Libertarians, War and Patriotism

In a recent article, I made the point that activist political opposition to a war when one’s nation state is embroiled in it, has to lead to a wish for defeat and a celebration (no matter how muted or conditional) of the deaths of fellow citizens in uniform. This piece caused a Libertarian writer from Canada to take me to task on the website.

First, let me say that the Rockwell site is an excellent one and that anything displayed on it is worth a read. The contributors are intellectually stimulating and, most importantly, truly value free speech. Since is most certainly committed to free speech and the robust exchange of ideas, we are happy to respond to a criticism, and Daniel M. Ryan’s article (The Winner’s Curse”) is interesting as well as critical of our viewpoint. I write the following counter attack in the spirit of comradeship in free speech and debate.

Ryan disputes our claim that the Media Class is now the dominant force in Western society and also disputes the view that active opposition to a war that one’s nation is fighting is unpatriotic and leads to a celebration of losses and defeat.

I’ll start with the Class issue. He has clearly not read back very far on our website or he would have seen the many reasons why we identify the Media Class as the power behind the scenes of politics today (and increasingly out front!). A ruling class evolves from a combination of historically accidental events (such as new technology) and the members of the newly empowered class may not even be fully aware of their class membership. Not all, or even most, will be important players in the acquisition of economic and political power. Many will become rich or at least very affluent, but some will be on the bottom rung of a long class ladder. Also, as we have argued elsewhere on this website, a ruling class has to have alliances with other groups and this is particularly true in an elective democracy. Another important element is that a new ruling class brings baggage from the origins of its members. This is old ground on this website, so let me move on to the other points in Ryan’s article.

It is possible to fundamentally disagree with one’s own nation’s war for patriotic or moral reasons. In such cases, one may feel a duty to put forward intellectual arguments disagreeing with the initiation of the war or its conduct. This is a far cry however from marching in protesting mobs, embarking on a campaign of negative attacks on both the military and the Commander-in Chief or setting the enemy above one’s own country in an effort to bring down the Commander-in-Chief. Actively opposing one’s own country during wartime is treason. Writing critical articles in newspapers, magazines and on the Internet falls well short of giving encouragement to the enemy. If however one feels that the enemy has the moral high ground, I think the honest course is to go join him and be prepared to suffer any consequences. Some have done this in previous wars and Lord Haw Haw (William Joyce) comes to mind. John Walker Lindt is a more recent example.

Libertarians have opposed the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and whilst Mr. Radical and Mr. Right would not bracket Libertarians with those who have opposed the war for reasons of anti-Americanism, or anti-Capitalism or anti-Christian hatred or simply anti-George Bush, we think they are wrong. (Similarly, we think the isolationist British National Party is wrong to oppose “Blair’s War”). We think that Libertarians are indulging in escape from the real world in order to cling to a doctrine of purity, and they do this on a number of issues that separate them from conservatives and nationalists (e.g. drug controls, border controls, homosexuality and other social deviations).

Let’s stick to the war however and leave drugs and personal lifestyles for another time. Mr. Ryan extracts the current war from its context, or at least ignores its context, which was that there were several attacks on the US and its people, at first abroad and finally on 9/11 in the US itself. These attacks increased in intensity and were organized by people who made it clear that they had declared war on the US and the West in general. This war was to be directed primarily at our civilian population with the ultimate aim being complete domination of the world for an uncompromising Islam There is not the slightest evidence that George Bush and his Party sought the Presidency in order to make war in foreign parts. Indeed, all the evidence points to a US woefully unprepared to defend itself against anyone. One Bush failing in the response to 9/11 was the long delay in taking action. This was partly attributable to military deficiencies he inherited from his predecessor but also with the President’s preoccupation with ‘World Opinion’ and the fatuous UN. This delay gave our enemies precious time to organize long- erm resistance.

Bush, unlike the purists who inhabit the Libertarian movement, was elected President to defend the nation. He could have dodged the issues and indulged in a little foreplay in the Oval Office like his feel-good predecessor, but he stepped up to the plate. In doing so he took on a responsibility that he is not well equipped to shoulder, but he has done his best and remained mostly resolute. He is not the best Commander-in Chief in US history but he is the one we have and there are no better claimants in the wings.

