By Cruz Marquis
The oracle has spoken, the top priority of Republicans across America is sending munitions and dollars to Ukraine. McConnell has clearly been in Washington for too long and no longer has any conception of what his voters want most, as it is certainly not fighting a quasi-war with the Russians.
Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the Senate and the House, the only creature stirring was Mitch McConnell lobbying for Ukraine. His words bear repeating: “Providing assistance for Ukrainians to defeat the Russians is the number one priority for the United States right now, according to most Republicans. That’s how we see the challenges confronting the country at the moment.” It would have been better for him if he was not stirring, like the poetic mouse.
I do not speak for the whole of the conservative, nor libertarian, movements, but I will add my voice to the ringing din of condemnation from both factions. It is not my job to catalog and index the throngs of rightists and libertarians who called out the minority leader, but suffice it to say, many have done it (My personal favorite was FOX commentator, Lisa Booth, suggesting McConnell go fight in Ukraine himself).
Libertarians cannot agree on what constitutes a libertarian, and conservatives are setting themselves up for a circular firing squad effect in the upcoming 2024 primaries, but all can link hands and sing kumbaya over not making Ukraine their top priority. Whatever else their priorities might be, the Russo-Ukrainian War will never top either of their lists.
Since McConnell’s Ukraine flub is prima facie false, what should be the top priority of the friends of liberty in all parties? The country is not doing too well right now and there is a lot of work to be done; the list of other options is long: Unbalanced budgets, unfunded liabilities, border security, corruption in high government, our own defense spending, inflation, the onward march of the transgender ideology, skyrocketing cost of education, the breakdown of the rule of law, regime instability, among other things.
There can hardly be a definitive list of priorities agreeable to everyone and making even a skeleton of one would be prohibitively long. Instead of doing that, I endeavor to point out a few alternate items to place ahead of Ukraine, if Mitch McConnell will suffer to focus on his own country for a few moments.
President Brandon’s lax border policies, relative to his predecessor, project a look of weakness, indecision, and acceptance of illegal immigration in any quantity. Perception matters, and, as a result, the southern border is experiencing a humanitarian disaster, with migrants literally sleeping on the streets in sub-freezing conditions and overrunning border states. Laredo, Texas is being flooded with 1,600 new illegal immigrants daily, a number that is expected to rise soon. El Paso is somehow worse at 2,600 per day.
Even if a person is entirely devoid of national consciousness and sees nothing amiss with forcing Americans to accept millions upon millions of immigrants in their backyards, there is still a reason to seal the border immediately. The various levels of state and private charities put together cannot come close to providing the temporary housing for all of these people –this is a full-blown humanitarian disaster. There must be a clampdown on border security long enough to get the people sleeping on pavement and park benches in sub-freezing weather into someplace warm, at least until they can be returned to their country of origin.
It is profoundly unchristian to allow this many people to shiver and suffer over an unrealistic vision of what America should be like: The land which will accept quite literally everyone who can so much as set foot within our borders. Citizens, i.e., the common man, has a right to determine who can and cannot reside within the country he was born in, the land of his fathers. Washington bureaucrats and politicians who disregard and demean the citizenry, that they owe their jobs to, have no right to impose this unchristian and nonsensical agenda.
Spending is a bipartisan problem so critiquing it earns one a rare achievement: The ire of both parties. Since the money the state spends has to come from somewhere, it gets it either by taxing, inflating, or borrowing, all of which are bad options, only in different ways. Taxing is the most honest way, but the public has long been attuned to the wiles of the taxman and dreads his every move. Washington gets around this antipathy by inflating the currency, which is essentially a stealth tax, or by borrowing money, which, through future interest payments, are nothing but selling claims on future taxation, like the tax farmers of ancient Rome.
Borrowing necessitates interest payments to make up for the natural discrepancy between the valuation of present goods (the principal loaned) and future goods (the interest returned), since the former is ipso facto valued more than the latter (I want to buy a sandwich I can eat today, not a year from now). The same holds true when the state borrows money; it accumulates a non-negligible interest obligation. As of this year, the net interest on the national debt is the 6th largest budget item, coming in at $352 billion, not quite half of what is spent on defense.
Money going to interest payments on the debt is money that is not used for other functions of government; in other words, it is a total waste brought on by the bad economics of yesteryear. Assuming one is so tightfisted with the state’s revenue that one refuses to stomach the idea of cutting taxes to let the citizenry keep the money, it could alternatively be used to fix the deteriorating infrastructure or serve some other pressing need. Had the politicos of yesteryear been more honest and taxed the money, there would be no need to pay interest on the debt, and it would have the added effect of not concealing the degree of government spending and, thus, making a popular solution more likely.
Any number of other priorities could be detailed, but they all have one thing in common: They are not Ukraine. My recent series of articles on interventionism and standing armies discuss in greater detail the inevitable drawbacks of foreign engagement, so I will refrain from reproducing those arguments here. I will content myself with saying this: Waging a quasi-war with the Russians is not my top priority, nor is it the top priority of any Republican (except for Mitch McConnell), conservative, or libertarian.
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