Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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Hornberger’s Blog, September 2003

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Tuesday, September 30, 2003

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article entitled “Federal Spending Threatens Our Security,” in which I pointed out that uncontrolled federal spending threatens the economic security and well-being of the American people. Since then, the U.S. dollar has taken a severe drop in international markets. An article in the September 29 issue of The Oregonian entitled “Sagging Dollar Poses Threat to Economies,” echoes the warnings that I issued in my article:

A slide in the value of the U.S. dollar roiled stock and bond markets last week, a reminder that a dollar crash could devastate the U.S. and global economies…. In recent years, foreigners who buy dollars — and invest in the United States — have been an important economic prop. Should they suddenly get cold feet, propelling the dollar down, they probably would pummel the stock market, drive up interest rates and push up the price of imports, stoking inflation.

If the invasion and occupation of Iraq, along with the uncontrolled federal spending binge that has come with them, end up causing a horrible economic crisis for the American people, the interventionists will undoubtedly cry, “We’re not responsible. It’s America’s free-enterprise system that is at fault.” But it will be the interventionists and their morally bankrupt foreign policy that will be responsible for the plight into which they will have plunged the American people.

The economic security of our nation is an important reason that we libertarians are fighting so hard to restore a republic to our land — before our own nation’s economic security and well-being are sacrificed at the altar of interventionism and empire.

Monday, September 29, 2003

The Washington Post reports that Bush aides have “promised to cooperate with a Justice Department inquiry into an administration leak that exposed the identity of a CIA operative.” The matter relates to former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was the person who publicly revealed that the administration’s claim that Saddam Hussein has tried to purchase uranium ore from Niger was bogus. Someone in the Bush administration retaliated against Wilson by leaking to noted conservative columnist Robert Novak that Wilson’s wife is a CIA agent, a fact that Novak published in his syndicated column. Leaking that information not only placed her foreign contacts in jeopardy, it also constituted a serious federal offense.

It’s nice that Bush administration officials are promising to cooperate with the Justice Department investigation, but wouldn’t you think that given the “law-and-order” mentality of the White House, President Bush would be much more aggressive in trying to ferret out the person or persons who committed the offense? After all, if someone leaked information that jeopardized the security of Secretary Powell or Secretary Rumsfeld, would the president be taking the same somewhat passive approach by simply promising to cooperate with the Justice Department or would he also be aggressively trying to get to bottom of the matter himself? After all, why would the president want someone around him that places the lives of CIA operatives in jeopardy, even those whose husbands are critical of the president’s foreign policy?

Saturday, September 27, 2003

Congressmen (and Democratic presidential candidates) are now saying, “Well, now that we’re in Iraq, we have no choice but to stay there and spend whatever U.S. taxpayer money is necessary to support the troops and rebuild the country.”

But if the Congress had done its constitutional duty by requiring the president to secure a declaration of war from Congress before invading Iraq, on pain of impeachment if he failed to do so, there’s a possibility that the president would never have invaded Iraq in the first place. This is especially true if the Congress had made the president produce the evidence he claimed to have regarding Saddam Hussein’s so-called weapons of mass destruction before the Congress would agree to declare war.

When the Iraqis get around to writing a constitution, the Iraqi people ought to demand that it contain a provision that the Iraqi president is denied the omnipotent power to send the nation into war without an express declaration of war from the legislative branch of government, and that it shall be the duty of the legislative branch to impeach and remove the president from office if he violates that provision.

Friday, September 26, 2003

Under the Bush administration, the federal workforce is the largest it has been since the end of the Cold War — now about 12.1 million people. Would someone please remind Republicans of what they used to say throughout the Clinton administration: “If only the Republican Party controlled the presidency and both houses of Congress, we could finally downsize government?” And before someone says, “But the war on terrorism has forced us to become big-government advocates,” let’s not forget that Bill Clinton (who, you’ll recall, announced that that the era of big government was over) was also waging the war on terrorism.

