Burdensome taxation with little or no input into whom or what gets taxed and how the money is spent was one of the main reasons for the American Revolution, and things are even worse today. The recent revelations about IRS targeting of groups based on political ideology have created a rare window of opportunity for substantial tax reform, and it’s up to someone to seize this chance before the window slams shut again. I believe tax reform will be a central issue of the coming midterm elections in 2014 as well as the 2016 presidential election. Tax reform is too big a job for our frozen congress which, for several years, has had extreme difficulty merely passing a budget, and last minute extensions to avoid government shutdowns have been the rule, not the exception. There are many ideas being floated about how to reform our tax system and some sound good, but bitter congressional gridlock makes it unlikely that any substantive reform could be passed. Plus our congress has little real incentive to propose or vote for tax reform.
Politicians love controlling the purse strings, and they are always searching for ways to use that power to garner more influence, to enrich themselves, and to buy more public support so they maintain their position on the gravy train. Wrangling over money, who controls the spending, and how it is spent seems to me to be the main root cause of the current extreme level of public dissatisfaction with government. Like any citizen who actually pays taxes, I have my own ideas about taxation. I feel the scope of government has become so unnecessarily large that the level of taxation to fund this monster has reached a point where it can be considered theft or slavery. There are so many examples of waste and spending on things I consider immoral that I am disgusted with the whole system. Setting that thought aside for this post, I will concede that some government spending is appropriate and therefore so is some level of taxation.
So we have a national atmosphere where taxpayers are dissatisfied with lawmakers’ inability to hammer out a budget and are suspicious about the motives and effectiveness of much of the spending, one where lawmakers themselves are frustrated and constantly at odds, where a huge percentage of taxpayers (including me) resent having to pay up because they have little or no say in how their money is used. Some taxpayers are so irate about specific government spending programs that they are on the verge of a tax revolt. I have what I feel is a workable solution that could help to address all of these problems.
I don’t know whether a similar proposal has ever been suggested, but I call it my Pick50 Tax Plan. Put simply, any taxpayer who has an actual net contribution into the tax system would directly choose how 50% of his or her tax contribution is spent, while government would allocate the other half. Of course some infrastructure development would be necessary to implement this proposal, and there would obviously be some costs involved, but I think the psychological benefits to our entire nation would be more than worth the initial spending. We certainly already have the technology to make this work.
Congress could designate several spending categories, perhaps 50 to 100, such as defense, public health, public nutrition, rent subsidies, farm subsidies, NSA surveillance programs, congressional discretionary (slush) fund, bank and industry bailout fund, etc. The possible categories are endless and the more separate specific choices taxpayers have available the better. As people assign their taxes, updated totals allocated for each category would be available online and on a ticker scroll on the bottom of local public broadcast stations. Taxpayers could choose to divide their allocations by percentage among several spending categories, or devote it all to their highest priority. Corporations and businesses would have the same ability to Pick50, but their deadline for allocating could be a month or two before the deadline for individual taxpayers. This would allow us little people plenty of time to make our choices, and to have the final say before our “representatives” choose how to spend the other half.
Imagine how much better you would feel about paying your taxes if you actually had a direct say in how it is spent! If veterans’ care or women’s health are your main concern, you could do something specific about that with your own tax money! We could all know that 50% of our national tax dollars are being spent on exactly what we wanted! Half of our politicians’ ability to buy influence using our money would cease to exist. If congress wanted to continue to fund pork barrel projects and earmarks, they would have to do so out of the half they control (or continue with deficit spending like they have for decades), and they would first have to fully fund their pet categories that us little people did not choose. What better opinion poll on a public mandate for government spending options could there possibly be? If politicians really want to know how to represent our interests, then observing what we actually choose to fund will tell them how. You know they would hate Pick50, but how could they claim to support freedom, choice, and empowering people if they voted against it?
