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The Intellectual Patriarch of Neoconservative Economics



December 22, 2010 – Comments (4)

"Pigrum quin immo et iners videtur sudore adquirere quod possis sanguine parare."

It seems feckless, nay more, even slothful, to acquire something by toil and sweat which you could grab by the shedding of blood. - Tacitus, Germania, p. 14

It is naive, perhaps even intentionally dishonest, to presume that economics does not play a role in empire building. It is the driving force. The Nazis, for example, were known to openly cajole their subjects to think it was their right to acquire resources found in other lands that Germany lacked.  American neoconservatives share this trait. Why talk and trade with other nations, when you can take what you want by force?  Indeed, the only serious complaint lodged by neoconservative supporters against the war in Iraq is that not enough has been done to extract every last resource from the Iraqi ground to "make it worth our while."

From another perspective, we see what happens when someone advocates peaceful relations, the relations under which commerce flourishes.  They are branded as isolationists - a gross distorition of the term which means cutting yourself off completely from others.  Those who advocate peaceful relations with others are derided as spineless, even feckless.

After all, from the neoconservative point of view, just like Tacitus, might makes right. Only the lazy would restrain from using their power.  We see in Tacitus' words the true nature of power, that working with your fellow man is just downright stupid, when you could instead slice his throat and take what you want.

David in Qatar

4 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 23, 2010 at 6:15 AM, dbjella (< 20) wrote:

Merry Christmas David!  

Did you happen to catch the show Reich (I think that was what it was called) on the History channel?  It was the history of WW2 from the perspective of the German people.

The thing that got me more than anything else was how fervent the people seemed towards the Nazis at the beginning of the war and then once the Nazis entrenched themselves in power how the people were kind of helpless to get rid of them.  

Another thing that I found interesting was before the war the people were working and it seemed like Germany was an economic miracle.  The show didn't go into how they were able to build all that wealth, but the people seemed to prosper.  After the Germans invaded Russia though the troops were running out of supplies and the people were being fed rations.  

I wonder if a combination of aggressiveness and currency manipulation is a recipe for disaster?

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#2) On December 23, 2010 at 7:30 AM, whereaminow (< 20) wrote:

Merry Christmas Doug!

I have not seen that. The Nazi economic plan was very Keynesian. Lots of pulling demand forward, public works, etc. Great for the short term results. They were also very regulatory/predatory. Looking to capture businesses and take them over. There was a fantastic first hand account of doing business in Nazi Germany that I read, but it escapes me right now.

I wonder if a combination of aggressiveness and currency manipulation is a recipe for disaster?

They go hand in hand. Wars cost money. Currency manipulation makes wars easier to fund, but this just makes the inevitable disaster even worse.

Have a great holiday!

David in Qatar

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#3) On December 23, 2010 at 10:11 AM, kdakota630 (29.47) wrote:


Thanks for mentioning that show.  I'm going to keep an eye out for it now as it sounds interesting.


Thanks for another excellent, albeit short, blog.  I (after several attempts) as a kid read Mein Kampf and one of the few things that stood out that I remembered was Hitler arguing that Germany had the right to acquire land and resources for the needs of the homeland.  I'd never attempted to link that mindset to the neocons, but you make a good point.

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#4) On December 23, 2010 at 12:23 PM, ChrisGraley (28.71) wrote:

Very interesting stuff David.

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