Time to reverse course: America is being corrupted by its own power

On April 15, the US, in conjunction with the UK and France, deployed 105 weapons against targets within Syria that the US government claims were part of the Syrian government's chemical weapons program. The stated objective of these strikes was to impede future Syrian chemical weapons capabilities and send a signal to the Syrian regime that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated. Even though this strike is practically ancient history now, thanks to the warp speed of our news cycles, the way in which an act of war has been so quickly replaced in the news reflects on the unserious and frivolous attitude with which Americans approach our wars.

Despite the shock and awe of the missile strikes, the entire premise of the US involvement in the Syrian Civil is rather unclear. The Syrian government is widely recognized as winning the war, and even if it were to somehow be defeated it would be inevitable that the myriad of rebel groups would simply continue the war amongst themselves. This leaves few if any options for constructive US intervention into the conflict, a reality recognized by even hardcore advocates of US intervention abroad. After the airstrikes, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former Obama State Department official and well-known interventionist tweeted, “I believe that the US, UK, & France did the right thing by striking Syria over chemical weapons. It will not stop the war nor save the Syrian people from many other horrors. It is illegal under international law. But it at least draws a line somewhere & says enough."

The United States is able to engage in frivolous bombing that its own supporters say is symbolic and meaningless on a practical level because it is so secure and powerful. Our military might and power projection capabilities exceeded by several orders of magnitude any other power on earth. Our neighbors in the Western hemisphere are all weak, and to the east and the west, we are protected by vast moats in the form of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans that no other state has the power projection capability to cross in force. Combined with our large population and productive economy, the United States does not face any external existential threats.

While such security is obviously beneficial, it is both a blessing and a curse as it effectively removes many of the practical effects that check the exercise of American military might. America can go and wreak chaos and destruction in its wake across the Middle East in places like Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Syria, and not suffer many large immediate consequences in return. There is, of course, the danger of terrorist blowback, but the risk of dying from a terror attack in the US is astronomically low (Cato's Alex Nawrasteh reports that there is only a .00003 percent chance of being killed by a foreign-born terrorist in the US). Millions of refugees and displaced people fleeing from chaos are not crossing the Atlantic Ocean, they are crossing the Mediterranean and disrupting Europe, not America. Aside from tangling with Russia and China in a serious way, the US is pretty much free to do what it wishes around the world and need not fear much in the way of immediate consequences.

Attempts to remake the rest of the world by force of arms have unfortunately not dampened the enthusiasm for trying again and again.

Unchecked power corrupts, and unfortunately, America has fallen into this trap on numerous occasions due to the moralizing and crusading nature that has taken hold of both our domestic and foreign affairs over the course of the past century. In his 1988 book The Present Age, sociologist Robert Nisbet captures this attitude well, saying that “ever since Wilson, with only the rarest exceptions, American foreign policy has been tuned not to national interest, but to national morality."

If one starts with the premise that the United States is a “shining city upon a hill," it is not a huge leap to the idea that the US should sally forth to bring enlightenment to the benighted peoples of the world. What changed around the turn of the 20th century was the realization that, unlike before, America now had the might to undertake such a crusade, the first such foray being the entrance into the First World War --- with the lofty goal of ending war altogether! The abject failure of that goal and all other attempts to remake the rest of the world by force of arms have unfortunately not dampened the enthusiasm for trying again and again.

In The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien gives us a clear exposition of the mind affected by power in the form of Saruman of Many Colors. Saruman began with good intentions, as nearly everyone in the world does, but along the way fell prey to what Eric Voegelin calls the libido dominandi, or the will to power. “We must have power, power to order all things as we will, for that good which only the Wise can see," Saruman tells Gandalf. The advocates of intervention who favor perpetual US meddling abroad clearly consider themselves to be ordering all things for the good that only we here in the US can see. In the words of Madeline Albright “if we have to use force, it is because we are America; we are the indispensable nation. We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future."

