Last year more US troops died by suicide than died in combat in Afghanistan. More than 20 percent of military personnel deployed to combat will develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some 32 percent of US soldiers reported depression after deployments. More than 20 percent of active-duty military are on potentially dangerous psychotropic drugs; many are on multiple types. Violent crime among active duty military members increased 31 percent between 2006-2011.
The statistics, compiled by the military last year, are as telling as they are disturbing. The Defense Department scrambles to implement new programs to better treat the symptoms. They implement new substance abuse and psychological counseling programs while they continue to prescribe more dangerous psychotropic drugs. Unfortunately, most often ignored are the real causes of these alarming statistics.
The sharp rise in military suicides, drug and alcohol abuse, and domestic and other violence, is the unintended consequence of a violent foreign policy – of an endless and indefinable “global war on terrorism.”
Particularly in the past decade or so, we have lived in a society increasingly marked by belief in the use of force as a first and only option. We have seen wars of preemption and aggression, everywhere from Iraq to Pakistan to Libya, Yemen, and elsewhere. We have seen an unprecedented increase in the use of drones to kill overseas, often resulting in civilian deaths, which we call “collateral damage.” We have seen torture and assassination (even of American citizens) become official US policy. When asked by Senator Ron Wyden last week if the president has the right to assassinate American citizens on US soil, President Obama’s nominee to head the CIA, John Brennan, could not even give a straight answer.
The warning that "he who lives by the sword dies by the sword" goes not only for individuals but for entire societies. It is a warning to all of us. A country or a society that lives with the violence of pre-emptive war in fact self-destructs.
Let us not forget that this endless war is brought to us primarily by the neo-conservatives who dominate foreign policy in both political parties and who never cease agitating for US military deployments overseas. Of course with very few exceptions they have declined to serve in the military themselves. These endless wars would not be possible, we should also remember, without the Federal Reserve printing the money out of thin air to finance our overseas empire. We are speeding toward national bankruptcy while at the same time turning the rest of the world against us with our aggressive foreign policy. Does anyone really believe this will make us safer and more secure?
Many who claim to support the military look the other way when the service-members return home broken in mind and body after years of deployments abroad. I served five years as a US military doctor in the difficult 1960s and even then saw some of this first-hand. During the 1960s the consequence of an unwise prolonged war tragically resulted in violence in our streets, and even students being shot by our military at Kent State University.
The truth is, killing strangers in unconstitutional and senseless wars causes guilt to the participant no matter what kind of military indoctrination is attempted. Those afflicted may attempt to bury the pain in alcohol or drugs or other destructive behaviors, but we see that only leads to more problems. It may not be popular to point this out, but it goes against human nature to kill a fellow human being for retaliating against those who initiate a war of aggression on their soil.
Who cares most for those in military service, those who agitate for more of what is destroying their lives and weakening our national defense, or the many of us who are urging a foreign policy of non-intervention and peace? If we are to survive, we must beware the seen and unseen consequences of pre-emptive war.
Article written by by Ron Paul
As I prepare to retire from Congress I’d like to suggest a few New Year’s resolutions for my colleagues to consider. For the sake of liberty, peace and prosperity I certainly hope more members of Congress consider the strict libertarian-constitutional approach to government in 2013.
In just a few days, Congress will solemnly swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. They should read Article 1 Section 8 and the Bill of Rights before taking such a serious oath. Most legislation violates key provisions of the Constitution in very basic ways, and if members can’t bring themselves to say “no” in the face of pressure from the special interests, they have broken trust with their constituents and violated their oath. Congress does not exist to serve the special interests. It exists to protect the rule of law.
I also urge my colleagues to end unconstitutional wars overseas. Stop the drone strikes. Stop the covert activities and the meddling in the internal affairs of other nations. Strive to observe good faith and justice towards all nations, as George Washington admonished. We are only making more enemies, wasting lives and bankrupting ourselves with the neoconservative interventionist mindset that endorses preemptive war that now dominates both parties.
All foreign aid should end, which is blatantly unconstitutional. While it may be a relatively small part of our federal budget, for many countries it is a large part of theirs and it creates perverse incentives for both our friends and enemies. There is no way members of Congress can know or understand the political, economic, legal and social realities in the many nations to which they send taxpayers’ dollars.
Congress needs to stop accumulating more debt. U.S. debt monetized by the Federal Reserve is the true threat to our national security. Revisiting the parameters of Article 1 Section 8 would be a good start.
Congress should resolve to respect personal liberty and free markets. Learn more about the free market and how it regulates commerce and produces greater prosperity ever than any legislation or regulation.
Understand that economic freedom is freedom. Resolve not to get in the way of voluntary contracts between consenting adults. Stop bailing out failed yet politically connected companies and industries. Stop forcing people to engage in commerce when they don’t want to, and stop prohibiting them from buying and selling when they want to. Stop trying to legislate your ideas of fairness. Protect property rights. Protect the individual. That is enough.
There are many more resolutions I would like to see my colleagues in Congress adopt, but respect for the Constitution and the oath of office should be at the core of every single member’s of Congress due in 2013.
Filed under Constitution by
As of late Friday the ceasefire in Gaza seems to be holding, if tentatively. While we should be pleased that this round of fighting appears temporarily on hold, we must realize that without changes in US foreign policy it is only a matter of time before the killing begins again.
It feels like 2009 all over again, which is the last time this kind of violence broke out inGaza. At that time over 1,400 Palestinians were killed, of which just 235 were combatants. The Israelis lost 13 of which 10 were combatants. At that time I said of then-President Bush’s role in the conflict:
“It’s our money and our weapons. But I think we encouraged it. Certainly, the president has said nothing to diminish it. As a matter of fact, he justifies it on moral grounds, saying, oh, they have a right to do this, without ever mentioning the tragedy of Gaza…. To me, I look at it like a concentration camp.”
