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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10013/remembering-the-real-victims/

Remembering the Real Victims

May 25, 2009 by

On this Memorial Day, it is somehow fitting that Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty has vetoed a bill that would have allowed “terminally ill patients to use medical marijuana to alleviate pain and suffering in their final days.” Pawlenty did not want to upset the police special-interest lobby, who directly profit from the government’s illegal war against drugs.

It’s hard to come up with a better example of how the men and women who are supposed to be honored today have died, frankly, in furtherance of evil. We’re told America’s uniformed soldiers die in support of our freedom — but that it is flatly contradicted by more than two centuries of empirical evidence, not to mention common sense. The soldiers die not to keep us free, but to protect the ability of criminals like Tim Pawlenty to torture innocent people who simply wish to reduce their own pain and suffering. The soldiers die so torturers may continue to live free of the consequences of their actions.

As libertarians, we should take this day to remember the billions who have died as the result of state aggression — and yes, that includes the American state.

{ 34 comments }

Ryan May 25, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Pretty sick stuff.

Anonymous May 25, 2009 at 1:36 pm

“we should take this day to remember the billions who have died as the result of state aggression”

Very well said.

Jeremy Esposito May 25, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Amen!

Andy von Guerard May 25, 2009 at 2:18 pm

Rick,
No disrespect to the men who died in WWII but you should read the book, Churchill Hitler and the Unnecessary War, by Pat Buchanan. I firmly believe that WWII was not our war to fight and that Roosevelt led us into a fools war.

Michael A. Clem May 25, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Due to our geographical circumstances, and weak or friendly national neighbors, the United States has never truly had a serious military threat, except in the very early days of the counry (War of 1812) or due to increasing technology (threat of nuclear bombardment by USSR). Whatever the reasons for our involvement in WW1 and WW2, fear of being conquered by Germany or Japan is rationally way down the list as unlikely or improbable. The dangers to the U.S. were even less likely in Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan.
By all means, let us remember the troops that have fallen, and more importantly, let us remember that few have truly fallen in protecting our freedoms, but have been the victims of one political cause or another.
The greater threat to our freedoms is something that no military can fight for us, the threat of political ideologies fostered by our own system of government. In this sense, Ryan Evick is as much a victim of this threat as many of our military personnel have been. Let us not be swallowed up by myths, but continue to seek the truth, whatever shape it may take.

Russ May 25, 2009 at 2:29 pm

@Andy von Guerard:
I have read Buchanan’s book, and he may be right, but that does not lessen the sacrifice that was made by the little guys who were sent to war by the big guys.

By the way, since Buchanan believes that Hitler’s attack on Poland was provoked by the Poles, when most historians believe that the incident that was used as an excuse was manufactured by Hitler (ala the Reichstag fire), I think it’s fair to say that Buchanan’s sense of historical judgment might be somewhat off kilter.

S Andrews May 25, 2009 at 2:31 pm

What happened to rick’s comment?

Michael A. Clem May 25, 2009 at 2:39 pm

Ditto S Andrews- Would Germany have stationed troops in the U.S. if they had won WWII? it’s a fair question, and I think the answer is not nearly as obvious as he thinks it is. Germany was seriously overextended, and it’s doubtful they could have even managed a U.S. occupation in addition to the burden of their European occupation.
The greater threat to us has always been within our borders, not outside our borders.

Russ May 25, 2009 at 2:52 pm

My comment echoing Ryan’s (I believe it was Ryan Evick or something like that, not Rick) has also been sent down the Memory Hole. Orwellian and pathetic.

Michael A. Clem May 25, 2009 at 3:11 pm

I have to agree with Russ. We have nothing to fear from civil disagreements on this blog–we want to be able to address these disagreements, not pretend that they don’t exist.

Russ May 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm

Michael A. Clem wrote: “The greater threat to us has always been within our borders, not outside our borders.”

I have to partially disagree here. Historically, you are probably more right than not. But recently, I think the greatest threat is that we effectively almost have no borders. Unless things change, we will be destroyed by demographic invasions in the end, not the government.

