On natural rights, Saudi Arabia, and John McCain

The swirl of events continues, and so I thought I would comment on a couple of them.

The first deals with some media coverage of Judge Roy Moore, but my focus has nothing to do with the sexual-misconduct allegations now being directed at him. What I noticed was a clip from MSNBC in which its correspondent Chuck Todd, after Moore had won the Republican primary, expressed astonishment that Judge Moore believed that each person’s rights — his natural rights — come from God and not from the government. Now, I have written before that most of the Americans I have heard speak in the public square are more or less ignorant of U.S. history, and especially of the period from the Puritans’ arrival in New England through the decades of the early republic. Mr. Todd, however, in his ruminations about Judge Moore and the concept of natural rights, drove home for me how thoroughly ignorant so many U.S. political and media personalities are of the republic’s history and character.

Where, I wonder, does Mr. Todd think his rights come from? From the national government, the UN, George Soros, or some combination thereof? No, that cannot be it, even a bulb as dim as Mr. Todd surely must see that all three of those entities have been laboring for decades to limit and ultimately remove the natural rights of Americans. But, then again, maybe he cannot see that fact as he is part of a media world that supports all three of those rights-removing entities. The Founders — say from John Winthrop’s arrival, through John Quincy Adams’ death — believed that the natural rights of man came from God, and that it was the citizenry’s duty to ensure that the political system they devised to govern themselves did not try to amend, abridge, or abolish those rights. Jefferson, widely but mistakenly said to be irreligious, wrote this into the Declaration of Independence, and John Adams, after studying the Constitution said that no people could be governed by it who were not religious, surely meaning that the Constitution would work only for Christians and Jews.

The role of government, then, is not to create rights — it cannot do so, as the Creator completed that task long ago — but to ensure that the rights with which Americans are born are fully protected by those who govern them. In turn, the role of citizens is to jealously guard their natural rights and, if they are found to be under attack by the national government, to destroy that government and form another that will respect and defend their natural rights. In short, the founding generations believed that God gave man human rights, and governments — if not held to account by the citizenry — tended to gradually destroy them. Come, Mr. Todd, this is such an elementary piece of knowledge about American history. Have you forgotten what you learned in grammar and high school, or did you go to an Ivy League university, where the reality of natural rights is hated and mocked? No matter, sooner or later those politicians who seek to deny citizens their natural rights end up at the business end of a rifle or a rope and are accompanied there by their supporters and apologists.

Next comes Saudi Arabia and its sudden burst of turmoil fomented by the actions of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS). A good deal of the media coverage of this event has portrayed the developments as the first breath of Western-style “progressive reform.” The clever al-Saud royals, of course, earlier set the stage for this sophomoric interpretation by issuing the earth-shaking order that women will be permitted to drive automobiles. Western governments and much of the media identified this order as the opening of a second “Arab Spring,” one in which Riyadh will eventually become Las Vegas east. The al-Sauds surely caught some heat from the Saudi religious establishment over this, but they will throw a couple of extra billions to the senior Islamic scholars and bit more control over education. The scholars will continue to publicly complain about the action, but this is not a break point between the al-Sauds and the religious establishment.

The key question is, I think, whether this will be a break point for Saudi Arabia? If past is prologue, the soon-to-be-king is not do-gooding for a future progressive, more secular kingdom, but rather is making a play to get rid of those — and there are many — whose oxes will be gored when he succeeds to the throne. MBS must get them out of the way, and permanently so, either via exiling them or something more definitive. All this said, the king-in-waiting will still be faced with a country that is terminally corrupt from top to bottom, a religious establishment that has not been tamed and still sees the late Osama bin Laden as a nearly perfect Islamic man, and a younger generation of Salafi and Wahhabi males that are more attuned to the Islamic State’s behavior than to al-Qaeda’s. A large number of the later, moreover, have been trained by one or the other group and have considerable combat experience.

The bottom line may well be that MBS finds that, even after he rounds-up and eliminates his foes, takes their money, and ascends to the throne, his only option to try to preserve the kingdom is to turn Saudi youths, as many IS and AQ fighters as can be enlisted, and as much as possible of the young Sunni Muslim world against Shia Iran. The ensuing war would tear up the region in a prolonged and bloody sectarian war to settle scores that are now more than a millennium old. It is hard to think of a better scenario for improving U.S. security as there is nothing that commonsense would permit us to do other than get out of the way watch. That is, if there is enough commonsense at hand at the time the events unfold.

Finally, as worthless a human being as is the politician John McCain, he recently performed an unwitting but enormous service to his country. Addressing the Naval Academy’s Brigade of Midshipmen on 30 October 2017, McCain, in entirely predictable and self-righteous words, said that

the American example and American leadership are indispensable to securing a peaceful and prosperous future. Our failure to remain engaged in Europe and enforce the hard-won peace of 1918 had made that clear. There could be no more isolationism, no more tired resignation — no more ‘America First.’ … (1)

