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Our Buttinski Government


Dictionary.com defines a buttinski as a “person who interferes in the affairs of others; meddler.” Although the U.S. government is an entity, not a person, it would be difficult to find a better term to describe it. The U.S. government is a buttinski government, in fact the world’s supreme buttinski government.

Consider foreign policy. Even while railing against a group of Russians for buying some anti-Hillary Clinton political ads on Facebook, the U.S. government butts into the affairs of most, if not all, foreign nations. With foreign aid, political bribery, coups, assassinations, invasions, occupations, grants to NGOs, and foreign military bases, the U.S. government butts into most everything and every place on the globe.

Given that Korea is in the news, the Korean War is a good example of how the U.S. government butts into things that are none of its business. The Korea War was a civil war, no different in principle from America’s civil war. It was never any business of the U.S. government. But the U.S. government made Korea’s civil war its business. It butted into the conflict, wreaking much more death and destruction than otherwise would have been the case, especially by carpet-bombing towns and villages throughout North Korea. Today, many Americans, never having been taught the extent of the death and destruction that U.S. bombers unleashed on the North Korean populace, remain befuddled as to why the North Korean people hate the U.S. government so much.

Moreover, butting into the Korean civil war was illegal from the start. That’s because under our system of government, the president is prohibited from waging war against another nation-state without first securing a declaration of war from Congress. President Truman, the Pentagon, and the CIA refused to ask Congress for a declaration of war against North Korea. Their position was: “We are the most powerful government in the world. We don’t have to ask anybody’s permission to butt into Korea’s civil war. And there isn’t anything anyone, including the U.S. federal courts, can do about it. Get used to it.”

It was the same with Vietnam. Like in Korea, the U.S. government butted into Vietnam’s civil war by invading the country and wreaking untold death and destruction. Again, no congressional declaration of war, making the intervention illegal under our form of government. Once again, the mindset was: “We are the world’s most powerful government. Our military and intelligence forces are omnipotent. We will butt in wherever we want. There is nothing that can stop us from being a buttinski.”

The federal government’s buttinski mindset isn’t limited to the foreign arena. It is fully operative here against the American people as well.

One good example is the federal government’s drug laws. We have a situation in which many people ingest drugs. That’s their business. It’s a decision they have chosen to make, for better or for worse. If they harm someone while under the influence of drugs, everyone would agree that they should be held accountable. But many people ingest drugs without harming anyone, except possibly themselves. They ingest their drugs in the privacy of their own homes.

Ordinarily, we would say that what people do in the privacy of their homes is their business. What they watch on television or on the Internet — their business. What they say to each other — their business. What they read — their business. What they do with each other — their business. And what they ingest — their business. What a person does in the privacy of his own home is nobody else’s business.

Enter the U.S. government, our buttinski government. It butts in and declares, “What you do in the privacy of your own home is our business because we are the world’s supreme buttinski government. If we catch you ingesting drugs that we haven’t approved of, we are going to punish you severely by sending you to your room in a federal penitentiary for as long as we feel is necessary. To enable us to monitor and catch you, we will retain snitches in society that will watch you and report to us.”

Or consider travel and trade. Ordinarily, we would think that freedom of travel and freedom of trade are natural, God-given rights. It’s no one’s business where we decide to travel. It’s also no one’s business how we spend our own money.

Enter, once again, our buttinski government. It butts into our travel and trade decisions. For example, it puts us into jail and fines us if we travel to Cuba or North Korea and spend our money there without first getting the buttinski’s permission. It says that it’s butting in for our own good or for the good of the nation. But the point is: It is butting into things that are really none of its business.

Take charity. Ordinarily, we would think that the issue of giving to charity is nobody else’s business. Again, the idea is that what we do with our own money is our business, no one else’s.

Enter our buttinski government. It says that it needs to butt in because, it says, Americans can’t be trusted to make the right decisions when it comes to charity. So our federal buttinski forces us to share our money with others through such socialist programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, and foreign aid to dictators.

Does all this mean that we just need to dismantle and abolish the entire federal government to prevent it from butting into so many things? Of course not. All we need to do is to dismantle and abolish those parts of the government that butt into the affairs other nations and into the peaceful activities of the American people. Restoring a limited-government, constitutional republic to our land would bring an end to the biggest buttinski in world history.

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.