Whenever you go to an airport, you hear an announcement about the u201Cterror alertu201D: it’s yellow, it’s red, it’s orange, whatever. The color code is linked to u201Cintelligenceu201D flowing into Washington at the moment, whatever alleged plot is being hatched by our enemies abroad. But the reality is that America’s deadliest enemies aren’t hunkered down in some cave in Afghanistan: they’re right here in our midst, in the Imperial capital itself, Washington, D. C. Because the biggest threat to our national security isn’t military — it’s economic.
Our economic terror alert, if such a thing existed, ought to be at the brightest red, because what we’re facing is the biggest threat to our national security ever: I’m talking about the spiraling national debt, and the ongoing destruction of the dollar.
People realize this, albeit in an indirect way: that’s what all this u201Ctea partyu201D noise is about, although the tea partiers themselves, for the most part, don’t realize the enormity and immediacy of the threat. Somewhere in the background, just below the level of consciousness, a time-bomb is tick-ticking away. Some people hear it, in various degrees of loudness, while others are deaf to this ominous sound.
The day after the election, the Federal Reserve made a little-noticed announcement that it’s printing up another $1 trillion. Go here for a fuller explanation of how and why it happened, and what it means. Suffice to say here that what goes up must come down: a bubble, inflated, must eventually pop. That’s simple enough, but let’s take it one step further: the hubris that inspires the Fed to print up more play money, which will drive up inflation, increase the cost of imports (i.e. everything), and make goods more expensive for average Americans is in the same league as that which inspired George W. Bush and his minions to declare a u201Cwar on terrorism,u201D invade the Middle East, and imagine they would prevail.
The irony is that the former will be the undoing of the latter: the destruction of the dollar means the implosion of the American empire, and the relegation of the US to what used to be called — in more politically incorrect times — a u201CThird Worldu201D nation.
The economic crisis is the biggest single threat to our national security: this is something that both the US State Department and Osama bin Laden agree on. A few years after the Evil One chortled that America is bankrupting itself going abroad in search of monsters to destroy, Lehman Brothers fell and took AIG, and a good chunk of the US economy, along with it.
Gen. Douglas MacArthur was the Gen. Petraeus of his time, champing at the bit to have an unfettered go at the enemy, but Obama is no Truman, and lacks the strength to rein in the pushy self-promoting commander. Yet MacArthur saw, back then, what his modern day successor is no doubt blind to, and I quote:
"Talk of imminent threat to our national security through the application of external force is pure nonsense…. Indeed, it is a part of the general pattern of misguided policy that our country is now geared to an arms economy which was bred in an artificially induced psychosis of war hysteria and nurtured upon an incessant propaganda of fear. While such an economy may produce a sense of seeming prosperity for the moment, it rests on an illusionary foundation of complete unreliability and renders among our political leaders almost a greater fear of peace than is their fear of war.u201D
Let us turn to Garet Garrett, the prophetic voice of the Old Right — a prophet without honor in his own time and country. Yet his astonishingly prescient words ring down through the years and haunt our waking dreams:
"The bald interpretation of General MacArthur’s words is this. War becomes an instrument of domestic policy. Among the control mechanisms on the government’s panel board now is a dial marked War. It may be set to increase or decrease the tempo of military expenditures, as the planners decide that what the economy needs is a little more inflation or a little less — but of course never any deflation. And whereas it was foreseen that when Executive Government is resolved to control the economy it will come to have a vested interest in the power of inflation, so now we may perceive that it will come also to have a kind of proprietary interest in the institution of perpetual war."
That was written sometime in 1950 — see, I told you Garret’s prescience would astound you.
Think of war as just another u201Cstimulus package,u201D one that stimulates the military-industrial complex and keeps the production lines humming — for the moment. Wars are financed by inflation, by the printing of Federal Reserve Notes (otherwise known as u201Cmoneyu201D), as is the whole panoply of government programs and u201Centitlementsu201D designed to keep the people dumb and happy. This was a u201Cprogressiveu201D u201Creformu201D that was pushed through at the turn of the last century, and supposedly immunized us from the depredations of the business cycle. Yes, they really believe that, even as the cycle returns with a vengeance.
Now here come the tea partiers, asking: but what about the growing government debt? u201CProgressivesu201D answer: there is no debt, because, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt — their family god — once put it: u201CWe owe it to ourselves!u201D
That was no kind of answer, at least not one overseas investors in our debt would today find reassuring, but that doesn’t bother our Keynesian geniuses, the economic planners who think their edicts are weightier than the immutable laws of economics.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.