What I Told the Texas State Legislature

by | Apr 3, 2021

Last week, myself and a great group of antiwar veterans, led by BringOurTroopsHome.us testified before a committee of the Texas Senate in favor of new Defend the Guard legislation proposed by Rep. Bryan Slaton. (Admittedly, my statement was not so well received as a similar one was in Montana the week before that. But lessons were learned and the other guys did great, so it looks like it will pass out of committee and on to Calendars, at least.)

Thank you very much for considering this important legislation.

I’d like to mention something that is becoming a real crisis in this country, and that is the move by American liberals and progressives further to the left toward what they call “democratic socialism” in the Bernie Sanders fashion. This is especially true among the Millennials and Generation Z. It does not just mean the push for a larger welfare state, but more and more they reject market capitalism broadly defined and believe that all large holdings of wealth and property should be taxed away or otherwise taken over by governments to manage. This of course would be an absolute catastrophe.

But so then why is this happening? It is not because of the failures of free markets to deliver prosperity, but primarily the failure of American militarism which destroys trillions of dollars and wastes billions of hours of man and brain power that would otherwise go to productive uses.

It was Republican President and former 5-Star General Dwight Eisenhower who warned about the corrupting influence of what he called the Military-Industrial Complex now 60 years ago, but there has been no reckoning since. Recent presidents Obama and Trump both echoed Ike’s same complaint about Pentagon officials overriding the will of the country’s civilian leaders to roll back U.S. intervention.

America stays at war largely because Lockheed-Martin, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrup-Grumman and other major military contractors spend millions of dollars buying up lobbyists, think tankers, Pentagon officials and Congressman to make certain the government continues to patronize their firms. It is as simple as that. It is not unmentionable. Everyone knows it. And it is as wrong as it can be.

American militarism also necessitates an inflationary monetary policy so that the government can continue to expand its overseas footprint without having to raise taxes, which can cause too much open resistance. But this monetary inflation leads not only to rising prices across the board, but to massive bubbles in certain sectors, leading to terrible economic crashes as we’ve survived in 2000, 2008 and last year, which, though forced by the lockdowns, was due anyway, even though so many Americans had never recovered from the last bust. And as anyone living through the massive inflation in the housing market in Texas today can tell you, there have never been so many homeless families living on the streets of our state.

For all these problems, the free market takes the rap. Capitalism in general is said to be discredited. The distortions caused by permanent war then threaten all of our prosperity in even more severe ways in the future if present trends continue.

And this proves the case: we can have either a republic or an empire but we cannot have it both ways.

The best thing you can do to help to preserve our freedom and prosperity would be for you to prove the Constitution is still the law and that American is still a republic. Texas could lead the more than 30 states considering similar Defend the Guard legislation this year to let it be known that the people of this country want an end to unconstitutional wars and that the states’ legislatures in fact do represent them and are determined to demonstrate that it is so.

Thank you.

About Scott Horton

Scott Horton is director of the Libertarian Institute, editorial director of Antiwar.com, host of Antiwar Radio on Pacifica, 90.7 FM KPFK in Los Angeles, California and podcasts the Scott Horton Show from ScottHorton.org. He's the author of the 2021 book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism, the 2017 book, Fool's Errand:Time to End the War in Afghanistan , editor of the 2019 book The Great Ron Paul: The Scott Horton Show Interviews 2004–2019 and the 2022 book Hotter Than The Sun: Time to Abolish Nuclear Arms. He’s conducted more than 5,700 interviews since 2003. Scott lives in Austin, Texas with his wife, Larisa Alexandrovna Horton.

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