The US role has not changed under the Obama administration. The same mistakes continue. As journalist Glen Greenwald wrote last week:
“For years now, US financial, military and diplomatic support of Israel has been the central enabling force driving this endless conflict. The bombs Israel drops on Gazans, and the planes they use to drop them, and the weapons they use to occupy the West Bank and protect settlements are paid for, in substantial part, by the US taxpayer…”
Last week, as the fighting raged, President Obama raced to express US support for the Israeli side, in a statement that perfectly exemplifies the tragic-comedy of US foreign policy. The US supported the Israeli side because, he said, “No country on Earth would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.” Considering that this president rains down missiles on Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and numerous other countries on a daily basis, the statement was so hypocritical that it didn’t pass the laugh test. But it wasn’t funny.
US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton traveled to Tel Aviv to meet with Israeli prime minister Netanyahu, but she refused to meet with elected Palestinian leaders. Clinton said upon arrival in Israel, “America’s commitment to Israel’s security is rock-solid and unwavering.” Does this sound like an honest broker?
At the same time Congress acted with similar ignobility when an unannounced resolution was brought to the House floor after the business of the week had been finished; and in less than 30 seconds the resolution was passed by unanimous consent, without debate and without most Representatives even having heard of it. The resolution, H Res 813, was so one-sided it is not surprising they didn’t want anyone to have the chance to read and vote on it. Surely at least a handful of my colleagues would have objected to language like, “The House of Representatives expresses unwavering commitment to the security of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state with secure borders…”
US foreign policy being so one-sided actually results in more loss of life and of security on both sides. Surely Israelis do not enjoy the threat of missiles from Gaza nor do the Palestinians enjoy their Israel-imposed inhuman conditions in Gaza. But as long as Israel can count on its destructive policies being underwritten by the US taxpayer it can continue to engage in reckless behavior. And as long as the Palestinians feel the one-sided US presence lined up against them they will continue to resort to more and more deadly and desperate measures.
Continuing to rain down missiles on so many increasingly resentful nations, the US is undermining rather than furthering its security. We are on a collision course with much of the rest of the world if we do not right our foreign policy. Ending interventionism in the Middle East and replacing it with friendship and even-handedness would be a welcome first step.
Rep. Ron Paul’s post first appeared on his House website.
Below is the transcript of Ron Paul’s farewell address to Congress:
Farewell to Congress
This may well be the last time I speak on the House Floor. At the end of the year I’ll leave Congress after 23 years in office over a 36 year period. My goals in 1976 were the same as they are today: promote peace and prosperity by a strict adherence to the principles of individual liberty.
It was my opinion, that the course the U.S. embarked on in the latter part of the 20th Century would bring us a major financial crisis and engulf us in a foreign policy that would overextend us and undermine our national security.
To achieve the goals I sought, government would have had to shrink in size and scope, reduce spending, change the monetary system, and reject the unsustainable costs of policing the world and expanding the American Empire.
The problems seemed to be overwhelming and impossible to solve, yet from my view point, just following the constraints placed on the federal government by the Constitution would have been a good place to start.
How Much Did I Accomplish?
In many ways, according to conventional wisdom, my off-and-on career in Congress, from 1976 to 2012, accomplished very little. No named legislation, no named federal buildings or highways—thank goodness. In spite of my efforts, the government has grown exponentially, taxes remain excessive, and the prolific increase of incomprehensible regulations continues. Wars are constant and pursued without Congressional declaration, deficits rise to the sky, poverty is rampant and dependency on the federal government is now worse than any time in our history.
All this with minimal concerns for the deficits and unfunded liabilities that common sense tells us cannot go on much longer. A grand, but never mentioned, bipartisan agreement allows for the well-kept secret that keeps the spending going. One side doesn’t give up one penny on military spending, the other side doesn’t give up one penny on welfare spending, while both sides support the bailouts and subsidies for the banking and corporate elite. And the spending continues as the economy weakens and the downward spiral continues. As the government continues fiddling around, our liberties and our wealth burn in the flames of a foreign policy that makes us less safe.
The major stumbling block to real change in Washington is the total resistance to admitting that the country is broke. This has made compromising, just to agree to increase spending, inevitable since neither side has any intention of cutting spending.
The country and the Congress will remain divisive since there’s no “loot left to divvy up.”
Without this recognition the spenders in Washington will continue the march toward a fiscal cliff much bigger than the one anticipated this coming January.
I have thought a lot about why those of us who believe in liberty, as a solution, have done so poorly in convincing others of its benefits. If liberty is what we claim it is- the principle that protects all personal, social and economic decisions necessary for maximum prosperity and the best chance for peace- it should be an easy sell. Yet, history has shown that the masses have been quite receptive to the promises of authoritarians which are rarely if ever fulfilled.
Authoritarianism vs. Liberty
If authoritarianism leads to poverty and war and less freedom for all individuals and is controlled by rich special interests, the people should be begging for liberty. There certainly was a strong enough sentiment for more freedom at the time of our founding that motivated those who were willing to fight in the revolution against the powerful British government.
During my time in Congress the appetite for liberty has been quite weak; the understanding of its significance negligible. Yet the good news is that compared to 1976 when I first came to Congress, the desire for more freedom and less government in 2012 is much greater and growing, especially in grassroots America. Tens of thousands of teenagers and college age students are, with great enthusiasm, welcoming the message of liberty.
I have a few thoughts as to why the people of a country like ours, once the freest and most prosperous, allowed the conditions to deteriorate to the degree that they have.
Freedom, private property, and enforceable voluntary contracts, generate wealth. In our early history we were very much aware of this. But in the early part of the 20th century our politicians promoted the notion that the tax and monetary systems had to change if we were to involve ourselves in excessive domestic and military spending. That is why Congress gave us the Federal Reserve and the income tax. The majority of Americans and many government officials agreed that sacrificing some liberty was necessary to carry out what some claimed to be “progressive” ideas. Pure democracy became acceptable.
They failed to recognized that what they were doing was exactly opposite of what the colonists were seeking when they broke away from the British.
Some complain that my arguments makes no sense, since great wealth and the standard of living improved for many Americans over the last 100 years, even with these new policies.
But the damage to the market economy, and the currency, has been insidious and steady. It took a long time to consume our wealth, destroy the currency and undermine productivity and get our financial obligations to a point of no return. Confidence sometimes lasts longer than deserved. Most of our wealth today depends on debt.
The wealth that we enjoyed and seemed to be endless, allowed concern for the principle of a free society to be neglected. As long as most people believed the material abundance would last forever, worrying about protecting a competitive productive economy and individual liberty seemed unnecessary.
