What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothin’!

The War Nerd has a big, fat Told-Ya-So for the doofuses (doofi?) who saw the capture of Saddam Hussein as the End Of The War. He also paints a realistic picture of how the Iraqis are taking the whole freedom-at-bayonet-point thing.

It isn’t like it was unpredictable: FedGovCo is making a hash of it all. But, that’s what they do, generally. It’s funny how some folks can rail on and on about how bad government is at fixing potholes or paying young women to have babies or whatever, but assume that the portion of government that is put in charge of taking over other countries is going to do a bang-up job. What did they expect to happen? There isn’t some sort of magical power the military bureaucracy has that the non-military bureaucracy lacks – they operate in the same way, with the same incentives.

About now, the sooper-patriot types are poppin’ gaskets, saying “Well, the US military sure whipped that Iraqi army pretty good, now dinnit?” Sure: much like the city road crew fills in potholes pretty good, the implementation bits of FedGovCo’s armies work fairly well. George Patton is the classic example: he was one of the very best military leaders that history has produced, starting from his innovations in vehicular warfare (he was the first Army officer to conduct a motorized attack, for starters) and leading through his strategic view (he wanted to segue from attacking Nazi Germany to attacking Communist Russia). There are numerous counter-examples, but I will stipulate that, in general the US military makes war well. So what?

The problem is, that like the city’s pothole-fillers, the military has no coherent direction as to what to do, when (you’ll note that not only was Patton’s request to kill commies denied, he was deliberately sabotaged to prevent him taking Berlin). The decision-makers are folks who got into that position by being the sort of person who appeals to the Average Voter, or appointees or hangers-on thereof. When I was a member of the military, we called this the Lowest Common Denominator – that’s the person you had to reach. “You hold the pointy part away from you, ya see…”. It’s not a coincidence that most politicos are boors and boobs – most voters are boors and boobs. And boors and boobs tend to make boorish and boobish decisions: that’s the nature of the beast.

The War Nerd has a big, fat Told-Ya-So for the doofuses (doofi?) who saw the capture of Saddam Hussein as the End Of The War. He also paints a realistic picture of how the Iraqis are taking the whole freedom-at-bayonet-point thing.

It isn’t like it was unpredictable: FedGovCo is making a hash of it all. But, that’s what they do, generally. It’s funny how some folks can rail on and on about how bad government is at fixing potholes or paying young women to have babies or whatever, but assume that the portion of government that is put in charge of taking over other countries is going to do a bang-up job. What did they expect to happen? There isn’t some sort of magical power the military bureaucracy has that the non-military bureaucracy lacks – they operate in the same way, with the same incentives.

About now, the sooper-patriot types are poppin’ gaskets, saying “Well, the US military sure whipped that Iraqi army pretty good, now dinnit?” Sure: much like the city road crew fills in potholes pretty good, the implementation bits of FedGovCo’s armies work fairly well. George Patton is the classic example: he was one of the very best military leaders that history has produced, starting from his innovations in vehicular warfare (he was the first Army officer to conduct a motorized attack, for starters) and leading through his strategic view (he wanted to segue from attacking Nazi Germany to attacking Communist Russia). There are numerous counter-examples, but I will stipulate that, in general the US military makes war well. So what?

The problem is, that like the city’s pothole-fillers, the military has no coherent direction as to what to do, when (you’ll note that not only was Patton’s request to kill commies denied, he was deliberately sabotaged to prevent him taking Berlin). The decision-makers are folks who got into that position by being the sort of person who appeals to the Average Voter, or appointees or hangers-on thereof. When I was a member of the military, we called this the Lowest Common Denominator – that’s the person you had to reach. “You hold the pointy part away from you, ya see…”. It’s not a coincidence that most politicos are boors and boobs – most voters are boors and boobs. And boors and boobs tend to make boorish and boobish decisions: that’s the nature of the beast.

So where and why do the potholes get filled? When my neighbor got a job with the city, the road conditions around our building rapidly improved. I doubt this was coincidence: I lived in the “exciting” section of town, at the time – no nice treatment for us. Likely my neighbor buddied up to the guy in charge of the road crew, and had the truck swing by. Same-same with war: I’m not a bit surprised at the rapid unraveling of the War Party’s stories about WMD factories on trucks and robot drones that can kill us all and advanced nuclear programs and all of the other outright lies that the latest war was built upon. Just look at who benefits, and how. “War is a racket”, is how Smedly Butler put it, and I would only caveat that to add “Government war is a racket”.