I realize that Pick50 does not address many of the problems with our tax system. It isn’t meant to. What it does address is out of control growth of government that government itself facilitates with our money. It puts at least half of the power of the purse strings back into the hands of the poor saps who are working so hard to produce goods and provide services while they also fund all the decisions, both good and bad, of our voracious, grotesquely bloated government. Pick50 gives actual individual net taxpayers half a say while simultaneously taking away half of the monetary influence of our corrupt politicians. If it was adopted I still wouldn’t feel good about paying taxes, but I would feel slightly less like I was being robbed or enslaved.
Pick50 could be implemented independently of the method or level of tax collection, and could thus hopefully avoid being bogged down in the endless, fruitless debate about who should pay, and what rate, and how it should be collected. However tax is levied, whatever rate or which activities are subject, fair tax, flat tax, graduated tax, valued added tax, national sales tax, whatever… we deserve to allocate half of it! And this could work on the state and local level as well.
Discrimination and prejudice have long been buzzwords in any discussion of race relations, but these words have gotten a bad rap. The truth is that discriminating and prejudging are natural human actions that we all engage in many times daily. Every time we make a choice or decision, we base it on a combination of what past experience has taught us and what will likely be best for us currently or going forward. Hundreds or thousands of times each day we do this, often in a split second without conscious consideration of how or why we arrived at our decision. We may choose between fast food or something healthier prepared at home, or we may choose between watching a “reality” show or a documentary. Each of these decisions, along with the subsequent positive or negative outcome, is logged by our impressive human brains to add to the lifetime of experiences from which we draw information to guide our next decisions. This is one of the most crucial capabilities that defines us as human, and separates us from lesser species. Because some decisions can mean the difference between survival and death, the ability to accumulate experience (aka wisdom) and to use it to guide future choices is what has allowed us to shape our environment to ensure our survival and dominate our world. Discrimination and prejudice are very necessary human capabilities developed over thousands of years. Such inherently human traits which are so much a part of our make-up as to be unavoidable and which are potentially so vital to our survival should never be cause for shame.
This process touches every aspect of our lives, not just inanimate objects like food and television programs. Like it or not, we naturally all discriminate and prejudge in our interpersonal relationships as well. We choose who we want as friends or not, who we want to date or marry or not, who we want to do business with or not, who we wish to employ or not, and so on into infinity. Even deciding whether to click the like button on Facebook or not is an interpersonal decision requiring discrimination. So why should we be surprised or ashamed when we apply the natural human process of discrimination to our relationships with people belonging to one group or another such as a race, religion, political party, or other association?
The answer is we should not be surprised, and if there is any cause for shame it should not be that we have developed an expectation based on prior experience (wisdom) with members of group X. If there is cause for shame, it is that we have denied another person their individuality simply by viewing them as a member of group X. When we make a snap judgment about someone based on skin color or whether they go to a mosque or a church or a bar, we ignore the possibility that they have developed character and traits quite different from what we may expect from a member of group X.
Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream that his children would “one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” I think he got it right. I believe the best we can strive for is to recognize that individuals must be judged on their own deeds and behaviors and that, despite what our expectations may be, people are the one animal most capable and likely to confound expectations. Although the human process of discrimination is ingrained, I think we must all acknowledge the existence and the source of our preconceived notions (prejudices) and simultaneously realize that lumping a person into a group prevents us from allowing the individual to demonstrate his own personal character by which he can then be properly judged.
Despite my belief that discrimination and prejudice may not always be used wisely or fairly in interactions between individuals, I still insist that it is ingrained human nature that should not (and realistically cannot) be legitimately interfered with by government unless the behavior includes physical violence, theft, or fraud. Private human interaction needs to be separate from public interaction. Simply put, the government should deal fairly and equally with all individuals (but it does not do so), and otherwise should leave decisions among private people up to the individual. If government stands behind claims of equality, fairness, truth, justice, and the American way, it is necessarily constrained by impartiality or it loses credibility (as it has done daily since inception). Impartiality is not required of individuals, though lack of it may damage their credibility as well. Government legitimacy requires it be held to a higher standard.
