Republic, Not Empire, by Jacob G. Hornberger

The basic premise of this piece is the same as SLL’s “In Search of Monsters“: the US government should mind its own business, and when it does not do so abroad, it will not do so at home. The piece also cites the same famous speech by John Quincy Adams that SLL’s article did. From Jacob G. Hornberger at the Future of Freedom Foundation,

The following is a modified version of the speech I delivered at the Ron Paul Institute’s “Peace and Prosperity” conference in Virginia on September 10, 2016.

On the Fourth of July in 1821, John Quincy Adams delivered one of the most remarkable speeches in American history. The speech is entitled, “In Search of Monsters to Destroy.” In his speech, Adams described America’s founding principles on foreign policy. He pointed out that there are lots of bad, monstrous things that go on in the world — dictatorships, tyranny, famines, starvation, wars, discord, corruption, and the like. America, however, does not go abroad in search of such monsters and attempt to save people from them. Instead, Adams said, Americans would strive to build a model society of freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony here at home for the world to emulate and also to serve as a sanctuary for people who flee such monsters.

Adams was building on the ideas and the philosophy of people like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who had spoken against America’s ever entering into alliances with other countries or being part of blocs to serve as counterweights to other blocs and against bearing enmity against particular nations.

America’s founding governmental structure did not permit it to go abroad and intervene in the affairs of other nations. The Constitution had called into existence a limited-government republic, one that had a basic military force but nothing like the enormous military-intelligence establishment that we have today. That’s because of the deep antipathy that our American ancestors had toward standing armies, which, they believed, posed a giant threat to the citizens of a nation, directly as well as indirectly through the incessant wars in which standing armies inevitably embroil a nation. As James Madison, the father of the Constitution had pointed out, of all the enemies to liberty, war is the biggest because it encompasses all the other ones, including centralization of power and ever-increasing debts and taxes.

Adams added an admonition in his speech. He said that if America were ever to abandon its non-interventionism foreign policy, she would become like a “dictatress” — that is, a government that would wield and exercise dictatorial powers, both at home and abroad, and that would begin behaving like a dictator. The point was clear: To remain free, America would have to keep a constitutionally limited-government republic. Abandoning that governmental structure would mean abandoning a free society.

Let’s jump ahead 140 years to the year 1961, when President Dwight Eisenhower delivered another remarkable, even shocking, speech. It was his Farewell Address after serving eight years as president. Ike pointed out that America’s federal governmental structure had undergone a fundamental, almost revolutionary, change. The federal government had been converted into a national-security state, which he called the “military-industrial complex,” which consisted primarily of the Pentagon, the CIA, the NSA, and the ever-growing multitudes of weapons producers and “defense” contractors who were feeding at the public trough.

Eisenhower, who had served as Supreme Allied Commander in World War II and, therefore, had a good understanding of militaries and military establishments, issued a stunning warning to the American people in his Farewell Address. He told them that the military-industrial complex posed a grave threat to the democratic processes and liberties of the American people.

How had this remarkable change in governmental structure come about?

To continue reading: Republic, Not Empire


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