Monday, March 24, 2014

The Inherent Contradiction of Foreign Policy by Force

Neoconservatives are prone to make the observation that libertarians are naive in their belief in a non-interventionist foreign policy because that is just not how the world works. “Nature abhors a vacuum” and “if we aren’t the policeman of the world then some other country which is much more evil will step in.” And they do have a point, looking back on history, it is replete with examples that foreign policy is akin to the rule of the jungle, i.e., might makes right.

What astounds me though is their complete lack of consistent thinking on this matter. If they took this view of history and employed this reasoning across the board of public policy, you would be hard pressed not to conclude that they really support no rule of law at all. If in foreign policy, why not economics? Why shouldn’t force be the reigning paradigm? Why shouldn’t all activity revert to the law of the caveman–what is mine is mine because I can take it?

No, they say. Society can’t run without the rule of law. We would have chaos. Oh really. And what sort of cognitive dissonance is required to arrive at these independent thoughts? What is so markedly different between the actions of nations and the actions of individuals? Is there something that magically gives dispensation to those who organize by force and maintains that monopoly of force, by force? The hundreds of millions who have died through war by governments over the ages, it occurs to me could be the very definition of chaos.

Yet the neocons insist that force is the method by which to successfully implement foreign policy.

And by that reasoning, slavery would also be the rule of the day.

Soviet style central planning would dictate economics.

Dictatorships would be the preferred form of government.

Deep down they must know that liberty has won the argument when it comes to political and economic organization; that cooperation, contracts and voluntary trade works much better than force. That to the extent liberty has been tried, it has made mankind freer and more prosperous than any other system tried.

Foreign policy by force is the last vestige of caveman mentality. It, too, will go the way of the dinosaur, slavery, and soviet style central planning. It is the regressive remnant of the law of the jungle. Its chaotic results will eventually defer to more peaceful cooperation, voluntary trade and diplomacy. It will do so because peace, prosperity and freedom hold more value for man than murder, prisons, and brute force.

And that day will come sooner rather than later when the neocons recognize the inherent contradiction of their beliefs.

Force or freedom? There really is no other choice.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Would Ghandi-style Resistance Work In America?

I just saw Ghandi again, for like, the sixth time. Every time I watch it, the movie has an even bigger impression on me. I watch the movie, not as an historical depiction, but as a primer on overthrowing oppression.

I’ve had discussions with my friend, Jim Young, on whether or not Ghandi’s approach would work in the U.S. He suggests that the English thought of themselves as a civilized society, in fact the reason for their empire was to civilize the world. Of course, Ghandi’s tactics exposed the British Empire for what it was–just a group of thugs exploiting people for their own benefit. And it was those in control of the British Empire who were exposed as uncivilized, e.g, the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, that killed some 1000 or so peaceful, unarmed protestors.

So do Americans consider themselves civilized? You would think that those who believe in the “exceptionalism” of America would include “civilized” as part of that umbrella. Does the oppression of the Indian people by the British Empire compare to the oppression that the ruling establishment foists upon the American people and abroad? My wife says, “no,” that at no time in the U.S. has law enforcement killed 1000 people in a demonstration. And that is true, at least in the U.S. But what about the continual shootings of American citizens by militarized cops almost always with impunity? And the declaration of power to assassinate American citizens? And the claim to power to indefinitely detain American citizens without due process of law? The number of innocent deaths from law enforcement since 911 exceeds 1000. By comparison, law enforcement only shot 85 total bullets in 2011 in Germany. That figure is sometimes exceeded in the killing of one person by law enforcement in the US. Of course, internationally it is even worse as the apologists for American Empire refer to collateral damage in the wholesale killing in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen (just in the recent past).

Ghandi understood that those resisting to oppressors needed a present, alert and active news media in order to succeed in exposing the tyranny for what it was. Today, we have countless new sources of information through the internet. So exposure should not be a problem.

But are Americans willing to look themselves in the mirror to see what has become of this burgeoning police state where we have more citizens in prison per capita than anywhere else in the world–by far? And we have a military budget that is virtually equal to the rest of the world combined. How long can Americans sit back and allow the piecemeal destruction of innocent lives by our “protectors”? How long can Americans sit back and allow the destruction of innocent lives, those who choose to live off the grid; those who choose to self medicate; those who choose to supply vitamins or raw milk in the market place; or grow vegetables on their front lawn; or become an entrepreneur without paying tribute to the government, or those who choose to deal in an alternative currency? How long will Americans tolerate the tyranny imposed on those who choose to live a life of freedom? How many Americans understand what freedom is?

And if a sufficient number of people do come to this realization, would Ghandi-style active non-violent resistance be effective here? Or do Americans, collectively, only answer to violence?

I am only asking these questions. I don’t have an answer. Because I don’t have an answer to why Americans in mass aren’t already demanding an end to tyranny. Haven’t they the ability to think abstractly or do they choose not to? Does the tyranny have to happen to them or their loved ones? Is it that only a small segment of America experiences this tyranny whereas under the British Empire, the Indians were reminded of it every day? Would it matter if every American knew that a 35 year- old mother is undergoing a life sentence without parole, because she told somebody over the phone that she would “Let me see what I can do” when being asked to supply some drugs. Never said, “yes”? Never supplied the drugs?

I was brought up Roman Catholic although I am not one now. But one concept from Jesus has always stuck with me.”Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers, that you do unto me.” I hear Jesus calling to the millions of Christians in America. Are they listening? Are they afraid? Do they care? Do those who believe in an “exceptional” America care? Do we think we are civilized? Does a truly civilized person stick their head in the sand when confronted with news of American tyranny? Are we civilized, are we cowards, or are we thugs?