Phillies calls ITAR an American subsidy against American competition

From Phillies 2008:

Libertarian Presidential candidate George Phillies today condemned ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) export restrictions as “a highly effective American subsidy for foreign manufacturers,” and said they should be repealed.

“ITAR makes sense if you believe that America has a monopoly on high-tech engineering and research,” Phillies said, “and if you believe that foreigners are not smart enough to solve problems until told the answers. Indeed, under ITAR an American may come into violation of the ‘deemed export’ rule simply by saying the wrong thing to a foreigner.”

“Foreigners are as smart as we are,” Phillies said. “The result of ITAR is that foreigners are highly motivated to replace American high-tech products with foreign equivalents. For example, in 2005 French firm EADS Sodern dropped their American star tracker components, in favor of European equivalents. They did this because they were building components for a satellite, the Apstar 6, for Red China, and American components could not be used.”

“What were the results? The Chinese got the same access to the technology. European research got extra investment. The French are replacing their American-component star tracker with an all-European unit. American small business has been shut out of the market. Permanently.”

“Then there is massive waste to satisfy the letter of the law,” Phillies continued. “The wonderful Boeing 787 is built from ‘black aluminum’—carbon composites. The same material is used in the B-2 bomber. Twenty years ago, B-2 research showed how long you could store certain materials. Before the 787 could use those materials, Boeing had to repeat the research, not to learn something new, but to be able to prove that their knowledge didn’t come from a military program. That’s a total waste of investors’ money.

“Like most bad government programs, ITAR is completely out of control. Thanks to ITAR, some American manufacturers don’t have to fear terrorist attacks on their foreign sales. ITAR means they don’t have them in the first place, because it’s easier to buy from Europe.
The Libertarian solution: Let free trade work. Repeal the law.”

14 Responses to “Phillies calls ITAR an American subsidy against American competition”

  1. George Phillies Says:

    I shall hijack my own thread.

    Reason Magazine has yesterday published the false claim “- Most of the Libertarian presidential candidates (except for Barr and Root) demand a new 9/11 inquiry.” The original line has a link to ‘Libertarians for Justice’.

    Reason’s claim that I signed the ‘demand’ in question is false and baseless.

  2. Michael Seebeck Says:


    I suggest you go talk to Boeing, Northrop, and Lockheed’s Import/Export Security Offices before talking about ITAR. There are some damned good reasons those rules exist, reasons that you are probably not aware of. Espionage problems (a.k.a. treason) are one them. It is far more than a market thing.

    Unless you prefer to see our warfighters be shot down and shot up and killed when in war? And that has NOTHING to do with why they would be in war or who sends them!

    BTW, the B-2 research you refer to was proprietary to Northrop. Boeing had to do their own carbon-fiber research (as did Lockheed for the F-117 and F-22) because they had no access (short of commercial espionage) to Northrop’s proprietary and highly classified work. To claim that Boeing’s efforts were a waste means you don’t seem to understand how the aerospace and defense industry operates. Sure, there is waste, and a lot of excess bureaucracy, but in every non-open-source industry there is.

    I believe you can do better than this.

  3. Stefan Says:

    Good that you have pointed it out Dr. Phillies to those that do not really double-check (which is unfortunately most people). This is just another example of the poor journalistic quality of certain journalists with reason and other online/published publications: they do not fact check and make wrong conclusions at time, do not consider the complexity of a specific issue, do not look at the reason why a person say or vote a certain way etc.

  4. Kenny Says:

    Does the Kochtopus and/or Reason have a candidate in the LP Presidential Race?

  5. Balph Says:

    Betray America! Vote Libertarian!

  6. disinter Says:

    Does the Kochtopus and/or Reason have a candidate in the LP Presidential Race?

    Bob Barr

  7. Anal Libertarian Says:

    Take it up the ass! Vote Bob Barr!

  8. Anal Libertarian Says:

    Something has to change.
    Un-deniable dilemma.
    Bob Barr’s not a burden
    Anyone should bear.

  9. Anal Libertarian Says:

    Finger deep within me, Rep. Bob Barr.
    Show me that you love me and that we belong together.
    Relax, turn around and take my hand

  10. Anal Libertarian Says:

    Knuckle deep inside me Rep. Bob Barr.
    This may hurt a little but it’s something you’ll get used to.
    Relax. Slip away.

  11. Kenny Says:

    The owners/moderators should ban the Republicrat trolls and overwrite their moronic comments.

  12. Stefan Says:

    disinter: Charles Koch used to support neocons and Bush, but he did support Paul for his congress in the past. Someone has recently noted in a comment that the secret billionaire Stephen Gordon had a thread about a few weeks ago may have been Koch. Probably just speculation.
    Here is a list of contributions:

    He has supported “state boy” Sam Brownback.I doubt it that they would dupport the LP, and if they still have a neocons view, Root would be their man if they had to support someone, while Barr only if they have really changed their view on the war.

  13. George Phillies Says:

    Mr. Seebeck’s comments reflect the path the Bush Republican War Party—which he may not support—is following to ruin our country, namely, they have a fixation on the notion that there is a legitimate possibility of a war between great powers. The thinking parallels the military contemporary fiction of Tom Clancy and imitators.

    ITAR does not matter if we get into a war with a minor power, because minor powers can not take advantage of our high technology. Instead, they have to use clever low-tech approaches, as the Serbians demonstrated when they substantially defeated our air war in Kosovo.

    Any country capable of taking advantage of our technology is a great power. Great powers all have significant stocks of thermonuclear weapons. In fact, thermonuclear weapons are adequately cheap that several second-tier powers (Britain, France, Israel, India) have them in considerable numbers. As has been known even to fairly crazy world leaders for nearly 60 years, warfare between nuclear powers has only one outcome, namely the survivors are peasants living on the outskirts of the husks of burnt-out cities.

    Unfortunately, the consequence of Republican paranoid—but I repeat myself—fantasies about fighting wars between great powers is that our people in Europe cannot talk with Europeans in Europe about high-tech. When you cannot talk, you cannot learn what the other guy is doing, meaning we are in the process of being left behind technologically. A good example of this is supplied by the ITAR discussion at the following NASA link. Warning. The link is a 400 MB video

    I will take an example from my own scientific field, which is fortunately not covered by ITAR. Een 15 years

  14. George Phillies Says:

    Now I will make point 2, namely that the real competitions in the future are going to be industrial and technical. 30 years ago, there was competition between Massachusetts and California in High Technology, Silicon Valley vs. Route 128. California won.


    There were a range of reasons, for example that Massachusetts investment banks were reluctant to invest in high tech. Another was that California courts largely viewed non-competition clauses in employment contracts as being legally unenforceable, relative to their interpretation in Massachusetts, and potential employees in CA tended to view non-competition clauses as being personally unacceptable.

    A major reason, though was that Massachusetts high tech was very heavy on protecting its company secrets, while California was heavy on fern bars where secrets interchanged and fertilized each other. Curiously, MA high tech people tended to be Republicans, while California has a certain number of sensible liberals.

    ITAR is the losing Masachusetts high-tech approach.

    For multiple articles on this question, go to old issues of Technology Review.

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