspective, caring about what is right must seem insane.

But the truth is that this phrase sums up one of the most important principles of ethics and morality:

It means that there are certain fundamental principles that are “right”, “good”, et cetera, that are essential to those conditions…and you cannot justify violating them because you have some “right” or “good” goal in mind.

For example, you cannot have justice, unless you adhere to the principles of justice; It’s not OK to do unjust things to people simply because you have a just goal in mind.

This is a basic philosophical rule that is ignored or denied by almost all evil people you will find out there, and supported by almost all good ones. Marxists coined the modern use of the phrase “the end justifies the means”, and naturally they and their socialist spinoffs were responsible for the vast majority of all great evils, for the past century.

Evil Men

Joseph Stalin, for example, justified the deaths of tens of millions of his own people, by saying that the population was too large for (relatively inefficient) Communism to support. The mass death left Soviet society more sustainable. Did the betterment of millions of peoples’ lives justify the murder of millions of other people? According to Consequentialist socialists; yes.

Previously, the Dominican order of Catholicism was an advocate of the idea that the end justifies the means (in spirit), and it just so happens that they went on to conduct, among other great evils, the Inquisition. It was literally claimed that you may be saving the soul of the man you tortured or murdered in the name of God, so it was OK. All the ways the current Pope is less popular than his predecessor appear to center around his being of that Dominican mindset. In fact, the position he held before becoming pontiff was the Head of the Office of Inquisition, I kid you not…it had simply changed its name for PR reasons.

Likewise, when Machiavelli used that phrase in his satirical indictment of the evils and abuses of Feudal government, The Prince, he succeeded in hitting the nail on the head as to what is most wrong and unjust.

Required by Good

In reality, the end does not justify the means, in part because the long-term outcome of ignoring principles in order to buy short-term results is a failure of your own goals.

The idea that the wise principles override the short-sighted goal (a form of Deontology, if you like them thar fancified words) is why courts will overturn convictions on technicalities, one of the few good and just things remaining in the US legal system. Any honest — or as close as they get –prosecutor will tell you that the reason they hate that condition is how it keeps them from breaking rules and simply gambling punishment, in order to convict people they think are guilty. They are restrained from unjust acts, by this absolute enforcement of the principles of justice, even though it may let a guilty man walk in the short term.

When you have a principle, like “do not violate someone else’s property”, it cannot be overridden because you have some end in mind like “but the wealth I steal from his safe will benefit several other people who deserve it more”.

Like setting aside money for bills and emergencies instead of partying all of your paycheck away, sticking to the principles of what is good, right, and just produces the best outcome in the long run. You are investing in your ultimate goal by sticking to it when the going gets tough. When you panic and abandon your principles for a short-term benefit, you end up making things worse in the end.

THAT is why the end does not justify the means.

May 12, 2011 Posted by | Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Thank Ron Paul, He Blew Up Congress


Remember, remember, the 2nd of November, when Ron Paul took back the House, as the next step in the movement that exploded on Guy Fawkes Day, 2007.

With all the hubbub about this election, there hasn’t been enough talk about how it happened:

How Ron Paul Restored Republican Principles (and/or Power)

Remember, the Republicans were stripped of power by the very same voters, just four years ago. What changed isn’t trust in that party’s old guard leadership, but the restoration of that party’s roots by the TEA Party.

The reason they’re getting it back started three years ago today, when Ron Paul stunned the political world with the massive success of the Money Bomb his grass-roots supporters spontaneously organized.

The Money Bomb

In a single day, these TEA Party predecessors raised $4,700,000 dollars for Ron Paul…more than any other Republican candidate. They chose Guy Fawke’s Day to symbolically represent how Ron Paul was to metaphorically blow up the corrupt, establishment government…probably inspired in part by the movie V, where the hero re-enacts that historic event in his fight against a repressive, tyrannical government.

This brought the liberty movement of Ron Paul to the attention of the “mainstream”, touching off a snowball of support for his campaign that, while not getting him nominated against the will of the establishment Republicans in Name Only (RiNOs), left him with a huge “war chest” after the primaries were over. He used this money to found the Campaign for Liberty, supporting the general liberty movement he had empowered.

Taxed Enough, Already

During his campaign, even before the Money Bomb, supporters started referring to their rallies as “Tea Parties”, some creating the backronym “Taxed Enough Already” to refer to their libertarian economic theme.

