Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Right's Redistribution of Wealth

As we as a country battle over the issues of stimulus and health care reform, those of us on the Right side of the argument, arguing from a basis of rampant, big-government overspending, would do well to acknowledge the 9 year old gorilla in the room.

War is still our largest yearly budget item.

If we are to retain our intellectual honesty and credibility in arguing for healthcare reform from the perch of anti-big-government spending, we also need to re-examine how it is we view ourselves as a country in terms of war.

In his book Liberty and Tyranny, Mark Levin defines neoconservatives as those conservatives whose primary concern is that of a strong national defense for the country by the federal government. Indeed, this is the primary responsibility outlined in the Constitution that the federal government is actually supposed to do, as opposed to the myriad items it is expressly directed not to do.

The problem has become, since the failure of communism in the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War, that as a country we have philosophically assumed it to be our duty to spread democracy to all those "less enlightened" countries around the world.

I am 28 years old. We have twice in my lifetime invaded Iraq, both times under false pretenses. I am not some tree-hugging hippie here. Once we have gotten into these conflicts, I have been all for finishing them. We are all on the same team and we should all want to win, once in. But at the same time, we should realize that just as it is ludicrous that the government should expect to be able to obliterate 1/6 of the economy, thereby depleting its revenues, and replace that entire sector with itself, thereby expanding its spending, it is also ludicrous to believe that we can continue to expand our defense spending for the purpose of conducting war abroad without ever stopping.

This is especially the case in terms of the idea of "spreading democracy." Spreading democracy has become the default justification by the Neoconservative Right for the fact that we have spent the past nine years in Iraq, and now are ramping up efforts in Afghanistan.

What everyone on the Right, including the Neoconservative Right, must acknowledge is that the idea of "spreading democracy" is just as socialistic, if not moreso, on a global scale, as is nationalized healthcare on a country-wide scale.

Every dollar that is spent overseas is taken from our pockets and redistributed across the globe to the benefit of other countries. In peaceful countries where we are "forward deployed" to be the on-call default option for NATO, our soldiers are paid and spend their money in those other countries, boosting the economies of those countries. In countries like Iraq that we have invaded under the guise of spreading democracy, but for the actual purpose of attempting to better control the flow of oil, we have spent nearly a trillion dollars and an entire decade's worth of time in establishing a democratic government.

From a global economic standpoint, this may eventually make sense, but only if we were to spend the next decade, and another trillion dollars in overthrowing spreading democracy to Iran, and then yet another decade, and another trillion in overthrowing spreading democracy to Syria. At that point we might control enough of the middle east to disband OPEC and take back the oil operations we installed in the first place, bringing that oil production back under our control. But how long would it take to make back all those trillions? Considering we're talking about an ultimately limited resource, providing funding to the government only via import tarrifs and taxes at home, it would never happen.

In essence, we have, over the past decade, participated in the greatest redistribution of wealth the world has ever seen, allocating a trillion dollars to an overseas empire that cannot be sustained, all in the name of a different kind of altruism.

We on the Right like to rail against our own government for daring to proclaim that they know better than we do how to spend our money when it comes to providing for our own health. If we are intellectually honest on the Right, then, we must also rail against our government for daring to proclaim that countries in the middle east are more deserving of our dollars being spent on improving their democracies than we are. We might ask, "What might that trillion dollars have been spent on here at home to improve our Republic instead?" I do not deign to stoop to the level of the Left and assume it should have been spent on schools or healthcare or welfare in some absent-minded argument that throwing more money at welfare programs would make them better. But one has to wonder, what else might we citizens have done with a trillion extra dollars in our pockets over the past ten years?

It's time that the Right comes to grips with the fact that the government has been spending, and continues to spend, like a drunken sailor, money on all the whores in the foreign port. Like that sailor, it's no surprise that all that spending has us coming back to the states not only broke, but also diseased.


  1. You say that neither Gulf War was justified. OK, tell me the results if Sadam had been let free to continue what he started in Kuwait and gone to Saudi Arabia. Afterall, we get such a small % of our oil from the Mideast, so why should We care? We care because if Sadam had control of that oil, he could destroy the Europe and Southern Asia in a very short time. Ultimately affecting our economy. We learned this in WW1 & WW2. Isolationism is not the answer...

  2. You're smart enough to know the difference between isolationism and non-interventionism, Art.

    It's not isolationism to leave countries alone to battle amongst themselves.

    You're tilting at windmills and arguing subtext, rather than the actual point.