Lesson 1: don’t be scared

Bird, you have previously complained of my “lightning-strike approach to terrorism”.  

Indeed. Perhaps you should check which is a greater threat to your life — terrorists or lightning. Or pesticide poisoning. Or falling down stairs. Or smoking. Or sex.

Ignorance is not strength. Fearmongering is the number one tool of the government lover. Don’t fall for that trick Graeme. Stop being scared. Stop trusting your beloved government and learn to love freedom.

Stop stealing my tax money for your foreign adventures and stop taking away my right to privacy and liberty for the sake of your delicate and irrational peace of mind.


68 Responses to “Lesson 1: don’t be scared”

  1. Graeme Bird Says:

    “Indeed. Perhaps you should check which is a greater threat to your life — terrorists or lightning. Or pesticide poisoning. Or falling down stairs. Or smoking. Or sex.”

    Yeah well its a stupid approach. Its a static approach. It would wreak an enourmous amount of havoc to even the simplest crime prevention and is ignorant, myopic, short-sighted, simplictic and an incredibly uneducaten and head-in-the-sand approach to take.

    “Ignorance is not strength.”

    Right. So right there we have the justification for you to work hard against your ignorance. Because you are going to have to be tough to be a politician.

    “Fearmongering is the number one tool of the government lover.”

    Well its one of the tools yes.

    “Don’t fall for that trick Graeme. Stop being scared.”

    I’m not the least bit scared and I’m not likely to fall for that trick. BUT YOU HAVE FALLEN FOR IT IN YOUR ANTI-SCIENCE APPROACH TO GLOBAL WARMING.

    “Stop trusting your beloved government and learn to love freedom.”

    Now you are just being silly.

    ” Stop stealing my tax money for your foreign adventures and stop taking away my right to privacy and liberty for the sake of your delicate and irrational peace of mind.”

    One doesn’t need to fight on the defensive (ie local freedom-reducing security measures) if one is on the offensive (ie projection of force against offending regime leadership)

    It appears you have developed a sort of irrational head-in-the-sand approach that can only have come about from an attempt to deal with overwhelming fears. Since I’m not the least bit scared of these Sand-crackers I’m more able to deal with this rationally from a public policy point of view.

  2. John Humphreys Says:

    Graeme, sorry to say it but that was a pathetic effort to defend your taxeating.

    I state the FACT (remember those) that there is a low risk from terrorism and you respond kicking and screaming with a string of offensive but meaningless crap and absolutely no substance.

    You offer no argument, so it’s impossible to argue against. My approach is not static (it never is). It wouldn’t create any havoc to be rational. It is not ignorant, myopic, short-sighted or simplistic to know that fact that terrorism is a small danger. And as for whether I am “uneducaten” (sic) — you don’t even believe that. You’re just letting insults replace arguments, and therefore effectively admitting you’ve lost this argument.

    Graeme, if you’re not scared… then why are you supporting huge amounts of taxeating and infringements on my liberty? To decrease terrorism? But the threat is so low that it hardly matters. So what are you scared of?

    My approach to global warming is based on good science and economics. But I agree that some people do resort to fearmongering to justify their huge government spending project. That is why I often point out the similarities between AGW fearmongers and Terror fearmongers. Both groups are irrationally scared of something and using that fear to justify a big increase in government. Both are myopic, socialist prats with little understanding of government and freedom.

    I’m not going to let you pretend to be a defender of freedom if you support massively anti-freedom policies and can’t even defend them except to call me stupid.

    Your “offensive (ie projection of force against offending regime leadership)” doesn’t need to be done. You’re taking my money to do it against my will and I don’t want you to do it. Saddam wasn’t infringing my liberty. He wasn’t taking my income. He had nothing to do with me. If you want to invade his country — do it with your own bloody money you commie bastard. And Iraq isn’t the only taxeating mistakes that you Terror-scared people make.

    You say you can deal with this rationally from a public policy perspective. I’m glad. This is where I’m an expert, so we should be able to have a good ol’ chat. So — what are the costs of terrorism? What are the costs of our anti-terror activities? Good questions eh? I already know the answers, but I look forward to you discovering them.

    You should perhaps remember than there is an efficient amount of everything that is non-infinite and non-zero… including terror. And including crime. And death.

    And maybe try this out, which explains the danger of fear-based policies and the idiocy about the terror fear-campaign (and won me a prize with the CIS) — http://www.cis.org.au/policy/autumn04/autumn04-5.htm

  3. Jason Soon Says:

    brilliant idea, John!

  4. JC Says:

    Ask the Israelis if they consider terrorism to be low risk, Humphreys. Policing has sure worked there hasn’t it?

    In any event prevention of terrorist acts is good financially. 911 will end up costing 250 bill on its own.

  5. JC Says:

    “So — what are the costs of terrorism? What are the costs of our anti-terror activities? Good questions eh? I already know the answers, but I look forward to you discovering them.”

    Humphreys, do us all a favour and stop posing as a libertarian. After voting in Quiggin as an intellectual you ought hang your head in shame over that fucking remark. Like a typical leftist you still haven’t apologizd for that comment.

    Notice he’s calling for Bolt’s resignation now. This form a tenured leftist goon you supported as an intellectual. Lets’s see you suck that apple.

    That stupid comment above could have just as easily been used to rationalize the appeasers in the 30’s when Hilter attacked eastern europe. Oh hang on a minute it was.

    Get the hell out of here, Humphreys. You don’t even know what the hell you’re costing, Chamberlain mini me.

  6. graemebird Says:

    You will have to enlighten us about what we might call ‘THE NAIEVE VIEW OF WAR’ or the Humphreys view of war.

    I mean I don’t yet know how you’ve come off the beam. You would have to tell us about your defense policy more generally.

    JC has a good point. If you put your theories on defense in the context of you giving adivce to Israel it will focus your mind as to how one goes about this. You might be living in a seven-year old sheilas world here. Where everything is just roses as long as we don’t upset people by spending on weapons and things.

    By the way congratulations on your new blog. I’m sure it will be a great success. And the first of many blogs devoted entirely to me.

