Ain't My Government: We Who Said No to the State

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Earlier this month I finished reading two books: Bill Kauffman’s Ain’t My America and a compilation of anti-war essays edited by Thomas Woods and Murray Polner titled We Who Dared to Say No to War. As someone who was not familiar with most of the writings and references featured on those works, I was reminded of just how eerily similar arguments for war (and other related interventions) can be. It is quite possible that, without fail, all wars that the United States has fought since the late 18th century have been wars of aggression.

Because the state unfortunately almost always moves towards expansion, the leaders in government must also support policies that aggrandize their image and the role of the state. Thus, there is a tendency (and, indeed, extreme pressure) to act without trepidation and enact progressive policies that serve political goals.

War, which is another government program, is not an exception of the rule of politics. The pro-war establishment consists of hawkish politicians and their sideline supporters, and of blood-thirsty lobbyists, both foreign and domestic. The books mentioned above offer plenty of historical anecdotes and accounts not just against whatever war was popular at the time but also against the lies and manipulation used to trick the American people into them. The U.S., always one to meddle in the affairs of others, is "shocked" when, after placing troops or ships beyond its border, said troops or ships are attacked. A "victim," it must retaliate by taking over entire nations and installing whatever form of government that the creatures from the swamp desire to impose.

The reasons that have been given (again, see the works cited above) through the centuries will sound familiar to modern ears: the intruder wants to destroy us; they threaten our way of life; they attacked us first (hah!); we must lead the world; we must make the world safe for democracy; our role in the world is to guide it, and so on and so forth.

Putting aside the carnage and the fact that national wars are really wars between states and not the citizens of the states, one must not forget that war comes at a cost. Because wars are carried out by governments, and governments obtain all of their resources through the plundering of producers, the cost of war is aggressively imposed on society — each individual bears the cost. There is the right, of course, to individually pay for security but there is no right to make others pay. Today, states provide "security" monolithically and collectively: one size fits all — take it or go to jail. So when a politician says war is necessary, one must pause, sniff the air, and smell the BS. Necessary for me? You? Everyone? And to what degree? Intervention requires domestic intervention as well.

Finally, war can never be isolated as an issue, for it requires major intrusion in the economy such as increased taxation, inflation, price and wage controls and a myriad other extremely socialist and fascist measures. Once we add conscription/slavery, the crushing of domestic liberties and the police state, the recipe for totalitarianism is complete.

People are fond of saying "history repeats itself." Well, I am not a historian but do have an alternate maxim to share: "Stupidity, ignorance and apathy tend to repeat themselves." The way I see it, politics have always been the same. Circumstances change. People change. So long as there is a state, however, politics will remain unsurprisingly similar.

My advice is to never trust or support presidential (or gubernatorial or mayoral) endeavors, to disregard of the idea of congressional representation and to realize that the robed ones work for the state and can hardly be impartial. My advice, in other words is to wake the eff up!

Manuel Lora [send him mail] works at Cornell University as a TV and multimedia producer. Visit his blog.

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