Just showing up: The path to victory


image           [Submitted by James Trementozzi for the LTPP]

It’s that simple.

Although many of you may doubt this, I can assure you that it IS that simple. Most people won’t hesitate to leave a scathing remark on a Facebook feed, a comment on an online article or have a strong opinion at the bar. Those same people would be better served to show up at a reorganization. Trust me, there’s no, and I mean ZERO, resistance. In most cases you will be the ONLY PERSON IN YOUR PRECINCT.

Last precinct reorganization I convinced my wife to join me. We were rookies and admittedly nervous. What we encountered shocked us. Out of, say, 13 precincts only 7 had people show up. Almost fully HALF of those precincts went unorganized. And only 3 precincts had more than 1 person which means that 4 precincts had an unopposed Executive Committeeman. There was an elderly gentleman in our precinct that attended. And even though we came to become an EC (Exec. Committeeman) and President, we offered him the EC position. He was so happy to see us “young people” show up and “give a damn” that he refused. We fumbled our way through the procedure but we did it! This website for the Liberty Tree Precinct Project is designed to instill confidence in you and prevent fear of fumbling.

I should mention that there may be a “miraculously” loaded precinct. Daniel Island did have a half dozen people show up. Of course it was chock full of establishment republicans. The entire reorganization process that we experienced was a cordial proceeding with no issues.
So why don’t you hear about these reorganizations? Maybe the status quo doesn’t want the competition, maybe they’re afraid of a take over? Most likely it’s apathy. Everyday Joe’s like myself find it difficult to believe that it’s easy to become an EC. This position allows you to vote in Excom meetings and it’s a critical step to become a State Delegate. At the State level we can affect our local government.

So don’t be like this:

Tied up with the conviction that you cannot institute change.

The only thing stopping you is the illusion that you can’t do it. If this high school dropout, Yankee transplant that has been pummeled with liberal indoctrination tactics for 35 years can do it, anyone can!

[Editor’s note: CCGOP reorganization is scheduled Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 10:30AM to Noon.  Other counties may be scheduled differently.  For Charleston County this year, reorganization will be decentralized over many regional locations to make it even easier for you to attend.  Contact us for details.]


a Numbers Game



In the 2014 SC primary, most counties counted ballots that represented less than 20% of the total eligible voters. In most cases, the numbers were in the teens. Hampton county recorded the highest at 38% eligible voter participation for the highest score in the State, but was certainly the exception. Consider the small representative sample below (for all the data, you can go here:  http://www.enr-scvotes.org/SC/51763/133986/en/vt_data.html#Charleston ).

County        Ballots     Eligible    Percent
Berkeley     17,929       104,408     17.17 %
Calhoun       1,533       10,149       15.10 %
Charleston   28,149     247,208      11.39 %
Cherokee      6,338      30,299       20.92 %
Chester         4,185      19,887       21.04 %
Chesterfield   7,044       24,292      29.00 %
Clarendon      3,432       22,642      15.16 %
Colleton         3,646.      23,198     15.72 %

In Charleston county, most precincts reported a total of less than 150 ballots cast, with about a sixty percent majority for the incumbent. This stands in stark contrast to the general election, where Charleston County reported 100,935 ballots of 252,881 eligible voters for a 39.91% participation rate.

Are there lessons to be learned here?

The electorate does not seem to understand the importance of a primary election. Most local people informally surveyed the DAY OF the primary had no idea what a primary meant or even that one was taking place. One self-proclaimed staunch Republican commented that he’d like the incumbent Senator removed from office, but didn’t have time to attend the primary. When he was told that it was likely the Senator would survive the primary if enough voters didn’t show up, he said he’d vote for the “other Republican” in the general election come November!

So, it’s very likely that a dumbed down electorate is a good explanation for this low participation. On the other hand, many reasons for not voting are often voiced by those that do know something about politics. They range from lamentations that their vote does not make much of a difference, or that voter fraud determines the outcome, or that the candidates offered do not inspire their interest, or to “withdrawing their consent” for an unfair system by not participating in it.

And so it goes that relatively unknown challengers continue to fail against incumbents with name recognition. Intelligent third party candidates continue to receive 3% of the total vote or less. And Incumbents survive- no, thrive!  And for another four or six years depending on the office, Liberty grows weaker and more dim.

