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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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Hagel’s Departure Will Make No Difference


There’s one thing about statists. For them, hope springs eternal. Despite a century of ongoing failure, chaos, and crisis, they still believe that with the right person in charge or with the right reform plan, statism will finally prove to be successful.

Time and again, we have witnessed this phenomenon in such areas as the drug war, healthcare, immigration, monetary policy, Social Security, and foreign intervention. Perpetual crises and chaos, followed by new people in charge replacing former ones, with new reforms being proposed and enacted.

But none of it ever does any good. Notwithstanding the new people and the new reforms, the chaos and crises never go away.

We are, once again, being treated to this statist spectacle with President Obama’s forced resignation of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. Besieged with ongoing crises in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Korea, the war on terrorism, and Gitmo, Obama has decided that the solution is to select a new person for Secretary of Defense.

The mindset driving all this is similar to the one that drives many voters. Americans look around and see all the messes, chaos, and crises and think that the solution is to get “better” people in public office. That’s partly why so many of them get upset when people don’t vote. They think that if everyone voted, there would be a better chance of getting “better” people into public office.

So, according to today’s New York Times, President Obama is considering Michele A. Flourney and Ashton B. Carter to replace Hagel. Who are they?, you ask. According to the Times,

Both are seasoned national security professionals whose credibility among members of both parties and the Defense Department experience would be considered assets in managing the threat from the Islamic State, budget cuts and other challenges.

That’s a long way of saying that Obama is considering “better” people to be Defense Secretary — people who hopefully will devise a plan to make all those crises and all that chaos disappear.

Here’s the reality: No matter who Obama selects as Defense Secretary, the crises and the chaos will not only continue, they will continue to get worse.

That’s because all these crises and chaos didn’t occur because the “wrong” person was appointed Secretary of Defense or even because Barack Obama was elected president, as many Republicans would like to believe.

The perpetual crises and chaos are rooted in the U.S. governmental system itself, not in the people running the system, specifically the governmental apparatus we know as a “national-security state,” an apparatus that was grafted onto our original governmental system after the end of World War II and which is driven by the ephemeral concept of “national security.”

This apparatus consists of a vast military establishment, thousands of military installations both at home and abroad, a powerful and influential military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA. This apparatus is the driving force behind America’s foreign policy of interventionism, including coups, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, lies, assassinations, kidnappings, torture, murders, foreign aid, partnerships with dictators, mass surveillance, secrecy, and other unsavory conduct, much of which is not discovered by the citizenry for decades.

That’s the root of America’s foreign woes and the loss of liberty and privacy here at home. When America abandoned its paradigm of a limited-government republic in favor of a militarized, Cold War, national-security state empire, that was the fateful turn toward perpetual war, perpetual crisis, and perpetual chaos.

Since the problem is systemic, it doesn’t matter who is in charge of it. A bad system will always triumph over the people running the system.

It’s not as though Americans weren’t warned. As far back as 1960, President Dwight Eisenhower pointed out that this new militarized system was totally alien to the traditional American way of life. He also said that it constituted a grave threat to the freedom and well-being of the American people.

Three years later, former President Harry Truman pointed out that the CIA had become a sinister force in American life.

And of course, everyone now knows that the NSA has been doing everything it can to keep its massive surveillance scheme over the American people top secret.

Why wouldn’t we expect this apparatus to produce perpetual crises, wars, and chaos? After all, isn’t a national-security state apparatus the governmental system that characterized the Soviet Union and other totalitarian states? Wasn’t the Soviet system riddled with the same types of perpetual crises and chaos that the United States is mired in?

There are Americans who are hoping against hope that this time things will be different. They’re thinking that this time, President Obama will appoint a “better” person to be Secretary of Defense, a person who will bring a plan that will reform or fix all the crises and chaos.

It won’t happen. Their statist hopes will be dashed, as they always are. The only way to end the crises and the chaos is to dismantle the old Cold War apparatus known as the national-security state — to restore a constitutional republic to our land by dismantling the vast military-industrial establishment, closing all the military bases all over the world and discharging the soldiers, abolishing the CIA and the NSA, and ending a foreign policy of interventionism, kidnapping, coups, torture, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, assassination, hiring Nazis, foreign aid, and meddling in the affairs of other nations.

There is no other way to restore a sense of normality to our lives, and it is a necessary prerequisite to restoring liberty to our land. And when that happens, no one will care who the Secretary of Defense is.

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.