Death To America! & Starve the Beast!

Anti-American graffiti in Tehran

Image via Wikipedia

One image that is certain to churn up angry emotions in any red-blooded American is the image of mobs chanting “Death to America.”  How odd it is to me that some of those very same angry people would embrace the political philosophy startlingly described as, “Starve the Beast.”

“Starve the Beast” is a fiscal policy that is advocated by many conservatives and libertarians.  “The Beast” referred to here is the U.S. government. The idea is to ensure that the U.S. remains in financial distress so that it will have no choice but to cut programs.  It does not seem to care which functions of the government wither away.  It does not care about reducing deficits. In fact, it is a policy that actually depends on deficits to coerce U.S. citizens to weaken its own government.

I hate to break it so some, but the “America” that those angry mobs want to see die is the same U.S. government that some among us apparently want to starve to death.  When we fight wars, we fight to preserve the U.S. government’s control over our land.  Patriotism is the love for one’s country, and in our case our country is literally defined by the boundaries of the U.S. government.

The U.S. government is a republic.  That is, it is a run by people who we elect to represent us.  It does what our representatives decide it should do.  All of our anger against politicians is, therefore, veiled anger against ourselves.  If there are idiots in Washington, if there are crooks in Washington, then that’s because we picked them for the job.

We live in somewhat difficult times.  There is much to be frustrated about the way our government functions.  Some of us realize that it is our responsibility to correct the beastly aspects of our government.  Others just want to starve the beast.  Those angry mobs who yell, “Death to America” are not particular about the method of bringing down the U.S. government; starvation is as good a method as any other.

So why would any patriot join the ranks of those chanting “Death To America” by added their voice to the sympathetic chorus of “Starve the Beast?”  Well, frankly it is because they care more about reducing their own tax burden then they do about the health of America.

Despite the fact that a strong America allowed them to accumulate their wealth, they are now happy to bite the hand that fed them.  Because that same America asks them to give back to their society from their bounty, they have the nerve to call it a “beast.”  They no longer need to invest their wealth in the U.S.A.; they can now invest their assets into China or into other emerging markets.  America’s death will not measurably disrupt their lives; they can take their bounty elsewhere.

There will always be those who are looking out for number one at the expense of society.  Unfortunately these same self-centered people have figured out how to invest some of their money into means to convince other not-so-wealthy citizens to advocate and vote against those citizen’s own best interests.

I am not sure how to combat such forces.  I suppose I try in my feeble ways through this blog and by other means.  I worry about how close to starvation our government will have to get before the electorate wakes up.

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Comments

  • Jim Wheeler  On December 20, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    JW,

    In a representative democracy such as ours the authority to govern derives from the people. Therefore it is not unpatriotic for the people to question government policy. In fact, I submit that it is healthy to do so. It is one thing to question health care reform and quite another to advocate violence.

    Somewhere between Libertarianism and the nanny state (or Communism) lies a proper balance between self-reliance and government functions. IMHO, this balance will always be in a state of flux, a dynamic that reflects the competitive and contentious nature of us human creatures.

    My little blog-group here in Joplin had a lively discussion of the same issues recently and I invite you to read and comment on it if you care to. Here is the link:

    http://jwheeler59.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/wisdom-and-tough-love/#comments

    Jim

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