On February 12, 2009, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) spoke before the House of Representatives. He asked a series of questions – and I am of the opinion that asking right questions is sometimes even more valuable than having all the answers because the questions force us to think. Unfortunately too many claim they already know all the answers so they never have to think! This is especially true of ideologues of every stripe, which is why ideologues are so dangerous and so readily become demagogues. It is also why thinking is so dangerous to ideologues, why they discourage it, and why they promote everyone to simply put on their brand of ideological blinders to look at any issue (run to their web page, run to their talk show to get their take/spin on issues you should be thinking about for yourself). Rep. Paul was one of the Republican candidates for the presidency in the 2008 primaries. His questions don’t ask you to agree or disagree with him, they ask you only to think. Without further comment, here are his questions for our consideration:
“What if we wake up one day and realize that the terrorist threat is a predictable consequence of our meddling in the affairs of others?
What if propping up repressive regimes in the Middle East endangers both the United States and Israel?
What if occupying countries like Iraq and Afghanistan – and bombing Pakistan – is directly related to the hatred directed toward us and has nothing to do with being free and prosperous?
What if someday it dawns on us that losing over 5,000 American military personnel in the Middle East since 9/11 is not a fair trade-off for the loss of nearly 3,000 American citizens, no matter how many Iraqi, Pakistani, and Afghan people are killed or displaced?
What if we finally decide that torture, even if called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” is self-destructive and produces no useful information – and that contracting it out to a third world nation is just as evil?
What if it is finally realized that war and military spending is always destructive to the economy?
What if all wartime spending is paid for through the deceitful and evil process of inflating and borrowing?
What if we finally see that wartime conditions always undermine personal liberty?
What if conservatives, who preach small government, wake up and realize that our interventionist foreign policy provides the greatest incentive to expand the government?
What if conservatives understood once again that their only logical position is to reject military intervention and managing an empire throughout the world?
What if the American people woke up and understood that the official reasons for going to war are almost always based on lies and promoted by war propaganda in order to serve special interests?
What if we as a nation came to realize that the quest for empire eventually destroys all great nations?
What if Obama has no intention of leaving Iraq?
What if a military draft is being planned for the wars that will spread if our foreign policy is not changed?
What if the American people learn the truth: that our foreign policy has nothing to do with national security and that it never changes from one administration to the next?
What if war and preparation for war is a racket serving the special interests?
What if President Obama is completely wrong about Afghanistan and it turns out worse than Iraq and Vietnam put together?
What if Christianity actually teaches peace and not preventive wars of aggression?
What if diplomacy is found to be superior to bombs and bribes in protecting America?
What happens if my concerns are completely unfounded – nothing!
What happens if my concerns are justified and ignored – nothing good!”