Thursday, September 25, 2003

If the U.S. occupation of Iraq is as big an asset as the Bush administration claims, then why is it now so eager to have the United Nations share in it? Given the administration’s negative feelings toward the UN, one might be forgiven for starting to suspect that despite the glowing announcements of how wonderful and beneficial it is for the U.S. to be mired in Iraq, U.S. officials are starting to discover that their Iraqi adventure falls into the liability, not the asset, side of the ledger. Will the UN decide to become co-investors in the project? Well, maybe, but perhaps the president and his supporters ought to start slow and offer the UN some good swampland in Florida.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

The federal government’s propaganda mouthpieces on cable news television stations are lamenting the French refusal to “get on board” the Bush administration’s occupation of Iraq. They’re saying that France is acting in its own self-interests by trying to make the EU a rival power to the United States.

Well, duh! Imagine that — foreign politicians and bureaucrats are into power as much as U.S. ones are. What a surprise!

Now, given that nasty little fact, why would it surprise anyone that France would sit back and let the United States continue to weaken itself through the Iraqi quicksand into which U.S. interventionists have plunged our nation? Why, the interventionists are undoubtedly already exclaiming about how wonderful government spending is for our economy. Isn’t that what they always tell us — that they’re “priming the pump” with government spending to get the economy rolling again?

Of course, there’s at least one big problem with their economic analysis. Do you remember how they say they brought the Soviet empire down? That’s right – they made it spend itself into national bankruptcy!

Now, ask yourself: How can massive, uncontrolled government spending bankrupt one nation and be an economic boon to another nation?

Meanwhile, Reuters reports today that the U.S. dollar continues to plunge in international markets. But hey, no problem – federal officials say that’s just another big positive benefit for the American economy.

As time goes on and as the American people see our troops continue to kill and be killed on a daily basis in Iraq — as they see the adverse effects of uncontrolled government spending on their economic security and well-being — as they see how the U.S. government’s morally bankrupt foreign policy engenders an infinite supply of terrorists against our country — as they witness ever-growing government assaults on the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and their rights and liberties — as they begin to see the psychological consequences on a society that is perpetually at war — perhaps Americans will come to realize that those of us who ardently opposed the invasion of Iraq were not so unpatriotic after all.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The paternalistic welfare-state mindset strikes again! Yesterday’s Washington Post reported the plight of Mushtaq Nagash, a storeowner in Alexandria, Virginia, who lost $100,000 in merchandise as a result of flooding from Hurricane Isabel. Like many other storeowners, Nagash had decided not to pay for the high costs of flood insurance, given the unlikelihood of such a big flood. “It was far too much money. This was supposed to happen every 100 years,” he said.

The article details the horrible monetary disaster for Nagash. But the last paragraph of the story highlights the role that the welfare-state mindset played in this disaster:

“Right now Naqash is angry. He wishes someone had warned him about the possibility of rising water. He wishes the city had given him more sandbags. He and the other merchants complained that the city had allocated five bags per store on Thursday.”

In other words, since the role of government is to take care of us, and since government officials are all-wise and all-knowing, we can rely on their foresight and wisdom in making our important decisions. After all, don’t we rely on government to take care of us in other important areas of our life, such as our education, health care, retirement, bank-deposit insurance, unemployment compensation, food, and housing? If we can’t rely on government to tell us when there is a risk from extreme flooding, who can we rely on? Ourselves? Self-reliance? Self-responsibility? Self-education? Perish the thought! Isn’t that the purpose of government—to be our parent and to take care of us?

Hurricane Isabel has brought financial disaster to thousands of people. But let’s not forget the related disaster: the false illusion that the paternalistic welfare state is taking care of us, along with the loss of self-reliance and self-responsibility which the embrace of that illusion has brought the American people.

Meanwhile, Naqash is checking into whether he’s entitled to federal disaster relief.