The Age of Redistribution
This neglect ushered in an age of redistribution of wealth by government kowtowing to any and all special interests, except for those who just wanted to left alone. That is why today money in politics far surpasses money currently going into research and development and productive entrepreneurial efforts.
The material benefits became more important than the understanding and promoting the principles of liberty and a free market. It is good that material abundance is a result of liberty but if materialism is all that we care about, problems are guaranteed.
The crisis arrived because the illusion that wealth and prosperity would last forever has ended. Since it was based on debt and a pretense that debt can be papered over by an out-of-control fiat monetary system, it was doomed to fail. We have ended up with a system that doesn’t produce enough even to finance the debt and no fundamental understanding of why a free society is crucial to reversing these trends.
If this is not recognized, the recovery will linger for a long time. Bigger government, more spending, more debt, more poverty for the middle class, and a more intense scramble by the elite special interests will continue.
We Need an Intellectual Awakening
Without an intellectual awakening, the turning point will be driven by economic law. A dollar crisis will bring the current out-of-control system to its knees.
If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties. Prosperity for a large middle class though will become an abstract dream.
This continuous move is no different than what we have seen in how our financial crisis of 2008 was handled. Congress first directed, with bipartisan support, bailouts for the wealthy. Then it was the Federal Reserve with its endless quantitative easing. If at first it doesn’t succeed try again; QE1, QE2, and QE3 and with no results we try QE indefinitely—that is until it too fails. There’s a cost to all of this and let me assure you delaying the payment is no longer an option. The rules of the market will extract its pound of flesh and it won’t be pretty.
The current crisis elicits a lot of pessimism. And the pessimism adds to less confidence in the future. The two feed on themselves, making our situation worse.
If the underlying cause of the crisis is not understood we cannot solve our problems. The issues of warfare, welfare, deficits, inflationism, corporatism, bailouts and authoritarianism cannot be ignored. By only expanding these policies we cannot expect good results.
Everyone claims support for freedom. But too often it’s for one’s own freedom and not for others. Too many believe that there must be limits on freedom. They argue that freedom must be directed and managed to achieve fairness and equality thus making it acceptable to curtail, through force, certain liberties.
Some decide what and whose freedoms are to be limited. These are the politicians whose goal in life is power. Their success depends on gaining support from special interests.
No More ‘isms’
The great news is the answer is not to be found in more “isms.” The answers are to be found in more liberty which cost so much less. Under these circumstances spending goes down, wealth production goes up, and the quality of life improves.
Just this recognition—especially if we move in this direction—increases optimism which in itself is beneficial. The follow through with sound policies are required which must be understood and supported by the people.
But there is good evidence that the generation coming of age at the present time is supportive of moving in the direction of more liberty and self-reliance. The more this change in direction and the solutions become known, the quicker will be the return of optimism.
Our job, for those of us who believe that a different system than the one that we have had for the last 100 years, has driven us to this unsustainable crisis, is to be more convincing that there is a wonderful, uncomplicated, and moral system that provides the answers. We had a taste of it in our early history. We need not give up on the notion of advancing this cause.
It worked, but we allowed our leaders to concentrate on the material abundance that freedom generates, while ignoring freedom itself. Now we have neither, but the door is open, out of necessity, for an answer. The answer available is based on the Constitution, individual liberty and prohibiting the use of government force to provide privileges and benefits to all special interests.
After over 100 years we face a society quite different from the one that was intended by the Founders. In many ways their efforts to protect future generations with the Constitution from this danger has failed. Skeptics, at the time the Constitution was written in 1787, warned us of today’s possible outcome. The insidious nature of the erosion of our liberties and the reassurance our great abundance gave us, allowed the process to evolve into the dangerous period in which we now live.
Dependency on Government Largesse
Today we face a dependency on government largesse for almost every need. Our liberties are restricted and government operates outside the rule of law, protecting and rewarding those who buy or coerce government into satisfying their demands. Here are a few examples:
- Undeclared wars are commonplace.
- Welfare for the rich and poor is considered an entitlement.
- The economy is overregulated, overtaxed and grossly distorted by a deeply flawed monetary system.
- Debt is growing exponentially.
- The Patriot Act and FISA legislation passed without much debate have resulted in a steady erosion of our 4th Amendment rights.
- Tragically our government engages in preemptive war, otherwise known as aggression, with no complaints from the American people.
- The drone warfare we are pursuing worldwide is destined to end badly for us as the hatred builds for innocent lives lost and the international laws flaunted. Once we are financially weakened and militarily challenged, there will be a lot resentment thrown our way.
- It’s now the law of the land that the military can arrest American citizens, hold them indefinitely, without charges or a trial.
- Rampant hostility toward free trade is supported by a large number in Washington.
- Supporters of sanctions, currency manipulation and WTO trade retaliation, call the true free traders “isolationists.”
- Sanctions are used to punish countries that don’t follow our orders.
- Bailouts and guarantees for all kinds of misbehavior are routine.
- Central economic planning through monetary policy, regulations and legislative mandates has been an acceptable policy.
Excessive government has created such a mess it prompts many questions:
- Why are sick people who use medical marijuana put in prison?
- Why does the federal government restrict the drinking of raw milk?
- Why can’t Americans manufacturer rope and other products from hemp?
- Why are Americans not allowed to use gold and silver as legal tender as mandated by the Constitution?
- Why is Germany concerned enough to consider repatriating their gold held by the FED for her in New York? Is it that the trust in the U.S. and dollar supremacy beginning to wane?
- Why do our political leaders believe it’s unnecessary to thoroughly audit our own gold?
- Why can’t Americans decide which type of light bulbs they can buy?
- Why is the TSA permitted to abuse the rights of any American traveling by air?
- Why should there be mandatory sentences—even up to life for crimes without victims—as our drug laws require?
- Why have we allowed the federal government to regulate commodes in our homes?
- Why is it political suicide for anyone to criticize AIPAC ?
- Why haven’t we given up on the drug war since it’s an obvious failure and violates the people’s rights? Has nobody noticed that the authorities can’t even keep drugs out of the prisons? How can making our entire society a prison solve the problem?