  7. JC Says:

    Let’s go back to the 30’s and do a costing of the war effort. it cost the US $3.5 trillion in 40’s dollars to prosecute that war. I couldn’t imagine the losses the Brits suffered, or the French.

    So let’s pretend we have Chamberlain’s mini-me (Humpheys) sitting in front of an exel spread sheet doing the costing for a potential war against Germany.

    Out comes his spread sheet and let me guess what is ends up with.

    Oh it is too costly to fight Germany now, so we’ll wait until it becomes unavoidable.

    Chamberlain’s mini me has a few apologies to make, I think.

  8. graemebird Says:

    Well the thing is it always costs too much when viewed against the strategy that is a little bit better then the one actually adopted with the benefit of hindsight.

    If we look at the current war….. The regime-change-phase….

    That was a CHEAP war. And there was nothing very much to dislike about it.

    But the time period after the Baathists were ousted… Well you know. That was (is) pretty expensive.

  9. JC Says:

    He’s not talking about that GB
    He’s talking about the overall thing. By his reckoning you should never pursue foes because it’s too expensive.

  10. JC Says:

    Don’t go soft on him, GB. He’s tried to fuck you over with this site. Funny that isn’t it , the libertarian Quiggin loving Chamberlian mini me is screwing over another libertarian.

    That’s like the time he was crictical of Gerry jackson while sticking up for the loathsome campus leftist.

    Fme, you don’t need leftists around when you have Humphreys sticking up for “freedom”.

    What was the name of that traitor in the American war of idependence that sided with the British?

  11. Jason Soon Says:

    why so angry JC? I’m sure Bird appreciates the attention and the opportunity to learn (nudge nudge wink wink) from John. Bird is cool with it.

  12. graemebird Says:

    No I won’t go easy on him.

    I’m just going to assume that “libertariansism” in their eyes is an ideological thing that happens after the “Dictatorship Of The Proletariat”

    I’ll just assume he’s a commie until proved otherwise.

  13. JC Says:

    No, I’m not in the slightest bit angry. I’m just a little worried about humphreys. I think he’s confusing the LDP with the ALP and the fact they aren’t the same thing.

  14. graemebird Says:


    Lets consider Strauss in the abstract without being too absolutist about it.

    “the good city is [not] guided in its relations to other cities, Greek or barbarian, by considerations of justice: the size of the territory of the good city is determined by that city’s own moderate needs and by nothing else; the relation of the city to the other cities belongs to the province of wisdom rather than of justice; the good city is not a part of a community of cities or is not dedicated to the common good of that community or does not serve other cities.”

    “For the classics, wrote Strauss, foreign policy is primarily concerned with “the survival and independence of one’s political community.” For that reason, “the ultimate aim of foreign policy is not essentially controversial. Hence classical political philosophy is not guided by questions concerning the external relations of the political community. It is concerned primarily with the inner structure of the political community. . . .”

    “Thus according to Strauss, the purpose of foreign policy is or ought to be survival and independence, or self-preservation, and nothing else.”

    “Obviously it is in America’s interest that foreign governments stop sponsoring and aiding murderous acts against America and its allies, especially against Israel, its most reliable ally in the Middle East.

    To that end, it was appropriate not only to defeat Iraq militarily, but also to deter future hostility to America by punishing the members of the former Iraqi government who supported these murderously anti-American policies.

    So far American forces have not done much punishing. Instead, their focus has been on responding to attacks, and “nation-building.” But if Strauss is right, it is not America’s job to provide its defeated enemies with democratic or just governments, unless there is some real connection with American national security.

    The question is whether there is such a connection. If there is, and if it is possible to build a democratic Iraqi government, then nation-building makes sense.”

    Or here are some things Codevilla says in the same vein:

    “The U.S. government’s “War on Terrorism” has three parts: “Homeland Security,” more intelligence, and bringing al-Qaeda “to justice.” The first is impotent, counterproductive, and silly. The second is impossible. The third is misconceived and is a diversion from reality.”

    “In life as in math, we judge the importance of any part of any problem or structure by factoring it out. Does the equation still work? Does the building or the argument still stand? Imagine if a magic wand were to eliminate from the earth al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, and Afghanistan’s Taliban regime. With them gone, would Americans be safe from Arab terrorists? No way. Then what good does it do for the U.S. government to make war on them and no one else? Why not make war on those whose elimination would eliminate terrorism?”

    “Clearly, it is impossible to kill any regime by killing its people indiscriminately. In the Gulf War, U.S. forces killed uncounted tens of thousands of Iraqis whose deaths made no difference to the outcome of the war and the future of the region, while consciously sparing the much smaller number who made up the regime.

    Hence those who want to “bomb the hell out of the Arabs” or “nuke Baghdad” in response to September 11 are making the same mistake. Killing must be tailored to political effect. This certainly means invading Iraq, and perhaps Syria, with ground troops.

    It means openly sponsoring Israel’s invasion of the PLO territories. But it does not mean close supervision or the kind of political reconstruction we performed in Germany and Japan after World War II.”

    “It is important that U.S. forces invade Iraq with the stated objective of hanging Saddam and whoever we judge to have been too close to him.

    Once those close to him realize that this is going to happen and cannot be stopped, they will kill one another, each trying to demonstrate that he was farther from the tyrant than anyone else.

    But America’s reputation for bluff and for half measures is so entrenched that the invasion will have to make progress greater than in the Gulf War in order for this to happen.

    At this point, whether or not Saddam himself falls into U.S. hands alive along with his subordinates, it is essential that all be denounced, tried, and hanged on one charge only: having made war on America, on their own people, and on their neighbors.”


    Try and get a handle on this sort of thing people. Because we are NOT post-moderns or not rightfully so.

    The fact is that it is the duty of the blokes amongst us to make sure our sheilas are looked after…. And do not feel so insecure as to start wearing the KKK head-gear or worse still, start getting wet over jihadists.

    We are all Israelis now. Or you might say we are all Florentines. Each one of us a Cosimo Medici.

