Editorial Note: John W. Grigsby of Hillsboro, Virginia is a self-described “long time libertarian activist, formerly a ‘liberal’ one.” He is founder of the Northern Virginia Tea Party and says his mission is to “replace the GOP establishment .” He is a vigorous supporter of Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. Grigsby says the Texas Congressman “is imperfect, like all people, but Ron Paul and Gary Johnson are my two top choices, and I’m grateful for them.”
GRIGSBY: Regarding “free trade”, let’s talk about NAFTA. Here’s food for thought from CEI.org, an organization with impeccable libertarian credentials. The point is that these agreements aren’t “free”. They are managed. NAFTA created extranational boards meant in the view of some to move us toward regionalism, on the way to world order: http://cei.org/studies-issue-analysis/two-years-after-nafta-free-market-critique-and-assessment
HILTON: The libertarian arguments on NAFTA are similar to their false claims about every trade agreement. CEI and Ron Paul both believe free trade does not require treaties or organizations. The Congressman has never voted for a free trade agreement, but continues to claim he supports free trade. In 2007 he called himself “sort of” a protectionist. He should have said he is a 100% protectionist which is the accurate description.
How does a lawmaker with his voting record claim to be a free trade advocate? Simple, he creates his own idealistic and naive definitions. In Ron Paul’s world a protectionist is really a free trade advocate if he believes in “managed trade.” This is a term he created.
This is typical of Ron Paul. He claims to support a strong national defense, but he wants to cut $1 trillion out of the Pentagon. He claims to be a right to life champion, but abortion is fine with him if it happens on the state level. He claims to be a champion of individual liberty but is the only lawmaker to oppose the Civil Right Act and the ability of blacks to eat at the lunch counter.
What Ron Paul is advocating is unilateral disbarment for the United States in national security and trade policy.
Once again, Ron Paul only supports free trade in theory. He is opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, WTO, the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, and every other treaty.
Ron Paul claims America had free trade until the Civil War, and we have had “managed trade” since that time. History does not support his arguments. The Congressman claims to be a great advocate of the founding fathers, but he always ignores them when he does not like their actions.
The first tariff was enacted when George Washington was president, and Thomas Jefferson believed in retroactive tariffs. In fact, the very first act of Congress was the Tariff Act of 1789, which Washington signed into law on July 4th 1789. Washington, Jefferson, and Hamilton were all protectionists.
America is the works biggest exporter. We have 4% of the global population but every year we generate 25% of the world’s wealth. Our companies need to sell outside of the United States, and reciprocal agreements which allow foreign products into America are essential. Getting rid of trade agreements will limit markets and jobs. These agreements have lowered trade barriers and ensured quality and safety. We do insist on trade rules to reduce and eliminate export subsidies, protect the environment, and to ban the use of child and forced labor. The United States is engaging in free trade and agreements are designed to make sure that other nations have similar policies.
GRIGSBY: You claim Ron Paul is the only member of Congress to oppose the 1964 Civil Rights Act. What’s with that? Mister Conservative himself, Barry Goldwater, opposed it, and with good reason. Are you aware of his arguments against it?
You probably don’t like Walter Williams either. His take on “discrimination” is that “discrimination” is “freedom of association”. Do you consider yourself right of center? I’m having trouble figuring where you are coming from. If you are left of center, then we don’t share fundamental assumptions, and therefore there is almost no point in discussing this.
HILTON: I said Ron Paul is the only current Member of Congress to oppose the Civil Rights Act, and he voted against it on its 40th anniversary. Barry Goldwater’s vote was a terrible mistake and a huge setback to the conservative movement.
I am aware of Goldwater’s arguments. They lacked merit in 1964 and today. Blacks waited too long to eat at the lunch counter. The Civil Rights Act banned segregation in schools and public spaces and made it illegal to discriminate in housing and hiring practices.
Private organizations and clubs can discriminate. Businesses however are public, and therefore the Civil Rights Act applies. A business cannot deny the equal rights of a consumer. Libertarians are for individual rights but segregated lunch counters negated the rights of black people.
The Supreme Court has upheld Title II (public accommodations) of the Civil Rights Act. A business which is open to the public cannot discriminate in terms of race, sex or national origin. Civil rights provides equal opportunities for all, and if you want to serve the public, you cannot say blacks, Jews, gays or any other minority is not welcome.
This is definitely an area where the federal government was needed, and it is best described in Martin Luther King’s book “Why We Can’t Wait.” King said blacks had been waiting for over a century since the emancipation proclamation, and little substantive action had occurred.