By 2009, these TEA Parties, with the support of Ron Paul-supporting groups like Young Americans for Liberty and his own Campaign for Liberty, had taken on a life of their own. As you know, that grew into the movement that people rallied around, and when that movement chose Ron Paul’s party for its candidates, the Republicans finally had an opportunity to return their party to its libertarian base.

They started as a fight against Democratic talk of raising taxes, fighting bailouts and “stimulus” spending, but got their greatest momentum fighting the socialized health care bill, which Ron Paul had opposed even back in 2003 when the Republicans were pushing socialized medicine.

Will It Stay True?

In 2010, of course, the neocons and other RiNOs saw the success of Paul’s movement, and started trying to hijack the TEA Party. They attempted to insert divisive social issues, like anti-Muslim fearmongering and hate, promotion of the drug war, et cetera…but it has not worked: This election was about the economy, smaller government, and other libertarian ideas that the Republican leadership has been forced to parrot, although their history is of doing even more harm to that cause than the Democrats.

The Tea Party movement started with Ron Paul, who is recognized even by his opponents as the most principled, honest man in Congress. It has overcome attacks by Big Government advocates on the “Right”, supposed leaders of the Republican Party and others, but has not lost its way, and almost singlehandedly won this election (except for help by the Democrats, in their own self-destruction).

Hopefully, it can continue to police the Republican party to stick to its base’s principles…or, almost everyone outside the Political Class agrees, the Republicans will have blown their last chance, and TEA will take its party elsewhere.

November 5, 2010 Posted by | liberty, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Conservatives Say: It’s OK If Obama Blames Bush


No RiNOs (Republicans in Name Only)Yes, whenever the sagging economy comes up, or the foreign quagmires, Obama blames Bush. And certain talk show hosts have defensive hysterics over that.

But, unlike neocons at Fox and on the radio, and other advocates of Big Brothernment, true Conservatives have no problem at all with this, for two reasons:

First) It’s true. Bush governed like a Liberal, spending money, increasing regulations, and dragging us into a trillion dollars in wars, and then mismanaged them abysmally. Even if it is embarrassing to  “our side”, we believe in supporting the truth, taking responsibility for mistakes (something Bush rarely did), and fixing problems.

Second) It’s not a condemnation of Conservatism, anyway, because Bush was so Liberal. Like neocons in general, he only talked Conservative, but when the chips were down he always turned to huge government solutions, more squandering of taxpayer money, et cetera.

It’s no surprise that we had economic and political trauma, when Bush violated Conservative principles in these ways:

  • He had claimed the economy needed to be deregulated, yet he rolled out more huge regulatory schemes, even counting only his first two years in office, than Clinton did in eight…hundreds of billions of dollars in new regulations on insurance, shipping, health care, and many other industries.
  • Even his “tax cuts” were mostly semi-annual welfare checks disguised as “refunds”, along with “tax credits” that are literally welfare, plus a maze of new exemptions that truly increased tax compliance cost just as much as any actual tax savings. Compare this to Reagan simplifying the tax code so much that people saved as much in compliance costs as they saved in taxes.
  • His “solution” to the failure of socialized education was to break his School Choice promise and set up a massive Federal bureaucracy called No Child Left Behind.
  • His response to 9-11 was to set up a police state in violation of the Constitution, to refuse Afghanistan’s offer to turn over bin Laden for war crimes trial in order to invade, and to attack Al Qaeda’s mortal enemy, Saddam Hussein.
  • His promise to make Socialist Security more privatized and voluntary was abandoned because he was spending all of his political capital on a voluntary trillion-dollar set of wars.
  • Speaking of socialism, until Obama’s health care plan passes (shudder), Bush’s prescription drug plan stands as the largest socialized medicine expansion in US history.
  • Speaking of being more Liberal than Clinton, in EVERY SINGLE YEAR, of his eight years in office, Bush increased domestic spending more than Clinton did in his entire second term.
  • His answer to Katrina was to throw $87,000,000,000 dollars at the region, that had already squandered more than the rest of the nation’s combined Army Corps of Engineers budget at NOT fixing its levees.
  • His response to the economic decline was to not only increase spending above his super-Clinton levels, but to bail out companies and squander hundreds of billions on “stimulus” packages that actually depress the economy more.

Who’s seriously surprised that this kind of socialism caused an economic depression? Hoover’s big-government approach helped cause the Great Depression, and Bush’s similar approach did the same.

Real Conservatives don’t try to defend this. Instead, we say:

Yes, that’s right, Bush’s domestic policies cause economic catastrophe…so stop doing exactly the same stuff, Obama!