- Why do we sacrifice so much getting needlessly involved in border disputes and civil strife around the world and ignore the root cause of the most deadly border in the world-the one between Mexico and the US?
- Why does Congress willingly give up its prerogatives to the Executive Branch?
- Why does changing the party in power never change policy? Could it be that the views of both parties are essentially the same?
- Why did the big banks, the large corporations, and foreign banks and foreign central banks get bailed out in 2008 and the middle class lost their jobs and their homes?
- Why do so many in the government and the federal officials believe that creating money out of thin air creates wealth?
- Why do so many accept the deeply flawed principle that government bureaucrats and politicians can protect us from ourselves without totally destroying the principle of liberty?
- Why can’t people understand that war always destroys wealth and liberty?
- Why is there so little concern for the Executive Order that gives the President authority to establish a “kill list,” including American citizens, of those targeted for assassination?
- Why is patriotism thought to be blind loyalty to the government and the politicians who run it, rather than loyalty to the principles of liberty and support for the people? Real patriotism is a willingness to challenge the government when it’s wrong.
- Why is it is claimed that if people won’t or can’t take care of their own needs, that people in government can do it for them?
- Why did we ever give the government a safe haven for initiating violence against the people?
- Why do some members defend free markets, but not civil liberties?
- Why do some members defend civil liberties but not free markets? Aren’t they the same?
- Why don’t more defend both economic liberty and personal liberty?
- Why are there not more individuals who seek to intellectually influence others to bring about positive changes than those who seek power to force others to obey their commands?
- Why does the use of religion to support a social gospel and preemptive wars, both of which requires authoritarians to use violence, or the threat of violence, go unchallenged? Aggression and forced redistribution of wealth has nothing to do with the teachings of the world great religions.
- Why do we allow the government and the Federal Reserve to disseminate false information dealing with both economic and foreign policy?
- Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority?
- Why should anyone be surprised that Congress has no credibility, since there’s such a disconnect between what politicians say and what they do?
- Is there any explanation for all the deception, the unhappiness, the fear of the future, the loss of confidence in our leaders, the distrust, the anger and frustration? Yes there is, and there’s a way to reverse these attitudes. The negative perceptions are logical and a consequence of bad policies bringing about our problems. Identification of the problems and recognizing the cause allow the proper changes to come easy.
Trust Yourself, Not the Government
Too many people have for too long placed too much confidence and trust in government and not enough in themselves. Fortunately, many are now becoming aware of the seriousness of the gross mistakes of the past several decades. The blame is shared by both political parties. Many Americans now are demanding to hear the plain truth of things and want the demagoguing to stop. Without this first step, solutions are impossible.
Seeking the truth and finding the answers in liberty and self-reliance promotes the optimism necessary for restoring prosperity. The task is not that difficult if politics doesn’t get in the way.
We have allowed ourselves to get into such a mess for various reasons.
Politicians deceive themselves as to how wealth is produced. Excessive confidence is placed in the judgment of politicians and bureaucrats. This replaces the confidence in a free society. Too many in high places of authority became convinced that only they, armed with arbitrary government power, can bring about fairness, while facilitating wealth production. This always proves to be a utopian dream and destroys wealth and liberty. It impoverishes the people and rewards the special interests who end up controlling both political parties.
It’s no surprise then that much of what goes on in Washington is driven by aggressive partisanship and power seeking, with philosophic differences being minor.
Economic ignorance is commonplace. Keynesianism continues to thrive, although today it is facing healthy and enthusiastic rebuttals. Believers in military Keynesianism and domestic Keynesianism continue to desperately promote their failed policies, as the economy languishes in a deep slumber.
Supporters of all government edicts use humanitarian arguments to justify them.
Humanitarian arguments are always used to justify government mandates related to the economy, monetary policy, foreign policy, and personal liberty. This is on purpose to make it more difficult to challenge. But, initiating violence for humanitarian reasons is still violence. Good intentions are no excuse and are just as harmful as when people use force with bad intentions. The results are always negative.
The immoral use of force is the source of man’s political problems. Sadly, many religious groups, secular organizations, and psychopathic authoritarians endorse government initiated force to change the world. Even when the desired goals are well-intentioned—or especially when well-intentioned—the results are dismal. The good results sought never materialize. The new problems created require even more government force as a solution. The net result is institutionalizing government initiated violence and morally justifying it on humanitarian grounds.
This is the same fundamental reason our government uses force for invading other countries at will, central economic planning at home, and the regulation of personal liberty and habits of our citizens.
It is rather strange, that unless one has a criminal mind and no respect for other people and their property, no one claims it’s permissible to go into one’s neighbor’s house and tell them how to behave, what they can eat, smoke and drink or how to spend their money.
Yet, rarely is it asked why it is morally acceptable that a stranger with a badge and a gun can do the same thing in the name of law and order. Any resistance is met with brute force, fines, taxes, arrests, and even imprisonment. This is done more frequently every day without a proper search warrant.
No Government Monopoly over Initiating Violence
Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can only lead to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger and the breakdown of civil society. Permitting such authority and expecting saintly behavior from the bureaucrats and the politicians is a pipe dream. We now have a standing army of armed bureaucrats in the TSA, CIA, FBI, Fish and Wildlife, FEMA, IRS, Corp of Engineers, etc. numbering over 100,000. Citizens are guilty until proven innocent in the unconstitutional administrative courts.
Government in a free society should have no authority to meddle in social activities or the economic transactions of individuals. Nor should government meddle in the affairs of other nations. All things peaceful, even when controversial, should be permitted.
We must reject the notion of prior restraint in economic activity just we do in the area of free speech and religious liberty. But even in these areas government is starting to use a backdoor approach of political correctness to regulate speech-a dangerous trend. Since 9/11 monitoring speech on the internet is now a problem since warrants are no longer required.
The Proliferation of Federal Crimes
The Constitution established four federal crimes. Today the experts can’t even agree on how many federal crimes are now on the books—they number into the thousands. No one person can comprehend the enormity of the legal system—especially the tax code. Due to the ill-advised drug war and the endless federal expansion of the criminal code we have over 6 million people under correctional suspension, more than the Soviets ever had, and more than any other nation today, including China. I don’t understand the complacency of the Congress and the willingness to continue their obsession with passing more Federal laws. Mandatory sentencing laws associated with drug laws have compounded our prison problems.
The federal register is now 75,000 pages long and the tax code has 72,000 pages, and expands every year. When will the people start shouting, “enough is enough,” and demand Congress cease and desist.
Liberty can only be achieved when government is denied the aggressive use of force. If one seeks liberty, a precise type of government is needed. To achieve it, more than lip service is required.
Two choices are available.
- A government designed to protect liberty—a natural right—as its sole objective. The people are expected to care for themselves and reject the use of any force for interfering with another person’s liberty. Government is given a strictly limited authority to enforce contracts, property ownership, settle disputes, and defend against foreign aggression.
- A government that pretends to protect liberty but is granted power to arbitrarily use force over the people and foreign nations. Though the grant of power many times is meant to be small and limited, it inevitably metastasizes into an omnipotent political cancer. This is the problem for which the world has suffered throughout the ages. Though meant to be limited it nevertheless is a 100% sacrifice of a principle that would-be-tyrants find irresistible. It is used vigorously—though incrementally and insidiously. Granting power to government officials always proves the adage that: “power corrupts.”
Once government gets a limited concession for the use of force to mold people habits and plan the economy, it causes a steady move toward tyrannical government. Only a revolutionary spirit can reverse the process and deny to the government this arbitrary use of aggression. There’s no in-between. Sacrificing a little liberty for imaginary safety always ends badly.
Today’s mess is a result of Americans accepting option #2, even though the Founders attempted to give us Option #1.
The results are not good. As our liberties have been eroded our wealth has been consumed. The wealth we see today is based on debt and a foolish willingness on the part of foreigners to take our dollars for goods and services. They then loan them back to us to perpetuate our debt system. It’s amazing that it has worked for this long but the impasse in Washington, in solving our problems indicate that many are starting to understand the seriousness of the world -wide debt crisis and the dangers we face. The longer this process continues the harsher the outcome will be.
The Financial Crisis Is a Moral Crisis
Many are now acknowledging that a financial crisis looms but few understand it’s, in reality, a moral crisis. It’s the moral crisis that has allowed our liberties to be undermined and permits the exponential growth of illegal government power. Without a clear understanding of the nature of the crisis it will be difficult to prevent a steady march toward tyranny and the poverty that will accompany it.
Ultimately, the people have to decide which form of government they want; option #1 or option #2. There is no other choice. Claiming there is a choice of a “little” tyranny is like describing pregnancy as a “touch of pregnancy.” It is a myth to believe that a mixture of free markets and government central economic planning is a worthy compromise. What we see today is a result of that type of thinking. And the results speak for themselves.
A Culture of Violence
American now suffers from a culture of violence. It’s easy to reject the initiation of violence against one’s neighbor but it’s ironic that the people arbitrarily and freely anoint government officials with monopoly power to initiate violence against the American people—practically at will.
Because it’s the government that initiates force, most people accept it as being legitimate. Those who exert the force have no sense of guilt. It is believed by too many that governments are morally justified in initiating force supposedly to “do good.” They incorrectly believe that this authority has come from the “consent of the people.” The minority, or victims of government violence never consented to suffer the abuse of government mandates, even when dictated by the majority. Victims of TSA excesses never consented to this abuse.
This attitude has given us a policy of initiating war to “do good,” as well. It is claimed that war, to prevent war for noble purposes, is justified. This is similar to what we were once told that: “destroying a village to save a village” was justified. It was said by a US Secretary of State that the loss of 500,000 Iraqis, mostly children, in the 1990s, as a result of American bombs and sanctions, was “worth it” to achieve the “good” we brought to the Iraqi people. And look at the mess that Iraq is in today.
Government use of force to mold social and economic behavior at home and abroad has justified individuals using force on their own terms. The fact that violence by government is seen as morally justified, is the reason why violence will increase when the big financial crisis hits and becomes a political crisis as well.
First, we recognize that individuals shouldn’t initiate violence, then we give the authority to government. Eventually, the immoral use of government violence, when things goes badly, will be used to justify an individual’s “right” to do the same thing. Neither the government nor individuals have the moral right to initiate violence against another yet we are moving toward the day when both will claim this authority. If this cycle is not reversed society will break down.
When needs are pressing, conditions deteriorate and rights become relative to the demands and the whims of the majority. It’s then not a great leap for individuals to take it upon themselves to use violence to get what they claim is theirs. As the economy deteriorates and the wealth discrepancies increase—as are already occurring— violence increases as those in need take it in their own hands to get what they believe is theirs. They will not wait for a government rescue program.
When government officials wield power over others to bail out the special interests, even with disastrous results to the average citizen, they feel no guilt for the harm they do. Those who take us into undeclared wars with many casualties resulting, never lose sleep over the death and destruction their bad decisions caused. They are convinced that what they do is morally justified, and the fact that many suffer just can’t be helped.
When the street criminals do the same thing, they too have no remorse, believing they are only taking what is rightfully theirs. All moral standards become relative. Whether it’s bailouts, privileges, government subsidies or benefits for some from inflating a currency, it’s all part of a process justified by a philosophy of forced redistribution of wealth. Violence, or a threat of such, is the instrument required and unfortunately is of little concern of most members of Congress.
Some argue it’s only a matter of “fairness” that those in need are cared for. There are two problems with this. First, the principle is used to provide a greater amount of benefits to the rich than the poor. Second, no one seems to be concerned about whether or not it’s fair to those who end up paying for the benefits. The costs are usually placed on the backs of the middle class and are hidden from the public eye. Too many people believe government handouts are free, like printing money out of thin air, and there is no cost. That deception is coming to an end. The bills are coming due and that’s what the economic slowdown is all about.
Sadly, we have become accustomed to living with the illegitimate use of force by government. It is the tool for telling the people how to live, what to eat and drink, what to read and how to spend their money.
To develop a truly free society, the issue of initiating force must be understood and rejected. Granting to government even a small amount of force is a dangerous concession.
Limiting Government Excesses vs. a Virtuous Moral People
Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed. The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified.