Americans must develop internal checks in the form of restraint and self-discipline.

Unfortunately, the exercise of such unchecked power will inevitably lead the US down the path of its own destruction. We may not face any external existential threats, but we face an enormous existential threat in the form of ourselves. Our national debt is through the roof, thanks in no small part to the price tag on our crusading ventures, and even higher than that when factoring in the unfunded liabilities stemming from the welfare state. The Watson Institute at Brown University calculates that America has spent over $5.6 trillion on its wars since 2001. By 2056 they estimate this spending will have accumulated an additional $7.9 trillion in costs via interest on the debt accumulated to fund these wars. Such a fiscal situation is not sustainable forever.

Beyond the bleak monetary situation, America is plagued by a fraying and weak social fabric comprised of atomized individuals and an absolutist strain in our politics which incentivizes more and more heated conflict over control of the federal government --- both conditions which Nisbet considers to be consequences of American militarism. As Nisbet and many others have explained, war leads to a centralization of state power and control that does not decrease when the war is over. Now that our wars are seemingly never-ending, the slightest role back of the surveillance state and other war-time measures seems out of sight. With this wartime centralization comes the decay of the rest of society, as more and more of social life becomes centered around the government, as opposed to the historical situation in which various non-state institutions, most notably family and religion, were separate poles of power within society. In Nisbet's words “threads are loosened by the tightening of power at the center." If such centralization does not stop, our social fabric may eventually simply tear asunder.

Facing no external checks, Americans must develop internal checks in the form of restraint and self-discipline, if we are to steward our power wisely and prevent our indiscretions from bringing about our own downfall.

Zachary Yost is a Young Voices advocate and a freelance writer and researcher. Follow him on Twitter @ZacharyYost.

Far away fields are always greener.

It is easy to look at someone else's life or another country and wish you were more like them.

Americans can be guilty of this. It could be Bernie Sanders wishing America was politically more like Sweden or other European socialist countries. It could be an American who finds out I'm Irish, been trying to move to America for over 17 years, and thinks, "Oh Jonathon, Ireland is a lovely free country - stay there. America has problems right now. You would not like it here."

Today, I want to take you on a journey and compare our nations' attitudes toward Coronavirus and the policies currently in place for "our protection."

I would also ask you to imagine you were in my shoes. Ask yourself which country you would want to live in.

Role of Government

Before discussing restrictions, it is critical to understand the very different governmental systems within our two countries. America is blessed to have a federalist system where states have considerable control over what happens in their states. DC, in theory, holds very little power.

Ireland is the exact opposite. We are a democracy with a big centralized government. The vast majority of power lies with our Taoiseach (Prime Minister) and his cabinet. Local states have no control, as our restrictions are countrywide.

America
  • America's restrictions vary from state to state. You will find the majority of businesses are open but operating with some restrictions.
  • Churches, malls, retail, gyms, cinemas are mostly all open.
  • Bars and restaurants are open but usually at a reduced capacity.
  • Schools have moved to online learning.
  • No travel limits.
  • Travel between states is allowed, but some states like Alaska require a negative Covid test.
  • Guests are allowed in homes, but some states have a limit (but not enforced).
  • Masks are either advised or mandatory in different states.
  • Social distancing is required.

When researching this article, the most prominent complaints were restrictions on visiting loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes. These restrictions have upset many people because you have a proud history of believing in individual freedoms. The government is not your parent and does not have a right to tell you how to live.

Now let me introduce you to Ireland.

Ireland

Ireland is currently on the highest level of lockdown possible and has been since Christmas Eve. We are officially on lockdown until March 5th, and our lockdown is getting more severe. Our government has already confirmed lockdown will be extended until After Easter.

Ireland has a stay-at-home order in place, and you are to work from home where possible.