As free individuals, we each claim the natural human right to like or dislike, endorse or discredit, affirm or deny, choose or refuse, love or hate whomever and whatever we see fit, and for any reason we see fit. So in my opinion, all government laws and regulations that deal with activities unrelated to fraud, theft, or violence or deal with activities not specifically performed by government are illegitimate attempts at thought control and social engineering that go directly against basic human nature and realistically only exacerbate the root problem of denied individuality.
As an individual consumer, I can choose exactly which merchants I will or will not do business with for whatever reason, but as a private business owner the reverse is not true because government has injected itself into a private transaction where no physical violence, theft, or fraud exists and therefore it has no legitimate jurisdiction. Is it wise or fair for me as a business owner to refuse to transact with members of group X? Probably not, but if I am denied that right, what has happened to my ingrained human freedom to choose based upon how my experience guides me? If I would not by choice associate with, employ, do business with, or generally accept members of group X , then who believes that having government force me to do so will lead me to a more favorable attitude? More likely such policies only serve to permanently label a person as a member of a group thereby denying his individuality and increasing enmity between groups as well as the chance of violence in general. Favoritism on the part of government never levels the playing field; it merely weakens government credibility by revealing the myth of impartiality, and it promotes the desires of group X at the expense of all individuals’ freedom to choose. The list of personal interactions into which the government presumes to interfere is becoming unmanageably large.
This is that line I keep referring to in my rants. The boundary between public and private that government (and individuals) shouldn’t cross, but can’t seem to see. It is that same line that government enlists your neighbors to assist it in crossing by convincing enough of them (a majority) that someone else’s private individual natural human rights can be legitimately limited for the greater good. Nonsense! Rights belong to individual people by birthright and cannot be legitimately taken away by majority (mob) rule. This is the misperception that has eventually destroyed every major democracy in history. It is this same public/private boundary that many individuals fail to recognize and honor as well. Each of us has a legitimate sphere of influence that distinctly applies only to our private lives. We each have our convictions and there is no harm in enforcing them in our own lives or within our legitimate sphere of influence such as our immediate family, our church, our business, and our friends. But as soon as we step outside our private lives and into the public arena of politics, the validity of imposing our convictions ends. The moment we enlist government authority to forcefully impose them upon others who do not share them is the moment we cross over from advocacy and private choice and begin to promote tyranny. This is one of the main problems with our nation- that democracy is the tyranny of the majority.
Currently Paula Deen is in hot water for discriminatory remarks she made nearly 30 years ago. I will support her right as an individual to stand in her own business and believe and speak what her experience has taught her, but I won’t pretend it was fair, or wise, or without consequences. But the consequences should be in her private life, and no government interference or punishment is appropriate. Meanwhile the atmosphere of political correctness resulting from government interference in our personal matters won’t even allow us to have an honest dialogue about discrimination and race relations. And an endless battle to win majority public opinion rages on between group B and group W, but the casualties are always individuals and their rights. Ms. Deen, when viewed as a member of group W, seems deserving of attack, but when seen as an individual sincerely remorseful for her conduct, she seems quite a bit more forgivable. As for me, I have stopped identifying myself with groups and I’m embracing my individuality instead. I had a dream that one day we could each live in a nation where individuals are judged, not by which group they belong to, but by the content of their individual character. Who says there is strength in numbers?
Currently the mainstream media is awash with talking heads weighing in on the recent NSA surveillance state revelations. Many pundits and congresscritters are calling for the arrest and prosecution of whistleblower Ed Snowden for leaking state secrets. There is lots of discussion about the legal structure and the level of oversight involved in these data collection programs. There are plenty of proponents in both government and media touting the legality and necessity of the programs. They claim they helped to thwart 50 or more terror plots.
None of this has any bearing on the real heart of the issue. It is all just a three ring circus concocted to keep simple-minded sheep distracted with more empty promises and weak justifications while government clowns and their apologists continue to strip us of our natural rights. The central issue here is that, yet again, the US government has breached the very contract through which it claims the only legitimate authority it has to govern, the US Constitution.
