What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
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.”