ASK DR. BOLI.

Dear Dr. Boli: My history teacher wants us to write a paper about what the Founding Fathers believed, blah blah blah. I looked it up in Wikipedia, but it’s, like, pages long. Could you summarize it for me? —Sincerely, Megan, Sitting in Mrs. Trump’s Sixth-Period American-History Class Waiting for the Bell to Ring.

Dear Miss: The Founding Fathers were a diverse lot, but they seem to have held certain views in common that they all agreed were fundamental to the foundation of a successful republic.

First of all, political parties were bad. That was one principle on which the Founding Fathers unanimously agreed. They soon divided themselves into two factions that disagreed on every other subject, but they agreed that political parties were bad.

Second, standing armies were bad. The Founding Fathers firmly believed that standing armies begat a host of evils, all of them tending toward tyranny. An army should be mobilized to meet the current emergency, and then disbanded before it could do more harm than good.

Third, we must resist the temptation to meddle in the affairs of other countries. We had plenty of affairs of our own without worrying about anybody else’s.

So those were the Founding Fathers’ principles, and it just goes to show you that they were all a bunch of ignorant goobers who didn’t know the first thing about running a country. Fortunately we outgrew them.

 

Comments

  1. “Not having standing armies” and “not interfering in international affairs” are the sort of moral principles that work wonderfully so long as absolutely everyone else also abides by them, but as soon as even a tiny minority of involved parties start disobeying them, further adherence to such principles by the rest just makes the problem worse.

    The United States relying on a “mobilize an army when an emergency comes along” strategy almost lost both world wars for the Allies, and would have lost us the Mexican and Spanish-American wars if the other side hadn’t been even more incompetent than we were. On the other hand, relying on a standing army didn’t exactly win us Vietnam or Iraq, but they did ensure that, while neither war was particularly cheap in terms of money, neither did either war cost us as many lives as we lost in the same time frame to drunk drivers. Nor did either war get bad enough that losing it would actually threaten the territorial integrity of the USA itself.

    If the sort of military we had in 1945 was available in 1941, or better yet, in 1936, the Second World War would have been far shorter, far less bloody, and far less destructive to everyone else involved. The same goes for the hypothetical situation of having the sort of military we had in late 1918 available in 1914 or even 1917. America “not having a standing army” has killed so many tens of millions that I literally cannot conceive of ANY possible downside bad enough to justify the horrible consequences of not being armed to the teeth at all times.

    Even with our small “mobilize in case of emergency” miltiary forces, having gotten involved earlier in the two world wars, rather than high-mindedly trying to stay out of international affairs, would have saved millions of lives. In both cases, the fact that the British and their allies could call upon the resources of the British and French colonial empires, as well as trade with the neutral nations of the world, while Germany and her allies were blockaded and only able to draw on the resources of conquered Europe, meant that time and numbers were on the Allied side. The only real threat in either war was that the German U-Boat blockade could cut off this flow of outside resources into Britain and her other European allies. Even if the US did nothing else, adding her navy to that of the British at the outset of hostilities could have tipped the naval balance so far in the allies’ favor that the German U-boat threat could have never gotten to the point of threatening to starve the Brits into submission. American neutrality has historically been far more destructive than any of our supposed war-mongering.

    In general, any nation so high-minded and morally superior that it can consciously choose to not stick its nose in other nations’ affairs, is exactly the sort of nation whose more active involvement in international affairs would tend to make things better rather than worse. Any nation who is constantly sticking its nose in where it is not wanted, conversely, is probably the sort of nation that the world could do better without their interference. So, clearly, the solution to world peace is for buttinski nations like the USA and France and Russia to sit on their hands for once, and for traditionally-neutral nations like Switzerland and Sweden get off their smug little behinds and start rattling their tiny little sabers for once.

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