August 21, 2007

"Bad, Democracy! Down, boy, down!"

Truly, verily, the Party of Hate and Cowardice™ is filled with the mentally insane. Consider the following essay written by one Philip Atkinson, writing for the Family Security Foundation, which sponsors a wingnut Islamophobic website called Family Security Matters. Mr. Atkinson espouses the nuclear annihilation of the Iraqi people and the dictatorship ("President-for-Life") of George Bush. I'm only a little surprised that this essay was pulled from the FSM website - (What's the matter, guys? Can't walk the talk? No courage of your convictions?) - although not before Google made a copy for its cache. (Ain't technology wonderful?' ;) ) More on this at Digby, Free Democracy, Ether Zone (essay by Justin Raimondo) and Dirt Rhodes Scholar. My comments below are in blue, and I've emphasized certain portions of the essay in bold.

Exclusive: Conquering the Drawbacks of Democracy
Philip Atkinson
The Family Security Foundation, Inc.
August 3, 2007

While democratic government is better than dictatorships and theocracies, it has its pitfalls. FSM Contributing Editor Philip Atkinson describes some of the difficulties facing President Bush today.


President George W. Bush is the 43rd President of the United States. He was sworn in for a second term on January 20, 2005 after being chosen by the majority of citizens in America to be president.

Yet in 2007 he is generally despised, with many citizens of Western civilization expressing contempt for his person and his policies, sentiments which now abound on the Internet. This rage at President Bush is an inevitable result of the system of government demanded by the people, which is Democracy.

The inadequacy of Democracy, rule by the majority, is undeniable – for it demands adopting ideas because they are popular, rather than because they are wise. This means that any man chosen to act as an agent of the people is placed in an invidious position: if he commits folly because it is popular, then he will be held responsible for the inevitable result. If he refuses to commit folly, then he will be detested by most citizens because he is frustrating their demands.

When faced with the possible threat that the Iraqis might be amassing terrible weapons that could be used to slay millions of citizens of Western Civilization, President Bush took the only action prudence demanded and the electorate allowed: he conquered Iraq with an army.

This dangerous and expensive act did destroy the Iraqi regime, but left an American army without any clear purpose in a hostile country and subject to attack. If the Army merely returns to its home, then the threat it ended would simply return.

The wisest course would have been for President Bush to use his nuclear weapons to slaughter Iraqis until they complied with his demands, or until they were all dead. Then there would be little risk or expense and no American army would be left exposed. But if he did this, his cowardly electorate would have instantly ended his term of office, if not his freedom or his life.

"Kill 'em all; let God sort 'em out?" Is that what you're trying to say? Bush's "demands" had no basis in reality in the first place but, "dammit, you're gonna give me that there oil or I'm gonna kill you all!"

The simple truth that modern weapons now mean a nation must practice genocide or commit suicide. Israel provides the perfect example. If the Israelis do not raze Iran, the Iranians will fulfill their boast and wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Yet Israel is not popular, and so is denied permission to defend itself. In the same vein, President Bush cannot do what is necessary for the survival of Americans. He cannot use the nation's powerful weapons. All he can do is try and discover a result that will be popular with Americans.

Or you can use diplomacy and try to live in peace with your neighbors, but I guess you've never thought of that. Guess who said: "We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace."

As there appears to be no sensible result of the invasion of Iraq that will be popular with his countrymen other than retreat, President Bush is reviled; he has become another victim of Democracy.

Oh, dear! Bush is a "victim" of Democracy. I guess he'll have to give up his Presidency; after all, it was "Democracy" that gave him the job in the first place.

By elevating popular fancy over truth, Democracy is clearly an enemy of not just truth, but duty and justice, which makes it the worst form of government. President Bush must overcome not just the situation in Iraq, but democratic government.

"They hate us for our freedoms!" So we'll give them democracy in the middle east; after all, You can't put democracy and freedom back into a box..

However, President Bush has a valuable historical example that he could choose to follow.

When the ancient Roman general Julius Caesar was struggling to conquer ancient Gaul, he not only had to defeat the Gauls, but he also had to defeat his political enemies in Rome who would destroy him the moment his tenure as consul (president) ended.

Actually, Caesar was proconsul at the time, the provincial governor of Gaul, not consul.

Caesar pacified Gaul by mass slaughter; he then used his successful army to crush all political opposition at home and establish himself as permanent ruler of ancient Rome. This brilliant action not only ended the personal threat to Caesar, but ended the civil chaos that was threatening anarchy in ancient Rome – thus marking the start of the ancient Roman Empire that gave peace and prosperity to the known world.

Ended the personal threat to Caesar? You seem to forget that he was assassinated shortly thereafter. And the Roman civil war raged on for another fourteen years...