Michael A. Clem May 25, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Unless things change, we will be destroyed by demographic invasions in the end, not the government.
Well, that certainly seems to have been true for the Native Americans. But I’m pretty sure that the Fed, and thousands of government regulations that control what I can do, what jobs I can work, where I can live, where I can travel, whether or not I can drive a car, and what kinds of goods I can buy and at what price are far more devastating to my liberty than the danger of my having to live next to an illegal immigrant.
The response to (and for that matter, the cause of) the financial crisis is far more harmful to me than the fear of illegals coming here to work at jobs that I don’t really want to work.

Ben W. May 25, 2009 at 4:20 pm

Remember when it comes to the immigrant population however that because we have the massive social programs that we extend to illegal immigrants, this causes a major drain on the taxpaying citizenry who have to subsidize the government largess.

Immigration is not the problem. Illegal immigration, its costs and the fact that there is no way of ensuring that the people who come to our country share our beliefs in natural rights and the Constitution is the problem.

matskralc May 25, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Actually, Ben, it sounds like the welfare state is the problem, not immigration, be it legal or illegal.

Michael A. Clem May 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Remember when it comes to the immigrant population however that because we have the massive social programs that we extend to illegal immigrants, this causes a major drain on the taxpaying citizenry who have to subsidize the government largess.
Exactly. The problem isn’t immigration, but social welfare. Ending or sharply restricting welfare would be a much more effective control on illegal immigration than building fences and posting military at the borders. Why do you people want to deal with the effects instead of the causes of the problem?
Illegal immigration, its costs and the fact that there is no way of ensuring that the people who come to our country share our beliefs in natural rights and the Constitution is the problem.
What? You mean they bypass the government propaganda system?? Yes, it’s terrible when people choose to believe something other than what the government wants them to believe. Of course, the government isn’t too interested in natural rights or the Constitution, either, so many native-born and educated Americans don’t share these beliefs, either. So I don’t see why you think this particular problem is limited to illegal immigrants. It’s not.

Russ May 25, 2009 at 5:21 pm

Michael A. Clem wrote:
“The response to (and for that matter, the cause of) the financial crisis is far more harmful to me than the fear of illegals coming here to work at jobs that I don’t really want to work.”

Well, I agree that the government had a great deal to do with the current depression (yes, I called it a depression; I live in the Dearborn MI area, and believe me, brother, it’s a depression here). But I think you’re being a bit short-sighted. There are two immigrant groups I mainly worry about: 1) Hispanics, because they voted Democratic two to one in the last election, and 2) Muslims (remember, I live in the Dearborn area). To understand why I fear Muslims, read Bruce Bawer’s excellent books “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender”, where you will learn what life is like in Eurabia (and eventually will be like here if we follow the same path Europe has).

“Exactly. The problem isn’t immigration, but social welfare.”

If only that were so. You’re thinking only in economic terms, but there are also very important political and cultural issues to be contended with here about which economics (Austrian or otherwise) has absolutely nothing to offer.

Russ May 25, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Oops, I forgot this in my last post.

Michael A. Clem wrote:

“Why do you people want to deal with the effects instead of the causes of the problem?”

“You people”? You do you think you are, Ross Perot? ;-)

I am four-square for sending the welfare system the way of the horse and buggy. But even if it did, I would still not favor open borders, for the non-economic reasons I’ve mentioned above. In a nutshell, Hispanics favor socialism, and Muslims favor Shari’a law, neither of which I consider compatible with the Western classical liberal tradition that Mises did such a great job defending.

Michael A. Clem May 25, 2009 at 5:48 pm

If only that were so. You’re thinking only in economic terms, but there are also very important political and cultural issues to be contended with here about which economics (Austrian or otherwise) has absolutely nothing to offer.
Economics provides powerful incentives for people to act in one way or another, but we can certainly consider issues outside of economics.
I presume that the Hispanics who voted Democratic were legal immigrants, because illegal immigrants cannot vote, or can they? Could our electoral system be so corrupt and inept as to allow illegals the right to vote? If so, I fail to see how this can be blamed on the illegals. If not, then you are complaining about people who went through the “proper processes” to immigrate, which would then lead to the question of what you think is wrong with the current process. In either case, it seems to me that we have a serious problem with our own government’s corruption or ineptitude than we do with the immigrants. Ballot access alone restricts our political choices and options to a considerable degree.
As for cultural issues, I fail to see what you expect government to do about this, especially if it is corrupt or inept. What possible laws can be passed to prefer one culture over another without violating the rights of the individual? Who gets to decide what the most proper and appropriate culture should be? If anything, this is merely further argument for resricting the powers of government over its citizens. The more power our government has, the more the opportunities for its abuse, by native Americans as well as by immigrants. Perhaps it was the Irish and the Italians who let our government get so out-of-control and extend beyond the Constitutional limits that our Republic was supposed to be constrained by? Perhaps power is tempting and corrupting to any individual, regardless of culture, race, or origin?
We should not let the hysteria of immigration and culture blind us to our own faults. Scapegoating illegals is no solution to our problem, any more than scapegoating Jews was the answer for pre-WWII Germany.

Russ May 25, 2009 at 5:53 pm

Michael A. Clem wrote: “So I don’t see why you think this particular problem is limited to illegal immigrants. It’s not.”

No, it’s not. But that doesn’t mean that we are obliged to commit cultural suicide by letting people into the country who want to effectively destroy the country. Yes, we have enough people here who want to destroy the country already. But does that oblige us to allow in more and thus accelerate the process?

Michael A. Clem May 25, 2009 at 6:25 pm

No, it’s not. But that doesn’t mean that we are obliged to commit cultural suicide by letting people into the country who want to effectively destroy the country. Yes, we have enough people here who want to destroy the country already. But does that oblige us to allow in more and thus accelerate the process?
Fear and hysteria are fed by vague statements like these. I’ve tried responding in kind, but really, you seem to want indict whole cultures instead of focusing on specific individual acts and violations.
In any case, “Obliged” isn’t the right word. If we are unable to stop the citizens who “want to destroy the country”, what makes you think we can stop these same people from letting in more of your dangerous immigrants? Aren’t these fellow citizens the greater threat, the real source of the problem? Don’t we want to do more than merely slow down the destruction of the country?
Classical liberal society is essentially a rational poltiical philosophy (although not without its own inherent contradictions) based upon limited government, individual rights, rule of law, and so forth. It is difficult to be logical about broad, vague threats based upon whole cultures. If our system is flawed to the point of being unable to protect itself from vague threats, perhaps we should be looking ever more closely at the flaws in our system, instead of being distracted by external issues, or merely slowing down the increasing fissures of those flaws.

jc butte May 25, 2009 at 7:00 pm

As for me, I salute the brotherhood and sacrifice, not the war or the governments. This is a day when Libertarians tend to shoot themselves in the foot by engaging in anti-state barrages while there are things we can celebrate and honor.

Russ May 25, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Michael A. Clem wrote:

“I presume that the Hispanics who voted Democratic were legal immigrants, because illegal immigrants cannot vote, or can they? Could our electoral system be so corrupt and inept as to allow illegals the right to vote?”

Quite possibly. It certainly allows some people to vote more than once. And even if illegals can’t vote now, that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to if the government decides to make them all citizens at one fell swoop. So better to have as few in the country as possible when such a sad event occurs.

“If so, I fail to see how this can be blamed on the illegals.”

Well, it’s simple. Even if the election process allows illegals to vote when it shouldn’t, it doesn’t force them to vote a certain way. They decide that for themselves.

“If not, then you are complaining about people who went through the “proper processes” to immigrate”

I believe all immigration, legal or not, should be severely curtailed, and all for the same reasons.

“In either case, it seems to me that we have a serious problem with our own government’s corruption or ineptitude than we do with the immigrants.”

I don’t *just* have a “serious problem with our own government’s corruption or ineptitude”, because *I* don’t see all of our problems through the libertarian/ancap lens, and thus as only the fault of the government. The real world is more complicated than that. Problems caused by illiberal ideologies are problems with *people* in general, not just the government.

“As for cultural issues, I fail to see what you expect government to do about this, especially if it is corrupt or inept.”

Well, if the government is corrupt or inept, not much, unfortunately. But that doesn’t mean I must do my best imitation of an ostrich and ignore these issues, does it? No, it means I should agitate for the government becoming an uncorrupt and uninept defender of the classical liberal tradition.

“What possible laws can be passed to prefer one culture over another without violating the rights of the individual?”

Since I don’t believe that everyone qua human being has a right to immigrate to the US, the possible laws that I would favor are, of course, immigration laws.

“Who gets to decide what the most proper and appropriate culture should be?”

Michael, this kind of trite multi-culturalism is not becoming of an intelligent non-leftist (but I repeat myself). Multiculturalism is just another form of the polylogism that Mises argued against.

“The more power our government has, the more the opportunities for its abuse, by native Americans as well as by immigrants.”

We live in a democracy, Michael. That means that we get the government that the people vote for. The more people we let in who vote for socialists, whether because they favor socialism or because they consider socialists useful idiots in the cause of jihad is immaterial, the less chance we have of getting a limited government. What is so difficult about this?

“Perhaps it was the Irish and the Italians who let our government get so out-of-control and extend beyond the Constitutional limits that our Republic was supposed to be constrained by? Perhaps power is tempting and corrupting to any individual, regardless of culture, race, or origin?”

Perhaps you are so blinded by non-agression-principle ideology that you refuse see the inexorable logic of demographics?

“We should not let the hysteria of immigration and culture blind us to our own faults. Scapegoating illegals is no solution to our problem, any more than scapegoating Jews was the answer for pre-WWII Germany.”

Yes, we have faults. But I believe we still come out on the positive side of the balance sheet. One of our best points is that we have the ability to introspect and recognize our faults, unlike, say, Islamic culture. (I assume that you have not seriously considered moving to Mexico or Iran recently, and thus believe that the pluses of our culture still outweigh the minuses?)

As for “scapegoating”, I’m not. I see a real problem regarding demographics, democracy and limited government, and I’m advocating a solution. If anything, you and other doctrinaire libertarians are the ones who are constantly scapegoating, and that goat is “The State”. Unless one is an anarchist, one believes that the government has certain rightful functions. (And even most ancaps believe that these same functions need to be addressed, just not by a state.) In a limited democratic state, one of these functions is, in my mind, to make sure that democracy is not turned against itself and used to turn the limited state into a tyranny. Again, I fail to see why (classical) liberalism obliges us to commit cultural suicide.

damocles May 25, 2009 at 7:51 pm

Bizarre and wrong; GIs fought and died for their country and platoon mates; not for any issue, repressive or not. Should we have surrendered to the nazis and their gas chambers?

S Andrews May 25, 2009 at 9:13 pm

I just don’t see any reason to connect drug legalization to memorial day.

Gil May 25, 2009 at 9:21 pm

“I firmly believe that WWII was not our war to fight and that Roosevelt led us into a fools war.” – A. von Guerard

So the U.S. should have had no business as the Nazis barely aggressed against the U.S. therefore the U.S. had no right to ally themselves and fight the Nazis? That’s akin to seeing an innnocent person getting beat up two thugs and you decide to keep walking because they aren’t attacking you therefore if you intervene you’re aggressing against them and they have every to right to rightful reliation against you without punishment. Gee, didn’t the Japanese attack the U.S. (*cough* *cough* Pearl Harbor *cough* *cough*)? Oh, yeah, Libertarians defend the Japanese ‘incident’ as rightful retaliation against trade barriers that were erected by U.S. politicians because the Japanese were committing atrocities against the Chinese. This is akin, to refusing to trade with a shopkeeper who is known to beat his wife and children. When the shopkeeper finds you and beats you up because what he does in his spare time is his own business and you don’t have the right to interfere and refuse him trade it is reasonable ‘initiation of force’ for which he can reasonably rightfully retaliate.

Peter May 25, 2009 at 9:48 pm

Immigration is not the problem. Illegal immigration, its costs and the fact that there is no way of ensuring that the people who come to our country share our beliefs in natural rights and the Constitution is the problem.

How is that the problem? Is it less of a problem when people born in the US don’t share your beliefs in natural rights and the Constitution? Because that is the vast majority of them. A few illegals…or even a few million…makes no difference whatsoever.

