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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘national-security state’

Terminate NATO – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on March 22, 2021

As Moller argues, however, Russia poses no real threat to Europe and, therefore, cannot be seriously considered to be a justification for NATO. Instead, she argues, it’s time to replace Russia with China, owing to China’s rise as an international powerhouse. The reasoning is classic empire-think: If a nation starts to prosper and rise, it’s best to put it down before it gets too large and powerful.

How about just leaving China and Russia alone? What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with other nations becoming prosperous? The fact is that NATO should never have been established in the first place. Moreover, the biggest mistake in U.S. history was to convert the federal government to a national-security state. The best thing American could do now is terminate NATO and restore a limited-government republic to our land.

https://www.fff.org/2021/03/19/terminate-nato/

by Jacob G. Hornberger

The Washington Post has published a long piece calling for NATO to take on a new official enemy — China. The piece is written by Sara Bjerg Moller, an assistant professor in the School of Diplomacy and International Relations at Seton Hall University. She argues that after 30 years since losing the Soviet Union as its official enemy and struggling to find a replacement to justify its continued existence, a perfect replacement would be China.

I’ve got a better idea. Let’s just put NATO out of its misery and terminate it.

After all, let’s not forget NATO’s original mission: to defend Europe from the possibility of an invasion by the Soviet Union, which had been America’s and Britain’s World War II partner and ally but which had been converted to their official enemy at the end of the war.

But the likelihood of a Soviet invasion of Europe was always nil. The Soviet Union had been decimated by World War II, especially as a result of the German invasion of the country. Even though the invasion was ultimately repelled and Germany was defeated, the Soviet Union’s industrial capacity had been destroyed, not to mention the millions of Russian citizens who had been killed. The last thing the Soviet Union wanted was another war, especially given that the United States possessed nuclear weapons and had shown a willingness to employ them against large cities.

The advocates of a national-security state in the United States, however, needed a new official enemy to replace Nazi Germany, especially to justify the conversion of the U.S. government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, a type of governmental structure with omnipotent, non-reviewable powers. The Soviet Union and “godless communism” fit the bill perfectly. The American people were then inculcated with the notion that there was an international communist conspiracy to take over the United States and the rest of the world that was based in Moscow, Russia.

To convince Americans and western Europeans that the Soviet Union posed a grave threat to them, U.S. officials pointed to the postwar Soviet occupations of Eastern Europe and East Germany as examples of communist aggression. They apparently forgot that President Franklin Roosevelt had delivered such lands into the hands of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who FDR affectionately referred to as his “Uncle Joe,” at their wartime summit in Yalta. Was it really too surprising that Stalin accepted FDR’s gift, especially given that Eastern Europe and East Germany would serve as a buffer against another German invasion of the Soviet Union?

It was within this fervent anti-communist environment that NATO was formed. But in 1989, the Cold War suddenly and unexpectedly came to an end, which, needless to say, put the U.S. national-security establishment and NATO into a panic. After all, the Cold War was the justification for both of these institutions. With no Cold War, they could both be dismantled.

Instead, the national-security establishment simply went into the Middle East and began poking hornets’ nest, which ultimately brought terrorist retaliation, which in turn brought the “war on terrorism,” another racket that has kept the national-security establishment in high cotton.

Meanwhile, unwilling to let Russia go as an official enemy, NATO began gobbling up former members of the Warsaw Pact, with the aim of placing U.S. troops and missiles ever closer to Russia’s borders and with the hope of provoking a reaction, which ultimately came about in Ukraine.

As Moller argues, however, Russia poses no real threat to Europe and, therefore, cannot be seriously considered to be a justification for NATO. Instead, she argues, it’s time to replace Russia with China, owing to China’s rise as an international powerhouse. The reasoning is classic empire-think: If a nation starts to prosper and rise, it’s best to put it down before it gets too large and powerful.

How about just leaving China and Russia alone? What’s wrong with that? What’s wrong with other nations becoming prosperous? The fact is that NATO should never have been established in the first place. Moreover, the biggest mistake in U.S. history was to convert the federal government to a national-security state. The best thing American could do now is terminate NATO and restore a limited-government republic to our land.

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger

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.

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The Omnipotent Power to Assassinate – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on February 16, 2021

For some 150 years, the federal government lacked the power to assassinate people. For the last 75 years, however, the federal government has wielded and actually exercised the omnipotent power to assassinate, including against American citizens.

How did it acquire this omnipotent power? Certainly not by constitutional amendment. It acquired it by default — by converting the federal government after World War II from a limited-government republic to a national-security state.

https://www.fff.org/2021/02/12/the-omnipotent-power-to-assassinate-2/

by Jacob G. Hornberger

It goes without saying that the Constitution called into existence a government with few, limited powers. That was the purpose of enumerating the powers of the federal government. If the Constitution was bringing into existence a government of unlimited or omnipotent powers, then there would have been no point in enumerating a few limited powers. In that event, the Constitution would have called into existence a government with general, unlimited powers to do whatever was in the interests of the nation.

If the Constitution had proposed a government of omnipotent powers, there is no way the American people would have accepted it, in which case America would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation. Our American ancestors didn’t want a government of omnipotent powers. They wanted a government of few, limited, enumerated powers.