But let’s not argue about the reasons, philosophy, or the “why of it all”. Lets not discuss the old and tired arguments on whether one should vote or not. Let’s get creative and, for one moment, consider things as a seasoned gambler might…as an accountant, a statistician, an actuarian, or as a technical stock investor might consider things. Let’s look at the numbers: the numbers are low.

Are you starting to think what I am thinking?


According to the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, “high levels of involvement lessen the chances that both parties and politics will be dominated by narrow ideology and interest. Low levels make that result probable.

Despite what one might hope for the Liberty movement one thing is painfully obvious: that those that seek fairness, reasonableness, independence, self-reliance, less government, more capitalism and freedom, less cronyism and corruption; that those that seek Liberty are a group well-defined, currently, as a “narrow ideology and interest” at the polls.

Our best shot at installing Liberty and Liberty-minded candidates is right now while the numbers at the polls are low. At the precinct level in Charleston, this meant finding 40 more like minded voters out of 1400 voters per precinct!  That is very do-able.  If the electorate is dumb, asleep, uninspired, let’s be smart, awake and inspired! Let’s take this thing by the numbers.  It can only get done with a strong precinct system (an infrastructure) in place.  A strong precinct system for Liberty will ensure your candidate gets fair treatment.  Let’s start with the reorganization that is rapidly approaching in March.

We need Executive Committeemen, Presidents and other officers for Mt. Pleasant 02, 08, 10, 11, 12, 15, and 17 for N. Charleston 09, 10, 11, 12, and 13 for St. Andrews 01, 02, 03, 07, 08, 09, and 10 for Charleston 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21.

Democracy is Something You Do


imageDemocracy is something a nation does rather than something it has.

Consider that Thomas Jefferson said, “lethargy [is] the forerunner of death to the public liberty” and “…the spirit of the times may alter, will alter. Our rulers will become corrupt, our people careless…They will be forgotten, therefore, and their rights disregarded. They will forget themselves, but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights;” that Plato said, “the punishment which the wise suffer who refuse to take part in the government, is to live under the government of worse men;” that Charles de Montesquieu said, “the tyranny of a prince in an oligarchy is not so dangerous to the public welfare as the apathy of a citizen in a democracy;” that Ronald Reagan added, “freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom, and then lost it, have never known it again;” that in response to the question of what kind of government we might have, Ben Franklin said, “A Republic, if you can keep it!”

It was clear to these men that active, not passive, participation is required by all that expect to see it manifested well. And it was not just by casting a vote that defined active participation. One had to be engaged more deeply than that.

It was mostly Thomas Jefferson who in his retirement, worked to correct what he sensed was the greatest defect of the newly established representative democracy in America: a lack of public involvement. In a series of letters he wrote about a great educational system to educate the electorate. He also wrote about the division of the country into “wards” based on the model established in New England, where groups of families determined solutions to problems on a very local level. Specifically, in a letter to Samuel Kercheval, he wrote, “These wards [of approximately 100 families], called townships in New England, are the vital principle of their governments and have proved themselves the wisest invention ever devised by the wit of man for the perfect exercise of self-government and for its preservation.”

This Jeffersonian concept was not original and had at least two historical examples of success. As pointed out by W. Clean Skousen in his book the 5000 Year Leap, it was first established by the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of early England and the early Israelites who had a strong sense of personal responsibility and desire for freedom from centralized power. They had codified these ideas in a system called “Common Law” or the “People’s Law,” respectively.

But how to get there from here?

It is repeatedly expressed within the Liberty movement that the only way things will change is through violent revolution or a complete collapse of the present system. Things have deteriorated so much, it is proposed, that no reasonable return to our founders’ concept of a functioning Republic can be navigated. A total collapse is necessary for a “reset” of the system.

But a study of recent history, does not agree with this premise at all.

Look at Greece, where a total economic collapse has led to increased political corruption and a total loss of autonomy to a global banking system. Look at Ireland, where propping up unsustainable debt has led to the taxpayer bearing the financial burden for the ever more distant “infinite horizon”, continuing loss of sovereignty and economic morass. The path to this same result is already unfolding in the slowly developing economic crises in Spain and Portugal. It remains to be seen if a pattern will emerge in France and Italy as well, resulting in more indebtedness, more ceding of sovereignty, and more economic misery.*

It appears that waiting for a collapse may be a very bad idea.

