Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rand Paul, Gary Johnson and The Foreign Aid Carrot

By, Chris Rossini
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Foreign aid is wrong.

It's wrong not because a piece of paper called the U.S. Constitution doesn't authorize it. Even if it was authorized, foreign aid would still be wrong.

It's wrong not because the people who are supposed to receive the money only end up getting crumbs after bureaucracy and corrupt politicians take their cuts. No...Even if the target recipients received all of the funds, it would still be wrong.

The reason? Because at the root of the transfer, lies theft. Money is coercively taken from A to be "supposedly" transferred to B.

To use an analogy, let's say a man is walking down a city street with his wife. As they're walking, a thief runs up from behind, snatches the wife's purse, and continues running full speed.

The husband, being a track star, runs after the thief and catches him. The thief then pleads "Please, you don't father is very poor and down on his luck. He can't catch a break. I need whatever money is in this purse."

The husband then say, "Oh, ok...then take the purse. It's all yours. We have lots of credit on our cards too."

Realistic? Of course not.

Even government doesn't try to spin it in favor of the thief. He gets locked up.

Real charity (i.e., aid) is voluntary. One person must voluntarily receive money from another for it to be considered genuine charity.

And in our digital age, the ability to transfer funds to others has never been easier. What happens when a tsunami hits Japan? Or an earthquake rocks in Haiti? Americans, on their own, give millions and millions in an effort to assist.

The euphemism known as "Foreign Aid" is just another rotten government scheme. Among its many uses, the U.S. government, in particular, uses money coercively taken from U.S. citizens to maintain its massive Empire abroad. Money is sent to prop up puppet dictators to keep them in line.

Democratically elected leaders are on the dole too. They have to fall in line as well. Much like when a local politician needs to "bring home the pork" to solidify votes, the U.S. government could never maintain its Empire without foreign aid.

So now lets look at current events.

A tragic incident occurs at the U.S. embassy in Libya, and cackles from all sides of the political spectrum come forth about how the U.S. sends X billion here and Y billion there. How can these countries do this to us?

First, this strongly supports my point that foreign aid is supposed to keep other countries in line, and keep their people pacified. But it also makes foreign aid appear as some kind of carrot that the U.S. government dangles in front of the recipient nations.

In other words, as long as the nations maintain order, they can take have our money. If a tragedy occurs, the U.S. must remove the carrot.

I don't expect the vast majority in Washington to understand why this is wrong. But two prominent individuals who are in the mix should: Rand Paul and Gary Johnson. They have a lot of people behind them that desire more freedom and liberty.

Let's look at the statements from both Rand Paul and Gary Johnson in reaction to Libya:

Rand Paul (my emphasis)
"I am heartbroken and outraged by the murder of four U.S. citizens, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

"The perpetrators of this senseless attack must be brought to justice. I, therefore, demand that until the Libyan police hand over suspects to U.S officials, any U.S. foreign aid to the government of Libya be contingent on their full support in this matter."
In other words, do as we ask and funds will still flow. Disobey, and we're removing the carrot.

Gary Johnson (my emphasis)
The airwaves are filled today with political chest-pounding and calls for decisive action. The most decisive and prudent action we can take today is to stop trying to manage governments and peoples on the other side of the globe who don’t want to be managed, get our people out of impossible situations that have no direct U.S. interest, and immediately stop sending money to regimes who clearly cannot or will not control their own countries.
Once again, the carrot must be removed for the disobedience. If, on the other hand, there was a "direct U.S. interest" and the regimes were able to "control their own countries" let the dollars flow. And Gary Johnson is supposedly a libertarian?

I'll end on what would actually be, as Gary Johnson desires, "the most decisive and prudent action". It was written by Mr. Libertarian -- Murray Rothbard:
"The cry among American libertarians should be for the United States to withdraw now, in every way that involves the U.S. government. The United States should dismantle its bases, withdraw its troops, stop its incessant political meddling, and abolish the CIA. It should also end all foreign aid – which is simply a device to coerce the American taxpayer into subsidizing American exports and favored foreign States, all in the name of 'helping the starving peoples of the world.' In short, the United States government should withdraw totally to within its own boundaries and maintain a policy of strict political 'isolation' or neutrality everywhere."


  1. The implication drawn from Mr. Johnson's remarks is unjustified. Mr. Johnson is merely pointing out reasons to disentangle from Libya, not providing excuses for foreign entanglements.

    That said, it is true that Gary Johnson does not embrace all of the views of Murray Rothbard without reservation. It is what it is.

    1. I believe the implication is correct since Johnson does not oppose all foreign aid.

    2. That much is true. Johnson has stated that clear protection of U.S. interests is a necessary condition of foreign aid, more than once. It is the suggestion that Johnson sees a regime being in control of its populace or "wanting to be managed" as sufficient conditions for foreign aid, that I object to. With those remarks he was merely pointing out specific reasons why foreign aid to Libya is not in the national interest.

      Johnson's remarks are more libertarian in character than anything Obama, Romney or Rand Paul has said about the situation. He is clearly saying that the US should not be involved in Libya's affairs at all, despite the attack on the consulate and murder of an ambassador. That's a strong libertarian position to take under the circumstances, akin to Ron Paul pointing out that 9/11 attacks were blowback shortly after the towers fell. Johnson will no doubt be attacked by statists and warmongers on the right and left for taking the position; it would be nice if libertarians supported him for clearly opposing a military response and advocating non-intervention there and generally.

  2. Once again the commentator launches a gratuitous attack on people advocating something he agrees with. True, there maybe a philosophical distinction between Rand and Johnson's positions and those of the commentator, but if so, then statements of that nature should be cited not statements that actually call for ending aid.

    It is not possible to infer from either Rand's or Johnson's statements cited above whether they do, in fact, favor or oppose foreign aid in general.

    It seems clear that Mr. Rossini is grasping at any reason he can possibly concoct to criticize both of them. Has he hired to do this just to hype the comments section? If so, it won't work with me. I don't intend to reply continually to such weak accusations. I will simply find someplace to get my information. This site is filled with enough propaganda as it is. We need reasoned argumentation, not phony confrontations.

    1. Nonsense. Rand Paul and Gary Johnson are not obscure people with vague positions. They have been on record numerous times.

  3. I agree with Jonathan. Johnson does not say that we should provide aid to countries "who don't want to be managed". He's merely emphasizing the absurdity of the given situation at hand.

    In his Reason interview, Johnson said, "I’m opposed to any foreign aid, because we’re borrowing money from China, that we’re paying interest on, to give to other countries. So I’m opposed to foreign aid to all countries."