And the real funny part is that simple self-interest isn’t a major motivator. Sure, some folks are raking in big bucks from the reconstruction of Iraq after they made money from the deconstruction of Iraq, and some other folks are angling for political power in the aftermath, but a good deal of the decisions are made with no thought, and no fear of consequence. The guy who tells the road crew where and when to work isn’t personally involved in the success or failure of the road system: as long as they go out and work, he doesn’t care. More importantly, as long as he keeps on keepin’ on, filling forms and checking boxes, his job is safe, and his advancement is secure. I mean, it’s not like there’s another city paving outfit that competes with him, is there? The government war-planner isn’t any different from the government paving-planner in terms of motivation: they ain’t got too much.

War isn’t wrong in and of itself: obviously collective violence is no more moral or immoral than individual violence. Mass collective violence is something that I would personally help pay for, given the right target. I think that Mugabe or Castro, for example, would look fine with an extra navel or ten, and I’d put up money to pay for it, given the assurance that it would be done right. At that is one thing that government cannot, by its very nature, give. What most people object to in government war (unneeded killing, lies, the fact that it is funded with stolen money, etc.) is properly a problem with government, not war. The city road department lies and cheats and paves where it shouldn’t – it’s just that there exist private organizations that we can compare it with. To critique government war, you have to think.

I’ve long since given up hope that most folks can see their way out of this: the two-party heritage in politics reduces too easily to a binary choice in every political matter: war patriot or peace hippy, pick one. I call bullshit: I don’t have to be either. I can call the fiasco in Iraq as what it is, and not be in the camp of the Worker’s World Party. I can cheer that Saddam Hussein isn’t running loose without cheering for Bush and Co. The typical binary choice presented by the mainstream isn’t consistent, it’s just constant. It’s much easier to have an opinion that other people have (“Look what Rush Limbaugh says. I agree with him.”) than it is to work matters out for yourself, based on principles. Which, again, most folks ain’t got none of. “Conservative”? “Liberal”? “Hawk”? “Dove”? Empty labels for empty heads.

The implications of the twentieth century are quite clear for anyone who cares to think. Central planning doesn’t work – not for roads and not for war.

33 thoughts on “What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothin’!”

  1. “There isn’t some sort of magical power the military bureaucracy has that the non-miltary bureaucracy lacks – they operate in the same way, with the same incentives.”

    Every time some sycophant says that the U.S. government doesn’t intentionally kill civilians in its wars my mind flashes back to footage of Waco. And I think of the Drug War.

    And then I dismiss them as I would dismiss Hewlett Johnson.

  2. “You start with an obviousy incorrect rationale for the war,”

    He started from the rationale given for the war by those who planned and executed the war.

  3. Greg, if the purpose of the war was to contain Islamism, then why didn’t we attack an Islamist state?

    It’s not difficult to imagine Iraq having a fundamentalist Islamic government in 5 years. That would be a step backward. The only way the US can prevent that is to keep troops in Iraq.

  4. 1945:

    It’s not difficult to imagine Germany having a fundamentalist Nazi government in 5 years. That would be a step backward. The only way the US can prevent that is to keep troops in Germany.

  5. > The purpose of the war, first, was to contain Islamism

    Uhm, no. That’s the reason you’d like to believe the war is/was for, and that’s the reason that you’ve stuck on it so’s you can advocate it.

    > it remains that the government of the United States has achieved all it hoped for and more in the war in Iraq.

    I’ll stipulate that the most visible governemnt officials now say that they have done this. How does saying so “contain Islamism”, if that’s the real goal?

    >Are the objectives of the war just? That’s a different debate.
    Could they have been better served by other means? That’s a different debate.

    And ones you aren’t likely to get into.

  6. …it remains that the government of the United States has achieved all it hoped for and more in the war in Iraq.

    Mr. Swann, you can’t truely mean this. Beyond the obvious objectives of removing Saddam from power (completed), ending the claimed threat it’s WMD programs presented (pick an opinion on this one), preventing outright civil/religious war (very iffy at the moment), and gradually restoring basic services (statism setting in as expected)…there is a LOT left to do before the government can call Iraq a success.

  7. This is a completely specious argument. Straw Man demolition, nothing else. You start with an obviousy incorrect rationale for the war, then whip yourself into a frenzy because that non-objective is not being realized. The purpose of the war, first, was to contain Islamism–to get the states of of the Middle East to contain Islamism. There were other, more attenuated objectives, which I have discussed at length. Whatever one may think about government, it remains that the government of the United States has achieved all it hoped for and more in the war in Iraq.