October 29, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

Secrecy is Tyranny


(caption: Keeping secrets from voters is exactly as coercive as holding a gun to their head in the voting booth)

(caption: Keeping secrets from voters is exactly as coercive as holding a gun to their head in the voting booth)

Secrecy, even in and of itself, is a form of tyranny.

No, this doesn’t mean when you don’t tell your friend about his surprise party, nor concealing the recipe for Coke Classic, not even the hidden initiation rites for that fraternity…

But when you cause someone to do something they would have otherwise not chosen, because you conceal information from them, then you are coercing them, the same as if you pointed a gun at their head. 

And, in the case of government, when the People are supposed to control policy through elections and popular support, any government-concealed information that changes how they would vote is tyranny, same as if they sent stormtroopers to help fill out ballots on election day.

Any pundit you see complaining that a government official told the American public too much is, in effect, advocating tyranny.

It’s one thing to hide when troops are making an attack for a few days, or to openly refuse to tell exactly how a nuclear bomb is made…but it’s another, entirely, to conceal information that will change how people vote, no matter what “national security” excuse they invent.

This is most painfully transparent when the actual “national security” excuse is “this will embarrass [some government official or office]”. Embarrassment, shame, and general changing of how someone sees something are obviously not legitimate excuses. What’s more, it would not matter either way, because that is the price of liberty.

America is supposed to be a free country. This requires responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions, including when it means something embarrassing, whether to your neighbor or the foreigners who will be horrified or disgusted at our government’s behavior.

In fact, without secrecy, many of those evils would not occur in the first place, just as in our real lives. If the government can’t hide when it bribes a foreign official, or tortures someone, or other evils, then it will face public and international shame, and the threat of voter retaliation, and hopefully not do it in the first place.

By preventing voter retaliation, a government does not make itself more stable…just more tyrannical.

May 29, 2009 Posted by | International, Philosophy, Politics, Society | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Unamerican Policies Are Great Tiger Repellent


We are told that it's the abandonment of our principles that has prevented any terrorist attacks...forgetting that we had no terrorist attacks for ten years before 9-11, either

We didn't get attacked for the ten years prior to 9-11 either.

 
Little Old Lady: [Long Island Accent] This tiger repellent is so expensive, I may have to cut back on my groceries to keep getting it! 

Sane Person: But…tiger repellent is a scam! Why would you buy such a thing? It’s a waste of money! 

Little Old Lady: Well, I started buying it when that magician got mauled. And obviously it works; I haven’t been attacked by a tiger, since!

No matter whether Bush’s policies violated every American principle or not, one thing you can definitely say is that we haven’t had a terrorist attack on US soil in the seven years since he started them.

Nor have we been attacked by tigers.

In fact, we did not have a terrorist attack on US soil for almost ten years BEFORE 9-11. Crediting Bush’s violation of every American and Conservative principle with this “safety” is actually somewhat more foolish than the little old lady buying tiger repellent.

Unless it actually attracts tigers.

Because Bush’s evils, committed in our name, like:

  • Torturing now-helpless captives
  • Attacking countries without provocation
  • Rounding up people at random from suspected areas and keeping them for months, or years, without outside contact or even determining which ones, if any, are actually the targets
  • Handing out billions in cash and military supplies to top state sponsors of terrorism like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia

All have increased likelihood of attacks against America.

It is no coincidence that terrorist attacks worldwide increased with each implementation of these policies. That they didn’t happen in the US is because zero times some amount is still zero.

These evils are a perfect recruitment system for terrorism. What other way do these people have to stop us? Would YOU not fight back, if these things were being done to your family?

Evils we would not normally commit, we should not commit just to gain some benefit…but especially when the benefit is imaginary. “We haven’t been attacked since 9-11” is as ridiculous as “I haven’t been attacked by a tiger since Siegfried and Roy were attacked”.

May 27, 2009 Posted by | International, Philosophy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Stop Blaming Capitalism: for Socialism’s Failures


New, Permanent Home!

This article has garnered such overwhelming response, that it has been given a permanent place, here.

The page below is now only a quick summary, with the details and citations moved to the real page.

(Almost all of what "evil capitalists" are blamed for is actually caused by socialism)


HMOs, the health care crisis, strip mining, robber barons, deforestation, SUVs, “global warming”, world hunger, unemployment, inflation, periodic recession/depression…what all have in common is that Big Government is the cause, but your economic freedom is blamed.

Politicians tend to force bad government programs on us, which then have destructive side-effects, usually the opposite of what’s intended, and then saying the effects were caused by whatever freedom of choice is left over, and trying to take that away.

