Saturday, May 27, 2006

They Died in Vain

This morning's Presidential Radio Address began with these words:
Good morning. This Memorial Day weekend, Americans pay tribute to those who have given their lives in service to our Nation. America is free because generations of young Americans have been willing to sacrifice to defend the country they love, so their fellow citizens could live in liberty.
Not a single person who signed America's Constitution would agree with these claims. America's Founding Fathers had better political eye-sight than Americans today. They were able to see tyranny in a government that was far more libertarian than our government today, and they were willing to take up arms to "alter or abolish" it.
In 1795, James Madison observed that “of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. . . . No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”
America's Founders would see the myths in Bush's radio address:
  • Soldiers had their lives taken from them in the service of the government, or in the service of "the military industrial complex," but not in the service of the nation created in the Declaration of Independence.
  • America is less free because of these wars.
  • Many of the dead were not "wiling to sacrifice," they were conscripted, kidnapped, enslaved.
  • America does not "live in liberty." America's Founding Fathers took up arms against tax rates estimated by historians at less than 5%. We pay ten times more in taxes than they did, having half of everything we produce taken by the government, and none of our remaining property is secure.
The issues are bigger than any particular war. Ultimately these issues boil down to the Libertarian pledge:
I do not believe in or advocate the initiation of force as a means of achieving political or social goals.
The Bush Administration, and nearly all previous administrations, are willing to kill thousands of innocent non-combatant civilians in order to achieve their political goals. When we approve of these strategies, we poison our own lives, becoming more willing to use violence to resolve problems with our children, our spouses, our neighbors, and those we deem to be our "competitors."

This Memorial Day weekend, take a few moments to consider not just the war in Iraq, but all the wars that have left the 20th century the most blood-stained century in human history, and ask yourself what you can do to prevent even more such wars in the 21st century.

Here is a page I wrote ten years ago. Not much has changed:

Memorial Day, 1996

No comments: