January 3, 2011
What if, after
considering all the realities of politics and corruption, the true cost
of maintaining the
world-wide military presence is actually socialism at home?
In politics, deals
are made. And I think we need to consider the kind of deals being made
for the purpose of gaining support in Congress for the most powerful and
expensive military in history.
Let’s face it.
America’s not just defending herself. She’s policing the world. Could it be
that many of the Congressional votes for such an aggressive military are
only available when traded for votes to implement regulations,
subsidies, bailouts and social programs of all sorts?
Again, keep in mind
that we’re not just defending ourselves. A modest proposition, such as
a basic, serious defense force, could not be exploited by anyone in
Congress who wanted to trade a vote. Not many could be re-elected after
voting against having a basic, serious defense. Those votes are a given.
But a basic,
serious defense is not what we have. We are a “super-power”. Getting
Congressional votes for super-spending on our super-military takes
serious politicking, and there’s no doubt that votes are
traded with the opposition. And who are the opposition? In a word,
Both factions –
the militarists and the socialists – are trying to amass great power.
Each may even complain about
the other’s abuses of power. But neither walks away from the
deal-making. They want what they want. They trade what they need to
trade. They’re powerful and corrupt – seemingly seduced by their
power to affect so many lives.
The vote trading
has been evident to me since the Reagan years. Reagan wanted a “Star
Wars” missile defense and a buildup of all things military. And
somehow, the President who was going to “get big government off your
back” became the bigger budgets, big debt president. He got his bigger
military. But because Reagan was adamant about beefing up a world-wide
military many times larger
than necessary for the “common defense” the Constitution calls for,
he was forced, politically, to trade away the reductions in government
he’d promised. Social programs even grew.
That’s apparently what it took to get the votes in Congress.
neither our world-wide militarism nor our national socialism is
authorized by the Constitution. Both missions, in that context, seem
controversial to me. Both missions, in any context, are wild extensions
of the power that the Founders meant for our Federal government to have.
And when your proposals are controversial and power-amassing, you will
have to give a lot to other members of Congress in order to get what you
In short (hat tip
to Lord Acton): Super-power = super corruption.
Americans are fed
up and a new faction is forming. This new faction proposes something
more moderate: A serous, basic
military defense combined with a lean, Federal defense of civil
liberties so that your state, city or private efforts to solve problems
can work in the context of a healthy economy.
If the only
disagreement between you and a certain emerging libertarian Republican
is about military spending; and if that certain Republican happens to be
staunchly in favor or your positions on just about everything but
it make sense to consider that militarism might be just one more
government program, used in a big bargaining game that’s
mortgaging our future?|
it make sense for all other nations (Germany,
Japan, etc.) to take responsibility for their own defenses?|
it make sense to review our mixed results in the
Middle East? And to ask whether or not US support of practically every player
in the region is like throwing gasoline on a fire?|
it make sense to ask why in the world
needs an ally in the
in the first place, exactly what this ally might ever do to defend us,
and whether our alignment with them brings us trouble?|
it make sense to tell Israel – who has 300 nukes and a modern
economy – that we’re just a little low on cash, pretty sure they
can take care of themselves, and that we’d gladly take in as
immigrants any Israelis who are afraid to stay in the Middle East
under the new circumstances?|
it make sense to tell rich oil companies that they have every right
to do business in the
Middle East, but that we’re not going to tax anyone to pay for their security
But more than
anything else, doesn’t it make sense that choosing to scale back to a
serious, basic defense would position us to quit trading votes, and
actually pull the rug out from under the rest of our big government?
It’s a big
choice, I know. But I think the facts show that if we choose to keep up
our mission as a super-power, then we are choosing socialism, too. And
if that’s so, we should own up to it and stop complaining.
The new faction is
making us the only better
offer we’re going to get. It cuts across the board, offering strict
adherence to the disciplines outlined in the Constitution.
will we do?
Will we confirm
that we prefer the current path to insolvency? Or will we finally
by rejecting militarism and
socialism - the inseparable pillars of big government?
© 2012 Dan Litwin