If President Bush copied Julius Caesar by ordering his army to empty Iraq of Arabs and repopulate the country with Americans, he would achieve immediate results: popularity with his military; enrichment of America by converting an Arabian Iraq into an American Iraq (therefore turning it from a liability to an asset); and boost American prestiege [sic] while terrifying American enemies.

C'mon, folks! Move to Iraq. It's just like Arizona. Don't worry about the heat...it's a dry heat!

He could then follow Caesar's example and use his newfound popularity with the military to wield military power to become the first permanent president of America, and end the civil chaos caused by the continually squabbling Congress and the out-of-control Supreme Court.

Hmmm, too bad Caesar forgot to take seriously the fortune-teller's warning of "Beware the Ides of March!" The Romans of that era didn't take too kindly to permanent dictatorships.

President Bush can fail in his duty to himself, his country, and his God, by becoming “ex-president” Bush or he can become “President-for-Life” Bush: the conqueror of Iraq, who brings sense to the Congress and sanity to the Supreme Court. Then who would be able to stop Bush from emulating Augustus Caesar and becoming ruler of the world? For only an America united under one ruler has the power to save humanity from the threat of a new Dark Age wrought by terrorists armed with nuclear weapons.

Is that crack you're smokin'? Or were you just born that way?

Update: I came across the following at Crimes and Corruption of the New World Order:

Meanwhile, the blogger Gonzo Muckraker got in touch with Philip Atkinson by e-mail, and their exchange demostrates [sic] all too well that the author’s delusions are sincere. When GM first writes Atkinson, he replies:
The article…was aimed at finding a defence [sic] against the awful threat of anonymous nuclear attacks upon the USA. A solution must be found to this catastrophic probability if humanity is not to be plunged into a dreadful dark age, and if that solution is to slaughter whole nations, then it must be better than allowing the destruction of humanity.

Paradoxical, yes? A second exchange results in Atkinson, advocate of genocide, accusing GM of being a “madman” and a “beast.”
What separates humanity from beasts is the ability to recognise right from wrong independently of our feelings: by use of a moral code. You tell me what moral code you use to understand right from wrong or stand condemned as just another madman.

But isn’t Atkinson a right-wing nutcase who represents no one but himself? To the contrary, he is listed as “FSM Contributing Editor” on the original version of the article. Links are given to seven other articles he has written for FSM, and his personal biography. However, since the controversy has erupted, all trace of him has disappeared from the FSM website. Such a rapid and complete scrubbing looks like the work of someone with a guilty conscience, does it not?

12 comments:

Dea said...

First, not all traces of Atkinson have been eliminated from the FSM website. Second, there is no cache of the article in question.

Don't you even entertain the possibility that this is a prank? Everyone seems a little too credulous to me.

JDsg said...

The cache of the article that I linked to seems to have disappeared for some odd reason; as of two days ago, the cache was there. I referred to it frequently while writing the post. If you click on the Dirt Rhodes Scholar post, he has a screenshot (three of them, actually) that shows the article in question. The other article that I mentioned (in the second post), that advocates the mass enslavement and murder of Mexican immigrants and the invasion of Mexico by the US, can actually be found on Atkinson's own website.

No, this isn't any prank. This guy's the real deal - a certifiable loon.

George Carty said...

Didn't the fall of the Republic essentially eliminate the main advantage that ancient Rome had versus its foes (ie a regime that was more robust than a tyranny and more scalable than a Greek-style direct democracy)?

JDsg said...

Well, by the time of the start of the Empire, there were very few foes within the boundaries to begin with. And what few foes that did exist within the Empire were put down ruthlessly (e.g., the First Jewish-Roman War of 66-73 AD). And even Augustus realized by the end of his reign that the Rhine/Danube frontier shouldn't really be crossed.

Of your two loss of advantages, robustness and scalability, I would agree with the first for the entire period of the Empire. For scalability, I think, yes, it lost quite a bit for the first few generations, but pulled back some by the time of the end of the Flavian dynasty/beginning of the Antonine dynasty (say, sometime between 75-100 AD). It probably lost that scalability once more toward the very end of the Western Empire.

George Carty said...

I was thinking of external foes rather than internal ones - in particular how Carthage, the enemy which Rome found most difficult to defeat, was also the only other republic in that time period.

JDsg said...

I'm not quite sure where you're going with this argument. Of all the external foes that Rome fully defeated, I agree that Carthage was by far the most difficult to subdue. (Been re-reading, off and on, Polybius' account of the Punic Wars.) However, Carthage was defeated by the Republic, almost 50 years before the birth of Julius Caesar.

