The very contemplation of war comes into direct conflict with the libertarian ideals of freedom, prosperity, and non aggression. When States wage war, which they often do to expand their power and control over territories, the consequences are often disastrous for the citizens and innocent civilians living in these warring nations. The prospect of any military conflict, invasion, conquest, intervention, and all out war should be fervidly opposed by people who love freedom and support the principles of private property, economic growth, and human rights. There are a whole litany of reasons why war should be opposed. In this short essay, I will condense those reasons into five comprehensive arguments that outline and explain why war is a direct assault on liberty and the right to live without aggression. I will discuss how war is funded through theft, and how it ultimately leads to intrusive behavior by government in our everyday activities under the guise of security.
The first reason to oppose war is the cost of these long and seemingly never ending military campaigns. The government has to fund these brutal battles and it does so by legalized theft and expropriation (taxes), borrowing from other countries, and printing more fiat currency out of thin air so our hard earned cash assets and labor become more devalued while prices for goods and services continue to rise due to the most regressive tax in existence. This tax is known as inflation. These wars are extremely expensive and the expenditures are not just being appropriated for military operations and equipment. The money spent on taking care of wounded and disabled veterans along with an infrastructure for a national security apparatus to operate, tacks more on to the mountain of costs. The politicians and corporatists line their pockets through defense contracts and other nefarious business deals that conveniently appear during war time and the private sector is thoroughly bludgeoned over the head with the big stick that The State carries to further fund the wars of the day. Individuals and businesses are forced to sponsor and pay for these evil and unnecessary wars through tyrannical majoritarian rule and executive decision making at the highest levels of government. This is democracy at work. The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are said to have cost approximately $2 trillion dollars and that number will continue to rise when all is said and done. People are tired of giving foreign aid, and devoting capital to nation building in the slums of the world where despotism, theocratic dictatorships, and brutal totalitarian regimes flourish. They are tired of policing the world and having to pay an astronomical price for no tangible gain, just substantial and measurable losses.
The second reason, has to deal with our civil liberties. Randolph Bourne famously said, “War is the health of The State”, and he was, of course, right. The government not only loves to make money off of war but they also love to control more of their brainwashed and befuddled subjects who are always duped into believing that war is a “patriotic” duty to one’s beloved country. Anything the elitist politicians tell the populace about war is through endless propaganda and rhetoric that is intended to psychologically draw support for military operations. The government now spies on us “for our own good”. They read our emails, listen to our telephone conversations, harass us at the airport, use force and coercion to silence dissenters, conscript soldiers to fight bloody wars, and interrogate us when we are travelling on the roads and highways we own and paid for with our own tax dollars. This will only get worse and the government will use fear tactics and words like “terrorism” to get the masses to follow orders and to stay in line without questioning the “all caring” statist war machine. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus, Wilson came down hard on free speech, FDR interned Japanese-Americans and grew government power to astonishing new heights, and today we are living in a dystopian surveillance/police state perpetrated by the Bush and Obama regimes.
Thirdly, comes the issue of our national security. When you are constantly killing and plundering foreign citizens under the guise of “liberation” and “humanitarian aid”, you will create what the CIA calls blowback. Young children in far away countries that see uninvited soldiers killing their family, destroying their cities, raping women, and stealing natural resources, are most likely going to grow up with disdain and hatred for that country. Wars are mainly fought between governments over territory, economic resources, and for more power. The notion that citizens from other nations or territories should despise each other is foolish. The government pits people of countries against one another in the name of nationalism but it is really the high branches of governments and corporations who start these fights. The more destruction and military quagmires a country creates abroad, the more likely its domestic citizens at home will come under a dangerous threat of retaliation as a consequence to these disastrous international ventures.
The fourth reason, and a very strong reason not to support war, is the number of casualties, and more seriously, the civilian casualties. It is extremely difficult to fight a war without civilian casualties. This is the main reason wars should not be fought. They are crusades for genocide and human annihilation on levels that are hard for the human mind to fathom. The Iraq War brought 300,000 casualties, The Korean War ended with over 1 million deaths, The Vietnam War brought over 3 million casualties, World War I death totals exceeded 36 million, and there are studies that have been done that put World War II casualties at 85 million. This is barbaric and outright abominable to come to understand that war and governments have killed hundreds of millions of people in the 20th century alone.
The fifth and final reason to emphatically oppose war, is the theft of natural resources from other countries along with occupation and imperialism. Countries have been invaded countries to strengthen their power and grow their economies for centuries. The Romans, The Ottoman Empire, Napolean, The Third Reich, Great Britain, and, more recently, The United States of America, have used military might to expand power, steal resources, and become a hegemonic force to be reckoned with on a global scale. The United States has been invading and intervening across the hemispheres since the 18th century. Here are just a few examples, Central America during the late 19th century and early 20th century (especially Nicaragua), The Philippines, the annexation of Hawaii, Cuba and The Bay of Pigs in 1961, Korea, Vietnam 1955-1975, Panama 1989, Bosnia and Kosovo during The Clinton Administration, Iraq on a number of occasions, and Libya just a few years ago in 2011. There are more occupations and conflicts that The U.S. is involved in now and there are a whole list of the country’s military conquests since its inception which are too numerous to list. It’s easy to see why this is wrong and it’s another solid argument in the debate against unnecessary and unjust wars.
Is it reasonable, then, to support any war? The answer is yes. However, there is no logical reason to ever support war unless it is in response to an unprovoked attack or people are fighting to be free from a tyrannical and brutal regime. The American Revolution is a war that was just and necessary for secession and eventual freedom from the British colonizers. There are other wars that have been fought for good causes but they are needles in haystacks. Most wars are fought by governments so they can gain more authority, protect their own interests, control the minds and lives of the populations they rule over, and to show off their great strength and military prowess. This all, unfortunately, comes at the expense of innocent human beings. The rights of people are stolen everyday but during periods of war you can count your rights on one hand and in many cases you have the same rights as an animal. This and the 5 reasons I described above are why any fair minded and sensible person should demonstratively oppose war.
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