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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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More Dark Side from the Empire


During the Snowden controversy, the American people have been treated to a harsh dose of reality as to the true nature of the U.S. welfare-warfare state. The crisis has caused the U.S. welfare-warfare state to drop its mantle of “good and benevolent” and to bare its iron fangs for all the world to see. Threats, blackmail, bribery, and extortion. It hasn’t been pretty.

Consider, for example, U.S. foreign aid. From the time they are six years old, Americans are inculcated with the notion that the U.S. government is a good and benevolent government, one that caringly and compassionately shares the wealth of American taxpayers with the people of the world.

But what Americans haven’t been taught is that the welfare state is nothing more than a velvet glove enveloping the iron fist of the warfare state. The Snowden controversy is showing people the reality of U.S. foreign aid and trade policy.

U.S. foreign aid and trade policies have nothing to do with wanting to help “the poor, needy, and disadvantaged” of the world. Instead, they are simply means of controlling and manipulating foreign regimes. They are another way to maintain and expand the hegemony of the U.S. government over the world.

“Do as we say, and we will do good things for you. Refuse to do as we say, and we will do bad things to you.” That’s the reality of the U.S. welfare-warfare state.

Look at how they’re treating Ecuador, with whom the United States has a “preferential” trade relationship. The last several weeks have been filled with threats, blackmail, bribery, and extortion. U.S. officials have made it clear to their counterparts in Ecuador that if they grant asylum to Snowden, the U.S. government will not only end its preferential trade relationship with Ecuador, it will also cancel $23 million in U.S. foreign aid to the country.

What about all the poor people in Ecuador who would suffer from higher tariffs or import duties on Ecuadorian goods being sent to the United States? Well, that’s just tough for them, U.S. officials say. They’ll just have to suffer for the political decisions of their government officials. If they don’t like suffering, they can oust their regime and install another one, one that will do the bidding of the U.S. Empire.

To Ecuador’s everlasting credit, the Ecuadoran government has decided not to put up with this bullying, threats, blackmail, bribery, and extortion. It has unilaterally rescinded the “preferential” trade agreement and has even offered to send the U.S. government a $23 million grant to help train U.S. officials on human-rights matters.

Ecuador, of course, isn’t the only one who suffers from the U.S. welfare-warfare state’s trade and economic blackmail and bribery. Another country is Cuba. In fact, it was interesting to learn that when everyone thought that Snowden was on his way to Ecuador via Cuba, American journalists were not permitted to fly to Cuba from Russia because they didn’t have visas. Perhaps they were lucky because if they hadn’t secured a “license” to spend money in Cuba, they were subjected to being prosecuted for a felony offense by … their own government!

Yes, the U.S. government—the government that was poking fun at China and Russia for their systems of government—actually puts Americans into jail for traveling to Cuba and spending their money there. How’s that for a little “Thank God I’m an American because at least I know I’m free”? How can a people genuinely be considered free when they’re subject to being put in jail as felons for spending their own money without the official permission of their political daddy, the U.S. government?

Let’s also not forget the cruel economic impact that the U.S. embargo has had on the Cuban people for decades. It’s been rationalized as a way to fight communism. Never mind that communist-type economic control over the American people is being used to combat communism in Cuba. That’s bad enough. But it also exposes the fake and false rationale of the welfare state and its foreign aid — that U.S. officials just love the poor, needy, and disadvantaged.

The Snowden crisis provides another opportunity for Americans some deep soul-searching about themselves, their government, and the role of government in a free society. In a genuinely free society, the government has no control over the economic and trade activities of the citizenry. It also has no ability to spy on them or monitor their private activities.


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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.