Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

December 10, 2006

Responding to Walter

by Adam Selene

So, we have a reader, Walter, who advocates going toe to toe with the Chinese over Taiwan. In response to a single comment by me, he posts a couple hundred words tackling me and his perception of what I advocate or believe.

Below the fold, I tackle his comments. I’m sure they won’t make much difference, but it’s worth a shot. Maybe Walter will at least learn a bit about how to conduct a debate.

A beautiful example of how to make an ad hominem attack.

If you are so scared to support what is right because a Communist country threatens you then just continue to live your life and not care.

You conflate fear, “what is right” and value with each other in ways that they should not be. I am not “scared”, as you imply. Rather, I asked a value question. As did others on this blog. You refuse to deal with that and jump to accusing us of fear. Nice ad hominem, but it doesn’t deal with the position we are taking.

Do you think that prevented democracy from winning?

In case you haven’t read much of what I write, I don’t really care if “democracy wins”. Democracy is a means, not an end. The end goal is liberty, not democracy. Okay, now that we have dealt with your irrelevancy, on to your main points.

That didn’t prevent the U.S. during the Cuban missle [sic] crisis now did it?

You do understand that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a direct threat against us by a country directly hostile to us? This is significantly different than the indirect threat posed by China. This is an apples to oranges comparison.

When another country like China threatens you with nuclear attack, the United States should stand up, not run away. I do not think Taiwan is worth Los Angeles, but I do think Taiwan is worth supporting and defending against China, regardless of its threats.

This is one of the worst bits of logic I’ve yet seen. You make three contradictory statements one after the other. Which is it? Is Taiwan not worth Los Angeles? Should we defend Taiwan, regardless of the threat? Finally, we are not threatened with nuclear attack directly by China. This is not the same as the Cold War, although you are certainly trying to turn it into such.

Adam I am amazed to think you have no compassion for people who do not have the same right to self-determination as you do.

Who says I have no compassion for people in China and Taiwan? Just because I’m not willing to risk the lives of millions of Americans does not mean I have no compassion for them. In fact, I suspect I have much more than you. Rather than picking a fight over Taiwan, I want us to continue to promote liberty in all of China. You appear to be a traditional Cold Warrior without a Cold War to fight.

Just the fact that China is willing to nuke us should concern Americans.

Who says it doesn’t? Another irrelevancy.

If China actually nuked us, China would be obliterated. Seriously.

So, you advocate killing hundreds of millions of people in Asia and North America? Aside from that, what does this have to do with the value of the decision to support Taiwan in a war with China? Other than making it clear that there is even less of a value proposition.

I hope that you’re not saying we should just hang back and let China invade Taiwan should they do so militarily. Is that what you’re saying? Watch a whole nation get invaded?

What about my conscience if I advocate killing hundreds of millions in nuclear attacks? In fact, I don’t advocate what you imply. I just don’t advocate going to war.

I hope you can live with that on your conscience considering that Taiwan will at LEAST try to FIGHT against China should that happen. If a small island can face a big dragon (China), why is the eagle( U.S.) so afraid?

Completely irrelevant. Whether Taiwan is de facto independent, or not, has little, or no, impact on the safety and security of the United States. I am not the world’s policeman, nor do I desire to be.

But I must tell everyone that no matter what you all think, I have studied this issue and I strongly believe that the truth is that Taiwan is definitely a nation.

Uhhhhh, so? What does that have to do with whether we should involve ourselves in a military confrontation with China? In fact, just the opposite. We should consider how we can prevent such a confrontation in the first place. That said, since neither Taiwan nor China consider Taiwan to be an independent nation, how do you have the arrogance to declare the folks living there to be wrong?

I do not understand why people have doubts when it comes to Taiwan, maybe it is because of Bush’s blunders in Iraq. Maybe it’s because people are just plain SCARED of China’s military size.

Or maybe it’s because the folks who live in Taiwan consider themselves a province of China? Of course, you continue your ad hominem attack, trying to bully us by declaring we are scared. But, let’s ask a question here. Do I fear a nuclear conflict, OR any other military conflict? Yes, I do. The cost in lives, liberty and property is immense. When not fighting would result in a higher cost of the same, then I advocate fighting. I have yet to have anyone make a good case for such a position vis a vis Taiwan. You certainly have not.

A completely different story. Taiwan is already a democracy. That’s very important.

Ummm, why? And why is “promoting democracy” in Iraq less important? This seems fairly inconsistent to me. Of course, I don’t believe in democracy in the sense you do, nor do I believe it is the end to be desired. Individual liberty is the end I desire.