Because our government only receives its just power from us, and from the consent of the governed, it really has no legitimate claim to any ability to do anything that is forbidden to regular citizens. This was the basic posture at the nation’s founding; that government is instituted to protect the rights of the people, not to accumulate exclusive rights and authorities to itself. The Revolution was specifically fought over immoral government privilege, so why do we allow government to do so many things that are expressly forbidden to us? Are we as citizens legally able to secretly collect the private communication data of government officials or neighbors? Can I even get a private warrant issued to permit me to spy on a government official whom I have probable cause to suspect is committing crime? Of course not, so immediately we see that even under existing law based on the Constitution we are at a disadvantage to government when it comes to capabilities. Since its formation, government has been busy acquiring for itself exactly this type special privilege and advantage over its subjects, and now it seems our right to privacy, the threshold of probable cause, and specific search warrants are all too much of a burden for the power-hungry sociopaths that govern. The Constitution was written specifically to protect us from just such government overreach. These data collection programs are a blatant defiance of the 4th Amendment and our right to privacy.
This same “do as I say, not as I do” double standard is evident in the outcry to prosecute whistleblowers and leakers. Why is it not evident to everyone that anything illegal for citizens should be forbidden to government as well? Can no one else see the hypocrisy of people calling for the punishment of a citizen who decided to break a promise not to release private government information precisely in order to reveal the fact that government is breaking its promise to the entire nation regarding the sanctity of its citizens’ private information? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? If government would stick to the contract (the Constitution), outing it would never be required. Therefore, if Bradley Manning and Ed Snowden deserve prosecution, then so does every government official involved with the creation, legal approval, and oversight of these data collection programs.
To all those claiming that the various laws enacted, and the level of scrutiny, and the many layers of oversight justify these programs, I say bah! As in the sound that a sheep makes! All that is proved by all the convoluted legal contortions and layers of oversight is the massive number of lying government sociopaths who are willing to ignore the Constitution, lie to our faces (James Clapper), then try to justify their actions when they get caught. Each and every one of them should be held accountable, and if you are out there making excuses for them or allowing them to justify their criminal behavior, then you are part of the problem, too. You may make choices about which of your own rights to cede, but when you defend policies that destroy my rights as well, you are colluding with the thieves who are stealing what is rightfully mine and cannot morally be taken from me.
The same is true for gun control versus the 2nd Amendment. The entire debate is meaningless noise because the right to defend myself and to choose appropriate means to do so will always be mine regardless of what lawyers, government sociopaths, or majority herds of sheeple claim. There seemed to be plenty of backlash from Constitutionalists during the most recent push for gun control, but I’m not seeing the same level of outrage against Spy-gate. There should be because this is much worse! Who needs a national background check or database of weapons owners when you already have such an intrusive all encompassing secret surveillance network?
Currently, fedgov is busy building a giant data storage facility in Utah so they can safely squirrel away your “private” info http://nsa.gov1.info/utah-data-center/. Although the capability to save your entire historical electronic existence in order to aid in prosecuting you for some future trumped-up crime is an awesome power to have, I suspect that collecting and storing data is merely the tip of the iceberg. I believe the objective is actually real time collection and analysis. Mark my words! If power-hungry sociopaths can find a way to monitor, influence, nudge, manipulate, and outright control everything and everyone, they will do it! Control is the root of these data collection programs, and if we can’t put a stop to them now, things are going to get much worse in the near future. Consider how real time analysis could enrich a stock trader with access. The “free market” would be manipulated into non-existence, and this is just one example of an infinite number of nefarious uses for such a real time data analysis system. I am willing to bet that fedgov has already been working on real time capability for years, and that it has been experimenting with manipulating events and people in real time since the possibility arose with the birth and growth of the internet. I also bet the Utah super-facility they are building is going to increase their capabilities tenfold in the area of real time manipulation. Call me paranoid. I don’t care. I know what drives these people. Wait and see what happens.
