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Jessica Pavoni

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American Foreign Policy Oxymorons


The way we use words matters — a lot. When words begin to lose their meaning or get distorted, the things we say begin to mean something entirely different…perhaps even expressing a sentiment opposite to the original intent. This is not unlike the term “doublespeak” (a concept highlighted in George Orwell’s 1984, where war is peace and peace is war). An important thing to note is that words do not change their meaning overnight. Rather, it’s more often a case of “meaning creep;” the more often red is called orange, it will eventually come to be considered so. 

While this may not matter much for colors, it matters immensely in the world of war, peace, and foreign policy. Ideas form words, and action follows from ideas. When war is falsely called “defensive” or “humanitarian,” the words provide a vehicle for the public at large to silently (or openly) condone violent, immoral action against other humans. Let’s take a look at some of the common phrases bandied about modern American foreign policy, and assess whether they mean what they say…or something entirely different.

Department of Defense: It used to be called the Department of War, which was a lot more appropriate. Take, for instance, the Merriam-Webster definition of defense: “the act of defending someone or something from attack.” By definition, the word "defense" implies that an attack is occurring, or perhaps imminent (which is another of those words that has been twisted beyond recognition). In reality, the Department of Defense manages fighting forces that have a presence in dozens upon dozens of countries around the world. Even the “National Guard” is deployed in support of numerous engagements: just last week, the Wisconsin Guard sent 65 members to Iraq and Kuwait.
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Ron Paul, the Gateway Drug

Peace Prosperity Ron Paul

On the occasion of his 79th birthday, I thought it appropriate to share how Dr. Ron Paul has impacted my life in a very personal manner. Ron Paul (and more importantly, the philosophy of liberty that he champions) has inspired me to make life-altering decisions, the most consequential of which is to leave the military as a conscientious objector. Throw in homeschooling, sound money, economics, and non-aggression, and you’ve got a completely new outlook on life. It has not been an easy path, but this is the price for discovering a worldview that is coherent, consistent, and compelling enough to act on.

It all started with the 2012 presidential debates, in which my husband took a large interest. We began to discuss between ourselves what Dr. Paul espoused — never before had I heard someone whose words were completely aligned with what I had experienced overseas. His discussions regarding interventionism and blowback were spot-on. 

At that point, Hubby and I had more than six deployments between us, so we were credible listeners. Even more impressive: here was a guy who wasn’t toeing the party line, wasn’t kowtowing to pressure, and was actually speaking common sense! Look up any video of any presidential debate in which Dr. Paul takes part, and it’s abundantly clear that he is no politician (this is a compliment in my book). It’s safe to say that listening to his position on foreign policy was the first step down the rabbit hole; I didn’t fully understand every issue that he spoke about, but his words came through like a clear bell. Who was this guy? Where did he come from? What did he know? I was hooked.
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