Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Lessons to be learned...
With the welfare state cracking apart and with rising concerns among the citizenry about federal spending and debt, count on federal officials to provoke more overseas crises as a way to frighten people into rallying toward the government. It is an old tried-and-true trick that government officials use to distract people’s attention away from the problems government is causing and toward supporting the government’s efforts to keep people “safe.”
U.S. officials are not the only ones who have used this trick effectively. James Madison pointed out that officials in the Roman Empire did it too: “Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people.”
In the war on terrorism, fear is the coin of the realm. “Be afraid, be very afraid” has become the standard catcall of the statists.
One option, of course, is for the citizenry to resist the fearmongering and steadfastly oppose all governmental efforts to infringe liberty and privacy in the name of keeping people safe. The problem with that approach, however, is that it can be endless since the government can use its forces to provoke new overseas threats whenever it wants. It can do things constantly to keep the people afraid.
Therefore, the only real long-tern solution is to dismantle America’s disastrous experment with empire, interventionism, and a warfare state. That would entail an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan and Iraq, bringing all the troops home from everywhere around the world and discharging them, closing most of the military bases here in the United States, ending all foreign aid, and ridding our nation of a standing army.
That was the type of nation — a constitutional republic — our American ancestors intended for America to be. By embracing empire and foreign interventionism (and a welfare state), America has deviated from the vision that the Founding Fathers had for our nation, and the results have been disastrous.