This was my first article on LewRockwell.com, on December 24, 2009. (I had to remove five links that no longer work! Oh, well.)
December 24, 2009
Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com
During this holiday season and with all the performances of The Nutcracker now, I must express my frustration with hard nuts to crack: influential conservatives who simultaneously criticize domestic Big Government yet support Big Government foreign policies.
Since President Obama’s election, Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin have been consistently lecturing from the rooftops in favor of free market capitalism and getting the government out of our lives. These conservatives advocate the Founders’ views of “limited government” and private property rights when it comes to government’s invasions of our personal and economic lives. Then, they contradict themselves by enthusiastically supporting the US government’s expansion and invasions into the lives and property of people on foreign lands.
As Lew Rockwell noted, “conservatives have two brains. One sees the government as a menace, something stupid, inefficient, brutal, isolated from real life, and the enemy of liberty. The other sees government as smart, wise, and all-knowing, a friend to all, in touch with life around the planet, and the friend to liberty everywhere.”
In his article, The Intellectual Incoherence of Conservatism, economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe analyzes post-World War II anti-communism, particularly of National Review founder William F. Buckley, Jr. Hoppe notes Buckley’s “new conservative credo,” and Buckley having written that “we have to accept Big Government for the duration—for neither an offensive nor a defensive war can be waged…except through the instrument of totalitarian bureaucracy within our shores.”
By the time the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s, the US Military Industrial Complex had become a firmly accepted fact of life, along with its funding through taxes and debts, and had conservatives supporting it. In 1990, the elder President Bush decided that Saddam Hussein was the new enemy, and took the US military into Iraq. That was followed by more Islamic-based terrorism in the 1990s and the September 11th, 2001 attacks. The Islamic terrorists had replaced the communists as the bad guys.
Ten years after the elder President Bush invaded Iraq, the younger President Bush’s Doctrine of “end justifies the means” moral relativism was in place. Because the terrorists use unconventional means of attack and are not of any organized nation or state, say the conservatives, therefore it is necessary to compromise our principle of non-aggression by initiating foreign invasions to prevent future attacks.
Those kinds of destructive expansionist policies, from the anti-communist Big Government military socialism to the US government’s last 20 years of invasions and occupations in the Middle-East, could not have been possible without Americans’ dependence on the US government’s compulsory national defense monopoly. Prof. Hoppe has discussed how such a state-run defense monopoly, naively approved by the Founders in their Constitution, is inherently invasive of the very people the state is in charge of protecting, because it compels citizens to participate in such a contract, and it is funded through coerced taxation. As Hoppe notes,
…no one in his right mind would agree to a contract that allowed one’s alleged protector to determine unilaterally, without one’s consent, and irrevocably, without the possibility of exit, how much to charge for protection; and no one in his right mind would agree to an irrevocable contract which granted one’s alleged protector the right to ultimate decision making regarding one’s own person and property…
Hoppe contends that, when the state has a compulsory monopoly in protection, “…instead of preventing and resolving conflict, a monopolist of ultimate decision-making will cause and provoke conflict in order to settle it to his own advantage.” Is it too cynical to suggest that the elder President Bush’s Iraq War of 1990-91 coinciding with the Soviets’ end was more than just coincidental?
The conservative Bush War supporters’ being manipulated by emotional fear mongering can compare to the left’s being manipulated by the current “global warming” panic. As Prof. Hoppe has observed, it is democracy itself that makes way for deceitful politicians to rise to the top and manipulate external events to achieve the goal of expanding government’s territorial power even further.
While citizens have an inalienable right of presumption of innocence, it would be self-protective of society to presume politicians liars, especially when such politicians are placed at the helm of a compulsory territorial monopoly. If we did that in 1990, for example, we would probably have rejected the elder President Bush’s appeals to invade Iraq. (Of course we can take the word of a former CIA man!)
Reflecting on these last 20 years, one might realize that the terrorism during the 1990s and the September 11th attacks may have resulted from a people of a region reacting to invasions of their territories. People inherently react against aggression into their territories, as demonstrated by the unborn infant’s attempts to ward off an abortionist’s invasive medical instruments.
Some may ask, “Well, if it really is the case that Middle-Eastern, Islamic-based terrorism has been a reaction to the US government’s last 20 years of invasions and occupations of the Middle-east, then how can we protect our country from terrorism?” Here are just a few suggestions:
- Remove US governmental forces from Middle-eastern countries and stop invading and occupying their territories.
- End our dependence on Middle-eastern oil. Encourage the American states to ignore all federal laws and regulations and build nuclear power plants and drill for oil and gas.
- Encourage states to ignore all federal laws and regulations pertaining to armaments and arsenals and whatever weaponry is necessary for them to protect themselves against any foreign attacks or invasions.
As Prof. Hoppe has stated,
In order to combat terrorism it is necessary to engage in a non-interventionist foreign policy, to have a heavily armed civilian population – more guns, less crime – and to treat terrorism for what it is: not as a conventional attack by the armed forces of another state but as essentially private conspiracies and crimes which must be combated accordingly by police action, hired mercenaries, privateers, assassination commandoes, and headhunters.
A few months ago, National Review‘s Andy McCarthy questioned the US’s presence in Afghanistan, and NR’s Mark Levin responded with Not So Fast. Perhaps that should be “Nutso Fast,” because clinging to Big Government whether it’s in the name of preventing the spread of Islamism or the spread of communism, or for “spreading democracy” through military force, is irrational and counter-productive. For many years, such debt-increasing policies of military socialism have required huge sacrifices, and, while the costs of “protection services” have risen, the quality has declined to such a degree that such policies are making us more vulnerable.
Do conservatives have some extra genetic component that makes them naively trustful of manipulative Republican politicians but not manipulative Democrat politicians?
Do conservatives really want 300 million Americans to be dependent on a centralized, bureaucratized, politicized national defense monopoly? Wouldn’t a decentralized defense be more efficient? Common sense says, “Yes.”
Most conservatives agree that, domestically, the biggest enemy of freedom and prosperity is government. If only they could see that government is also the enemy of our security and safety, and that our government is destroying our country more than terrorism ever could.