Monday, September 22, 2003

The last thing that U.S. officials wanted the American people to do in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks was to focus on the role that U.S. foreign policy played in motivating those attacks. What better way to deflect attention away from that topic than to claim that the 9/11 attacks were rooted in hatred for America’s “freedom and values” or in Islamic hatred for Christianity.

But those federal claims were as false as the ones that suggested that Saddam Hussein posed an imminent threat to America with his so-called weapons of mass destruction and that Iraq was behind the September 11 attacks.

Today’s New York Times contains an excellent article entitled “Dying to Kill Us” by Robert A. Pape, which explains the relationship between terrorism and U.S. foreign policy and why the policies being pursued by the Bush administration will guarantee the production of even more terrorism against America (which in turn will produce an endless string of new USA PATRIOT Act proposals to further erode the rights and liberties of the American people).

As Pape writes,

However, this presumed connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism is wrongheaded, and it may be encouraging domestic and foreign policies that are likely to worsen America’s situation…. When one considers the strategic logic of suicide terrorism, it becomes clear that America’s war on terrorism is heading in the wrong direction. The close association between foreign military occupations and the growth of suicide terrorist movements shows the folly of any strategy centering on conquering countries that sponsor terrorism or in trying to transform their political systems. At most, occupying countries will disrupt terrorist operations in the short term. But over time it will simply increase the number of terrorists coming at us.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

Iraqis have quickly figured out one of major fallacies of gun control, which U.S. officials have imposed on the Iraqi people: that violent criminals, such as murderers and robbers, don’t obey gun-control laws. The people who do obey the law are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, who are then unable to protect themselves and their property from the violent people who don’t obey the law. That’s why murderers and robbers love gun control.

Well, given that U.S. forces aren’t doing a very good job providing security in Iraq, the New York Times reports today that Iraqi people are responding by employing militia – private security forces – to protect themselves and their property. As one Iraqi leader put it, “The Americans are safe inside their compounds and their tanks, but they have left the Iraqi people unarmed and insecure.”

Not surprisingly, the U.S. government, which serves as the successor regime to that of Saddam Hussein, is not very excited about the militia idea. It says that it will not permit independent militias to operate but might consider authorizing them if they are operating under the control of the local or national government. Of course, as the Times points out, Saddam Hussein, who was a tyrant, wasn’t very excited about the militia idea either: “Mr. Hussein, never one to tolerate competition, forbade private citizens to carry weapons, effectively outlawing the security industry.”

Could it be that the Iraqis have been reading dangerous literature containing radical ideas, such as the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”? Wouldn’t it be great (albeit ironic) if the Iraqi people ended up requiring the U.S. occupying regime in Iraq to honor the principle that underlies the Second Amendment to our Constitution?

Friday, September 19, 2003

Once again, the situation in Iraq shows how radically different the mindset of U.S. officials is compared to that of America’s Founding Fathers. In 1787, the last thing that our ancestors wanted in the United States was a standing army, for they were fully aware of the dangers that a standing military force would pose to the citizenry.

So, what’s the first thing that modern-day U.S. officials do in rebuilding Iraq? You got it — create a 40,000 man Iraqi army!

Add to that the fact that U.S. officials have instituted gun control and gun confiscation, incarcerated 10,000 people in concentration camps without charges, conducted countless warrantless raids of homes and businesses, suppressed freedom of speech and the press, and prohibited local and national elections.

The next time someone tells you that the Constitution is an outmoded document and that U.S. officials can be trusted to protect the rights and liberties of the people without any constitutional restrictions on their power, just remind people how the feds are comporting themselves in their nation-building adventure in Iraq.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Finally, some truth from the Bush administration. Pressed against the wall by ever-growing challenges to their deception, President Bush and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld have finally buckled, admitting that there was no evidence that Saddam Hussein and Iraq had anything to do with the September 11 attacks.

For the entire year leading up to the invasion of Iraq, while never expressly stating that Saddam conspired to commit the 9/11 attacks, Bush and his minions have repeatedly planted that thought in the minds of the American people through the clever use of wording and false insinuation.

