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One of the underlying themes of this column is national defense. If
this theme baffles or disturbs you, perhaps it is because (on some
level) you don’t approve of America as a nation. Perhaps you accept
internationalist or separatist ideologies which oppose the sovereignty
of the United States. Perhaps any form of nationalism makes you
uncomfortable. You might also object to national defense because you
are a pacifist; or maybe, like many in this country, you don’t believe
that America has enemies, that war is obsolete and nobody would ever
It’s important to be clear about what we believe and where that
promises to take us. If we believe there are no foreign powers
threatening us, then we’d better be right; for any error in this regard,
in the nuclear age, could be fatal. Therefore, the issue of Chinese and
Russian war preparations cannot be passed over lightly. As citizens of
a free country we must become masters of the details, who know the
difference between reality and deceptive propaganda.
America has been bombarded by a lot of false information and bad
ideas over the past four decades. A good part of this propaganda
contains subtle anti-nationalist messages. And if we are concerned with
national defense, anything that is anti-nationalist is also — by
logical extension — anti-defense.
The most insidious of today’s anti-national defense propaganda is
commercial in origin. This propaganda is not intentionally
anti-American. It is merely anti-American in its final tendency. Being
rich or merely comfortable has become a leading theme in our culture,
largely transmitted through the propaganda of television commercials.
Acquiring goods through international commerce has also become a
political ideal. Today it can be argued that mainstream opinion,
influenced by Republican and commercial propaganda, places our own
sovereignty and national existence below commercial trade deals and
monetary profits. In general terms, this is the internationalist
position which has led to such things as favored trading status to
China, massive cash transfers to Russia, and a tremendous influx of
alien immigrants (including spies and criminals) from countries like
Russia and China.
If you believe in “free trade” and soft borders as an ideal, and you
put this ideal above national security, you would likely discount
evidence of any threat from Russia or China. You would immediately
gravitate toward analysis that counts Russia and China as our “strategic
partners” or “friends.” A political candidate, like Patrick Buchanan,
who put America ahead of corporate profits would naturally be dismissed
as “extremist” by anyone who places profits ahead of national security.
And a newspaper column or book that offers evidence of a threat from
Russia or China would also be dismissed as “out of touch” with present
day economic realities.
Putting international commerce ahead of national security, however,
is shortsighted. If we lose our country, if its sovereignty is
compromised, our wealth will be not be safe and America’s business
interests will be trampled. Therefore, those who think only of money
and never of America should think a second time.
Besides the subtle anti-national message of the internationalist
moneychangers, there is the anti-national propaganda of domestic
factions. The political left in America is a virtual house of
disgruntled sub-groups. The name of the left’s game, in fact, is divide
and conquer. Using a kind of neo-Marxist analysis, the left divides the
country between rich and poor, white and non-white, male and female.
One side allegedly represents wealth and privilege, while the other
represents the oppressed and the downtrodden.
Those who favor the left’s experiment in revolutionary emancipation
are, in reality, closer in their thinking to dictators like Fidel Castro
than to the Founding Fathers. Theirs is not a path to national liberty,
but to global tyranny. Furthermore, the left is not patriotic, but
feels nervous at the very idea of American nationalism. Basically, the
left is opposed to the U.S. Constitution and to the spirit of its
founding. For a very long time the left in this country has not favored
defense spending, and (with a few exceptions) doesn’t believe in a
threat from Russia or China.
Another anti-national view, which is increasingly met with approval,
originates from people who wish that the Confederate States of America
had won the Civil War. These people, who sometimes couch their
arguments in libertarian language, are opposed to the original Union
brought about by the Constitution, and embrace disunity and division as
a political principle, with each political unit free to rebel and fly
apart from every other unit. This ideal is slightly comical, because
one imagines the future disintegration of the proposed Confederate
States of America into ever more numerous and warring substates — until
we are thoroughly Balkanized after the fashion of Yugoslavia.
Libertarians need to consider the wisdom inherent in the Constitution,
which was the immediate instrument of union. This was clearly explained
in Federalist No. 9 and No. 14 by Alexander Hamilton.
“A Firm Union,” wrote Hamilton in Federalist No. 9, “will be of the
utmost moment to the peace and liberty of the States as a barrier
against domestic faction and insurrection.”
If every minority had the right to opt out of the republic when
things didn’t go their way, then anarchy and revolution would constantly
occur in our midst. And such would eventually lead to outside
intervention and foreign domination by countries eager to exploit our
internal discord. “We have seen the necessity of the union as our
bulwark against foreign danger,” wrote Hamilton in Federalist No. 14,
“as the conservator of peace among ourselves, as the guardian of our
commerce and other common interests. …”
People who write as if everything in America since 1865 has been
illegal, wrong and illegitimate, ought to consider where such seditious
and inflammatory rhetoric leads. The Founders worried that the division
of our country into regions would result in Americans fighting and
killing other Americans. They also believed it would result in foreign
domination as alien powers moved in to support one side against another
in a game of divide and conquer.
In his Farewell Address, George Washington talked about the
importance of national unity. He said: “The unity of government which
constitutes you one people is now dear to you. It is justly so; for it
is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support
of your tranquility at home; your peace abroad; of your safety; of your
prosperity; of that very liberty which you so highly prize.”
Unfortunately it is necessary to enter into a short digression since
I quoted from Washington’s Farewell Address. Some readers will be quick
to point out that Washington warned against foreign entanglements. But
he did not foresee the nuclear missile age. He did not anticipate the
collapse of the British Empire and the subsequent problem faced by
Western civilization as a whole — being threatened by Asiatic communist
I believe that George Washington, as a military strategist, would
have agreed with America’s Cold War policy of alliances. What he would
have disagreed with, however, is using our forces to police nations like
Yugoslavia and Somalia, or intervening in other regional conflicts that
have nothing to do with our vital national interests. What Washington
wanted was a defensible American homeland. But that which was defended,
for the most part, by a national militia in 1797 is no longer defensible
by a militia today. We must have the space, the depth, the allies and
the access to raw materials necessary to modern circumstances. And
George Washington would be the last strategist to disagree with the
necessities of our national defense.
In fact, it must be recalled that America would not have won its
independence if not for an “entanglement” (i.e., alliance) with France
during our war for national independence.
Washington wanted us to be patriotic. He wanted us to preserve the
unity and sovereignty of our country. “The name of American,” he said,
“which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the
just pride of patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local
A nation divided by region, by class, by sex, by race or ethnicity
cannot stand. Envious foreign powers would love to see a divided
America. At the same time, they might also profit from the surrendering
of American sovereignty to the United Nations, which would further
weaken our ability to defend ourselves from aggressors armed with
weapons of mass destruction.
As George Washington said, “To the efficacy and permanency of your
union, a Government for the whole is indispensable. No alliances
however strict between the parts can be an adequate substitute.”
The first rule of national defense is national unity. The second
rule is to avoid international arrangements that compromise our