Minutiae
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The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.
--Cornelius Tacitus (c. 116 A.D.)

Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Why they should both hate and fear us. (aka snort)

"One of our current Undersecretaries of State once asked: why hasn't anyone been able to replicate the Marshall Plan? (Sorry, no names. I was in the room when he said it; and this is a personal recollection. I haven't a transcript or citation.)

The third world is littered with crumbling airports and highways. Why do our beneficent construction projects turn to dust in a generation? Because, as A-L argues it's not enough. Transplanting money and buildings is a fools game. The only time that strategy did work featured some unique circumstances.

In World War II, the Mighty Eighth Air Force rendered parts of Europe lunar. Nevertheless the survivors were: educated, civilized, skilled in business and trade, and law-abiding.

The only things post WWII Europe lacked were buildings, networks (electrical, food-distribution, etc.) and other sundries. So we spent our treasure to fill in the holes.

Some parts of the Third World are blank slates when compared against post-WWII Europe. Personal and real property are subject to the whim of brigands. Contracts can only be enforced out of the barrels of guns. Criminal codes are enforced according to tribal affiliation rather than the black letter of the law. Any bunny can see: this is predator v. prey territory. Fix these problems and you can achieve real progress.

Building monuments to our generosity in these places is like burning money. These folks need a reliable system of laws.

The United States is famous for its surplus of three things: legal codes, lawyers and photocopiers. Together they are our other Arsenal of Democracy. Expensive as they are, they represent our last, best hope of replicating the success of the Marshall Plan.

On this subject, I am way out of my league. But it seems to me that if we are already committed to funding a Peace Corps, it's worth a shot to unleash a Legal Corps and be modern-day Prometheans."


As I recall Prometheus was chained to a rock and had birds pecking out his liver for all eternity. And they bitch at us for all the toxic shit we export now. What's worse ambulance-chasers or Britney and bluejeans?
posted by Rachel 12/31/2002
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Thought for the year:
The UN is a joke. The UN is not our friend. The UN is ineffective.
The idea of the UN is so appealing and the reality is so disgusting.
They squawk at
Israel nonstop. They squawk at the US frequently.
Do they do anything about Burma?
Do they do anything about Zimbabwe?
Did they do anything about Afghanistan?
Are they willing or able to disarm Iraq or North Korea?
And let's not forget who's on the Human Rights Commission. They'll take a stand on Dwarf Tossing but not on rape and murder. Wonder why?
Lybia. Cuba. China. Saudi Arabia. Sudan. Zimbabwe. But NOT the US.
Oh and let's not forget the all the UN resolutions demanding Saddam Hussein stop killing and raping and torturing his people. Very effective weren't they?
posted by Rachel 12/31/2002
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