With the help of cable television commentators who serve as the government’s propaganda mouthpieces, no one can deny the unbelievable success of the government’s deceptive propaganda campaign: Despite the total lack of evidence linking Saddam to 9/11, as Bush and Rumsfeld are now finally admitting, 70 percent of Americans honestly but mistakenly believe that Saddam conspired to commit the September 11 attacks. And there’s one primary reason they believe that: the Bush administration’s clever use of language to plant that false insinuation into the minds of the American people.

Someone needs to get the word to Vice President Cheney, however, because he’s still operating under the old playbook — the one that deliberately uses clever word language with the intent to deceive:

“It’s not surprising” the public would believe Saddam was involved in the attacks, blamed on the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden, who has repeatedly praised the attacks. “We don’t know,” Cheney said. “We’ve learned a couple of things. We learned more and more that there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda that stretched back through most of the decade of the ’90s.”

The good news is that once again, people learn the value of dissent, freedom of expression, ideas, and the exposition of truth, all of which have been made infinitely more powerful in the era of the Internet. Just ask the president and his secretary of defense.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Check out the great review of Jim Bovard’s new book, Terrorism and Tyranny, in today’s FFF Email Update: “The Most Important Book Since 9/11.” I finished Jim’s book last night and it is undoubtedly one of the finest books I’ve ever read. The analysis carefully explains the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and terrorism and carefully documents, with example after example, how the “war on terrorism” is being employed to take away our freedom, in the name of defending our freedom. Once I started reading it, it was hard to put it down. If there’s a book that could turn things around in this country and head our nation in a better, freer, more peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious direction, this is it. You can purchase Jim’s book at:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Laissez Faire Books

Also in today’s FFF Email Update is an article entitled “Key Legal Shields Forfeited in War on Terrorism,” which is part of a great series of articles on civil liberties that the Detroit News is publishing. As our longtime subscribers know, FFF has taken a leading role in the defense of civil liberties, especially during the last two years, when the U.S. government has leveled the greatest assault on civil liberties in our lifetime. Thus, it’s very gratifying to have been quoted in the Detroit News article:

Why should a law-abiding citizen care about Padilla, who may or may not be a potential terrorist? Because the right being denied him is the linchpin of a free society, says Jacob Hornberger of The Future of Freedom Foundation. Invoking habeas corpus, a detainee can force law enforcement authorities to justify a detention before an impartial court in a timely fashion. It is the fundamental check on over-reaching law enforcement authorities. “Without this, government would have the power to seize anyone it wants within the country,” says Hornberger. “Anyone could find himself in Padilla’ps shoes.”

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Over the weekend, Vice President Cheney asserted that most of Iraq is “stable and quiet” and that Americans are considered “liberators” there. Well, someone obviously failed to get word to Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, who was in Iraq when Cheney made his comment. According to the Washington Post, Gen. Powell “spent the day in a high-security bubble and met only with Iraqis who had been vetted by the U.S. occupation authority.”

If only someone had told Powell about how “stable and quiet” most of Iraq really is. Rather than holing himself up in a “high-security bubble,” isolated from everyone except U.S. troops and U.S.-appointed Iraqi functionaries, Gen. Powell could instead have been walking the streets, mingling with the Iraqi people, shaking their hands and visiting their homes — and enjoying the mounds of rice and rose petals that undoubtedly would have been thrown in his path.

Monday, September 15, 2003

“Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators.” — Gen. Stanley Maude, March 18, 1917

“We are not occupiers…. We are liberators.” — Gen. Colin Powell, September 14, 2003

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” — George Santayana

Saturday, September 13, 2003

The Chinese government is easing passport restrictions in order to permit Chinese citizens to travel more freely abroad. In a similar move, the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to permit American citizens to freely travel to Cuba easing passport restrictions, but President Bush says he’s going to veto the bill, which will ensure that Americans who travel to Cuba will still be subject to being jailed and fined (by U.S. authorities). Unfortunately, citizens in both countries continue to accept without question the power of their governments to control, regulate, and restrict what would ordinarily be considered a fundamental right and freedom — the right to travel wherever one wants.

Friday, September 12, 2003

Given that Congress unconstitutionally delegated its power to declare war on Iraq to President Bush, thereby permitting him to commit our nation, its troops, and its resources to a nation that never threatened America, it’s almost a forgone conclusion that Congress will rubberstamp his request to appropriate another $87 billion of U.S. taxpayer money into the black hole known as the Iraqi occupation. Such being the case, would it be inappropriate for the Congress to attach the following five simple strings on U.S. rule in Iraq to its appropriations bill:

1. The U.S. ruling regime in Iraq shall make no law or issue any order abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the regime for a redress of grievances.

2. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the Iraqi people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

3. The right of the Iraqi people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

4. No person in Iraq shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.

5. Every person in Iraq shall be guaranteed the privilege of habeas corpus.

Not only would these starter conditions set the basis for a free society in Iraq (which is what the U.S. officials claim they want), it would also benefit the American people by ensuring that U.S. officials not become overly comfortable exercising omnipotent and tyrannical rule over people.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

The positive boomerang to the president’s invasion and occupation of Iraq is that there seem to be more Americans than ever thinking, reflecting, challenging, and questioning. While there are still multitudes of Americans who conceive of the “good citizen” as one who loyally trusts his government officials and blindly supports everything they’re doing and wish to do, their numbers might begin to diminish as more and more people begin to recognize the disastrous consequences to our country arising from the federal government’s foreign military adventures.

There’s also some indication that people might be questioning the old tax-and-spend paradigm that both Republicans and Democrats have been employing to finance the socialistic welfare state for decades. A few days ago, in a statewide referendum, Alabama voters resoundingly rejected — 67 percent to 33 percent — a massive tax increase proposed by Republican Governor Bob Riley (yes, I said Republican) to fund the state’s budget shortfall.

Apparently the tax increase proposal included a large tax reduction for lower-income people, perhaps as a political ploy to gain their support. (There’s nothing like a little bribery to win people’s vote.) What was especially interesting is that the low-income voters rejected the governor’s proposal by a margin of 30 percentage points. We don’t know why but perhaps — just perhaps — people are starting to think about, reflect on, and challenge the appeal to envy and covetousness that forms the basis of the socialist welfare state and the progressive income taxation that funds it.

Perhaps — just perhaps — people are starting to question the notion that it’s moral to take what belongs to another person, even when the taking is accomplished through the government.

Or perhaps people are starting to realize that since some of them undoubtedly would like to attain the ranks of the wealthy, they don’t wish to do unto others that which they would not like done unto them.

The ultimate solution, of course, to both our domestic and foreign woes lies in a complete reexamination of the role of government in both arenas. If people are thinking, reflecting, challenging, and questioning, then the days of the socialist and interventionist paradigms that have misguided our country for so many decades could be numbered.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

If being the world’s sole remaining empire is so great, then why are Americans among the most terrified people in the world?

Consider the Swiss, whose government minds its own business in the world. While their lives are certainly not free with respect to economic liberty (they live in an enormous socialistic welfare state), at least they don’t live under constant threat of the next terrorist threat.

On the other hand, we Americans — whose government has troops in more than 100 countries, pokes its nose into every hornet’s nest it can find, supports brutal regimes that kill and torture their own people, and serves as an international policeman, judge, and executioner — live our daily lives under a constant barrage of color-coded terror advisories which pound us daily with the probabilities of the next biological, chemical, or nuclear terrorist attack against us.

Ask yourself: Is all this worth being the world’s sole remaining empire, especially when it is now draining unlimited amounts of money from our income and savings, adding to the debt that each of us owes to the federal government (the so-called national debt), and is sacrificing our soldiers in absolutely worthless causes?