  • "Essential" retail is open but with stupid rules. Some of our shops are half-open and half-closed. Imagine a Walmart that is allowed to sell food, but large parts of the clothing section are closed because they are not deemed essential.
  • Non-essential retail is now fully closed. At the start of lockdown, outlets were allowed to offer a click-and-collect service – but that has now been banned.
  • Gyms and cinemas are all closed. Ø Bars and restaurants are closed and unlikely to re-open until mid-summer.
  • Schools have moved to online learning.
  • No guests are allowed in homes or gardens.
  • Masks are mandatory and with fines.
  • Social distancing is required.
  • Churches are allowed to open for private prayer, but the mass is strictly online. This has caused a lot of distress for families. Ireland is a Catholic country. I know many older people who have not received communion since last March. My mother is a funeral director and has witnessed the pain caused to families, as only ten people are allowed to attend a funeral, regardless of the Church's size. Imagine a large family deciding what ten people can attend? How do you choose that? Sadly, the Irish Church is spineless and accepts every rule the government passes.
Additional Tyranny

Very few businesses are open right now, but that is not the end of the restrictions. There are limits on how far you can travel. I am currently off my work because of Coronavirus restrictions. There are two legal reasons I can leave my house: personal exercise/walk the dog and to purchase food/essential items from the store. These activities must be completed within three miles of my house.

My human right to privacy has also been crushed. If I decided to get in my car tomorrow and just drive, I would encounter several police checkpoints where I would have to disclose where I live, where I am going, and the purpose of my trip. If the trip is not essential, I will be told to return home and likely given a fine.

Tyranny North Korea Style!

Most countries have border controls, all with similar intent: control who enters the nation, set how long they can stay, and mandate what they can do.

The one exception to this rule is North Korea. Their intent is not to control who enters. Instead, they seek to ensure no one leaves and defects to the South.

As you can imagine, life in Ireland is not exactly pleasurable with the above restrictions. This is especially the case for people like me who suffer from severe depression and are desperate to escape.

If tomorrow I woke up and decided I want out (which I very much do) and found a country I could enter legally, I AM NOT ALLOWED TO LEAVE.

The Irish government has deemed all international travel is not essential and has placed police at all our ports and our airports. If I attempt to go to the airport, I would be greeted at a police checkpoint outside the airport, told my journey is not essential, and sent home with a fine. Currently, the fine is €500 ($600). New legislation is being discussed in parliament to increase the penalty to €2,000.

The police have new powers for people who get past the checkpoints and continue to travel overseas. When they return to Ireland, they can be sent to jail for a month. They will also have a criminal record – that record would likely disqualify the person traveling to countries like America and Australia.

Irish People

I could talk to you all day long about why America is unique and exceptional. There are so many different reasons. One of the reasons is your people, and I highlight Alexis de Tocqueville's sentiments, who said, "America is great because Americans are good." Americans have this rebellious streak in their soul, and it can be traced all the way back to the Pilgrims on the Mayflower. This great spirit is based on being an independent sovereign individual and wanting to live life to the fullest and not be stopped or controlled by ANY government.

Irish people are good and decent. However, they do not share the same characteristics. They believe and support government control because it is all they have ever known.

If you ask the average Irish person about the current government, he will likely tell you he dislikes one of the parties involved or an individual leader. Yet, ask that same person what he thinks about the restrictions, and he will defend them. I hear some say they believe the government has not done enough.

On the rare occasions that people break restrictions, the most significant backlash will likely come from the community, as they brand those people selfish and irresponsible.

Going Forward

The damage from Covid is going to be around forever. Our actions have caused damage to our mental health and the economy (with businesses closing and jobs lost). This will cause poverty. This is made worse by governments' reckless spending and borrowing of money we simply do not have.

However, I would argue we have a much bigger problem stemming from Covid: social acceptance of governmental control in a "crisis."

When a government is powerful enough to compel someone not to leave their house, define their job as non-essential, or tell someone they can't hug their grandparent, what exactly is off-limits? What control or power is a line government won't cross for the "common good"?

