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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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Charleston and the National-Security State


Commenting on the massacre in Charleston, Rand Paul told a group of conservatives that a “sickness” in the country is at the root of the killings and that the problem “isn’t going to be fixed by your government.”

Paul’s point is well taken but I don’t think he gets to root of the problem, which is the perpetual, ongoing culture of violence that characterizes the national-security state that forms the foundation of America’s federal governmental structure.

Ever since 9/11, the American people have operated under the quaint notion that all the violence that the Pentagon and the CIA have been inflicting on people in foreign nations has an adverse effect only over there. The idea has been that as long as all the death, torture, assassinations, bombings, shootings, and mayhem were in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and elsewhere, Americans could go pleasantly on with their lives, going to work, church, and fun sporting events where everyone could praise and pray for the troops for “defending our freedoms” and “keeping us safe.”

Through it all, the national-security state, with the cooperation of the mainstream media, has done its best to immunize Americans from all the violence, death, and mayhem that they’ve been wreaking on people over there.

Don’t show the American people photographs of wedding parties in which brides and grooms and flower girls have been blown to bits by a U.S. bomb or missile.

Hide those torture records at Abu Ghraib. Lock them away in a secret vault forever.

Destroy those torture videos and redact that torture report.

And above all, don’t even think of keeping count of the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Anything and everything to keep the American people from having to confront, assimilate, and process the ongoing culture of violence that the national-security state has brought to people in other parts of the world.

Why should Americans have their pretty little heads bothered with such unpleasantries? Just leave “national security” to us, U.S. officials say, and we’ll do whatever is necessary to “keep you safe” from all those scary creatures out there who want to come and get you and take you away. Oh, and be sure to keep all those trillions of U.S. taxpayer dollars flooding into our “defense” coffers.

As an aside, have you ever noticed that Switzerland, which is one of the most armed societies in the world, is not besieged by a “war on terrorism” and by gun massacres? I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that the Swiss government isn’t involved in an ongoing crusade to violently remake the world in its image.

Ask any American whether all that death and destruction at the hands of the military and the CIA is necessary, and he’s likely to say, “Well, of course it is. People all over the world hate us for our freedom and values. We’ve got to kill them over there before they come over here to kill us. The war on terrorism goes on forever. I’m a patriot! Praise the troops!”

The thought that the entire scheme of ongoing violence is just one great big racket just doesn’t even occur to them. That’s what a mindset of deference to authority does to people.

All that ongoing violence that has formed the foundation of America’s governmental structure since the totalitarian structure known as the national-security state came into existence after World War II is at the core of the national sickness to which Rand Paul alludes.

And so is the extreme deference to authority paid to the national-security establishment by all too many Americans who have converted the Pentagon and the CIA into their god — one who can do no wrong as it stomps around the world killing, torturing, bombing, shooting, invading, maiming, and occupying, all in the name of “national security,” a ridiculous term if there ever was one, a term not even found in the U.S. Constitution.

As I have long written, the national-security establishment has warped and perverted the values, morals, and principles of the American people. This totalitarian structure that was grafted onto our governmental system after World War II to oppose America’s World War II partner and ally the Soviet Union has stultified the consciences of the American people, causing them to subordinate themselves to the will and judgment of the military (including the NSA) and the CIA and, of course, to surrender their fundamental God-given rights to liberty and privacy in the quest to be “kept safe” from whoever happens to be the official enemy of the day.

The discomforting fact is that the American people have not been spared the horrific consequences of the ongoing culture of violence that the U.S. national-security establishment has brought to foreign lands. The ongoing culture of violence that forms the foundation of the national security state — killing untold numbers of people on a perpetual basis — has been a rotting and corrosive cancer that has been destroying America from within and that continues to do so.

It’s that ongoing culture of violence that brings out the crazies and the loonies, who see nothing wrong with killing people for no good reason at all. In ordinary societies, the crazies and the loonies usually just stay below the radar screen and live out their lives in a fairly abnormal but peaceful manner. But in dysfunctional societies, such as ones where the government is based on killing, torturing, maiming, and destroying people on a constant basis, the crazies and the loonies come onto the radar screen and commit their crazy and loony acts of violence.

The fall of the Roman Empire wasn’t due to foreign invaders or terrorists. The Empire was destroyed from within by the corrosive rot of the welfare-warfare state that Rome had embraced.

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.