Every American must now ask himself some fundamental questions, not only about the socialist economic direction our nation has taken domestically but also about its interventionist, imperial foreign policy. Are the costs associated with socialism, intervention, and empire worth it? What are the moral principles that once guided the free-market, non-interventionist paradigm that once guided our nation, and should we be restoring those principles, and should we begin doing so before catastrophe, either economic or military, strikes our country?

Tuesday, September 9, 2003

In an op-ed entitled “Support Our Troops” that appeared in the September 2 issue of the Wall Street Journal, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz claimed that U.S. troops in Iraq “all understand the war they are fighting. They understand the stakes involved.” And he even quoted a couple of generals to that effect. His article suggested that it was important that Americans “support the troops” by supporting the occupation of Iraq.

What’s really amazing is how these Washington people can make these types of claims with a straight face. They bring new meaning to the term “shameless.”

For one thing, has Wolfowitz forgotten what the Pentagon does to soldiers who criticize the president, Rumsfeld, or Wolfowitz himself or the bottomless-pit quagmire in which they have plunged our nation? They court-martial him. You know, as in destroy his military career and possibly even throw him into jail for a few years.

Perhaps Wolfowitz didn’t hear what Gen. John Abizaid, the head of U.S. Central Command said about the soldier who said, “If Donald Rumsfeld were here, I’d ask for his resignation” and about the soldier who said, “I would ask him why we’re still here. I don’t have a clue as to why we are still here in Iraq.” Abizaid’s response to both soldiers was obviously designed to send a message throughout the ranks: “None of us that wear the uniform are free to say anything disparaging about the secretary of defense or the president of the United States. [Such soldiers face] verbal reprimand or something more stringent.”

But, hey, I’ve got an idea. Why not give every U.S. soldier in Iraq the choice as to whether he wants to stay in Iraq or return home to America to his family without any prejudice to his military career. If Wolfowitz is telling the truth, then most soldiers would choose to stay in Iraq, right?

Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Gens. Colin Powell and Abizaid, and even Bush himself would be free to make a tour of Iraq (modeled on John Ashcroft’s tour in favor of the PATRIOT Act) in which they could try to convince the troops that they were fighting and risking their lives in Iraq for freedom, democracy, finding Saddam’s WMD, fighting terrorists, or whatever.

How many soldiers would choose to return home? My bet: 99 percent, leaving a few of the generals and colonels there who might be worried about their next promotion.

And hey, I’ve got another idea! We could replace all the returning troops with all the neo-cons in the Bush administration and all the Pentagon brass who got us into this mess along with all the members of Congress who unconstitutionally and cowardly delegated their power to declare war on Iraq to the president. Surely they would all volunteer in the interests of “national security,” wouldn’t they?

Monday, September 8, 2003

In his 15-minute speech last night explaining why we should continue supporting the occupation of Iraq, President Bush announced that he is asking Congress for $87 billion dollars to “rebuild Iraq.”

Knowing what we know about financial estimates of government programs when they are initially proposed, we might want to multiply that figure by about 4. And given that the U.S. Congress is more of a rubber stamp for President Bush’s foreign policies than Saddam Hussein’s was, there’s no doubt that Bush’s spending request will be approved.

Hey, but why should we be concerned about all that money being spent on the Iraqi people? It’s free, isn’t it? After all, unlike the financial crisis in California, the feds can simply print the money to spend over in Iraq.

Even while Republicans are sending government spending through the roof — totally out of control — President Bush is steadfastly sticking with his pledge of “no new taxes” because he knows that breaking that pledge was one of the primary factors that did his father in.

But the president isn’t dumb — he knows what rulers throughout history have known — that he can spend government money to his heart’s content by simply plundering and looting the people through the secret, fraudulent, and insidious means known as inflation — the process by which the feds simply crank up the printing presses and print whatever billions of dollars to pay for their adventures.

As prices start to rise down the road in response to the growing debasement of the currency, and as people on fixed income start to see the value of their assets diminish, get yourselves prepared for the inevitable response: The president and his cohorts will blame evil, greedy, profit-seeking, bourgeois capitalist swine for those raising prices. It’s the political strategy that rulers on spending binges have used throughout history.