    We, who have been so ungrateful to our American friends and benefactors, won’t necessarily have them to kick around forevermore. They are burdened with debts and they are sick of looking after us I shit you not.

    So lets get used to the sort of thinking above. Without being absolutist about it. And without being able to make interim UTILITARIAN judgements.

  15. graemebird Says:

    “And without being able to make interim UTILITARIAN judgements.”

    UNABLE. I meant UNABLE.

  16. JC Says:

    “I’ll just assume he’s a commie until proved otherwise.”

    Yep, that about sums up Chamberlian’s mini me.

  17. John Humphreys Says:

    I actually hold some hope that rational argument might work on Graeme. Not with you JC so I’ll mostly ignore you and your blind faith in government.

    Graeme — my view of war is that it is a government activity that can only be justified if it makes us better off (like all govt activity). I believe that the only way to work out if a war is good is by rationally assessing the likely benefits and costs of the war.

    I am not automatically against government action (including war). I just think the burden of proof lies with the person who wants to take away my liberty and money for their pet project. If you can’t defend you taxeating, then you shouldn’t be stealing.

    You seem to want to turn this about me and make me justify me freedom. But that’s not how a libertarian should think. It is the tax-eater (in this instance, you) who needs to defend you statist policies. The null hypothesis should always be that people are free.

    You suggest I apply my approach to Israel. I already do. My approach to Israel is to rationally consider the likely consequences of action and suggest that they should take action that makes them better off. Israel is in a different situation, so my advice to them would be different. Horses for courses.

    But Israel is a side-track Graeme. You need to decide whether (1) you think people should be free from bad government policy (2) you think government policy should be judged by rationally analysing the likely consequences from policy. I think you agree with these ideas deep down which is why your saveable. If you don’t, then your blind religious faith in government is a menace and you’re no better than government-lovers JC & JQ.

    I’m glad you like the blog. I only really did it so that I could delete our comments from the LDP blog without feeling guilty about silencing our debate.

  18. John Humphreys Says:

    Graeme — you’re getting distracted. Don’t go chasing JC around the yard… you can do that after class.

    It is simply untrue that all BCAs must fail. If you believe that then it is you, not me, who thinks that we shouldn’t have gone to WW2.

    And implicit in the idea that “all BCAs fail and are therefore bad” is that we shouldn’t rationally analyse the consequences of government policy. Well, if we’re not going to use our rational mind — what part of our body do you think we should use? ;p

    This is a serious question and one that you should honestly ask yourself. Don’t do it aloud at first… your ADD anti-reason playmate might distract you. Battle your own demons and ask yourself: “if I don’t believe in rational analysis of consequences… what do I believe? Just blind faith in government?”

    You’re right that the initial war went well. You’re right that the war has been very expensive. You should check out the link I provided above (http://www.cis.org.au/policy/autumn04/autumn04-5.htm) where I say that the aftermath only looks bad becaue the initial war went so well. But the issue isn’t whether the war is pretty, or green, or pear-shaped. The issue is whether it provides a benefit to the poor taxpayers you’re stealing from.

  19. John Humphreys Says:

    I’m sorry it has come to this Graeme, but I’m going to have to open another lesson about the taxonomy of political philosophies.

    I know “libertarian” and “communism” are long words, but I honestly thought you already understood them. I’ll leave the definition for that lesson instead of side-tracking this lesson.

  20. JC Says:

    Ok Humphrieys lets back test your dream machine by going back to 1936 and have you do a cost benefit analysis for Chamberlain. Do you attack Hitler or do you let him go scot free?

  21. JC Says:

    Humpheys says:

    “Graeme — my view of war is that it is a government activity that can only be justified if it makes us better off (like all govt activity). I believe that the only way to work out if a war is good is by rationally assessing the likely benefits and costs of the war.”

    No fucking war makes you better off, Humphreys. Wars cause great loss of wealth for both sides. You are never better off with war. Going to war is a pact with the devil ,only thing is you hope the other side ends up in the worse part of hell.

    That’s why a cost benefit analysis will never work. How would you cost out a world without Islam, which on the whole would be the greatest gift we could give ourselves….. Don’t believe me? Ask India.

    The only thing we can do is not make the same mistake Chamberlain made in the 30’s which is what you are trying to do.

  22. John Humphreys Says:

    I haven’t done a complete analysis. Happy to if you pay for it — even 1/4 consulting wages is sufficient. Or you could do it and I’ll QA your work. It’s an interesting project, but it’s not likely to get to the top of my list of unpaid activities for at least a few months.

    We have to ignore 20/20 hindsight and work on the information they had at the time. I think it’s obvious that at some point the cost of inaction became higher than the cost of action (ie war would pass a BCA), but I couldn’t tell you exactly when.

    I doubt it was when they re-armed the Sudentland. That restriction shouldn’t have been there in the first place (bloody French). Perhaps it was going into Czech. I think the allies were right to defend Poland.

    Of course, with 20/20 hindsight we should have wiped out the Nazis when they fist started. Better, with 20/20 hindsight we shouldn’t have let the French fuck up Germany post WW1. Better, with 20/20 hindsight we should have stopped the Russian mobilising against Germany after the Hapsburgs went into Serbia. But we don’t make decisions with 20/20 hindsight… which is why I’ve never blamed the US for mistakingly believing Saddam had a WMD program. My analysis assumed, and still assumes, that Iraq had WMDs and would pass them to terrorists. But disagreement comes from recognising that this didn’t pose much of a threat. Relatively speaking of course.

    But I respectfully ask that this thread doesn’t become a debate about WW2. That’s an interesting debate, but no lessons for Graeme there.

  23. John Humphreys Says:

    Perhaps you chaps think I’m a pacifist, despite the fact that a clear understanding of what I’ve written proves that wrong.

    But in the interest of increasing your understanding let me give you an example of a recent conflict I think was necessary and appropriate: the Israeli attack on Hezbollah.

    But again I would respectfully ask that this thread doesn’t become about Israel either.