    Are the objectives of the war just? That’s a different debate.

    Could they have been better served by other means? That’s a different debate.

    Has the United States failed to achieve its objectives in the war? Clearly not.

    Who do war opponents fool by setting up and knocking down one silly straw man after another? Only themselves.

    Greg Swann

  8. > Greg, if the purpose of the war was to contain Islamism, then why didn’t we attack an Islamist state?

    First, because the US lacked other, better lies to tell the bleating sheep, and second, because the nation most responsible for Islamist terrorism is attestedly a US ally. Rumsfeld needed a rationalizable target upon which to demonstrate that the US can take out every dam east of Jerusalem all in the same instant. He was talking to the Saudis and the Chinese, not to Peter Jennings or the Pothole Police, and they heard him loud and clear. This can’t be that hard to understand.

    Greg Swann

  9. Yet again: “The purpose of the war, first, was to contain Islamism–to get the states of of the Middle East to contain Islamism. There were other, more attenuated objectives, which I have discussed at length.”

    Shepherds lie to their sheep. This is not news. The entire anti-war “debate” consists of pretending to believe the lies the sheep were told in order to reveal that they were lies. This might be a fun exercise, and it’s certainly as much of the world as a newspaper reporter can understand, but it has nothing to do with reality. The United States went to war in order to contain Islamism, in the short run, and to contain Red China, in the long run. Both objectives have been amply achieved–all outraged bleating notwithstanding.

    Greg Swann

  10. > And yet the U.S, shambles on in Iraq….

    And, of course, the US intends to establish military bases in Iraq, especially air bases. These will secure the Kuwati bases by redundancy and give the US vast reach in all directions. This has been a problem for quite a while, with the US having to move carrier groups every which way. This may be what The Serpent is talking about.

    –GSS

  11. Greg,

    Is China run by Islamists now? Of course it’s hard to understand when you present it that way; it’s a non sequitur.

    Besides, it’s easy to understand the rationale that we wanted to show the Chinese what we can do. That doesn’t make it right.

    Serpent,

    Your analogy doesn’t make sense. There were nazis in power in Germany when we fought them, unlike Iraq, whose government was secular. If Iraq gets any form of democracy, it’s quite easy to picture the Shiite majority voting for an Islamic government.

  12. > And yet the U.S, shambles on in Iraq….

    This is the price of telling lies. The purpose of pothole filling is to steal from the honest and give to the corrupt, yet they still have to go through the motions of pretending to fill the damn potholes. The real objective is achieved. The pretend objective is not, at least not well. Who is fooled by this? None but fools.

    > Lopez would have little to write about in Iraq.

    I don’t know Lopez, and I have not seen ‘High Plains Drifter.’ But I am quite sure that Peter Jennings, et very cetera, will not shut up until we are all permanently enslaved. The Bush Doctrine (whatever its faults), by foiling Islamism and the Red Chinese, foils the hoped-for Communist hegemony. The useful idiots don’t know why they bleat as they do, but they will always bleat as they are told. External circumstances have nothing to do with this. There is nothing that anyone can do that will not be molded into Communist propaganda in the mouth of Peter Jennings and all the other useless bleaters. This, also, is the reality of our lives.

    –GSS

  13. “This is a completely specious argument. Straw Man demolition, nothing else. You start with an obviousy incorrect rationale for the war, then whip yourself into a frenzy because that non-objective is not being realized. The purpose of the war, first, was to contain Islamism–to get the states of of the Middle East to contain Islamism. There were other, more attenuated objectives, which I have discussed at length. “

    There’s nothing remotely like frenzy in John’s piece. What you construe as the purposes for war in your piece were fully accomplished ten months ago:

    “The objective is to scare the hell out of the world, generally, and Islam in particular. By means of a minimal effort at wreaking maximum havoc upon Iraq in a very short span of time, the United States will demonstrate to her enemies and allies alike that she is not only the pre-eminent world power, she is in fact an inconquerable power. “

    Done. Ten months ago. And yet the U.S, shambles on in Iraq….

    If Beck’ plan had been implemented all of your goals would have been achieved and Lopez would have little to write about in Iraq.