Most importantly, do you think governments worldwide will fix this issue and give back the powers they have taken? Or is it more likely we will just move onto a new crisis – maybe climate change or the Great Reset?

This is why the world needs America. We don't need the American military to intervene and save us.

We NEED America to rediscover why you are an exceptional nation. We NEED you to be the statue of liberty shining out the beacon of light, hope, and freedom for the world where your actions remind all of us what is possible when we unleash the energy and individual genius of mankind. If we work hard to reapply these principles, we can take another 5,000-year leap forward together.

Writers note: The policies listed here are based solely on Ireland. However, you see very similar restrictions in England and throughout Europe.

Jonathon Dunne is a keynote speaker, weekly podcast host on Blaze Media, and published author on major platforms such as The Blaze, Glenn Beck, Libertarian Republic, Western Journalism, and Constitution. Since 2012, he has reached millions with his message of American exceptionalism.

You can find him on social media – Facebook, Twitter, MeWe

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to discuss the Left's current efforts to rid the U.S. military of "extremism," Democrats' push to separate President Joe Biden from the nuclear codes, and how conservatives can use government to battle the far-left, their policies, and their efforts to control Americans.

Crenshaw called the military's efforts to rid their ranks of extremism, "so obviously and clearly politically motivated," as the entire premise is based on reports that some active service members and veterans participated in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol.

"Mathematically, that's not a good indication of where active duty military stand or where veterans stand more broadly," Crenshaw said of the generalization that military personnel are extremists. "And I thought we were against that kind of profiling. Right? I thought that was against the liberal values that supposedly the Left stands for."

"But, Glenn, you know very well the Left is not liberal," he added. "The Left is very anti-liberal. And I think as conservatives, we have to say that more often. They have become genuinely authoritarian. Progressivism is not in sync with liberalism. All right? There's a big difference between an Alan Dershowitz liberal and a Democrat Party progressive. They're totally different."

Watch the video clip below to catch more of the conversation with Rep. Dan Crenshaw:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

Glenn Beck: THIS is why Biden nominated Merrick Garland as attorney general

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Many will remember President Biden's attorney general nominee Merrick Garland as the man Republicans refused to hold a Supreme Court confirmation hearing for back in 2016. So, was Garland's AG nomination just meant to be a slap in the face to Republicans? Glenn Beck thinks there's a lot more to it.

Given how focused Democrats are on rooting out vaguely defined "right-wing extremism," Garland's work in supervising the prosecution of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing suspects gives us a hint, Glenn suggested on radio this week. He said he's "all for" stopping dangerous extremists, but couldn't help noticing how Garland isn't talking about any of the destruction that happened over the summer.

"I am all for justice. I am all for making sure we catch the bad guys, as long as the bad guys are not defined to be on only one side," Glenn said. "Merrick Garland said [Monday] that there was no comparison between what happened on January 6th and what happened over the summer. That is because the Washington elites see themselves as better than somebody who owns a taco stand. I don't. The Constitution doesn't. They are the same crime."

Watch the video clip below to hear more from Glenn:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.

"All rich countries should move to 100% synthetic beef. You can get used to the taste difference," said holy anointed billionaire Bill Gates. Green activism has been around for decades. But what used to be wacky has now worked its way into the world's power structure. You must believe the science. You cannot question the science.

The Texas power failure provided America with a disturbing and deadly preview of the Great Reset. But Bill Gates, AOC, and other Democrats say this only proves we need to enforce MORE green policies.

On his Wednesday night special this week, Glenn Beck reveals how deep the Great Reset tentacles reach into government and business to strangle freedom and their efforts to control every aspect of your private life.

Watch the full episode below:

Want more from Glenn Beck?

To enjoy more of Glenn's masterful storytelling, thought-provoking analysis and uncanny ability to make sense of the chaos, subscribe to BlazeTV — the largest multi-platform network of voices who love America, defend the Constitution and live the American dream.