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What an Inaugural Shame

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What an inaugural shame. President Obama had a chance to raise the country’s vision to a higher level and to move American into an entirely new direction. He instead made it clear that he intends to keep the nation mired in its statist morass.

No libertarian ever expected Obama to embrace the libertarian paradigm of economic liberty. As a dyed-in-the-wool statist, Obama remains committed to the statist economic paradigm of socialism, interventionism, regulation, inflation, taxation, and debt. Like statists everywhere, he’s convinced that all this statism is the key to economic prosperity. His economic models are Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea, which embraced the statist philosophy a long time ago.

But where Obama could have moved the nation with a grand vision was in the area of civil liberties and foreign policy. Not having to be concerned about reelection, he could have taken a bold move to restore our nation onto a path of morality, peace, freedom, and harmony. By continuing to embrace the policies of foreign interventionism, foreign empire, militarism, a standing army, a military-industrial complex, CIA, assassination, indefinite incarceration, military supremacy, and infringements on civil liberties, he has guaranteed that America will continue to wallow in a morass of violence, enmity, and oppression.

Obama should have announced an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan. The killing in that country has gone on for the entire eight years of the Bush presidency plus the first four years of the Obama presidency. He should have said that enough people have been killed already and that it was time to bring the killing to an end by an immediate U.S. withdrawal.

He should have gone further. He should have also issued a cease-and-desist order on all U.S. assassinations worldwide. The United States is no longer in the assassination business, he should have announced. That’s not what this country was founded for. That’s not what America is all about.

He should have pointed out that a vast military empire, a permanent military establishment, and a CIA are inconsistent with the principles of a free society. A nation that permits such a structure to become a permanent part of the government will ultimately find that freedom ultimately disappears from that society, not only from the permanent state of crises, enemies, and wars that such structures engender, and not only from the ever-increasing infringements on privacy and civil liberties that result, but also from the serious economic harm that comes with ever-increasing military spending.

Obama should have gone further and announced a complete withdrawal of all U.S. troops overseas, including South Korea, Germany, and other Cold War places. He should have brought all those troops home and then discharged them into the private sector, which would have saved the American taxpayer untold amounts of money.

He should have announced his intention to submit to Congress a bill repealing the National Security Act of 1947, which established the CIA, an entity that former President Truman said back in December 1963 had already become a sinister force within American life. The Cold War is over. So should be the CIA.

He should have asked Congress to terminate all foreign aid, including aid to dictators. Why should hard-pressed American taxpayers be forced to fund foreign regimes, especially ones that violate long-cherished American values?

He should have announced an end to all sanctions and embargoes, including Cuba and Iran. They have accomplished nothing but suffering among the citizenry of the targeted nations, thereby increasing anger and animosity toward our nation.

What about the threat of terrorism? That’s caused by the very military policies that are supposedly intended to smash out terrorism. By ending the interventionist policies and dismantling the overseas empire of military bases, anti-American terrorism disintegrates.

For 12 years, and even before, the U.S. government has been embroiled in a constant orgy of foreign violence through the U.S. national-security state. Killing, maiming, torture, and assassination have now become an integral part of American life. How can that not have a grave adverse effect on the American people? How can it not affect their sense of morality, conscience, and spiritual and religious values? On the one hand, people pray every Sunday for peace in the world and, at the same time, pray for the troops. They block out of their minds that it’s the troops, faithfully following orders to kill, maim, torture, and assassinate, who are the premier violators of the peace Americans pray for.

Indeed, while most every statist engages in a kneejerk reaction to a school massacre here at home with new gun-control measures, hardly any of them ever delves into the possibility that it is the U.S. government’s anti-life policies overseas—policies that denigrate and cheapen the lives of foreigners—that might be a root cause of violence here at home. That thought is, of course, too frightening to anyone who believes that the national-security state is essential for keeping Americans “safe.”

Obama could have announced a dramatic shift in the federal government’s much-vaunted and much-failed war on drugs. He could have said that enough is enough. There has been enough drug-war violence at the hands of the U.S. government, with no positive results and many negative results, including the 60,000 dead people in Mexico in the last six years alone. He could have said that he was going to submit a bill to Congress to legalize all drugs, bringing an end to one of the most violence and fruitless wars in American history. Given his own personal history of drug usage, without punishment, he could have argued that drug use and drug abuse belong in the area of private rehabilitation, not incarceration and fine. He could have finally ended the ever-growing assaults on civil liberties and financial privacy that the drug war has brought our nation.

Obama had the opportunity to bring out nation out of the darkness of foreign interventionism, imperialism, militarism, and the drug war. Unfortunately for America and the world and himself, he has failed the challenge.

 

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.