Very Enlightening Ron Paul Speech

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What Happens When the U.S. Intervenes Abroad?

On page 394 of the book Endless Enemies, written in 1984 by Jonathan Kwitny, we read the following illuminating passage:

“It should not be surprising that needless U.S. intervention leads to popular resentment of the U.S. And this, of course, can be marshaled into support for local leaders, sincere or demagogic, who choose to exploit it. The hostility the U.S. sometimes finds overseas isn’t hostility toward the U.S. system, or toward the U.S.  people as they exist at home. It is hostility toward U.S. foreign policy, which usually has nothing to do with the U.S. system.

What we send abroad with our covert and overt military intervention doesn’t resemble democracy or free markets in the slightest. No organization can be more socialistic and antidemocratic than an army, even the American one, and even if it dresses in civvies like the CIA. When our forces intervene, local people don’t see the flag of individual liberty; they see one more meddlesome government bureaucracy, and it’s not even theirs.

Often our main economic contribution to a country is the sale of weapons. These sales are encumbered by all sorts of government regulation and involvement (mostly for good reason, of course – weapons are dangerous) that is uncharacteristic of a free economy. Our concentration on the sale of weapons, and even on major civil development projects, is a concentration on goods bought by governments. Therefore, the sales enhance the socialist part of the purchasing country’s economy, which is counterproductive to our supposed goal.

We continue to press not our system, which encourages free choice, but some convoluted notion of our system, which imposes our choice. We insist on imposing solutions to particular problems involving foreign people. They are asked to live by our choices, when they often don’t want or even understand them. Nor do American voters understand, or necessarily want, the kind of administration that our colonial bureaucrats bring to the countries we take over.”

15 Lessons for a Peaceful and Prosperous Foreign Policy

On pages 108 and 109 of the book Endless Enemies, written in 1984 by Jonathan Kwitny, we read the following brilliant lessons about a proper foreign policy:

“1. The legitimate international interests of any country are first, to be secure from external attack, and second, to be free to engage in peaceful commerce – to buy what it needs and sell what it makes at a fair price.

2. Each country and region has peculiar problems and sources of conflict to which cold war considerations are irrelevant.

3. Intervention by major outside powers in the affairs of smaller countries is usually based on a misunderstanding of what’s going on.

4. Forceful intervention by a big power in a Third World country, no matter how well intentioned, is almost always dramatically harmful to the people who live in the country being intervened in.

5. Intervention by either major power, regardless of what the other is doing, usually tends to be counterproductive for the intervener.

6. Most of the world is in flux, current governments or economic models can’t be assumed to be enduring, and stability in a bad situation is not only elusive but not particularly desirable.

7. Even when a big power marries a charismatic leader seemingly as strong as Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana or the shah of Iran, the marriage, as often as not, ends in divorce.

8. Force creates enmity. It creates respect as well, that is less enduring.

9. Most countries not threatened by attack will tend to gravitate over time toward systems that by example provide the best lives for their people, and toward countries that make the best trading partners.

10. While forceful intervention tends to be wasteful and futile, real advantage lies in the peaceful intervention of good example, and in looking for ways to reduce the use of force in international relations in general.

11. So long as each big power can deliver nuclear weapons to the other, no significant military edge will be gained or lost through local conflicts, except as it might directly halt commerce in vital goods.

12. For purposes of foreign policy, all people share two basic traits: first, resistance to foreigners who try to apply a cosmetic solution to local problems, and second, a desire for peaceful commerce, both in their personal lives and in the lives of their nations – a desire that develops a momentum of its own if let be.

13. The best way the United States can insure access to vital resources is to make itself a trading partner that any country seeking peaceful commerce would naturally want to deal with. This can be achieved in two ways: first, by maintaining a strong domestic economy, and second, by making sure that any leader who comes to power over foreign resources has never been shot at by an American gun.

14. A focus on peaceful commerce as the objective of foreign policy could save enough money from military expenditures, and divert it into the private market for goods and services, to strengthen the U.S. significantly as a commercial entity – and thus to strengthen in as an international power, while providing a substantially better life for the American people at the same time.

15. In short, while the U.S. needs an armed force capable of rebuffing attacks on our territory or our commerce, the loose application of that force only puts our truly vital interests more at risk.”

