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.

Megyn Kelly is not happy about the "disgusting" media coverage of President Donald Trump, specifically pointing to Lesley Stahl's "60 Minutes" interview on CBS Sunday.

On the radio program, Megyn told Glenn Beck the media has become so blinded by the "Trump Derangement Syndrome" that they've lost their own credibility — and now they can't get it back.

"It's disgusting. It's stomach-turning," Megyn said of the media's coverage of the president. "But it's just a continuation of what we've seen over the past couple of years. Their 'Trump Derangement Syndrome' has blinded them to what they're doing to their own credibility. They can't get it back. It's too late. They've already sacrificed it. And now no one is listening to them other than the hard partisans for whom they craft their news."

Megyn also discussed how she would have covered the recent stories about Hunter and Joe Biden's alleged corruption. Watch the video below to catch more of the conversation:


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Imagine sometime next year, getting called before HUWAC – the House Un-Woke Activities Committee.

"Are you or have you ever been a member of the un-woke?"

Something like that is not as far-fetched as you might think.

Last week, Robert Reich, the former Secretary of Labor during the Clinton administration, now a UC Berkeley professor, tweeted this:

Since the 1970s, there have been dozens of "Truth Commissions" around the world like the kind Robert Reich wants in America. Most of these have been set up in Africa and Latin America. Usually it happens in countries after a civil war, or where there's been a regime change – a dictator is finally overthrown, and a commission is set up to address atrocities that happened under the dictator. Or, as in the commissions in East Germany and Czechoslovakia, atrocities under communism. Or, in the most famous example, South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation commission addressed the decades of apartheid that ravaged that nation.

These commissions usually conclude with an official final report. These commissions and reports have served as a means of governments trying to close a dark chapter of their country's history, or provide emotional catharsis, as a way to generally move on. Sometimes it kind of works for people, most of the time it leaves people clamoring for more justice.

Here's how one professor described truth commissions in an article in The Conversation last year. He wrote:

The goal of a truth commission… is to hold public hearings to establish the scale and impact of a past injustice, typically involving wide-scale human rights abuses, and make it part of the permanent, unassailable public record. Truth commissions also officially recognize victims and perpetrators in an effort to move beyond the painful past… Some have been used cynically as tools for governments to legitimize themselves by pretending they have dealt with painful history when they have only kicked the can down the road.

See, this is the problem with a lot of "Truth" commissions – they are inherently political. Even if you trust your government and give them all the benefit of the doubt in the world that their Truth commission is trying to do the right thing, it is ALWAYS going to be political. Because these truth commissions are never set up by those who have LOST power in government. They're always established by those who have WON power.

The Deputy Executive Director of the International Center for Transitional Justice says one of the main points in these Truth commissions is that "the victims become protagonists."

A Department of Anti-racism is entirely within the realm of possibility.

So, who are the victims in Robert Reich's America? People like him, members of the far-Left who had to endure the atrocities of four years of a president with different political ideas. What an injustice. I mean, the left's suffering during the Trump administration is almost on the level of apartheid or genocide – so we totally need a Truth commission.

There have been lots of calls for the U.S. to have its own Truth and Reconciliation commission, especially around racial injustice.

This past June, Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee of California introduced legislation to establish the " United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation."

Ibram X. Kendi – the high priest of anti-racism, and author of Target's current favorite book " Antiracist Baby" – proposes a Constitutional anti-racism amendment. This amendment would:

establish and permanently fund the Department of Anti-racism (DOA) comprised of formally trained experts on racism and no political appointees. The DOA would be responsible for pre-clearing all local, state and federal public policies to ensure they won't yield racial inequity, monitor those policies, investigate private racist policies when racial inequity surfaces, and monitor public officials for expressions of racist ideas. The DOA would be empowered with disciplinary tools to wield over and against policymakers and public officials who do not voluntarily change their racist policy and ideas.

If you think that is far-fetched, you haven't been paying attention to the Left's growing radicalism. In a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration, a Department of Anti-racism is entirely within the realm of possibility. And of course, such a DOA would never stop at policing government.