In her book, On Revolution, Hannah Arendt describes the anatomy of modern revolutions, such as the Arab Spring. She points out that “Revolutionaries” do not start the revolution, they lay in wait for a collapse of the present system to occur. They then disrupt the organic formation of “local councils” that emerge in the vacuum of leadership: a true, vulnerable democracy. Violence is a hallmark attribute of these “revolutionaries” which typically install tyrannies often worse than their predecessors before any true democracy can take root.

But what if this formation of “local councils” was established well before any crisis occurred? Could a well entrenched, healthy, active and vibrant organic representative democracy survive any shocks sent its way? We think so and so did your founders.

We believe that revitalizing the precinct system is the most energy efficient way to quickly develop a local stabilizing network of like minded individuals. No new infrastructure need be established and we can affect the current political system in the meantime.  Start with yourself, your family, and your neighbors.

If you are in the Mt Pleasant 19 or 39, James island 10, 13 or 17, St. Andrews 10, or Charleston 8 or 13 or the McClellanville or St Paul 2A precincts for Charleston County, please contact us right away!

*(Iceland represents the only outlier in this progression. By repudiating the cowardly strategy of acquiring more debt and allowing for the liquidation of bad investments, their economy has bounced back from total collapse and is now thriving.)

If you’d like to continue independent exploration of the ideas presented in this letter you can start here:


http://www.publicagenda.org/files/revitalizing_democracy.pdf http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-02-01/iceland-proves-ireland-did-wrong-things-saving-banks-instead-of-taxpayer.html



For Liberty,

The Liberty Tree Precinct Project

The Tao of Adversity


“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thou strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10



What kind of person are you? Do you flinch before adversity? Do you give up and go home when things don’t go your way?

Or are you more like the person Charles de Gaulle describes when he says, “A man of character finds a special attractiveness in difficulty, since it is only by coming to grips with difficulty that he can realize his potentialities?”

Certainly we all agree that the challenges before us are great; the obstacles are many; and those that oppose us are strong. A captive media is working hard to conceal the truth from you.

But you must admit that there is an awakening occurring. You see it with the Liberty movement gaining strength. It is happening on the internet, in conversations overheard in the hallways and lunchrooms, the organized meetings convened at churches, cafés, and in private living rooms. It is also happening in cities like Los Angeles, Tampa, St. Louis, and other places, including here in Charleston. If you need proof for yourself, get involved. You’ll see signs of it everywhere.

Despite the size of the problem, it is not insurmountable. As Lao-tzu the Chinese philosopher and father of Taoism is quoted as saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” A more correct interpretation from the original Chinese and consistent with the teachings of Taoism would be, “the journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet.” Rather than emphasizing the first step, Lao-tzu acknowledged that the journey was there regardless of the traveler and that action, or inaction, arises from being.


Whether or not you choose to act is your decision, but the journey still exists whether one embarks or not. We hope you will join us however, because the journey represents, at its minimum, a chance to develop and strengthen a new community of leaders: heroes not afraid to confront challenges and overcome obstacles; champions who aren’t afraid of adversity. This can’t occur without you. Tao teaches us it will occur without you, nonetheless.

And, as Mark Twain states, “the secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and starting on the first one.”

So, let’s get started:

This week we need to organize you to run for Executive Committeeman of precinct James Island 11. You can see if you are eligible to run for this office by clicking on this link: https://info.scvotes.sc.gov/eng/voterinquiry/VoterInformationRequest.aspx?PageMode=VoterInfo

Contact us at the website: https://libertytreeprecinctproject.wordpress.com.

Join us at the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/people/LibertyTree-PrecinctProject/100005765087154

The Approaching Ides of March

The Ides of March, 44 BC

The Ides of March, 44 BC

The midterm elections are now behind us.  If you have ever considered getting involved in local politics to advance Liberty, it is time to think about the upcoming reorganization scheduled in March 2015. You will need a few months to organize for this process.

