Human history is a litany of destruction through different ways to rule over others. A good idea doesn’t require violence to back it up. If the ‘home of the free’ must sacrifice its youth, liberty cannot be true.
Natural rights predate governments: we all have the right to acquire property and wealth, defend ourselves and that which is ours, and live our lives as we see fit so long as we don’t cause harm to anyone else. Rights cannot be legislated: if in order to live freely we must obey the demagogues who claim governance over us and send our youth to fight an exaggerated threat, then we are neither free nor safe.
Vietnam, for example, was unnecessary. Lyndon B. Johnson stated “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” However, we did end up there and American casualties skyrocketed. Even the unfit, "McNamara’s Morons", were thrown into the jungles and rat tunnels where they were three times more likely to die. President Eisenhower promoted the domino theory, how one country falling to communism would cause others to follow. If we went to Vietnam to prevent the spread of communism, then we failed when we evacuated Saigon, now Ho Chi Minh City. Did 58,148 American fathers and sons die in vain? After that war, our veterans were hated and neglected. The best way to thank them so that no other carry the burden of war is to stop making them. The African-American veteran population were treated worst of all. They fought for their own freedom only for the state to turn its back on them.
War drastically diminishes the value one has to the other and neglects the human tendency to cooperate. On Christmas Day of 1914, in the no man's land of the Western Front, Englishmen and Germans came out of their trenches to enjoy the company of each other and question the nonsense of war. "My new friend is German, I wish to enjoy his company however I must kill him tomorrow because my superiors said so and if I refuse I will be shot by my own side." Propaganda crumbles when the light of humanity comes into being. Adam Kokesh writes:
"It takes a significant amount of conditioning to make war possible. It starts with the general propaganda of collectivism and demonization of outsiders. That the sacrifice of individuality and dehumanization of the self necessary to be a soldier makes it easier to condition a soldier to dehumanize the enemy. Once the enemy is seen as less than human, killing is much easier."
When the posters get plastered with the face of what supposedly threatens the states, all our ties to that culture are to be forgotten. We fabricate an enemy and treat them as such so that when we’re faced with retaliation, it’s us that is the victim.
September 11th, 2001 is another infamous day in American history. The victims of that tragedy did not deserve to suffer the way they did, but the terrorists did not act in a vacuum. We provoked aggression against ourselves by meddling in foreign governments and making life hell for others. In 1996 when confronted with the question “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that's more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?" In which Madeleine Albright of the Clinton Administration simply responded “We think the price is worth it.” We went to war and destroyed the attackers as well as destabilized the area. So why are we still there? Through collateral damage we are taking civilian lives, thus creating more ‘terrorists’ who wish harm on us. In their eyes, we are the terrorists. To the Vietnamese, we are imperialists and they were correct. In the words of John Q. Adams, “[America] does not go abroad looking for monsters to kill.” So then why are we interfering in other nations?
Once provoked, they retaliate, and we go to war. Japan would not have bombed Pearl Harbor had we not pressed an embargo on them. After the attack, even Hitler had realized their mistake, that a dormant war machine had been awakened. And if they invaded? Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto predicted that if they were to invade our mainland, that there’d be "a rifle behind every blade of grass." For a similar reason, the Middle East remains the graveyard of empires. The Mongols failed, the Russians failed, what makes us any different? They are a population which refuses to be governed. An armed population is the best defense against invasions and tyrannies. The first Americans stood up to the world's greatest empire, only to replace it. Now our government paints us as targets for foreign vendettas aroused by politicians playing the role of god.
Every time we are attacked, the state claims it needs more money to overcome the new threat. They require that we give up our liberties for security, but a population which surrenders freedom for security will receive neither. So how then, do we gain freedom by sending our own to die in foreign lands?
Vietnam Casualties: https://www.uswings.com/about-us-wings/vietnam-war-facts/
Iraqi Sanctions: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanctions_against_Iraq
ABCD line: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABCD_line
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily the views of the Libertarian Party of Orange County.
Lysander Browne is a guest writer for the Libertarian Party of Orange County blog.