McCain is, of course, a historical ignoramus or a lair. The United States had no interest at stake in World War 1 and should never have entered a war that cost America about 100,000 lives. Indeed, save for the many billions of dollars U.S. banks had lent to France and Britain, the offended personal “ideals” of Woodrow Wilson, and Wilson’s pro-Allies propaganda ministry led by George Creel, the United States would not have entered the war. In regard to what McCain calls “[o]ur failure to remain engaged in Europe,” that must be deemed the U.S. government’s only wise decision after America entered the war in 1917. The marvelous “failure to remain engaged in Europe” was the result of the work of able and stubborn Republicans senators — Henry Cabot Lodge, George W. Norris, William Borah, Robert La Follette, Hiram Johnson, and a dozen others — who successfully blocked Wilson’s eagerness to sacrifice the republic’s sovereignty and independence by joining the League of Nations. The Republicans’ success also blocked Wilson’s willingness to abide by the League covenant’s Article X — which is like, but more much expansive than the NATO Treaty — which was unconstitutional in that it removed the decision to declare war from the Congress. (2)

Adding to the nonsensical nature of McCain’s assertion is the fact that the European allies — with Wilson’s help — imposed a Carthaginian peace settlement on Germany that played a major role in creating the political environment which allowed Hitler’s rise to power. As long as that settlement stood, a more active U.S. role in Europe would have meant nothing. (3)

Senator McCain then moved on to tell the Midshipmen that their first responsibility was not to America, its citizens, and the commander-in-chief, but rather to the internationalists and interventionists who built a post-1945 world that has featured endless unnecessary wars and has bankrupted the U.S. Treasury. McCain warned his audience that today

the associations, rules, values and aspirations that comprise the international order we have superintended for three-quarters of a century are under gathering attack from regimes that desire a world less just and less free and more corrupt. And they are under attack from forces within liberal democracies themselves, parties that preach resentful nationalism rather than enlightened self-interest, nativism rather than equal justice.

It’s time to wake up.

I believe in Americans. We’re capable of better. I’ve seen it. We’re hopeful, compassionate people. And we still have leaders who will uphold the values that made America great, and a beacon to the oppressed.

But I don’t take that for granted. We have to fight. We have to fight against propaganda and crackpot conspiracy theories. We have to fight isolationism, protectionism, and nativism. We have to defeat those who would worsen our divisions. We have to remind our sons and daughters that we became the most powerful nation on earth by tearing down walls, not building them.

But that isn’t your job. Not directly. It belongs to those of us who hold office and are responsible for making sure you’re sent where you’re needed and equipped and ready for your missions.

You will be asked to defend America’s interests overseas, and thereby to defend the ideals that encompass and transcend those interests. You will protect the international order that American politics, with all its inefficiencies and human frailties, has done so much to create. (4)

McCain’s guidance may not be treason, but it is more of the pure, mindless, and nation-killing hooey that has and will continue to produce unnecessary interventionist wars, dead U.S. military personnel, and staggering national debt. No intelligent nation fights for its ideals anywhere but at home. What it fights for overseas is to protect its genuine national security interests. Those interests are always material or geographical in nature, and they always present the nation with a life-or-death choice. These interests are never, ever trumped by what McCain says are “ideals that encompass and transcend those interests.” (5)

McCain is at the head of the bipartisan pack of interventionists who care nothing about the welfare of Americans, let alone the maintenance of their ideals, which are spelled out with indelible clarity in the U.S. Constitution, not in the UN Charter or any other internationalist document. That McCain and his like are a feral breed is shown by their refusal to put health-care on a sound-footing; reduce the national debt; lessen taxes; stop the ongoing destruction of the 1st and 4th Amendments; halt the production of laws that are moving the nation to minority rule; demand the arrest, trial, and incarceration of the leaders of what is a thoroughly lawless political elite; end illegal immigration; and stop seeking wars against those who threaten, not the United States, but the motley group of the breed’s paymasters, who are to be found in the banking and pharmaceutical industries, Israel, the Jewish-American community, and the Saudi and other Arab tyrannies.

Near the speech’s end, McCain’s told the Midshipmen that it will be their job “to protect the international order that American politics, with all its inefficiencies and human frailties, has done so much to create.”(6) The truth is, however, that if the U.S. military is commanded by those who agree with McCain, the American republic and its Constitution will find themselves murdered by a stab in the back from internationalists, interventionists, and New-World-Order authoritarians. Abiding by McCain’s advice can only mean a last-ditch effort to save the republic by civil war will have to occur.


  1. The full text of McCain’s speech can be found at, http://time.com/5003525/john-mccain-naval-academy-speech/
  2. The text of Article X of the League’s covenant reads as follows: “The Members of the League undertake to respect and preserve as against external aggression the territorial integrity and existing political independence of all Members of the League. In case of any such aggression or in case of any threat or danger of such aggression the Council shall advise upon the means by which this obligation shall be fulfilled.” See, http://avalon.law.yale.edu/imt/parti.asp
  3. World War I is the first 20th century example of the disasters that befall those who wage wars that are left unwon. The German army was not defeated when the Armistice was declared in November, 1918, and yet the allies imposed a peace settlement that treated Germany as if it had been defeated in the manner Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan found themselves beaten in 1945; that is, utterly destroyed militarily. The Allies’ failure to win decisively would later allow Hitler and others to claim that Germany had been defeated by domestic forces — communists and Jews — that stabbed the nation in the back. In the long run, the lack of a decisive win led to World War II and the Holocaust.
  4. http://time.com/5003525/john-mccain-naval-academy-speech/
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.