The solution demanded action from the federal government. In 1963 King helped to launch the civil rights movement in Birmingham, Alabama. He tells the story of bus boycotts, lunch counter sit-ins and prayer marches to change the policies of both public and private business. The Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act resulted in significant positive change, and very few lawmakers would advocate their repeal.
GRIGSBY: So if I want to create a business that caters only to Ethiopians, or I only want to associate with Ethiopians, you are saying that’s not my right? Where does your right come from to force me to associate with people I don’t want to associate with? Where does that right come from to force me to associate with non-Ethiopians?
HILTON: Ethiopians can form a private club, and the Civil Rights Act would not apply. If they are running a business open to the public then they are not allowed to discriminate.
GRIGSBY: How was Iraq a threat to us? Our policy got rid of a secularist who kept the lid on radicals. Since then, half the ancient Christian population of Iraq has fled. Great job “W.” Mission Accomplished! There were almost 24 al Qaeda supporters in Iraq. Well, then, we definitely had to go in, as by that standard we have to invade at least 40 other nations. The British MI-6 described our “intel” just prior to our expensive exercise in nation building in Iraq as “cooked”. Iraq was not a threat to us. Even Bush Jr. admitted there was no WMD.
HILTON: There has been no policy to get rid of secularists. You are blaming the government for the activities of the terrorists. Christians have been targeted by both al-Qaeda in Iraq and the insurgent group known as the Islamic State of Iraq. They have seized entire churches and killed everyone present.
They have bombed many churches. It has always been their tactic to fuel sectarian violence. The worst period for Christians was before the last elections. The government of Iraq supports religious freedom and has a program to recruit Christian police officers to protect churches.
How was Irag a threat to America? Saddam Hussein did not plan or participate in the 9/11 attack, and this was never claimed. He was a significant threat to both the United States and the Middle East peace process.
Many people continue to believe that Iraq had no connection to weapons of mass destruction. We now know the Senate Intelligence Committee received the same briefings as President Bush in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq. All of the Democratic lawmakers on this panel reached the same conclusion as the President. Every intelligence agency believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and the post-invasion UN Duelfer report concluded that he maintained the capability to produce them on short notice.
Saddam had destroyed most, but not all of his WMD stockpile. On June 14, 2003 the U.S. Army discovered over 550 metric tons of uranium yellowcake at a facility in Tuwaitha , 12 miles south of Baghdad. Once refined, this quantity would make 142 nuclear weapons. At the same location the Army uncovered four devices for controlled radiation exposure. Over 500 chemical weapons (mustard and sarin gas) were also found.
In July of 2008 the last of the yellowcake was shipped to Canada where it is now being processed into nuclear fuel. Most of the uranium was acquired prior to 1991, but Saddam still had it in 2003. He was holding onto it in order to wait out the U.N. sanctions when he could restart his WMD program. If President Bush lied about Iraq, then so did President Clinton, Prime Minister Blair, President Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder.
Saddam Hussein did not live up to the 1991 cease fire agreement by meeting his burden of proof to disclose the whereabouts of the WMD. The CIA did produce faulty intelligence but there were still numerous reasons to topple Saddam.
It is disappointing the news media rarely reports the direct connections between Saddam’s Iraq and numerous terrorist organizations. This was addressed in a March 2008 Pentagon-sponsored study entitled “Saddam and Terrorism: Emerging Insights from Captured Iraqi Documents.”
It was based on a review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents captured after the 2003 US invasion. The study noted “Saddam supported groups either associated directly with al Qaeda (such as the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, led at one time by bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri) or generally shared al Qaeda’s stated goals and objectives.” According to the Pentagon study, there were many terrorist and jihadist groups that Iraq’s former dictator funded, trained, equipped, and armed.
Saddam was willing to use operatives affiliated with al Qaeda, and this “created both the appearance of and, in some ways, a ‘de facto’ link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust.” The report says Saddam had the will to use his terrorist capabilities directly against United States.
The late Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda Iraq was responsible for a number of deadly attacks. He and his men trained and fought with al-Qaeda for years. Zarqawi’s network helped establish and operate an explosives and poisons facility in northeast Iraq. Zarqawi and nearly two-dozen al-Qaeda associates were in Baghdad before the fall of Saddam’s regime.
GRIGSBY: All conservatives should be for getting out of NATO. The Cold War is over. All we are doing is subsidizing Euro-socialism and inviting adventurism such as Bosnia, which has nothing to do with defending ourselves from threats to our freedom.
HILTON: Bosnia was not adventurism but it did involve genocide, ethnic cleansing, rape camps, 200,000 people died and there were millions of refugees. It would also be a major mistake to leave NATO and to end our system of collective security.
