April 16, 2013

A Dichotomy: War on One Side, Liberty on the Other

By In Philosophy, Politics

Two quotes by John T. Flynn:

“The real peril of war lies not in military defeat. It lies in war itself, whether we win or lose.”

“All that is needed to set us definitely on the road to a Fascist society is war. It will of course be a modified form of Fascism at first.”

War, according to Randolph Bourne, is the health of the state.  I have written several times on the truth behind the United States involvement in the Middle East, how our actions are unconstitutional, and how they are not really about our national security at all.  But what about war generally?  In theory, is war good or is war bad?  Well that depends on how you view the nature of the State.

If you love the State, if you want a centralized set of decision makers, if you long for the select few to determine the future of the many, then I suggest you work hard toward war, more war, and eternal war.

If you love the Constitution which was designed to limit the State, if you fear a centralized set of decision makers, if you consider the determining power of the select few to be an abomination, then I suggest you work to prevent war, to promote free trade, and to advocate the returning of war powers from the executive branch to the legislative branch.

German nationalism and Italian Fascism are two historical systems that our present day populous would admit they stand opposed to.  I wonder why.  Why in a nation where Democratic and Republican leaders push so hard to conquer the world and put forth the American system as a solution to all the world’s problems do we oppose those fascist states?  For in effect, the United States would be hard pressed to discover differences between the mid-twentieth century fascists and our contemporary “democracy.”  Mass killing under the guise of conquering the world cannot be better than mass killing under the guise of initiating a spreading of democracy.

War, win or lose, is the sickness.  Edmund Burke, the 17th century pro-liberty anti-state Irishman, (responding to his critics who attempted to point out that Burke only had a problem with the abuse of state power) said this: “the thing!  The thing itself is the problem!”  Translation:  Burke’s principle issue was not simply the abuse of the state, it was the state itself.  When it comes to war, it is not about winning.  For what happens when a State wins a war?  The State becomes more powerful.  But with liberty in mind, this is devastating news. If the State wins its war, the liberty of its people is lost.  If the State loses its war, the liberty of its people is lost.  War is the health of the State.  Under the auspice of war, the State can tax more, spend more, create totalitarian and invading “national security” enhancements, ignore the Constitution, deceive and lie, draft the citizens, increase legislation (PATRIOT Act, NDAA), centralize the mindset of the people (under the flag of patriotism), and most importantly, it can transfer power from the citizen to itself.

Albert Nock pointed out that, just as the State has no wealth of its own (it must tax), so it has no power of its own.  It must “tax” it away from the people.  One excuse that can be used is wartime needs. This is socialism plain and simple.  This war collectivism is one of the most powerful tools of the state.  And it is truly a dangerous tool.  For even the so-called conservatives rush to give up their power for the sake of the war mongering state.  Truly war is the health of the state.  When the state is hungry, it feeds itself.  Its food is war.

Let us not glory in war.  Even if our history classes teach us to do so.  We are supposed to think that people like Winston Churchill, that bloodthirsty British leader, was a Western hero.  He can only be a hero if war collectivism and statist nationalism are our goals.  We have been conned into celebrating a European-type centralized set of goals.  American values, once about decentralization and individual rights, is now about spreading our “values” worldwide.  “Heroes,” such as Churchill and Bush and Obama have no place in the limited government traditions of America.

Americans love to see “justice” done.  But under the illusion of justice, our so-called enemies may be killed, but so is the citizen.  Trillions in debt.  A grand theft of once precious civil liberties.  A burning of the constitution. A new collectivist nationalism.  Enemies that want revenge.  Is this what makes America so great?   Must we really be so weak so as to seek strength by being the biggest and most treacherous empire since the fall of Rome?

This is no longer about Republican and Democrat.  This about the State vs. liberty.  We must seek liberty, which, since it is an enemy of the state, must also be an enemy of global warfarism.

Written by C.Jay Engel

Editor and creator of The Reformed Libertarian. Living in Northern California with his wife, he writes on everything from politics to theology and from culture to economic theory. You can send an email to reformedlibertarian@gmail.com