Missouri's 7th District, U.S. House of Representatives




Congressional Issues 2012
War and Imperialism

The 113th Congress should:

  • repudiate militaristic, coercive imperialism with the non-violent spiritual imperialism envisioned by our Founding Fathers;
  • use the power of the purse (appropriations) to limit foreign military intervention;
  • issue a formal apology to all nations which have been victims of U.S. military aggression which was employed to obtain or buttress corporate advantage ("U.S. interests")

America began as a Christian Republic. That America no longer exists. The United States is now a secular (atheistic) empire. As a Christian Republic, America was the most admired nation on earth. America is now hated by many foreign nations. This is not because America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. This is not because America is perhaps the most charitable nation on earth. It is not the American people who are hated, it is the federal government. America's government is hated because it has abandoned the principles of America's Founding Fathers:

The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political [Washington’s emphasis] connection as possible."
— Washington, Farewell Address (1796)

I deem [one of] the essential principles of our government, and consequently [one] which ought to shape its administration,…peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none.
— Jefferson, First Inaugural Address (1801) 

The federal government has not extended commerce, but forcibly blocked it, blocking even necessary medical and humanitarian supplies to some nations. Yet it has simultaneously increased entangling political connections through government-to-government aid and quartering of our troops overseas.

The Falling American Empire by Anthony Gregory
Bruce Fein, an unusually principled but respected legal expert, an official under Ronald Reagan, and a player in movement conservatism, has penned American Empire Before the Fall, an all-out takedown of U.S. foreign policy, drawing on history, economic reasoning, ethical considerations, law, and knowledge of world affairs to strike at the very core of the ideology of American imperialism.

In the eyes of many across the globe, America stands for Imperialism.

Most distressing, it is not just Middle East terrorists who denounce the United States as "imperialist," it is the leaders and strategists of both the Republicans and the Democrats who believe America ought to be an empire, and ought to bring all nations under the control of a global empire:

Two Kinds of Empire

There are two ways to build an empire.

One is to be a "city on a hill." This beacon shines the light of "Liberty Under God" into the darkest corners of the globe. Its soldiers are ideas, its "weapons are not carnal." James Madison, "the father of the Constitution" made this point to the Virginia legislature in one of his life's most important addresses. He said legislators should oppose any bill which is

adverse to the diffusion of the light of Christianity. The first wish of those who enjoy this precious gift, ought to be that it may be imparted to the whole race of mankind. Compare the number of those who have as yet received it with the number still remaining under the dominion of false Religions; and how small is the former! Does the policy of the Bill tend to lessen the disproportion? No; it at once discourages those who are strangers to the light of (revelation) from coming into the Region of it; and countenances, by example the nations who continue in darkness, in shutting out those who might convey it to them. Instead of levelling as far as possible, every obstacle to the victorious progress of truth, the Bill with an ignoble and unchristian timidity would circumscribe it, with a wall of defence, against the encroachments of error.

This is a non-violent, spiritual imperialism based on voluntary exchange.

America has been hijacked by a secularist regime which favors an old style imperialism, that of militarism. We must return to the Christian vision of Madison and the Founding Fathers.

Contra Madison and the Founders

Many libertarians also like to paint the early national period in pacific colors, quoting Washington, Jefferson, and Madison against standing armies, alliances, and war. In contrast to today, we’re told, the American people and their "leaders" hated empire and imperialism. But this is misleading. From the start America’s rulers, with public support, were bent on creating at least a continental empire, including Canada, Mexico, and neighboring islands. Some had the entire Western Hemisphere in their sights. Americans were not anti-empire; they were anti-British Empire—or, more accurately, anti-Old-World Empire. They did not want to be colonists anymore. America’s future rulers saw their revolution as a showdown between an exhausted old imperial order and the rising imperial order in the New World. [Of course, it was called an Empire of, or for, Liberty.] Continental expansion—conquest—required an army powerful enough to "remove" the Indians from lands the white population coveted. "Removal"of course meant brutal confinement—so the Indian populations could be controlled—or extermination. This government program constituted a series of wars on foreign nations in the name of national security.

Continental expansion also was accomplished by acknowledged unconstitutional acts, such as the national government’s acquisition of the huge Louisiana territory from Napoleon, which placed the inhabitants under the jurisdiction of the U.S. government without their consent. The War of 1812 was motivated in part by a wish to take Canada from the British. [See my "The War of 1812 Was the Health of the State," part 1 and part 2.] A few years later, American administrations began to built up the army and navy in order to bully Spain into ceding another huge area. The U.S. government thus gained jurisdiction over a vast territory reaching to the Pacific Ocean, from which the navy could project American influence and power to Asia. [In light of this empire-building, the Civil War can be seen as empire preservation.]

I am not saying that if early Americans could have been seen today's America, they would have been pleased. Some clearly would not have been. I am saying that what they favored—national and commercial greatness—prepared the way for what America has become, whether or they would have favored it. If you will the end, you will the means. You cannot build a continental empire and a worldwide political and military presence without planting the seeds of powerful government at home, a national-security state, and all that they require, including income taxation, regulation, central banking, and a welfare state to ameliorate the worst hardships of the system’s victims, if only to tamp down radical resistance.

Free Association: TGIF: Libertarians Must Get History Right

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