The Left and its Media Class masters have been so persistent and insistent in their lying propaganda since 9/11 that we are all brainwashed into believing that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were fuelled by a conspiracy of liars, led by Bush or some Jewish neo-cons. Even if the existence and US support of Israel has bedeviled US/Arab relations, all US politicians have been responsible over many decades and it is something that cannot be undone. In any case, the US has done more to help the Palestinians than any Arab or Muslim country.

Given the supra-national nature of our attackers, there was never one country or place where they could be confronted. Instead there were a number of States in the Middle East that offered aid, comfort, materials and training grounds. For different reasons, Iraq, under the control of a dedicated enemy of the US and a dominating military power in the region, and Afghanistan, a haven because of its anarchy, were as good places as anywhere to take the war into the enemy’s heartland. Iran, Syria, even Saudi Arabia were alternatives, but the pincer move that Bush and our forces made had a military and political logic. We contend that in the early days of military success, the US successfully intimidated all its enemy states in the Middle East and evidence of this includes the change of heart of Libya’s Gadaffi and the inability of Saddam to find refuge with a neighbor. The ‘weapons of mass destruction’ accusations against Bush are not even worthy of refutation, since Saddam had used them against his own people and Iran. W

e contend on this website that the ‘Peace Protestors’ in the US who took to the streets and the Media Class that gave them so much favorable publicity, followed by the defection of the Democrat Party once it saw where the Media Class stood, gave and is giving crucial aid and comfort to the enemy, and we now have a long drawn out war that has cost many good US soldiers their lives. Not to be overlooked on this website, though it is almost everywhere else, is the absence of another attack against the US on its mainland. What more positive evidence could there be that the invasions have protected the US and its civilians?

Mr. Ryan contends that the US has long been biased towards waging wars, largely because it has experienced success in each one. As a support for this argument he contrasts Canada, which is now an anti-war state. He attributes Canadian anti-war sentiment to the tragedy of the Dieppe raid in 1942. Prior to this he claims that Canada was biased to war and cites the enthusiastic military support given by Canadians to the UK in 1914 and 1939.

As it happens, many members of my family emigrated from England to Canada in the years prior to 1914 and some fought (and died) in the First World War in Europe. More Canadian members of my family enlisted again in 1939. I have talked often to them about their motives. They did so, they say, like almost all Canadians of that era, because they saw England as their ‘home’. Since the Second World War both Canada and the UK have, for better or worse, largely lost their British identity and the immigrant newcomers are unlikely to fight anyone, even for Canada.

Canada is fortunate in that it has no unfriendly borders and enjoys the protection of the strongest Nation in the world. Its people’s current smug pacifist sentiment, is like most kinds of pacifism, largely a result of the protection offered and paid for by others.

Where is the evidence in the 20th Century that the US has been addicted to war? It was a late entrant into the First World War and even later into the Second World War. Not until 1941, when the US was treacherously attacked by Japanese forces at Pearl Harbor, was war declared on Japan and its allies Germany and Italy.

On the Korean peninsula, war was initiated by the Communist North and must be viewed in the context of the Cold War (and its ‘hot’ war interludes) that Stalin’s Communist USSR was pursuing around the globe. Vietnam was a similar situation and in both cases the US pulled its military punches. Certainly, military defeats feed pacifism at home, as well as the isolationism that Libertarians prefer. The withdrawal from Vietnam caused by Leftist-led anti-war protests and dishonest reporting in the US, brought about defeat. We see no evidence that it has been good for the American people or the Vietnamese.

Mr. Ryan speculates on the consequences had Canada not experienced the Dieppe defeat and instead sent large numbers of troops to Korea and Vietnam. He shudders at the thought of US/Canadian/Allied victory in Vietnam and the effects that such success would have had on the US and Canada.

Radical and Right see the US as a force for good in a dangerous world and never more so than in the current confrontation with a brutal, irrational and savage Islamic Imperialism. Defeat and withdrawal will surely have dangerous consequences.

The Media Class, with its Leftist roots and Leftist alliances, has chosen to play socially motivated internal politics with this war and it has done so with great effect, because it controls news and propaganda. Democrat politicians, with the honorable exception of Joe Lieberman, have danced to its tune, but should Hillary win in 2008, the responsibility for protecting the US will fall on her shoulders. She may, like Lyndon Johnson and John Kennedy, find that it is not possible to take refuge in pacifist sentiment and isolationism. Do not be surprised if the Media Class becomes bellicose for war around the same time.

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