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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/10871/peace-and-the-peace-prize/

Peace and the “Peace Prize”

October 20, 2009 by

Real peace is the absence of aggression, whether on an international scale or localized within a small area. Real peace requires the absence of aggression in domestic affairs concerning individual citizens. FULL ARTICLE by Ben O’Neill


Barry Loberfeld October 20, 2009 at 10:19 am

From an open letter to an “anti-war” group:

I challenge the War Resisters League and its supporters to fully become good neighbors and really oppose “all war” — not only the war the State wages against other nations, but also the one it wages against its people and their lives and property. A world without domestic militarism is simply a world without violence. To imagine that it will also be a world without justice, prosperity, cooperation, and compassion, is to proclaim that violence the font of these values — as absurd, cynical, and ultimately obscene a statement as one could make.

Force creates only destruction, and being the first to raise one’s fist makes a man nothing but a brute. Please, sever your support, both “material and moral,” for domestic militarism, just as you would have others sever theirs for foreign militarism. In short, be true to your own values … to your own selves. If one can’t do that, what of any importance is left?

Ron October 20, 2009 at 11:47 am

Peace is not the absence of war but the space in between where retooling takes place.

I am in agreement that acts of aggression can be sublime and usually include one side gaining and advantage through coerced means instead of a full frontal assault. Governments are takers, and the act of taking by government mandate, trampling citizens rights and ignoring free will are definitely acts of aggression against the people.

Therefor we are always at war but sometimes not with much blood letting. Peace is when two sides decide to honor each others space and allow neighborly disagreement to be expressed without destruction of personal respect……we used to call that liberty, it was the coveted American dream.

I fear the seeds of coercion and destruction of personal will are the enemies of communists and socialists that would rather subjugate and annul peaceful intentions with acts of aggression against humanities greatest earned privilege and that is shared freedom without the shackles of slavery to the state. Their aggression destroys personal value as does war, but wars end, their aggression does not.

There are only two ways to live; one is to offer the gift of freedom and self expression by respecting others personal strength and independence, the other is to offer slavery, and the shackles of forced servitude to the state by weakening the individual……socialists always redefine slavery to their ideal as true freedom,as any aggressor would.

Lying is the basis of aggression by subversion…the roots of war……Obama therefore deserves, as you say, the award as given by those that would lie to preserve their position over others….the battle is always afoot.

Paul Stephens October 20, 2009 at 12:22 pm

A good statement of what is “wrong” with imperialism and domestic totalitarianism.
Millions of people, mostly younger, minorities, and traditional anti-war Progressives, campaigned fervently for Barack Obama. His victory was unprecedented, because it used social networking and grass-roots organizing to defeat the worst Administration (Bush-Cheney) in the history of the United States.
The Republo-fascists were caught flat-footed. They simply had no response to this sort of mass uprising. And so, they nominated two candidates who seemed to somehow reflect this discontent with corporate Wall Street/K-Street politics – a populist from Alaska who shot wolves from airplanes, and a “war hero” from the bottom of his class at Annapolis – not even born in the United States, but on a foreign military base, who had opposed torture and been proclaimed “a maverick”, but otherwise had no credentials greater than being known as a “hot-head.”
Even so, Obama, the first Black (or maybe Mulatto or Metis) President, did not win easily.
The Black Left was not impressed. Black Agenda Report (www.BAR.org) attacked him from the outset, pointing out that he was created by the notorious Chicago Democrat Machine, and largely funded by the Zionists and other Wall Street-K-Street lobbyists, as well as the CFR and other imperialist establishment. He promised nothing to Black people in general, and certainly nothing to the poor and dispossessed. This was to be another Ivy League presidency.
Paul Street, a long-time Urban League activist from the same Chicago neighborhood, exposed Obama as a phoney from the start.
As a Green Party organizer and activist, I had this conversation with hundreds of peace activists and other progressives. We, of course, supported Cynthia McKinney, a six-term former Democrat Congresswoman from Georgia as our candidate, and her campaign did everything that Obama “left behind” – reconstruction, universal health care, an end to imperialism and the Military-Industrial complex, the “Homeland Security” Gestapo, etc., etc.
A Green Party leader from Hesse, Germany, came to Washington to observe the campaign and election. He couldn’t understand why we weren’t supporting this great “progressive,” Obama! And apparently, the Nobel Committee (which is, of course, neither Green nor Progressive) apparently saw him in the same light.
As a former Chairman of the UCLA Ayn Rand Society, I understand O’Neill’s arguments and references, but to still be defending “capitalism” as some sort of anarchist, communitarian, pacifist “ideal” borders on the insane. Rand had her own peculiar battles going on with imperialism, and the Zionists who had already become, in her lifetime, the leading exponents of imperialistic war and genocide.
I have come to recognize that “Capitalism” is and always will be considered the opposite of individual freedom, free trade, and free markets. It is wise to always use the Marxist adjectives such as “Finance Capitalism” or “Monopoly Capitalism” when describing the system we have today, which depends on military force and a corrupt “criminal justice system” to enslave and repress all real advocates of peace and freedom.
Capitalism is rule by the owners of capital (a very small minority). They do not understand freedom, the law, or a democratic society of status equals. Capitalism is slavery, not freedom.

EnEm October 20, 2009 at 1:39 pm

“……..the award is premature — that President Obama has yet to “make his mark” on US foreign policy”.

He has made his mark by making a conscious effort in stopping Israel from encroching on land that does not belong to it. No other administration has ever told Israel “do as we say…or else”, certainly not that rat-fink George W. Bush or his henchman Cheney. And he had done this in spite of the insidious Israel Lobby.

Eric October 20, 2009 at 1:45 pm

Obama got the peace prize because he hasn’t yet started a nuclear war with Iran or Afghanistan.

Joking aside, the nobel peace prize is as big a joke as the nobel prize in economics. And looking at who has got the peace prize down through the years, perhaps it should be called the Orwellian peace prize.

K Ackermann October 20, 2009 at 5:53 pm

As Obama said himself, he was surprised at the selection too.

Ben O'Neill October 21, 2009 at 12:45 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your comments on my article.

Barry Great letter Barry. Did you get any responses or converts?

Paul: Thank you for your comments and your email. I must admit, I am somewhat bemused by your critique of the term “capitalism” in the article. On re-reading my article, it seems to me that it is quite clear that I am talking about a laissez-faire system of free markets and not any kind of corporatist system. In fact, the only part of the article that even uses the word “capitalism”, to which you object, is the quote by Ayn Rand, where she specifically refers to “laissez-faire capitalism” and the banning of force from social relationships. The fact that the entire discussion is grounded in the context of the non-aggression principle should also exclude any possibility that it could seriously be interpreted as an endorsement of political rule by capital owners.

You state that “…I understand O’Neill’s arguments and references, but to still be defending “capitalism” as some sort of anarchist, communitarian, pacifist “ideal” borders on the insane.” I am afraid I am at a loss to understand where you are getting this from, since the article does not mention anything “communitarian” at all —if anything, the article is implicitly hostile to communitarianism and other collectivist philosophies, at least if they involve violations of property rights (which they often do). Nor does the article endorse pacifism, since it argues only against the initiation of force, not the use of defensive force. If this is just a difference of opinion in terminology, then that is one thing, but I do not think the article can seriously be regarded as presenting the kind of view you describe.

On a separate note, I would urge you to reconsider your support for “reconstruction”, “universal health care” and any other statist policies supported by the Green Party. The main point of my article is that if you support these instances of domestic aggression and theft of taxpayer property, then you have no rational grounds on which to oppose or lament aggression in foreign policy.

Thanks again for your comments guys.


Deb T. October 21, 2009 at 2:02 am

“Dear War Protestors:
You may march and protest all you like, as long as you continue to pay your taxes.”
Alexander Haig, U.S. Secretary of State, 1982

Darryl W. Perry October 21, 2009 at 2:42 am

Because the Nobel Peace Prize no longer stands for “peace” – Free Patriot Press has created the Free Patriot Peace Prize – nominations open until Oct 23


Paul Stephens October 21, 2009 at 3:31 am

“Laissez-faire capitalism” is a contradiction in terms. If it is “laissez-faire”, it isn’t “capitalism” – a Marxist term used to describe totalitarian rule by the owners of “capital” – land and the means of production, who are an ever-decreasing minority as capital is concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. Liberals (libertarians) never described themselves as “capitalists” until Marx did – and then, spitefully, to express their opposition to the Marxist critique of classical political economy.
Marx learned all of his economics from Adam Smith and David Ricardo – especially the Labor Theory of Value,Theory of Rents and Iron Law of Wages. He showed why this would result in the expropriation of wealth which labor had created, and how all the surplus production from better land would be “taxed” away by the landlords with higher rents. Only the produce of the most marginal land would be retained by the farmers. And wages could never rise above the level necessary for workers to survive and reproduce themselves without government intervention or the “countervailing power” of organized labor or collective ownership of the means of production.
As for “property,” Quesque c’est la Propertie? (my French is a little rusty). Proudhon asked that question nearly 2 centuries ago, and I think his answer was correct. It is whatever people produce and earn with their own hands – not what corporate monopolists expropriate and call their own, or what they “inherit” from vast estates based on privilege and government “protection.”
I, of course, doubted or opposed all this in my “objectivist” days, but have come to see the reality in it, now, with labor unions destroyed, the minimum wage reduced by half or more from what it was 40 years ago, and corporate monopolies (especially in medicine, food, and many other essentials) having gained the power to expropriate everyone’s savings and income for their own benefit.
Of course, you live in a much saner country than ours, and still have many of these welfare and worker protection laws and institutions. Lucky you!

Barry Loberfeld October 21, 2009 at 9:22 am

“Great letter, Barry.”

Great article, Ben!

“Did you get any responses …”

Walter Block sent an e-mail informing me that he had forwarded the Open Letter to numerous Loyola colleagues.

“… or converts?”

I don’t know; we’ll have to ask him!

Many thanks,


Ned Netterville October 21, 2009 at 9:57 am

PAUL STEPHENS: This site honors the memory of the brilliant economist-sociologist, Ludwig Von Mises. Virtually all of of his written work is available here, in many cases in both print and electronic formats. One of Mises’ many formidable, intellectual contributions to the advancement of economics and peaceful, human cooperation was his logically devastating critiques of Karl Marx’s philosophy and his economics. I urge you to read Mises, perhaps starting with one of his masterpieces entitled in English, SOCIALISM, which was originally published in German in 1922. It is on line at: http://mises.org/books/socialism/contents.aspx. If you do, you may abandon your devotion to Marx as you once abandoned Ayn Rand and become a Misian, for Mises devastating critique of Marxi’s “theories” in SOCIALISM marked the beginning of the end of socialism’s worldwide popularity during the early years of the twentieth century.

Marx didn’t originate but he did popularize the word capitalism for the free-market “system” more accurately described by the French term laissez-faire. In English a more precise word for capitalism, rightly understood (as Mises describes it) might be simply “freedom,” for that is the basic value it embraces.

My own way of describing capitalism (freedom) is that it is the social arrangement or system that would prevail if the initiation of force and coercion were eliminated from human relations. If you can logically show otherwise, I would be eager to consider the alternative.

Sonic Ninja Kitty October 21, 2009 at 2:19 pm

So much in this article is eloquently phrased. Thank you for an exceptional read.

Paul Stephens October 21, 2009 at 3:52 pm

To Ned and all:
I’ve actually met Ludwig von Mises (like Hayek, the “von” came and went over his career), and have a signed copy of Human Action. I have read Socialism, Bureaucracy, and his other major works. I learned the terms “catallaxy” and “praxeology” from these books, and I’ve often tried to use them in my own Green Libertarian arguments and comments.
I am also a fan of Murray Rothbard, but I doubt that he is “the dean” of Austrian Economics after Mises. He was a thoroughly-trained Marxist who really understands the place of Marxist philosophy in the evolution of libertarian thinking. So was Ayn Rand, but she tends more to the Trotskyist tradition of making state capitalism collapse, rather than trying to fix it.
I am not a Marxist, but more of an anarchist or “utopian socialist.”
Here’s some more stuff I wrote to Ben off-list.

