The ultimate war profiteer

“War is the lifeblood of the State.”  This pithy saying was what started me on the road away from being a neocon to being an advocate for liberty.  I use to rage at the articles by Lawrence Vance, angry that someone could be “so stupid” about how the world works.  I’m not sure when it hit me; I’m not even sure that the change in my point of view on this subject occurred overnight, or if it seeped in over time.  But I do know that it was the idea, the assertion, that government uses war to increase its power over the citizen who live under its jurisdiction, that turned me against the type of war that “conservatives” are supposed to embrace.

A business counts its profits in money.  Individuals count their profit in money.  Government counts its profit in power; in how much legal control it has gained over people’s lives.  I use to think, as many self-described conservatives still think, that government gained power by passing out goodies to people, and this is certainly an easy way to get a good portion of the populace to give up their liberty.  But a nation doesn’t need a majority of people committed to liberty to remain a free nation.    A vocal minority committed to liberty can do really well in keeping government growth in check.  The American War for Independence was begun and maintained to victory by a relatively small part of the colonists, for example.  Outspoken critics of the growth of government can keep it from increasing its stranglehold.  So, the government, in order to really get a good hold on the nation, must somehow get the liberty-oriented crowd to stop protesting its power grab.  War is how this is done.  When the nation is attacked, the natural feelings of patriotism can bring the people together like almost nothing else, but it also brings out an indulgence for increased government, “to do what it takes to win”.  The problem is, that everytime the nation comes out of a war, it comes out of it a little less free than it was before it got involved.  Activities and responsibilities that civil society used to take upon itself were assumed by the government as a “necessary” measure to win the war.  Pretty soon, it became entrenched in people’s minds that “only” the government could do certain things–like manage the economy, build national infrastructure, or impose social morality.

Conservatives, however, seem to be blind to this process; I certainly was.  And there’s the grand irony of the whole situation.  People who claim to be naturally suspicious of government power, have become its biggest proponents.  They’ve been duped by the organization they think they oppose into being its most ardent supporters.  As Anthony Gregory said recently, “The American Right’s position for the last sixty years at least has been: We will countenance socialism, so long as we get war and the police state.”

One needs merely look at how Ron Paul has been treated by the talk radio crowd, the “conservative” internet news crowd, to know that the “conservative” movement is now truly its namesake: it is a movement to preserve the present situation, rather than a movement to conserve the principles of liberty with which the nation began.  The only qualification to be considered conservative anymore is devotion to war; not the defensive war–repelling invaders–which is morally and Biblically justified, but the preemptive, “kill them before they kill us” insanity that passes for sound foreign policy anymore.  Devotion to the free market, to individual liberty, to Constitutionally limited government are all now side issues; a candidate who holds all these positions, and has consistently held them for decades, is “not a conservative”–he is even “far left wing”–because he has adopted the foreign policy of Calvin Coolidge, Robert Taft, and Howard Buffett as opposed to the Wilsonian creed of perpetual war.


3 Responses to “The ultimate war profiteer”

  1. It took me 40 years to unlearn the lies I was taught in school. Fortunately, I’ve had very good teachers, over the last 12 years.

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