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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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America’s Warfare State and the Las Vegas Massacre


When it comes to the massacre in Las Vegas, I am on the same page as John Whitehead, the president of the Rutherford Institute, whose articles we regularly publish here at The Future of Freedom Foundation. Consider what he writes in his excellent article “Mass Shootings: The Military-Entertainment Complex’s Culture of Violence Turns Deadly,” which I highly recommend reading:

So who’s to blame for the violence? …. [T]here is a common denominator, and that is a war-drenched, violence-imbued, profit-driven military industrial complex that has invaded almost every aspect of our lives. Ask yourself: Who are these shooters modelling themselves after? Where are they finding the inspiration for their weaponry and tactics? Whose stance and techniques are they mirroring? In almost every instance, you can connect the dots back to the military. We are a military culture. We have been a nation at war for most of our existence. We are a nation that makes a living from killing through defense contracts, weapons manufacturing and endless wars.

The point I have been making for some time now is a variation of Whitehead’s — that what seem to be random acts of mass violence here in America are rooted in the Pentagon’s and CIA’s permanent and ongoing death machine, which has been killing millions of people in overseas lands for decades. (See, for example, my articles “U.S. Violence Abroad Begets Violence at Home” and “Charlottesville and America’s Death Machine.”)

So far, it seems, it’s only Whitehead and me who are making this critically important point — that it’s America’s warfare state that is at the root of mass violence in America. Maybe there are more and I’m just not aware of it. But my hunch is that as more people begin thinking about what Whitehead and I are saying and reflecting on it, our numbers are going to grow.

We all know about terrorist retaliation for the death and destruction that that Pentagon and the CIA have been wreaking overseas. Although many mainstream pundits and commentators were extremely reluctant, even scared, to point to “blowback” from U.S. foreign policy after the 9/11 attacks, I think it’s safe to say that most people have now come to accept that anti-American terrorism is a cost of U.S. interventionism abroad.

But here is the basic issue: Is it possible to have a militarized society, one in which the government is killing large numbers of people abroad, without it having any adverse effect on people back at home?

As I have previously pointed out, I’m no psychiatrist but common sense leads to but one conclusion: When a government is killing millions of people abroad on a permanent, ongoing basis, it can’t help but affect the mindsets of people back at home.

Just look at American society.

Notice the tremendous intolerance that people have for the views of others, especially on college campuses, which have historically been places where opposing views are an enshrined part of college culture.

Notice the rage, incivility, or rudeness that has come to characterize many Americans who lose their temper for rather inconsequential reasons. They blow up for minor reasons and then beat up or shoot people who have slighted them in minor ways, including their own spouses.

There is the massive alcoholism and drug addiction in American society. After waging the war on drugs for decades, officials say that there not even close to victory. That’s because more Americans than ever are choosing to trip out with mind-altering substances and disregarding the risk of being sent to prison for 10-20 years.

There are the ever-increasing suicide rates, including among young people.

And then there are the random acts of mass violence, like we have just seen in Las Vegas, where Americans seem to love killing other Americans.

At the risk of belaboring the obvious, none of this is normal or healthy. It is the sign of a deeply dysfunctional society.

I contend: It is the natural consequence of a governmental death machine that has killed and that continues to kill tens of millions of people and, as Whitehead emphasizes, the related militarization of American society.

As I have pointed out in my articles, the notion has always been that if Americans can be protected from having to see evidence of massive death toll their government personnel is inflicting, there wouldn’t be any adverse impact here at home. The U.S. mainstream press has played its role in this process, protecting Americans by not showing photographs of the dead or their body parts.

But it’s been a pipe dream from the beginning. The stench of massive death, even thousands of miles away, ultimately begins seeping into the fibers of everyone’s being here at home, and into their subconscious minds. It is inescapable.

And it’s worse than that. There is also the life of the lie to consider. Ministers all across the land. Announcers at big sports events. Airline officials. They have all helped to maintain the lie that the troops are over there killing all those people in the defense of our “rights and freedoms.” That’s been the charade – that all those killings have been done in self-defense. And the notion has been that as long as people believe it, that’s all that matters.

The problem is that it’s never been true. The sad reality is that of all the tens of millions of people that the U.S. government has killed since 1945, not one single one ever initiated any act of violence against the United States. In every single U.S. killing, it has been the U.S. government that has been the initiator of the violence against the victim. The “rights and freedom” bromide has been a lie from the get-go, a lie that is repeated in churches, sports events, airports, and elsewhere on a regular basis.

How can a massive life of the lie not adversely affect people psychologically and spiritually?  It’s impossible. People who live the life of the lie are ultimately going to show it, one way or the other.

What better time for Americans to confront the truth about their warfare state than now?

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.