Antiwar is the Health of the Anti-State Movement
[This is the text of my speech at the Libertarian Party National Convention, which I delivered on May 5, 2012 in Las Vegas and was broadcast live on C-SPAN. Thanks so much to those who have given me such positive feedback and requested a copy of my speech. Since it was for oral delivery, I paid little attention to punctuation.]
Five years ago, almost to the day, the Libertarian movement exploded into the public consciousness. As someone who joined the Libertarian Party more than 32 years ago, when our party and platform already supported marriage equality for gays while the big debate in this country, including the Democratic Party, was over gay imprisonment, I can tell you that the first 27 years were the hardest. We had an appealing message of liberty that for some reason just didn’t catch fire with the public. Until May 15th, 2007. And there is one man we have to thank. Rudolph Giuliani.
On that day, the one-time 1988 Libertarian Party nominee for President, who I believe is still an official member of our party, was attacked by Giuliani for expressing the absurd idea that the 9/11 murderers, and let’s be clear that they are murderers, were motivated to kill Americans because of US military intervention on top of cruel trade sanctions in Muslim countries. Giuliani, as you know, is a foreign policy expert because he lived close to the World Trade Center and wore a hardhat on 9/11. Oddly enough, not only the CIA but the 9/11 Commission, which supposedly included Giuliani, AGREED with the man Giuliani attacked. As for the man he attacked, anyone who is an advocate of peace, whatever disagreements they might have on other issues, should join me in saying, God bless you, Ron Paul.
We have all heard Randolph Bourne’s famous quote “War is the health of the state”. War is the four letter word that lets government officials who are mere mortals, almost as human as you and I, place themselves above the rule of law, above due process, and above habeas corpus because, of course, all’s fair in love and war.
War is such a useful concept to politicians that they declare wars on everything. The war on terror, the war on drugs, the war on ignorance, the war on poverty, the war on pornography, and even the war on trans-fats. You see, we can’t afford to respect life, liberty and property… WE’RE AT WAR.
Drowning people in fear is the key to power. But we also learned five years ago that antiwar is the health of the anti-state movement. And even if we do nothing other than end ALL the wars, real as well as metaphorical, we will be well on our way to a free society. And millions are ready to rally around that banner.
But only one party can be the Party of Peace, and it isn’t the Republican Party, which will only nominate a candidate who passes two tests. First, they must be pro-life. Second, they must want to kill lots of foreigners. It isn’t the Democratic Party, which has rallied around a man who now holds the record for most children killed by a Nobel Peace Prize winner. And it isn’t our good friends in the Green and Constitution parties, who understand the importance of military nonintervention but not the equal or greater importance of free trade, which the late libertarian, Joan Kennedy Taylor, called the necessary foundation for world peace. The Libertarian Party is the only Party of Peace.
Libertarians love strategic alliances … between people. Trade, travel, migration and cultural exchange build both prosperity and friendship throughout the world. We oppose strategic alliances between governments. They lead to war, terrorism, and a blind eye toward violations of life, liberty and property by those allied governments. When it comes to politicians, friends don’t tell friends to respect human rights. And with friends like that, we create enemies.
Libertarians believe in humanitarian intervention… by volunteers who are supported by others who volunteer their money. The most positive image of Americans is our personal generosity after natural disasters in other parts of the world. We oppose humanitarian intervention by governments, whose decisions are influenced by what President Eisenhower called a military-industrial complex that profits from finding crises, and whose arrogance causes them to fancy themselves experts about another country and culture simply because they viewed a YouTube video. Of all humanitarians, the US government is the one whose past record of horrible unintended consequences and distorted intelligence has most earned itself a “time out” in its own corner of the world. It’s time for some humanitarian nonintervention. Bring ALL of our troops home from around the world to their families, treat their wounds, and stop creating new ones.