  14. Political labels are for sheep, except when you can generalize all war supporters as the “war party” and paint them as fools incapable of independent thought. Empty labels are for empty heads, like yourself. All wars have multiple causes and multiple angles, and this one is no exception. The false dichotomy put up between patriot and peacenik is only put up by idiots, and is a strawman. I have to agree with Tim Starr’s post. Iraq may turn into a theocracy or end in civil war, but this has yet to be shown. Time will tell.

  15. While this article is better than the average critique of State
    military action, its conclusion is still too ambiguous. “Doesn’t
    work” can mean many different things, and the differences between them
    can make a big difference in our evaluation of State military action.

    One possible meaning of “doesn’t work” is “fails to produce the
    desired result,” where the desired result is something like “build a
    road where one is needed.” Another possible meaning is “produces the
    desired result, as well as an undesired result,” such as a needed road
    and an unneeded one (with this meaning, policy evaluation depends upon
    the comparison of the values of the desired and undesired results – if
    the desired result is more valuable than the undesired result, then
    the policy is a net value, and vice versa). Another possible meaning
    is “produces the desired result, but not in the best way,” where the
    road would either be too expensive or too low-quality. It is not
    clear which, if any, of these possible meanings Lopez has in mind.

    A more general interpretation of Lopez’ argument would be that
    whenever central planning is done, the absence of prices inevitably
    leads to the over- or under-allocation of resources. However, that is
    merely an efficiency argument, and efficiency arguments don’t get us
    very far when there are no feasible alternatives and we’re in a
    situation where immediate action is necessary.

    For instance, my cousin is a New York State Trooper. I generally have
    a low opinion of New York State Troopers, but my cousin once saved a
    little girl’s life in the line of duty. How does this square with the
    claim that “central planning doesn’t work”? Was it not an instance of
    central planning, or was it an instance of efficient allocation of
    resources by central planning? Or was there something more important
    that he ought to have been doing at the time? Or was it wrong for him
    to save that little girl’s life?

    The general argument about central planning doesn’t really tell us
    much when it comes to evaluating the particular policies of any
    particular State. All it really tells us is that we should be on the
    lookout for ways to make the institution of the State more closely
    approximate a market, and that we should be aware of the likelihood
    that the State will tend to be inefficient in its allocation of
    resources.

    The particular example Lopez gives of the political decision not to
    let Patton go to war against Soviet Russia at the end of WWII doesn’t
    really tell us much, either. Would it have been optimal for the US to
    have given Patton the go-ahead? Maybe, but it might also have gotten
    the US into a war which did not yet have enough popular support for it
    to be winnable. Perhaps appeasement of Soviet Russia for the sake of
    winning the war was the optimal policy in the latter half of WWII, and
    containment of Soviet Russia was the optimal policy after WWII.

    A covert rollback policy was attempted under Truman, and abandoned
    because it universally failed. Later, under the Reagan Doctrine,
    rollback was attempted again, and it contributed to the demise of the
    Soviet Union. Perhaps an overt rollback policy would’ve been more
    successful at the time Patton advocated it, but perhaps not. Perhaps
    the US political system did eventually pick the leadership that picked
    the right combination of policies to win the Cold War.

    Lopez also ignores the fact that Allied leadership did pick the right
    leaders and policies to successfully win WWII. Germany, Italy, and
    Japan were liberated, democratized, and have been peaceful and
    prosperous ever since.

  16. Tim: It does follow.

    If you hold that Lopez morally must side with the state in the War on Terror then clearly you hold that government is a moral necessity in at least these circumstances.

    If the state is not a moral necessity now then clearly Lopez is not morally obliged to support it in this war.

  17. Coming back to this, as Tim Starr is correct and I ignored in at the time:

    > How about a rejection of the false choice between bad and worse?

    But this is in fact the choice. Those who did not side with the bad in this unique situation, at this unique point in time, sided, de facto, with the worse.

    > If you or Starr now hold that Lopez morally must side with the state in the War on Terror then you are holding that government and all it entails is in fact a moral necessity.

    This unique situation = all situations. This unique point in time = all points in time. Are you willing to concede your obvious error?

    One might wish we were already doing things better than we are, but we are not. To argue that, since we are not doing things better than we are, we must do nothing–or worse, do worse–is not just specious. It is suicidal. This is exactly the suicide the Communists have planned for the West, and the Libertarians, so called, have so far been faultless dupes and pawns.

    This could not be any more clear: To stand against the only means Western Civilization has of defending itself, in this unique situation at this unique time, is to stand against Western Civilization in se, in sum, in total.