We're in a dangerous, precarious moment in our history. Given the events of 2020, should Democrats gain the White House, the Senate, and the House, how many commissions will be in our future? They will suddenly have plenty of political capital to drag the nation through years of commission hearings.

And the Left's form of justice is never satisfied. You think it will stop at a T&R commission on race? MSNBC's Chris Hayes tweeted this month about the need for a commission to deal with Americans who are skeptical about wearing masks:

Or what about a Truth commission on religion? I mean, look at those reckless churches spreading Covid this year. Or this would be a big one – a T&R commission on climate change deniers.

The Left is highly selective when it comes to truth. That's why they are the very last group you want in charge of anything with "Truth and Reconciliation" in the title.

This is one of the most incredibly frustrating things about the Left in America today. The Left insists there is no such thing as absolute truth, while simultaneously insisting there are certain approved truths that are undeniable.

So, you can't question "Science" – even though that's pretty much what every great scientist in history did.

You can't question racism as the explanation for all of existence – because, well, just because.

You can't question third-party "Fact-checkers" – because the powers that be, mainly Big Tech right now, have decided they are the Truth referees and you have to trust what they say because they're using certified external fact-checkers. They just forgot to tell you that they actually fund these third-party fact-checkers. It's like if McDonald's told you to trust third-party health inspectors that they were paying for.

The Left thinks it has a monopoly on Truth. They're the enlightened ones, because they've had the correct instruction, they're privy to the actual facts. It's psychotic arrogance. If you don't buy what they're selling, even if you're just skeptical of it, it's because you either don't have the facts, you willingly deny the facts, or you're simply incapable of grasping the truth because you're blinded by your raging racism problem. It's most likely the racism problem.

The Left never learns from its own preaching. For the past 60-plus years they've decried the House Un-American Activities Committee for trying to root out communists, getting people canceled, ruining Hollywood careers, etcetera. But a HUAC-type committee is precisely what Robert Reich is describing and many on the Left want. It's not enough for Trump to be voted out of office. Americans who helped put him there must be punished. They don't want reconciliation, they want retribution. Because the Left doesn't simply loathe Donald Trump, the Left loathes YOU.

President Donald Trump's performance at last night's final presidential debate was "brilliant" and "the best he's ever done," Glenn Beck said on the radio program Friday.

Glenn described the moments he thought President Trump came across as "sincere," "kind," and "well-informed," as well as Joe Biden's biggest downfalls for of the night — from his big statement on wanting to eliminate the oil industry to his unsurprising gaffes as the debate neared the end. But, the question remains: was Trump's "brilliant performance" enough to win the election?

Watch the video be low to get Glenn's take on the final debate before the November 3 election:


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This is a moment "Cynical Theories" author James Lindsay probably hoped would never come. The liberal mathematician and host of the "New Discourses Podcast" recently came out as "unhappily" voting Republican, including for President Donald Trump, because the Democratic Party is now being controlled by a far-left movement that seeks to destroy our country and the U.S. Constitution.

He joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to explain why this election isn't "Trump versus Biden." It's Trump versus a "movement that wants to tear apart American society at its very foundation." Lindsay warned that if it isn't stopped, the left can toss out our rights by rewriting the Constitution — or abolishing it altogether.

"A lot of people don't understand what's happening with the election we have right now," he said. "They think it's a choice between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. And at the surface level, of course, it is. We're voting for each candidate to be duly put into the office of president. But that's not what we really have going on. We have, in Donald Trump, a man who's going to govern as we've all seen — the way he feels like he's going to govern. And we have in Joe Biden, a man captured by a movement that wants to tear apart the American society at its very foundation."

Lindsay noted the popular leftist narratives that call to "abolish anything they don't like," which now includes the U.S. Constitution. He added that "this is the movement that is controlling the Democratic Party."

"It is my belief, that there has been a largely effective kind of silent coup of the Democratic Party, that's turned it completely under the control of this movement. And that's what we're going to be electing with Joe Biden. So I can't do it," he said.

Watch the video below for more details: