Isolationism

This article from talking points memo reports how at the CPAC, Rick Santorum said Rand Paul’s policies are “isolationst,” which he says is objectionable, and ultimately believes his policies would make us less safe and more vulnerable. But frankly, Santorum doesn’t even know what isolationism is. You want to know what isolationism is? Intervening in foreign countries internal affairs all around the world; undeclared wars in foreign countries; huge subsidies and tariffs discouraging trade abroad. Rand Paul’s policy is anti-interventionist. He is much more of an “internationalist” that Rick Santorum could ever be. As Murray Rothbard said, “internationalists” are “men who opposed the aggrandizement of the nation-state and favored peace, free trade, free migration and peaceful cultural exchanges among peoples of all nations. Foreign intervention is “international” only in the sense that war is international: coercion, whether the threat of force or the outright movement of troops, will always cross frontiers between one nation and another.” We can’t possibly say that we are opening up channels for more trade and exchange by acting as the policeman of the world; in fact we are doing the opposite.

We’re the only country that feels it necessary to intervene all around the world and meddle in the affairs of foreign countries. Does that make every other country isolationist? He seems to think that not participating in military excursions all around the world would make us less safe. But let me ask a question, how many times has Canada been attacked by terrorists? None. How often do people denounce Canada and make threats against it? Never. Maybe the reason for this is that they don’t create animosity for themselves all around the world by bombing any country they don’t like.

Santorum thinks that to not get involved in these affairs would conflict with our interests. But, again, as Murray Rothbard quoted John Flynn in For A New Liberty, “We have managed to acquire bases all over the world. … There is no part of the world where trouble can break out where… we cannot claim that our interests are menaced. Thus menaced, there must remain when the war is over a continuing argument in the hands of the imperialists for a vast naval establishment and a huge army ready to attack anywhere or to resist an attack from all the enemies we shall be obliged to have.” So, in reality, it is almost impossible for any conflict around the world to not affect our interests, in some way or another. The thought that not wanting to intervene in every dispute or conflict around the world and try to promote a policy of peace is “isolationist” is a deliberate attempt to smear the policy. Favoring peace does not mean favoring isolation; favoring peace means favoring the Jeffersonian policy of commerce and honest friendship with all nations. Santorum, in wanting to pursue his policy of policing the world, necessarily mirrors his foreign policy with his conservative domestic policy; he doesn’t understand the concept of minding one’s own business.

Declaring war on American citizens

If you believe it is unrealistic that President Obama (or any other future president) would use drones on American citizens on U.S. soil, or even further, make war on the American population, this may change your mind. These executive orders have been on the books for over 30 years, enacted mostly by John F Kennedy; so if Obama decided to declare a state of emergency, for whatever trumped up reason, with a stroke of his pen he could decide to turn America into a prison camp and take over all aspects of U.S. society. Needless to say, these are blatantly unconstitutional and would grossly violate the natural rights of every American citizen. Add to this the fact that the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point named the “anti-federalist” movement as a potential terrorist threat, and you can see easily how a president could make war on ordinary citizens. Lest we forget that FDR imprisoned over a hundred thousand Japanese Americans during World War II merely because of their ancestry, and the Supreme Court upheld it in Korematsu v. U.S. (this gross decision is still on the books today); Abraham Lincoln jailed tens of thousands of dissenters during the Civil War who merely disagreed with his policies and who had no right to habeas corpus in which to contest their imprisonment (which he unilaterally suspended, also); starting with Bush and continuing with Obama, American citizens have been indefinitely detained at Guantanamo Bay and other prison camps without any rights whatsoever. This is why Rand Paul’s filibuster was so important; the precedent is there.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to seize all means of transportation, including personal cars, trucks or vehicles of any kind and total control over all highways, seaports, and waterways.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 10999 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over railroads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.

EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

Sequester Cuts

     If anyone hasn’t noticed, any budget cuts that are happening are deliberately chosen to be in the most visible or harmful areas as possible, so as to create the most public alarm; whether it be in the Pentagon which will furlough 800,000 civilian workers; or the Federal Aviation Administration which says it is planning to cut back on the number of air traffic controllers, deliberately creating delays for airline passengers; or the Department of Homeland Security which released thousands of illegal aliens from prisons to save money. This isn’t what needs to get cut; it’s what they want to cut to make you upset. Why else would the White House cancel tours over sequester cuts? They do it because it’s what you’ll notice and dislike, not because it is the best way to save money. There are many areas where real pork can be cut. Not least of which are federal salaries.
     That is the difference between private business and government bureaucracy; the government chooses areas that will be felt most by taxpayers, whereas private businesses choose areas that will be felt LEAST by consumers.
      Note: In reality, these supposed ‘cuts’ are not real cuts. Spending is still going up; the only thing being cut is the rate of growth.
     

Energy Self-Sufficiency

     I’m all for booming U.S. industry when it means we’re more efficient at producing goods or services than other countries, meaning cheaper goods for the consumer and higher standards of living. What I am not supportive of is what everyone seems to want: U.S. Energy Independence. The common reasoning behind this is that if we are energy independent we aren’t at the mercy of foreign countries, particularly middle eastern countries who could restrict supply and raise prices on oil causing our energy prices to soar. It is reasoned that in light of this and our continuing intervention in middle eastern countries, we want to have a stable supply of energy rather than a volatile one; thus we need to be able to sustain our energy needs from within.
 
     However, for exactly these reasons we should NOT want energy independence. The dependency on foreign oil is one of the few factors that holds the government back from even more intervention in the middle east. To take away the fear of gas prices rising from intervention would mean even more undeclared wars than we our already in. The government doesn’t want energy independence for the good of the average American consumer, it wants energy independence so it can intervene anywhere and anytime it pleases, without any backlash from the American people due to the inevitable consequence of rising gas prices. Energy independence will only encourage anti-competitive government policy and more conflict abroad. This is why many conservatives love the idea of energy independence; they feel their hawkish foreign policy agenda will no longer be held back and reined in by our dependence on foreign trade. We should have a foreign policy that encourages peace and commerce, not foreign intervention and trade isolationism. If the federal government really cared about volatility of gas prices it would cease its policy of intervening in every country that displeases it. It is in large part government policy of undeclared wars that makes the prices so volatile. If the federal government really cared about lowering gas prices it would stop taxing gasoline. It is true that even without American intervention the middle east is still very volatile and liable to supply disruptions. However, adding to that volatility is not good policy. Besides, if supply is disrupted it opens up the door for other countries, including our own, to step up their oil production to meet our energy needs. That is how the market works. We can’t hope to prevent supply disruptions all together, that is impossible.
   
     Suppose we were energy independent and one of our companies went bankrupt. That would disrupt supply wouldn’t it? Energy is no different than any other good. Why should we be seeking independence with energy but not with other goods? The answer is lies in the policy of government intervention. Supply can fluctuate for different reasons, whether we are dependent on goods from abroad or domestically. Even if we were able to keep the supply stable and the price stable due to energy independence, chances are the stable price that we would have would be higher than if we weren’t. Independence can only happen two ways: either our own domestic suppliers are able to out-compete foreign suppliers across the board, or the government grants a monopoly to domestic producers, whether explicitly through banning imports or implicitly through heavy subsidies and tariffs. Chances are the government will use the latter, using the combination of subsidies and tariffs to make the U.S. energy independent, meaning that prices will be higher than they otherwise would have been. We wouldn’t need subsidies and tariffs if we were more efficient. Therein lies the fallacy of energy independence. We shouldn’t seek to get involved in industries we are less efficient in when others can provide them cheaper. What good will it be if we end up being energy independent but it costs us more money to do so? It will only result in a lower standard of living.