I modified my comment about your post to apply to Reisman’s article attacking “Maoists”, since he was part of the “inner circle” of the Rand group in the 1960′s. (I knew Nathaniel Branden, but never met Rand, herself). I added the following to that post, plus another one I’ve archived about the collapse of the Celtic Tiger on the Mises website.
I am fascinated by the success of Mises and Rothbard’s work. If you didn’t know it, Rothbard was part of the Rand circle, too, until she purged him. You have to be Jewish, I think, to really get into that! One other note of interest is that there really was a Rose Rand philosopher – part of the Vienna Circle! (Verein Ernst Mach). She was a close friend of Popper and Wittgenstein, as well. Hayek became a Popperian in later life, which is probably why almost nothing of his work appears on the Mises website. You can find more about Rose Rand on Wikipedia.
I wrote much of the “Green Libertarianism” entry, there. (Wikipedia was started by Objectivists, but has been largely taken over by less imaginative people, I’m afraid).

Anyway, here it is, in the interests of scholarship. What do you think of Murdoch and Fox News? It is like a religion, here, now. Most people who watch it don’t listen to anything else!

Best regards,

Barry Loberfeld October 21, 2009 at 4:19 pm

“[Marx] showed … wages could never rise above the level necessary for workers to survive and reproduce themselves without government intervention or the ‘countervailing power’ of organized labor or collective ownership of the means of production.”

From here:

The term “wage slavery” is generally associated with Marx’s prediction that wages under capitalism would eventually fall to rock bottom, so that the worker, much like a slave, would be laboring for subsistence — hence, “wage slavery.” (Marx actually falsified data to support this prophecy; see Antony Flew in the July 2001 issue of Ideas on Liberty. Engels, for his part, eventually “conceded that workers may earn more than subsistence wages.” Mark Skousen, The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers, 2001, p.163.)

But near the end of his essay, Chomsky writes, “An increase in wages, in Marx’s phrase, ‘would be nothing more than a better remuneration of slaves, and would not restore, either to the worker or to the work, their human significance and worth.’” (Original emphasis.) So, whereas subsistence wages drive the worker into “misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality [and] mental degradation” (again, Marx), even ever-increasing wages deny him his “human significance and worth,” the absence of which we evidently must acknowledge like the presence of the Emperor’s nouveau apparel. Wages plummet, wages soar, wages stagnate — it’s all the same “slavery.” Capitalism is not judged by any real standard but is arbitrarily deemed intrinsically evil, thus leaving only the tautology capitalism is bad because capitalism is bad. At this point, our socialists seem to be reduced to moral gibberish — to paraphrase the Professor.

The moral obscenity lies in Marx’s grotesque analogy between the slave driver’s whip and the consumer’s dollar — and in Chomsky’s quoting of it, which adds an unconscionable analogy between history’s brutalized slaves and today’s well-paid employees.

Ben O'Neill January 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Update: The esteemed 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner just hosted a State dinner for the man who keeps imprisoned the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, an almost perfect symbol of what the “Peace Prize” stands for. (See Dhardhowa, Y.C. (2011) Nobel Laureates Liu in Prison, Obama Hosts State Dinner for Hu, The Tibet Post, 21 Jan 2011.)

Ben O'Neill March 30, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Update: The esteemed 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner yesterday mocking his own receipt of the Nobel Prize (but did not give it back):

While praising Energy Secretary Chu for his great skills and accomplishments, President Obama poked fun of his own award. “Chu has the Nobel Prize in physics – he actually deserved his Nobel Prize,” Obama said at a speech on energy Wednesday in Washington. (See Courtney, S. (2011) Obama mocks his Nobel Prize. Fox News.com, 30 March 2011.)

Actually, he is mistaken. Given its past winners, he is a perfectly fitting recipient for the prize. Oh, and if you are keeping score, he is now at war in Libya.

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