The kidnapping of 260 schoolgirls in Nigeria provides another example of why it is in the interests of the American people to dismantle their Cold War national-security state apparatus, including America’s overseas military empire, its gigantic standing army, and the CIA. As long as this apparatus remains in existence, U.S. officials are inevitably going to use it to embroil the United States into foreign crises.
Let’s begin by pointing out our nation’s founding principles.
The Founding Fathers disdained the idea of standing armies. They believed that standing armies were antithetical to the principles of a free society. They held that standing armies are the biggest threat to the freedom and well-being of a citizenry. They knew that throughout history, the way that the only way for tyrannical regimes to enforce their tyranny was through military might be inflicted on the citizenry.
For a modern-day example, look at Egypt, whose national-security state apparatus is being used with brutal efficiency to maintain its tyrannical hold on power over the Egyptian people. What is happening in Egypt is precisely why our American ancestors opposed a standing army for the United States. It would not have surprised the Founding Fathers one iota that America’s standing army today is fully supportive of its Egyptian counterpart.
Our ancestors understood that bad things would happen around the world. Bad things have always happened. Tyrants come to power. There are violent civil wars and revolutions. Famines hit society, in large part owing to governmental policies. There are murders, kidnappings, burglaries, robberies, and all sort of horrible things that happen in foreign countries.
The founding principle of the United States was expressed in John Quincy Adams’ Fourth of July Address to Congress in 1821, which has acquired the title of “In Search of Monsters to Destroy.” By “monsters,” Adams was referring to all the bad things that happen around the globe. Adams stated:
Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.
What Adams is saying is that if America were ever to abandon its founding principle of non-interventionism, she would turn into a global dictator.
Who would dispute that that is precisely what has happened with the adoption the Cold War national-security state apparatus? Not only has the U.S. government become a global dictator, it has acquired all of the horrific attributes of dictatorship, including torture, assassination, denial of due process and trial by jury, executions, indefinite detention, rendition, partnerships with criminal organizations and tyrannical regimes, drug experiments on unsuspecting people, hiring of Nazis, and so much more.
That’s obviously not the kind of federal government that our American ancestors envisioned when they consented to the Constitution, the document that brought the federal government into existence. If our American ancestors in 1787 had been told that that that’s the type of government that the Constitution was bringing into existence, there is no doubt that they would have rejected the Constitution and continued operating under the Articles of Confederation.
Does that mean that our American ancestors had no concern for people suffering in foreign countries from tyranny, oppression, famine, criminal conduct, and the like?
Of course not. They simply believed that it was not the legitimate role of the U.S. government to right the wrongs of the world. Moreover, they believed that if the U.S. government were made sufficiently powerful to right the wrongs of the world, such as with a giant standing army, they would inevitably end up losing their own freedom.
Our ancestors adopted two policies that would help people overseas.
One policy was open immigration. If foreigners who were suffering in their countries were able to escape, they knew that they and their families could come to the United States, no questions asked, except a cursory health examination for tuberculosis and other such illnesses. The U.S. government would not return immigrants to their countries of origin.
A second policy involved the concept of personal responsibility. If individual Americans were concerned or outraged over what was going on in some foreign country, they were free to travel there and participate in helping out people. Obviously, this meant taking personal responsibility for their beliefs rather than transferring the responsibility to the federal government.
Notice that everything today is topsy-turvy. The borders are closed to immigrants and America has even built a Berlin Wall type of fence along the Southern border. Additionally, embargoes isolate the American people from others around the world, such as with Cuba. The same with sanctions and other economic controls.
The U.S. government now wields the biggest standing army in history, one that now even wields the authority to assassinate, torture, and incarcerate without trial not only foreigners but also Americans.
Moreover, those Americans who are concerned with the bad things that occur overseas don’t take personal responsibility for their beliefs. They don’t want to risk their lives to help people out. They instead want to delegate that responsibility to U.S. troops. Courage and bravery come not from individual actions but instead vicariously through the troops and the CIA.
There also seems to be something dreadfully wrong with a position that says: “We’ll send our troops to kill, bomb, and maim to help you out but don’t even think of coming here and living in our country because if you do, we will forcibly return you to your country.”
Nobody can help but repelled by the kidnapping of a children. But horrible actions thousands of miles away don’t mean that the job of rectifying the wrongs belongs to the U.S. government, whose legal jurisdiction properly lies over the United States. If individual Americans wish to travel to Nigeria to help search and rescue those kidnapped girls, that’s great. But no one has ever elected the U.S. government to be a policeman for the world. The best solution is for the American people to restore the founding principles of a limited government republic to our land by dismantling the Cold War national-security state apparatus, so that the U.S. government lacks the means to engage in foreign interventionism in any respect.