What public school graduate, whether he took economics in high school or not, would ever think of blaming President Bush and federal officials for rising prices in our society? (By the way, did you all notice Bill O’Reilly recently railing against OPEC for rising gas prices?) What true “patriot” would ever believe that his government officials would ever do anything that insidious against their own people?

That’s why people in almost every country (Germany and Switzerland are notable exceptions) honestly believe that when inflation strikes a nation’s currency, it’s just an unfortunate phenomenon — sort of like when a person gets cancer.

Make no mistake about it: The interventionists have led our country into one of history’s greatest traps — a trap of their own making — a trap that will not only needlessly continue to take the lives of American troops (in the name of “supporting the troops,” of course) but will also strike at the heart of the economic well-being of the American people. And all in the name of maintaining the world’s sole remaining empire and its morally bankrupt foreign policy — the very policy that is producing terrorist responses in the first place.

Friday, September 5, 2003

In a recent interview, pop singer Britney Spears exemplified the perfect exemplar of a model citizen — from the perspective of government officials all over the world, that is. Asked if she supported the war in Iraq, Spears responded, “Honestly, I think we should just trust our president in every decision that he makes and we should just support that.”

Now, about those people who refuse to blindly support their rulers, such as those Dixie Chicks….

Thursday, September 4, 2003

Among the horrible consequences of the decision by modern-day Americans to abandon their ancestors’ free-market economic system in favor of the socialistic welfare state has been the mindset of helplessness and dependency that has been engendered within American grownups. This is especially true with respect to the crown jewel of the paternalistic welfare state: Social Security. “How would I survive without my Social Security?” is now a common refrain, a perfect confirmation as to why it was wrong to inject this immoral poison into the veins of the body politic in the first place.

Another horrific consequence of the decision to embrace socialism has been the perverse incentives the system continues to produce, especially in attempts to finally make socialism succeed. A good example here is public schooling, an absolutely perfect model of socialistic central planning. With every new failure, the new “fixes” roll in, producing more bizarre results, starting the whole weird cycle over again.

Here’s a new example in the education arena, where government school districts all across the nation are suffering financial (and moral) crises. As most everyone knows, the state taxes everyone in order to help pay for the schooling of those who have children (which of course makes the system just a great big welfare plan for those with kids). The amount of money that the local school district receives from their state daddy in depends on how many students are in school. What happens if a student misses class? That means that the state daddy reduces its allowance for that school district.

As everyone knows, the socialist chickens might finally be coming home to roost in California, which is suffering a severe financial crisis and which, unlike the federal government, cannot simply print the money needed to pay its bills. And so the Los Alamitos, California, school district has come up with the latest brilliant band-aid solution to fixing the state’s socialistic school system. It is “urging parents to make a $40 donation for each day a student misses classes, to compensate for state aid forfeited through the absence.”

Hope springs eternal — maybe this will be the reform plan that ultimately saves socialistic education in America. But until people finally let go of socialism and embrace the free market in education, maybe we look at the positive side of this latest plan to fix the system: At least government school officials are asking people to donate rather than simply taxing them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2003

Have you noticed that President Bush and his minions, along with their cable news supporters, are no longer bashing the French? You know — no more ridicule about how the French have lost all those wars or about how french fries need to be changed to freedom fries. No more suggestions of how the UN is an irrelevant organization that fails to enforce its own resolutions requiring Saddam Hussein to disarm his weapons of mass destruction. No more making fun of those UN inspectors for failing to find Saddam’s WMD.

Why this dramatic change of position?

The answer is simple: President Bush wants the UN to extricate him from the quagmire into which he has placed our country — both in terms of a soldier-a-day death and the billions of dollars that will be needed to “rebuild” Iraq, costs that Bush deliberately kept secret from the American people prior to his invasion. He also knows he has to secure a new UN resolution fast, given that the 2004 presidential elections are looming on the horizon.

