Sunday, August 08, 2010

Thanks for the kind words and even-handed response to my column. As an American soldier, you have much to bring to the discussion I'm trying to advance.

I'm glad you don't think the U.S. should be a world police force. As long as it is a world police force, I can accept the possibility the U.S. may actually do some good for portions of the host countries "inviting" U.S. intervention. I can believe, for example, most Kurds welcome the American military presence in Iraq. Of course, the Kurds aren't the ones bearing the brunt of the collateral damage inflicted on Iraq.

Your experiences in Colombia notwithstanding, I still find it hard to believe the majority of the populace of the typical country on the receiving end of U.S. intervention feels that way. (Check out my article at my Italian parents' view of their "liberation" in World War II, aka, The Good War.) At any rate, the upshot of my article is that the U.S. military empire is anti-American, inflicting great harm on the domestic economy, not that it is necessarily anti-foreigner.

I agree with your assessment of the European welfare states: they are indeed going bankrupt on account of lavish social spending. As a libertarian, I object to both the welfare state and the warfare state, because both are funded via legalized extortion (read: taxation). I oppose all extortion, whether organized or freelance, whether legal or illegal. But if someone holds a gun to my head and tells me to fund one or the other, I'm definitely funding the welfare state. Better the country go bankrupt keeping my fellow Americans fat and psuedo-secure through lavish social spending than "protecting" ingrates halfway around the world through lavish military spending. In my opinion, the American welfare state is less anti-American than the American warfare state.

More fundamentally, I must take issue with your view regarding the inevitability of government wasting our money on one or the other. Ideas matter. If ideas don't matter, then English noblemen were wasting their time presenting their grievances to King John at Runnysmede in 1215. If ideas don't matter, totalitarian states waste precious police and prison resources enacting controls on speech and press. If ideas don't matter, then I don't know why you're wasting your time, and mine, engaging in this impressive exchange of views here at Strike-the-Root.

No, ideas matter. They matter very much.



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