Thursday, March 11, 2010
War...What Is It Good For?
Our country finds itself in difficult times. The financial mess is far from over no matter what the rubes or financial gurus tell us. The economy is broken and may actually be much sicker than it was back in 2007. The unemployment rate is incredibly high in addition to the "under"-employment rate. The banks still possess billions if not trillions of dollars of toxic assets on their balance sheets which serve as a ball and chain around the feet of these major financial institutions. Congress’s game of playing “who can propose the most destructive form of intervention in the market” is the equivalent of someone doused in kerosene accelerant running around a campfire.
All of the issues addressed above are significant "domestic" threats to liberty, freedom, & our property rights derived from Lockean "natural law" doctrine. Our “natural rights”, Locke postulated, are not man made, but rather derived from our humanity and our birthright. Thus, we possess the right to our own life, the right to our liberty, and the right to our property. Locke wrote in his Second Treatises of Government about a "social contract" to "voluntarily" elect a government to PROTECT and SECURE these natural rights through the state provide some form of social order.
The reason I focus on natural rights relates to the primary role the government is called to execute: to protect and serve LIBERTY and not to protect us from ourselves or keep us safe. If we are safe but not free, liberty dies and tyranny will spread like a virus and manifest an ever growing state. If a government transforms into a police state with a limitless degree of surveillance, the likelihood of a "safer" condition would obviously be more likely, but at what expense to liberty?
The founding fathers knew the threats war posed to liberty and erected a deliberate framework of safeguards to prevent against such an intrusive form of government. One of the safeguards is the procedure for declaring war in Article I Section 8 of the Constitution, an enumerated power left only to the Legislature and not the Executive. Knowing the lessons of history, the founders knew all too well the temptation Monarchs and Kings had exercised in past who used this power to stir trouble with other nations at the expense of their own economy and their citizens’ liberties. Therefore, the founders left explicit powers to the Legislature to issue a formal declaration of war, which evoked the consent of the governed (through their representatives) to speak on their behalf after honestly debating the merits for and against said military action against another nation. To finance Wars, inflationary monetary policy was commonly used, which robbed citizens of their purchasing power and acted as indirect confiscation of one's property through the devaluation of the currency.
The U.S. has been fighting two [undeclared and unconstitutional] wars for what seems like an eternity in Iraq and Afghanistan. The conflict in Afghanistan has endured twice as long as WWII. Yet, we do not appear to see when the conflict will end. Furthermore, the current Presidency has adopted a basic nation building mission without any clear objective of how to end the conflict or determine what grievances must be met to declare victory. Americans are all too familiar with the typical Wilsonian foreign policy strategy of spinning the use of military force to keep the world safe for Democracy through intervention in a region that has come to be known as the "Graveyard of Empires" after every other occupying force in history there has met defeat.
Our empire is magnanimous to say the least in its naiveté of thinking wars do not come at the expense of unintended consequences, the devastation of wealth, and diminishing of their citizens’ prosperity. The U.S. economy is rotting from within after its refusal to address the systemic financial lesions, which require deep and painful treatment for a real cure. To acknowledge our domestic problems without admitting the faults and foolishness of our foreign policy interventionism is both unfair and arrogant. Is it taboo to think American believes she is impervious to financial ruin? Or, is it just history repeating itself from reluctance and egotism comparable to what the Soviet Union experienced? We as honest citizens much face the reality of our problems and address them honestly with real solutions to undo what has been done before the day of reckoning comes to our doorstep.