What part has Nobel Peace Prize-winning President Barack Obama played in the greatest war in the 20th century?
Smallpox was the greatest killer of man ever known. Dr. Matt Bivens looks at the 20th century and notes:
if you tally the worldwide death tolls for World Wars I and II, the Korean and Vietnam wars, the Iran-Iraq war and the Mexican Revolution, the civil wars in China and Russia and Spain, and all the other wars of the last century, from Afghanistan to Zaire, the total is less than one-third of the smallpox death toll.
And that's just a single 100-year period, for a disease that disfigured Egyptian pharaohs, allied with Hernando Cortes to rout the Aztecs, left a young George Washington scarred, later stalked his Continental Army, and left Abraham Lincoln pale, weak, and dizzy as he delivered his Gettysburg Address.
And yet, in the 1960s, smallpox was targeted by visionary public health experts - and in just 10 years it was gone. An excellent new book by DA Henderson, the doctor who led the effort, tells the story: Smallpox - the Death of a Disease: The Inside Story of Eradicating a Worldwide Killer.
According to the World Health Association, the total cost of the 10-year campaign to eradicate smallpox from the world was $300 million. An investment of one dollar given by each American, each dollar saving one human life.
According to Bivens, "The price paid to defeat humanity's greatest foe wouldn't cover a 24-hour day of Iraqi combat operations." The cost of the war in Afghanistan will soon be 1,000 times greater than the cost of preventing hundreds of millions of smallpox deaths. The amount of money given to Wall Street banks in the last year is about 10,000 times greater.
Dr. Bivens notes that volunteers from the Rotary Club have spearheaded the effort to eradicate polio from its remaining global outposts. The hundreds of millions of dollars raised by Rotarians for this anti-polio project came from voluntary donations. The amount "wouldn't cover the bonus pool for the executives of the insurance company AIG after its great meltdown," Bivens reminds us; a figure forcibly extorted from us by the government.
Who brings war? Who brings peace?
Who creates wealth? Who destroys wealth?
The amount of good done by voluntary associations must be weighed against the evil, violence, and destruction committed by governments. The pocket change of costs borne by voluntary donations to save so many lives must be weighed against the trillions in costs extorted by government force to kill the innocent and redistribute wealth to the guilty.
James Madison, "Father of the Constitution," is quoted as saying,
We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves ... according to the Ten Commandments of God.
What if a spiritual revival brought about a conviction in a majority of people to govern themselves according to the Ten Commandments. No more stealing ("taxation"), no more killing ("national security"), no initiation of force against the innocent.
What would happen if we set out to eradicate violations of the Ten Commandments the way the Rotarians set their sights on polio?
What if a majority of voters voted against a killer disease we inflict on ourselves?
Would humanity really "collapse into anarchy" if we closed down all governments and told politicians and bureaucrats to go home and get a job creating goods and services that consumers would voluntarily pay for?