Lee Wrights: ‘Nosy neighbor’ foreign policy creates enemies

Lee Wrights at Liberty for All:

from Wrights 2012 staff

BURNET, Texas (March 14) – When former President George W. Bush canceled a trip to Geneva for a charity fundraiser because he feared being arrested for war crimes, it was a shame and a blot on our nation, potential Libertarian presidential candidate R. Lee Wrights told the Georgia Libertarian Party State Convention Saturday.

“It’s a shame. It’s a blot on this country and it’s a blot on all of us that one of our former leaders is afraid to go somewhere because he’s going to be charged with war crimes,” Wrights said. In February, Bush canceled a speaking engagement at a charity fundraiser in Geneva because a human rights group filed a criminal complaint against him in a Swiss court alleging torture.

“I’d like to think that if I got the job, you’d never have to worry about that,” said Wrights, life member and former Vice Chair of the national Libertarian Party. The incident is an inevitable and direct result of the “nosy neighbor” foreign policy pursued by both Democratic and Republican presidents.

“What bothers you more than a nosy neighbor? Somebody who moves next door to you and is in your business all the time,” Wrights asked. “It is aggravating and will make you go to war.”

“So imagine that neighbor is half way across the world and sticking their nose in your business … and has pretty big guns to back it up,” he added. “You don’t make many friends that way, you don’t have peace, and you don’t have prosperity.”

Wrights told the Georgia Libertarians that he started his exploratory campaign after hearing from Libertarians around the nation, particularly young people and the delegates to the 2010 national convention, who repeatedly asked him why the Libertarian Party wasn’t out in front leading the call to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring the troops home.

“I decided that maybe it is time to be talking about it and it’s time for somebody like me to talk about it because I’ve got a reputation as a warrior,” Wrights told the Georgia delegates. “I know what it’s like to wake up every day and just go to war over something, to just be that full of rage at what’s going on in the world and in the country.”

“It’s a hazardous way to live. War doesn’t just destroy from the outside. It destroys from within,” he said. Wrights believes that until individuals start making the conscience decision not to participate in it, war will always go on. That is also why he chose Stop All War as the focus for the exploratory effort.

“That’s why I say, ‘I am not at war,’” Wrights explained. “If enough of us say it, they can’t have them anymore.” That’s what brought the Vietnam War to an end, Wrights recalled. “People told politicians ‘if you’re going to vote for war, we’re not going to vote for you.’”

Wrights explained that the call to stop all war isn’t limited to ending the military conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries, but applies to other issues where war rhetoric has become so pervasive.

“We have been fighting the war against poverty since the Johnson Administration and what we have done is created social programs that somehow have locked poor people into poverty,” he said. “We’ve been fighting the war on ignorance since the ’70s and still our children cannot read. We’ve been fighting the war on drugs for decades, and created huge criminal enterprises.”

History teaches us that the key elements to prosperity are freedom and peace, Wrights observed. “You don’t go to war with people you like, with people you’re doing business with,” he said. “We have the perfect message, the perfect philosophy for peace and prosperity in America and in the world. Peace and prosperity is what we offer Americans, and they are ready for it.”

See Lee’s speech on YouTube:

Wrights, 52, is a longtime libertarian writer and political activist. He is considering seeking the presidential nomination because he is determined that the Libertarian message in 2012 be a loud, clear and unequivocal call to stop all war. To that end he has pledged that 10 percent of all donations to his campaign will go toward ballot access so that the stop all war message can be heard in all 50 states.

Wrights is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Born in Winston Salem, N.C., he now lives in Texas.

16 thoughts on “Lee Wrights: ‘Nosy neighbor’ foreign policy creates enemies

  1. paulie Post author

    Wrights told the Georgia Libertarians that he started his exploratory campaign after hearing from Libertarians around the nation, particularly young people and the delegates to the 2010 national convention, who repeatedly asked him why the Libertarian Party wasn’t out in front leading the call to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and bring the troops home.

    This video illustrates a pretty typical distribution of opinion on college campuses, which I also found doing hundreds of events like this, most between 1997 and 2002, some as far back as 1992 and a small handful more recently:

  2. TinFoilCap & JockeyShorts to Match

    That’s one thing I’ve never understood through the years. Why hasn’t the LP attempted to have active campus LP groups on every college campus in say the largest twenty states in the U.S.?

    That would be one of my planks in a campaign for Party Chair. A 20-20 program. NatCom fully behind having active LP groups on every single college campus (includes community, all colleges) in the twenty largest states by 2020 ! Even work on high schools where possible! Target the largest states BECA– USE that’s where the people are located. Sorry but the other states can work on their own within the state until the 20/20 project is completed and then see how funding is for the other 30 states. Actually working on building the Party at the youth level!

    Should have been started wholeheartily in the seventies. Think where the LP would be now with all those grads as LP members.

    Btw another great job Mr. Wrights. Thanks for taking the message on the road. Hope he got some good media in both states! I think about 80% of the citizens are sick and tired of war! Most are just afraid to say it.

    remember…

    “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” – H. L. Mencken

    “Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death.” – Adolph Hitler

    “Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany. That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” – Hermann Goerring

    “The easiest way to gain control of the population is to carry out acts of terror. The public will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened.” – Joseph Stalin

    “In order to bring a nation to support the burdens of maintaining great military establishments, it is necessary to create an emotional state akin to war psychology. There must be the portrayal of an external menace. This involves the development to a high degree of the nation-hero, nation-villain ideology and the arousing of the population to a sense of sacrifice. Once these exist, we have gone a long way on the path to war.” – Senator John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State 1950’s

  3. Robert Capozzi

    I’m liking the “nosy neighbor” as a teaching device. Nobody likes a nosy neighbor. Mind your own business!