Among the most omnipotent powers a government can wield is the power of government officials to assassinate people. Our American ancestors definitely did not want that type of government. That is why the power to assassinate is not among the enumerated powers of government in the Constitution.

Despite the enumerated-powers doctrine, our American ancestors were still leery. They knew that the federal government would inevitably attract people who would thirst for the power to assassinate people. So, to make certain that federal officials got the point, the American people enacted the Fifth Amendment after the Constitution was ratified. It expressly prohibited the federal government from taking any person’s life without due process of law.

Due process of law is a term that stretches all the way back to Magna Carta. At a minimum, it requires formal notice of charges and a trial before the government can take a person’s life. At the risk of belaboring the obvious, assassination involves taking a person’s life without notice or trial.

For some 150 years, the federal government lacked the power to assassinate people. For the last 75 years, however, the federal government has wielded and actually exercised the omnipotent power to assassinate, including against American citizens.

How did it acquire this omnipotent power? Certainly not by constitutional amendment. It acquired it by default — by converting the federal government after World War II from a limited-government republic to a national-security state.

A national-security state is a totalitarian form of governmental structure. North Korea is a national security state. So is Cuba. And China, Egypt, Russia, and Pakistan. And the United States, along with others.

A national-security state is based on a vast, all-powerful military-intelligence establishment, one that, as a practical matter, wields omnipotent powers. Thus, when the CIA, one of the principle components of America’s national-security state, was called into existence in 1947, it immediately assumed the power to assassinate. In fact, as early as 1952 the CIA published an assassination manual that demonstrates that the CIA was already specializing in the art of assassination (as well as cover-up) in the early years of the national-security state.

In 1954, the CIA instigated a coup in Guatemala on grounds of “national security.” The aim of the coup was to oust the country’s democratically elected president, Jacobo Arbenz, and replace him with a military general. As part of the coup, the CIA prepared a list of people to be assassinated. To this day, the CIA will not disclose the names of people on its kill list (on grounds of “national security,” of course) but it is a virtual certainty that President Arbenz was at the top of the list for establishing a foreign policy of peace and friendship with the communist world. To his good fortune, he was able to flee the country before they could assassinate him.

In 1970, the CIA was attempting to prevent Salvador Allende from becoming president of Chile. Like Arbenz, Allende’s foreign policy was based on establishing a peaceful and friendly relationship with the communist world. The CIA’s plan included inciting a coup led by the Chilean military. However, the overall commander of Chile’s armed forces, Gen. Rene Schneider, stood in the way. His position was that he had taken an oath to support and defend the constitution and, therefore, that he would not permit a coup to take place. The CIA conspired to have him violently kidnapped to remove him as an obstacle to the coup. During the kidnapping attempt, Schneider was shot dead.

Schneider’s family later filed suit for damages arising out of Schneider’s wrongful death. The federal judiciary refused to permit either U.S. officials or the CIA to be held accountable for Schneider’s death. Affirming the U.S. District Court’s summary dismissal of the case, the D.C. Court of Appeals held that U.S. officials who were involved in the crime could not be held liable since they were simply acting within the course and scope of their employment. Moreover, the U.S. government couldn’t be held liable because, the court stated, it is sovereignly immune.

Central to the Court’s holding was what it called the “political question doctrine.” It holds that under the Constitution, the judicial branch of the government is precluded from questioning any “political” or “foreign policy” decision taken by the executive branch.

Actually though, the Constitution says no such thing. It is in fact the responsibility of the judicial branch to enforce the Constitution against the other branches, including the national-security branch. That includes the Fifth Amendment, which expressly prohibits the federal government from taking people’s lives without due process of law.

So, why did the federal judiciary come up with this way to avoid taking on the CIA? Because it knew that once the federal government was converted to a national-security state, the federal government had fundamentally changed in nature by now having a branch that could exercise omnipotent powers, such as assassination, with impunity. The federal judiciary knew that there was no way that the judicial branch of government could, as a practical matter, stop the national-security branch with assassinating people. To maintain the veneer of judicial power, the judiciary came up with its ludicrous “political question doctrine” to explain why it wasn’t enforcing the Constitution

Once Pinochet took office after the coup in Chile, the Chilean judiciary did the same thing as the U.S. judiciary. It deferred to the power of the Pinochet military-intelligence government, declining to enforce the nation’s constitution against it. Like the U.S. judiciary, the Chilean judiciary recognized the reality of omnipotent power that comes with a national-security state. Many years later, the Chilean judiciary apologized to the Chilean people for abrogating its judicial responsibility.

The webpage for our upcoming conference “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination” is now live and taking registrations. Admission: free.EMAIL


This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger

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.

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Libertarian Silence on the Kennedy Assassination – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on February 10, 2021

This is the same conservative mindset that has led reform-oriented libertarians to maintain a strict silence in the Kennedy assassination. If the U.S. national-security establishment determined that Kennedy’s policies posed a grave threat to national security, then that it is the end of the matter for conservative-oriented libertarians, just as it was when the Chilean national-security establishment determined that Allende’s policies posed a grave threat to national security in Chile.

https://www.fff.org/2021/02/08/libertarian-silence-on-the-kennedy-assassination/

by Jacob G. Hornberger

One of the most noteworthy aspects of the Kennedy assassination is the silence among conservative, reform-oriented libertarians on the national-security state’s assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

What’s up with that?