Most important, he knows that as a member of the UN Security Council, France has the ability to veto any UN resolution. That’s why it’s “be nice to France” time, and of course why the cable-news commentators are falling into lockstep beautifully.

To help pay for the soaring costs of the occupation of Iraq, U.S. officials have also organized a “donor’s conference” in Madrid in which they intend to pass the hat, requesting other nations, including all those countries in the “coalition of the willing,” to help the big, rich United States with the expenses of its occupation, an occupation based on an invasion that most of the world refused to support. According to Joseph Saba of the World Bank, some countries who are planning to attend have already agreed to donate “school supplies, irrigation equipment, police cruisers, and a bridge.”

Question: What in the world made federal officials think that they could “rebuild” Iraq in the first place? After all, look at the mess they’ve made running Washington, D.C. And Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, mail delivery, the budget, taxes, and all the other things they lay their heavy hands on. Why would they think that running a country halfway around the world would produce different results?

Once again, the feds learn the hard way that they ought to stick with what they do best — killing and destroying (which is exactly why we need to rein them in) and to leave the creative activities to people such as Martha Stewart, Bill Gates, Michael Milkin, and Leona Helmsley — the very type of people that the feds hate, persecute, and prosecute for building America into a better place.

Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Do you remember the “Total Information Awareness” program that John Poindexter and the Pentagon were organizing? You remember Poindexter, right? He was one of those federal officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal during the time that Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were waging their “war on terrorism” during the 1980s. Despite the role that Poindexter played in his father’s scandal, President George W. Bush re-hired Poindexter to serve his administration.

Well, did you know that after receiving lots of grief for their “Total Information Awareness” program, Poindexter and the Pentagon changed the name of their 1984-type spy program to “Terrorist Information Awareness”?

Why would they do that?

The answer is simple: These people operate on the assumption that there is a large number of Americans who will support any government policy or program as long as it has the words “Patriot” or “Terrorism” in it. In other words, they’re addressing the people whom might be considered to be a great big unthinking mass among the American people.

It’s actually not a new strategy. U.S. officials have employed it brilliantly in the war on drugs. No one can seriously argue that the drug war has been a success despite 30 years of warfare. Well, with one exception — it’s obviously been a tremendous boon and bonanza for politicians and bureaucrats, both state and federal, who have witnessed a tremendous increase in their power and money as a result of the war on drugs.

As soon as someone calls for an end to this immoral, brutal, and destructive war, the response of government officials is, “Oh, so you support drug abuse and drug addiction and drug lords!” Their argument, again, is addressed to that segment of the population that because it doesn’t think, quickly embraces the government’s superficial arguments.

The same holds true with respect to socialistic welfare state policies. As soon as someone objects to such policies, the politicians and bureaucrats go on the attack, focusing on their core constituency: “Oh, so you hate the poor!” And they count on that segment that fails to think to support them.

One of the most tragic examples of this strategy involves public (i.e., government) schooling, the institution that’s actually more responsible than any other for creating that unthinking segment on which government officials depend for their core support. As soon as someone suggests that education should be provided by the free market, rather than socialism, all too many of the unthinking segment immediately embrace the superficial arguments of the education establishment: “Oh, so you hate education! And how would the poor get educated without socialism?”

During the past several months, however, there seems to be an ever-growing number of Americans who are thinking, reflecting, asking, challenging, and seeking. The phenomenon might indicate that we are on the verge of one of those great awakenings we have read about in history. That phenomenon has got to concern the political and bureaucratic establishment greatly. Because as the size of the thinking crowd increases and the size of the unthinking segment decreases, they’ve got to realize that their beloved socialist and interventionist control over the lives and fortunes of the American people could be numbered.

It’s often been said that ideas have consequences. Especially among people whose minds are thinking. That’s why despite the horrible plight into which the socialists and interventionists have plunged our nation, we have the greatest chance ever to see the triumph of our vision of liberty in America.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.