By the time of Augustus, the boundaries of the Empire were mostly set. The two most important external foes to the empire were the various Germanic tribes to the north and the Parthians to the east, neither of which the Empire ever completely conquered (as opposed to Carthage). Was it the loss of robustness and scalability that caused the Empire not to conquer either the Germans or the Parthians? Neah. Both groups were just too strong, the Germans having large numbers and spread across an enormous frontier (from around the Belgium-Netherlands border to the Black Sea), and the Parthians were very resilient. I doubt any of the best Republican generals (say, Scipio Aemilianus or Julius Caesar himself) could have accomplished the task. Certainly Crassus couldn't; he lost his head over the affair.

George Carty said...

I was thinking that the reason why Roman expansion coasted to a halt was because the Imperial system distrusted any general who waged a successful war of conquest (because of how Julius Caesar rose to power in the first place). You seem to think it was more due to "imperial overstretch".

By the way, the reason why Crassus was defeated was because his army lacked archers, and thus had no counter to the Parthian mounted archers. Trajan would later correct this force procurement error, and thus conquer Mesopotamia (at least briefly).

George Carty said...

By the way, my point about "scalability" was basically about how Republican Rome was superior to the Greek city-states.

The largest army that Athens (for example) ever fielded was the one used to attack Syracuse, which was roughly equivalent in size to 3 Roman legions.

Because the Greek city-states had so few citizens, a single battle (Leuctra, for example) could change the entire balance of power in Greece. Only Macedonia had the demographic bulk to unify Greece somewhat, but was still not in the same league as Persia, or an Italy united under Rome.

And by the way, Alexander's Empire was built not on demographic bulk, but by superimposing Macedonian garrisons plus Alexander's own personality cult on top of the existing Persian bureaucratic machinery.

JDsg said...

I was thinking that the reason why Roman expansion coasted to a halt was because the Imperial system distrusted any general who waged a successful war of conquest (because of how Julius Caesar rose to power in the first place). You seem to think it was more due to "imperial overstretch".

Yes, overstretch and a recognition that some enemies were formidable enough that it was prudent to stay behind certain boundaries (e.g., the Rhine-Danube rivers).

I wouldn't say that the Imperial system had a natural distrust of overambitious generals. A fair number of generals ultimately became emperor. Vespasian went straight from the siege of Jerusalem to claim the throne; likewise, his son Titus finished the siege and ultimately became emperor himself. Most emperors led their own armies. For example, I recently read Ammianus Marcellinus's history, and it seemed like the reign of Julian was one long battle, beginning in Gaul (especially the battle of Strasbourg) and finally winding up in modern-day Iraq, where he died.

George Carty said...

Yes, overstretch and a recognition that some enemies were formidable enough that it was prudent to stay behind certain boundaries (e.g., the Rhine-Danube rivers).

I read an old book somewhere that suggested that the Romans were half-hearted anyway about expansion beyond the Rhine and Danube, because these lands were too cold in winter.

I've also read elsewhere the suggestion that it wouldn't have mattered if the Muslims had won the Battle of Tours, because medieval Europe beyond the olive's northern limit was totally dependent on pork as a source of fat, and was thus uninhabitable for Muslims.

JDsg said...

I read an old book somewhere that suggested that the Romans were half-hearted anyway about expansion beyond the Rhine and Danube, because these lands were too cold in winter.

Sounds somewhat plausible although one would think that the soldiers garrisoned along Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall were pretty cold in the winter.


I've also read elsewhere the suggestion that it wouldn't have mattered if the Muslims had won the Battle of Tours, because medieval Europe beyond the olive's northern limit was totally dependent on pork as a source of fat, and was thus uninhabitable for Muslims.

I haven't heard this at all. :) I'll have to give this one some thought.

George Carty said...

I noticed the update, in which you mentioned that Atkinson feared "anonymous nuclear attacks against the USA". That means he must believe that the enemy (Muslims, presumably) is bent on genocide of Americans*. I'll prove it by eliminating all the non-genocidal applications of nuclear weapons:

1. Deterrence - someone owning nuclear weapons as a deterrent wouldn't actually use them.
2. Warfighting - this would mean using nuclear weapons against US military forces, not against civilians.
3. Terrorizing the enemy into submission - this is how the US used nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945, but it's kinda incompatible with anonymity because the enemy has to know who they're supposed to surrender to.
4. Misdirection - this implies that the attackers frame an innocent third party (eg Neo-Nazis nuke Israel and frame Muslims). Again, incompatible with anonymity.

*Ah, yes I overlooked that he did originally say "genocide or suicide". He didn't say "genocide or dhimmitude", which would be a much tougher choice...