Hillary Clinton’s recent speech to the American Legion confirms the following: If you have liked the last 16 years of Bush-Obama, you’re going to love the next four years under a Clinton presidency. Her definition of “exceptionalism,” “indispensability,” and “leadership” means four more years of welfare, the drug war, bureaucracy, rules and regulations, invasions, occupations, regime-change operations, coups, support of dictatorships, torture, Guantanamo, and ever-growing taxation, debt, and inflation to pay for it all.
It’s fitting that Clinton is reaching out to neo-conservatives and conservatives because like them, she conflates the federal government and, specifically, the national-security state branch of the federal government — with America the nation. She simply cannot separate out the two within her mind, especially when she’s talking about how exceptional and indispensable a nation the United States is.
Let’s keep in mind that the United States was founded on a federal governmental structure that was entirely different from the structure that Americans live under today.
There was no Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, corporate bailouts, Federal Reserve System, welfare, fiat (paper) money, drug laws, alcohol laws, immigration controls, income taxation, and labor laws. There was no IRS, Departments of Education, Commerce, Labor, Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, DEA, and most of the rest of the departments and agencies that compose the welfare-state, managed-economy way of life that modern-day Americans have.
There was also no Pentagon, CIA, NSA, or FBI. There was only a relatively small army, given the deep antipathy that our American ancestors had toward overgrown military establishments. There were no foreign interventions, invasions and occupations of foreign countries (except the Mexican War), foreign aid, support of foreign dictatorships, alliances with foreign regimes, and assassination programs.
Whatever one might say about that type of federal governmental structure, everyone would have to agree on one fundamental point: It was different. In fact, it was unique — one of a kind. Never before in history had people brought that type of governmental structure into existence. It was one that both Democrats and Republicans believed in and favored.
That type of governmental structure — which obviously was extremely limited in scope, revenue, size, and power — unleashed the country — that is, the private sector — the American people. In a society in which the federal government lacked the ability to play a large role, the standard of living of the country began soaring. When government lacked the power to tax people’s income, people were going from rags to riches in one, two, or three generations, simply through the power of saving money. New businesses were opening every day. New inventions were constantly coming into existence. In a country where government was precluded from helping the poor, there was the greatest outpouring of voluntary charity that mankind had ever seen.
Not surprisingly, the American phenomenon startled the world. People everywhere marveled. For one thing, they were shocked at the notion that people could actually limit the power of their own government over their lives and fortunes. For another thing, they had no idea that people could actually live in a society where anyone could become prosperous and rich. They were stunned that a nation could successfully avoid warfare for most of its existence.
That’s what caused people to look on America as exceptional. They saw a limited-government republic and recognized that it was exceptional compared to all other governments in the world. They saw the prosperity and charity that characterized the country and viewed it as exceptional. And it was, indeed, exceptional. Nothing like it had ever existed in history.
But as we all know, everything changed in the 20th century. America became a welfare state and a warfare state, a way of life characterized by an all-powerful federal government that wielded the unlimited power to tax, borrow, and inflate to fund its ever-growing welfare-warfare state activities.
When Clinton, the neo-cons, and the conservatives describe America as exceptional, they’re not referring to the limited-government constitutional republic on which America was founded and that remained in existence for over a century. They’re referring to the welfare state and the warfare state that America has become.
But what’s exceptional about a welfare state? Every country is the world is a welfare state. Just look at Cuba, North Korea, China, Sweden, Norway, or France.
What’s exceptional about a government-managed economy? Every nation has one.
What’s exceptional about drug laws? They exist everywhere, especially in countries with totalitarian or authoritarian regimes. The Philippines comes to mind.
And what’s exceptional about a national-security state, which the federal government became in the 1940s? The Soviet Union was national security state. So are Cuba, North Korea, and communist China.
What Clinton, the neocons, and the conservatives have done is take the words “exceptional” and “indispensable” that correctly described America in, say, 1890, and twisted those terms to describe the welfare-warfare state way of life under which Americans now live, including all the welfarism, the regulations, the bureaucracies, the drug war, and, of course, the perpetual bombing, invasions, assassinations, invasions, occupations, coups, and support of dictatorships.
For Americans who wish to restore America’s exceptional and indispensable role in the world, there is but one way to do that: Dismantle the welfare-warfare state components of the federal government and restore a constitutionally limited-government republic and a free-enterprise economic system to our land. That’s how the American people could, once again, lead the world to freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony.