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First, let me make this perfectly clear: I am an anarchist (or, more specifically, an anarcho-capitalist). I do not support any kind of government, including a president. The last election I voted in was for Ross Perot and I will not vote in this upcoming election.


When I see trash like Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry's latest article "Hey Ron Paul Fans: Hope You Know That If America Stopped Being The World's Policeman, America's Economy Would Collapse," I'm incited to respond.

He's an isolationist: he thinks America shouldn't be the world's policeman.

Ron Paul is NOT an isolationist. This is a slur that statist Keynesian warmongers (or do I repeat myself?) throw around when they want to cast doubt on anyone who speaks out against war, hegemony, and on unlimited government spending for both. If Ron Paul was really an isolationist, then you'd have to call Thomas Jefferson an isolationist too. After all, TJ is the one who advised "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations - entangling alliances with none." Ron Paul is a man who lives by such principles. Who would you rather have as president: Barack Obama or Thomas Jefferson?

Here's the problem: this would wreck the US economy, and the world economy.

ORLY? Let's take a look at the US and world economies, shall we? They're in terrific shape now, right? A few facts: the real US unemployment rate is comparable to the Great Depression. (Even Obama's former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee admits the government is fudging the numbers.) Without the Federal Reserve printing gobs of dollars, the US would default on its debts, most major banks would crash, and most major automakers would go out of business (which is why they had to be bailed out). Let's not forget about all of those emergency meetings in Europe around what's happening in PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain).

Make no mistake: not one of Ron Paul's policies have gotten us here. It is specifically the policies of statist Keynesian warmongers that have currently wrecked the US and world economies. After all, those are the economic policies we've been forced to follow for decades. Or are you happy with where the economic policies of the Alan Greenspans and Paul Krugmans of the world have brought us?

But foreign wars are by far the least important part of America's duty as the world's policeman.

I just looked through the Constitution again, including the enumerated powers - the document that provides the sole basis for the government. Not once did I see anything about the power to police the world. Additionally, I found this statement in Article I, section 8: "To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years." Personally, I agree with Lysander Spooner that the "Constitution has no inherent authority or obligation." But, if you are going to at least agree that the Constitution is the foundation of the US government, then you're openly faking reality that America has a duty to be the world's policeman.

What matters about America being the world's policeman, and America's troops being abroad, is all the troops that don't do any fighting.

One word comes to mind, courtesy of the CIA: blowback. In their spare time of not doing any fighting, the troops stationed at approximately 700 bases in 130 countries - that aren't legally allowed to be there per the Constitution - are causing trouble, inciting violence, and causing much of the world's hatred of America. Proof? 9/11. Iran taking US hostages. As Ron Paul said, "They don't come here to attack us because we're rich and we're free. They come and they attack us because we're over there. I mean, what would we think if we were - if other foreign countries were doing that to us?" Or would you prefer to believe George Bush who thinks they hate us for our freedom?

From bases in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, the US military protects the world's shipping lanes, making sure the clockwork of the global economy runs smoothly and goods and oil can be shipped to and back.

Putting aside for a moment that there are private companies who do this, you should ask yourself: why it is that big businesses like oil companies get "free" security protection while other businesses have to pay for their own security? Can't they afford it with their billions in profits? The author even acknowledges it: "Saudi kings and Greek shipping magnates don't pay for the security that the US provides. And the U.S. is paying for everyone else's security." And should I stop flogging Groby with the lack of enumerated powers in the Constitution for protecting the world's shipping lanes, as I expect him to ignore it anyway?

This is the part of the global American military footprint that actually matters, not the wars.

Right. Wars don't matter. Nothing more needs to be said about that statement.

These wars may be very bad ideas, but Ron Paul and his ilk don't just want to end those wars. They want to end America's global military hegemony.

For shame! How dare people want to end the wars and America's hegemony?! Which would you rather have - peace or war?

And it should be obvious by now that this would be like taking a wrecking ball to the American economy.

(Looks at American economy...) So what do we see? Government spending growing exponentially. Government debt exploding. Interest payments spiraling out of control. Household debt soaring. Total debt at about 360% GDP. Tens of thousands of factories shut down and millions of jobs going overseas. Real unemployment rates and duration stagnant or increasing. Value of US dollar declining about 96%. Monetary base shooting beyond the moon. Inflation. No end to any of it in sight. And Ron Paul's policies not responsible one iota for any of it. The wrecking ball has already done its dirty work, but who was the wrecking crane's operator?

Everyone takes it as a granted that you can load a ship full of oil in Saudi Arabia and take it to China and not have anyone steal it. And that you can load a ship full of toys and iPhones in China and take it to the US and not have anyone steal it.

Uhm... Perhaps that's because pirates aren't after the cargo - they're after "human cargo" (i.e., hostages, and the ransoms that come for them). It's not liking stealing a TV and bringing it home or selling it. Do you really think pirates are going to be able to make their getaway in an oil supertanker?

The reason why this happens is because there is a benign, global military hegemon which ensures the security of the world's shipping lanes, on which the globalized world economy, and therefore the U.S. economy, depends.

Definition of benign: "of a gentle disposition... of a mild type or character that does not threaten health or life." (Snorts at the thought of claiming the US military has a gentle disposition that doesn't threaten health or life. How do people do that and keep a straight face?) Definition of hegemony: "preponderant influence or authority over others : domination." Examples of US military hegemony: Iraq, Afghanistan. Definition of contradiction: "a statement or phrase whose parts contradict each other."

Every era of successful globalization, from Pericles to Queen Victoria, has involved a naval hegemon to ensure the security of shipping, and therefore commerce.

Under the tutelage of Orwell, warmongering is never complete without redefining terms. No longer is imperialism "the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas" or, more broadly, "the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence." Now it's called "successful globalization." Do we really want to start redefining terms in this way?

And it's everything libertarians abbhor (sic): basically everyone except the U.S. is getting a free lunch. Saudi kings and Greek shipping magnates don't pay for the security that the US provides. And the U.S. is paying for everyone else's security. But actually, the U.S. gets a lot more out of it than it spends, because it gets to be at the center of safe, global free trade.

I'm not a libertarian, but I once was, and so I understand that statists constantly misrepresent what libertarians want. At the most fundamental level, libertarians believe in the non-aggression principle. Libertarians aren't much interested in the free lunch; they are very interested when governments use aggressive force to steal in the name of the "public good." The author makes this wild, unsubstantiated claim that the US gets more out of it than it spends, but then goes even further to make the absurd claim that this is characteristic of "free trade." When libertarians speak of free trade, they mean this: "Free trade really means freedom- the freedom to buy and sell goods and services free from government interference." In other words, government managing trade is the opposite of free trade. Also, Gobry is just using Newspeak again by claiming that protectionism is free trade while simultaneously ignoring that wars are the biggest barriers to free trade. Do you really believe that free trade is defined by tariffs, the World Trade Organization, and government trade agreements?

There's no way around it: without this trade subsidy that the U.S. provides the world, which costs $700 billion per year in military budget but probably brings back trillions in value to the U.S. economy, and trillions more to the world, the cost of everything would automatically rise, especially the cost of oil and the cost of anything that's on store shelves.

"Probably." Get that? No proof - just unsubstantiated claims. One of the continuing problems that statists ignore is that central planners haven't any way to determine whether an amount is the proper cost for a service. Is $700 billion too large or too small a number? There's no way to tell. With the free market, you have supply, demand, and prices that tell producers how much of a given product or service to produce. It's a "built-in natural selection mechanism." You also have competition driving prices down. You don't get any of those signals with government-provided services. That's one of the reasons governments never really shrink - there aren't any signals for proper resource allocation.

