The US Military’s Recruiting Crisis Is a Positive Sign

by | May 3, 2023


A recent article in the Wall Street Journal demonstrates what a huge disaster conservatives are for our nation and for the rights and liberties of the American people. The article is entitled “The Military Recruitment Crisis Is a Symptom of Cultural Rot.” Co-written by a conservative veteran named David McCormack, the article laments the fact that fewer Americans are signing up to join the military. McCormack views this as a sign of “cultural rot” in America, a rot that, he suggests, entails a reduction of patriotism and love of country.

But McCormack is wrong. Actually, the reduced recruitments numbers are a very positive sign for our country. In fact, they might well reflect that the American people are finally waking up to the fact that America has become a military nation, one that is taking our country down from within.

Our nation was founded as a limited-government republic, one with a relatively small, basic army. If the Constitution had proposed the national-security state form of governmental structure under which we live today, there is no possibility that our American ancestors would have accepted it. That would have meant that the United States would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation, a type of governmental structure whose powers were so weak that the federal government didn’t even have the power to tax.

Our American ancestors hated standing armies, which was the term used at that time to describe an enormous military-intelligence establishment, like the one under which all of us today have been born and raised. 

That’s because they knew that the biggest threat to their freedom and well-being lay not with Russia, China, or any other foreign regime. They knew that the biggest threat to the freedom and well-being of a citizenry lies with their very own government, especially one that has an enormously powerful military-intelligence establishment to impose its will on people.

James Madison, who most people would consider was a patriot, pointed out that “A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive, will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home.” (Emphasis added.)

Does that not sound familiar?

Henry St. George Tucker in Blackstone’s 1768 Commentaries on the Laws of England: “Wherever standing armies are kept up, and when the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any color or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.”

That too should sound familiar, especially given the incessant calls for gun control. 

A limited-government republic with a small military force was our system of government for some 150 years. But following World War II, statists converted the federal government into the type of government that our ancestors had opposed — what they called a “standing army” and what we call today a “national-security state.”

Statists justified this revolutionary conversion, which was accomplished without even the semblance of a constitutional amendment, by claiming that there was an international communist conspiracy to take over the world, a conspiracy, they said, that was based in Moscow, Russia. (Yes, that Russia!). The federal government needed to be converted to a national-security state, statists said, so that it too could wield the same omnipotent, totalitarian-like powers that communist regimes wielded, such as assassination, torture, indefinite detention, coups, sanctions, invasions, and wars of aggression. The statists said that this was the only way to prevent America from going Red.

That’s how Americans came to live in a military nation, one that has been at war ever since. The Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the war on communism, the war on terrorism, the war on Islam, the war on immigrants, the war on drugs, the Persian Gulf War, the Afghanistan War, the Iraq War, the Syria War, and, now, a renewed Cold War against Russia and China. 

On top of perpetual war have been the state-sponsored assassinations of political leaders, both foreign and domestic, on grounds of “national security.” 

Moreover, US coups, invasions, wars of aggression, occupations, sanctions, and alliances with dictatorial regimes, have brought deaths to millions of people around the world. When it comes to killing, our nation’s military death machine has clearly made America Number 1, which is why civil-rights leader Martin Luther King called it “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”

There is also the never-closing Pentagon-CIA torture and indefinite-detention center at Guantanamo Bay to consider, along with the clearly unconstitutional kangaroo “judicial” system established at Gitmo to try terrorism cases.

The biggest beneficiary to this great big racket has, not surprisingly, been the standing army itself, along with its vast army of voracious “defense” contractors who love feeding at the public trough. That’s reflected not only by the vast power the national-security establishment wields within the federal governmental structure, one to which the rest of the federal government defers, but also by the almost trillion dollars in taxpayer-funded largess that, with the help of the IRS, it sucks out of the pockets of the American people.

Through it all, Americans have been exhorted to support this deadly and destructive racket under the false rubric of “patriotism” and “love of country.” It is not a coincidence that authorities in Russia, which is also a national-security state, are employing the same type of rubric to garner support from Russian citizens for their war in Ukraine. 

Contrary to what David McCormack or any other conservative claims, the fact that an increasing number of young people refuse to become part of this deadly and destructive racket is a very positive sign for our nation. Maybe — just maybe — we might well witness the dismantling of the national-security state and the restoration of our founding governmental system of a limited-government republic before statists succeed in taking our country down from within.

Reprinted with permission from Future of Freedom Foundation.


  • Jacob G. Hornberger

    Jacob George Hornberger is an American attorney, author, and politician who was a Libertarian candidate for president in 2000 and 2020. He is the founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation.

    View all posts