As the Founders understood well, it is hard-to-impossible to preserve limited government at home while maintaining big government abroad. History and experience tell us that one always begets the other. This certainly rings true as we spend trillions of dollars on domestic programs that we match with trillions more overseas. The Founders’ talk of “entangling alliances” requiring “standing armies” was recognition of the inherent dangers of war — and especially permanent war. “Mr. Republican” Sen. Robert Taft would echo similar sentiments a century and a half later in his battles against New Deal liberals. President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the “military-industrial complex” reflected the same concerns within a 20th-century, post-WWII context.
Almost alone, Ron Paul today carries on this important Republican tradition. Like every other conservative, Paul believes that America must have a strong national defense — he simply believes we can no longer afford our current irrational offense.
Unfortunately, unlimited Pentagon spending remains the big government too many Republicans still love. During the Reagan era, when we were fighting a global superpower that possessed thousands of nuclear weapons, this made sense. It does not make sense anymore. Today, we are fighting individuals, or collections of individuals, with infinitely less military capabilities and no particular attachments to nation-states. Ask yourself this: What, exactly, does having thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan do to prevent some sick individual from trying to blow up his underwear on an airplane? Just as important, ask this: Does having thousands of troops in places like Afghanistan make it less likely — or more likely — that some sick individual will try to blow up his underwear on an airplane? Our own military and CIA intelligence tells us that our overseas wars actually encourage terrorist attacks. A majority of the members of the U.S. military agree, or as a Pew Research Poll of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans published in October revealed: “About half (51 percent) of post-9/11 veterans say that the use of military force to fight terrorism creates hatred that breeds more terrorism.
Meanwhile a Tea Party activist writes at The American Thinker:
Ask any conservative about Ron Paul and you will usually hear the following statement: "I love him on fiscal policy but his foreign policy is naive and dangerous." You can also throw in the obligatory "He hates Israel." If someone had asked me about Paul from 9/12/01 through October of 2011, I'd have said the exact same things.
Something about my certitude always felt a bit uncomfortable, though, because I admired the "good parts" of Ron Paul (and later, his son Rand). Having participated in the Tea Party movement since its inception, and then witnessing the phony propaganda concocted to invalidate it, my BS meter began to pin whenever I heard (or spoke) harsh rhetoric denouncing Ron Paul. Since the contradiction bugged me, I decided to take the advice of my twenty-year-old son and read Ron Paul's book, Revolution. This required me to consider ideas which were once unthinkable. I undertook the mission with the promise to think outside my conservative box.
After reading the book, I came away with a completely different understanding of Ron Paul and his philosophy. I'm hoping my Tea Party compatriots, fellow conservatives, and all Americans will step outside their own comfort zones to do the same. It is vital that our nation seriously consider the important constitutional concepts and defense of liberty that Ron Paul espouses.
Editor in Chief, THL
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