  24. John Humphreys Says:

    oh dear — I’m being sucked into answering JC. If I do this JC, you have to promise to be rational and play nice.

    I agree that no war makes us better off compared to a counter-factual of peace, love and happiness. But that isn’t the appropriate counter-factual. If you use the appropriate counter-factual, then it is possible that a war will make you better off.

    The appropriate counter-factual for WW2 was the Nazis running Europe for a while. The appropriate counter-factual for Iraq2 was that Saddam might pass on better killing technology to terrorists who will use that against the west. I haven’t ignored these issues JC and I suggest you read the same link I suggested to Graeme which covers these issues.

    Given your misunderstanding of what a BCA is I can see why you’re hostile to the idea. But your understanding of a BCA is wrong. If you only look at the costs of war (money, deaths, bigger govt etc) then you’re doing a cost-cost analysis… which is pointless. Likewise if you only look at the benefits (potentially less terrorism) then you’re doing a benefit-benefit analysis. Also pointless.

    It has just occured to me that I’ve assumed a lot of knowledge among people who commentate on public policy. I assumed you (collective “you”) had a reasonable grasp on rational public policy analysis. Perhaps that was a bad assumption.

    But seriously — there is a serious epistimological problem implicit in your criticisms. If you oppose rational analysis of consequences, how do you judge when the government should take your liberty and steal my tax? Surely national utilitarian analysis is the only rational answer for a freedom loving person.

    P.S. I don’t think it is necessary to get rid of Islam. It is socialism in all it’s forms (including islamic socialism) that I would prefer to disapear.

  25. JC Says:

    1.Fair enough john. But why the hostility toward Bird, who is only trying to arrive at the truth in a 100% honest way.

    He is on our side of the fence in almost every fight with the left and reactionary conseravtives. Wouldn’t it be better to use the ammo on those deadbeats, who are after all the ones stealing our money.

    2. So were you fair about the war on balance?

    3. I most certainly don’t oppose rational analysis of government action. if I did how could I see my philospohy as libertarian. As i have maintained government should mostly be about defense and policing. That”s about it.

    4 my point about judging the war is that rational analysis went awry when the Cow decided to become nation builders.

  26. John Humphreys Says:

    This is perhaps partly a problem with the internet hiding my smile as I type. I’m not trying to be hostile to Graeme and I imagine I’d really enjoy shouting at him over a beer someday. You too. 🙂

    I think (hope) he’s taken it in good humour.

    I definitely see him as a philosphical friend and I look forward to seeing both of you as LDP candidates. Rest assured there are plenty of warnicks in the party and we will not be running a war policy at all because of the impossibility of party consensus. I am not the most influential person in the party. Just the smartest. ;p

    I started this blog only because I didn’t want our debates taking up too much space on the LDP blog.

    On the question of fair and balanced. I assumed that Iraq definitely had WMDs (though not nukes, as we already knew they didn’t at the time) and definitely would pass them straight to terrorists. The terrorists would successfully carry out more successful attacks than ever before and kill more than ever before. And then I assumed that the Iraq war would abolish all anti-west terrorism. For ever. My estimate for the costs was way too low and I ignored reconstruction costs and costs by any US ally.

    I consider these pro-war assumptions. And I should add that my general preference is to make anti-government assumptions because my experience is that they’ll find a new way to fuck things up that I hadn’t even thought of yet. They always do.

    The interesting thing about doing this analysis (and economic analysis in general) is that it highlights which are the important swinging variables. The reason I wasn’t able to get a positive from the war is that it was impossible to get the costs of anti-western terrorism very high. I started looking around at the size of the terrorist threat and was significantly underwhelmed. I’m more scared of dentists (and I’m not scared of dentists). There has been a lot of wailing and nashing of teeth and I guess that helps sell papers and justify big government so I can see why people do it — but it seems totally out of proportion to the actual risk.

  27. JC Says:

    Fair enough, john, fair enough.

    Look, I don’t agree with lots of things what Bird says. But I have to say he does have an original mind. If an intellectual is some who thinks creatively then he’s one in spades. Sure, he gets things wrong sometimes but don’t we all.

    look at the way he thought and talked about the war against Islamic terror. he argues that we ought to be going after the heads of government in the ME if we are threatened. That’s a brillant strategy, He also makes a great case that nearly all terror is state sponsored. We neglect that argument at our peril.

    this is but one example of what i mean. the guy really is a great thinker.

    Sorry, if I misread your intention.

  28. Lesson 3: what is a libertarian? « Big Bird Brain Says:

    […] That’s the basics. Unfortunately, Graeme seems to have confused these beliefs with communism. This isn’t an easy mistake to make. The topic of what communism actually means is complex enough to deserve it’s own post… but in brief it should be recognised that a fundamental difference is that communists reject the market — and a market is simply a voluntary exchange between free people. So communism is obviously inconsistent with libertarianism. […]

  29. John Humphreys Says:

    Sorry Graeme. I didn’t notice that your long post was caught in moderation. It’s been approved now but I don’t have time to consider it or respond at the moment because I’ve got to catch a flight.

    My first instinct is to note that the people you reference don’t seem to identify and weigh the various implications of government action. As I’ve said previously, a benefit-benefit analysis is no good to anyone.

    But more later. Stay tuned…

  30. terje (say tay-a) Says:

    Broadly speaking I agree with Johns BCA approach. However a BCA can be done from the perpective of the nation or from the perspective of the government, or more specifically those within the government that have the freedom and power to initiate war. I suspect that in the latter case most wars in history satisfy the BCA test.

    Whilst I think that for the USA as a nation the Iraq war did not pass the BCA test, in the case of Australia and it’s national interest I suspect that the equation was more finely balanced.

  31. John Humphreys Says:

    I’ll agree to this extent… in Australia both the benefits and costs are fairly close to zero.

  32. graemebird Says:

    “I state the FACT (remember those) that there is a low risk from terrorism …”

    Its not a phenomenon that lends itself to the concept of risk.

    If the terrorist governments decide to attack us in this way then it is not a decision which is accompanied by some sort of probabilities between 0 and 1. It becomes a certainty that the country will be attacked.

    This is an anti-cognitive approach to terrorism you put forward here. It is inappropriate to look at the phenomenon of Kamikaze bombings in terms of risk factors either.

    If the Japanese government had decided to surrender the kamikazes would stop. If they could have however gotten some magical boost to their economy at that late stage of the war the attacks by Japan on its neighbours, and on other countries, would have continued, if not in kamikaze form, in some other form.

  33. John Humphreys Says:

    Of course the concept lends itself to risk assessment. Fact: There is a risk that we will die from terrorists. Fact: The risk is low.

    Because the costs of anti-western terrorism is so low, the benefits from getting rid of anti-western terrorism is low. They certainly don’t justify excessive tax-eating and government-loving.

  34. graemebird Says:

    Cost-benefit analysis has to be factored into everything we do of course.

    Whats unique about the Humphreys approach is that he isn’t clear with his assumptions. He seems to be assuming a lot of stuff that isn’t true. He doesn’t include all of the projected costs of becoming a satrapy to any nation ruthless enough to start murdering our citizens. And he eliminates all CONTEXT from what the war-against-Western-democracy really is.

    Its an incredibly stupid approach.

    Right now we harbour thousands of Chinese spies. Apparently we are already too scared to send them home.

    If they were hit-teams strategically culling Australians who spoke out against the Chi-coms then we would have already lost all our sovereignty.

    What happens when you allow the Middle Eastern States or anyone else to project nastiness within your country and are unable instead to stop this or project force out against them?

    Lets take the example of Finland which lived under the shadow of the Soviet Union:

    “…no Finnish government has dared to act against some of its own citizens who obviously look after Soviet interests in the country. Indeed in the Finnish parliament discussions of the shadow cast by Soviet power are considered in bad taste-like speaking of rope in the house of the hanged…”

    (Codevilla and Seabury “WAR” page 170)

    Don’t we already live under such a shadow, to some extent, when it comes to the Chinese.

    And there can be no doubt that had not the Americans chose to fight the war on terror the Europeans would already be dominated by the regimes of the Middle East.

    To some extent they are anyway. The EU gave billions to the Palestinian terrorist regime of Arafatia. And the French even went to far as to give a Middle Eastern terror leader a state funeral. So in fear of terrorist attacks they must surely be. For what else could be the motive to be turning the world upside-down in this way?

    If we don’t fight terrorism its the ultimate surrender and without a fight.

    It would lead us to be just like Lebanon. Dominated as she is by Syria and Iran.

    I didn’t include the costs of being a satrapy included in your article. You just ignore unpleasant realities as if be ignoring them you expect them to go away.

    And its not terrorism I’m talking about here. Its the fact of REGIME INVOLVEMENT IN TERRORISM.

  35. John Humphreys Says:

    I hate to say it, but I’ve concluded that Graeme is an idiot.

    All of my assumptions are clear and have been outlined in the paper I referenced to you: http://www.cis.org.au/policy/autumn04/autumn04-5.htm

    Which assumption didn’t you understand?

    Chinese spies are irrelevant to the WoT and doesn’t change the fact that the risk from terrorism is low.

    Lots of people “project nastiness”. That doen’t mean we should let our fear override good policy. There is an efficient amount of everything in the world (including nastiness) which is non-zero and non-infinite. This is economics 101.

    Your Finland sidetrack is also irrelevant. And (though I hope we don’t get distracted on Finnish foreign policy) Finland has done quite well and is a great country.

    You assertion that the Middle East will be dominating Europe by now without the WoT is just plain stupid. You’ve lost the plot Graeme. You may as well claim that the WoT cures cancer and has prevented the sun exploading.

    You sound like a hyseterical AGW fear-monger claiming that without huge taxes and spending our life will come to an end. Don’t be so scared. You’re letting them get to you.

    You seem to be saying that the US and Australia would be a pawn of Iran if they didn’t invade Iraq and if they gave proper trials to their prisoners and if they gave American citizens their right to privacy. Have you had your medication today?

    Do you think the US and Australia used to be controlled by Iran before they changed their policies?

  36. GMB Says:

    No buddy its you that are the idiot.

    So fucking idiotic in fact you are treating terrorism NOT AS A FORM OF WARFARE BETWEEN REGIMES… but instead you have decided to treat it as a natural phenomenon.

    Now you see I want to be in a free country and for that country to attain and maintain freedom long after I die.

    And you want to put your head in the sand.

    Now stop being a fucking gutless ostrich, an idiot, and a stupid fucking fool…. And OUTLINE YOUR DEFENSE POLICY.

    How do we handle things when foreign regimes murder people on our territory. Or murder Australians anywhere in the world?

    What do we do.

    Do we just fucking put our head in the sand and pretend there are terrorists under the bed in the childish way you seem to want to?

    I want a fucking answer pal. And if I don’t get it I will be chasing you around the net TOO get it.

  37. GMB Says:

    Fuck Iran.

    Under your policy we would be a porn of any regime who decided to murder Australians to promote their agenda.

    Now how do you deal with this?

    If New Zealand… or even fucking Fiji started to murder Australians to further their goals UNDER YOUR POLICY of course we would be their pawn.

  38. GMB Says:

    Under YOUR POLICY even Fiji could make us their pawns.

    But we have to deal with China.

    They already have thousands of agents on the ground in this country.

    Its time for you to get your shit together and explain your defense policy.

  39. John Humphreys Says:

    Graeme, you just embarass yourself more and continue to lie.

    Graeme the liar: “you have decided to treat it as a natural phenomenon.”

    No I haven’t. I treat it as an act of violence (generally against civilians) committed by a non-government organisation for a political purpose.

    Graeme the idiot: “And you want to put your head in the sand.”

    No I don’t. I’ve based what I’ve said on the facts. You are so shit-scared of the big bad terrorist under your bed that you’re freaking out and running around like a naked madman on the streets screaming “give me big government, more tax, more tax, help me dear government, the government will save us”.