After 9-11, like many Americans, I relished the opportunity to avenge the death and destruction wrought on our nation. I cheered on our President and our military as they pursued those responsible and brought them to justice. I was so sure of the righteousness of what we were doing as a nation, that I encouraged one of my own sons to join the military, which he did. I was filled with pride at his dedication to his country, and I had no doubts about the honor of our missions in Afghanistan or Iraq.
It was through conversations with him, an eyewitness, that I experienced the first inklings of doubt about our War on Terror missions. After two tours in Iraq, as he approached the end of his commitment, I asked him if he planned to reenlist. He was fairly adamant in his refusal. Though we had some brief discussion about his reasoning, I could tell he was uncomfortable talking about it so I didn’t press. I can’t claim to speak for him, but I know my kid; if he felt there was honor and value in what our nation is doing over there, he would probably still be in the military. He hinted at this, and I believe he saw or experienced things that destroyed any illusions about the validity and honor of our mission, and chose not to reenlist because his integrity would not allow him to continue being a part of it. Thankfully, he opted out and came safely back home to us. And fortunately for me, a seed of doubt had been planted in me that would eventually grow to break through the hard crust of my blind neoconservative partisanship.
Since then I have learned that blind partisanship in support of any cause is often what encourages people in some of the human behaviors that I most despise: hypocrisy, arrogance, aggression, the lust to dominate, and severe tunnel vision or confirmation bias that creates and perpetuates sheeple of all stripes. So many of us today refuse to consider any information that does not support what we already believe. I have personally been guilty of all of these behaviors in the past, and I admit that I still suffer from them to an extent, but now I make a much more conscious effort to seek the truth, and not just accept and parrot the taking points from one major party or the other. Give me verifiable facts, and I will make my own decision about a course that mirrors my core beliefs. Too much of our “news” is opinion or is based on an arrogant and faulty assumption of American superiority, righteousness, and manifest destiny. Rarely does the MSM ask any deep questions, or even report all the available pertinent facts surrounding an event. Instead they choose to report only what confirms their bias and keeps the “America is the Greatest” propaganda mill churning.
Don’t be too quick to label me as an America-hater or an apologist. There is plenty of blame to be assigned, but I believe in individual rights and individual responsibility. No way should America as a whole be held responsible for the evil actions of individuals and neither should Christianity, or Islam, or any group for that matter. I love this country! I think it has been, and still is one of the best places to live in the world, and I thank God that He let me be born here. And in my opinion, if there is one thing that made America great, it has been liberty. It has been the recognition of the value of individuals and their natural human rights. Sadly, the erosion of this recognition here within our nation is leading to the misguided replacement of individual rights with majority or mob rule. It is this erosion that sickens our nation, and it is the very same symptom that poisons our foreign policy with immorality.
The immoral sickness that is destroying our nation, and causing so much havoc worldwide has a name. It is the same human flaw that has resulted in so much pain throughout history, libido dominandi, or the lust to dominate. It is true that competition and overcoming rivals is ingrained survival behavior and is a part of human nature. So it is not evil or immoral in and of itself, but unfortunately, many individuals are consumed by this lust and practice it for enjoyment rather than survival. In order to enable it, they tend to gravitate to positions of authority such as politician, bureaucrat, military, or law enforcement among others. Of course not all people in these positions suffer from it, but those that do have no interest in public service; they have quite the opposite in mind.
Libido dominandi can be as innocent and simple as participating in a sporting event or open bidding for a business contract, and it can be as evil and consequential as rape or murder or as complex as war. Democracy has long been the favored tool of these lusters-for-power, because it allows them to legitimize and facilitate their lust by forming, influencing, and managing the majority public opinion.
It is not by accident that our government and society have become more aggressive and interventionist under the false legitimacy of majority rule, and our foreign policy has changed to reflect this same movement away from neutrality and non-intervention. The misperception that majority support overrides individual rights leads to a false sense that enforcing a majority position is justified. Might does not make right. Majority support will never justify the arrogance, aggression, hypocrisy, domination, and selective reporting of America’s actions around the world. This is the truth that defines our foreign policy as I see it.
