So Long, America
Andrew P. Napolitano
by Andrew P. Napolitano: Are
You Owned by the Government?
Judge Napolitano's closing argument Thursday on his FreedomWatch.
Does the government
work for us or do we work for the government? Tonight, wars and
rumors of war.
States was forged in a war: The American revolution. After the rebels
defeated the King, we were blessed with something unique in history;
a founding document, the Constitution, which was not imposed upon
the people but rather was ratified by them, and which set out to
establish strict limits on the federal government. The whole purpose
of the Constitution was to keep the government off the people's
backs; to assure that the new government here would never be as
destructive of freedom and property as the King had been; to guarantee
that the government is the servant and the people were the master;
still a revolutionary idea even today, more than 230 years later.
So what happened
to the war machine that freed the American colonies of their British
masters? It was subsumed by the new government. The same generation
that fought an American revolution whose unifying principles were
life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, ran a government that
violated those very principles. In the Whiskey Rebellion, President
George Washington shot and arrested farmers who refused to pay a
federal tax on booze they made at home; and under the Alien and
Sedition Acts, President John Adams prosecuted people for criticizing
War was the beginning of the Republic and the Civil War was the
beginning of the end of the Republic. Prior to the Civil War, the
United States were plural; the country was called "these" United
States. Even the Constitution refers to the United States
as "them." Afterwards, the United States became a singular noun.
The Civil War was the official and violent rejection by the federal
government of the basic principle laid out in the Declaration of
Independence which was cited as the impetus for the American Revolution.
What was that principle for which the rebels fought and which, among
our presidents, only Jefferson defended? It was the right of free
people to secede from a government that destroys their freedom.
It was, by extension, the natural right to be left alone.
Not only are
wars inimical to our freedom, they are also cancers for democracy.
In the last 50 years, the United States has seen a parade of wars
that don’t serve our interests. We fought the Korean war at the
behest of the United Nations. We fought in Vietnam because the French
wouldn’t. We entered the First Gulf War because of the United Nations
and of course that led to the Iraq War. Even in Afghanistan, while
we entered under the pretext of hunting down the masterminds of
9/11, that war soon became an imperial exercise akin to the Soviet
or British occupations of Afghanistan. The Constitution gives the
power of declaring war to the Congress. But today in America, that
power is effectively the President’s. President Obama has waged
war in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Libya, in Pakistan, in Somalia,
and in Uganda; all without a declaration of war. The last time Congress
declared war was December 8th 1941.
War is the
death of freedom because war is the health of big government. The
federal government views the Constitution as its enemy. That’s why
the President, a former professor of constitutional law nonetheless,
can take an oath to uphold the Constitution and then spend every
waking moment trying to dig its grave. And George W. Bush was the
same. And Bill Clinton was the same. And so on, and so on. If Barack
Obama or George W. Bush told you directly that their agenda was
the destruction of your freedoms, you wouldn’t buy it. But war and
rumors of war allow the government to steal your freedoms without
you rising up to defend them.
In nearly three
years in office, President Obama has conducted a campaign to transform
America through a process of government expansion and crony capitalism.
Yet, he may very well win re-election not because Americans support
more central planning and federal control of our lives, but because
he enjoys high approval ratings for fighting wars. Yet these wars
are the same policies that allow for the centralization of power
in the federal government on the domestic front. There wouldn’t
have been an Obamacare if there had never been a Patriot Act; because,
when you allow your freedoms to be trampled conditionally under
the pretext of safety, then even those freedoms you’d never dream
of giving away become endangered.
In my new book,
is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong, I
argue that every empire falls because of an over-extended military.
With more than 900 bases on all seven continents, billions in annual
military aid to countries around the world, and active military
operations in more countries than we can know, the United States
is digging in on its imperial ambitions, even as those same ambitions
are driving us bankrupt, exhausting our resources, and destroying
our freedoms. Is it worth it? The answer is obvious.
From New York,
defending freedom; so-long America.
November 11, 2011
Andrew P. Napolitano
[send him mail],
a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior
judicial analyst at the Fox News Channel, and the host of “FreedomWatch”
on the Fox Business Network. His latest book is It
is Dangerous to be Right When the Government is Wrong: The Case for
© 2011 Andrew P. Napolitano
Best of Andrew Napolitano