Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Money, Power and the absurdity of our times

Bondad, a poster on dKos, takes apart an absurd argument from a poster at Redstate. The Redstate argument is essentially this: we aren't hurt by borrowing money from the Chinese because the more money they loan us the less money they will have to spend on things like battleships and tanks. Thus, even if they want to hurt us they can't because they've given us all their money.

Bondad does a good job of tearing this absurdity apart, but he does it using a "fact based" analysis and, as we all know, "fact based" is a non-sensical term to these people. They aren't interested in facts, just words that can make it sound like they know what the hell they are talking about.

There's a more straight-forward approach. If you go to your bank and take out a massive loan, do you think that means you have more "power" and the bank has less "power" once you get the bucks in your pocket?

The absurdity in this argument comes from the belief that money = power. Money can be an instrument of power, but it is not power in and of itself. Power is the ability to influence the decision making process of another. Money is an instrument of power if it is used in a way that leads to greater influence over the decision making process of another. When you take a massive loan from the bank who do you think has the most influence over the other? You, with your wad of cash (that isn't really yours, it's just on loan), or the bank with their ability to foreclose your ass if you don't pay them back in a timely fashion?

Here's the essence of the Redstate argument: we suck up all their money and then, when they come asking for it back (with interest), we ask them, "You and what army?" Since they don't have an army (remember, we have all their money so they can't afford one) they can't force us to pay them back.

In other words, they are advocating borrowing money from the rest of the world on false pretenses and then defaulting when our obligations come due because we've got the biggest guns and there's nothing the rest of the world can do about it.

That is what these people call being a good citizen of the world.

The World has its way of dealing with people like that.

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