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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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How About We Just End Foreign Aid?


American statists are wringing their hands in anxiety and fear over the impending “fiscal cliff” and debt ceiling. The problem, however, is that every statist has his own personal favorite government programs, either in the welfare state or the warfare state or both. Thus, whenever somebody suggests that some particular welfare-warfare state program be reduced or abolished, some group of statists inevitably goes on the warpath and suggests that life as we know it will come to an end if that particular program is reduced or eliminated.

Okay, well, how about this: How about we just end all foreign aid to every country in the world, including the dictatorships? I don’t know how much money that entails but it’s got to be fairly substantial.

Why should hard-pressed American taxpayers be forced to send money to foreign regimes, especially when the U.S. government is spending the nation into bankruptcy?

I suggest we begin with Egypt.

After all, it would be difficult to find a better example of a dysfunctional government than that of Egypt. The foundation of the Egyptian government is the vast military and intelligence establishment, which plays a dominant role in Egyptian life and the Egyptian economy. The amount of money the military spends is secret. It actually holds the ultimate power in Egypt. It wields the same dictatorial power that the U.S. military now wields over the American people — the power to round people up and cart them away to military dungeons or concentration camps without due process of law.

For decades, U.S. taxpayers have propped up this military dictatorship with billions of dollars in cash and armaments. When you see Egypt’s military today using force against Egyptian protestors or threatening the use of force to maintain “order and stability,” keep in mind that such force has been provided in large part by American taxpayers.

Ever since Egyptian protestors ousted military dictator Hosni Mubarak from power, the Egyptian military has made it very clear that while Mubarak could be ousted or even a few generals, the Egyptian people would not be permitted to alter the fundamental nature of the military system itself. The military would continue to be the ultimate repository of power, unanswerable to anyone else, including the president, the judiciary, or the people.

With the democratic election of Mohamed Morsi, some people had hope that things were changing—that there was a “transition” to democracy and freedom taking place.

Their hopes were quickly dashed. Morsi wields the same types of dictatorial powers that were vested in Mubarak. Even worse, read this excerpt from an article in last Saturday’s New York Times:

After taking office, Mr. Morsi spent months courting the generals, sometimes earning the derision of liberal activists for his public flattery of their role. And the constitution his supporters eventually drew up included protections of the military’s autonomy and privileges within the Egyptian government, despite the protests of the same activists.

So, there you have it. In order to secure the support of the military establishment, Morsi sold his soul to the devil. He agreed that the military dictatorship will retain its long-held omnipotent grip over Egyptian society. It will continue to answer to no one but itself. It will continue to be the foundation of power in Egypt.

That, of course, eliminates any hope for freedom for the Egyptian people. A vast permanent military establishment that answers to no one but itself is irreconcilable with the principles of a free society. Egypt will continue to be a permanent military dictatorial tyranny, with Morsi at the top, supported by the military and intelligence establishment he sold out to.

Compounding the continuation of Egypt’s military dictatorship is the fact that Morsi’s constitutional proposal is likely to turn Egypt into an official Islamic state, which itself is irreconcilable with the principles of a free society.

Having ensured its permanent autonomy under Morsi’s constitutional proposal, the military is now on board with his proposal and is prepared to use force to maintain “order and stability” in Egypt.

Thus, fundamentally nothing has changed in Egypt. Sure, they’ve got a new dictator, one who has been democratically elected. But he’s still a dictator, one with omnipotent powers over the citizenry and, equally important, backed by a brutal permanent military establishment that is prepared to do anything necessary to maintain its dictatorial hold on Egyptian society and on the Egyptian economy.

Of course, this is all a matter for the Egyptian people to resolve. But the question for us Americans is: Why in the world is our government forcing us to fund this dysfunctional tyranny, especially when we can’t afford it?

Everybody acknowledges that federal spending is out of control. So is federal debt. The federal government is heading our nation in the direction of Greece and in the direction of American cities that are declaring bankruptcy.

It is clear that federal spending must be reined in. Then, why not  a termination of foreign aid, beginning with Egypt, one of the most ddysfunctional and brutal military dictatorships in the world?

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.