South Carolina State law requires that political parties reorganize every two years. Each organized precinct elects officers that become members of the Executive Committee. One of the officers, the Executive Committeeman, will set policy for your party. As a participant, you will hear candidates speak often, you will get reports directly from your elected officials and will get to ask them questions, and you will control how the party spends its money.

It is through this process that the Founders envisioned an electorate participating in politics. Your grassroots-style participation is critical for the correct functioning of our Republic. Professional politicians have completely different objectives than the average citizen. They hope you continue to do nothing so that they may continue to grow the State. They hope you continue to cede your responsibility to stop them. Are you happy with the way our political leaders are directing our country? Their goals, almost always opposite of yours, are more easily met with you on the sidelines.

It is that simple.

There is a pervasive political apathy that has seized most Americans. One might call it intentional when you consider that our public school system has entirely eliminated a discussion of “Civics” from its curriculum; that the political parties plan reorganization rather quietly; that they announce it just enough to satisfy legal requirements. But most importantly, it is the media that creates an illusion of real philosophical differences between Democrats and Republicans, when there are really none. (Both parties spend money contributing to the deficit, both parties want war, both parties vote to take away your rights, both parties participate in Crony-Capitalism, both parties ignore the constitution to their benefit.)  When there are differences, they are usually related to a matter of degree or are of a more superficial nature, comparatively.

One Party, Two Heads

One Party, Two Heads

The media perpetuates the myth that there are party leaders that know what’s best for you, offers false choices, and “dumbs down” their message to the lowest IQ of their viewership.  The media’s job is not to inform you any more.  It’s main concern is that you tune in so that they can sell ad revenue.  If it misinforms you, or distracts you, or reforms your opinion in the process, well, that’s “just business”.

Media's Modus Operandi

Media’s Modus Operandi

It is reasonable to assume that this pernicious apathy is a natural response to conflicting messages; the beginnings of a developing cognitive dissonance. It is a conditioned self-protecting response of a brain working normally in an abnormal environment.

In March 2015, the Charleston County Republican Party will organize their precincts and Executive Committee Members and Presidents (and other officers) will be elected.

Can you shake off the apathy?  Liberty is calling.

A World of Debt


“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” – Thomas Jefferson

“If ever again our nation stumbles upon unfunded paper, it shall surely be like death to our body politic. This country will crash.” – George Washington

“We have $128 trillion worth of unfunded liabilities and the total net worth of our country is $94 trillion and we have another $17 trillion worth of debt.”
– Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Oct. 20, 2013

It's a Small World, After All!

It’s a Small World, After All!

In the conclusion of The Financial Report of the US Government, written by the Treasury Department in 2012, the treasury congratulates the administration on enacting ObamaCare as cost savings legislation. At the time of the report, ObamaCare had yet to be fully implemented. It’s problematic rollout and lack-luster enrollment of the young and healthy (required to meet its financial projections) became an embarrassment to the administration.

But assuming that the true goal of the Affordable Care Act was to save the taxpayer money may be too generous. As one financial analyst, David Merkel, writes, “First, the true cost of PPACA was a lie. Taxes were front-ended. Benefits were back-ended. The net benefit is gone now, and we face the black hole of insufficient taxes to meet benefits. Second, Medicare was raided by reducing reimbursements, which Congress then undoes. There is no true savings, and there can’t be; government almost never produces anything as efficiently as the private sector. It is normal for government to downplay the initial cost so that the program will be approved. Once approved, cost overruns are the norm.”

Consistent with this theorem, the LA Times is already reporting that at least $16.5 billion in subsidies paid out to encourage enrollment numbers have pushed projections well above initial estimates. It’s not likely to end there.
Entitlement programs, like ObamaCare, have always been ‘budget busters’. Even before ObamaCare in 2010, costs for entitlement programs as a percent of gross domestic product was like this: Medicaid = 239% at $35 trillion, Social Security = 54% at $8 trillion, and Medicare = 156% at $23 trillion. These three programs alone represent 58% of the entire current federal budget or, in GDP terms, 449%!  Obviously, there is a shortfall between revenues generated and costs for these programs. In the past the US government, through the operations of the treasury department, have made up for this fiscal gap by borrowing. Total borrowing to date is estimated at $17 trillion and it’s continuing to grow.

imageJeffery Berwick of the Dollar Vigilante adds, “That total doesn’t take into account the liabilities of the federal government. These are funds that have been extorted in the past for programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Socialist Insecurity (sic) that are theoretically supposed to be paid back. If accounted for under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), like every other company in the US does, total US government debt and liabilities stands above $90 trillion and is rising at about $5 trillion per year.”

