I went to a baseball game last night in Baltimore. The Orioles were playing the Washington Nationals. I couldn’t help but notice what a good time everyone was having, and in spite of the fact that the home team was losing the entire game.
I thought to myself: This is what life is all about. Notwithstanding the heartaches in life that everyone experiences at one time or another, life is about pursuing happiness and enjoying life, each in his own way.
That is what the United States was once all about. The game of baseball, which was invented in the 1800s, reflects that.
Now, let’s place a reality overlay on that baseball game last night: The war on terrorism, Iraq, Afghanistan, bombs, drones, assassinations, torture, death, injuries, destruction, detention, kidnapping, incarceration, NSA, surveillance, TSA, searches, seizures, spying, monitoring, and denial of due process.
Not very pleasant, is it? In fact, it’s all become a dark side to American life, one that is as integral to American life as that baseball game last night.
From the first grade on up, American schoolchildren are inculcated with the mindset that all this dark-side activity has become an unfortunate but necessary part of American life. By the time the child becomes an adult, the indoctrination is complete, with most people honestly believing that such things as the war on communism, the war on terrorism, and the war on drugs are a necessary part of American life.
Thus, Americans go to church and pray for peace and praise the troops for defending our freedoms and sacrificing life and limb in countries thousands of miles away from American shores. Why, even at baseball games and other national sporting events, the officials oftentimes exhort the fans to glorify the troops for their sacrifices that enable the rest of us to enjoy the games.
But the truth is that the dark side of American life is totally unnecessary. That’s because the root cause of the dark-side activity is the national-security state apparatus that the American people brought into existence in the second half of the 20th century. The apparatus consists of America’s enormous standing army, the military-industrial complex, the empire of foreign and domestic military bases, foreign aid, the CIA, and the philosophy of foreign interventionism, which entails coups, assassinations, and other regime-change operations.
If Americans were to dismantle their national-security state apparatus, the dark side of American life would disappear.
In fact, that’s precisely why our American ancestors rejected the type of national-security state governmental structure that now characterizes the U.S. government. They knew what that type of governmental structure does to a nation. They knew that it would lead not only to financial bankruptcy but also toward all that dark-side activity, including against the government’s own citizens.
What about the threat of terrorism? The U.S. national-security state is the root cause of anti-American terrorism. That’s what that big post-9/11 question was all about: Why do they hate us? They hate us because of what the U.S. government has done to them, in terms of killings, bombings, invasions, occupations, support of brutal dictatorships, torture, coups, assassinations, and other regime-change operations, including those that destroy nations’ experiments with democracy in order to install a brutal pro-U.S. dictator into power.
What about the threat of a military invasion of the United States? It’s nonexistent. There is no possibility of any nation-state’s invading and conquering the United States. No nation-state has the military capability or even the interest in doing so. Such an enormous military endeavor would take an enormous and expensive armada of ships and planes, one that the United States would easily see coming in the remote possibility that some nation-state were to begin preparing for it.
With the end of the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan — and their resulting debacles — Americans would be wise to begin contemplating something that they should have contemplated with the end of the Cold War: Why not return to the founding principles of our nation, which included an antipathy toward standing armies and secret intelligence forces? Why not close all the foreign military bases, bring the troops home, and discharge them? Why not close all those unnecessary domestic bases as well and discharge those soldiers as well? Why not stop meddling in the political affairs of other countries? Why not abolish the CIA, the NSA, the TSA, and the rest of the national-security state apparatus that is the root cause of the dark side that overlays American life?
Why not strive to make the United States a model society for the rest of the world to emulate, one whose government is no longer characterized by militarism, hubris, arrogance, and pomposity?
Will bad things continue occurring in the rest of the world? Undoubtedly, but at least the U.S. government will no longer wield the means to pour fuel onto those fires. Moreover, if individual Americans wish to involve themselves in foreign disputes or tragedies, they would be free to do so, either personally or through donations.
What better gift to ourselves, our posterity, and the world than to abandon the dark side of American life and leave Americans free to live in a peaceful, prosperous, harmonious, and enjoyable society? All it takes is raising one’s vision to a higher level, just as our American ancestors did when they brought a limited-government republic into existence.