1. It violates the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
For me this is the ethical prime directive that applies to any and all human interactions, from the level of individuals relating one to one, all the way up to nation interacting with nation. All around the world today there are American military bases and troops or CIA assets and drones. It is difficult to understand how we, as Americans, have been led to equate such a high level of involvement in other nations’ affairs with promoting freedom. My idea of freedom has very little to do with foreign troops providing me with “security”. There has been lot of hero worship lately for sniper Chris Kyle, but if, say, a Chinese national were doing the same job in Detroit, would he be a hero or a murderer? One man’s hero is another man’s murderer, and perspective is the only difference. The deeper question is, “Can you step outside your tunnel vision and view all other people as worthy of the same treatment as you?” Here is a simple test to measure our foreign policy against the Golden Rule. Consider all the things America is doing abroad and ask yourself if those actions are so righteous that you would honestly support other nations doing the same on American soil. If you answer yes, then I question your honesty or your knowledge of what we are doing worldwide. If you answer “No, but there are exceptions” then you likely have problems with tunnel vision and lack of honest perspective. See my next reason.
2. It is based on American Exceptionalism.
Somewhere along the way, America lost her understanding of what freedom truly is. “All men are created equal” does not apply only to Americans. To me, freedom is the ability to live life relatively unmolested. To do as I please without interference from bullies, or do-gooders, or anyone regardless of their motives, so long as my actions don’t harm another through physical violence, theft, or fraud. Essentially it is the right of each and every human being to be left the hell alone! And it applies among nations as well as individuals. Freedom is not some resource that is only found in America and therefore must be forcefully exported at gunpoint to our neighbors.
Consider the American Constitution. Many Americans think this document is what makes us superior to other countries. It is great that we have a document here that enumerates many of our rights, but I offer up the notion that the Constitution is really an incomplete list of basic Human Rights (something we claim to champion as a nation and chastise other nations for denying) that actually belong to every person simply by virtue of being born a human being. These are rights owned by all, and they existed as human birthright long before any document listed them. Yet through some misguided perception of American superiority or “manifest destiny” we ironically justify violating the very essence of freedom, the right of our neighbors to be left the hell alone, all while claiming to do so in support of freedom! Surely I’m not alone in seeing the hypocrisy of meddling for freedom’s sake?
Admittedly there are events and policies in some nations that are unsavory or unlawful and that many Americans disapprove of. And yes, physical violence, theft, and fraud exist that may encourage intervention, but these are sovereign nations we are interfering with! Does that justify airstrikes, drone strikes, troops, bases, subversion, and overthrow? There are plenty of unlawful, evil things happening right here in America, but they certainly don’t warrant intervention from foreign troops. There are likely things going on in your neighbor’s house that you don’t approve of. Would you dare to barge in armed to the teeth and demand that they change it to your liking? Of course not, but would you support it on a national scale as long as it is those savages halfway around the world? Only if you believe you are superior to them. This is arrogance.
The truth is they are human beings with the right to be left the hell alone just the same as Americans. Punishing the savages whose culture differs from yours or even encouraging them to be more ‘democratic” has more to do with the lust to dominate than promoting freedom. Based on the way our government is shredding and eroding our rights here in the land of the Constitution, we can no longer claim to be a Champion of Freedom worthy of defending it globally.
If you really believe in what we are doing with our national foreign policy, my goal is not to prevent you from supporting it. I just want to prevent you from forcing me to continue to pay for it and from expecting me to pretend I support it, or you, or the current missions of our troops. If you believe that Superior America is obligated to be the world’s police force, protector of everyone, and chief exporter of democracy then by all means donate your whole paycheck, your life’s savings, and your firstborn to the effort. But in the spirit of true essential freedom leave me and my hard-earned money the hell alone! This brings me to reason number 3.