The treasury department’s own official government report inserts one understatement that seems to agree with these harsh assessments:  “But even with these new laws, the Government’s debt-to-GDP ratio is projected to increase continuously over the next 75 years and beyond if current policy is kept in place, which implies that current policy is not sustainable.”

We may be witnessing this same sentiment steadily growing among traditional purchasers of our debt reflected as a lack of appetite for purchasing US treasuries. Thailand was an aggressive net seller of treasuries, dumping one third of her holdings last year in 2013. Russia also cut her holdings by a third, as well during this time. And the official data gets a little murky, but it appears other European central banks were also selling treasuries. China, still a net purchaser of USTs, has slowed its accumulation of debt and has publicly announced looking for ways to diversify her foreign holdings. This predictable behavior of selling government treasuries in the face of irresponsible fiscal behavior results in a fiscal gap that cannot be funded. In the past, these sellers of treasuries (or ‘bond vigilantes’ as they were called), would force our Nation to reign in spending and develop fiscally responsible policies to maintain reasonable foreign appetite for our debt.

Since it appears that ‘bond vigilantes’ are on the move in Asia and Europe, then who must be buying up the slack?

According to the US government’s own official reports, the Caribbean and the tiny nation of Belgium have suddenly developed an immense appetite for USTs, countering the need for fiscal responsibility. Some analysts believe that these nations are acting only as a front for these purchases. David Chu of the China Money Report says, “in reality, it is the Fed doing credit swaps and buying its own financial vomit, i.e., the Fed is buying its own USTs via its QE’s publicly and through front countries like Belgium and the “Caribbean Banking Centers” not so publicly.” In February 2014, the NY Times agreed. “The Federal Reserve was the principal purchaser of United States Treasury securities in 2013,” it printed, providing evidence to support the claim. In simple language: we are now loaning money to ourselves!

And another question one would have to ask is just how much we will need to borrow if we continue along this fiscal path. The difference between anticipated revenues collected and obligations already committed to is enormous, if not breath taking. The Wall Street Journal wrote on June 25, 2013, the “Fiscal gap separating the present value of all future projected federal expenditures -social security, Medicare, medicaid, ObamaCare, defense, gassing up Air Force 1, servicing the existing debt, you name it- and all future federal taxes and other receipts based on the CBOs projection is a staggering $222 trillion.”

So, depending on who you talk to, these obligations going forward through the contracted period (called the ‘infinite horizon’) can vary quite a bit. At its best, it is $178 trillion by conservative (and still stunning) estimates and at its mind numbing worst, it’s $222 trillion dollars.

But that’s just government debt owed by future generations of taxpayers. Most of us already know that current US debt is somewhere between $9-17 trillion. But total debt in the US may be much higher. According to a recent Zerohedge article, when one combines private debt such as mortgages, credit cards, and business obligations along with current government debt, the current account amounts to $60 trillion. This is “27 times more than the $2.2 trillion owed 40 years ago,” the article goes onto say.

According to the Wall Street Journal in May of 2014, a Credit Suisse report estimated private wealth in the US at $72 trillion. Another report released this week by the Federal Reserve estimated new net worth topped $80 trillion. And on June 10th this year, Bloomberg news reported, “private wealth in the Asia-Pacific region excluding Japan jumped 31 percent to $37 trillion in 2013, supporting a 15 percent advance to $152 trillion globally….and expects rich households to have almost $200 trillion worldwide by 2018, with the Asia-Pacific region contributing about half of global growth.”

If these numbers are accurate, then it appears all the wealth of the world present today could not satisfy the loan the US government has taken going forward. It would take half of the wealth of the world to satisfy public and private debt due today. What does that mean if the entire net worth of the world is less than the financial obligations of one country? It would appear that the US is bankrupt.

