Me and My Family and China
April 3, 2001
Chinese government, which has been displaying unusual
belligerence lately, has committed another provocation against the U.S.
Government by disabling an American spy plane over international waters,
then detaining the crew incommunicado when they were forced to land on
a Chinese island. Whether the Chinese fighter jet deliberately struck the
propeller-driven American plane is unclear the jet was lost, its
pilot apparently killed but the jet was certainly risking a
collision in order to harass the American plane.
The incident is being described as
the first major foreign policy test of the Bush
administration. We are also hearing the usual phrases
improved relations, cooperation, firm response. The
case may be resolved by the time you read this, or, if the Chinese rulers
have decided to play hardball with the United States, it could
escalate into an international crisis.
What is the reactionary utopian
position on this situation (which, however the present case turns out, is
likely to recur)? Speaking only for myself, as the only avowed reactionary
utopian I know of, I appeal to the sensible question of Don Corleone:
What is the interest for me and my family? And as Sonny
Corleone adds: Your country aint your blood. More
precisely, your government aint your family.
In fact, your government is your
natural enemy. Thats why we have so many safeguards against it,
though (as the Senates passage of the McCain-Feingold
campaign reform bill shows) they are being gradually
removed. More and more, the government demands that we trust it,
especially in secrecy-laden military affairs. (Its fitting that John
McCain exhibits a military-style authoritarianism.)
Governments begin with crime and
conquest. They may be somewhat humanized over time, with bills of rights
and other measures to protect subjects from rulers, but they generally
revert to crime and conquest eventually. The U.S. Government is an
enormous parasite on the productive sector of the American people, as the
imminence of April 15 should remind us.
The interests of the government are
at odds with those of its subjects. This fundamental fact is disguised by
democratic rhetoric, which may lull us into thinking that whatever is good
for the rulers is also good for the ruled. Nowhere is this truer than in
military matters: intervention abroad is always advertised as the defense
War with China is not in the interest
of me and my family. But the enormous U.S. presence in Asia is likely to
lead to war sooner or later. The Chinese and American governments are
vying for supremacy in the region like two rival gangs. Thanks, but I want
no part of it. Dominating Asia is not in the interest of me and my family,
even if it could be done without bloodshed. Military conquest does nothing
to advance our freedom and often has the opposite result.
In the present case, the American
government may be in the right, just as the Corleones may be in the right
when ambushed by the Tattaglias. It remains true that the interest of me
and my family is to stay out of any such conflict. The last time members
of my family went to war, my father was nearly killed and our ancestral
country, Ruthenia, wound up in Joe Stalins duffel bag. President
Franklin Roosevelt assured us that we were fighting for
Am I positing moral
equivalence between the United States and China? Not exactly. I
much prefer life under the U.S. Government to life under the brutal Chinese
regime, because many of our freedoms have, after all, survived the U.S.
Governments efforts to whittle them away.
But this is not to say that we owe
those freedoms to our government, whose character has become
increasingly lawless and criminal. And there is no reason for us to root
our current rulers on in their power rivalry with the Chinese rulers.
Its imbecilic to equate our current rulers with the precious
principles of liberty and the rule of law. But the lazy (and wholly
irrational) equation of the governments interests with the
peoples freedom has become a bad habit.
This was not always so. In the days
when American rulers had some genuine concern for freedom, they warned
against foreign wars and entangling alliances. Does anyone remember?
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