3. Just like welfare and all other government programs, it is funded by theft.
Coercion is the essence of government. Regardless of what form it takes, government always has been, and always will be the opposite of freedom. The greatest challenge for politicians is to find a method of governing that lulls the subjects into accepting or even supporting their own coercion. Democracy and the misconception that the will of the majority overrides the rights of the individual have been invaluable tools for government as it sought to legitimize its coercion. Whimsical ideas of the “greater good”, or “civic duty”, and “what most people think” have helped lead us to accept obvious injustices like our punitive taxation system and our huge government spending programs.
I suspect that almost all taxpayers can point to at least one area of government spending that they do not support; however, they continue to work and pay the taxes partly because they have been led to believe it is for the “greater good” and it is their “civic duty”, but mostly because of direct coercion and the threat of force to be brought against them if they do not comply. This is not freedom, this is slavery! What else can you call it when the fruits of your own labor are taken from you against your will to support that which you would not voluntarily support? This is exactly the type of government action that brought about the American Revolution. It is also known as theft, and no attempts at justifying this activity with claims of it being the “will of the majority” can make it less immoral. The will of the individual regarding the fruits of his own labor is sacrosanct, and this is the foundation of property rights, autonomy, and true freedom. So when you support government in this role, you help destroy freedom and promote immoral theft and slavery. It is just as immoral to take money from me to fund killing halfway around the globe as it is to take money from me to fund abortions that I do not support here at home. Theft and coercion is aggression that is not acceptable behavior for individuals or the state, and cannot be legitimized by government claims to represent the will of the majority.
4. It violates the Non Aggression Principle
The NAP is an ethical stance which asserts that “aggression” is inherently illegitimate. “Aggression” is defined as the threat or actual initiation of force (coercion) or fraud upon persons or their property. Unlike pacifism, the NAP does not preclude the use of violence in self defense. It is an ethical stance that most clearly recognizes universal personal and property rights, and in practice is very much like the Golden Rule.
US foreign policy is increasingly becoming less about neutrality and diplomacy, and more about raw coercion using the threat of force to achieve compliance from other nations, groups, and individuals. Whether it is troops, drones, tax money for repressive dictators and sketchy rebels, or sanctions, it all amounts to obvious aggression against people, foreign governments and their property, and it cannot be honestly characterized as self defense. It should be recognized for what it is, the blatant lust to dominate others.
America’s interventionist foreign policy displays many of the absolute worst characteristics of human behavior: hypocrisy, arrogance, aggression, and libido dominandi. It is obviously immoral because it treats others as we would never wish to be treated; because it is based on the arrogance of a false belief in American Exceptionalism which defies the truth that all are created equal; because it is partly funded by money confiscated under duress (aka theft); and because it is overt aggression which is unacceptable behavior between individuals and nations.
Some who read this will think I need a good “ass-whooping” for saying these things. I ask you to consider whether desiring to punish or silence someone who thinks differently than you means you truly support freedom of speech, or you simply wish to dominate them because they reject your beliefs. Your neighbors’ freedom requires that you deny your libido dominandi.
At what point did it become fashionable in this country to insist on injecting yourself into affairs that don’t remotely concern you? Perhaps it has always been this way to a certain extent, but it seems to be approaching critical mass. I think it is partly a “monkey-see-monkey-do” response that mirrors the all-encompassing, ever-increasing role of mammoth government. In some people it is merely a symptom or side affect of the disease that afflicts those who “represent” us. Through high contagion, those that govern have passed their lust for dominance down to even the smallest and meekest among us. They have succeeded in creating a collective that is the voting majority which provides the illusion that dominance and interference is justified and proper. Everywhere you look, the rights of the individual are subsumed by the supposed will of the majority.
The most glaring current example is the push for gun control. The unalienable, not-to-be-infringed-upon right to defend oneself and property belongs to every individual given by God or simply by virtue of being born human, according to your own beliefs. Yet the recent Newtown tragedy has reignited discussion about specifically how the majority and their representatives should limit, regulate, infringe, or even prohibit this right. The idea that authority to do this does not exist is no longer even a part of the conversation. Busybodies, social engineers, and world-builders who know what is best for us only wish to save us from ourselves. “Can’t you see it is for the safety of the children?” they cry. They seem blind to the reality that government busybodies who created concentrated unarmed defenseless victim zones (gun free zones) in violation of the Constitution are largely to blame for these tragedies. There is definitely blood on their hands, and wrongful death lawsuits would be appropriate.