Winston Churchill once said, “The price of greatness is responsibility.” The United States has 4% of earth’s population but produces one-quarter of the world’s wealth every year. In the years after WW II it was 36%.
America is not like other nations and it is the only superpower. If we cut back militarily others will cut back, and our national wealth will decline. America is truly a great nation, and we will not continue to enjoy the benefits of freedom without our national security role. As a great nation we have global responsibilities, and that is why we are in Iraq. The conflict is not over, but 27 million people are living in freedom and I believe history will prove our cause just. America is the largest trading nation and the U.S. dollar is the world’s reserve currency. The monetary system for every nation was established by the United States.
Britain was the superpower of the 19th century. Unlike the United States, they were a colonial power and believed in imperialism. That will never be America’s policy but there is a similarity. The UK was never known for its large army but they nevertheless controlled India with very few soldiers. How did they do that?
There were internal tensions and conflicts in India, and at that time the nation included Pakistan and Bangladesh. They wanted Britain’s role, and for a time it stopped their internal conflicts. The United States is a power for peace, and our role in NATO, the Korea DMZ and the Persian Gulf is wanted.
Sandy Berger, the National Security Advisor to former President Clinton, spoke a few years ago about America’s role in the world. “We cannot be everywhere and do everything. But we also cannot afford to do nothing, and be nowhere,” Berger said.
Without American leadership the job will not get done. Iraq is an example of where the US had to lead in order to maintain security and maintain prosperity. We cannot hunker down and abandon our allies if we want our children to live safely and thrive. Many people say we must be engaged in the world — but they never want us to do so when our engagement is needed.
GRIGSBY: You mean Sandy Burgler! How is it that South Korea can’t defend itself against a nation with 4 light bulbs to its name. PUHLEASE!!!”
HILTON: The United States is on the DMZ in Korea for the same reason we belong to NATO. It is part of our system of collective security. The South Koreans defend themselves. They have 500,000 troops on active duty and we have 28,000 on the DMZ. South Korea pays us $694 million every year to defray the cost of those troops.
Before collective security, the old system gave us WW I and WW II. I regret the United States did not belong to the League of Nations and I wish the League had power to stop aggression.
The main point is that we did not have a system of collective security and that led to the world wars. WW II would have been easy to stop if Britain, France, America and other powers had reacted during the nightmare years of the 1930s.
GRIGSBY: Why did America get involved in WW I, except to give the French a strong post-war hand, leading to extremely punitive post-war terms that led to German hyperinflation, creating the extreme conditions where a certain bulgy-eyed guy with a moustache could rise to power?
HILTON: Blaming Hitler on the United States is typical of libertarians. They always blame America first. If the United States has not entered WW I, France and Britain would have been defeated. A dictatorial German government would have ruled all of Europe. It would have been wrong of the United States to ignore Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare and the deaths of American civilians. The Germans were also encouraging the Mexican government to wage war on us.
GRIGSBY: You are a Wilsonian progressive, not a conservative. I am trying to determine your fundamental assumptions. Will you admit that yours don’t square with those of our Founders, on use of the military or on freedom of association or on states rights?” Listen to these quotes:
‘Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world. “ – George Washington, Farewell Address, September 19, 1796
”I am for free commerce with all nations, political connection with none, and little or no diplomatic establishment. And I am not for linking ourselves by new treaties with the quarrels of Europe, entering that field of slaughter to preserve their balance, or joining in the confederacy of Kings to war against the principles of liberty.” –Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1799. ME 10:77
”[America] goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.” – John Q. Adams
Big deal. Just another one of those dead white males.
HILTON: I admit you know little about the founders and their intentions. Libertarians and isolationists are against foreign alliances, and they want to disband NATO and our system of collective security. Without the foreign alliance with France, America would have remained a British colony.
The American revolution was won at Yorktown but there were more French soldiers than American. George Washington’s Chief of Staff was Major General Baron von Steuben of Prussia. He was also the Inspector General of the Continental Army. When Washington arrived at Yorktown, the Marquis de La Fayette was already there. He was also a Major General in the Continental Army. Their statues are in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Also there is Lt. General Rochambeau, the commander-in-chief of the French Expeditionary Force. He was later Marshall of France. We never would have defeated the British without them, and the $16 million we received from King Louis XVI.
We are all familiar with Thomas Jefferson’s statement and George Washington’s farewell address. Nevertheless, the Founders were not isolationists.
The United States had the first democratic revolution, and many of the founding fathers acknowledged they were acting for all nations. The French Revolution of 1789 began at the Bastille, and the key to this prison was presented to the greatest revolutionary of that era, General Washington.
