Meddling Matters

“Our detached and distant situation invites and enables us to pursue a different course. If we remain one people under an efficient government, the period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground?

~ George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796 (emphasis added by me)
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The wisdom of American meddling in foreign affairs has long been under question. Regardless of whether or not you’re foolish enough to believe that Qatar is the “real” problem nation when it comes to sponsoring terrorism, bragging about being responsible for meddling in the Middle East yet again is just abjectly stupid. I can’t even begin to count the number of times the Founding Fathers straight out said America should stay out of the rest of the world’s messes. Because they pretty much said it constantly whenever anyone was like hmmm, foreign affairs…the rest of them were like -no- just no.

And really, its not like the Founders were wrong. With maybe the exception of the Second World War, every time America has gotten involved, it typically takes the situation from bad to worse. Even in the singular case of WWII where you can argue that we did more good than harm for a change, there was still a whole series of unintended consequences that created yet more trouble, for us and the rest of the world. And frankly, the more time that has gone by since the treaties and agreements that ended WWII, the worse its gotten. The errors in judgment made during those negotiations have contributed directly to most of the present host of issues in the world.

Are we all really so stupid that we never learn? Or perhaps just the politicians have an anti-intelligence ray gun constantly pointed at their skulls? Not to mention that it would be a whole heck of a lot cheaper and less draining on our own economy if we didn’t feel the need to spend a few trillion policing the rest of the world. Don’t we have enough on our hands? Our nation is one of the largest, most successful in history.  Why are we getting constantly bogged down in other people’s drama? Do you have any idea how many lives we’ve wasted in Iraq and Afghanistan for the last 16 years? SIXTEEN YEARS. Why are we wasting our talent and our treasure and our time on other nation’s shit storms? No real good has come from it.

Do we really think our politicians’ judgment is really that good? That noble? That pure? That wise? I think we all know the answer is hardly. Between that bit of perspective, some historical perspective, and just plan common sense (something apparently only Thomas Paine and the rest of the Founders possessed in any abundance), it should pretty much be clear that the answer to the question of meddling should pretty much always be a “no”. If you’re asking “should we get involved in that,” let NO be the assumption, let NO be the rule of thumb like the Founders advised and warned us. And if you think you’re better or wiser or more “with it” and that whatever foreign intervention you’re advocating for is going to go well when 99% of them just straight fail, you’re an idiot.

Our Founding Fathers made a great nation. If you have a beautiful home that you love, do you pay a maid service to go clean up the dilapidated house of the next door neighbors? What’s going to happen when you stop sending the maids over? That’s right, your neighbors are just going to go back to being nasty the second you stop paying the maids to go over there. Because they haven’t learned anything other than that you will pay to clean up their messes for them. It doesn’t work on a small scale. It won’t work on a large scale. The Founders gave the future generations some pretty solid advice. Take care of your own house. Don’t try to keep up other people’s for them. Maybe we should just listen.

Res Publica

Documentation without Representation:

George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp

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