Very Enlightening Ron Paul Speech

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.”

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.”

Original, 19th Century, Liberalism

On pages 45 and 46 of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, Hayek writes:

“But there is one point of phraseology which I ought to explain here to forestall any misunderstanding. I use throughout the term ‘liberal’ in the original nineteenth century sense in which it is still current in Britain. In current American usage it often means very nearly the opposite of this. It has been part of the camouflage of leftish movements in this country, helped by the muddleheadedness of many who really believe in liberty, that ‘liberal’ has come to mean the advocacy of almost every kind of government control. I am still puzzled why those in the United States who truly believe in liberty should not only have allowed the left to appropriate this almost indispensable term but should even have assisted by beginning to use it themselves as a term of opprobrium. This seems to be particularly regrettable because of the consequent tendency of many true liberals to describe themselves as conservatives….

But true liberalism is still distinct from conservatism, and there is danger in the two being confused. Conservatism, though a necessary element in any stable society, is not a social program; in its paternalistic, nationalistic, and power-adoring tendencies it is often closer to socialism than true liberalism; and with its traditionalistic, anti-intellectual, and often mystical propensities it will never, except in short periods of disillusionment, appeal to the young and all those others who believe that some changes are desirable if this world is to become a better place. A conservative movement, by its very nature, is bound to be a defender of established privilege and to lean on the power of government for the protection of privilege. The essence of the liberal position, however, is the denial of all privilege, if privilege is understood in its proper and original meaning of the state granting and protecting rights to some which are not available on equal terms to others.”

This type of liberalism is also known as Classical Liberalism.

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.”

Using War to Manipulate Public Opinion

Economic historian Bruce Caldwell, in his introduction to The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek, writes the following about what happens during times of war:

“…. it is during  such times when hard-won civil liberties are most likely to be all-too-easily given up. Even more troubling, politicians instinctively recognize the seductive power of war. Times of national emergency permit the invocation of a common cause and a common purpose. War enables leaders to ask for sacrifices. It presents an enemy against which all segments of society may unite. This is true of real war, but because of its ability to unify disparate groups, savvy politicians from all parties find it effective to invoke war metaphors in a host of contexts. The war on drugs, the war on poverty, and the war on terror are but three examples from recent times. What makes these examples even more worrisome than true wars is that none has a logical endpoint; each may be invoked forever.”