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He Did It For The Oil.

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Originally from Gus Van Horn,

Where are all the strident denunciations? When will the "documentary" air? Where are the human shields?

The army has been sent to the oil fields and the president of a certain kelptocracy in the West has acted unilaterally to seize the oil wealth belonging to others!

Where is the constant harangue from the loony left?

Nowhere, because it's OK to make men risk their lives for oil -- if you're from the left.

President Evo Morales ordered soldiers to immediately occupy Bolivia's natural gas fields today and threatened to evict foreign companies unless they sign new contracts within six months giving Bolivia majority control over the entire chain of production.

Morales said soldiers and engineers with Bolivia's state-owned oil company would be sent to installations operated by foreign petroleum companies.

"The time has come, the awaited day, a historic day in which Bolivia retakes absolute control of our natural resources," Morales said in a speech from the San Alberto petroleum field in southern Bolivia to decree what he called a nationalization of the natural gas industry. The field has been operated by Brazil's Petroleo Brasileiro SA in association with the Spanish-Argentine Repsol YPF SA and France's Total SA. [bold added]

Whatever you might say about Bush's invasion of Iraq, it clearly has not been motivated by a desire to take its oil fields, although for reasons unlike Morales's, that would have been a legitimate objective.

Aside from noting -- again -- that Bush's failure to do anything about Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has served to encourage thugs like Chavez all over Latin America, I have nothing much else to say about the situation in Bolivia but to note the amazing gall made possible to Morales by the fact that everyone he is plundering accepts his basic premise, that it is okay to steal property from the rich to give loot to the poor.

Morales has acknowledged that nationalization will not mean a complete state takeover, because Bolivia lacks the ability to tap all its natural gas on its own. [bold added]

Boo hoo! Poor Bolivia can't take all the oil wealth and needs the help of its own robbery victims! Morales can say this with a straight face and expect all those foreign doormats to keep on building infrastructure for him to plunder later on, when he's more "able". Sadly, everyone will grouse a little, and then go right in and take what pittance they can before being robbed. Oil executives will behave like chumps because under altruism, it's just the way things are done for Evo Morales to act as he does, and for America to fail to act, as it does.

If the looted were all state-owned companies like Petroleo Brasileiro SA, this would be hysterically funny. Unfortunately, some private property is also being stolen from Americans, in the form of Exxon-Mobil holdings, for example.

The proper responses to this move -- for a free nation whose citizens have been robbed of private property -- vary, depending on that nation's military capabilities and other such factors as whether its oil executives were careful about the chances something like this might happen going in. In such cases, proper responses range from invading to take the oil fields back (to be returned to their owners) from the organized mob running the government to destroying the fields. Note that this is not happening and will not happen, because Bolivia's need trumps the rights of the men whose effort and capital made Bolivia's oil production possible.

But the left claims to see looting where there is not even a legitimate reclamation of private property and remains silent when the very sin they damn Bush for -- sending soldiers on missions to take oil from its rightful owners -- is being committed. This speaks volumes about their sincerity, including the claim that they will invariably make, to the effect that Morales was acting on behalf of "the people". In fact, the very premise of the left -- that governments should seize oil fields -- makes all of them hypocrites for denouncing Bush for supposedly doing so.

Men who receive booty stolen from others have no freedom. They are merely well-fed prisoners, or slaves, who live their lives at the mercy of the same tyrants at whose mercy the looted once owned property.

Socialism is a fool's bargain.

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To me, the glaring contradiction is the Left's insistence that we stop burning fossil fuels and resort to cleaner, alternative sources of energy (except for nuclear power, of course) and when the market begins to lean towards that direction (based on economics), they make it easier to burn fossil fuels! I'm not saying any of their premises are correct, I'm just pointing out the contradiction.

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Just to point out the obvious:

There is rather a large difference between a government taking over the oil resources in its *own* country and a government taking over the oil resources in a *foreign* country.

While the left has a problem with the US government taking over oil resources in Iraq, I doubt the left would have much trouble with the US government nationalizing oil resources in the US.

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And just what, in principle, is that "rather large difference?"

Well since the Treaty of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years War it has been a principle of international law that states are *sovereign* within their own borders, and thus government can act freely within those borders. Governments do not have that same freedom to act within someone else's borders.

An analogy might be that while I have the freedom to arrange my household however I want to, I do not have the same freedom to go into your house and arrange it however I want to.

Now let's not get side-tracked here. The point is whether the left is acting consistently in condemning the US invasion of Iraq and ignoring Bolivia nationalizing its own resources.

The fact of the matter is that it *is* acting consistently. Whether you agree with the background philosophy is another matter entirely.

Anyway, the left rather favors the old Westphalian order, a stance which is consistent with anti-globalism, which is perceived as resulting in outside forces undermining the authority if sovereign "westphalian" states. The left's opposition to much of US foreign policy is also consistent with this as the policies are perceived to undermine the sovereignty of foreign states.

In the case of Bolivia, the perception is that this is a case of the state reasserting its sovereignty against foreign encroachment, whereas the US invasion of Iraq is a clear violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

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I wasn't talking about the U.S. left wing in particular, I was talking about the left in general - specifically environmentalism vs. capitalism. There'd by less demand if nobody tried to artificially deflate the price of crude and we'd be forced to find alternative (perhaps cleaner) energy sources. Or perhaps we'd walk start utilizing mass transport more often.

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Well since the Treaty of Westphalia ending the Thirty Years War it has been a principle of international law that states are *sovereign* within their own borders, and thus government can act freely within those borders. Governments do not have that same freedom to act within someone else's borders.

An analogy might be that while I have the freedom to arrange my household however I want to, I do not have the same freedom to go into your house and arrange it however I want to.

On what philosophical principles are you basing your views? Specifically, in your philosophy (whatever that might be), what principle of ethics or politics justifies a government acting "freely within [its] borders," if those "freely" taken actions include the theft of property?

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