Return to a Limited Government, Step 2

James Madison

The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home ~ James Madison

Mike Lee is challenging Bob Bennett for his senate seat. Lee’s website clearly defines his stance on a variety of issues, with the emphasis on Five Steps to a Return to Limited Government. I am discussing each of these five steps, examining them on their merits. Last time was Step 1.

Step 2: Strengthen National Security, But Stop Nation-Building

Mike Lee’s proposal:

A core constitutional function of the federal government is to ‘insure domestic tranquility’ by protecting our country. We must continue to develop sophisticated, cutting-edge tools to defend our citizens from threats of terrorism. But our focus must be on rebuilding our own nation. We should not and cannot afford to continue the quest for nation-building.

There are three parts to this proposal:

  1. Insure domestic tranquility.
  2. Rebuild our own nation.
  3. Cease nation-building elsewhere.

Who can argue with the charge to “insure domestic tranquility?” In the process individual rights need to be upheld, which has not always been the case.

There are many interpretations of what “rebuilding our nation” means. Is it meant in a military sense? Or increasing employment? Perhaps strengthening the dollar? My view is that once the monetary system is functioning correctly many other problems will fade.

In ceasing nation-building it is hard to to see that as anything else but an exit from Iraq and Afghanistan. This is not the normal Republican line. Recently, this has not been been the Democratic line either. In these times of huge deficits an end to the wars would save a useful sum.

Also, presidents need to be reined in a little by Congress so that no more entangling alliances are made.


I agree with step two so long as it means that the wars America is involved in are ended. Life can be made difficult for terrorists without having to occupy two countries. My grade for this proposal is 4 out of 5 because an end to overseas nation-building will benefit the U.S. in the long term.

What do you the people say?

Next Time

Mike Lee’s Step 3: Reform the Tax System
Rickety signature.


  1. Tyler Stout says:

    Upholding individual rights implies and is central to insuring domestic tranquility. These individual rights, especially the natural rights that you often cite, also function as a counter-argument for Mike’s third point. That is, they extend beyond borders and oceans to struggling countries. Our government’s priorities should rest within the nation, but doesn’t a nation also have a responsibility of “nation-building” when it has the capability and the unstable country does not? I too disagree with his third point (even at the sacrifice of a weakened economy). That isn’t to say our nation’s methods are infallible.

    • If the capability to nation-build is funded through deficit spending then it is not on a stable foundation. There are many countries in need of help and a great ability in the U.S. to deficit spend.

      It is not wise to set oneself up to be the goose that is killed for the golden egg.

      Giving public recognition and non-monetary support to organizations like the humanitarian arm of the LDS Church is a better way for governments to improve the lot of the less fortunate in foreign countries.

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