Most politicians and pundits are aware of the problems we face but spend all their time in trying to reform government. The sad part is that the suggested reforms almost always lead to less freedom and the importance of a virtuous and moral people is either ignored, or not understood. The new reforms serve only to further undermine liberty. The compounding effect has given us this steady erosion of liberty and the massive expansion of debt. The real question is: if it is liberty we seek, should most of the emphasis be placed on government reform or trying to understand what “a virtuous and moral people” means and how to promote it. The Constitution has not prevented the people from demanding handouts for both rich and poor in their efforts to reform the government, while ignoring the principles of a free society. All branches of our government today are controlled by individuals who use their power to undermine liberty and enhance the welfare/warfare state-and frequently their own wealth and power.
If the people are unhappy with the government performance it must be recognized that government is merely a reflection of an immoral society that rejected a moral government of constitutional limitations of power and love of freedom.
If this is the problem all the tinkering with thousands of pages of new laws and regulations will do nothing to solve the problem.
It is self-evident that our freedoms have been severely limited and the apparent prosperity we still have, is nothing more than leftover wealth from a previous time. This fictitious wealth based on debt and benefits from a false trust in our currency and credit, will play havoc with our society when the bills come due. This means that the full consequence of our lost liberties is yet to be felt.
But that illusion is now ending. Reversing a downward spiral depends on accepting a new approach.
Expect the rapidly expanding homeschooling movement to play a significant role in the revolutionary reforms needed to build a free society with Constitutional protections. We cannot expect a Federal government controlled school system to provide the intellectual ammunition to combat the dangerous growth of government that threatens our liberties.
The internet will provide the alternative to the government/media complex that controls the news and most political propaganda. This is why it’s essential that the internet remains free of government regulation.
Many of our religious institutions and secular organizations support greater dependency on the state by supporting war, welfare and corporatism and ignore the need for a virtuous people.
I never believed that the world or our country could be made more free by politicians, if the people had no desire for freedom.
Under the current circumstances the most we can hope to achieve in the political process is to use it as a podium to reach the people to alert them of the nature of the crisis and the importance of their need to assume responsibility for themselves, if it is liberty that they truly seek. Without this, a constitutionally protected free society is impossible.
If this is true, our individual goal in life ought to be for us to seek virtue and excellence and recognize that self-esteem and happiness only comes from using one’s natural ability, in the most productive manner possible, according to one’s own talents.
Productivity and creativity are the true source of personal satisfaction. Freedom, and not dependency, provides the environment needed to achieve these goals. Government cannot do this for us; it only gets in the way. When the government gets involved, the goal becomes a bailout or a subsidy and these cannot provide a sense of personal achievement.
Achieving legislative power and political influence should not be our goal. Most of the change, if it is to come, will not come from the politicians, but rather from individuals, family, friends, intellectual leaders and our religious institutions. The solution can only come from rejecting the use of coercion, compulsion, government commands, and aggressive force, to mold social and economic behavior. Without accepting these restraints, inevitably the consensus will be to allow the government to mandate economic equality and obedience to the politicians who gain power and promote an environment that smothers the freedoms of everyone. It is then that the responsible individuals who seek excellence and self-esteem by being self-reliance and productive, become the true victims.
What are the greatest dangers that the American people face today and impede the goal of a free society? There are five.
1. The continuous attack on our civil liberties which threatens the rule of law and our ability to resist the onrush of tyranny.
2. Violent anti-Americanism that has engulfed the world. Because the phenomenon of “blow-back” is not understood or denied, our foreign policy is destined to keep us involved in many wars that we have no business being in. National bankruptcy and a greater threat to our national security will result.
3. The ease in which we go to war, without a declaration by Congress, but accepting international authority from the UN or NATO even for preemptive wars, otherwise known as aggression.
4. A financial political crisis as a consequence of excessive debt, unfunded liabilities, spending, bailouts, and gross discrepancy in wealth distribution going from the middle class to the rich. The danger of central economic planning, by the Federal Reserve must be understood.
5. World government taking over local and US sovereignty by getting involved in the issues of war, welfare, trade, banking, a world currency, taxes, property ownership, and private ownership of guns.
Happily, there is an answer for these very dangerous trends.
What a wonderful world it would be if everyone accepted the simple moral premise of rejecting all acts of aggression. The retort to such a suggestion is always: it’s too simplistic, too idealistic, impractical, naïve, utopian, dangerous, and unrealistic to strive for such an ideal.
The answer to that is that for thousands of years the acceptance of government force, to rule over the people, at the sacrifice of liberty, was considered moral and the only available option for achieving peace and prosperity.
What could be more utopian than that myth—considering the results especially looking at the state sponsored killing, by nearly every government during the 20th Century, estimated to be in the hundreds of millions. It’s time to reconsider this grant of authority to the state.
No good has ever come from granting monopoly power to the state to use aggression against the people to arbitrarily mold human behavior. Such power, when left unchecked, becomes the seed of an ugly tyranny. This method of governance has been adequately tested, and the results are in: reality dictates we try liberty.
The idealism of non-aggression and rejecting all offensive use of force should be tried. The idealism of government sanctioned violence has been abused throughout history and is the primary source of poverty and war. The theory of a society being based on individual freedom has been around for a long time. It’s time to take a bold step and actually permit it by advancing this cause, rather than taking a step backwards as some would like us to do.
Today the principle of habeas corpus, established when King John signed the Magna Carta in 1215, is under attack. There’s every reason to believe that a renewed effort with the use of the internet that we can instead advance the cause of liberty by spreading an uncensored message that will serve to rein in government authority and challenge the obsession with war and welfare.
What I’m talking about is a system of government guided by the moral principles of peace and tolerance.
The Founders were convinced that a free society could not exist without a moral people. Just writing rules won’t work if the people choose to ignore them. Today the rule of law written in the Constitution has little meaning for most Americans, especially those who work in Washington DC.
Benjamin Franklin claimed “only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.” John Adams concurred: “Our Constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”
A moral people must reject all violence in an effort to mold people’s beliefs or habits.
A society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society. All great religions endorse the Golden Rule. The same moral standards that individuals are required to follow should apply to all government officials. They cannot be exempt.
