May 17th, 2007

Empire or Republic?


photo credit: pantufia

Today’s reading assignment: Empire or Republic by Jacob G. Hornberger.

Distracted by bread and circuses, the American Idolizers of our nation do not understand how the Constitutional republic our nation was meant to be has spiraled downward into an imperialistic hegemony.

Hornberger lists several examples at the beginning of his article to illustrate just a few of the circumstances we see under the American empire:

We now live in a country in which the president wields the power to send the entire nation into war on his own initiative, without the congressional declaration of war required by the Constitution.

We live in a country in which the president and the military wield the power to arrest an American citizen and incarcerate him in a military installation for the rest of his life on suspicion of being a terrorist, denying him due process of law, trial by jury, and other procedural rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

We live in a country in which the president wields the power to conduct warrantless searches and seizures, regardless of the provisions of the Fourth Amendment.

We live in a country in which the president wields the power to ignore any law passed by Congress simply by signing a statement, in his military capacity as a commander in chief, indicating an intention to ignore the law.

In fact, we live in a country in which the president effectively wields the same power here in the United States that he wields in Iraq, given his belief that the entire world, including the United States, is a battlefield in the “war on terror.”

How did it all come to this? How did a country that once prided itself on being the freest nation in history end up with a ruler who wields such omnipotent powers?

The author continues by citing the humble foreign policy advocated by our nation’s early leaders, including a remarkable speech given by John Quincy Adams, wherein he stated what America should and should not be. She should not be a nation-building empire, dethroning and instituting leaders of foreign governments as we see fit. Such actions have consequences (or as the CIA calls it, blowback) for which we currently suffer.

Empires throughout history have risen and fallen. The Founders—students of history—crafted our government in such a way that guarantees and safeguards might be instituted to prevent tyranny, corruption, and abuse.

That system has been subverted, sidestepped, and spit upon.

As the author concludes:

The paradigm of empire and intervention has brought our nation nothing but death, destruction, militarism, taxation, and tyranny.

The paradigm of libertarianism would restore liberty, free markets, and a constitutional republic to our land. What better way to lead the world?

America will surely reap what she sows. Our interventionist foreign policy can, does, and will bring about severe consequences both at home and abroad.

The documentary Why We Fight summed it up best: “It is nowhere written that the American Empire goes on forever.”

11 Responses to “Empire or Republic?”

  1. Kelly Winterton
    May 17, 2007 at 8:25 am #

    Our Constitution as we once knew it, is hanging now by a single thread. Are there enough good people left to save it from the neo-cons?

  2. Connor
    May 17, 2007 at 8:57 am #

    For those who doubt we’re an empire, the statistics show that we have a third of a million deployed troops in 134 countries in 1000 locations in foreign countries.

    If that’s not an empire, I don’t know what is.

  3. May 17, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    Then I suggest you pick up a dictionary and look up the word “empire” and stop misusing it to shovel your rhetoric.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/empire

  4. Connor
    May 17, 2007 at 10:11 am #

    Kurt,

    #1, 4, 5, and 6 apply. #2 is easily debatable.

    Thanks for reinforcing my point.

  5. May 18, 2007 at 9:30 am #

    Reinforcing your point? Nonsense. The notion that Bush is a dictator or emperor is absurd. He’ll be out of office at the end of his term, and his power and influence have presently been severly limited by the last round of elections. Your fanciful rhetoric has little or no purchase on reality. You may as well make your next post on how Bush=Darth Sidious, as that is on par.

  6. Kelly Winterton
    May 18, 2007 at 10:51 am #

    Kurt,

    Bush is no dictator. He is merely the puppet.

  7. May 18, 2007 at 11:03 am #

    Sure, it’s an open secret that America is an empire, and has been for much of it’s history. It’s a tragic pattern of thinking and behavior, that seems to have changed little since the 15th century, or possibly, much earlier. We, as Americans seem to have the stupid idea that national sovereignty is the same as Imperialism, that we have a God-given right to impose our will on other, “lesser” nations.

    Probably the biggest tragedy of the Vietnam war is the fact that our leaders only put a stop to it, once it was clear that protests and civil unrest threatened to destroy the legitimacy of the government. After it had damaged two generations of young Americans. Yet, the pattern of the Vietnam war, is a failed colonial experiment our current leaders seem Hell-bent on repeating; like “deja-vu all over again.” (*nods to Yogi Berra*) Even the arguments are the same. Condi Rice, and Dick Cheney seem particularly fond of repeating the old “Domino Theory.”

