Watching the Empires Fall

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Address in NYC, Webster Hall, on September 26, 2011

It's great to be here. I'm honored and delighted and thrilled all at once to be in the company of such great people and great minds.

Like many of you, I have traveled a long road to get here, philosophically speaking. Many of you have traveled pretty much the same one. I was raised by Goldwater Republicans. I voted for Ronald Reagan. I served in the military. I left the GOP in the 90s, after watching it pay lip service to the Constitution, and watching it lie, spend and borrow like there was no tomorrow. I whistleblew on the neocons and their falsely justified war in the Pentagon in 2003. I embraced the anti-state, anti-war, pro-market message of Lew Rockwell, and the economic perspectives of Murray Rothbard. And today, I'm back inside the GOP challenging a twenty-year incumbent RINO — Republican in Name Only — to represent the 6th District of Virginia.

Along the way, I bought some guns, a little gold, and some land. I rediscovered my agricultural roots, and started learning a few skills of survival. I connected with people who could teach me important things. I signed up my husband to sit on the local Selective Service board — so we'd know if and when a draft was coming. Even though along the way I earned a PhD, it wasn't until afterwards that I started learning about the real American history, and starting to put into perspective the nature of government growth, nationalism, socialism, corporatism and empire.

Today, the empire — foreign and domestic — is ending for America, and I think the state knows this, and is fighting it, and is going to fight it with everything it can muster. Luckily, the state can't muster up like it once could, but I'll get to that!

We are all familiar with the foreign empire — the DoD is the world's largest employer, and there are US bases, installations, and personnel in 150 countries, more or less. We also run drones and computer warfare from basements in D.C. and elsewhere, striking flickering targets around the globe. The hypocrisy of our foreign policy, the criminality and waste of our foreign aid programs, the expense of our undeclared wars, and the damage done to our own country by persistently ignoring the Constitution — any of these is reason enough bring home the troops, stop borrowing money to pay for it, stop taxing the rest of us to pay the interest on the spending. The lenders to our government are themselves finding that America as global policeman is not such a great investment anymore.

Increasingly, Washington, D.C. has become known around the world a big-mouthed, kickback-taking, fat, donut-eating cop with an attitude. Of all the parties in Washington D.C. who are part and parcel of this problem, I find that the U.S. Congress is most accurately described this way. Present company excluded, most of Congress can't find the Constitution with both hands and a flashlight. What's worse, only a few of them are even looking for it. The correction of our American direction, our path into a future of prosperity and peace, will not come from the present crowd of Congressmen and women. The global empire is falling away, collapsing under its own weight, being crushed by its own awful corruption and shattered by its frozen and arrogant ideology. It is sinking like the Titanic in icy water and it is taking down many unprepared and unlucky people down with it. The momentum is on the side of liberty, and for those of us who have read Hayek, and study Mises and the Austrian school, and for those of us who retain an ethical framework that sees the state as an enemy of human society and action, it is a time of quiet celebration. However, we do have some responsibilities to help people around us and everywhere understand what is happening, why it is happening, and helping them wake up. To wake up, as Dorothy meets Oz, to the fundamental truths of human liberty that the state, in its quest for financial and material empire for our entire lifetimes, has worked to distort, hide, and manipulate. Liberty is at first, last and always, a state of mind. We have a lot of work to do in America, for sure.

But something else is happening. As the global empire led by Washington, D.C. is collapsing before our eyes, the domestic empire in this country is also failing. It is getting closer every day to an almost comedic end, even as more money is spent, more human dependencies created, more bailouts conducted, more paper currency printed, more people monitored, bullied, groped, regulated and incarcerated by some part of the government. In fact, if you look only at the surface, you wouldn't know it is failing — budgets increase, hiring continues, the power of the state to control your money, your buying and selling, your productivity, your family, your education, your finances, your person, papers and property has never been greater. Increasingly we must consider the state in every decision we make, from dawn till dusk. To question the state, to challenge the government, is discouraged, and while we the people find it incredibly easy to get in trouble with the state, we are starting to notice that the criminals in the state are always rewarded, never punished, and rarely fired. In fact the only government officials know who have been fired are whistleblowers. The domestic state apparatus seems firmly entrenched.