Politicians and some economists are loathe to express it that way, however. Perhaps a better way, they suggest, is to express these numbers as a percentage of the gross domestic product- the broadest measure of the U.S. economy. Analysts use this information to determine if taxable income can service the debt going forward and could be considered ‘sustainable’. In other words, can the “unfunded obligation through the infinite horizon” be met through taxation within reason?  This is a reasonable consideration given that the net worth of the nation is always changing and that new technologies and services can contribute rapidly to an increasing net worth for any nation or the world, even improving this outlook.  So, let’s go with it.

It is a bit like trying to determine how much house one could afford by taking on a mortgage with consideration to one’s anticipated salary. If, for argument’s sake, one were making a $50,000 salary and had good credit, one might afford a house for $250,000 if the loan were at 5% and fixed over 30 years, for example. That would equate to a mortgage payment of $1300/mos on $4150 take home pay over that same period. And, if one is also lucky or industrious, one’s salary should continue to rise and one’s home should always increase in value (or at least stay the same.). Seems reasonable, right? One might be able to examine the financial situation again in a few years and see that, if no major surprises have occurred and things have gone even modestly as expected, that one’s net wealth has increased over that period, as well. This would be a good measure of financial sustainability, correct? What could possibly go wrong?

So, some analysts believe the current spending environment is within reason with the only evidence provided as the government’s own projections of Social Security costs through the infinite horizon at 1.4% GDP.  Everything is fine based on this one projection (never mind that this is the least costly of the three existing entitlement programs and the costs of ObamaCare have yet to be determined).  If this is working and sustainable, then we should be able to put actual numbers aside and expect to see, in retrospect, a similar trend in America’s net worth:  That it should be increasing.


Absolute net worth figures do show an ever increasing trend (with some expected hiccups).  But if we express the total net worth of the US by the same yardstick- as a percent of GDP- we get an entirely different and much more intuitive trend.  Net liabilities appear to be climbing consistently over time. This is true whether considering the blue line in the graph, (typically overly optimistic stated growth in the economy), but especially true when looking at the red line (adjusted-and actual growth).

Liabilities as a percent GDP

Today, an opinion-editorial in the Wall Street Journal written by past Federal Reserve Governor, Kevin Warsh, summed up America’s debt problem like this: “Wealth creation comes from strong, sustainable growth that turns a proper mix of labor, capital and know-how into productivity, productivity into labor income, income into savings, savings into capital, capital into investment, and investment into asset appreciation.” Borrowing from others does not appear to be a variable in this equation.

According to Warsh, absolute net worth estimates and projections can be, and are, accommodated by fiscal policy, it appears: “Balance-sheet wealth is sustainable only when it comes from earned success, not government fiat.”

For increased spending to be sustainable, GDP must increase- by real growth, not by balance sheet tricks and illusions- so that tax revenues may also increase OR non-sustainable spending needs to stop. Either way, going forward, tax revenues will still need to be large. We’ve already written those contracts to the tune of $178-222 trillion.

Ibn Khaldun, a wise 14th century Muslim philosopher, once said, “it should be known that at the beginning of the dynasty, taxation yields a large revenue from small assessments. At the end of the dynasty, taxation yields a small revenue from large assessments.”

All things considered, the most accurate guess as to what the future holds for us is that we are at the end of our Dynasty.

Ibn Khaldun

Ibn Khaldun


References (in no particular order):



USA Inc.- a Basic Summary of America’s Financial Statements, published by Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers. (Available online thru Scribed)









Why They Hate Peace


Article by Ron Paul via Mises.org
Why They Hate Peace
Posted:Sat, 17 May 2014 00:00:00 -0500

[Editor’s Note: This is a selection from the last chapter of Ron Paul’s A Foreign Policy of Freedom.]

The most succinct statement about how governments get their people to support war came from Hermann Goering at the Nuremberg trials after World War II:

Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

It is rather frightening that a convicted Nazi war criminal latched onto an eternal truth!

It should be harder to promote war, especially when there are so many regrets in the end. In the last 60 years, the American people have had little say over decisions to wage war. We have allowed a succession of presidents and the United Nations to decide when and if we go to war, without an express congressional declaration as the Constitution mandates.