Does anyone support being against the violence in Darfur and notice the role that China has played in supporting the regime government in Sudan?

Oh please. You imply that, because I don’t support military conflict, I am somehow not against the oppression of Tibet or the genocide in the Sudan. What I am really against is trying to turn China into our new USSR. I am against creating a new Cold War. I am against the institutionalization of confrontation. Do I believe that China is an oppressive country where individuals are routinely tortured, imprisoned unjustly and murdered? Yes. Do I believe that the occupation of Tibet and the threat to Taiwan are wrong? Yes. Do I believe Chinese involvement with the genocide in Darfur, selling of weapons technology to countries like Iran is wrong? Yes. Then again, I’d prefer my country wasn’t selling weapons technology to Saudi Arabia, but that continues as well. Am I willing to go to war with China over these things. Not when all you can show me is ad hominem attacks, a defense of democracy that is rather silly, considering I’m not a democrat (I don’t mean the modern political party), and a complete lack of true justification for military confrontation.

I urge those who ask me such questions about Taiwan’s right to self-determination to look at how blessed you are to be an American before you have doubts about such a cause.

Another irrelevancy. Unless you happen to believe we have some sort of mandate simply because we live in this country? Are you claiming we have some sort of Manifest Destiny? How is that any different from the Bush Doctrine? It makes me wonder how you can oppose the Iraq War?

To summarize what I’m saying in response to you, I’ll leave you with these thoughts. At least you could use some sort of solid logic. If the most you can offer is this continuous set of ad hominem attacks, contradictions and irrelevancies then you really aren’t going to convince me of much. The fact that you must resort to such tells me that the case for military confrontation is unsupportable.

On a side note, it is this sort of thing, I believe, that Washington was talking about when he told us to avoid entangling alliances. Not so much that we should not become involved when it was right for our country, but that we should not allow others to dictate our involvement.

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  • walter

    Hahaha! You are pretty funny, but I am happy you posted those basic fundamental points of my argument. Remember, there are others who think as I do and the United States WILL defend Taiwan regardless of what you think. I am very grateful that you listed those points along with your disagreements.

    You say you advocate liberty? Please! If you did you wouldn’t disagree with me over Taiwan’s democracy. Why is Taiwan being punished for trying to be like us I will never understand. This just further reveals how selfish and uncaring you are. You don’t care for basic universal values. All you care about is yourself and what’s in it for you. Fortunately, there are many others who think beyond the box. I will address each “comment” one by one.

    As for this:

    1.) You conflate fear, “what is right” and value with each other in ways that they should not be. I am not “scared”, as you imply. Rather, I asked a value question. As did others on this blog. You refuse to deal with that and jump to accusing us of fear. Nice ad hominem, but it doesn’t deal with the position we are taking.

    Actually I do not suggest that you are afraid of China. I specifically listed why we should defend Taiwan, but unfortunately you are pretty sensitive and had to conclude that I was accusing the U.S. government of being afraid of China. That’s a stupid conclusion on your part.

    2.) In case you haven’t read much of what I write, I don’t really care if “democracy wins”. Democracy is a means, not an end. The end goal is liberty, not democracy. Okay, now that we have dealt with your irrelevancy, on to your main points.

    Wrong again. I have read what you wrote very carefully and if liberty WAS your goal, why do you insist Taiwan not declare liberty? Maybe um you are the irrelevant one?

    3.) You do understand that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a direct threat against us by a country directly hostile to us? This is significantly different than the indirect threat posed by China. This is an apples to oranges comparison.

    Since you are STILL not convinced as to the potential threat China can pose to the United States, I leave you with this true statement “Underestimating China’s military is as dangerous as overestimating it”.

    4.) This is one of the worst bits of logic I’ve yet seen. You make three contradictory statements one after the other. Which is it? Is Taiwan not worth Los Angeles? Should we defend Taiwan, regardless of the threat? Finally, we are not threatened with nuclear attack directly by China. This is not the same as the Cold War, although you are certainly trying to turn it into such.

    I will tell you what. Imagine you are Taiwanese and admire the way your country has moved forward in basic liberties (I can’t use the “democracy” word anymore..lol) Would you like to live under the threat of 800 ballistic missles next door? Who said I was trying to make this a Cold War? Get serious! This threat to Taiwan is real, not fake! The threat China’s general made to the U.S. is not something to underestimate.

