Enormous gloom descended upon this writer as the latest round of GOP debates finished up. I realized there will be no rational patriot defender of America running for President in 2016. The Democratic side of things offers only semi-socialists; no hope for patriotism and freedom there. But surely, I thought, someone with a consistent grasp of patriotic freedom will show up among the GOP aspirants for the White House. Not to be. There is nothing but debilitating confusion over fundamental principles from all comers.
Three of the four important issues facing our country were discussed. Immigration, tax policy, and foreign policy were the three. The fourth, monetary policy, was not included in the questions. Unfortunately nowhere was there a candidate with a proper grasp of immigration, taxes, and foreign policy. Some came close, but always contained fundamental flaws in their advocacies. Lets examine them.
On the discussion of immigration, our champion Mr. Trump inexplicably ignored the three major magnets drawing illegals here, which are jobs, welfare services, and education. He kept defensively reacting to the establishment smears that deportation of illegals is impossible because it would require rounding up 250,000 illegals per month for two years and deporting them. This is ridiculous. First of all it won’t require rounding up anyone. All it will take is to remove the three major magnets of jobs, welfare, and education for all illegals, and they will gradually self-deport over the next decade. They will simply leave and go back home all on their own.
The second mishandling on the immigration issue by Trump was in his bumbling effort to explain the 14th Amendment’s anchor-baby loophole. The neocons kept insisting that this would be a long grueling fight that would take years and require a new Constitutional Amendment. Not so. The wording on the 14th Amendment clearly states that it applies only to those who are “subject to the jurisdiction [of the United States].” This means it does not apply to aliens, i.e., illegals. The creator of the 14th Amendment, Senator Jacob Howard, stated so unequivocably in the floor debate on the amendment in 1866:
“This will not, of course, include persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States, but will include every other class of persons.” [The Congressional Globe, May 30, 1866. Debate on the Senate Floor. Remarks of Senator Howard.]
Thus Congress can at any time pass a law to nullify our present ill-conceived granting of automatic citizenship to the babies of aliens.
Ben Carson was the only candidate who got tax policy correct. He advocated a 10% flat tax for everyone with all exemptions and special breaks eliminated. But unfortunately he didn’t know how to defend it properly. He failed to point out that such a flat tax is the only moral form of taxation under our system because it is the only tax that comports with “equal rights under the law.” Carson rambled on about the practical implications, which have never been adequate to gain the public’s acceptance, and never will be.
The only way to sell a flat tax to America is to demonstrate that it provides “equal rates” for everyone, which means “equal rights” for everyone. Progressive taxation mandates different rates for different classes of people, which means special privileges for certain classes. Progressive taxation allows the Goddess of Justice to lift the blindfold and say, “First tell me who you are and what your status is in life. Then I will tell you how the tax laws apply to you.” This is arbitrary law, the harbinger of every dictatorship that has come down the pike of history. The neocons such as Bush, Trump, and Christie chimed in for progressive tax rates.
There was one sane voice on foreign policy, and that was Rand Paul. He clearly and patiently explained to the rabid interventionists (i.e., all the rest of the candidates except for Carson) that the Iraqi war was a huge mistake, that there are times of trouble when a country just cannot resort to violent intervention to solve its problems. Diplomacy, sanctions, trade incentives, etc. are available, but military force is just not an option.
Ironically one of the most rabid of present hawks, Trump, was against the Iraqi war in 2003. But today he’s just itching to put troops on the ground in the Mideast and spread Americanism around with the butt ends of our rifles, which will, stimulate more terrorist attacks, not less. See my article, Confronting Islamic Jihad, for the proper solution.
Carson was against the Iraqi war, but was also against going into Afghanistan. This is a major blunder in logic. We were attacked by Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda forces who were anchored in Afghanistan. When the Taliban government refused to relinquish him (after several months of demands), then we had not only the right, but the duty, to invade and do whatever was necessary to capture bin Laden.
We played this card right, but then succumbed to neocons, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and Wolfowitz, and pressed our bet by going into Iraq to take out Saddam Hussein and establish a democracy. The ignorance and arrogance of the George W. Bush administration drove us into the “tar pit” that General Schwarzkopf warned us so forcefully about back in 1991. And unfortunately it appears that the next round of Republicans are hell-bent to get back into the tar pit.
Carson is thoroughly confused, however, with his refusal to go into Afghanistan which we had a clear right to do, but botched by hanging around forever trying to instill democracy. We should have simply bombed the Taliban into oblivion, then gone in to capture bin Laden, and if we failed, then withdraw and resort to clandestine, commando-oriented espionage in the manner of the Israelis’ pursuit of Adolf Eichmann.
America is in serious trouble, more so than ever in her entire history. Militaristic mega-statists dominate both the Democrats and the Republicans except for Rand Paul and Ben Carson. And unfortunately they have serious electability problems. Paul doesn’t have the moxie to play in the political big leagues. And Carson’s somnolent persona, mystifying inconsistency on foreign policy, and inability to grasp the moral fundamentals of just tax policy doom him eventually to also ran status.
This leaves us in the hands of Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, or John Kasich – all neoconservatives who will further centralize our system and drag us back into Orwell’s “perpetual war for perpetual peace.” Ted Cruz is excellent on domestic policy, a staunch libertarian-conservative. But once in the foreign policy arena, he shucks his freedom hat for the war helmet of the neocons. Carly Fiorina is a fine articulator of policy with a grasp of details and statistics that would dazzle MIT professors, but she has a shrewish countenance that projects meanness rather than joy. Not a good formula for winning any political office, let alone that of the U.S. President.
Statism hangs over our country like the stench of a death ward in a crowded hospital. If we don’t begin a reversal of guiding ideology in the next decade, we as a free country will cease to be. What evolves will be a monster state of militarized collectivism that ushers in a lawless and regimented misery in all the aspects of our lives. Constitutional freedom will be one more “anachronism” abandoned by a sick and decadent array of intellectual and political leaders.
Nelson Hultberg is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas and the Director of Americans for a Free Republic www.afr.org. A graduate of Beloit College in Wisconsin, his articles have appeared in such publications as The American Conservative, Insight, Liberty, The Freeman, The Social Critic, The Dallas Morning News, and the San Antonio Express-News, as well as on numerous Internet sites.
He is the author of The Golden Mean: Libertarian Politics, Conservative Values
Email: NelsonHultberg (at) afr.org