Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Audio & Transcript – Emperor Romney believes that we are cutting too much from our military budget and we need to increase spending so we can continue our multi-war campaign. The problem with this is that, as Anthony Gregory and Brad Birzer write, war always destroys our liberties, it leads to more taxes and makes us slaves to an all-powerful central government. We don’t need one man at the helm trying to make the world perfect… we should learn from tradition and our experiences. Check out today’s audio and transcript for more.
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: So here is Governor Romney campaigning yesterday.
Romney: I don’t think the world is a safer place today. I think the world is in tumult in certain regions of the world. I happen to subscribe to what Ronald Reagan spoke of, which is that America’s strength is the best ally peace has ever known. I want a stronger military. This president, however, is comfortable with $500 billion in cuts to our military over this decade. He has spoken of reducing the size of our Navy further, reducing our purchases of aircraft, reducing the number of active duty personnel we have. My views are totally different. I would add to our Navy. I would increase our ship building from nine a year to 15. I’d add to our purchases of aircraft . . . active duty personnel, and I would make sure our veterans get the care they deserve.
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Mike: Okay, veterans getting care they deserve, you should be all for. [mocking] “Obama savaging the Pentagon, I mean savaging the Pentagon! Why $500 billion over a decade, we just can’t have that. We’d only be able to fight three wars at the same time.” That is a cut to the increase. They have this thing called baseline budgeting. They propose out what each year you’re going to spend and the baseline is where it is this year. Then they add in the inflation. That is guaranteed. There is an increase that is built into all of this. So the Obama budget proposes cutting a measly $50 billion a year from what the Pentagon currently hauls in. Why do you small government conservatives, why do you so desperately desire for the big government Pentagon to get more? The two are not separable. I turn your attention today to my buddy, who is a real libertarian, as I am not, but he is. He’s a very thoughtful libertarian. His name is Anthony Gregory. He’s been on this show. Every time he’s on this show, he generates controversy. Well, he’s about to do it again, even though he’s not here. Gregory has a piece out today. It’s posted at LewRockwell.com. It was originally posted at FFF.org. It’s titled “Noninterventionism: Cornerstone of a Free Society.” I’m only going to obsess over three paragraphs here, that’s the first three. Listen up.
A free society is impossible under an empire. Even the most just war you can imagine is a disaster for liberty and prosperity, as Ludwig von Mises pointed out. An unjust war amounts to murder, mayhem, and mass destruction. And a perpetual state of war guarantees that liberty will never be achieved. James Madison said it very well:
“Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes, and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the may under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and . . . degeneracy of manners and of morals….No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
Indeed, from a purely consequentialist point of view, American has lost most of its freedom during its wars. Even the American Revolution itself had negative effects – martial law, massive debt that ushered in Hamiltonian control of the new republican, and consolidation of power in the national capital. The War of 1812 resulted in martial law in Louisiana, where people were jailed without habeas corpus simply for criticizing military law. A judge was jailed for issuing a habeas corpus writ.
Mike: There’s more to this. I posted it in today’s Pile of Prep. You can read it online at MikeChurch.com. One more:
War gave us the welfare state – first for veterans then for the rest of us. It gave us Prohibition – it was during World War I that beer was targeted, both for its German origin and its popularity on military bases – and Prohibition led to gun control and the continued destruction of the Bill of Rights. War, under Lincoln and Wilson, gave us the corporate state, which is now a permanent feature of American life. War gave us federal meddling in education. It created virtually every precedent by which our liberty is robbed.
It is no exaggeration to say that had America not found itself in those wars, we would be much, much freer – even if a New Deal were passed every decade, even if the Progressive Era had never ended, even if the Great Society were three times as grandiose, even if Obama had been president for the entire last century. There are many threats to liberty, and all are worth taking seriously. But nothing has approached war when it comes to destroying American liberty. And abroad, war has created conditions that almost always lead to less freedom and security, not more, for most people involved.
Mike: Now let’s go to The Imaginative Conservative and the piece I was talking about with Brad Birzer, “Is Ideology Attractive?”
To what end were 205 million human persons—created in the Image of God—murdered in the twentieth century, one must ask? And, why did millions more suffer for being simply human persons, unique, unfathomable, unrepeatable? The answer, unfortunately, is not an easy one, and very few scholars—historians, philosophers, or theologians—have attempted to answer this question.
In 1886 Friedrich Nietzsche, the mad prophet of the modern man, wrote, “The greatest event of recent times—that ‘God is Dead,’ that the belief in the Christian God is no longer tenable—is beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe.”
Mike: Then there’s much more complexity in this. If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the Birzer piece, you’ll find a conclusion.
In an era that shuns true creativity and the finding of one’s place in the Created Order, it should surprise no one that the bored look to those with ideas presented as absolutes. Such absolutes, no matter how false, give the joiner a perceived purpose in a world drastically adrift from its traditional moorings.
There are those who adopt ideology simply as a means of power. Scholars such as Dawson and Hayek have explored this aspect of the ideological regimes. Hayek, in his 1974 Nobel Prize address, called the mentality of the ideologue and his followers “the fatal conceit,” the erroneous belief that any one person or group of persons can control, or even understand, another person. Each being is simply too complex to understand even himself fully! With the fatal conceit, a deluded individual believes he can reshape the world in his own image, overturning centuries of finely-evolved history, morality, philosophy, and genetic selection. Rooted in the English Whig and classical republican traditions, Hayek described it well. Ideologues hate the natural order and the Natural Law. They demand that “everything must be tidily planned” by an “all-powerful central government.” Ironically, as already demonstrated, their attempt to create order only begets severe and violent disorder, the shattering of the soul and the world.
Mike: This is why, ladies and gentlemen, when you go the library at MikeChurch.com, one of the top selections is M.E. Bradford’s book, the best book he ever wrote, the great scholar and constructionist and historian, Mel Bradford. Bradford’s book is titled A Better Guide Than Reason. The better guide than reason is tradition, in case you don’t know. The reason why tradition is a better guide than reason is because tradition is forged, as Birzer correctly points out, over decades and centuries. In other words, there has been trial and error. There has been human experimentation, because humans are fallible. We’re not perfect. It’s impossible for us to be perfect.
So all that you can hope for is to continue to plot and experience life as it comes before you, to learn from your mistakes, to be very cognizant of the history that has gone before you, and to revere it where it’s applicable. This is maybe why there is a natural tendency amongst most conservatives to want to aspire to be founding father-like. I get that and I understand it. The founders weren’t perfect, either. What they did was to take the best of what had gone before them and not ignore it, not pretend that they were superior to it. This is what we do every day, [mocking] “Well, it doesn’t matter what those other empires have done. We’re Americans. We have exceptionalism.”
End Mike Church Show Transcript