Economic Freedom Fosters Prosperity

On pages 70 and 71 of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, we read the following:

“Wherever the barriers to the free exercise of human ingenuity were removed, man became rapidly able to satisfy ever widening ranges of desire. And while the rising standard soon led to the discovery of very dark spots in society, spots which men were no longer willing to tolerate, there was probably no class that did not substantially benefit from the general advance. We cannot do justice to this astonishing growth if we measure it by our present standards, which themselves result from this growth and now make many defects obvious. To appreciate what it means to those who took part in it, we must measure it by the hopes and wishes men held when it began; and there can be no doubt that its success surpassed man’s wildest dreams, that by the beginning of the twentieth century, the working man in the Western world had reached a degree of material comfort, security, and personal independence which a hundred years before had seemed scarcely possible.

What in the future will probably appear the most significant and far-reaching effect of this success is the new sense of power over their own fate, the belief in the unbounded possibilities of improving their own lot, which the success already achieved created among men. With the success grew ambition-and man had every right to be ambitious. What had been an inspiring promise seemed no longer enough, the rate of progress far too slow; and the principles which made this progress possible in the past came to be regarded more as obstacles to speedier progress, impatiently to be brushed away, than as the conditions for the preservation and development of what had already been achieved.”

The Parallel Growth of Commerce and Liberty

On page 69 of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, we read the following:

“The gradual transformation of a rigidly organized hierarchic system into one where men could at least attempt to shape their own life, where man gained the opportunity of knowing and choosing between different forms of life, is closely associated with the growth of commerce. From the commercial cities of northern Italy the new view of life spread with commerce to the west and north, through France and the southwest of Germany to the Low Countries and the British Isles, taking firm root wherever there was no despotic political power to stifle it. In the Low Countries and Britain it for a long time enjoyed its fullest development and for the first time had an opportunity to grow freely and to become the foundation of the social and political life of these countries. And it was from there that in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it again began to spread in a more fully developed form to the West and East, to the New World and to the center of the European continent, where devastating wars and political oppression had largely submerged the earlier beginnings of a similar growth.

During the whole of this modern period of European history the general direction of social development was one of freeing the individual from the ties which had bound him to the customary or prescribed ways in the pursuit of his ordinary activities. The conscious realization that the spontaneous and uncontrolled efforts of individuals were capable of producing a complex order of economic activities could come only after this development had made some progress. The subsequent elaboration of a consistent argument in favor of economic freedom was the outcome of a free growth of economic activity which had been the undesigned and unforeseen by-product of politcal freedom.”

How Laws Affect Ideology

On page 48 of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, we read the following:

“… the most important change which extensive government control produces is a psychological change, an alteration in the character of the people. This is necessarily a slow affair, a process which extends not over a few years but perhaps over one or two generations. The important point is that the political ideals of a people and its attitude toward authority are as much the effect as the cause of the political institutions under which it lives. This means, among other things, that even a strong tradition of political liberty is no safeguard if the danger is precisely that new institutions and policies will gradually undermine and destroy that spirit. The consequences can of course be averted if that spirit reasserts itself in time and people not only throw out the party which has been leading them further and further in the dangerous direction but also recognize the nature of the danger and resolutely change their course.”

In the United States we have two parties that have been leading us “further and further in the dangerous direction”: the Democrats and the Republicans.

Unintentional Socialism?

On pages 44 and 45 of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, we read the following:

“Yet though hot socialism is probably a thing of the past, some of its conceptions have penetrated far too deeply into the whole structure of current thought to justify complacency. If few people in the Western world now want to remake society from the bottom up according to some ideological blueprint, a great many still believe in measures which, though not designed completely to remodel the economy, in their aggregate effect may well unintentionally produce this result…. That hodgepodge of ill-assembled and often inconsistent ideals which under the name of the Welfare State has largely replaced socialism as the goal of reformers needs very careful sorting out if its results are not to be very similar to those of full-fledged socialism….

Just because in the years ahead of us political ideology is not likely to aim at a clearly defined goal but toward piecemeal change, a full understanding of the process through which certain kinds of measures can destroy the bases of an economy based on the market and gradually smother the creative powers of a free civilization seems now of the greatest importance. Only if we understand why and how certain kinds of economic controls tend to paralyze the driving forces of a free society, and which kinds of measures are particularly dangerous in this respect, can we hope that social experimentation will not lead us into situations none us want.”