Last night I saw one of the greatest speeches I’ve ever seen, which took place at our Economic Liberty Lecture Series at George Mason University. The speech was by Bruce Fein, whose Washington Times column we often link to in our FFF Email Update and who was one of the speakers at our conference “Restoring the Republic 2008: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties.” Bruce is one of the nation’s greatest and most able defenders of the Constitution, civil liberties, privacy, and a republic.
The theme of Bruce’s speech was how America’s abandonment of a constitutional republic and its embrace of a worldwide empire are taking our nation down the road to ruin, not only economically but especially with respect to the loss of our rights and freedoms. He showed how throughout history empires have led to disaster, mentioning specifically the Roman Empire, the Soviet Empire, and the British Empire. He reminded the audience that the Roman Empire fell to invaders after previous generations of politicians had imposed massive taxes and debts on the citizenry, which weakened the strength and resolve of the citizens from within.
Bruce pointed out that it is U.S. military involvement overseas, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan, that produces the anger and hatred against the United States, which then generates the perpetual threat that U.S. officials use to justify ever-increasing expenditures for the military and the military-industrial complex. He advocated bringing the troops home, which, if nothing else, at least would stop their periodic killing of wedding parties and others as part of the U.S. campaign to find and kill the terrorists.
Bruce oriented his talk around the vision for America set forth by America’s Founding Fathers — a republic, whose aim would be to influence the world through becoming an exemplar of freedom rather an empire whose troops would go abroad to slay “monsters” through force of arms. He pointed out that with the fall of the Soviet Union, there is no nation in the world that has the military capability of invading and conquering the United States, which presents a unique opportunity for the American people to dismantle the nation’s enormous standing army. He pointed out that if a foreign regime were ever to attack the United States, most Americans, both men and women, would quickly and voluntarily come to the defense of their country and their families. In other words, a free people will fight invaders with full resolve, while an enslaved people will oftentimes lack the will to fight, as what happened with the Roman Empire.
In response to a question from the audience, Bruce made an interesting contrast between the war on drugs and the war on terrorism. While observing that the war on drugs had been used to infringe civil liberties and privacy over the years, the war on terrorism is much more insidious because it has a political element to it, which inevitably leads to suppression of dissent. In other words, drug cartels are simply focused on making money by breaking the drug laws. In the war on terrorism, government officials inevitably begin to consider anti-government critics as aiders and abettors of the terrorists and, thus, use their powers to suppress dissent and infringe on privacy, free speech, assembly, and the like.
Bruce concluded his talk with a call on young people to devote their lives to changing the course of our nation — toward dismantling the empire and restoring a constitutional republic to our land. Few things would be more rewarding, he said, than to have played the same type of role today that the Framers played more than 200 years ago.
We are trying to get the video of Bruce’s speech posted on our Conference Classroom this week. In the meantime, here’s the link to his speech at our 2008 conference, in case you haven’t seen it.