Since 1945, our country has been involved in over 70 active or covert foreign engagements. On numerous occasions we have provided weapons and funds to both sides in a conflict. It is not unusual for our so-called allies to turn on us and use these weapons against American troops. In recent decades we have been both allies and enemies of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and the Islamists in Iran. And where has it gotten us? The endless costs resulting from our foolish policies, in human lives, injuries, tax dollars, inflation, and deficits, will burden generations to come. For civilization to advance, we must reduce the number of wars fought. Two conditions must be met if we hope to achieve this.

First, all military (and covert paramilitary) personnel worldwide must refuse to initiate offensive wars beyond their borders. This must become a matter of personal honor for every individual. Switzerland is an example of a nation that stands strongly prepared to defend herself, yet refuses to send troops abroad looking for trouble.

Second, the true nature of war must be laid bare, and the glorification must end. Instead of promoting war heroes with parades and medals for wars not fought in the true defense of our country, we should more honestly contemplate the real results of war: death, destruction, horrible wounds, civilian casualties, economic costs, and the loss of liberty at home.

The neoconservative belief that war is inherently patriotic, beneficial, manly, and necessary for human progress must be debunked. These war promoters never send themselves or their own children off to fight.

Some believe economic sanctions and blockades are acceptable alternatives to invasion and occupation. But these too are acts of war, and those on the receiving end rarely capitulate to the pressure. More likely they remain bitter enemies, and resort to terrorism when unable to confront us in a conventional military fashion.

Inflation, sanctions, and military threats all distort international trade and hurt average people in all countries involved, while usually not really hurting the targeted dictators themselves. Our bellicose approach encourages protectionism, authoritarianism, militant nationalism, and go-it-alone isolationism. Our government preaches free trade and commerce, yet condemns those who want any restraints on the use of our military worldwide. We refuse to see how isolated we have become. Our loyal allies are few, and while the UN does our bidding only when we buy the votes we need, our enemies multiply. A billion Muslims around the world now see the US as a pariah.

Our military is more often used to protect private capital overseas, such as oil and natural resources, than it is to protect our own borders. Protecting ourselves from real outside threats is no longer the focus of defense policy, as globalists become more influential inside and outside our government.

The weapons industry never actually advocates killing to enhance its profits, but a policy of endless war and eternal enemies benefits it greatly. Some advocate cold war strategies, like those used against the Soviets, against the unnamed “terrorists.” It’s good for business!

Many neoconservatives are not bashful about this:

Thus, paradoxically, peace increases our peril, by making discipline less urgent, encouraging some of our worst instincts, and depriving us of some of our best leaders. The great Prussian general Helmuth von Moltke knew whereof he spoke when he wrote a friend, “Everlasting peace is a dream, not even a pleasant one; war is a necessary part of God’s arrangement of the world. … Without war the world would deteriorate into materialism.” As usual, Machiavelli dots his i’s and crosses the t’s: it’s not just that peace undermines discipline and thereby gives the destructive vices greater sway. If we actually achieved peace, “Indolence would either make (the state) effeminate or shatter her unity; and two things together, or each by itself, would be the cause of her ruin …” This is Machiavelli’s variation on a theme by Mitterrand: the absence of movement is the beginning of defeat. (Michael Ledeen, Machiavelli on Modern Leadership)

Those like Ledeen who approvingly believe in “perpetual struggle” generally are globalists, uninterested in national sovereignty and borders. True national defense is of little concern to them. That’s why military bases are closed in the United States regardless of their strategic value, while several new bases are built in the Persian Gulf, even though they provoke our enemies to declare jihad against us. The new Cold War justifies everything.

War, and the threat of war, are big government’s best friend. Liberals support big government social programs, and conservatives support big government war policies, thus satisfying two major special interest groups. And when push comes to shove, the two groups cooperate and support big government across the board — always at the expense of personal liberty. Both sides pay lip service to freedom, but neither stands against the welfare/warfare state and its promises of unlimited entitlements and endless war.

Note: The views expressed in Daily Articles on Mises.org are not necessarily those of the Mises Institute.

Dr. Ron Paul is a former member of Congress and a Distinguished Counselor to the Mises Institute. See Ron Paul’s article archives.

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