Included in the list of such failures:

An entire group founded around this topic, including extensive discussion of it, can be found at Stop Blaming Capitalism, for Socialism’s Failures

(It's amazing how many things government forces on us, which are then blamed on our freedom)

(It's amazing how many things government forces on us, which are then blamed on our freedom)

May 13, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

The Big Bang Theory Does Not Represent Science


Cut the Creator some Slack     
(Caption: Cut the Creator some Slack)

Anyone puzzled by how some Americans don’t take science seriously need look no farther than how few scientists, themselves, take the scientific method seriously.

There is no better example of that credibility gap than the Big Bang Theory.

And this is the worst possible place for the flaw to occur, because the Big Bang has become the poster child for “science is smart, religion is stupid”…yet it’s not actually science.

Even my favorite sitcom, wherein some producer had the crazy nerve to try to create a show around the situation of INTELLIGENT people, The Big Bang Theory, assumes its name (apparently) as an attempt to show intellectual, potential viewers that it’s for them, not the common proles.

But the Big Bang Theory is pseudoscience, at best.

Bad

By the rules of hard science, it’s not even a theory. A theory can be tested in a way that would be sure to fail if it were wrong. This, with the Big Bang, is impossible so far. So it doesn’t qualify. It is a hypothesis.

For supposed scientists to refer to it as a theory is akin to Catholic priests and bishops referring to a contemporary televangelist as a Saint. There are strict rules for sainthood, and for scientific theoryhood, and if you just go tossing either word around you discredit the whole genre. Saint Tammy Fae Baker would undermine the concept of Christian sainthood exactly the way the Big Bang Theory undermines the concept of cosmogony as a science.

Worse

But it’s worse than that; the Big Bang Hypothesis is not just treated with the unearned dignity of being a “theory”, but even like a fact, despite having failed even the basic test of prediction.

Original big bang-based predictions of the temperature of the universe, its expansion, and the even-ness of background radiation all failed…but, in violation of the principles of science, bureaucrats just turned around and reverse-engineered new predictions that matched the existing observations. 

But even if they had not, no theory EVER rises to the level of fact, based solely on its matching of predictions. 

To quote Stephen Hawking:

Any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis; you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with some theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory.

You don’t have to go as far as Anthropogenic Global Warming, to find scientists treating failed hypotheses as Settled Science, which is denied by not only Stephen Hawking above, but the Fallibilist roots of hard science.

Laughable

But it gets worse, still, when extreme atheists try to trot out The Big Bang as a solution for the Prime Mover paradox.

See, one of the arguments used by Creationists is that everything in the universe apparently needs to be caused by something else. Things don’t just happen out of nothing, there’s always a “cause and effect”. This means that, if the universe ever had a start at all, HOW it could start seems impossible to explain. There has to have been to be a First Event, that was not caused by anything at all, and that should be impossible.

“Science has solved that with the Big Bang”, the claim is made.

But it’s untrue.

In fact, the Big Bang hypothesis brings focus on the very power of the Prime Mover paradox. It appears to have the whole universe go back to a single point, but then does nothing to explain why it was AT that point in the first place. There is no way to explain why the potential for the vacuum fluctuation that (maybe) produced the Big Bang existed in the first place.

If the Creator of the universe were a timeless Christian god, perhaps that’s what caused the Big Bang. Sadly for science, this makes as much sense as anything the mainstream cosmologists have proposed to start it, so far*.

When people stick to the rules of hard science, they have an absolute right to say “see, this produces sounder results and more verifiable Truth than religion”, when it does. The problem is that modern “scientists” quite often are NOT. They don’t stick by those rules, and therefore earn the disdain that people heap on them.

Oh, and let’s not forget that I’m using the criteria of real science to argue this. Among the people who agree with me are Einstein, a Scientific Realist who opposed the instrumentalist pseudoscience of modern quantum physics, Schroedinger, whose famous cat experiment was intended to mock unscientific physics, and the father of modern hard science, Karl Popper whom Stephen Hawking is paraphrasing in his quote, above.

Next time some horrified Discovery Channel /NPR pundit moans quaveringly that “a majority of Americans don’t even believe in science over religion”, or the downright sneering at global warming claims, remember that this is as much the fault of the supposed scientists breaking their own rules, as anything else.

_________________

Superstring hypotheses say the Big Bang is just the collision of “branes” (think membranes) in a much larger, more complex 10+ dimensional universe. But, while this provides the closest thing to a Unified Theory, it’s mostly ignored by the mainstream cosmologists. And, anyway, it does nothing to explain why the whole multiverse exists in the first place.