The list of issues and areas that suffer from needless involvement by government or private busybodies is endless, but our nation’s foreign policy is another huge example of meddlesome world-building. No one actually knows how many bases the US has abroad. Best estimates put the number between 800 and 1000. How can the US claim to promote freedom and oppose violence while we continue to export troops, weaponry, and drone strikes? What right do we as a nation have to impose our will abroad and why is it morally acceptable to take my wages to fund these misadventures, yet unacceptable to say I don’t support the troops because I despise their mission and the lies and war profiteering that motivate it? Unlike neocon world-builders and their enablers, I strive to live by the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Heavily armed troops and drone death from above in my streets is not how I want to be treated! Make no mistake, our foreign policy is creating millions of new enemies to keep the war machine profitable, but doing nothing to promote freedom, non-violence, or American safety and respect abroad. How did we move from George Washington’s warnings against “foreign intanglements” in his farewell address to having military bases in over 120 countries? Busybodies indeed! And with assault weapons and drones! We have lost all respect for the sovereignty of entire nations, therefore individual sovereignty is even less significant.
We have evolved from a culture that once valued and fought for individual freedoms, to a culture that sees nothing wrong with enlisting the aggressive force of government to destroy any individual freedoms that no longer fit our personal agenda or our favorite activist group’s agenda. Most have mistakenly come to regard basic rights not as something inherent to being human, but instead as something awarded to us by benevolent government. You own your rights, and no one with a law degree, or a badge, or a claim of majority support can limit them, legislate them, or award/deny them according to their preferences. Rights belong to you! They are inalienable and cannot be separated from you.
What is it that drives so many busybodies to waste so much energy in a vain attempt to deny others of rights that are, by definition, undeniable? What has happened to “live and let live”? The reality is there is nothing wrong with having strong feelings and definite ideas about how you wish your world to be. We each have our convictions and there is no harm in enforcing them in our own lives or in our legitimate sphere of influence such as our immediate family. But the legitimacy of our convictions ends the moment we seek to forcefully impose them upon others who do not share them. News flash! You don’t have to approve of everything your neighbor or coworker says, does, or believes! Freedom means that as long as my actions do not involve theft, fraud, or physical violence, I should be able to go about life without being constantly accosted and molested by government, or the neighborhood association, or any other busybody activists.
Want to know why we have so many laws, rules, regulations, mandates, codes, statutes, ordinances, commandments, dictates, directives, guidelines, prohibitions, restrictions, bans, and edicts in this country? So many that it is impossible not to have broken several regardless how saintly you are? Because that is how the busybodies, and their co-dependent government have always wanted it. And we have allowed it to grow uncontested and frequently encouraged. Government naturally seeks to increase its power, and the most insidious method it uses to accomplish this is by appealing to both the lust for power and the desire for protection within each of us. It uses our own natural desires to create an illusion that feeding on our liberty while consolidating its own power is justified because “we were called to act by the people”. If you have ever called for government to “do something”, then you, friend, have helped move us all away from freedom. A younger, more foolish version of me was guilty of calling for government action, but now I know better.
If you want to move back toward freedom, then stop using government force to impose your belief of how things should be. If you are passionate about an issue, by all means devote your time and money to it and enforce it within your legitimate sphere of influence, but don’t attempt to use force to make others agree. That is the exact opposite of freedom. If your position is morally superior, then logic, reason, and persuasive dialogue is the ethical path to winning converts and support. If you continue to expand government power by calling for it to act, you shouldn’t be surprised when your own favorite issue comes under attack by the same overreaching busybodies you helped encourage. A busybody government that is large enough to give you everything you want is also large enough to take away everything you have.