    Graeme the confused: “Now stop being a fucking gutless ostrich, an idiot, and a stupid fucking fool…. And OUTLINE YOUR DEFENSE POLICY.”

    My defence policy isn’t relevant. Just like every other socialist moron you insist that unless I have an alternative socialist multi-trillion dollar and liberty-stealing policy then I must be wrong. No Graeme.

    Listen carefully commie-boy: It is the proponent of government policy that must justify their desire to steal tax and steal liberty. If you can’t show a benefit from your government program, then the program fails.

    You really are amazingly slow Graeme. Or perhaps you just hate liberty?

    Graeme the confused idiot: “Under your policy we would be a porn of any regime who decided to murder Australians to promote their agenda.”

    Wait a second genius… didn’t you just finish saying I didn’t have a policy or that you didn’t know it? Well, since you’re a confused lying idiot who hates liberty I don’t expect you to be consistent.

    If by “my policy” you mean the pre-s11 policy then your sentence still makes absolutely no sense. We were not a pawn of any regime on sept 10 2001.

    You are amazingly scared Graeme. You need to calm down. Speak to somebody who can help. A parent. A friend. A professional. Someday you may be able to see that your fear is irrational. And it’s a bad idea to base huge tax-eating liberty-stealing policy on irrational fear.

    Until you calm down and learn some perspective and rational thought, we need to keep you away from public policy and small children.

  40. Sukrit Sabhlok Says:

    This is partially continued from this thread.

    ” Fact: The risk is low.”

    Sure, the probability (P) is low. But can you – or anyone else – predict in advance the potential magnitude (M)? And what burden (B) should be placed on taxpayers to protect this artificial construct we know as Australia? If B

  41. Sukrit Sabhlok Says:

    Err… If B is

  42. John Humphreys Says:

    Sukrit, if there is some big scary catastrophe up ahead (for example, global warming) with uncertain probability and uncertain consequences, your solution is to waste trillions of dollars and take away liberty because you’re so scared.

    I didn’t think so.

    But your algebra is wrong anyway. The probability of a terrorist strike in any one year is very high. Almost guaranteed. This is true irrespective of whether we have the WoT or whether we invade Iraq. But the magnitute is low enough so that the actual risk of your getting hurt is very low and the total cost from terrorist attacks is very low.

    You socialist little kiddies are looking everywhere for a way to justify this huge (and hugely unsuccessful) government program. What’s wrong with you? Once again, government isn’t the answer. Shock! Horror! I mean — your bloody libertarians FFS. Stop being so bloody scared and stop trusting your beloved government.

  43. Sukrit Sabhlok Says:

    Hmm… my post was longer than what is shown above. looks like it got swallowed.. I might repost someday.

    Rest assured that I wrote something extremely clever

  44. graemebird Says:

    No no.

    I’m not scared. You, Humphreys, are so scared shitless you are in total denial.

    So we’ve got to get it clear whose the chickenshit here for starters.

    It is always and without exception the appeasers and the scrimp on defense crowd that are the gutless cowardly Quislings. We saw that one in the 30’s and we see it all the time.

    Now what is your fucking defense policy. When other regimes commit terrorist acts are you simply going to pretend that they are like a lightning strike. As if they are not to do with human agency.

    And what is your defense policy more generally. Is it to simply alibi regimes whenever they do these things?

    Pretend they didn’t do it.

    Is it in fact to be such a coward that you simply pretend that these terrorist attacks are merely facts of nature.With not further consequence then, lets say, multiple scelrosis.

    I put it to you that your attitude is not merely gutless, cowardly, primitive and unmanly. Its also the height or irrationality.

    Its medieval in its irrationality.

  45. graemebird Says:

    You defense policy isn’t relevant?

    You really are a fucking cowardly wimp aren’t you.

    Tell me your fucking defense policy.

  46. graemebird Says:

    I cannot believe that anybody is this stupid.

    What is your defense policy?

    I can’t rule out that you’re a fucking communist. Because your defense policy on the surface of things appears to be total surrender.

    Want to control Australia through strategic assasinations and random killings?

    No problem. Humphreys surrenders to your wishes.

    You are so chickenshit Humphreys.

    Now what is your defense policy?

  47. John Humphreys Says:

    Poor little government-loving tax-eater has totally lost it. Not only scared, irrational, naive, stupid, lying and clueless… but now seeminly unable to understand simple English.

    You can say you’re not scared, but your policy preference shows otherwise. You are so scared of a few criminals that you want to sacrifice our liberty and tax. Either you are shitting yourself scared or you just don’t like liberty.

    You are only scared because you refuse to look at the facts. So you are irrationally scared. You want to use the Hitler example to justify your fears, but that just goes to show how scared and how irrational you are. You seem to think Hitler is hiding under your bed. No Graeme. Calm down little boy. You’re safe. Now give me my tax & liberty back you government-loving git.

    You keep asking for my defence policy. That is not at issue here. What is at issue is whether the new policies introduced by western governments since S11 were good public policy. You have the socialist assumption that if I disagree with one policy I must support another. No. I think that many policies introduced post-S11 were bad and shouldn’t have been introduced.

    My defence policy, for what it’s worth, is to defend Australia from invasion. More to the point my security policy is to uphold laws that defend individual life, liberty & property. But the point here (that you refuse to see because you’re far too stupid to follow a debate) is whether the new policies introduced post-S11 were good or bad.

    You ask what should be done when somebody commits a terrorist act. When people attack you should respond by attempting to hunt down the attackers. That was already the law before S11. That was the law before America invaded Iraq. That was the law before America suspended the legal rights of Americans. That was the law before America increased government spending.

    Once again, and for the last time, I have not said that terrorist attacks are a fact of nature. If you repeat that lie you will be deleted. You have repeated this same lie several times. You seem incapable of learning. It really does seem like you have some sort of deficiancy.

    I have shown you the FACT that the Iraq war was bad public policy. You can’t make this FACT go away. You want to ignore the fact, increase the power of government, steal tax money and make the west worse off… and then you show that you have totally left the world of thinking people by calling me irrational. You poor little child.