    5.) Who says I have no compassion for people in China and Taiwan? Just because I’m not willing to risk the lives of millions of Americans does not mean I have no compassion for them. In fact, I suspect I have much more than you. Rather than picking a fight over Taiwan, I want us to continue to promote liberty in all of China. You appear to be a traditional Cold Warrior without a Cold War to fight.

    Wait a minute, as for picking a fight, who has the 800 missles aimed at Taiwan? Where’s China’s democracy? My friend, you need to do more research. China is simply backsliding on its human rights, freedom of religion, and freedom of press. Why don’t you go and tell Falun Gong or the Tibeteans what you just told me. Matter of fact, ask some of these recent Chinese dissidents what they think of China’s government today! I have, where’s your references?! You just don’t really understand China’s government. They don’t want to lose their control. Who’s picking a fight here? I’m definitely not! All you have to do is visit Fujian Province and look at all those missles. This is not “Cold War” thinking, this is reality.

    6.) So, you advocate killing hundreds of millions of people in Asia and North America? Aside from that, what does this have to do with the value of the decision to support Taiwan in a war with China? Other than making it clear that there is even less of a value proposition.

    The whole point of this statement was to show you how futile it would be for China to back up its threat of nuking us Americans. You are just way too sensitive. Just the whole nuking statments that I have made was to refer to the futility of using such a measure. Maybe I should have been clearer on that statment. Oh and no I do not advocate killing millions of Asians.

    7.) Completely irrelevant. Whether Taiwan is de facto independent, or not, has little, or no, impact on the safety and security of the United States. I am not the world’s policeman, nor do I desire to be.

    Well don’t be then. From your statements it is clear that you just take everything for granted. No need for dealing with your selfishness at this point.

    8.) Uhhhhh, so? What does that have to do with whether we should involve ourselves in a military confrontation with China? In fact, just the opposite. We should consider how we can prevent such a confrontation in the first place. That said, since neither Taiwan nor China consider Taiwan to be an independent nation, how do you have the arrogance to declare the folks living there to be wrong?

    Good point considering the ONLY reason China has not yet invaded Taiwan is because its military is not on par with the United States as of NOW. As for me “having arrogance” read my statment again. If you CAN read, I clearly stated that I stand behind an independant Taiwan. Taiwan has clearly tried to avoid conflict by remaining status quo, however a RECENT poll suggests that more than 54% of Taiwanese would rather be independent regardless of what Beijing thinks. I suggest you do more research…. AGAIN.

    7.) Oh please. You imply that, because I don’t support military conflict, I am somehow not against the oppression of Tibet or the genocide in the Sudan. What I am really against is trying to turn China into our new USSR. I am against creating a new Cold War. I am against the institutionalization of confrontation. Do I believe that China is an oppressive country where individuals are routinely tortured, imprisoned unjustly and murdered? Yes. Do I believe that the occupation of Tibet and the threat to Taiwan are wrong? Yes. Do I believe Chinese involvement with the genocide in Darfur, selling of weapons technology to countries like Iran is wrong? Yes. Then again, I’d prefer my country wasn’t selling weapons technology to Saudi Arabia, but that continues as well. Am I willing to go to war with China over these things. Not when all you can show me is ad hominem attacks, a defense of democracy that is rather silly, considering I’m not a democrat (I don’t mean the modern political party), and a complete lack of true justification for military confrontation.

    You really are selfish are you? No one is turning China into a new USSR. China is still Communist, but I haven’t one time stated a bad thing about the Chinese people themselves. Not once if you can read. Plus, if you are having this much problem with Taiwan being independent and having the right to self-determination, there is really no point in showing YOU how important that is now is there?

    8.) Or maybe it’s because the folks who live in Taiwan consider themselves a province of China? Of course, you continue your ad hominem attack, trying to bully us by declaring we are scared. But, let’s ask a question here. Do I fear a nuclear conflict, OR any other military conflict? Yes, I do. The cost in lives, liberty and property is immense. When not fighting would result in a higher cost of the same, then I advocate fighting. I have yet to have anyone make a good case for such a position vis a vis Taiwan. You certainly have not.

    In YOUR view I have not, but there are others who feel the same way I do. You are just one person and maybe others feel as you do. But don’t take that for granted. Also, actually once again as I have stated before, Taiwanese do not consider themselves part of China because if they did, there would be no “Taiwan” in these discussions between me and you PERIOD.