The ultimate solution is not in the hands of the government.
The solution falls on each and every individual, with guidance from family, friends and community.
The #1 responsibility for each of us is to change ourselves with hope that others will follow. This is of greater importance than working on changing the government; that is secondary to promoting a virtuous society. If we can achieve this, then the government will change.
It doesn’t mean that political action or holding office has no value. At times it does nudge policy in the right direction. But what is true is that when seeking office is done for personal aggrandizement, money or power, it becomes useless if not harmful. When political action is taken for the right reasons it’s easy to understand why compromise should be avoided. It also becomes clear why progress is best achieved by working with coalitions, which bring people together, without anyone sacrificing his principles.
Political action, to be truly beneficial, must be directed toward changing the hearts and minds of the people, recognizing that it’s the virtue and morality of the people that allow liberty to flourish.
The Constitution or more laws per se, have no value if the people’s attitudes aren’t changed.
To achieve liberty and peace, two powerful human emotions have to be overcome. Number one is “envy” which leads to hate and class warfare. Number two is “intolerance” which leads to bigoted and judgmental policies. These emotions must be replaced with a much better understanding of love, compassion, tolerance and free market economics. Freedom, when understood, brings people together. When tried, freedom is popular.
The problem we have faced over the years has been that economic interventionists are swayed by envy, whereas social interventionists are swayed by intolerance of habits and lifestyles. The misunderstanding that tolerance is an endorsement of certain activities, motivates many to legislate moral standards which should only be set by individuals making their own choices. Both sides use force to deal with these misplaced emotions. Both are authoritarians. Neither endorses voluntarism. Both views ought to be rejected.
I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out “the plain truth of things.” The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people world-wide, is to pursue the cause of LIBERTY.
If you find this to be a worthwhile message, spread it throughout the land.
Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst natural disasters the east coast has ever seen. Clean-up and recovery will take months, if not years and estimates run in the tens of billions of dollars. Parts of New York and New Jersey will never be the same. Entire seashore communities have been wiped out, but the determination to rebuild has been lauded as courageous and admirable. Yet as with all natural disasters, Sandy raises uncomfortable questions about the extent to which taxpayers should fund the cleanup and the extent to which government programs create moral hazards.
For example, FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are expected to pick up the tab for much of the flood damage caused by the hurricane. Of course this will mean more federal debt and inflation for the rest of us, since the program only has about $4 billion to work with and is already $18 billion in debt from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Many think there is a need for the government to provide flood insurance of this kind. After all, the market would never provide insurance in flood prone areas at an affordable price. But shouldn't that tell us something?
Shouldn't that tell us that it is a losing proposition to insure homes in coastal areas and flood plains often threatened by severe and destructive weather patterns? And if it’s a losing proposition, should taxpayers subsidize the inevitable losses arising from federal flood insurance?
The NFIP disguises the real cost of flood insurance in flood prone areas, which influences homebuilding and sales in such areas. Recklessly taking unwise risks when risk is underpriced is known as moral hazard. When politicians decide that private insurance premiums are too high, as with houses built in flood plains, the solution is to under price the risk through federal subsidies. The obvious and expected outcome is more danger to life and limb when disaster strikes.
Even NFIP has been forced to raise rates significantly in coastal areas, and is now dropping second homes from coverage altogether,
Many assume it is compassionate to entrust government central planners with disaster recovery. However, the greatest compassion brings results, not just good intentions. And we’ve seen how bureaucratic organizations like FEMA mismanaged recovery and relief in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Ike. Organizations such as the Red Cross and private companies like Home Depot and Duracell have already stepped in admirably to help those in need, and we can only hope FEMA has learned this time not to impede and frustrate private efforts as they have in the past.
Above all, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims of Hurricane Sandy in this tremendously difficult time and hope they can get their lives put back together as quickly and seamlessly as possible.
Romney lost today to a guy who is overseeing a horrible economy, prosecuting unpopular wars, and who can barely string 5 words together without a teleprompter. This was the best the Republican Party can do. Not only are the Republicans evil, they’re evil and contemptible losers, which is far worse.
The biggest losers tonight are of course people who value peace and freedom, but we would have also lost if Romney won. The GOP is right up there in the loser category, however. The GOP lost seats in the Senate, and did little to improve its position in the House. It has served up two ridiculously bad nominees in a row, claiming “electability” and then going down in flames.
Rand Paul certainly came out of this looking very bad as well. He fell in line behind the party masters, banking on some advantage to be gained through an endorsement of Romney. He ended up just looking politically un-savvy and unprincipled. There is little to be gained either, from playing ball with a Party that as inept as the GOP at this point.
It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that the GOP may actually show sign of disintegration in the next several years. The GOP has ceased to present any sort of actual alternative, and worse yet, it can’t run a winning candidate. Once that happens, the coalition that makes up your political party will begin to fall apart.
The Ron Paul movement is a big winner here. The GOP told the libertarians in the party to get lost, and the GOP paid for it. Interestingly, both Iowa and Nevada, where Ron Paul supporters gained control of the state party, both went to Obama after the Romney campaign actively fought to disenfranchise Ron Paul supporters. I guess the GOP got what it wanted there.
There is exactly one movement that offers any real opposition to the status quo, and it ain’t the conservative movement, which is on life support and entering a permanent vegetative state. Ron Paul’s libertarian movement, brimming with well-educated young people is the only thing left standing. The GOP operatives who predicted a big victory tonight just look pathetic.
On foreign policy, if it proves to be true that Obama is truly reluctant to engage in the mass murder of Iranians, that may be a victory there all by itself. Time well tell on that one.
And finally, when the economy enters a deep recession in a couple of years (or sooner), it will be good that Obama will be in office. You all know how it would have gone otherwise: After a couple of years of Romney misrule, the media will decide that Romney was the candidate of “free markets.” Then, mired in a depression, our wise overlords will declare that “we tried that free market thing, and look what happened.”
Article written by Ryan W. McMaken
Lew Rockwell Blog
Nov 7, 2012
Until the late 1990s, individuals interested in Austrian economics, U.S. constitutional history, and libertarian philosophy had few sources of information. They had to spend hours scouring used book stores or the back pages of obscure libertarian periodicals to find the great works of Mises, Rothbard, Hayek, and other giants of liberty. Local library and university collections ignored libertarian politics and economics.