    I disagreed with the war in Iraq and I disagree with removing the rights of Australian and Americans. You conclude that this means surrender. You are just dumb Graeme. Perhaps English is your second language, but not invading Iraq is not the same as surrendering to a non-existent invading army.

    Do you really think that the west would now not exist if America hadn’t invaded Iraq? Do you think America used to exist before 2003? Really — I worry about the state of your mind (and I’m being generous still using the word “mind”).

    And then you start ranting again little a scared little child about assassins under the bed who are trying to take over Australia. That is already against the law. Invading Iraq, increasing tax and removing liberty is not going to make assassinations more illegal.

    Grow up little boy. Every pathetic excuse for socialism you can think of has fallen over. Sooner or later you will have to consider the possibility that you brand of tax’n’spend socialism mixed with removing liberty and increasing regulation just doesn’t help. You have to have a bloody good excuse to steal tax and remove liberty — and you have nothing. Nothing.

  48. Jason Soon Says:

    you 2 have to promise not to break any furniture at the upcoming dinner with Helen …

  49. graemebird Says:

    “No I haven’t. I treat it as an act of violence (generally against civilians) committed by a non-government organisation for a political purpose.”


    Why would you do such a daft thing as that?

    A non-government organisation?

    So if I’m Putin or Gaddafi. And I’ve got my intelligence to infiltrate these organisations that either I or another dictator has set up….. And then I get a cutout from this organisation to kill a bunch of Australians…

    Your reaction is simply ” Ho ho. Its a non-government organisation. Nothing to do with warfare”

    I mean you fucking moron. The whole point of terrorism is to shift the blame away from the regime.

    And then they do all this and you say the regime is not to blame. Its non-governmental.

    But its the regimes stupid. And all this mucking about is only to pull the wool over stupid peoples eyes.

    Its always been the regime(s). Its never not been the regimes. And the idea that the Clinton administration had that terrorism no longer was about the regimes didn’t have anything to reccomend it then and hasn’t got anything to reccomend it now.

  50. John Humphreys Says:

    I’ve had it with you fuckwits, I really have. I’ve just had to put up with an evening full of creationist anti-reason assholes (ie my family) and now I have to put up with the government-loving warnick anti-reason asshole of Graeme. I’m just sick to death of you anti-enlightenment people.

    Either accept the value of thought or fuck off. I really am at my limit of pretending to tolerate stupid people. Too many beers and too many idiots make John an unhappy camper.

    If you have evidence that Russia or Libya is trying to invade Australia, please provide it. Otherwise, fuck off and stop stealing my money.

  51. graemebird Says:

    Lets see some defense policy champ.

    You’re running.

    And lets see some recognition of the reality that terrorism is a state-enabled problem.

  52. John Humphreys Says:

    Terrorism can be supported by a state. It can also be independent of a state.

    Sure, let’s talk about Defence policy. It will annoy me far less.

    My primary defence concern is to defend the air/sea gap against any non-super power level invasion. We need to “own” that gap. Our defence force is such that we cannot maintain extended direct conflict with a significant force on land. We need to stop most of them getting to our land. Currently, we do that in spades.

    One very relevant scenario is the Indonesian-invasion scenario. Given current technology and the expected technology gap over the next few decades at least the Indonesians could not get a sufficient force through the air/sea gap. Indeed, our capacity is up to 20 times what would be needed to stop them.

    The only countries in our region to come close to matching our capacity is Singapore. Like us, Singapore’s strategy is all about defensive air/sea activities. Neither of us could successfully invade each other. Expanding our region, Taiwan is another step above both Singapore & Australia and has the best military in Asia… but once again their capacity is defensively orrientated and they probably couldn’t invade Australia.

    Anyway… like I was saying… my defence strategy is all about maintaining the dominance of that gap. We don’t need the F1-11 for that, but we will need to update our F/A 18s at some point. If there is a cheap and easy way to maintain strike capability then fine… but that is a low priority.

    That leaves a problem of super-power invasion. We will never be in a position to defend against a fully developed, angry and committed America (or China in a few decades). Our best strategy is (1) not pissing them off too much; and (2) maintaining an alliance and strategic importance for one so that they will defend us against the other. I think America is easily our best bet.

    With regards to defensive alliance we should only enter them if they are in our interest, not out of charity or for fun. The only obvious ones are NZ (because we lose nothing) and the US (because they are a great extra deterent and their continued existence is in our interest). May as well chuck in the poms too. I like the idea of a more united anglosphere, but that’s a different topic.

    With regards to Australians safety in foreign countries… I don’t really care. You travel at your own risk. Australia will defend Australia.

    With regards to current deployments, I’m not fussed. We’re not making much difference nor losing much.

  53. graemebird Says:

    “It can also be independent of a state.”

    You mean like Ted Bundy?

    When its independent of the State its useless. Like an individual murderer.

    It can be a function of civil war like in Sri Lanka. But in effect the Tamils in the Tiger-controlled areas ARE THE STATE?

    So where is this deal about it being not dependent on the State. That the POSSIBILITY exists that it could be independent of states is neither here nor there.

    This is just a cop-out on your part. A relentless show of the cowardliness that you’ve imbedded in this thread.

    Terrorism is an act of war from regimes to us. And there is no use hiding under the bedsheets and pretending that isn’t the case.

    And once such states start killing our people they won’t stop and it isn’t going to FUCKING STAY AT THE SAME STATISTICAL LEVEL YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

    This is the moronic assumption that you brought to your essay. And there is nothing that could justify such stupidity.

  54. graemebird Says:

    “My primary defence concern is to defend the air/sea gap against any non-super power level invasion.”

    Well me to but whats this NON-SUPERPOWER JIVE.

    Its precisely strong powers that we have to defend against. We don’t have to defend against Fiji.

    Where is our comeback, in your scheme of things, if China starts getting behind terrorism. Or if she invades our space with submarines.

    And why this tardiness with getting superior planes?

    You are asking our boys to go out and fight and die in brick shithouse (relatively speaking).

