|—||Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, p. 974|
The King of Prussia, Frederick II (“the Great”), confessed that he had seized the province of Silesia from the Empress Maria Theresa in 1740 because, as a newcomer to the throne, he had to make a name for himself. This caused a war with Austria that developed into a worldwide war (in North America, the French and Indian War), and went on to 1763. Of course, many tens of thousands died in that series of wars.
In general, though, states have been much more circumspect about revealing the true reasons for their wars as well as the methods by which they conduct them. Pretexts and evasions have proliferated. In democratic societies, these are endorsed—often invented—by compliant writers and intellectuals.
The unmasking of such excuses for war and war-making is called historical revisionism, or simply revisionism.
Revisionism and classical liberalism, today called libertarianism, have always been closely linked.
The greatest classical liberal thinker on international affairs was Richard Cobden, whose crusade against the Corn Laws, brought free trade and prosperity to England in 1846. Cobden’s two-volume Political Writings(reprinted by Garland Publishing in 1973) all deal with British foreign policy.
Cobden maintained that, “The middle and industrious classes of England can have no interest apart from the preservation of peace. The honours, the fame, the emoluments of war belong not to them; the battle-plain is the harvest-field of the aristocracy, watered by the blood of the people.” He looked forward to a time when the slogan “no foreign politics” would become the watchword of all who claimed to be representatives of a free people. Cobden went so far as to trace the calamitous English wars against revolutionary France—which ended only at Waterloo—to the fear and hostility of the British upper classes to the anti-aristocratic policies of the French.
Castigating the aristocracy for its alleged war lust was standard for liberal writers of earlier generations. But Cobden’s views began to change when he observed the intense popularenthusiasm for the Crimean War, against Russia and on behalf of the Ottoman Turks. His outspoken opposition to that war, seconded by his friend and co-leader of the Manchester School, John Bright, cost both of them their seats in the Commons at the next election.
Bright outlived his colleague by twenty years, witnessing the growing passion for empire in his country. In 1884, the famous liberal Prime Minister, William Gladstone, ordered the British Navy to bombard Alexandria, to recover the debts owed by the Egyptians to British investors. Bright scornfully dismissed it as “a jobbers’ war,” and resigned from the Cabinet. But he never forgot what had started him on the road to anti-imperialism. When Bright passed with his young grandson in front of the statue in London, labeled “Crimea,” the boy asked the meaning of the memorial. Bright replied, simply, “A Crime.”
Herbert Spencer, the most widely read philosopher of his time, was squarely in the classical liberal tradition. His hostility to statism is exemplified by his assertion that, “Be it or be it not true that Man is shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, it is unquestionably true that Government is begotten of aggression and by aggression.” While noting the state’s inborn tendency towards “militancy”—as opposed to the peaceful intercourse of civil society—Spencer denounced the various apologias for his country’s wars in his lifetime, in China, South Africa, and elsewhere.
In the United States, author and activist Lysander Spooner was a renowned abolitionist, even conspiring with John Brown to promote a servile insurrection in the South. Yet he bitterly opposed the Civil War, arguing that it violated the right of the southern states to secede from a union that no longer represented them. E. L. Godkin, influential editor of The Nation magazine, opposed U. S. imperialism to the end of his life, condemning the war against Spain. Like Godkin, William Graham Sumner was a firm proponent of free trade and the gold standard and a foe of socialism. He held the first professorship in sociology (at Yale) and authored a great many books. But his most enduring work is his essay, “The Conquest of the United States by Spain,” reprinted many times and today even available online. In this ironically titled work, Sumner portrayed the savage U. S. war against the Philippines, which cost some 200,000 Filipino lives, as an American version of the imperialism and lust for colonies that had brought Spain the sorry state of his own time.
Unsurprisingly, the most radical of the liberal revisionists was the arch-radical Gustave de Molinari, originator of what has come to be known as anarcho-capitalism. In his work on the Great Revolution of 1789, Molinari eviscerated the founding myth of the French Republic. France had been proceeding gradually and organically towards liberal reform in the later eighteenth century; the revolution put an end to that process, substituting an unprecedented expansion of state power. The self-proclaimed liberal parties of the nineteenth century were, in fact, machines for the exploitation of society by the now victorious middle classes, who profited from government contracts, state-subsidies for railroads and other industries, state-sponsored banking, tariffs, and the jobs available in the ever-expanding bureaucracy.
In his last work, published a year before his death in 1912, Molinari never relented. The American Civil War had not been simply a humanitarian crusade to free the slaves. The war “ruined the conquered provinces,” but the Northern plutocrats puling the strings achieved their aim: the imposition of a vicious protectionism that led ultimately “to the regime of trusts and produced the billionaires.”