    I would also say that right now is when this rhetoric is weakest, with Japan melting down and the Arab League asking for Allied help for a no-fly zone.

    Should a L publicly say there are exceptions to a “mind your own business” stance? Absolutism doesn’t allow for exceptions, by definition. Ideally, such sorts of good neighbor approaches would be done voluntarily without tax dollars.

    Government is way over the line into people’s business. So, when a one-off events like these happen, I understand the reflexive response: No. I would hope, though, that those who believe that “No” is the only “principled” response recognize that a blunt “No” is shocking to the uninitiated to the One True Way, aka, NAP, absolutistically interpreted.

    I haven’t studied these issues closely, but were I in Congress, I would likely vote yes to authorize short term support for relief efforts in Japan. And I might well vote yes to agree to the Arab League’s request for a no-fly zone as part of a multinational effort to stop genocide.

  4. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 4:

    “I haven’t studied these issues closely, but were I in Congress, I would likely vote yes to authorize short term support for relief efforts in Japan. And I might well vote yes to agree to the Arab League’s request for a no-fly zone as part of a multinational effort to stop genocide.”

    The Haiti experience shows that that Japan relief vote would be double-whammy bad — sending the wrong signal and not getting the job actually done.

    As far as Libya is concerned, I have yet to hear even the most overheated interventionist claim “genocide.” Words mean things.

  5. Robert Capozzi

    tk, one experience means that relief is impossible? Really?

    If the Black Crescent can get the job done better, I’d prefer it. When thousands, possibly millions, of lives are at risk, and there’s a chance to save them, my non-interventionism gives way to my humanitarianism.

    I would note that Japan has more infrastructure to receive relief than Haiti, making your analogy weaker.

    Ya know, I can’t say I stand by the use of the word “genocide,” but at the time it’s what came up. “Mass political killings” might be more accurate, but then I don’t know how that differs substantially from “genocide.”

    To be clear, I’d not support unilateral US intervention. Asked by the Arab League as part of a league of nations (gangsters, in your nomenclature), I make an exception to my default non-interventionism.

    Libya is not Iraq. The situations are appreciably different. imo.

  6. Thomas L. Knapp

    Bob @ 6:

    “tk, one experience means that relief is impossible? Really?”

    No. Virtually every experience means that government relief doesn’t get done right even when we say “yeah, it’s a bad signal, but things are so bad, just this once …”

    I could understand sending the bad signal if it actually ended up helping. I might not support it, but I could understand it. But to say “I’m going to do an ineffectual bad thing that will have no effect whatsoever except to keep me in the habit of doing ineffectual bad things?” That’s piling dumb on top of stupid.

    “If the Black Crescent can get the job done better, I’d prefer it.”

    So would I.

    Last time I looked, the US government actively blocked Black Cross aid in particular (in New Orleans after Katrina and in Kansas after a tornado) and non-government aid in general (Katrina, definitely — government troops turned non-government volunteers away at gunpoint), but the record says that the private sector gets the job done not only better than government, but in the face of government obstructionism, every time.

    “When thousands, possibly millions, of lives are at risk, and there’s a chance to save them, my non-interventionism gives way to my humanitarianism.”

    Apparently by “humanitarianism” you mean “ineffectual demagoguery rather than, and likely at the expense of, real help.”

    “Ya know, I can’t say I stand by the use of the word ‘genocide,’ but at the time it’s what came up. “Mass political killings” might be more accurate, but then I don’t know how that differs substantially from ‘genocide.'”

    I suggest a decent dictionary, then.

    “Libya is not Iraq. The situations are appreciably different. imo.”

    I agree. Thing is, the differences are less, rather than more, favorable to foreign intervention.

  7. Robert Capozzi

    tk, don’t know off hand of a case where a sure-enough catastrophe was fixed by an entirely private effort.

    Even with government ham-handedness, we don’t know what would have happened without government intervention in the case of Katrina.

  8. Michael H. Wilson

    #3 I tried to do something similar at the state level some years ago and got attacked. Some people don’t want to grow the LP. They just want to be in charge.

  9. paulie Post author

    Government is way over the line into people’s business.

    It gets that way every time there is a crisis or intractable problem, then fails to make the problem go away (or mismanages the crisis), ad nauseum.

  10. paulie Post author

    As far as Libya is concerned, I have yet to hear even the most overheated interventionist claim “genocide.” Words mean things.

    True. Genocide means trying to wipe out an ethnic group, or actually doing so. It is way overused for many other type of mass murders.

  11. paulie Post author

    When thousands, possibly millions, of lives are at risk, and there’s a chance to save them, my non-interventionism gives way to my humanitarianism.

    Past experience shows that the best way to save lives is to keep monopoly governments out of the situation as much as possible.

  12. paulie Post author

    don’t know off hand of a case where a sure-enough catastrophe was fixed by an entirely private effort.

    When has it been allowed to happen?

    Even with government ham-handedness, we don’t know what would have happened without government intervention in the case of Katrina.

    We have a reasonable guess. Both private and government efforts took place, and we can compare their track record.

  13. FKC

    Paulie is a filibustering shmuck, but that’s a nice video @ #1 and I agree, great article Lee.

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