After all, wouldn’t you think that a domestic regime-change operation against a U.S. president would be something every libertarian would be condemning, even if it did happen more than 50 years ago? Libertarians, after all, condemn U.S. regime-change operations against foreign rulers that preceded the Kennedy assassination. Why the silence on a domestic regime-change operation?

The reason for this deafening silence lies with the conservative baggage that reform-oriented libertarians brought with them when they joined the libertarian movement. We’ve seen this baggage, of course, with respect to such conservative-oriented reform proposals as school vouchers, health-savings accounts, Social Security “privatization,” immigration-control reform, and much more.

Perhaps the biggest and heaviest baggage that conservative-oriented libertarians have brought with them into the libertarian movement is with respect to their support for the national-security establishment or for what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex” or for what the Founding Fathers called “standing armies.”

Ever since World War II, conservatives have been unabashed supporters of the national-security state way of life. They were convinced that it was necessary to convert the federal government from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, which is a totalitarian form of governmental structure. They were convinced and remain convinced that the conversion was necessary to protect us from a communist takeover during the Cold War.

Conservatives also favor the omnipotent powers that are wielded by the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, including the power of assassination. They are convinced that omnipotent government is necessary to keep us safe and secure, not only from communists but also from terrorists and other dangerous creatures in the world.

It’s that conservative baggage that the reform-oriented libertarians have imported into the libertarian movement.

Now, there is one difference between conservatives and conservative-oriented libertarians. The former support unconditionally whatever the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA determine is necessary to keep us safe or what is in the interests of “national security.” The latter objects to abuses that these agencies commit and call for reforming them.

But there is one overriding commonality between conservatives and conservative-oriented libertarians: their joint devotion to the very existence of the national-security state. Search the articles, books, blog posts, speeches, and conferences of the conservative-oriented libertarians and you will hardly ever find any call for the dismantling of America’s national-security establishment and the restoration of America’s founding governmental system of a limited-government republic.

At most, you’ll find a call for repealing the Patriot Act, or for some sort of reform proposal on NSA surveillance, or maybe for more oversight of the FISA court, or for more judicious intervention in foreign affairs, or for a call to end America’s “forever wars.” But what you won’t see is a call to dismantle the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA and restore a limited-government republic to our land.

What does this conservative baggage have to do with the Kennedy assassination?

Conservatives and conservative-oriented libertarians have long extolled the Chilean regime of conservative military General Augusto Pinochet. They love the guy because he was a conservative — a Thatcher-like conservative — who brought the “Chicago Boys” and their “free enterprise” proposals to Chile, including Social Security “privatization.”

When you remind such libertarians that Pinochet gained power through a domestic regime-change operation against a democratically elected president, their answer is an revealing one — they say that the operation was necessary to save Chile from a president whose policies posed a grave threat to Chile’s national security.

When you point out to them that the Chilean constitution did not provide for a coup as a way to save the nation from a president whose policies ostensibly posed a grave threat to national security, their response is predictable: The constitution is not a “suicide pact,” they say. If it’s necessary for the national-security establishment to violate it to save the nation, then so be it.

When you point out that Pinochet’s goons rounded, incarcerated, tortured, raped, abused, executed, or disappeared more than 50,000 innocent people, including two Americans, they respond that that was unfortunate but that it must be weighed against Pinochet’s ostensible saving of the nation from a democratically elected president whose policies were supposedly leading the nation to destruction.

This is the same conservative mindset that has led reform-oriented libertarians to maintain a strict silence in the Kennedy assassination. If the U.S. national-security establishment determined that Kennedy’s policies posed a grave threat to national security, then that it is the end of the matter for conservative-oriented libertarians, just as it was when the Chilean national-security establishment determined that Allende’s policies posed a grave threat to national security in Chile.

Equally important, if the U.S. national-security establishment wants to keep its role in the Kennedy regime-change operation covert, just as it has in many of its foreign regime-change operations, then that too is the end of the matter for conservative-oriented libertarians. Our national-security officials know what’s best to protect us and keep us safe, they believe, and we must defer to their judgment.

Fortunately, however, there are many libertarians who reject this conservative national-security state mindset. They are skeptical of the official narrative in the Kennedy assassination but have not delved deeply into the matter. They continue to seek understanding about this pivotal event in the history of the U.S. national-security state.

That’s the purpose of our upcoming conference — “The National Security State and the Kennedy Assassination” — to provide an easy-to-understand synopsis of the JFK assassination — why he was assassinated and the adverse consequences the assassination has had on the nation — and why it is imperative that we restore a limited-government republic to our land if we want a genuinely free, peaceful, prosperous, and harmonious society.

Our conference website is forthcoming. Mark your calendar: Wednesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. for the first presentation and continuing weekly every Wednesday evening after that through April 21. Registration will be required but admission will be free.EMAIL


This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger

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.

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