    8.) Ummm, why? And why is “promoting democracy” in Iraq less important? This seems fairly inconsistent to me. Of course, I don’t believe in democracy in the sense you do, nor do I believe it is the end to be desired. Individual liberty is the end I desire.

    I did not say that! I said that Bush initially went into Iraq, searching for WMD. That was the basic mission. My God can you READ? You don’t switch up the purpose of a mission when you fail to accomplish the primary mission which was proving that Iraq had WMD. They did not and now Bush had no choice, in my opinion, but to state another purpose for putting sacrificing young American soldiers in Iraq. Democracy would be nice in Iraq but look at what’s happening there. If those people really wanted it, they would acheive it. Taiwan is ALREADY a democracy. My argument if you can read properly, is the right for Taiwan to have self-determination. Do you know what that means? What that means is it is up to Taiwan, not China to decide Taiwan’s fate. You know the news right? You see how China obstructs Taiwan from the U.N., from participating in international organizations. You support individual liberties right? Go to China and do whatever you want and then come back and tell me about it okay? Think on that.

    9.) Another irrelevancy. Unless you happen to believe we have some sort of mandate simply because we live in this country? Are you claiming we have some sort of Manifest Destiny? How is that any different from the Bush Doctrine? It makes me wonder how you can oppose the Iraq War?

    To summarize what I’m saying in response to you, I’ll leave you with these thoughts. At least you could use some sort of solid logic. If the most you can offer is this continuous set of ad hominem attacks, contradictions and irrelevancies then you really aren’t going to convince me of much. The fact that you must resort to such tells me that the case for military confrontation is unsupportable.

    On a side note, it is this sort of thing, I believe, that Washington was talking about when he told us to avoid entangling alliances. Not so much that we should not become involved when it was right for our country, but that we should not allow others to dictate our involvement.

    Pure misunderstanding on YOUR part. “With great power comes great responsibility” From your writing, you are acting like that Peter Parker kid on Spiderman. I know this is irrelevant, but just like when Peter Parker lost his uncle, you will never know how good it is to be an American until you experience something that is life-changing. Many Americans took homeland security for granted until 9/11. Before then, you wouldn’t have dreamed that terrorists would be able to hijack two planes and crash them now would you?

    As for the Washington thing, if you study history closely, at one point during the Revolutionary War, the nation of France supported our independence from Great Britain. No one here is dictating for YOU to support Taiwan’s right to self-determination. Did you not just say:

    ” Not so much that we should not become involved when it was right for our country, but that we should not allow others to dictate our involvement.”

    Oh really? You are contradicting yourself. You seem to advocate a “hands-off” stance when it comes to Taiwan but then you want to quote what Washington believed? Has Taiwan dictated our involvement? I don’t see that. I am certainly not either. My argument actually support your quoted statement that we SHOULD become involved when its right for our country.

    Thank you for putting this out to everyone. Now people can see two sides to this issue. Thank you again.

  • walter

    To reinforce point number 6: I don’t advocate a war killing millions of Americans or Asians. I guess I should be more careful of what I write since you are WAY to sensitive. Lol.

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/11/22/comrades-i-hereby-declare-the-revolution/ Adam Selene

    Walter, your continued ad hominem attacks make this discussion pointless.

  • Walter

    Lol and so does your selfishness

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/11/22/comrades-i-hereby-declare-the-revolution/ Adam Selene

    Everyone acts in their own self-interest, whether they admit it, or not. Just to be sure, do you know what an ad hominem attack is and why it makes a discussion unproductive?

  • Walter

    Yes I do and you are right about self-interests. Me and you have different views obviously so let’s just bury the hatchet okay? I am grateful that you at least agree that Taiwan is a sovereign nation. (Unless I misread your statements somewhere)

  • http://www.thelibertypapers.org/2006/11/22/comrades-i-hereby-declare-the-revolution/ Adam Selene

    If you know, then why do you persist in using ad hominem attacks? Accusing a person of being selfish or being scared because they disagree with you, for example. You, in fact, have no way to know if I am either of those things. You impute them to me as negative characteristics because we don’t agree and you cause the conversation to have no value.

  • walter

    Okay, okay already! I apologize for the “ad hominem” but my conversation does have value which is why I am extremely glad you posted this online. I am not advocating you as a bad person, I don’t know you personally and you don’t know me. So no more attacks on each other agreed? Lol…this is sooo funny. Bottom line: I respect your views which is personal liberty values, and I stand by my view which is the U.S. should defend Taiwan in case of Communist China’s aggression. That is it.

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