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Ed Lebeau: "Why US is a superpower" RESPONSE

I must respond to Andrei Lubensky's article on why the USA is a superpower.  I am a native-born American.  In the late 1970's and early 1980's I made three business trips to the USSR as a technician.  I spent almost four months in your country, mostly in Siberia.  I visited the cities of Moscow, Yakutsk, Gelendjik, and Ukhta.  [I arrived in Ukhta on the eve of the invasion of Afghanistan and was there for a month.]  I also trained a group of Soviet Geophysical technicians in 1978 in Houston, Texas.  So I have had at least some exposure to your country and your people, and I like them very much.  And I must say that my biggest resentment towards the old Soviet Union was that it worked very hard to make sure that the rest of the world did not get to know the Russian people very well.  And because I so like the Russian people, I look at Pravda once in a while to see what Russians are thinking.

Like Russia, our country is very diverse.  Washington, D.C.  is a poor example of what the USA is all about.  So it is important to look beyond Washington and New York and Los Angeles and San Francisco.  And the politics of our country differ by region as the famous red and blue map of the persidential election of 2000 shows [Big cities for Gore, rest of the country for Bush].   The big cities are full of people who love government.  The rural parts of the country are full of people who don't love government.

Unfortunately many Americans do not understand their own country very well.  They think that the USA is great because of Democracy.  Our government has been actively promoting Democracy throughout the world for more than 100 years, as if it were the reason for our greatness.  But it is not Democracy which makes our country great.  It divides us as our recent presidential elections have shown.  So what does make our country so great?  Mr. Lubensky barely touched on it.  It is Liberty!

We do not have a Statue of Democracy standing in New York Harbour, we have a Statue of Liberty.  We do not have a Democracy Bell hanging in Philadelphia, we have a Liberty Bell.  And our great patriot, Patrick Henry, did NOT say "give me Democracy or give me death," he said "Give me Liberty or give me death!"  But Liberty is difficult to understand.  It says that the less you try to control people and the fewer restrictions you place on them, the better things get.

The USA is a great superpower because some Liberty still remains in this country.  Unfortunately, most Americans want to destroy much of that Liberty.  And that is the basis of many of our political struggles.  The champions of Liberty are challenging the advocates of more and more government.  And of course more and more government means more and more power which means more and more interfering in the rest of the world.  The champions of Liberty generally object to the large size of our armed forces.   As a champion of Liberty myself, I do not want the USA to be a superpower.  I don't want any country to be a superpower!

In 1980, in a lounge in a hotel in Ukhta, I suggested to some new Russian acquaintences that perhaps things would get better in Russia as things got worse in the USA.  It was starting to happen then, and I think it is still happening.  If Russia were understand and choose the path of Liberty, the process would accelerate, and Russians would find for themselves a lasting treasure.  Russia's goal should not be to be a superpower, but to harness the real source of good fortune the USA has abused.  

That source is limited government designed as our constitution so eloquently states the original goal of our founders "to preserve for ourselves and our posterity the blessings of Liberty."  And maybe Russia would not be a superpower, nor would it necessarily need to be.  Russia could have wealth and peace.  It would have that which 70 years of an absense of true Liberty failed to achieve.

I hope Mr. Lubensky will visit some "Libertarian" meetings and report on what some of the champions of Liberty are saying about our country and yours.   

I wish Russia well in its journey towards a better life for all of its citizens.  Discover Liberty!
 
Ed Lebeau