Another full chapter of Libertarianism Today is now online for free — this one on why libertarianism is antiwar. This is my favorite chapter of the book, so I’m especially glad I could make it available through Antiwar.com.
Other parts of the book you can read for free online:
And if you want to read the whole thing, it’s on sale at a special low price for a limited time.
Consider Bastiat’s comments on Rome and how–if you substitute for slavery the drug war and tax slavery–they apply to the modern US:
What is to be said of Roman morality? And I am not speaking here of the relations of father and son, of husband and wife, of patron and client, of master and servant, of man and God—relations that slavery, by itself alone, could not fail to transform into a whole network of depravity; I wish to dwell only on what is called the admirable side of the Republic, i.e., patriotism. What was this patriotism? Hatred of foreigners, the destruction of all civilization, the stifling of all progress, the scourging of the world with fire and sword, the chaining of women, children, and old men to triumphal chariots—this was glory, this was virtue. It was to these atrocities that the marble of the sculptors and the songs of the poets were dedicated. How many times have our young hearts not palpitated with admiration, alas, and with emulation at this spectacle!
From Bastiat, Selected Essays in Political Economy, quoted in Geoffrey Allan Plauché, “Roman Virtue, Liberty, and Imperialism: The Murder-Suicide of Classical Civilization.” America is riddled with patriotism, with American flags senselessly displayed all over, and people mindlessly responding to criticism of the Fatherland with the retort, “You show me another country that’s better!” Its wars, the welfare state, its taxes and manipulation of money, its jails full of non-criminals have indeed debased morals. We have scourged the world with fire and sword, and statues of our modern warlord gods, such as Lincoln, adorn our capital city. As for the last line, about the youth swooning over our military might and conquest, one is reminded of the not completely tongue-in-check skit Wayne’s World during Gulf War I, when Wayne and Garth had fun watching the videos of US missiles destroying Iraqi targets.
With great solemnity, “Defense” Secretary Robert Gates imparted on West Point cadets this Friday a hard-earned pearl of newly discovered wisdom:
“In my opinion, any future defense secretary who advises the president to again send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should ‘have his head examined,’ as General MacArthur so delicately put it,” Mr. Gates told an assembly of Army cadets here.
In other words, ”Never get involved in a land war in Asia.”
Sounds like good advi… Wait,what? Not everyone knows this already? Inconceivable!
Any culturally literate person has seen The Princess Bride at least once in the last 24 years1 and certainly knows about the most famous classic blunder:
Steve Chapman extols the benefits of having an all-volunteer military force:
A few decades ago, the draft was a requirement for any major military undertaking. No one would have dreamed of fighting the Germans and Japanese, or the North Koreans and Chinese, without calling up young men for mandatory service. Not until the waning years of the Vietnam War did the nation elect to rely entirely on volunteers.
It was a controversial step, and one whose durability was very much in doubt. But in the intervening decades, the draft has gone from being indispensable to being unthinkable. Even the extraordinary demands of two difficult wars have not induced a reconsideration.
Even the military’s leadership recognizes now that armies perform better when they’re filled with people who actually want to be there, and as Chapman points out, it’s a more efficient use of training dollars to spend them on Army careerists than on guys who’d rather be smoking pot and watching football.
If this is the extent of Chapman’s argument then I agree, but I’m not any more comforted by the fact that the military’s bombing and killing of poor people overseas are performed by people who actually want to do that sort of thing. And he ignores the fact that young men must still notify the government of their whereabouts via Selective Service in case the draft is reinstated. If the military really does not want conscripted men (and possibly women) among its ranks, why does the infrastructure for conscription still exist?
More dubious is Chapman’s concluding paragraph:
It was once a novel experiment: fielding a force to protect freedom without grossly violating freedom by dragooning young men to serve. But it’s worked so well we’ve almost forgotten there’s an alternative.
“Protect freedom” is a canard I expect from National Review, not a supposedly libertarian publication such as Reason. Few if any all-volunteer forces have ever been used to protect Americans’ freedoms, even during the Revolutionary War (see volume 4 of Murray Rothbard’s Conceived in Liberty); and there isn’t a single military campaign undertaken in the past century that could be called a legitimate defense of freedom. If one wishes to sing the praises of America’s efficient, all-volunteer killers, at least one shouldn’t pretend they exist for any reason other than to satisfy the imperialist aims of the Washington elite.
It isn’t radical Muslims’ hatred for “our freedoms” that drives terrorist acts on U. S. soil, William Grigg argues. It is the regime’s continued policy of aggression on foreign soil, and its leveraging of Muslim outrage to justify its perpetual wars.
Read the Full Article by William N. Grigg
Afterwards, discuss it below.