Lamenting dictatorship in Cuba, the U.S. government has decided to tighten restrictions on the freedom of Americans to travel to Cuba. Never mind that the restrictions were not enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Trump. When it comes to fighting totalitarian dictatorship, the reasoning goes, it’s necessary to adopt dictatorial policies here at home.
Freedom of travel has long been considered a fundamental, natural, God-given right with which no government, not even the U.S. government, can legitimately infringe. Recall the Declaration of Independence, which Americans will be celebrating on the Fourth of July. It holds that liberty is among the rights with which all people have been endowed by their Creator. When God endows people with certain rights, including the right of freedom of travel, it goes without saying that Caesar behaves illegitimately when he infringes on such rights.
The U.S. national-security establishment, which has long been the driving force behind the U.S. government’s forever war against Cuba, would no doubt point to the fact that Cuba is still headed by a communist regime. That of course was the mindset of the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA throughout the Cold War, when, U.S. officials maintained, the communists from Russia, China, and elsewhere were coming to get us and take over our nation as part of a supposed worldwide communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Moscow. Cuba, they steadfastly maintained, was part of that worldwide communist conspiracy — a communist dagger pointed at America’s neck from only 90 miles away.
The reasoning was idiotic at the time and continues to be idiotic. The communists were never coming to get us and they are still not coming to get us. And communist Cuba is not going to stab us in the neck.
You’d have a hard time, however, convincing the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA of that. Along with Trump, they have succeeded in initiating a new Cold War against China, especially with Trump’s trade war, which is designed to produce economic impoverishment in China. And of course there is the ongoing effort to reignite another Cold War against Russia.
There are problems, of course, with this anti-communist narrative. Notwithstanding the supposed nuclear threat posed by communist North Korea, which is used to justify keeping thousands of U.S. troops in Korea, President Trump has stated that he has fallen in love with North Korea’s communist dictator. As the Pentagon, CIA, and NSA are learning, it’s difficult to get Americans all hyped up about the threat that a poor Third World nation supposedly poses to “national security” when the president and that country’s dictator are loving and embracing each other.
Of course, there is also communist Vietnam, which is situated in a part of the world where more dominoes could begin falling to the communists any day now. Okay, sure, South Vietnam fell to the Reds more than 40 years ago and more dominoes have not yet started falling. But that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t start falling tomorrow. Maybe the Pentagon and the CIA should present a secret invasion plan to the president, one that could entail bombing Hanoi and mining Haiphong harbor. There could also be an Operation Northwoods or Operation Tonkin to make it clear that we are just defending ourselves from a communist attack on the United States.
Isn’t it time for Americans to demand a stop to all this anti-Cuba, anti-China, anti-Russia, anti-North Korea, anti-Vietnam, anti-Venezuela, anti-Nicaragua, and anti-communist idiocy, especially given that so many Democrats and their supporters are now self-avowed socialists? What business does the U.S. government have trying to increase the suffering of the Cuban people or waging a forever war against communism when we could easily end up with a socialist in the White House?
More important, isn’t it time for Americans to demand a stop to the destruction of their own liberty, even when it’s done in the name of protecting our liberty from a supposed communist threat? Isn’t it time for Americans to clarify that they have the natural, God-given right to travel anywhere they want and trade with whomever they want anywhere in the world? What is the point of celebrating the Declaration of Independence when the president and his minions have omnipotent dictatorial rein to destroy our natural, God-given rights whenever they want and without even the semblance of a law enacted by Congress? Given that the U.S. government has become the biggest destroyer of our freedom, isn’t it time to exercise the right in the Declaration of Independence for Americans to alter our form of government by dismantling its post-World War II national-security state structure and restoring the limited-government republic originally envisioned by the Framers and that remained our form of government for more than 150 years?
This column first appeared on the Future of Freedom Foundation.