Entangling Alliances

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    “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.” -Washington

    I’m trying to imagine how this history would’ve played out, and where we’d (US) be today if we’d followed this sage advice of our first great president- to stay out of other countries’ business. Let communism fall under it’s own weight (although hindsight is always 20/20). sort of a free market of political powers- see what lasts.

    It’s interesting that politically free countries tend toward economically prosperity, which (as I learned from these excellent lectures), led to the demise of the USSR.

    Having learned these lessons now, can’t we cut all ties? Or, once entangled, always entangled, hence Washington’s worry and admonition.

    Alas, the globalists have always sought these alliances. The voting public needs to speak out and get us out of the UN!

    PS: Thanks for an amazing set of lectures on Western Civilization. I assigned these to my homeschooled 13 year old daughter. She’s enjoying them… now I just need to test her knowledge through essays!!

    Jason Jewell

    Thanks for your kind words about the lectures. I’m glad you and your daughter are finding them worthwhile.

    Extrication from global commitments is certainly possible if the political will to do it is there. I saw a national survey recently where, for the first time ever, a majority of respondents said the U.S. should “mind its own business” in international affairs. Of course, there are many entrenched interests who will fight to prevent any such thing from happening, but once the budget problems get so bad that social programs would have to be significantly cut, I suspect the politicians will decide that reducing overseas commitments will be the course more likely to get them reelected.


    I wish you would follow up these 80+ lectures with your vision of the future. How things may play out based on your extensive knowledge of the past.


    Thank you for your reply.

    I am puzzled about how to help people vote themselves more freedom (as in getting out of the UN, out of debt,etc):

    Education and good information?
    Moral education?
    Shut off mass media?
    All of the above?

    If all of the above, where do we start, and how. Which is most important? Are some more important for some people but others are more important for other people?

    This is pretty much my study night and day.

    PS: I just finished a book you may enjoy- “How to Read A Book” (Mortimer Adler). He gave me the confidence to launch into Plate & Aristotle!

    Jason Jewell

    This page has links to a series of blog posts I wrote about Adler’s How to Read a Book: http://westerntradition.wordpress.com/recommended-resources/

    As to your other questions, a full answer would require a book-length treatment. I guess it depends at what social level you’re talking about, although all the things you mention are valuable.

    At the individual level, I’m a believer in relatively low consumption and a high savings rate to provide a foundation of self-sufficiency that reduces the temptation to be dependent on the State. A big influence on my thinking in this respect is Aristotle, who argued that one cannot really pursue the good life and develop the necessary habits of virtue without reaching a certain threshold of wealth. I’ve recently been won over to Bob Murphy’s strategy for financing one’s major goals through dividend-paying life insurance, a process that does not inflate the money supply: http://consultingbyrpm.com/uploads/HPBRW.pdf

    Joel McDurmon (of Ron Paul’s homeschool curriculum) likens individuals and families to mice who are tempted to walk into the State’s mousetrap by the cheese of some welfare benefit. His slogan is “Don’t Take the Cheese.” I think that’s a useful phrase to keep in mind, whether it’s “free” public education or whatever. To a great extent we can secede from these systems if we’re willing to make some financial sacrifices, and it’s much easier to do that if we’ve developed the financial discipline I mention above.

    There are lots of other things we should do, too, but these are some thoughts off the top of my head upon seeing your message.


    thank you for the resources and thoughts! It’s a long term process, not an overnight change. -Sean

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