Washington’s advice was wise for the years after the French revolution and before the war of 1812. This was a time when France and Britain were finishing a century of conflict.
Washington was correct in urging his countrymen not to choose sides between France and Britain which was the hallmark of the campaign when our first president left office. Jefferson was viewed as being sympathetic to France, while Adams was portrayed as being more favorable to Britain.
The Founders did not have to deal with terrorists who were flying airliners into skyscrapers, but terrorism has been a problem since the begging of the republic. Thomas Jefferson had to battle the Barbary Pirates in what is today known as Libya. He was not like Ron Paul who calls the war on terrorism a “farce.”
In the same farewell address, Washington advised against the creation of political parties. In 1789, when the Constitution was adopted, 20 percent of our population was slaves, 50 percent (women) had no say in government, and many white males were disenfranchised by property requirements. Washington’s advice was appropriate for his time, but not for all time.
Libertarians believe the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not justified. Washington would not have agreed with them and he would have urged our citizens to support the American military. Washington said: “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”
GRIGSBY: Yes, the founders were setting an example for all nations, not offering to help them with their own problems. Evidently, you don’t believe in following that example any longer.
Your point regarding the French support for our struggle – pardon me, but I don’t see your logic. The French helped us for their own reasons. However, and I am sure you know this, we didn’t help the French (of any stripe) during their revolution.
Further, that revolution in France was a precursor to the Russian Revolution. So clearly the folks who gave the key to the prison to Washington didn’t understand our “revolution.” It was really in fact a “conservative” demand for our rights as Englishmen.
You probably think the Constitution is outdated too. That would be consistency. Again, more progressivism. The past is past. The present is different.
HILTON: I do not see the connection between the French Revolution of 1789 and the Russian Revolution of 1917. We agree that the founders were setting an example for mankind, and a restoration of Constitutional values is admirable. However, many of your fellow “Constitutional conservatives” are most notable for their opposition to the Constitution. They ignore major elements of the Constitution and numerous decisions of the Supreme Court. They want to go back to the system which existed under the earlier Articles of Confederation (1781 – 1789). This is when the “states’ rights” you desire were firmly in place.
Your fellow champions of states’ rights go well beyond what Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were seeking. They reject the Constitution’s 27 amendments. Some people call this “originalism.”
It has proven to be an impossible task because the founders were often in conflict. The Federalist Papers were written to explain the Constitution during the ratification period but the two major authors, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, were often in sharp disagreement.
GRIGSBY: Also, what’s the fixation on Israel? Israel has made more attempts to penetrate our intelligence services than the former KGB. With friends like that we do not need enemies.”
HILTON: My fixation is on correcting the falsehoods of the libertarians. Ron Paul’s statements about Israel are complete lies. The Jewish State had no role in the creation of Hamas, and Rep. Paul’s claims about Gaza are false.
The people of Gaza are definitely not starving and they never have been. Every week over 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are sent by Israel to Gaza.
This has happened despite the fact that the Palestinians have launched over 4,500 rockets at Israel since the voluntary withdrawal from Gaza.
Ron Paul attacks Israel for “invading” Gaza but he does not mention that they are only trying to stop the rocket attacks. He wants to cut off the military hardware Israel needs to defend itself.
GRIGSBY: It’s easy – wish the Hatfields and McCoys the very best and allow private companies to sell them as much weaponry as they want. End of story. Oh, and hang Jonathan Pollard.
Israel is not a state. We don’t have to fixate on that sovereign nation. It does a great job of pursuing its national interest, and we should as well. Hey, check this out – Israel selling high tech weaponry to our friends the Chinese Communists. Israel is a top weapons supplier to China. They have made more attempts at penetrating our intelligence services than the former KGB. Great friends, aren’t they?
HILTON: They are great friends and this has nothing to do with the Hatfields and McCoys and everything to do with our national security. Over 80% of American assistance to Israel is military aid. In return we have gained invaluable intelligence information.
The rhetoric of Islamic fundamentalists regarding their hatred of Israel and America is the same. Israel is the front line of resistance to terrorism, and we are fighting the same war. The message from 9/11 and from the suicide bombers of Gaza is the same. They would rather kill themselves than live in peace with America and Israel.
The danger to America is great. We must never again have a 9/11 attack and we must stand up to lawmakers such as Ron Paul who was one of just 8 House members to vote against sanctions on Iran.
In February he proposed an amendment to unilaterally cancel U.S. assistance to Israel. His son advocates the same thing in the Senate.
GRIGSBY: As an American, I view Israel and every other nation the same way I view the nations of my ancestors – good luck and don’t expect us to be your “Uncle Sucker”, paying for your bad luck or bad decisions.
HILTON: The entire foreign aid program is 0.19% of the budget, and it has never been popular. Foreign aid is from the American people, but it is also for the American people. It is far more than charity, and it has proven to be a smart investment. There is substantial evidence demonstrating that foreign aid helps to create new American markets.
Long time aid recipients such as India, Indonesia, South Korea and Poland, are now major markets for American goods and services. The competitiveness of the United States is based on trade. One example of our changing economy is that Buick sales this year will be six times greater in China than in America. This is excellent news because the American taxpayers now own GM.
One out of five U.S. jobs now depends on international trade. Half of U.S. exports (almost $600 billion) are now going to developing counties. Almost 90% of those sales are from small to medium sized companies, and for every 10% increase in exports there is a 7% decrease in America’s unemployment rate.
Foreign aid is also important to our national security. The home base of the Taliban in Kandahar is now exporting food for the first time in 40 years. The schools the U.S. has refurbished have replaced the Taliban’s extremist madrassas.
Foreign aid has also moved farmers away from coca cultivation in nations such as Afghanistan and Colombia. In the regions of Colombia where the U.S. is involved, coca cultivation has dropped 85%. This is an essential part of the war on drugs.
The linkage between national security and foreign aid dates back to the Marshall Plan which helped in the post WW II recovery, but it also stopped the spread of communism to western Europe. JFK’s Alliance for Progress helped to stop the export of communist revolutions in Latin America.
As we have recently seen, impoverished states have been spawning grounds for terrorism, trafficking, environmental devastation, and disease. Foreign aid is an important part of the mix because the military cannot secure a society alone. We learned this again in Iraq where we had to shift to a counterinsurgency strategy in 2006, and we had to do the same thing in Afghanistan in 2009.
GRIGSBY: I think we have an educational process ahead of us. A lot of people who rightfully supported a (Reaganite) strong -defense- against Soviet aggression were confused by (Wilsonian) neocons into supporting an interventionist foreign policy that was neither Reaganite nor consistent with that envisioned by the Founders that you only selectively revere. Reagan was not a neocon. He regretted his decision to put troops in Lebanon. Other than that, his only military action was a minimal and successful one in Grenada.
HILTON: You obviously paid little attention to the Reagan administration. Your claims are completely false. The founder of the modern libertarian movement, Murray Rothbard, always referred to Ronald Reagan as a “warmonger.”
Ron Paul left the Republican Party in 1987 and told the Los Angeles Times on May 10, 1988: “ I want to totally disassociate myself from the Reagan Administration.”
The libertarian foreign policy is completely opposed to the Republican Party’s freedom agenda. This was outlined by Ronald Reagan, and the keystone of this foreign policy is assisting democratic resistance and free market movements.
This is what Reagan did in Afghanistan and Nicaragua when he was strenuously opposed by Libertarians. Reagan called for “A crusade for freedom.” Ron Paul is a firm opponent of the freedom agenda.
Rep. Paul has always been an isolationist, but prefers to call himself a non-interventionist. He wants to ignore the lessons of the 20th century. He wants to end America’s system of collective security, which once again, probably would have avoided both World Wars I and II. Paul is an advocate of U.S. withdrawal from the UN, NATO, the World Trade Organization and practically every other international organization.
Despite all of the potential terrorists who have recently been captured, Paul also wants to abolish the Department of Homeland Security and FEMA. Paul acknowledges Afghanistan’s responsibility for 9/11 and in 1991 he admitted Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, but in both instances he wanted to do nothing in response. In fact, he wants to ignore all evil in the world. He wanted to do nothing about the genocide in Darfur or the ethnic cleaning in the former Yugoslavia. Morality means nothing to him.
GRIGSBY: Your appear to be an evangelical. However, all the various forms of meddling I see advocated suggests that someone hasn’t thought through the public policy implications of the Eighth Commandment.
HILTON: You can call it meddling but Americans have advanced and maintained freedom, democracy and human rights. We did not keep the oil wealth or land of Iraq or Kuwait. America is not taking anything from the desperately poor people of Afghanistan. The only thing we wanted in the former Yugoslavia was the end of genocide and ethnic cleansing, and our armed forces have truly been the peacemakers, not empire builders.
Several European nations have been empire builders, but not America. The critics are correct that U.S. military bases continue to dot the globe. We are there to keep the sea-lanes open and the terrorists under wraps.
Americans are not seeking empire but we are keeping people safe and maintaining prosperity. We overthrew Noriega, Milosevic, Mullah Omar and Saddam Hussein to put in their places freely elected leaders, not puppet regimes. We use our power to keep peace rather than to rule.