The hyperbole that the cost of everything would rise has a shred of truth only if you ignore where the money comes from in the first place: the taxpayer. It is the taxpayer who is currently funding that $700 billion. If that $700 billion goes away, taxpayers should have $700 billion more to spend. Of course, the author could claim that by centralizing the military, the $700 billion is less than it would be if private competitors offered the service. Of course, he would be wrong - the free market is always more effective and efficient at providing services than the government. How do you know? Take technology, for example. Technology prices continue to go down, while quality (e.g., processing power, functionality) continues to go up. That's what happens when you have competition with low government involvement. Compare that with healthcare - a highly regulated industry. Costs continue to go up, up, up, while quality continues to go down.

"Subsidy." Get that? Crony capitalism is all about subsidizing the rich at the expense of everyone else. Ron Paul wants to get rid of crony capitalism and subsidies completely. The author wants the opposite - "let the subsidies continue!" he implicitly declares. How are the consequences of corporatism working out for ya' so far?

But let's imagine an ideal libertarian scenario. Let's imagine that instead of a specific country, or even set of countries, global security is provided by private actors through some combination of mercenaries and insurance. By definition this would still raise the cost of global trade dramatically. Those mercenaries and insurance providers would still have to be paid, and those costs would still be reflected in the price of shipping. So it would still amount to a huge global tariff.

Uh, no. Again, he is ignoring that those current costs are paid by taxpayers in the first place. With more money in their hands, taxpayers can make their own choices about what products and services they want. These are the kinds of missing signals "inherent in all government enterprise." Also, a tariff is specifically a government tax. Additionally, we shouldn't forget that so many jobs have left America. Assuming for a moment that products produced internationally would be more expensive without the military subsidy, perhaps some of those products could then be produced more cheaply in the US, thus bringing the jobs back?

All but the most hardcore libertarians realize that government has a role in providing for the public good, things that benefit everyone but that it doesn't make sense for any individual actor to pay for.

How statists do love the term "public good!" It's the term they use for crony capitalism. After all, when the banks, AIG, and the auto manufacturers were bailed out, it was for the public good, right? As we lost our homes and our jobs, we all benefited from the bankers being protected from financial destruction, right? Wait - are you going to tell me that you didn't benefit from the bankers getting $70 billion in bonuses at your expense?

Like it or not, global American military hegemony is a public good.

Do me a favor please: ask the dead Iraqis and Afghans how "good" they think American's military hegemony is. Oh, that's right. You can't. They're dead. Well, maybe you can try to ask their families... that is, if they're not dead too.

When libertarians and isolationists talk about the U.S. being "the world's policeman", they talk in terms of a) politics and b) foreign wars. But the parts that matter are about a) economics and b) preventing wars.

Well, our economies suck right now. And, not only are we not preventing wars, but the US government is actually starting new ones. So, even on the author's "parts that matter," the US government is failing... and so is his argument. If he wants to look at the facts of which he claims he is so fond, let's look at what does improve economies. Ever heard of the depression in 1920 - 1921? No? Neither have most people. Know why?

What matters in policing a city isn't the SWAT team, it's the cops who walk the beat and take care of the riff-raff so that the SWAT team only has to come out once in a while.

Ah, yes. The "riff-raff." You know who they are. They're anti-war activists. They're protestors and passer-bys at political conventions. They're people who sell lemonade. They're cancer survivors. Phew. I feel so much safer now from the riff-raff, don't you?

What [Ron Paul] and other isolationists want is to end American global military hegemony. And facts are stubborn: like it or not, doing that would wreck the global and U.S. economy.

Facts are indeed stubborn. Is that the reason the author doesn't want to look at them?

Ron Paul and his fans should come to terms with that.

He has, and we have. Again, I won't vote in any election that sanctions government, but Ron Paul is one of my heroes. He is a man of moral principles. He is a man who doesn't ignore facts. He is a man who has more economic sense in his pinky than the entire Federal Reserve Board, and knows exactly what to do to get us out of this economic mess. He is a man dedicated to civil liberties. He is a man of peace.

And, if I voted, Ron Paul is the man I would vote for. It's time you come to terms with that.


Original posting by bindependent on Aug 23, 2011 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=629

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