    The Writer and activist Noam Chomsky stated:

    “American imperialism suffered a stunning defeat in Indochina. But the same forces are engaged In another war against a much less resilient enemy, the American people. Here, the prospects for success are much greater. The battleground is ideological, not military. At stake are the lessons to be drawn from the American war in Indochina; the outcome will determine the course and character of new imperial ventures.”

    http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/198210–.htm

    What can we do about it? Vote of course. Vote for the first presidential candidate that says “we are getting the Hell out of Iraq!” If our current leaders refuse to represent our needs and opinions, or worse, defy the basic laws and principles of our country, then we have the obligation and urgent duty to get rid of them as quickly as possible. Otherwise, If history is any guide, when we refuse to exercise our voting power to eliminate unrepresentative leaders, our rights will quickly be trampled upon.

  8. May 18, 2007 at 1:58 pm #

    Here is another fact: 90% of your posts are plain miserable. Using big words that no one cares about to reiterate your whiny points that ‘this’ or ‘that’ sucks gives me an awful pit in my stomach.
    Moroni 9:19 …and they delight in everything save that which is good…
    Moroni 7:16-17

    I really don’t feel like this blog adds to my well being. I am not comparing you to an evil Lamanite, etc. and do have faults of my own. I am sure you do your good Church activities. It’s your straight up negative look on life, this country, and it’s leaders that drains me. I am all for a good debate but every stinking blog post?

    You have lost a reader. You will most likely respond (your mom will too no doubt), but I will be gone so you can save it if you want.

    Unsubscribed from google reader.

  9. Connor
    May 18, 2007 at 2:11 pm #

    Allthoseinfavor,

    Your assertion of 90% of my posts being “plain miserable” is quite debatable. Many find my posts enlightening and informative. I will concede the point that I dedicate much of my attention to things that I disagree with.

    I’ve already discussed this aspect elsewhere.

    Yes, life is great. No, I don’t have a “straight up negative look on life”. No, it’s not “every stinking blog post”.

    I’m sorry you don’t find my blog worthy of your time, but there are plenty of blogs and sites out there that aren’t worthy of mine, either. Certainly there are people that will disagree with what I say or deem the content unworthy of their valuable time. That’s fine.

    Sayonara, and godspeed.

  10. May 18, 2007 at 6:46 pm #

    I just have to say that I don’t think anyone here “delights” in the negativity that is brought up by some of the topics. If so, then I guess Moroni 9 would apply. Yes, these topics are “plain miserable” sometimes and can give us an awful feeling in our stomachs. That’s how we should feel about them.

    I guess the difference is this. When a topic comes up about something negative or bad going on in the world we can take different approaches to it:

    1. Accept any new truth or knowledge (by studying to verify the accuracy) and allowing the new information to help us make better and more informed decisions.

    OR

    2. Feel depressed, complain about it, do nothing to help the situation or offer any solutions, personally attack others who disagree.

    I believe there is value in discussing these topics if we go about it in the right way. If we have no desire to do anything good with what we learn, however, our time would probably be better spent on other things.

    For instance — this post. I am not so sure I view our nation as an empire and yes, it seems to be a rather pessimistic view. But what’s wrong with considering someone else’s opinion on the subject for a few minutes?

    In reading the evidence presented for this “outrageous” claim, I notice how many powers the president now holds. I can look these up if I’m not sure they are true. I can read Adams’ speech about the role the founders had in mind for America and compare it to what our country’s leaders are doing today. I could try to find any church talks/scriptures on the subject. If I have the time and interest I could purchase and read this book.

    Ultimately, even if I do not quite agree that America is an empire, I realize why someone could have that view and in the process, I’ve learned a great deal about how different the role of America was intended to be from what it is currently and where we may be headed. This realization does not have to make me depressed, but can inspire me to stand up for what America should be. I think that is the point of it all.

  11. Doug Bayless
    June 18, 2007 at 12:12 pm #

    Connor, I just found your site today when I was trying to read more about J. Reuben Clark’s writings about American foreign policy. From the bits I’ve read, I’d say he’d be in agreement with the concerns you point out (as would I!).

    You’d probably be interested in a website I’ve been reading at called the “Liberty Park Foundation” – which has a lot of reading materials on this question of Republic vs. Empire. Especially the sections of the website named for Nathan Hale at http://www.libertyparkusafd.org/lp/Hale/index.htm and Benjamin Franklin at http://www.libertyparkusafd.org/lp/Franklin/index.htm

    At any rate, I’m gonna have to spend some time reading your previous blog entries. I really like Ron Paul as well (had never heard of him until about a month ago) and have also been disappointed that Mitt Romney went and hired all the neo-cons that interpret the world for President Bush to draft his foreign policy. I expected more thoughtfulness than that . . . especially after his Dad’s experience in ’68.

    Finally, did you see George Will’s column yesterday ( http://deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,665193925,00.html ) on some of the reasons that Senator Gordon Smith from Oregon (LDS I think, actually) now opposes the Iraqi occupation? Doesn’t seem like he is actually talking “Big Picture” about empire v. republic and so on . . . but I still found it interesting.

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