And yet — things are not as they seem on the domestic front. Many unemployed people who expect government care and feeding are finding that the government lied to them. Government employees, at local and state levels, are finding that their retirement funds have been raided by the state, and that the government lied about it. Thanks to Ron Paul, many presidential candidates talk about the social security Ponzi scheme, one that makes the original Ponzi look almost saintly. Many un- and underemployed people are starting to discover the vast knowledge base that exists outside the official history of our government, and they are actively searching for and awakening to the wide-open possibilities of the marketplace and prosperity outside of a payroll job.

The Washington D.C. response, the Congressional response is to talk about some day balancing a budget, and cutting imaginary future spending levels. But what's really exciting to me, and should be to all of us, is the increasingly palpable fear that is evident in Washington, among the political class and among entrenched politicians there. Their gig is up. The parasitical state has weakened its host so badly that America as a society, and as an economy, is evolving in new directions — outside the state, underneath the state, above the state, around the state. When I was in college, the only kids my age who left the country were part of the government Peace Corps or the military. Today, where I live, way out in the country surrounded by farmers and regular people, many children of my neighbors, and one of my own, today live and work overseas, by choice and not part of any government program.

The next logical phase of the domestic empire is an ugly one. We should expect increasingly public proclamations by the American government that it actually owns us. The state's vision is this: Property as state-controlled, movement of people only as permitted by government, and people themselves as cared-for livestock. All this is coming in the collective mind of the political class. Happily, there's no "real" money to pay for it all. The American foreign empire and our modern American presidents, widely seen by the rest of the world as a collective waste of time and money, and increasingly annoying. I believe the domestic empire is increasingly seen by millions of actual Americans in exactly the same way — as a huge waste of money and time, and increasingly annoying.

The way I see it, on both domestic and international fronts, what's coming next for America is promising and exciting. But getting over our misconceptions, our misplaced trust, and our national habits of politics will not be easy. I think this is why the life and accomplishments of Ron Paul in past decades, and his current and future service to this country is so incredibly essential. And it is why getting liberty and truly small government candidates out in front of Americans, to persuade, and to inspire, and to lead, is so incredibly important.

I'll close with a little story about the guy I seek to replace in Washington. He's a typical politician. He talks like a conservative but always votes to borrow more, to spend more, and to regulate more. He's cozy with lobbyists, and always looks out for his own interests instead of listening to the people in our district. He's just an average Congressman. But one of his constituents asked him a question exactly one year ago, in a private face-to-face moment. My friend asked his ten-term Congressman this question. It went like this: "Be honest. How much longer do we really have in this country?"

Now you might imagine that this Congressman would have not understood the question, or perhaps that he wouldn't have known the answer, or wouldn't have wanted to answer the question. But our Congressman said this: "We have about ten years."

Well, according to my Congressman, we now have nine years left. You'd expect, that if a member of Congress had an idea that the track they had this country on, for decades now, was heading straight into the side of a mountain, that that member of Congress would stand up, say something. Do something different. But we all know that only Dr. Paul and a very few brave souls are telling us the truth, and showing us the way.

I'm running for Congress, in part to try and model the courage and honesty that I admire in Dr. Paul. The future is not coming, it is already here. Right here, right now, in this room, and all over the country. What a blessing and a joy it is to be on the leading side, and to be able to both witness and participate in the reduction of the state, the falling away of empires, and the rediscovery of liberty in America.

LRC columnist Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D. [send her mail], a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, blogs occasionally at Liberty and Power and The Beacon. To receive automatic announcements of new articles, click here or join her Facebook page. She is currently running for Congress in Virginia’s 6th district.

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