    Greg Swann

  18. “To make it more concrete, a Jew in the Ukraine during WWII recognizing that Hitler was the more immediate threat to his life than Stalin, and thus concluding that he must side with the Red Army, is not thereby endorsing Stalinism and all that went along with it. “

    Is he morally obliged to align himself with Stalin?

    There was no non-sequitur Tim, I said: “If you or Starr now hold that Lopez morally must side with the state in the War on Terror…”

    Do you hold that Lopez morally must side with the state in the War on Terror?

  19. > Do you hold that Lopez morally must side with the state in the War on Terror?

    As he has made plain, he is siding with the Communists de facto. He’s hardly the first.

    –GSS

  20. Ridinger: Al Qaeda’s hardly a “freelance” organization, nor do I judge that the US is a terrorist organization. I’m not worried that the U.S. is likely to murder me, you, or Lopez. I’m quite worried that Al Qaeda will, if it’s not stopped by the US. If your opinion differs, then you’re simply out of touch with reality.

    John: Re-stating the “if” part of your “if-then” statement doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a non-sequitur. The “then” simply doesn’t follow from your “if” regardless of whether I agree with the “if” or not.

  21. “Al Qaeda’s hardly a “freelance” organization, nor do I judge that the US is a terrorist organization.

    It’s not a state?

    “I’m not worried that the U.S. is likely to murder me, you, or Lopez.”

    Someone’s out of touch with reality here, and it ain’t me.

  22. Lopez: That was an impressively fast transformation from coherence and reasonableness to incoherent beating up of myriad strawmen and screaming “Mine! Mine! Leggo!” Pathetic and sad, but impressive.

  23. “A refusal to take sides between right and wrong always entails siding with wrong against right.” –Sarah Fitz-Claridge

    How about a rejection of the false choice between bad and worse?

    If you or Starr now hold that Lopez morally must side with the state in the War on Terror then you are holding that government and all it entails is in fact a moral necessity.

  24. Lopez: Focus on what I actually say, not on what I “seem to think.” You’ll be more accurate.

    John: You’ve committed a non-sequitur. To say that X is necessary, and that Y is the only available means to X, is not to say that everything else X “entails is in fact a moral necessity.” To make it more concrete, a Jew in the Ukraine during WWII recognizing that Hitler was the more immediate threat to his life than Stalin, and thus concluding that he must side with the Red Army, is not thereby endorsing Stalinism and all that went along with it. It doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the collectivization of agriculture, the purges of the Party and the Army, the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the invasion of Finland, Stalin’s abortive post-war pogrom, Sovietization of Eastern Europe, etc.

  25. “If you or Starr now hold that Lopez morally must side with the state in the War on Terror then you are holding that government and all it entails is in fact a moral necessity.”

    Exactly.

    Although for me personally there is a silver lining in adventures like Iraq, in that they get government employees killed at a fairly steady rate.

  26. “You’ve committed a non-sequitur. To say that X is necessary, and that Y is the only available means to X, is not to say that everything else X “entails is in fact a moral necessity.” To make it more concrete, a Jew in the Ukraine during WWII recognizing that Hitler was the more immediate threat to his life than Stalin, and thus concluding that he must side with the Red Army, is not thereby endorsing Stalinism and all that went along with it. It doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the collectivization of agriculture, the purges of the Party and the Army, the Nazi-Soviet Pact, the invasion of Finland, Stalin’s abortive post-war pogrom, Sovietization of Eastern Europe, etc.”

    All you’re saying is that in this situation there is no possible moral ground to stand on. You judge freelance terrorists from the other side of the world to be more of a threat to you than the established terrorist organization in your own back yard so you endorse the use of that terror organization in spite of the fact that it commits armed robbery and might quite possibly someday murder Mr. Lopez.

    Putting Mr. Lopez in a position in which he’d be better off if he could destroy the state and its supporters, including you.

  27. A more general interpretation of Lopez’ argument would be that whenever central planning is done, the absence of prices inevitably leads to the over- or under-allocation of resources. However, that is merely an efficiency argument, and efficiency arguments don’t get us very far when there are no feasible alternatives and we’re in a situation where immediate action is necessary.

