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Have Americans Lost Their Consciences?

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The U.S. government is now deliberating on whether to militarily intervene in Libya out of “shock” over the brutal behavior of 40-year Libyan dictator Muommar Gaddafi. Here we go again. If the U.S. government isn’t supporting dictatorships with money and armaments, it’s invading countries to oust them.

Recall Saddam Hussein, one of the U.S. Empire’s favorite dictators during the 1980s and a reviled one during the 1990s who was ultimately ousted from power by an illegal and unconstitutional U.S. invasion and war of aggression against Iraq.

The thing that I have found fascinating during the past several weeks has been the silence of the American people regarding their own government’s role in the dictatorships and tyranny that people in the Middle East are now revolting against. Every day, I search the mainstream media for articles that express anger and outrage over the supporting role that the U.S. government has played in the torture and tyranny in the Middle East, and the most I find is sympathy with the pro-democracy demonstrators and silence toward the U.S. government’s role in the Middle East tyranny.

I could be wrong but it is my opinion that such silence among the mainstream media is reflective of the mindset of the American people generally.

Most Americans pride themselves on being a moral and righteous people. Many of them go to church every Sunday, repent their sins, and praise God.

Yet, the rest of the week they don’t seem bothered one whit by the fact that their very own government has been supporting for decades the brutality, torture, and oppression that has been employed by dictators in such countries as Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain, and others. In fact, while the mainstream media debates whether the U.S. military should intervene in Libya, they remain strangely silent over the British government’s financial support of the Gaddafi regime, no doubt with the full support of the U.S. Empire.

Why? Why does there appear to be a total lack of conscience among the American people over the supportive role that their own government has been playing for decades in Middle East dictatorship, torture, and tyranny?

After all, let’s not forget that it is U.S. taxpayer money that has been used to fund and arm these dictatorships. Let’s also not forget that it’s the U.S. military, funded by U.S. taxpayer money, that has been training and working with the militaries of the dictatorships that have been used to oppress the citizenry. Let’s not forget that it’s the CIA that has been entering into rendition-and-torture arrangements with the torture sections of the dictatorships to torture people on behalf of the U.S. Empire?

Why don’t Americans seem to be bothered about any of this? Surely most of them would agree that the dictatorships and the torture, rapes, abuse, and tyranny are evil. Why can’t they see that the support of evil is evil too?

In the February 2011 issue of FFF’s monthly journal, Freedom Daily, my monthly article is entitled “Deference to Authority.” I think the theme of that article explains perfectly what is going on here. In that article, I explained that the goal of the state’s public (i.e., government) schooling system is to create the good, little citizen — the one who never questions at a fundamental level what his government is doing — the one whose mindset is characterized by deference to authority — the one who places his faith and his trust in government officials to do the right thing, especially in foreign affairs.

As I pointed out in that article, state officials have twelve years in which to mold the mind of a child to one of obedience, conformity, and deference to authority. Those who resist the regimentation are diagnosed as mentally deficient (“attention deficit disorder”) and are injected with drugs like Ritalin or Adderall until their minds become “right.” The beauty of the system, from the standpoint of the state, is that by the time people graduate from high school most of them have absolutely no idea what has been done to them.

What better evidence of this phenomenon than the reaction of the American people to the role their government has played in the Middle East dictatorships, torture, and tyranny? The American are clearly siding with the anti-government demonstrators while, at the same time, simply blocking out of their minds the fact that their own government has been for decades the supporter of the dictatorships the people are demonstrating against.

After all, it’s not as if the dictators became brutal in the last several weeks. They’ve been brutally oppressing their citizenry for decades — with terror, arbitrary arrests, torture, rape, indefinite incarceration, and extrajudicial executions. And it’s not as if U.S. officials were unaware of all this. Why, the very reason that U.S. officials chose dictatorships in such countries as Egypt and Syria to torture people on their behalf is because U.S. officials knew what a good job such dictatorships did at torturing people.

No, the torture, rapes, and abuse did not begin recently. They’ve been going on for decades, with the full support, cooperation, and participation of the U.S. government. It was only when the tyranny reached a critical breaking point that the people finally decided to risk their lives in demonstrations and revolution.

Not surprisingly, that’s when the U.S. Empire publicly shifted course as well, all of sudden purporting to side with the pro-democracy demonstrators that the Empire had helped to oppress for the last several decades with its support of the dictatorships the people were now trying to oust from power.

Are Americans, including Christians, demanding a full investigation into the role the U.S. government played in the tyranny, torture, abuse, and murder in the Middle East? An investigation into the details of the torture agreements between the U.S. government and the Middle East dictatorships? An investigation into how the billions of dollars in U.S. foreign aid was spent by the dictatorships, including the payment of salaries for the torturers and rapists or the purchase of torture instruments for their use against the people they were oppressing?

Indeed, are the American people, including Christians, now calling for the immediate cessation of all U.S. foreign aid to every foreign regime, especially dictatorships, as the U.S. Empire continues to head our nation into bankruptcy?

Nope. For Americans it is clear that deference to the authority of Caesar trumps the conscience implanted in people by God. The reaction of the American people to their own government’s support of dictatorship, torture, and tyranny confirms the terrible success achieved by the state’s schooling system.

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.