If you’re like me, you probably haven’t spent much time thinking about Millard Fillmore, the 13th president of the United States. If for some reason Fillmore’s name does come up, a lot of us would probably react something like “That guy? What a nerd. Seriously, with a name like that, you must be joking.”
That’s what one write for Foreign Policy would have your believe as well. In his snarky hit piece on Ron Paul, Uri Friedman tries to tar Paul with the Fillmore brush. To Friedman’s credit, he does provide a rather extensive quote from Fillmore’s first state of the union address, which gives the reader ample opportunity to decide for himself just how foolish Fillmore – and by extension – Paul are. Here’s the Fillmore quote,
Among the acknowledged rights of nations is that which each possesses of establishing that form of government which it may deem most conducive to the happiness and prosperity of its own citizens, of changing that form as circumstances may require, and of managing its internal affairs according to its own will. The people of the United States claim this right for themselves, and they readily concede it to others. Hence it becomes an imperative duty not to interfere in the government or internal policy of other nations; and although we may sympathize with the unfortunate or the oppressed everywhere in their struggles for freedom, our principles forbid us from taking any part in such foreign contests. We make no wars to promote or to prevent successions to thrones, to maintain any theory of a balance of power, or to suppress the actual government which any country chooses to establish for itself. We instigate no revolutions, nor suffer any hostile military expeditions to be fitted out in the United States to invade the territory or provinces of a friendly nation. The great law of morality ought to have a national as well as a personal and individual application. We should act toward other nations as we wish them to act toward us, and justice and conscience should form the rule of conduct between governments, instead of mere power, self interest, or the desire of aggrandizement. To maintain a strict neutrality in foreign wars, to cultivate friendly relations, to reciprocate every noble and generous act, and to perform punctually and scrupulously every treaty obligation — these are the duties which we owe to other states, and by the performance of which we best entitle ourselves to like treatment from them; or, if that, in any case, be refused, we can enforce our own rights with justice and a clear conscience. (Emphasis in the original)
Yep, that Millard Fillmore. What a dunce. He just didn’t realize the great benefits that can accrue to a nation for killing lots of people in foreign entanglements. He was so stupid he actually believed Christ’s golden rule has “a national as well as a personal and individual application.” Outrageous! Unthinkable! Clearly the man had no business in the White House, just and Ron Paul clearly has no business in the White House. As Friedman sees it, the problem with these gentlemen is that they just don’t want to kill enough people. But thankfully, Friedman is on the case to make sure we stay on the warmongering straight and narrow.
Please click here to read Friedman’s piece in full.