Today, however, the greatest classics of libertarian thought, libertarian philosophy, and libertarian economics are available instantly to anyone with internet access. Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever before for liberty activists to spread news and other information regarding the evils of government power and the benefits of freedom. For the first time in human history, supporters of liberty around the world can share information across borders quickly and cheaply. Without the filter of government censors, this information emboldens millions to question governments and promote liberty.
This is why liberty-minded Americans must do everything possible to oppose– and stop– government attempts to censor or limit the free flow of information online.
One such attempt is known as “CISPA”, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. This bill will create a monstrous coalition of big business and big government to rob Americans of their protections under the 4th Amendment of the Constitution.
CISPA permits both the federal government and private companies to view your private online communications with no judicial oversight, provided they merely do so in the name of “cybersecurity.” But America is a constitutional republic, not a surveillance state– and the wildly overhyped need for security does not trump the Constitution.
“Cybersecurity” is the responsibility of companies that operate and make money in cyberspace, not taxpayers. Those companies should develop market-based private solutions to secure their networks, servers, cloud data centers, and user/customer information. The role of the US intelligence community is to protect the United States from military threats, not to provide corporate welfare to the private sector. Much like the TSA at the airport, CISPA would socialize security costs and remove market incentives for private firms to protect their own investments.
Imagine security-cleared agents embedded at private companies to serve as conduits for intelligence information about their customers back to the US intelligence community– while enjoying immunity from any existing civil or criminal laws. Imagine Google or Facebook reporting directly to the National Security Agency about the online activity of US citizens. Imagine US government resources being wasted on a grand scale to “assist” private companies in the global market. All of this would become reality under CISPA.
As of this writing, it appears that the House and Senate will not agree on a final version of CISPA this year. However, the Obama administration seems ready to impose provisions of this bill by executive order if Congress does not act soon.
The past five years have seen an explosion in the liberty movement, fueled in large part by the internet. Preserving that freedom is crucial if the liberty movement is to continue its progress. Therefore, all activists in the liberty movement have a stake in the battle for internet freedom. We must be ready to come together to fight any attempt to increase government’s power over the internet, regardless of the supposed justifications. We must resist voices from both the political right and left which alternatively seek to legislate morality or enforce political correctness with force. Copyright protection, pornography, cyberterrorism, gambling, and “hate speech” are merely excuses for doing what all governments have done throughout human history: increase their size, scope, and power.
Once we understand this, we understand the critical link between internet freedom and human freedom.
This article first appeared on Dr. Paul’s House page Paul.house.gov.
Filed under Civil Liberties by
Are we in recession? That may be a stupid question to ask now but yes we have been for more than 2 consecutive quarters.
What makes this recession difference from the one we experienced in 2000 is the fact that there were a lot of factors which were never there before. Eight years ago, this was attributed to the collapse of the dot-com bubble, the September 11 attacks and the accounting scandal.
With the US raising their debt ceiling, are we in a global bail-out bubble that will eventually burst? This video offers a fresh insight into the greatest economic crisis of our age: the one still awaiting us.
This time around, we can blame it on high oil prices, global inflation, a credit crisis which lead to the bankruptcy of some of the most established banks, increased unemployment, and the housing crisis.
So what do you we see? There are a lot of employees who are jobless, people are forced to sell or foreclose their homes, credit markets are frozen making it impossible for businesses and consumers to get a loan and government intervention is needed to try and prevent things from getting worse.
The president together with the help of congress and the senate signed into law a $700 billion bailout plan that will ensure tax breaks for businesses as well as those who invest in alternative energy, increase the limit of insured bank deposits and allow the government to take over huge amounts of devalued assets from beleaguered financial companies.
When this was first voted on by congress, this was shut down but when it was approved by the senate, congress changed its mind making it the largest government intervention in the financial market since the great Depression.
Do we see the fruits of the bailout? Because of everything that is happening in the US, it has affected countries in Asia and Europe as well. Just to give you an idea, stock markets in the world have gone down.
Because of the US market’s volatility, it has forced finance ministers from the group of 7 nations to find different ways to deal with the crisis and get money flowing again. In most cases, the central banks in these countries have decided to flood the market with liquidity. Though this may sound like a good idea, some experts say this will backfire because banks are hoarding the cash and the market will be driven by fear.
A recession no matter how you look at it is inevitable because it is part of the business cycle. In any country, there is a time that the economy expands, slows down, experiences a recession and then recovers.
It may take years for it to happen again and as history has shown, different factors caused the recession to occur. The challenge is how countries address the problem so we will never have to encounter another Great Depression.
Ron Paul (R-TX) says he is still not ready to endorse Republican nominee Mitt Romney because– in some ways– he and President Obama represent the same “one-party system.”
When asked by CNBC’s Jackie DeAngelis if he was “ready to endorse Mitt Romney,“ Dr. Paul offered a clear ”no” before launching into a description of how the nominees are similar, and represent a continuation of the status quo.
“I look at it that there are people who are very, very powerful that are able to make sure their interests are protected– whether it’s the people who run the Federal Reserve and bail out banks, and bail out European banks… Right now, they have their two guys there– believe me.
“Why does Obama not attack Romney for not being the Goldman Sachs candidate? It’s because they both are within the establishment where they need the Federal Reserve and the lender of last resort to make sure that you can take all the risk in the world, but don’t sweat it, because government will be there, and the Fed will be there, and they’re going to get bailed out. “
Paul continued: “I’ve been in this business a long time and believe me there is essentially no difference from one administration to another no matter what the platforms…The foreign policy stays the same, the monetary policy stays the same, there’s no proposal for any real cuts and both parties support it.”
After criticizing the economic policies of both candidates, Paul said Barack Obama and Mitt Romney “know how to play the game” but represent a false choice.
This marks a somewhat stronger condemnation than in the past, when Paul said he wouldn’t “fully” endorse Mitt Romney.
Dr. Paul concluded: “They represent a one-party system. Somebody said ‘why don’t we get a third party?’ and another one said, I think correctly so, ‘Why don’t we get a second party?’”