The Eighth Commandment, Revised and Extended

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“I love giving money to Israel,” warbled a moist-eyed Rep. Dan Webster (R-Florida) during a recent interview on “Good Life 45,” a religious program broadcast in his district. Webster, who is paid a very handsome salary, is free to give as much money to Israel as he chooses. As a former pastor, Webster could take up a collection among like-minded people for the same purpose.

What he cannot do is point a gun at others, steal their money, and lavish that plundered wealth on somebody else. There is no legal or moral justification for doing so, and the Constitution — which Webster swore an oath in the Name of God to uphold — forbids the federal government to steal from tax victims at home to subsidize political elites abroad. The government of Israel was not granted a special exemption from that principle.

Webster, who campaigned as a strict constitutionalist and apostle of austerity, understands all of this. Yet, like many others on the nationalist/socialist Right, he is downright antinomian when the conversation turns to Israel, insisting that there is a Divine imperative of some kind that transcends the Law. His opinion is apparently shared by the editorial collective of The Blaze, a news site founded and supervised by Glenn Beck, the Pagliacci of the War Party.

“Webster’s comments, which have riled up the left, make sense when you realize he served for years as a pastor,” comments The Blaze, which is actually criticizing the “progressive left” for being insufficiently socialist in this instance. “For him, then, supporting Israel is not just a conservative position, but it is a religious one. But one doesn’t need to be religious to defend continued aid to Israel. For example, there are those who see Israel as a key ally in the Middle East, and its existence guarantees a stable partner in a very unstable area.”

Of course, America was not supposed to have long-term alliances with any foreign government. This is because by doing so the country “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,” as John Quincy Adams warned, and the “fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force” — including the criminal coercion employed to steal from poor people in America to subsidize wealthy people abroad. Webster is the kind of person who believes that pious motives can consecrate theft — perhaps on the same principle that a cannibal’s repast is sanctified if he says grace before the meal.

“Do I like foreign aid? Sometimes, but not every time,” Webster explained. “Some people have been talking about, every place I go, they bring up the issue foreign aid. I go, you can’t get rid of all foreign aid. Why? Because you ask them and they go, ‘yea we can’t do that.’ You take away the money from Israel? No. That’s something we can’t do…. [If] we stop helping Israel, we lose God’s hand and we’re in big time trouble.”

Webster seems to have discovered a super-secret codicil to the Eighth Commandment; on his reading, it actually says, “Thou shalt not steal [except to share the proceeds with the socialists who run the Israeli government].”

Furthermore, Webster doesn’t seem to understand that Washington is not “helping” Israel by subsidizing the State ruling that country — a point that has been made forcefully by Rep. Ron Paul. As with all other countries, a far better way to help the Israelis — and the others caught in the coils of the intractable conflict in the Middle East — is to promote peaceful commerce and investment that circumvents the State, the deadliest enemy of all decent people everywhere.

UPDATE –

“I don’t agree with you on Israel,” a caller identified as “Greg from Louisville” told Rush Limbaugh during the GOP herd poisoner’s May 24 program. “I think we need to stop borrowing money from China to give handouts to Israel.” Limbaugh insisted that socialist subsidies of the Israeli government are justified because of a “cultural alignment” between it and Washington. Furthermore, he maintained that the Israelis are a useful imperial cat’s paw for Washington: “They do a lot, or have done a lot of dirty work in that region that we won’t do, can’t do, and much of it we’ll never hear about because it would divulge their involvement.” Besides, Limbaugh insisted, “I happen to love Israel because I love the people there” — which makes it odd that he’s willing to exploit them in the service of Washington’s imperial designs.

“Well, that’s great,” Greg replied with reference to Limbaugh’s professed affection for Israel. “Send ‘em money, but don’t take it from me to send ‘em. I don’t want to send them money.” One would expect that Limbaugh, who on every other issue preaches that government has no right to confiscate wealth from the productive, would use this opportunity to apply that principle to foreign aid. One would be wrong: Limbaugh instead lapsed into full commissar mode, sneering about the individualist deviationism of “you Libertarians” — that is, people who seek to apply sound principles consistently.

“This is where I start having problems with you Libertarians: Everything is just black or white when it comes to money and what’s worth it and how is it worth, is it being spent and so forth,” eructated Limbaugh. “Calling Israel a `welfare queen’ compared to what the kind of money we waste domestically in this country, there has to be a value attached here. There has to be …. I think they’re a great ally. We, as the superpower of the world, have to do these kind of things to maintain our own position as a superpower.”

Limbaugh, whose only documentable religious devotion is to the figure he sees in the mirror, pointed out that others who support socialist redistribution of American wealth for the benefit of the Israeli government have “some biblical attachment to Israel based on conservatism and religion — and for me that’s not it. It has nothing to do with that.” In his case, it’s all about the demands of being a “superpower” — and when those demands conflict with the Constitution, the latter comes in a very poor second.

 

11:22 pm on May 26, 2011
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