May 12, 2009 Posted by | Philosophy, Religion, Science | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Why Oil and Gas Prices Are Falling


We all know that high gas/energy prices, driven by high oil prices, are a large part of what has crippled the US economy.

But what has caused that?

Oil prices are not set by oil companies, but by futures and commodities speculators, who bid on the oil at auctions. The companies have no more control over the price than someone selling with a regular auction on EBay.

The speculators decide what they are willing to pay, based on what they believe the future of oil to be.

How Prices Rose

In 1999, the monopolistic oil cartel OPEC started cutting production, specifically to help themselves and their allies get rich by driving up the price of oil. Speculators, naturally, started bidding more for oil, expecting there to be a shortage. It went from well under $20 per barrel to over $30.

Then George W Bush got elected.

People assumed, because wealthy oil barons in Texas and Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for financing him, that plentiful oil was in their future. This ignored history, of course, because plentiful oil is cheap, and cheap oil is bad for oil barons. The more expensive oil is, the better. It would have made more sense to expect Bush to do things that would drive up the price of oil.

Bush and Abdullah Saud

Bush holds hands with a member of the Saudi tyranny, top state sponsor of terrorism, and leader of the push to keep oil prices high

But they assumed it’d be plentiful, so they bid lower on it, and the price fell. It got almost back down to its natural, under-$20 price range.

But that was bad for Bush’s financiers.

In fact, there was a lot of loud public worry, among oil barons, about how the price of oil was returning to normal.

Then came September 11th, 2001. 

Afghanistan

After 9-11, there were many ways America could go. 

The way Bush chose to lead, was to first attack Afghanistan. He said this was because they were harboring bin Laden. He promised, though, that he was going to exhaust all diplomatic means, and only attack them as a last resort.

But before he attacked, the government of Afghanistan, a long-time US ally whom Bush had just recently sent, openly and on record, a great deal of grant money for their help, offered to turn over bin Laden for war crimes trial.

Bush ignored the offer, refusing even to discuss it with them. When they offered a second time, the US attacked the very next day.

Speculators saw this as a very bad sign for oil, because Afghanistan was closely aligned with many oil-producing countries, and they bid more for it, driving the price into the high $20 range, fifty percent higher than its natural price.

Iraq

Then Bush began threatening to attack Iraq. Now Afghanistan had at least some association with Al Qaeda…but Iraq, of course, was ruled by Al Qaeda’s #2 enemy after the US: Saddam Hussein.

Oil speculators found this pretty scary, and confusing. The price of oil rose to close to $40, more than twice its natural range.

Gradually, it declined, on the promise of cheap oil from Iraq, even though every government projection of conquering Iraq anticipated years of quagmire and turmoil, jeopardizing oil supplies for a long time to come. This is why his father had not done it.

(more after this K-rad graphic)

 

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Oil Prices, Real and Adjusted, from 1990 to mid 2008

Sure enough, as time war on, the war got worse, and the speculators responded by bidding ever-higher for oil.

 

General Belligerence

What’s more, whenever the price was finally stabilizing a bit, the Bush administration would do something else that threatened the oil supply, like picking fights with Hugo Chavez, or threatening to attack Iran. Each time, investors were frightened, and the oil price climbed.

Eventually, this kind of belligerent foreign policy pattern pushed it up to $140 per barrel, over 700% above its natural price of just a few years earlier.

Sane Foreign Policy?

Then, in early 2008, it began to grow increasingly likely that Barak Obama would be the Democratic nominee. Unlike Hillary, he had always opposed this kind of foreign policy. Speculators began to weigh the possibility of a different foreign policy into their price bids.

Obama's Oil Price Rescue

As Obama's election grew more likely, oil buyers became reassured that oil supplies might be secure, and bid less, driving down prices.

As he clinched the nomination, and then began to dominate the polls versus McCain, the amount speculators were willing to pay steadily declined.

 

By the time he was elected, which had been seen as a probable for some time, they had built a peaceful foreign policy into the price, so that it was half its peak. 

The day after he was elected, the price fell dramatically. 

Now it remains in a holding pattern, a fraction of its peak just a year ago…waiting to see if Barak Obama is going to keep his promise of sane foreign policy. If he does, we could see oil falling down to its natural price, which by now is probably little more than $30 a barrel.

Ironically, sane foreign policy has an even greater impact on what the investors in oil are willing to pay, than Obama’s own position as a Liberal enemy of the energy needs of Americans.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Economy, International | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

   

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