    Ethics of emergencies? I can easily imagine a scenario where I would violate others’ rights. My judgement is that we are not in such a situation. For starters, emergencies by definition are temporary. “War On Terror” is a nonsense concept, an unsigned check for limitless government action toward an ever-changing goal. Osama bin Laden is certainly on the “better dead” list, but I don’t see his being alive as an emergency. As I have said before, I think that the BATF is a far greater threat to me than Al-Qaeda. You’re going to scoff, but the fact of the matter is that it’s my life, and my judgement.

    In any case, the government effectively insulates folks from having to deal with the consequences of their actions. I can claim that hunger is an emergency and do my best to swing the state against it, but I never, ever, have to face you, after a portion of your life has been stolen to provide me with my values. This makes emergencies easier and easier to justify. “The secret ballot makes a secret government, and a secret government is a secret band of robbers and murderers”. I wouldn’t do anything in person that I wouldn’t be willing to make right, but it’s the easiest thing in the world to walk into a voting booth and pen-stroke other people’s lives. I don’t hold that my emergency is a claim on your life.

    For instance, my cousin is a New York State Trooper. I generally have a low opinion of New York State Troopers, but my cousin once saved a little girl’s life in the line of duty. How does this square with the claim that “central planning doesn’t work”? Was it not an instance of central planning, or was it an instance of efficient allocation of resources by central planning? Or was there something more important that he ought to have been doing at the time? Or was it wrong for him to save that little girl’s life?

    One day, John took his rifle and went to the range. He carefully set his target, and shot at it. Now, John was what the hill folk called “gun-shy”. He closed his eyes and tried to hide every time the gun fired. When John went to check his target, he found that he had missed the bulls-eye. He searched the target until he found a cluster of holes near one edge. John drew a new bulls-eye around these, and went to show his friends what a good shot he was. Wasn’t John a good shot? Was this not an instance of John’s shooting, or was it an instance of good shooting by John? John missed the paper many, many times, but he never told anyone. Did that make John a better shot? Would the shots John sent over the backstop (which went very, very far and might have hurt someone) count against him? Almost everyone in the village agreed that John was a very fine shot – after all, he had plenty of targets to prove it. The only people who didn’t believe John were a few cranks who lived in the hills, and no one listened to them, anyway.

    The general argument about central planning doesn’t really tell us much when it comes to evaluating the particular policies of any particular State.

    All that it tells us is that the market would provide a better, faster, cheaper solution. But hey, Comrade, State Food Ration Center 14 is all we have now, and I’m hungry, now.

    All it really tells us is that we should be on the lookout for ways to make the institution of the State more closely approximate a market,

    “More closely approximate a market”? Shit, Starr, you wanna go find you a transvestite hooker who “more closely approximates a female”, or do you want a woman?

    and that we should be aware of the likelihood that the State will tend to be inefficient in its allocation of resources.

    And we should be aware of the likelihood that the State will keep beating our sorry asses with its stick until we agree to turn over to it whatever it demands, our autonomy, our dignity, our money, whatever. We just ought to be “aware” of this “tendency”, ya know. And we ought to encourage it to more closely approximate not beating the crap out of us, or something. This parpagraph is where I’ll stop, ’cause I’ve seen this sort of thing before, and it isn’t going to go anywhere. Get this, Starr, and get it real fuckin’ good: If I had a say in the matter, I’d take every last dollar that gets stolen from me, pile it up on my front lawn and set fire to it, rather than see one God-damned dime of it go to feed this engorged government that sits on my back. My stuff, ya get it, mine! Mine! Not the State’s to go off and fuckin’ chase down Bin Laden, not the State’s to go pay for State Troopers, not the State’s to do any-God-damned-thing-with. Is this too hard for you to get? I’m a selfish, vindictive sonofabitch, Starr, and I am never, ever going to go and cheer for the manner in which my stolen life gets spent. I don’t give a shit about terrorists or criminals or air pollution or consumer protection or any of the myriad of friggin’ excuses that people give for putting a loaded gun to my head. I have exactly no intrest in tinkering with the engine of the damn corpse-grinder that’s eating me, Starr. Maybe you want to make it work better – I want to throw a fuckin’ wrench down its throat and watch while it tears itself apart. Fat goddam chance of that happening, but the least I can do is not cheer for the damn thing. I’m sitting here, less than thirty years old, and I know that here, now is the most personal freedom I am ever likely to see, and you have the goddamn nerve to tell me I ought to “be aware of the likelihood that the State will tend to be inefficient in its allocation of resources”? My one-and-only life isn’t a fuckin’ resource, and I could give two shits how you think it ought to be “allocated”.

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