    Thats not owning any gap. Thats assuming that the Chinese won’t set up a base in some Islands somewhere closer or that Indonesia won’t get a bunch of missiles and things and then start acting haughty.

    Where does this scrimping on the people willing to fight come into things. It makes no sense at all.

    If you believe in freedom and are not just mucking about you don’t wish problems away like this.

    Ultimately our freedom is guaranteed only by firepower. In the sea, onland, in the air and in space.

    Its not just the contemplation of a full-scale invasion we must worry about. Its the being pushed around and intimidated.

    And we are allowing this to happen right now with Chinese spies in this country.

    Are we so weak that we have no choice but to allow this?

    If so we need a military build-up then we must get rid of them. If not we must get rid of them right now.

    And whats our comeback if they get super-pissed with us because of this?

    Are we in a position to recognise Taiwan for example?

    We ought to be.

  55. John Humphreys Says:

    By non-superpower I wasn’t talking about Fiji — but every country except the US at the moment, and specifically countries like Indonesia.

    We could recognise Taiwan now. The only consequence would be trade and diplomatic sanctions.

    I don’t believe it is possible to have an intellegent and rational discussion with you about this. You’ve made up your mind and you wont let evidence get in your way.

  56. graemebird Says:

    No its you thats being an idiot.

    Well why don’t we recognise Taiwan now? And kick those spies out of the country.

    You seem to have been silent about that one.

  57. graemebird Says:

    I dispute that anyway. I think they you are talking nonsense. Whats to stop the commies putting out a hit on a politician that started talking about recognising Taiwan and getting rid of the spies.

    You wouldn’t do squat about it. You’d just run a statistical program and pretend it wasn’t a regime and that would be the end of the matter and the spies would stay.

  58. John Humphreys Says:

    You spy point makes you look stupid. Pretty much every country on earth has spies in every other important country. We have spies in China. American has spies in Australia and we have spies there. Yawn.

    If you ever meet somebody describing themselves as the second assistent to the ambassador of a country — don’t tell them any state secrets. But you don’t need to be scared of them.

    We don’t recognise Taiwan because doing so give us no benefits. Unlike China, Taiwan will trade with countries that don’t recognise it.

    I support Taiwanese independence, but the current stand off is much of their own doing. If they had declared independence back in the 50s then they would be recognised by now. But they refused to declare independence because they still claimed themselves as the legitimate leaders of mainland china. Many in Taiwan still oppose independence.

    Anyway, China-Taiwan relations are interesting but do not prove that Australia needs higher tax to bring forward our purchase of planes by a year. You are arguing like a special interest group. I had to deal with this “give me money now, it’s vital” crap when I worked in programmes analysis (Treasury), and DoD was often the worst. The way they run their budget and manage their money is truly embarassing but the pollies are scared to stand up to them or they’ll be seen as weak. It’s pathetic.

    The govt regularly takes efficiency savings out of all departments. If you try and do that with Defence they claim that any cut will result in abandoning our tank division. When we go through the books we find that you could easily saving money delaying the purchase of an extra training patrol boat, slowing the promotion of some assistant directors and other minor inconveniences. They’re lying bastards. And given they’re the govenrment — who is surprised? Oh. You. You trust them. Git.

    We already have the best non-nuc subs in the world and there is an advantage to being non-nuclear. Given our allies have nuc subs, having collins-class is the best sub policy to diversify our options and maximise our dominant fields of operation. Blah, blah, blah.

  59. John Humphreys Says:

    In short — you have no idea what you’re talking about and are just another voice in the crowd screaming “give me your tax”. And quite frankly I think you’re too commited to your special interest group to be able to make any rational noises anymore.

  60. graemebird Says:

    Well why don’t we send them home?

    The reason we act in this appeasing way is that we do not feel militarily strong and secure enough.

    No the spy point is a good one.

    Its you thats full of shit here.

  61. John Humphreys Says:

    If we sent them home it would create a huge and hugely unnecessary row, and they would send our spies home, and this could easily lead to the closing of embassies and a similar position to the Russia-Georgia stand-off. And for what reason?

    Why don’t we send home the US & UK & German & Israeli & Sth African & Pakistani spies too? You don’t know what you’re talking about on spies & defence in general Graeme. From you comments, it is fairly clear you have never worked in or near this industry.

  62. graemebird Says:


    The New Zealanders caught a couple of Israeli spies. They imprisoned them. They got a formal apology. And they sent them home.

    For what reason?

    For Petes sakes.

    At that moment that they thought the other real Australians had lost the will to maintain their sovereignty (as you appear to have) they would own us.

    And said spies could very easily morph into assasins. And then there would be no recovering from this evil place.

    There would be no recovering because the bullshit momentum would from then on always run against changing the situation… As it does now by the way.

    Attempt to put yourself in the place of a man with (lets say) 4 daughters.

    If anyone who talks against the power can be killed and you guys just say NO PRESSURE. DOESN’T MAKE A COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS.

    Then it should be obvious to even the handicapped stalls that we have lost our freedom entirely at that point.

  63. graemebird Says:

    “From you comments, it is fairly clear you have never worked in or near this industry.”

    You eeeeeeeeeeediot.


    What a fucking moron.

  64. Terje (say tay-a) Says:

    What a fucking moron.

    Does that mean he is wrong or that you don’t have something more meaningful to add.

    Graeme you do yourself no favours by abusing people. If you think Johns ideas are loopy then you would look a lot more credible if you stuck to attacking the ideas. For instance a more rational response would have been “what a fucking irrelevant statement”.

  65. graemebird Says:

    “Does that mean he is wrong or that you don’t have something more meaningful to add.”


    It means he’s being a fucking idiot. I chose my words carefully the first time. And I chose them on the basis of his idiocy.

  66. terje (say tay-a) Says:

    From my point of view he does not seem to be an idiot or a moron. What leads you to the conclusion that he is?

  67. graemebird Says:

    Well you lost track of the thread again.

    I was calling him a moron on the grounds of what he said.

    So it was a situation of:

    A says this and B says that then A says this and B says that.

    But OK then. The guy is smart but intellectually constipated.

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