Peter May 25, 2009 at 9:55 pm

So the U.S. should have had no business as the Nazis barely aggressed against the U.S. therefore the U.S. had no right to ally themselves and fight the Nazis?

“The U.S.” isn’t a person; it has no rights, is incapable of making decisions, etc. Individual Americans can go fight in whatever wars they like.

JD May 25, 2009 at 11:14 pm

Regardless, of the brave men who fought on the battlefields, the real Crime was being commited by the State apparatus, for the next wave of State Tyranny in the form of Soviet Communism. They knocked off one bad guy, but enabled another the ruin many people’s lives. They all look so important/innocent at Yalta, etc., but the deals made there and behind the scenes were far from a Real Victory, or anything remotely related.

It was almost enevitable that we would enter WWII, because our Power Elite were in vying for for the lead spot on the World Stage, since Europe was falling behind because of their debilitating State Intervention into economic/individual freedom. They too were holding the Old Mercantillistic Ways that Europe built its Empires on, as their New Creed.
WWI had given them an appetite for power and the need to enter into that Calderon of Conflict known as Europe.

Personally, I’m tired of the Govt. telling me who the new enemy is. IMO, (at least in modern times, Nomadic Barbarians aside), the real threat to the individual is the “Rich Socialist”, and his watchdog known as the “Bureaucrat”.

sean May 25, 2009 at 11:20 pm

Peter’s second comment, in one simple sentence, exposes how the argument above was entirely fought using WMCs (Weapons of Mass Convolution).

JD May 25, 2009 at 11:24 pm

I should elaborate on the term “Rich Socialist”, because I don’t want that statement to be mistaken for some sort of Marxist “Class Warfare”, jealousy, etc.. The individual that I’m referring to is the one who methodically works hand-in-hand with the state, and his business or whatever is dependent upon the Coercion of the State for his success.

Maybe not a perfect definition, but IMO this is the Dragon’s head. Of course he depends on a Powerful State, with a Centralized Bank to enable this treachery.

Gil May 26, 2009 at 12:46 am

I s’pose, Peter, your style of argument can be turned around for the Libertarians who bemon the wars against Tamil Tigers and Chechens.

Inquisitor May 26, 2009 at 4:00 am

Anyone who retrospectively fears a likely Nazi invasion should look at the tyrants dwelling within their own borders…

Doc May 26, 2009 at 8:39 am

Russ, et al:
I dislike Hispanics having grown up in Miami, FL in the 50′s and beyond, but whether they vote Democrat or Republican is a non-issue. The real danger to our Republic (no, it’s NOT a democracy! FWIW) is people who continue to believe that voting (and guns) keep us free.
Earth to you: We’re not free!
By continuing to swallow this load of crap we continue to allow tyrants to abuse us. Voting for or against one set of tyrants every 2 to 4 years has led us further into the abyss of tyranny.
JD had the problem right, but the solution is difficult to conceive. The signers of the Declaration knew the price of freedom, and those we honor on Memorial Day have paid that price.

If we the living want to realize freedom from the tyrants of the ruling class, we too must be willing to pay that price!

The men and women who died for freedom likely had no clue that we are living under tyranny. They like so many Americans believe and are willing to fight for the ideals they think America stands for, the ideals they were told by their ignorant parents and teachers were real: That we are The Land of the Free and The Home of The Brave. They believe the lie that God Almighty hath blessed this nation to be the police state of the world and that we are charged by God to go forth and spread “democracy” to the heathens. Most American’s have never set foot beyond the borders of the USA. They truly believe themselves superior to all other cultures.

What a shock they’ll have IF we do anything other than hide behind our keyboards and kvetch about how messed up America has become. They’ll think us mad! How could we not think this is The Greatest Country On Earth? And they’ll call for our blood and our hides. They’ll demand government DO SOMETHING! They’ll cheer as we’re led to the gulags and tortured.

And they’ll blame the illegal immigrants, the democrats, the browns, the blacks, the rich, Rush Limbaugh, O’sama O’bama ,etc. when the final key is turned on the cattle gate and thank their gods that we freemarketeers were killed off so that they can finally be safe.

Curious May 26, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Yes! Short, clear and 100% correct!

Please write more articles like that.

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