Tunnel Vision Rhetoric of Strength and Leadership

Email Print

The thinking of Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and many others is restricted and narrow. It’s tunnel vision. It sees people and their many interactions from one perspective only: military power. McCarthy says

“I see what’s happening in the world. Do not think if you’re an isolationist…I do not think that’s a strength for America. I think there’s a reason why America should lead. I think it makes the world safer. It makes America safer. I think being president of the United States, you should be strong.”

McCarthy equates leadership with strength (and safety). His equation doesn’t check because it’s way too narrow. The leadership he has in mind consists of policies of government-applied power and influence backed up by America’s military might. Not only has such leadership proven to be costly and fruitless, but it ignores a much richer reality. Here in America and in other countries, leadership can occur in any number of fields of endeavor. Think medicine, technology, invention, building, discovery, art, architecture, sanitation, the sciences, ethics, education, communications, philosophy, organization, entertainment, research, peace-making, exploration, writing, law, philanthropy, business, industry, agriculture, trade, and production. Humanity’s strengths arise within these fields of endeavor and spread worldwide. Being strong militarily has its function in securing rights, but this function and its projection to foreign countries by the U.S. government should not be allowed to become the sole idea of strength. Americans can lead in many fields and be strong in many fields. Americans do not have to think of strength as being in the office of a President who projects his agenda across the world with U.S. battleships, jets, missiles, drones and special forces awaiting his orders of enforcement. This is far too narrow a view of what life is about and how humanity faces and overcomes its many challenges and problems.

McCarthy’s belief that a militaristic America makes America and the world safer is wrong. This belief is rooted in the American entry into the two world wars of the last century and the defeat of the opposing powers. This is why it is so critical to understand that the American entry into World War I did not make the world safer. See, for example, Ralph Raico’s “Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal”.

Certainly the latest spate of wars and regional conflicts that the U.S. has initiated or participated in has not produced this vaunted safety for America or the world.

There is an alternative to the U.S. government’s reliance upon military and political meddling, leadership, and strength applied to other countries as a supposed engine of security and safety. That alternative is peaceful cooperation in all those fields of endeavor noted earlier.

The notion of defense has been pushed out of all bounds and into greatly diminished returns. Defense is a subsidiary good needed to prevent crime and ward off wars so that markets can flourish. Instead, what is called defense is now regarded as its own engine of progress and it is thought that the U.S. can and should push it abroad as far as possible. What matters far more than this excessive military strength, which in any event fails in reaching its objective, is building strengths in those fields of human aspiration mentioned above and others. This is done, not through government control and direction, not through military ventures, not through government meddling in foreign politics, but far more in freedom, at the individual level, through voluntary agreements, through voluntary organizations and through free markets.

10:49 am on July 25, 2014