Libertarian revisionism continued into the twentieth century. The First World War furnished rich pickings, among them Albert Jay Nock’s The Myth of a Guilty Nation and H. L. Mencken’s continuing, and witty, exposés of the lies of America’s wars and war makers. In the next generation, Frank Chodorov, the last of the Old Right greats wrote that “Isolationism is not a political policy, it is a natural attitude of a people.” Left to their own devices, the people “do not feel any call to impose their own customs and values on strangers.” Declining to dodge the scare word, Chodorov urged a “return to that isolationism which for over a hundred years prospered the nation and gained for us the respect and admiration of the world.” Chodorov broke with the “New Right” (aka, the neocons of the that era) over his opposition to the Korean War.
Murray Rothbard was the heir to this whole legacy, totally familiar with it and bringing it up to date. Aside from his many other, truly amazing contributions, Murray and his colleague Leonard Liggio introduced historical revisionism to the burgeoning American libertarian movement. This is a work now carried on with great gusto by Lew Rockwell, of the Mises Institute, and his associated accomplished scholars.
Why are American atheists so pissed off at Christians?
Many people in Germany are atheists but we never see any of that cringeworthy bullshit here
It’s a way for cishet white dudes to claim oppression points. Of course, if you’d just shut up about how God isn’t real and believing in him/her/it makes you an abject moron, maybe people wouldn’t give a damn?
And I don’t fully advocate it… (I’d much rather just lower taxes so money isn’t leaving hands in the first place)
We spend $12,608 annually per student in the public education system as it is. Twelve. Thousand. Dollars. (Think of how well you could educate yourself if you were just straight up given twelve thousand dollars annually!)
Let’s say we eliminate state-run and state-funded (public and charter) schools and instead give roughly $12,000 to each household which has students. Obviously the budget for schooling has to fall nearly half right here. (An average of two students per household and only paying twelve thousand per household… as opposed to 24 thousand per household)
If a parent chooses to dedicate 5 hours per day on weekdays from their $10/hr job, they would lose $14,000. (5 hours per day every weekday seems a bit of an overestimate… but nevermind that) A loss of $2,000 to gain a better educational situation. (And the family’s taxes go down because of budgetary savings!) Oh, and this also means the kids can pick up some more work when they’re old enough. (Homeschoolers tend to get jobs earlier and work longer hours) That will pay off.
And that $12,000 will more than cover books and many field trips and gas and yada yada. A few community college courses, too. Trust me. (Or they could put it towards an even less efficient educational model: public schooling)
People often say homeschooling is expensive alternative, but the fact of the matter is that it’s dirt cheap and public education is subsidized- as it exists right now, you can’t not pay for it.
Just some food for thought.
Never has the most negative of words, looked so positive.
Yeah anyone who thought this vote would come to anything else wasn’t paying attention
Red Dawn showing the use of a gun registry for confiscation during occupation.
This especially important because one of the purposes of the second amendment was to fight off foreign invaders. Standing armies were unpopular during the time of the framing of the constitution, and so one (of several) intended purposes of the second amendment was so that the country could still be defended if there wasn’t an army. So this is a great example of how gun registration is in opposition to the intentions of the second amendment.
jon stewart is literally just an old white man making jokes about old white men
I personally identify with Richard Nixon.
As a white person, I would like to apologize for absolutely nothing my ancestors have done because it’s not my fault now shut the fuck up and cry more.
National Review using gifs on their Tumblr. Hm.
All the cool kids are doing it
One of their first posts was this beauty:
I have bronchitis. Thanks to the ACA, I was able to get medicine for $0. #ThanksObama
that came from taxes I paid.
Well, let my know how much I owe you and I’ll drop a few pennies in the mail. War comes from taxes you paid, and I personally dislike the amount I pay going for that… Maybe we should check “yes” or “no” on our 1040 forms this year for allocation of tax dollars.
I’m sorry you think I’m lying, but I’m not. I qualified for the Medicaid expansion under the ACA, which is partially funded through taxpayer revenue. I don’t think the IRS mailed you a letter saying, “Nah nah nah nah naaaaaaah! This year’s tax dollars went to pay for medicine for poor people mwahahaha!” Who knows? Maybe YOUR portion of tax dollars went to a Hellfire missile that took out a village in Afghanistan. Ooh, how exciting for you!
Comfort yourself with that thought as I use my inhaler, which I would not have been able to afford without the ACA.
what the fuck is wrong with Americans who aren’t on board with free healthcare. I’m Canadian and I don’t care that I pay extra taxes so a little boy in Alberta can have open heart surgery, or an elderly man in Nova Scotia can get the heart medication he desperately needs. It’s called taking care of your people. I’m glad I pay so that people can have a good quality of life. It’s called being a decent fucking human being.
And last but not least:
Come back when you have an argument.